Distributing Through Amazon Kindle

This page describes how to distribute your finished eBook through Amazon’s KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

Create a KDP account

If you haven’t already done it, create a KDP account, using information about the publishing company you created earlier:

  1. Browse to https://kdp.amazon.com
  2. Log in using your normal Amazon account, or create an Amazon account just for your business (I haven’t tried the latter).
  3. Click the link in the upper-left of the page labeled <your name>’s Account.
  4. In the Full Name field, enter your publishing company’s name. That is, the name of the company you created to publish your books.
  5. Fill in your publishing business’ address and phone number.
  6. Add the information about your business checking account Amazon will deposit your royalties into. This should be the checking account that you created soon after you created your publishing business.
  7. Fill in the Tax Interview.  This step is where you fill in your publishing business’ name, address, and EIN (Employer Identification Number). You likely requested an EIN from the IRS when you created your publishing business.
  8. Click the Save button at the bottom of the page.
  9. Sign out.

Collect Material for Uploading Your eBook

To upload your eBook to KDP, first create/collect the following information.

  1. The finished eBook file, in KDP (.mobi) format, that you created using Jutoh or Vellum.
  2. The eBook advertising cover, in Jpeg (.jpg) format.
  3. The name of the Publisher of the book. The name of the publishing company you created.
  4. The ISBN of your eBook edition (not the paperback edition), that you assigned using your country’s ISBN Agency.
  5. Your book Title and optional Subtitle.
  6. Your name; that is, the author’s name.
  7. The book description that will appear on the Amazon page for this book.
  8. Up to 7 keywords or key-phrases. These words will be matched against readers’ searches on Amazon to find your book. For hints on what keywords to use, search KDP or the net for the topic “Amazon Keywords”.
  9. A primary and secondary Category of the book, selected from Amazon’s list of categories. You can see these categories for other books in the Amazon Best Sellers Rank part of the Amazon listing for any book. For example, one category is “Romance / Historical / 20th Century”.
  10. The release date for your Kindle eBook. This can be “I am ready to release my book now”, or you can set a date. Note: if you choose pre-order, you must submit your final materials (book content and cover) to Amazon at least 3 days before the release date. Amazon is very serious about release dates, so choose a release date that you know you can meet.
  11. Whether you want to enable DRM – Digital Rights Management; Copy Protection – on your eBook. You can search the net for pros and cons of Amazon DRM.
  12. Whether you want to join KDP Select or not. I prefer not to, because KDP Select would prevent me from distributing my book through distributors other than Amazon.
  13. Territories where your book will be sold. I prefer “All Territories“.
  14. The Royalty Plan. Amazon offers a 70% royalty and a 35% royalty plan. KDP has help pages explaining eBook Royalty Options and List Price Requirements, which can help you choose a Royalty Plan.
  15. The Primary Marketplace (for example, Amazon.com) and List Price in that Marketplace.
  16. If you want to explicitly set pricing for other Marketplaces, for example, France, the list prices for all Marketplaces. If you don’t want to explicitly set those prices, you can have Amazon set them based on the Primary Marketplace List Price you set.

Create the Amazon listing for your Kindle eBook

Start a new book listing

  1. Browse to https://kdp.amazon.com
  2. Log in using your publishing Amazon Account (often your personal Amazon account).
  3. Click the Sign In button under the heading “Sign in with your Amazon account”.
  4. At some point in the following process, you will be prompted for your password. At that point, enter your Amazon password.
  5. You should be seeing your Bookshelf. If you aren’t, click the link near the top of the page labeled “Bookshelf“.
  6. Under the section titled “Create new Title”, click the large button labeled “+ Kindle eBook“. This should take you to the Kindle eBook Details section for your new book.

Complete the Kindle eBook Details form

Note: if you plan to publish a paperback edition of this book through CreateSpace, make sure you use exactly the same TItle, Subtitle, Edition Number, and Author’s First and Last name in the Kindle and CreateSpace editions of the book. Making those fields match will help Amazon recognize the two editions as the same book. See KDP’s help page, Linking eBook and Paperback Editions.

  1. Primary Language. For example, English.
  2. The book Title and optional Subtitle.
  3. If this book is part of a series, the Series Name and Number in the series. If this book is not part of a series, leave these fields blank.
  4. For Edition Number, enter 1.  Later, if you make a significant revision of this book (not just corrections), you would mark that revision as Edition Number 2.
  5. Your name, that is the Author’s First and Last Name.
  6. First name, last name, and function for each contributor other than the author. For example, if someone other than you was the photographer for the book, you’d enter their name here as “Photographer”.
  7. Book Description. You can use simple HTML markup here, such as paragraph marks.
  8. Under Publishing Rights, select “I own the copyright...”.
  9. Keywords used by readers to find your book. Choosing good keywords is a topic of its own. KDP has a help page about Keywords.
  10. The Primary and Secondary Categories for your book, selected from a list. These categories are like sections of books in a physical bookstore.
  11. Pre-order. Choose whether to release the book as soon as it’s uploaded, or on a specific date you choose. As noted above, you must upload your book’s final content and cover more than 3 days before the release date.
  12. Click the “Save and Continue” button at the bottom of the page. This action will take you to the Kindle eBook Content page.

Complete the Kindle eBook Content form

  1. Select whether you want DRM (Digital Rights Management) or not (Yes or No).
  2. Upload the Kindle file of your eBook:
    1. Click the button labeled Upload eBook Manuscript.
    2. Select the local Kindle (.mobi) file that you generated earlier using Jutoh or Vellum.
    3. Click OK
  3. Upload the cover file of your eBook:
    1. Under the Kindle eBook Cover section, select “Upload a cover you already have...”
    2. Select the local image (.jpg) file of the eBook cover you created earlier.
    3. Click OK
  4. Skip the section labeled Kindle eBook Preview, because you should have already previewed your Kindle eBook as part of creating it with Jutoh or Vellum.
  5. Under the Kindle eBook ISBN section
    1. Enter the ISBN of the eBook edition of your book, that you assigned via your country’s ISBN Agency, such as Bowker.
    2. Enter the Publisher. That is, the name of the publishing company you created earlier.
  6. Click the “Save and Continue” button at the bottom of the page. This action will take you to the Kindle eBook Pricing page.

Complete the Kindle eBook Pricing form

  1. If you want to enroll this book in Kindle Select (which I prefer not to), follow the instructions. I prefer to not enroll in Kindle Select, because doing so would prevent me from distributing my eBook through other distributors, such as Apple iBooks.
  2. In the Territories section, select what Territories (such as Amazon.com) you want to sell your book in.
  3. Fill out the following information in the Royalty and Pricing section:
    1. Select the 35% or 70% royalty plan, depending on your preference.
    2. Select the Primary Marketplace (such as Amazon.com) and fill in the List Price in the Marketplace.
    3. Notice the Rate, Delivery, and Royalty columns. These columns show you what the delivery fee (download fee) will be, and what your Royalty per book will be. These numbers depend on the size of the Kindle (.mobi) file you uploaded earlier.

Complete your book submission

On the final page of the submission process, “Kindle eBook Pricing”, click the button labeled “Publish your Kindle eBook“.

Pressing this button creates the listing for your book on Amazon. Depending on your Pre-order choice, it either enables readers to buy the book right away, or enables readers to pre-order the book until the release date, at which time they will be able to buy and download the book right away.

Congratulations! Your eBook is up on Amazon, and if all goes well in a few months you will see your first royalty deposit into your publishing company checking account.

If you need to update your eBook’s content or cover

If you chose a pre-order date above, you can modify many of the fields you entered above, including uploading a corrected version of your eBook’s content or cover, until 3 days before your book’s scheduled release date. Simply go back to your KDP dashboard, and click on the “…” button to the right of the listing for your eBook.

Note: As of this writing, it seems that after you’ve made any change to the book’s listing or contents, simply clicking “Save” doesn’t publish the changes. To publish the changes you’ve made, you must go to the Pricing page and click on “Publish your Kindle eBook”.

After your eBook is released, you will pay a bit more attention to when you want to update your book. Changing the book’s contents after release may stop sales of the book while Amazon reviews the new content.

As of this writing, you can change your Kindle eBook’s pricing whenever you like.

Technical Writing and Self-Pubilshing