This is an excerpt of the book “Better Books with LaTeX.” The book comes with a LaTeX template you can use to easily create your own books.
Publishing on Amazon KDP is relatively straightforward once you have the MOBI file (for the e-book release, see Chapter 9), or the PDF file (for the print release, see Chapter 8) ready.
To start, head over to https://kdp.amazon.com and click on “Sign in.” If you do not have an Amazon account, click “Sign up” and follow the instructions. When you sign in the first time, it creates a new KDP account and connects it to your Amazon account.
Personally, I use two different Amazon accounts, one for my personal orders, the other for anything related to publishing. For easier management, it is generally advised not to mix private and business accounts. You just have to make sure that when signing in, you are using the right account. If you are worried about the number of passwords you would have to manage, I recommend https://keepass.infowhere you can back up all your passwords safely and easily generate new ones.
Once signed in, you will see the main menu (“Bookshelf — Reports — Community — KDP Select”). Also, at the top, there is a link to “Help” (https://kdp.amazon.com/help) which leads to a very detailed documentation of all the functions of KDP. If you are stuck, you can refer to that and easily find the solution. Alternatively, you are always free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
For now, click on Bookshelf. You will see a box “Create a New Title.” Click on “+ Kindle e-book.” Here, you have to fill out all the basic information about the book. Most items are self-explanatory, but I have a few comments on the following items:
- Book Title. If the book is part of a series, include only the part title. For example, instead of putting “Philosophy for Heroes: Knowledge” into the box, just use “Knowledge” and put “Philosophy for Heroes” into the Series field. Changing the title after the release is possible, but needs to be done via Amazon support which can be notoriously slow or goes nowhere (as of 2018)—maybe that depends on your sales rank, though. An advantage of using the Series Title is that your other titles are referenced from each individual book product page.
- Description, Keywords, and Categories. Enter the description, and the keywords that describe the contents of your work. Also, select two categories (as specific as possible) to categorize your work. These entries can be updated later, even after release.
- Edition Number. This is optional. Use it only if you have already released a version and made significant updates to it.
- Pre-order. The option to pre-order a book can be a significant marketing tool. For now, select “I am ready to release my book now”—even if you are not ready. It will not be released before going through all the steps, so do not worry.
Did you know?
Selecting the right keywords and writing a good description of your book is essential for marketing. One approach is to think about how to market the book at the very beginning of the project. -→ Read more in Writing Better Books, the Agile Way
Press “Save and Continue” and continue to “Kindle e-book Content.” Here is where you upload your MOBI file (press “Upload e-book manuscript”).
While the file is processing, we can move on to the cover setup. While KDP offers a book cover creator, I strongly advise against using it. Book are sold by their cover and if your cover looks like you clicked it together in 10 minutes, people will think the book’s contents are of equally low quality. We will discuss cover creation in Chapter 11. If you already have a cover, select “Upload a cover you already have” and “Upload your cover file.” If you just want to test the publishing process, the cover creation process is straightforward. Start the cover creator, select a picture, select a design, and you are done.
Finally, once the cover is set, click on “Launch Previewer” to look at the produced e-book in your web browser. Alternatively, you can look at it directly on your Kindle (if you have one) or in your Kindle application on the computer or smartphone. Depending on your e-book size, it might take a while until the option becomes available.
If the upload went well and if there are no issues with the previewer, you could move on with “Save and Continue” and then publish your work on Amazon. That is it!
Click on Bookshelf. If this is a new title (meaning you have not created a corresponding e-book title before), click on “+ Paperback” in the “Create a New Title” box. Here, you have to fill out all the basic information about the book. The form you have filled out is similar to what we have discussed above (Chapter 10.1). Press “Save and Continue” to edit the paperback’s content.
- ISBN. The easiest choice is simply to select “Get a free KDP ISBN.” This comes at no additional cost. On the downside, if you ever move your book away from KDP, you cannot take your ISBN with you, which basically means you will have to create a new edition. If you decide to “Use your own ISBN,” you need to acquire a block of ISBNs. On the upside, your publishing company’s name shows up when using those ISBNs. Depending on the amount of ISBNs you buy and where you buy them, you can pay .50upto50 each. There are dozens of providers and comparing prices is recommended. Paying extra for additional services like bar codes is usually not worth the money. You can generate them yourself, and at least if you plan to publish on Amazon via KDP, bar codes are automatically generated. Plan for at least three ISBNs for each book in the long-term, as new editions (new size, hard-cover and soft-cover, changes within the book that moves content to different pages, etc.) each need a separate ISBN.
- Publication date. Assuming you have not released this book earlier, leave it blank. If you have already released the book on another platform or by printing and selling it yourself, enter the release date here.
- Interior & paper type. I recommend the option “Black & white interior with white paper.” A white background will improve the contrast for any graphics you are using. If you are creating a text-only book, you might consider “cream paper,” which is a bit more yellowish, heavier, and thicker. If you plan to use color graphics, select “color interior.” Please note the significantly increased cost for this print option ($18.35 instead of $3.85 per book as of 2018, see https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340) which reduces your profit margin. On the upside, you will have higher quality and thicker paper than with the black & white option. Some authors use this option even if they do not use any colored graphics. As with the cream option, selecting this option might influence your spin size and hence your cover template.
- Trim Size. KDP offers a variety of trim sizes. Select the same size you have previously set in lib/bookformat.tex and when generating the cover template in Chapter 11.
- Bleed Settings. Bleed refers to whether graphics are allowed to be printed beyond the usual print margin. The template does not use graphics reaching the margins, so select “No Bleed.”
- Paperback cover finish. As an option, you can have KDP bind your book cover with a glossy foil. My recommendation is to check out both options in a test print. I prefer the “Matte” option as the foil of the glossy option can tear off.
Did you know?
Depending on the complexity of your book or book series, investing in ISBNs might be a waste of money. In a business, it is best to only invest when you know how exactly it can generate a return. -→ Read more in Writing Better Books, the Agile Way
Next, upload the PDF of your book that you have generated in Overleaf .
Concerning the next step, the cover, the same applies as I have written above in Chapter 10.1: creating an own cover by a professional designer is recommended, but for test prints, using the KDP cover creator is sufficient. In case you already have a print-ready PDF cover (see also Chapter 11), press “Upload a cover you already have (print-ready PDF only).” Finally, click on “Launch Previewer” and do a final check of the contents as you have previously done with the PDF itself. In the previewer, take note of any warnings on the left side. If all is correct, press “Approve,” and move on to “Paperback Rights & Pricing” by pressing “Save and Continue.” There, you can set up the pricing.
Did you know?
Finding the right price for your book is just like finding the right content for your book. It is best to make it part of your marketing strategy right from the beginning. -→ Read more in Writing Better Books, the Agile Way
Before actually publishing the book to Amazon, I strongly recommend ordering a proof copy by clicking on “Click here to request a proof copy” near the bottom of the page. Looking at a physical copy always gives you a different perspective on your work than seeing it on your screen.