How to Publish a Book on Amazon KDP: Detailed Guide

In a previous post, I wrote on how I self-published my first poetry book ‘Words of Faith’ using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). In this article, I’ll be providing a detailed guide on how to upload and publish your book through Amazon KDP.

Amazon On Phone Screen

I’ve included screenshots below to give a visual idea of what everything looks like on the platform – perfect for those who like to see things before they delve into them! I’ve tried to make it simple, detailed and easy to follow for those who have never used this platform before. So, let’s get right to it...

What is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)?

Amazon KDP is a free online self-publishing platform that allows authors to publish books as e-books and paperbacks.

Books are printed and sold through Amazon and the Kindle store which allows you to earn up to 70% in royalty payments. Authors are also given the option to buy copies themselves (at print cost) and sell in their own way!

If you've considered self-publishing your own book but don't know how or where to start? This guide provides a simple step by step basis on how to use Amazon KDP.

In This Post - Publishing Your Book on Amazon KDP (Summary):

1. Create a new paperback draft

2. Fill in all of the relevant book details

3. Write an amazing Amazon book description

4. Research and select relevant keywords

5. Input your book into the correct categories

6. Get a free ISBN

7. Decide your printing options for the book

8. Format your book with a free template

9. Upload the finished manuscript

10. Upload your book cover design (or create it using Cover Creator)

11. Preview and approve your book

12. Price your book and declare your distribution rights

13. Request proof copies for final checks

14. Hit publish on that book!

Publishing a book on Amazon KDP: Step-by-step

Firstly, you’ll need to have or create an Amazon account which you will use to log into KDP. Once you’ve logged in, click on bookshelf and you will see the screen below.

Create a New Paperback Draft

Amazon KDP screenshot 1

On KDP, you have the option to publish either an e-book or a paperback copy of the book which is printed on demand. The publishing process is similar for both formats but in this article, I’ll be focusing solely on the paperback process.

Select the option for creating a new paperback and you will be taken to a new draft page.

Input Basic Book Details

Amazon KDP screenshot 2

These next few sections are where you fill in the relevant information for your upcoming book. It is self-explanatory and Amazon KDP lets you revise sections later if you wish to change any details.

Simply input the main language of your book, the full title and any series information if it is part of a series of books. If not, you are able to leave that section blank.

Write an Amazon Book Description

Amazon KDP screenshot 3

Keep filling in the relevant information as necessary for your specific book.

An important detail to fill in is the description tab!

This description is what potential readers and buyers see when they visit your book page on Amazon. You should pay extra attention to this section because it is essentially what sells your book... Or at least aids the process.

This description should first hook the reader, tell them what content to expect in your book and finally leave then with a strong call to action that prompts them to buy the book.

You want this description to be informative, engaging and snappy. You don’t want it to be too ‘salesy’ but you want it to encourage visitors to find out more about your book by buying it.

You want to include enough detail, but you don’t want it to be too lengthy that no one reads it.

Take your time with this to get it right and feel free to go back to it and edit it until you think it fits your book accordingly.

For my collection (Words of Faith) I wrote this description:

Self-help meets artistry and imagination. Captivating, inspiring and above all, truthful. Words of Faith is your new companion. In her newest release, Faith takes readers on a profound poetic journey with the intent to challenge growth. Through simple yet skillful use of language and imagery, the reader is stimulated, intrigued and moved. "Don’t be afraid to grow." She says, "To take the risks in life that will propel you into your purpose. Be refined, be challenged and above all, seek to grow." Will you let these Words of Faith nurture your soul? Described as “a collection of devotional poems that readers can draw strength and encouragement from", Words of Faith is one not to dismiss. "They also have a kind of minimalist quality to them that makes each poem work well as a kind of mine for aphorisms... What makes them particularly effective is that they are obviously heartfelt and deeply personal, but at the same time universally accessible."

Select Relevant Key Words and Categories

Amazon KDP screenshot 4

Next is to ensure you have the necessary publishing rights for this book. If what you’ve written is completely original then it is your intellectual property and you own the copyright. However, if you’ve included quotes from other sources such as poems, books or even videos, you need to ensure you have the correct rights and permissions to include that content in your book.

Other crucial elements are the Keywords and Categories that you choose for your book.

Keywords are search terms the searcher (or potential reader) uses to find books on Amazon. By inputting relevant keywords, your book will have greater chances of being listed for search terms other than just the title. This increased visibility then has the chance to increase your audience.

Utilise Amazon’s ‘How do I choose keywords?’ tab and find out more on selecting relevant keywords. Think of things such as your book content, style and genre and be as specific as you can when selecting words.

For example, a keyword such as ‘teen romance novel’ would be more effective and targeted than simply ‘romance’.

Categories are the different groups that your book will fall under based on what genre it is.

Amazon KDP screenshot 5

Amazon has multiple categories such as Children’s Books, Crime, Thrillers & Mystery, Science Fiction & Fantasy and Comic & Graphic Novels. Just to name a few! Each category then has sub-categories and on these pages is where readers find information on best-sellers and highly ranked books for that category.

See Amazon’s advice on ‘Why are categories important?’ and also look into the different categories that your book could fall under. Find your specific niche and stick to it. Research books that are similar to yours to find out where other authors have placed them. This will give you more of an idea on how to categorise your book correctly.

Declare any Adult Content and Next Steps

Amazon KDP screenshot 6

Once your keywords and categories have been thoughtfully determined, you’ll need to declare if your book has inappropriate, explicit or ‘adult’ content.

When this is done, you’ll be able to save this screen and move onto the next. Bear in mind that you can always come back and edit this information (as many times as you need to) whilst your paperback is still saved in a draft.

Get a Book ISBN

Amazon KDP screenshot 7

An ISBN or International Standard Book Number is a unique number that is used to identify a given book. If you don’t have an ISBN already, Amazon provides you with a free one when publishing a paperback. This number stays the same and should correctly match the one printed in your book.

If this is the first time you are publishing your book, ensure that the publication date stays blank. KDP will then update this automatically once your book is live.