You can publish a book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing. To get started, create a Kindle Direct Publishing account that’s connected to your Amazon account. You can upload a book in Word or PDF format, or use the Kindle Creator tool to convert a book for publishing. Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.
Amazon isn’t just an online retailer. It started as an online bookstore and, building on those roots, is a book publisher as well. Unlike a traditional book publisher, though, where you need to persuade an acquisitions editor to offer you a contract to get a book published, anyone can self-publish a book on Amazon.
How to publish a book on Amazon
You need to create an account with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system, then upload and publish your completed book. Then anyone can purchase and download your book in Kindle format. Here is everything you need to know.
How to create a Kindle Direct Publishing account
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s self-publishing system. If you want to publish a book to the Kindle platform, you need to start here.
Open the KDP webpage in a browser. The easiest way to use KDP is to connect it to your existing Amazon account, so click “Sign in” and use your Amazon credentials to set up your KDP account. If you don’t have an Amazon account, click “Sign up” and follow the instructions to create an account. The KDP website is where all the self-publishing action begins. Dave Johnson/Insider On the user agreement page, click “Agree.” On the KDP setup page, you should see a message that your account information is complete near the top of the page. Click “Update Now.” Near the top of the page, click “Update Now” to set up your personal and payment information. Dave Johnson/Insider Follow the instructions and enter all the requested information. Start by entering your country, and then complete the “Author/Publisher” information by entering your name, address, and phone number. Move on to the Getting Paid section and enter your bank information. This is necessary so Amazon can pay you for book sales. You’ll need the account number and routing number for your bank account, which is the same information you would provide to set up direct deposit with an employer. When this section is done, click “Add.” In the Tax Information section, click “Complete Tax Information” and answer the questions to complete the section. Indicate if you are completing the form as an individual or as a business, specify if you are a US citizen, and enter your tax ID (which, for an individual, should be your social security number). Click “Continue” when you’re done. You can’t publish a book before completing your tax information. Dave Johnson/Insider In the Sign and Submit section, check the consent box and enter your legal name. Click “Save and Preview.” Review the W-9 form and, if you don’t need to make any changes, click “Submit For.” On the next page, click “Exit Interview.” How to create your Kindle book On the KDP webpage, click “Bookshelf” at the top of the page. You can choose to create a Kindle eBook or a paperback book. Regardless of which you choose to make, the process is basically the same. Click “Kindle eBook” or “Paperback.” (A less common option is to click “Series,” which you might do if you plan to publish several titles in the same series, such as a four-book set of fantasy novels or a number of thematically related how-to books.) Choose either Kindle eBook or Paperback to start publishing your book. Dave Johnson/Insider Complete the Kindle eBook Details tab. Enter a book title and subtitle as well as author information and book description. The subtitle is optional but can be very useful for helping potential readers learn more about the book. The description is also important, as it appears on the Amazon details page and represents the most important information customers will see about your book. Enter all the details for your book, including the title, subtitle, and book description. Dave Johnson/Insider Continue filling out this page with relevant keywords. Like the book description, keywords help inform potential readers about your book, but also play a big role in helping search engines prioritize your writing. Try to avoid repeating the same words that are in your title, but instead may be other common terms that describe the main theme or purpose of the book. Select two categories from Amazon’s list. One way to help your book rank better and have a better chance with potential readers is to choose relevant categories with less competition or categories in which you believe your book will perform better. Choose which Amazon book categories you want the book to appear in. Dave Johnson/Insider
Complete the page and select “I am ready to release my book now.” Click “Save and Continue.” On the Kindle eBook Content tab, choose whether you want to enable digital rights management. Unless you want readers to be able to freely share complete versions of your book, you should probably click “Yes.” Upload your book. If the book has a simple structure and you’ve created it in Microsoft Word or another common publishing tool, click “Upload eBook manuscript” and select the file. KPD recognizes common formats like DOC, DOCX, RTF, TXT, and PDF, among others. If you want to be sure your book is well-formatted, you can use Amazon’s free Kindle Create program to prepare your manuscript — click the link to download the program and then edit your manuscript file before uploading. You also need to create a cover. You don’t need to be a graphic artist; if you don’t already have a suitable cover design, you can click “Launch Cover Creator” and use Amazon’s tool to easily make a book cover. Choose an image from Amazon’s library of cover art, choose a color scheme, and then click “Save & Submit.” Amazon makes it easy to create a simple cover for your book. Dave Johnson/Insider If you are publishing a paperback book, you need to enter an ISBN number. An ISBN is required for print titles but optional for eBooks. If you want to get an ISBN, you can purchase one from various websites including ISBNServices and isbn.org. When you’re done with the Kindle eBook Content tab, click “Save and Continue.” The final step is to add pricing information. You can set any price you like for your title, though the royalties will vary depending upon the list price. To get 70% royalties in the US, a book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Books priced under $2.99 or over $9.99 offer 35% royalties. View Amazon’s list price requirements page for price ranges outside the US. Select the price (and related royalty rate) you would like for your book. Dave Johnson/Insider Complete the rest of the tab and then click “Publish your Kindle eBook.” You should see a pop-up window that tells you the book has been published, though it may take up to three days for the book to appear for sale on Amazon. It can take up to three days for your book to appear on Amazon. Dave Johnson/Insider How to track your book’s sales and performance
After the book is published, you can edit it or follow its performance from the KDP website.
Click the “Bookshelf” tab at the top of the page and then scroll down to “Your Books.” Here you can see all your published titles, their status, price, and make changes to the listing. For example, this is where you go to update the description or keywords. Click the “Reports” tab at the top of the page to see your historical earnings and book sales.