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How to Publish a Book on Amazon and Make Money in 6 Steps

Learning how to publish a book on Amazon and make money using Kindle Direct Publishing’s self-publishing program can be a powerful way to share your message, establish your expertise, and make money as an author. 

In this comprehensive guide to Kindle publishing and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), we’ll walk you through the essential steps involved in writing, publishing, and promoting your book on Amazon.

From designing your book for marketing success to optimizing your sales and developing a clear progression of offers, you’ll learn proven strategies for attracting your ideal readers and clients—a key component to actually earning money from a book you publish books through Amazon publishing. 

So, whether you’re a first-time author looking to self-publish or an established author seeking to publish a book to expand your business, this article will provide you with the tools and insights you need to succeed in the world of digital publishing and Amazon publishing.

Key Takeaways

  • There are six steps to take (listed below) for publishing your book on Amazon
  • The key to making money with your book is in how you design it (secret tips below!)
  • At the end, we feature ten ways you can make money from publishing your book on Amazon now!

Need help designing your book for marketing success? Check out Difference Press, the publishing arm of The Author Incubator!


Design Your Book for Marketing Success

Before we go into the actual steps to publish a book on Amazon using your Kindle Direct Publishing account (and yes, this is the same KDP account as your Amazon account), we should talk about the “make money” part of your concern—because that’s where most authors go wrong. 

They write their book and THEN think about the marketing. When in reality, 90% of the marketing of the book happens before you’ve even written it. 

Stick to these marketing tips, and you’ll have a better chance at earning money online from your book. 

Don’t believe us? 

Check out some of our author success stories…

Identify Your Ideal Reader

Understanding your target audience is crucial for writing a book that resonates with readers and helps you earn money on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). 

Identify your ideal readership’s demographics, pain points, and aspirations to create a book that speaks directly to them. 

In today’s market, readers seek niche-focused books that provide in-depth solutions to their unique problems. Narrowing your focus and writing for a specific audience will help your book stand out and attract the right readers. 

Consider factors such as age, gender, location, occupation, and other relevant details that influence their needs and preferences. 

Dive deep into understanding their primary challenges, frustrations, goals, and aspirations to create a book that truly connects with your target audience.

Create a Book That Solves a Problem for Your Ideal Reader

After identifying your ideal reader, the next step in self-publishing a book on Amazon is creating a book that solves a specific problem for your target audience. 

Provide a clear plan or blueprint to help readers overcome challenges and achieve goals. 

Match your book’s content to your ideal readers’ needs by focusing on valuable insights and actionable advice that addresses their pain points. 

Consider the questions your readers are asking and the obstacles they face in their lives or businesses. 

Shape your book’s content to ensure every chapter provides practical solutions and guidance that readers can implement immediately, going beyond simply writing about what you want to share. 

Take time writing and your book will become a love letter to your reader. 

Discover how embracing your unique writer personality can help you gain clarity on your book's message so you can write your masterpiece!

The Six-Step Process to Upload Your Book to Amazon KDP

Okay, now the part you’ve all been waiting for… the actual step-by-step guide for self-publishing a Kindle eBook, a paperback, or a hardcover (or all three!) on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing. 

Let’s dig in. 

Step 1: Set Up Your KDP Account

Visit the Kindle Direct Publishing website (https://kdp.amazon.com/) and sign in with your existing Amazon account or create a new one if you don’t already have one. 

If you do not have an Amazon publishing account, it is possible to create one for the sake of creating a KDP account and self-publishing.

Once logged in, you will see a prompt to complete your Bank and Tax Information, which will include: 

  • Your bank account details, including your account number, routing number, and the name associated with the account, so you can receive direct deposit payments.
  • Your tax information, which will vary depending on your country of residence. For U.S. citizens, you’ll need to provide your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). 

Non-U.S. residents may need to complete a tax interview to determine the appropriate tax form to submit.

Step 2: Enter Your Book Details

Now it’s time to publish a book! Once you’ve set up your KDP account, the next step is to create your Kindle book listing. 

No matter if you’re doing a Kindle eBook, paperback, or even hardcover, you’ll follow these steps and enter various details about your book, including:

1. Your Book Title and Subtitle 

If you want to learn the secret to a compelling book title, read our article about that here

But if you just want the TL;DR, then make sure your title includes strong SEO keywords (use Keysearch.co to conduct research), conveys to readers how your book will solve their problems or provide value, uses terminology and framing familiar to your ideal reader, makes an explicit, tangible promise related to the book tend to perform well, creates curiosity, and differentiates yourself from others. 

(Now do you see why we said just go read the article?)

2. Your Book’s Description

Same as the title and subtitle, if you want to learn how to write a book description that sells, read our article about that here

But if you just want the TL;DR, then make sure you implement the following tips. 

  • Start with a hook that grabs the reader’s attention and makes them want to learn more.
  • Clearly explain the main problem your book solves and the benefits readers will gain from reading it.
  • Use bullet points or numbered lists to highlight the key features or takeaways of your book.
  • Incorporate relevant keywords naturally throughout your book description to improve your book’s visibility in search results.
  • Include any relevant social proof, such as endorsements from influencers or experts in your niche.
  • End with a strong call-to-action that encourages readers to buy your book.

A well-crafted book description is essential for attracting potential readers and driving sales.

3. Your Author Name and/or Contributors

4. Your Book’s Keywords and Categories 

Keywords are the terms or phrases that potential readers use when searching for books on Amazon. 

To select effective keywords for your book, consider the following strategies:

  • Brainstorm a list of words and phrases that accurately describe your book’s content, theme, and genre.
  • Use Amazon’s search bar to identify popular search terms related to your book’s topic. 
  • As you type, Amazon’s autocomplete feature will suggest commonly searched phrases.
  • Utilize keyword research tools, such as Google Keyword Planner or Publisher Rocket, to gather data on search volume and competition for your target keywords.
  • Look at the keywords used by bestselling Books in your niche or genre to identify trends and opportunities.
  • Incorporate your selected keywords naturally into your book’s title, subtitle, book description, and metadata.

In addition to keywords, choosing the right Amazon categories is essential for maximizing your book’s visibility and reaching your target audience. 

Previously, Amazon used to allot you two categories to select. Nowadays, Amazon offers three categories. (Oh the choices! Never did we think we’d enjoy having only two categories!) 

Here are some tips for selecting categories for either your ebook or your paperback:

  • Browse Amazon’s category tree to familiarize yourself with the available options and identify the most relevant categories for your Book.
  • Look for categories that are specific to your book’s niche or genre, as this can help you reach a more targeted audience.
  • Check the bestseller ranks of the top books in your chosen categories to assess the level of competition and potential for visibility.
  • Consider selecting a combination of more competitive and less competitive categories to increase your chances of ranking well and gaining exposure.

Keep in mind that you can select up to two main categories and one subcategory for your book, so choose wisely to maximize your visibility.

6. The Publication Date and Language

Once you’re done entering this information, click save and continue. This will redirect you to the second section, Enter Your Book Content. 

Step 3: Enter Your Book Content

On this page, you will input the actual book content and select formatting specifics. 

At the top of the page, you will be asked if you want to enroll in Digital Rights Management (DRM). 

We recommend this if you are interested in earning money each time someone reads your work through Kindle Unlimited or pages read, as it implements an extra layer of security for royalties when you publish on Kindle Direct Publishing. 

If you would prefer to reach a wider audience at the cost of fewer royalties due to lending, do not select this option for your book. Additionally, you will be asked to complete the following

1. Enter Your Book’s ISBN Number

If you do not have an ISBN number, you can either use an Amazon-assigned ISBN by clicking the “Assign Me a Free Amazon KDP ISBN” button OR you can purchase one at Bowker.com, the only certified retailer of ISBNs in America. 

Keep in mind that if you plan to publish a print version of your book, you will need a separate ISBN number for that version.

Please note that once you click publish, you will not be able to edit this or many components post-publication. 

So be sure that you are happy with your inputs before you start publishing. 

2. Upload Your Manuscript

Below the ISBN section, you will see a button that says “upload ebook manuscript.” 

Click that and submit your book in the proper Kindle eBook format. Amazon accepts the following types of book file: 

  • Microsoft Word (DOC/DOCX)
  • Kindle Package Format (KPF)
  • EPUB file
  • MOBI

If you don’t see the “upload ebook manuscript,” you may be in the wrong place or experiencing a glitch. 

If this ever happens, be sure to scroll to the bottom and click “save as draft” before refreshing your browser. 

If you are uploading a print edition or hardcover, Amazon accepts the following files: 

  • PDF
  • DOC or DOCX
  • RTF
  • HTML
  • TXT

3. Upload Your Cover Design

One tip we cannot stress enough is to ensure you have a quality cover design that meets industry standards. 

Even if you did really, really well in that art class in high school, you may want to get some industry input as there is a psychology to creating a book cover that sells. 

Your book cover should be:

  • Eye-catching and visually appealing
  • Relevant to your book’s content and genre
  • Legible at various sizes (particularly in thumbnail view)
  • Professional-looking and well-designed

If you’re not confident in your design skills, consider hiring a professional cover designer to ensure that your cover stands out and effectively represents your book. This is simply one of the drawbacks of going the self-publish route. 

Also remember that a Kindle eBook edition requires a different cover file and size than a paperback. 

Not to mention that the Kindle eBook edition should be taken into consideration when designing the cover. 

Since this version will be seen on a very small computer or, more likely, a phone screen, you’ll want to make sure it is still appealing at a small size. 

4. PRINT BOOKS ONLY: Select Your Printing Options

If you are uploading a paperback book or a hardcover book, you will have the option to select different printing options for your print edition. 

This can be particularly fun when you publish a Kindle book, as the print book will be something you can hold in your hands and share with friends, unlike the ebook. 

It’s one of many reasons self-publishing can be rewarding. 

Ink and Paper Type

Options here include, black and white interior with cream paper, black and white interior with white paper, standard color interior with white paper, or premium color interior with white paper. 

Think about the types of books you enjoy, and compare it to what you envision for your own book. 

Trim Size

Options here are vast and start as small as 4 inches by 6 inches. Think about how you want your print book to feel in your readers hands. 

For example, if you’re writing a prescriptive nonfiction book, you may want the book to be small enough to shove into a bag on the go, whereas a fiction novel might want to be more average size. 

A few reasons to consider hiring a formatting professional who can talk these buyer psychology concerns. 

Bleed Settings

If you created your interior and cover to have bleed, you can select the “Bleed (PDF only)” option. 

Cover Finish

You may choose between matte or glossy. 

At the end of this page, if you are uploading a paperback book or hardcover book, you will see what your printing cost will be per copy sold based on your printing options 

5. Check the Quality with Amazon’s Preview Tools

Before you publish your book, it’s crucial to use Amazon’s preview tools to check the quality and appearance of your uploaded files. 

These tools allow you to:

  • Preview your book’s layout and formatting on various Kindle devices and apps to see what the Kindle eBook will look like. 
  • Check for any errors or issues with your book’s text, images, or table of contents.
  • Make any necessary revisions to your files before publishing to ensure a high-quality reading experience for your audience.

This step is especially important if you’ve included any complex formatting or HTML tags in the Kindle eBook version, as you’ll want to ensure everything displays correctly on different devices.

Step 4: Enter Your Book Pricing

Pricing your book strategically is a key component of learning how to publish a book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing and make money online. 

By setting the right list price, you can maximize your royalties while still attracting readers.

How to Set a Price That Maximizes Royalties

When setting your book’s list price, consider the following factors:

  • The length and value of your book’s content.
  • The list prices of similar books in your niche or genre.
  • Your target audience’s purchasing power and willingness to pay.
  • Your desired royalty rate and earnings per sale.

Understanding Amazon’s Royalty Structure

To make informed pricing decisions, it’s essential to understand Amazon’s royalty structure. 

As mentioned above, Amazon offers two royalty rates:

  • 35% royalty rate: This rate applies to books priced below $2.99 or above $9.99. Amazon also charges a small delivery fee based on your book’s file size.
  • 70% royalty rate: This rate applies to books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. However, to qualify for this rate, your book must meet certain requirements, such as being enrolled in KDP Select and not exceeding a maximum file size.

It’s important to note that the 70% royalty rate is subject to deductions for delivery costs and applicable taxes, so your actual earnings per sale may be slightly lower than 70%.

Step 5: Publishing Your Book

It’s almost time to publish your book! Once you’ve entered your book details, uploaded your book files, and set your list prices, you’re ready for the final steps: publishing and promoting your book!

Final Checks Before Publishing

Before hitting publish, conduct a final review to ensure your book is ready for launch, such as:

  • Double-check your book’s title, book description, and metadata for accuracy and effectiveness.
  • Review your book’s interior and cover files to ensure they meet KDP’s quality standards.
  • Confirm your pricing and royalty settings are correct.
  • If enrolling in KDP Select, verify your enrollment period and territorial publishing rights.

Keep in mind that once you publish your book, it can take up to 72 hours for it to become available on Amazon’s Kindle platform. 

Use this time to prepare for your book launch and implement your marketing strategies.

Step 6: Marketing Your Book and Making Money

Once you have navigated the publishing process, your book is published, and you can finally say that you are a published author, now is the time to focus on launching and marketing your book to drive sales and visibility. 

Remember, publishing is only the first step – the real work of selling your book begins after you hit that “publish” button. 

Now, everyone’s path to earning money with their books is completely different, so this is a vague itch to scratch. 

That being said, it’s your job as a self-published author to determine how you want to make money from your book. 

If you want to take a page out of the traditional publisher playbook, you can go for sales and try to sell books like hotcakes. 

The issue with this, as a self-published author, is that you have to be really, really good at marketing. And sadly, most writers are not good marketers. 

It’s the reason most people want to go the traditional publishing route—they assume the publisher will do the marketing. 

Double sadly, you’d be mistaken. Most publishers only do inbound marketing. Your job, as the author, is to do outbound marketing. 

So what are the alternatives to book sales, then, you might be wondering? Great question. Speaking gigs, ancillary sales, consulting clients, and more!

Below you will find 10 ways you can make money from your book!

A. Optimizing Your Book Sales on Amazon

While self-publishing your book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing is a crucial step in your journey to make money online as an author, it’s equally important to optimize your sales and leverage the platform’s promotional tools. 

By implementing effective strategies, you can increase your book’s visibility, attract more readers, and ultimately boost your income.

B. Leveraging Amazon’s Promotional Tools

One of the most powerful ways to optimize your sales on Amazon is by taking advantage of the platform’s built-in promotional tools. These include:

  • Kindle Countdown Deals: This feature allows you to temporarily reduce your book’s list price for a limited time, creating a sense of urgency and encouraging readers to purchase. During the promotion, your book is featured in the Kindle Deals section, increasing its visibility to potential buyers.
  • Free Book Promotions: If you’re enrolled in KDP Select, you can offer your book for free for up to five days out of each 90-day enrollment period. While you won’t earn royalties during the free promotion, this strategy can help you attract a large number of new readers, generate reviews, and boost your book’s rankings in Amazon’s search results.

It’s important to note that while these promotional tools can be incredibly effective for driving sales, they do come with some restrictions. 

For example, to be eligible for Kindle Countdown Deals or Free Book Promotions, your book must be enrolled in KDP Select, which requires exclusivity to Amazon for a 90-day period.

C. Utilizing Amazon Advertising to Reach Your Target Audience

Another effective way to optimize your sales on Amazon is by leveraging the platform’s advertising tools.

Amazon Advertising allows you to create targeted ads that reach readers actively searching for books like yours. There are three main types of ads:

  • Sponsored Product Ads: These ads appear in Amazon’s search results and on product detail pages, targeting readers based on their search queries and browsing behavior.
  • Lockscreen Ads: If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, you can create lockscreen ads that appear on the lockscreens of Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets, reaching readers when they’re most engaged with their devices.
  • Product Display Ads: These ads are displayed on related product detail pages, allowing you to target readers interested in books similar to yours.

To create effective Amazon Ads, focus on targeting relevant keywords, crafting compelling ad copy, and regularly monitoring and adjusting your bids and budgets based on performance. 

By continually refining your advertising strategy, you can maximize your ad spend and drive more book sales for your book.

D. Setting Up an E-Commerce Platform to Capture Customer Data

To sell your book directly on your website, you’ll need to set up an e-commerce platform that enables you to process payments and deliver your book to buyers. Some popular options include:

  • Shopify: A user-friendly, all-in-one e-commerce solution that allows you to create a professional online store and sell your book in various book formats.
  • WooCommerce: A customizable e-commerce plugin for WordPress websites that enables you to sell your book alongside other products or services.
  • Gumroad: A simple, streamlined platform that allows you to sell your book directly to readers and deliver it automatically upon purchase.

When setting up your e-commerce platform, make sure to capture important customer data such as names and email addresses. 

This information will be invaluable for future marketing efforts and building long-term relationships with your readers.

E. Identifying Your Ideal Client Prospects and Sending Them Copies of Your Book

First, create a list of your top 100 ideal client prospects. 

These should be individuals or organizations that perfectly align with your book’s target audience and are most likely to benefit from your expertise.

Once you have your list, order copies of your book and send them to each prospect along with a personalized letter or note. In your message, express your admiration for their work and explain why you believe they would find value in your book. 

Make it clear that you’re offering the book as a complimentary resource, with no strings attached.

F. Offering Free Consultations or Strategy Sessions to Convert Readers into Clients

After sending your book to your “Dream 100” prospects, follow up with them to offer a free consultation or strategy session. 

This is your opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, provide additional value, and convert interested readers into paying clients.

During your consultation or strategy session, focus on understanding your prospect’s specific challenges and goals, and offer tailored insights and recommendations based on your book’s content. 

At the end of the session, present your relevant services or programs as the natural next step for them to achieve their objectives.

G. Identifying Relevant Virtual Conferences, Workshops, or Summits in Your Niche

To find the right virtual events to partner with, research online conferences, workshops, and summits that align with your book’s topic and target audience. 

Look for events hosted by influential figures, organizations, or brands in your niche that attract a large, engaged audience.

When evaluating potential events, consider factors such as:

  • Audience size and demographics
  • Event theme and topic alignment with your book
  • Organizer’s reputation and reach within your industry
  • Opportunities for additional exposure (e.g., speaking slots, interviews, or promotional partnerships)

And no matter what, always be sure to give out free copies of your Kindle eBook at these digital events. 

Books are today’s business cards, with published authors being seen as experts in their chosen fields, increasing your chances of getting more ancillary sales.

H. Hosting Your Own Low-Cost or Pay-What-You-Can Virtual Workshops

In addition to partnering with others for virtual events, hosting your own low-cost or pay-what-you-can workshops is another effective strategy for making money as an author. 

By offering accessible, value-packed workshops related to your book’s theme, you can attract a wide range of potential readers and clients while also generating income directly from the event.

I. Using Your Book as an Incentive for Workshop Registration and Attendance

To maximize attendance and engagement for your virtual workshop, consider using your book as an incentive for registration and attendance. 

Offer a free copy of your book to all attendees as a bonus for signing up or participating in the workshop.

This approach provides several benefits:

  • Increased perceived value of the workshop, encouraging more people to register
  • Higher attendance rates, as participants are more likely to show up and engage when they receive a tangible benefit
  • Exposure to your book’s content, which can lead to further interest in your work and services

J. Converting Attendees into Paying Clients Through Limited-Time Offers

During your virtual workshop, focus on providing exceptional value and demonstrating your expertise as an author and authority in your niche. 

Share insights, strategies, and actionable tips related to your book’s theme, and engage with attendees through Q&A sessions and interactive exercises.

To convert attendees into paying clients, present a limited-time offer at the end of the workshop. 

This offer should be a natural extension of the workshop content and provide a clear path for attendees to work with you further. Examples include:

  • Discounted coaching or consulting packages
  • Enrollment in a group program or mastermind
  • Access to a premium course or training

Get Your Book Published on Amazon Today!

By designing your book for success, leveraging Amazon’s tools, and implementing proven promotional strategies, you can effectively attract your ideal readers and clients. 

Remember to cultivate the necessary mindset shifts and seek guidance and support throughout your publishing journey. 

With dedication and perseverance, you can create book ideas that resonate with your target audience, establish yourself as an authority in your niche, and ultimately build a thriving business as an author and coach.

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