So you want to publish a book on Amazon…but have no idea how?
Don’t worry! It’s super easy!
1) Go to this link: https://kdp.amazon.com/
2) Sign in with your Amazon password.
3) Follow the prompts and read the instructions!
4) Check out Amazon’s “how to” posts for more information, or if you get stuck.
Do you want more detailed instructions? Well, for those who hate the internet, and just want someone to spell everything out ahead of time, read on!
Whether you want to publish your grandpa’s memoir…your husband’s hobby novel…a family history…a fan-fiction — if your only goal is getting it on Amazon so your second cousins in Alaska can order their own copies – this is the place for you!
(Info on plotting / writing / editing / revising / re-plotting / polishing / revising / editing / marketing / selling a book or novel is beyond the scope of this post.)
(A note on fan-fiction: I am not a lawyer, and have no idea what copyright issues might apply to actually publishing a story based on someone else’s work. Check that out before you do anything else.)
1—Log Onto the Amazon Publishing Site
This is the link you will go to:
(KDP stands for “Kindle Direct Publishing,” and Amazon is the company that owns it.)
There should be a button over on the right-hand side of the page to log in.
Log in using your Amazon username and password (same as what you use whenever you shop on Amazon).
*Pro-tip: this should be a different password than you use anywhere else online.
Wait! I hate the internet! I never shop on Amazon. What do I do?
Well, if you want to publish a book on Amazon, you will have to make sacrifices. Including creating an Amazon account.
(When you try to log in, the screen might ask you to add a phone number to your account. You can ignore this and click the “Not Now” link.)
2—Click on “Bookshelf”
Once you log in, the top of the page should say “Kindle Direct Publishing” — “Bookshelf” — “Reports” — “Community” — “KDP Select”.
3—Under “Create a New Title,” Select “Paperback”
Over on the left, you should see two boxes: “New eBook” and “Paperback.”
If you want people to get their very own hard copies of your book, click “Paperback.”
This page asks for very basic things, like the title of your book, the author name, and the language it’s in.
There is also room for book description (what appears on the Amazon sale page) and keywords (which help sort the book so that people can find the genre they like). If you’re not worried about selling your book, just put a couple lines of explanation in the description, and ignore the keywords.
Here’s what I wrote for my grandpa’s memoir:
The life and times of J. David Wood…pastor, missionary, taxi driver, newspaper boy, factory worker, treasurer, husband and father.
Then anybody who wanted to find it could know they had the right book.
Amazon wants your title and author name to match whatever you have on the cover. If you’re putting your grandpa’s name on the cover of his autobiography, then put his name in the “Author” field on the Details page, also.
Do you have the rights to this book?
This page also asks whether you really have the rights to publish this book.
If you wrote it (or if your grandpa / husband / cousin wrote it and gave you permission to publish it) then the answer is: Yes!
If not…maybe rethink this.
Extra details: A “public domain” book was written so long ago that its copyright has expired. In the United States currently, that is 100 years after the death of the author. Places like Project Gutenberg distribute public domain books for free so that more people can enjoy them.
When you click “Save and Continue,” you will move to the page where you can send the file of your book to Amazon.
But first there’s a box for an ISBN. What do we do with this?
The easiest thing to do is let Amazon/KDP give you a free ISBN. The rules for ISBNs are a little in-depth, so unless you are a professional author who bought your own ISBN from the regulatory authority, this is the best option.
Next you will see a section called “Print Options.”
So many options! Just remember: if even one page of your book contains color (like a color illustration), then your entire book must be printed “in color” – and that’s more expensive.
I print my books in black-and-white, and I don’t mind if my author picture in the back has to be monochrome. (Except for an early children’s book that had color illustrations in it.)
I also prefer white paper (rather than cream) and a glossy cover texture (rather than matte – so, slick and shiny rather than dull) but you choose for yourself!
Finally – we can send them the file of our book!
If you want to make sure the paper copy looks exactly like you formatted it, then upload a PDF.
Otherwise, you can upload a Microsoft Word file (.doc), DOCX (.docx), HTML (.html), or RTF (.rtf) instead.
(It might take a while for the file to load, especially if it’s big or if you have slow internet. Don’t worry.)
If you’re not sure how you want it to look, Amazon/KDP also offers a template you can download.
This page is also where you send your cover image to Amazon.
If you want to make your own cover first:
You can download a template for how big the cover needs to be (it will change based on how many pages your book has) and then use your own image program to make a cover.
Then you can upload the cover as a PDF file. Make sure it’s really high resolution.
If you want to make a cover right there:
Amazon has a cover creation program that lets you make a cover right there.
I have never used it for my books, but it lets you select either a picture from your home computer, or a picture from Amazon’s selection…then arranges the picture in several different lay-outs for you to choose from…then lets you tweak and customize the cover as you see fit, with your own text and color choices…before saving and submitting the final result.
6—Paperback Rights and Pricing
When you click “Save and Continue” again, you will go to the next page. This is where you decide how much to sell your book for.
Amazon will show you how much it costs to print your book. If you don’t care about making money, just set the price to the minimum. Then people can get your book and just pay for the cost of printing it.(As you can see, my grandpa’s 600+ page memoir costs $17US to print! Paper costs something!)
7—A Real Book!
When you click Publish, you will have a real book! It might take a couple days for Amazon to process it, but they will email you when your book appears on their site. (Using the email you used to log in, naturally.)
Then your friends and family can search for your book title and author name on Amazon.com and find your book!
When all the work is done, Amazon will send you back to the “Bookshelf” page.
Now, below the buttons to make a new eBook or Paperback, you will see your book listed. You will have the option to create a digital version of your book, or make a new book…or just enjoy your achievement.
If you want to order author copies, you can do that on the right-hand side of that line-item for your book. However, in my experience, it’s cheaper to just order it from the regular Amazon store – if you can get free shipping (and if you’re not ordering more than one book)! It usually ships faster, too.
Hooray! You have a book!
And now you can order a nice, shiny copy to keep on your shelf forever. You can even buy copies for all your friends.
Getting strangers on the internet to buy it, though, is a whole other story. We’re not talking about that today…
She currently lives somewhere in the American Midwest with her family – including the brother people mistake for her boyfriend. She’s bracing for the collapse of society by baking, knitting, writing, hobby-farming, and reading as much Twitter as possible before the web goes dark.
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