Publishing on Amazon KDP is relatively straightforward once you have the MOBI file, or the PDF file (for the print release) ready (this is discussed in the book in detail).
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.
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.info where 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 very detailed documentation of all the functions of KDP. If you are stuck, you can refer to that and easily find the solution. 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 slow (as of 2019)—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). 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 an important 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.
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. Covers sell books, 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 discuss cover creation in another article (and the book). 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 generated e-book in your web browser. Depending on your e-book size, it might take a while until the previewer has finished loading. Alternatively, you can look at it directly on your Kindle (if you have one) or in the Kindle application on your computer or smartphone.
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!
At the end of the page, you can assign your e-book an ISBN number. This can help to organize your e-books among different platforms. See the next section for more information about ISBN numbers.
Let us now move on to how to publish a paperback with KDP. Click on Bookshelf. If this is a new title (meaning you have not yet created a corresponding e-book title), 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. Press Save and Continue to edit the paperback’s content.
- ISBN. The least complicated choice is to select Get a free KDP ISBN. On the downside, if you ever move your book away from KDP (or upload it on other platforms), you cannot take your ISBN with you, which 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 number of ISBNs you buy and where you buy them, you can pay $.50 up to $50 each. There are dozens of providers, so 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 move 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 published the book on another platform or by printing and selling it yourself, enter the original publication 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 (for example, as of 2019, $21.85 instead of $4.45 for a 300-page book, see https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201834340) which reduces your profit margin. 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 spine 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.
- Bleed settings. Bleed refers to whether graphics are allowed to print beyond the usual print margin; 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.
Next, upload the PDF of your book that you have generated in Overleaf. For the cover, using a cover created by a professional designer is recommended, but for test prints, using the KDP cover creator is sufficient. If you already have a print-ready PDF cover, press Upload a cover you already have (print-ready PDF only). Next, click on Launch Previewer and check all the pages 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.
Before actually publishing the book to Amazon, I strongly recommend ordering a proof copy by clicking on Click here to request a proof copy. Looking at a physical copy always gives you a different perspective on your work than seeing it on your screen.