How do I sell a Kindle ebook on Amazon? (Part 3 of 3)
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To offer a book for sale on the Amazon.com marketplace, you must go through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. Until early 2018 the platform to do this was called CreateSpace, but Amazon merged CS into its own entity, KDP. In this article, experiences are based on US timing and delivery and will differ in other markets. Information current as of December 2019 and is subject to change because Amazon likes to keep us all on our toes!
Before you get started . . .
Selling an ebook on Kindle and having it available on Amazon can be a huge market for writers, no matter what genre you write in! Here's what you need to upload your ebook onto the KDP platform.
Book text. According to KDP, the recommended formats for Kindle eBooks are as follows: .doc, .docx, HTML, MOBI, ePub, RTF, Plain Text, and KPF - NOT recommended: PDF files - There are rare instances where a "fixed-layout epub" file is preferable (most comparable to a PDF where each page stays exactly the same layout). Heavily-illustrated books or picture books may benefit from this, but this is not recommended for a standard book, as it is the same "page" that will be viewed on everything from a large tablet to a small smartphone screen.
Cover. A vertical rectangle image file in .jpg or .tiff format only
ISBN. You do NOT need an ISBN for a Kindle book. Since files for Amazon are not distributed outside of Amazon's marketplace, the number assigned by Amazon is sufficient.
Optional but encouraged: you'll be entering a book description, so think through what keywords you'll use for shoppers to find your book. If you've already uploaded your paperback, copy the text from your blurb--easy peasy. Placeholder text is ok if you don't have anything prepared, but plan to come back and revise later!
Are you ready? Let's go!
Part 3: How do I upload an ebook to KDP?
Log in to kdp.amazon.com and navigate to your Bookshelf page.
- If you have started a paperback of the same title, click "+Create Kindle eBook" just above where it says "Paperback."
- If you are starting with the ebook or not creating a paperback, simply click the "+Create Kindle eBook" option under "Create a New Title" at the top of the Bookshelf page.
"Kindle eBook Details" tab
Relevant information will be carried over if you have already filled out information for a paperback version. Otherwise, fill in the following:
Book Title--and Subtitle, if you have one
Edition Number (optional)
Description--back cover copy or book blurb work well
Keywords--words or short phrases that readers will use to search for your book
Age and Grade Range (optional)
Click "Save and Continue"
"Kindle eBook Content" tab
Manuscript: - Choose NO on Digital Rights Management. This frequently causes headaches for readers. - Click "Upload eBook manuscript" and upload one of the file types listed above.
Kindle eBook Cover: - , ideally sized at 2,560 x 1,600 pixels, or an approximate ratio of 1.6 to 1. (For a *minimum* graphic size, think 8" wide x 13" high if you're creating your own.)
Kindle eBook Preview: - Click "Launch Previewer." This won't take quite as long as the paperback steps, but click through and check that you like how it looks. Once you're satisfied, click "Book Details" at the top left, or click the back arrow on your browser.
Kindle eBook ISBN: - You may enter an ISBN and publisher name here, but neither is required. Amazon will assign your book an ASIN identifier, so this is all that is necessary for listing through KDP and selling on Amazon.
Save as Draft, or Save and Continue.
Kindle eBook pricing - last step!
KDP Select: - Enrolling in KDP Select means you may not list or sell your ebook on any other platform for the duration of your contract with KDP, even on your own website. This does not affect print copies of your book.
Territories: - See the information in the links in this section if you aren't sure in which terrorities you should list your book.
Royalty and Pricing: - KDP Pricing Support is in beta testing right now, so try this out if it's available. Otherwise, set your royalty and price in the markets you've chosen.
Book Lending: - 70% royalty options are required to be allowed for lending. Otherwise, you can choose to uncheck this option.
Save as Draft--or Publish Your Kindle eBook if you're ready!! (Please don't wait until launch day to push "publish." More on that in a second.)
Part 3: Kindle eBook complete!
Same comments as with your paperback: - Yes, your book WILL be available for purchase IMMEDIATELY after the KDP human team approves it.
- No, there's no way to predict what day/hour that will be, especially if you have to keep resubmitting the file because of any file errors (which is fairly common in DIY ebooks).
Please, please . . . don't wait until launch day to get to click "Publish." (Please.) You will be far better off to have it available and not be advertising it than to be trying to get people to buy a book that hasn't cleared the approval process. For some authors, this has taken weeks to sort out, depending on the severity of any file issues--though I certainly hope that's not the case for you!!
Troubleshooting and file types
I highly recommend the program called Vellum for everyday users! Import a .docx file and export in MOBI format (for Kindle readers), EPUB (for all other e-reader devices), with print PDF capabilities as well. (Tutorial videos coming in 2020.) There isn't 100% file acceptance even with Vellum files, but they are so consistent compared to DIY formats and other converters that it's a huge selling point!
You can also use a Word file and use desktop programs like Calibre, Sigil, and Jutoh, though these require a bit of HTML knowledge, or you can try a free converter like at Draft2Digital.
Third hurdle: cleared!
Now, simply repeat as necessary for all future book endeavors. You're a published author!