Amazon KDP: Complete Guide to Kindle Direct Publishing
For the First time in history, Trendnotch Authors can self-publish a book with the click of the button – and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has made the process more accessible than ever.
In fact, it’s pretty easy to publish your book on KDP, which is why it’s caught on so rapidly, especially for those who found traditional publishing to be a roadblock in their author journey.
But, the process can be overwhelming – especially if you want to make sure you’re doing it correctly from beginning to end, from book formatting to book launch.
In this complete guide to all things Kindle Direct Publishing, we’ll walk you through the process on how to publish a book using Amazon’s KDP, starting with how to properly format your book files.
By the end of this KDP guide, you will have your book available in the Kindle Store, and ready to get into the hands of your readers.
Here are the steps to format and publish your book on Amazon’s KDP:
- What is KDP?
- How does KDP Publishing work?
- Benefits to publishing on Amazon KDP
- KDP Publishing Cost & Royalties
- What is KDP Select?
- KDP Formatting Guide
- KDP Publishing Guide
What is KDP?
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s book publishing platform that can be used to self-publish a book online, which readers can purchase as an eBook or print-on-demand book. It is one of the top self-publishing companies and currently dominates the self-publishing book market.
Amazon KDP is a major player in the publishing industry, currently holding at least 80% of the eBook market.
Thanks to Amazon KDP’s launch in 2007, modern writers are faced with an important decision when determining how to become an author.
In fact, writers of all disciplines have enjoyed an explosion in career flexibility over the last decade or so with rise in remote writing jobs. This explosion has led to the increase in publishing eBooks, print books, and more through self-publishing.
Authors have two choices for publishing their book: traditional publishing or self-publishing. When weighing the traditional publishing vs self-publishing options, many writers consider the higher royalty rates on KDP, and the ease of self-publishing, as there are not any competitive hoops to go through like there are with traditional publishing.
How Does KDP Publishing Work?
KDP Publishing is a platform for authors to self-publish eBooks and paperback books.
For eBooks, authors can directly upload their book files, and it will appear in the Kindle store as an eBook for readers to purchase and instantly download.
For printed books, authors upload their book files and KDP Publishing uses print-on-demand technology to print the paperback book once it’s purchased; the printing costs will be subtracted from the royalties you earn from every book sold.
You can learn more about which files to use in this EPUB vs MOBI guide.
Here’s How KDP Publishing Works:
- Upload your book files to Amazon KDP.
- Publish your book to the KDP platform.
- Readers can purchase your eBook and instantly download it to their device.
- Readers can purchase your paperback copy and Amazon’s KDP platform will use print-on-demand technology to print and ship your book directly to the reader once purchased.
- Amazon will pay you book royalties per book sold on the KDP platform.
Why Publish on Amazon KDP?
There are numerous benefits to self-publishing your book on KDP. The Amazon KDP Publishing platform has helped revolutionize the publishing industry, giving authors the opportunity to make it easier to publish a book and create a sustainable book business.
These are the benefits to KDP Publishing:
- Wide distribution. Amazon’s platform is huge, which means authors can tap into global markets across the United States, Europe, and Japan.
- Higher royalties. With Amazon, authors can earn higher royalty rates than they typically would through traditional publishing houses. Depending on the type of book you sell on Amazon, royalty rates can be as high as 60%.
- Author rights. Even though you publish your book to KDP, you retain the rights to your book through Amazon’s non-exclusive agreement.
- Quick publishing time. Typically, with traditional publishing, books can take a very long time to get to market. With Amazon’s platform, the KDP publishing process is very quick.
- No inventory. Long gone are the days when authors had to purchase printed copies of books upfront in order to sell them. With print-on-demand technology, books are printed as they are purchased.
KDP Publishing Cost & Royalties
So what are the costs associated with publishing on Amazon? And how much do authors earn when they sell their book through KDP? What about the payment schedule?
In this section, we’ll answer all those questions and more!
How Much Does it Cost to self-Publish on Amazon KDP?
It is free to publish a book on Amazon KDP. It does not cost authors anything directly. However, if you are selling paperback books on Amazon, the cost to print the book will be deducted by Amazon from your book royalties. This means that when you sell a paperback book, you will essentially pay for the price to print the book.
Aside from being free to publish on KDP, self-published authors typically spend money on author services to prepare their book for publishing. This includes services such as book cover design, formatting, editing, and marketing fees.
How do KDP Royalties Work?
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing pays its authors through royalty fees. There are two royalty fees to consider: the eBook royalty rates, and the paperback royalty rates.
The royalty rate for eBooks is 35% or 70%, depending on which royalty rate your book is eligible for. To see specific requirements of each, click here.
The royalty rate for paperback books is a fixed 60% royalty rate.
For each royalty rate, this means that you will receive the % royalty rate of your book’s list price.
For help comparing your book’s royalty rates, use our Book Royalties Calculator.
When Does KDP Pay?
Kindle Direct Publishing will pay your royalties to you every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month that your royalties were earned.
However, a caveat to this is that your payment amount must meet a minimum threshold before it is paid out. You can choose to be paid out through several options including direct deposit, wire transfer, or check.
Amazon Publishing Costs & Royalties
|Cost to Publish||Free|
|Cost to Print||Fixed cost + (page count * per page cost) = printing cost|
|eBook Royalties||35% or 70%|
|Fee Payout||Must meet minimum threshold before pay out|
|Fee Schedule||Royalties are paid every month, 60 days after the end of month that royalties were earned|
What is KDP Select?
KDP Select is a program for authors to give Amazon exclusive rights to sell an eBook on the Kindle platform only. This means that the author’s eBook will only be available for purchase on Amazon’s Kindle platform, and the author is not able to use another self-publishing platform to distribute their eBook.
In exchange for exclusive rights to sell the author’s eBook, Amazon provides incentives to the author, such as promotional tools, like Kindle Unlimited, and possibly higher royalty rates.
If you’re considering enrolling in KDP Select, your enrollment is not indefinite, meaning you can test it out for 90 days. KDP Select enrollment lasts for 90 days, which allows authors the option to auto-renew enrollment in KDP Select for another 90 days, or opt out.
KDP Formatting Guide
Now that you’re clear on exactly what KDP is, let’s get started with the formatting and publishing process.
Note: In this particular article, I’ll be covering the steps to formatting your book for KDP specifically using Microsoft Word, which is one of the easiest programs to use. As the author of How to Format Your Book in Word, I’ve found that Word is a program that most authors already have experience using.
If you don’t want to use Microsoft Word, you may wish to hire a professional eBook formatter, or another book formatting software.
Now, if you’re wanting to still do it yourself and do it in Microsoft Word, then you’ll be able to format it properly using the steps in this guide.
1. Format your book file using Microsoft Word
If you’re an author or writer, chances are that you’re already familiar with using Word. If you’re one of the few people that have never used Word before, that’s okay. There isn’t a steep learning curve to using the program and you can use Word tutorial videos to get the gist.
Formatting your book in Word for Kindle is really easy. Although there are technical aspects that you should be aware of, it’s really not rocket science.
You can only apply formatting as per the technical requirements of the Kindle device, which is specified by KDP itself. And to be honest, these are not complex in any way whatsoever.
When I say formatting for the Kindle is technical, I mean there are specific ways that you can do certain things and there are features you cannot use.
For example, you cannot have text boxes in your eBook file, as also headers and footers are not recognized in the Kindle device.
We’ll cover how to do this in detail below.
2. Format your file for KDP
In order to publish on Amazon’s KDP, your book manuscript needs to be formatted for the KDP platform. Otherwise, certain errors or layout issues will occur.
In addition to formatting your Word file, which includes the text contents of your book, you will also need to create a separate cover image.
Use these specifications for your cover image when formatting your file for Amazon’s KDP:
The cover image size should be a minimum of 625 pixels at shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side. The best quality is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
The file format should be TIFF or JPEG.
Amazon has introduced the Kindle Create tool, and the information for using this tool is also included in this guide.
Using Kindle Create, you can check your Word file, add special features, etc., and then create a .kpf file that you can then upload to KDP.
If there are issues with your Word file when you preview it in Kindle Create, you will have to make the changes in Word, and then preview it Kindle Create again.
3 – Use The Recognized Kindle styles
Pay Attention to the following points if you have already applied any character or text styles to your Word file. Read More