This article will teach you how to self-publish nonfiction with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) in 8 simple steps.
It’ll show you in detail how to create a new KDP self-publishing account and how to set up your nonfiction book so that you can receive royalties on your sales.
KDP’s user interface is simple to use and it’s designed to make it easy for anyone to list self-published books on Amazon.
Why Kindle Direct Publishing?
KDP allows you to list your nonfiction self-published book on the largest online bookstore in the world. It also allows you to have your book printed on demand and shipped domestically to customers from KDP facilities located in three continents:
- U.S. (books purchased through Amazon.com)
- Canada (books purchased through Amazon.ca)
- U.K. (books purchased through Amazon.co.uk)
- Germany (books purchased through Amazon.de)
- France (books purchased through Amazon.fr)
- Spain (books purchased through Amazon.es)
- Italy (books purchased through Amazon.it)
- Australia (books purchased through Amazon.com.au)
- New Zealand (books purchased through Amazon.com.au)
KDP also gives you access to the largest dedicated book search engine in the world, where over 330 million Amazon customers search for books in every possible nonfiction niche – Amazon currently lists books in over 3,000 nonfiction categories and subcategories.
8 Steps to Publishing
So, how do you get started? Simple. Just follow the 8 steps below and you’ll have your nonfiction book published on Amazon in no time. Having said that, some of the steps below will require that you make an investment and enlist outside professional help.
This is necessary to make your book stand out from the crowd in the Amazon ranking algorithm so that you can increase your chances of landing on one of the over 3,000 Amazon bestseller lists.
Here we go:
Step 1: Create Your KDP account
The first step is to create your KDP self-publisher account at https://kdp.amazon.com. If you’re already an Amazon customer, then use the same login credentials.
If you aren’t an existing customer or if you want to set up a separate account, then enter your name, your email address and create a password (make sure you use a different email than the one you used when setting up your Amazon customer account).
Once you’re logged in, click on your Account tab. Under “Author/Publisher Information” enter your personal information including your country of residence, your full name and your postal address.
Under “Getting Paid” provide your banking information to enable electronic royalty payments via direct deposit. If you live in a country where electronic payments are not available, you’ll receive checks in the mail instead.
Finally, under “Tax Information” answer the step-by-step online tax interview so that Amazon can establish your tax identity. They must obtain this information in compliance with U.S. tax law before they can begin issuing payments to you.
Step 2: Get Your ISBN
Before proceeding to uploading your title, you’ll need to get an ISBN for your book. This is a unique book identification number that associates your book with its publisher (you or your company).
In order to purchase ISBNs in the U.S. visit https://www.isbn.org (for other countries, do an online search to locate the local agency that issues them).
In the U.S. the cost for a single ISBN is $125 and the cost for a block of 10 numbers is $295. In some countries there’s no cost for this service.
Step 3: Set Up Your Title
To set up your book title click on “Bookshelf” and click on “+Paperback.” Then, under “Paperback Details” enter the following information:
- Book Title: Enter your book’s title and sub-title.
- Series (Optional): Unless your book is part of a series, skip this step.
- Edition Number (Optional): If this is your first edition then enter 1 or skip this step. If this is a revised edition of a previously published book of the same title, then enter 2 for the second edition, 3 for the third and so on.
- Author: Enter your name exactly as you’ve typed it on your book cover. You can also use a pen name here; just make sure it matches your book cover.
- Contributors: If you wish to credit other people who helped you create your book, named them in this section (e.g. your photographer, your illustrator, your editor, the person who wrote your foreword, etc.).
- Description: See Step 4.
- Publishing Rights: Unless yours is a public domain work, select “I own the copyright and I hold necessary publishing rights.”
- Keywords: See Step 5.
- Categories: See Step 6.
- Large Print (found under Categories): Select this option if your book edition is written for the visually impaired. For large print editions you have to use a font-size of 16 or higher and you must use a separate ISBN.
- Adult Content: Select yes only if your book contains language or graphic images that are considered inappropriate for children under the age of 18.
Step 4: Enter Your Description
This is the marketing message about your title that will appear on your Amazon book detail page, giving readers an overview of your book as well as including sales copy to persuade them to purchase it.
It’s imperative that your book description be created with the help of a book marketing professional because it’s one of Amazon’s top drivers of book sales, along with your title and your cover design.
Step 5: Choose Your Keywords
Since Amazon is a book search engine in addition to being an online bookstore, you’ll need to research the search phrases that your target audience usually types when looking for a book in your niche.
Once you’ve completed this research, you’ll need to identify the most popular search phrases and then you’ll need to come up with 7 keywords that match the majority of those phrases.
This is a critical element of the Amazon search algorithm that’ll either make your book easy to find or bury it in the search results.
For this reason, I recommend that you enlist the help of a book-marketing professional to help you uncover with the best possible keywords for your niche.
When you’re ready, enter your 7 keywords in the “Keyword” section – note: ignore the fact that KDP lists this section as optional; this is one of the most important sections in the entire KDP setup.
Step 6: Choose Your Categories
Another key section in the KDP setup is Categories. Amazon has over 3,000 different nonfiction categories and sub-categories in its database and each one has a bestseller list associated with it.
It’s critical that you select the categories and sub-categories for your title that will maximize your chances of landing on a bestseller list. This is achieved by selecting a category/sub-category that requires the least number of sales to qualify as a bestseller.
Making this selection is quite a complex process and you should enlist the help of a book marketing professional. If you’d like to get an insight into how this process works, read my article “How to Promote Your Nonfiction Book to Rank High on Amazon.”
Step 7: Enter Your Book Content
This is the section where you’ll enter your ISBN, your Print Options and upload your book interior and cover files.
The process of file uploading and pre-flight check is quite involved and should be left to your book designer.
Step 8: Set Your Book Pricing
Once Step 7 is completed, you’ll be able to open the “Paperback Rights & Pricing” tab. First, you’ll select the territories where you want your book to become available for purchase.
There are two options: you can either select All Territories (Worldwide Rights) or you can select Individual Territories and then list the countries where you want your book to be sold.
Next you’ll be setting up your book pricing. Here you have two options as well: Option 1 allows you to select your primary or default market (say the U.S.) and then set your list price in the currency of that market.
List prices in the currencies of any other territories where your book is sold will be automatically calculated by KDP based on internal currency exchange rates.
Option 2 gives you more flexibility by allowing you to enter specific list prices for each marketplace and available currency.
Great, you’re ready to publish your book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing!
Now it’s time to create a page on Author Central, your author’s homepage on Amazon. For this page you should focus on information that’s relevant to your readers such as your bio, a link to your blog, videos, photos, upcoming speaking events, etc.
Keep in mind that this page will have a potential audience of 330 million Amazon customers, so make sure you don’t let it become static over time. Visit your author’s page regularly and constantly freshen it with new updates.
Now that you know how to set up your nonfiction book on Kindle Direct Publishing, you need to begin generating positive user reviews to make sure your book ranks high on Amazon’s algorithm.
This is a process that requires quite a bit of advanced planning and ideally you want to begin working on it before you hit the “Publish” button. Here’s an article to guide you through all the required steps:“How to Get Reviews on Amazon For Your Nonfiction Book”.
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to just to generate additional leads for their businesses.
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Bennett R. Coles is an award-winning author of 6 books published through Harper Collins (NY) and Titan Publishing Group (UK). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press and the founder/CEO of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, printing, distribution and marketing.