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How to Publish a Book on Amazon: The Ultimate Guide

Julia McCoy
Wednesday, 17th Apr 2024

You’ve really put your all into this book, spending hours on end to weave the perfect tale or share what you know best. Now, it’s time to share your masterpiece with the world. But where do you start?

Want people talking about your book at coffee shops worldwide? Start by putting it where they shop most: Amazon.

Amazon is not only huge — it’s where stories find their stage. With Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you can easily upload your book and start selling it to readers around the globe.

Want to know how to publish a book on Amazon? Scroll down this ultimate guide.

Table Of Contents:

How to Publish a Book on Amazon

Self-publishing a book on Amazon sounds tricky, but it’s actually one of the easiest ways to publish a book.

Learning how to publish a book on Amazon is simple but since Amazon’s publishing platform may not be the most friendly user experience to some, it can get a little confusing if you’re trying to figure it all out yourself.

Let me break it down for you, step by step.

First things first, what are the essential components of a book?

Here is what you should have before starting the Amazon self-publishing process:

  • Book title and subtitle
  • Book description (think of it as your sales pitch)
  • Author bio and photo
  • Book cover (front for ebooks, front and back for paperbacks)
  • Properly formatted manuscript (use Kindle Create for ebooks)
  • Keywords and categories

Depending on the type of book you write, here are other elements to consider in addition to the main text:

  • Title page — includes title, subtitle, and your name as the author
  • Forward — not necessary unless you would like to include an endorsement from someone else at the front of your book
  • Table of Contents — if your book has chapters, you’ll want to include chapter titles and page numbers for easy reference
  • Introduction — this is where you introduce yourself, why you wrote the book, and what you hope readers will get out of it
  • Body of the book — generally organized in chapters but not always
  • Works cited page — If you cite a lot of sources, it may be best to include a works cited page at the end of your book using the MLA format
  • Epilogue — completely optional if you’d like to close your book with a summary or conclusion
  • Other resources — the beginning or end of the book is a great place to add a call to action (CTA) for readers to engage with your website, podcast, other books, social media, etc.

How to Publish a Book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Platform

The Amazon self-publishing platform is called Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). You can self-publish your book on KDP in 10 steps:

  1. Make sure your book is ready to publish (edited, formatted, cover designed, etc.)
  2. Log in to your KDP account
  3. Click on “Bookshelf” in the top menu
  4. Click on “Kindle eBook Actions” next to the title of your book
  5. Click on “Edit eBook Content”
  6. Upload your manuscript file
  7. Upload your book cover
  8. Enter your book details (title, description, keywords, categories, etc.)
  9. Set your pricing and royalty options
  10. Click “Publish Your Kindle eBook”

If you have everything on the list, you are ready to go for Amazon self-publishing. Otherwise, you will not be able to finish the process.

how to publish a book on Amazon

Now let’s break down some of these steps.

Create an Amazon KDP Account

Self-publishing on Amazon is easy and pretty intuitive. If you’re familiar with any online account creation process, then you will have no trouble.

Head over to to sign in to Kindle Direct Publishing (or KDP) with your Amazon account information.

how to publish a book on amazon

When you’re ready, click on “Your Account” in the menu across the top and set up your Author/Publisher information, Getting Paid, and Tax Information.

Even if you plan to sell your book at cost and do not wish to make a profit, you still have to fill out the Getting Paid and Tax Information sections.

The KDP Help Center is a wealth of information for self-publishers. I highly recommend browsing through it, especially the sections on formatting, publishing, and promoting your book.

You can access the KDP Help Center by clicking on “Help” in the top menu bar of your KDP account dashboard.

how to publish a book on Amazon

Fill Out The eBook Details Page

The first step is to fill out your eBook details. This includes your book title, subtitle, series information (if applicable), edition number, author name, contributors, description, publishing rights, and keywords.

Your book description is one of the most important elements on this page. This is your chance to hook potential readers and convince them to buy your book. Write a compelling description that will make people want to learn more.

For keywords, choose words or phrases that accurately describe your book and that potential readers might use to search for it. You can enter up to seven keywords or phrases.

Upload Your eBook File and Cover Image

On the eBook Content page, you will upload your book file and book cover image. Your book file must be in one of the following formats: Word doc (.doc or .docx), HTML (.zip or .htm), MOBI (.mobi), or ePub (.epub).

If you’re not sure how to format your book file, Amazon has a free tool called Kindle Create that can help. Just upload your Word doc into Kindle Create and it will format it for you.

For your book cover design, make sure it is a high-resolution JPEG that is at least 1000 pixels on the longest side. The ideal size ratio is 1.6:1 (width to height).

If you need help creating a professional-looking cover, use Amazon’s Cover Creator tool or hire a professional designer.

Set Your Book Price and Royalties

On the pricing page, you will set your book’s price and choose your royalty option. For most books, the 70% royalty option is best. This means you will earn 70% of the list price on each sale (minus a small delivery fee).

If you choose the 35% royalty option, you will earn 35% of the list price on each sale with no delivery fee deducted.

You can also choose to enroll your book in KDP Select, which gives you access to additional promotional tools and makes your book exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. If you enroll in KDP Select, you must choose the 70% royalty option.

Not sure how to price your book? Read our guide on the costs of publishing a book.

Once you’ve entered all the required information, click “Publish Your Kindle eBook” and your book will go live on Amazon within 24-48 hours.

KDP is very flexible, so nothing is final. You can always edit your book’s information after it’s published.

Choosing the Right Categories and Keywords for Your Book

Alright, let’s talk about two of the most important aspects of self-publishing on Amazon: categories and keywords.

Get these right, and your book will be well on its way to success. Get them wrong, and well… let’s just say it won’t be pretty.

First up, let’s talk about keywords. These are the words and phrases that people type into Amazon’s search bar when they’re looking for a book like yours. Keywords are the key to your book showing up in those search results.

So, how do you choose the right keywords? A few things to keep in mind:

  • Think like your reader. What words and phrases would they use to find a book like yours?
  • Use a tool like Publisher Rocket to help you find the best keywords.
  • If you have a keyword in mind, search for it on Amazon while in incognito/private browsing mode. This will help you see which books already rank for that keyword and how successful they are.

But here’s the thing: your keywords have to be honest. The Amazon self-publishing platform explicitly states that any misleading keywords will not be tolerated (as they result in a poor experience for customers).

So, don’t try to game the system. Choose keywords that accurately describe your book and its content.

Now, let’s talk about categories. These are the broad topics that your book falls under, like “Self-Help” or “Science Fiction.”

And here’s a little trade secret: Amazon will let you choose up to 10 categories for each title.

After you finish creating your title, all you need to do is visit the Author Central Page and select all of the options shown there.

But with over 16,000 Amazon categories in total, how do you choose the right ones? Here are a few tips:

  • Consider a mix of obscure and popular categories. Popular categories will potentially lead to more exposure for your book, while obscure categories are a lot easier to become a bestseller in.
  • If you’re unsure of the right categories to consider, search Amazon for similar books to your own. Scroll down on any individual book page to see which categories it falls under.
  • Look at the number of new releases in a category to assess how trendy it is, and look at the performance of the books on Amazon to gauge their potential profitability.

And if you want to add more categories to your book listing after it’s published, just contact Amazon through Author Central. They’re usually pretty accommodating.

Launching and Marketing Your Self-Published Book on Amazon

Congrats, you’ve made it to the final step: launching and marketing your book. This is where the rubber meets the road, and where all your hard work pays off.

But before you hit that “publish” button, there are a few things you need to do:

  1. Set a publishing date for your book. This is the date when your book will go live on Amazon, and it’s important to choose a date that gives you enough time to promote your book beforehand.
  2. Create a marketing plan. Unless you already have thousands of people lined up to buy your book, you’ll need a marketing plan before you’re ready to publish especially for a non-fiction book.
  3. Build buzz. Start promoting your book on social media, your website, and your email list (if you have one). The more people who know about your book before it launches, the better.

And when launch day finally arrives? Well, that’s when the real fun begins. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your book gets off to a great start:

  • Ask your friends, family, and followers to leave reviews on your book’s Amazon page. Reviews are social proof that your book is worth reading, and they can help convince others to buy.
  • Run a promotion. Consider offering your book for free or at a discounted price for a limited time to encourage people to buy.
  • Keep promoting. Don’t let up on your marketing efforts just because your book is live. Keep spreading the word and encouraging people to buy and leave reviews.

And most importantly? Don’t get discouraged if your book doesn’t become an overnight success. Building an audience and selling books takes time, effort, and patience.

But if you stay the course and keep putting in the work, I promise you’ll get there. And when you do, it’ll all be worth it.

FAQs – How to Publish a Book on Amazon

How much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon?

Publishing on Amazon is free, but set aside a budget for editing services, design, and marketing if you want your book to shine.

Is it profitable to publish a book on Amazon?

Yes, with the right strategy. Market demand and how well you promote your book heavily influence profits.

How do you publish books on Amazon and get paid?

Create an account with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), upload your manuscript, set prices, and then earn royalties from sales.

How much does Amazon pay for a book?

Royalties depend on pricing. Authors typically choose between 35% or 70%, based mainly on their chosen list price range.


Publishing a book on Amazon may seem daunting at first, but with the right guidance and tools, it’s easier than you think.

Remember, the key to success is to take it one step at a time. Focus on creating a high-quality book that readers will love, and the rest will fall into place. Partner up with Amazon’s incredible platform, and with your hard work, watch as your dream to be a published author turns into reality.

So what are you waiting for? Start your publishing journey today and share your story with the world. A crowd of readers on Amazon is just a click away from getting hooked on your book.

Written by Julia McCoy

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