Last Updated on: January 21st, 2020
How to become a self-published author on Amazon/KDP is the topic of this article. It contains both an infographic of the steps as well as the steps listed in text form, with a full explanation for each one.
Self-Publishing (and Becoming an Author) is Easy!
Self-publishing in today’s world is easy. ANYONE can become an author, nowadays!
Many people, however, get overwhelmed with the process, because there are many steps involved in reaching their dreams of becoming an author. That is why Wording Well offers help to those who need it!
That is also why I put together this article. It outlines the steps to becoming a self-published author and how to self-publish a book on Amazon through KDP.
This article also lists the steps in the order they need to be taken, making it easier for you to understand what is required for you to achieve your dream!
An Infographic of the Steps for How to Become a Self-Published Author on Amazon/KDP)
The following infographic lists the steps for how to self-publish a book on Amazon.
Below it, you will find a full explanation for each step, so keep reading!
A special thanks to the team at AirTract for creating this infographic for me!
A huge thanks to InVideo (affiliate link) for making this video for me! InVideo (normal link) is an SaaS platform that helps anyone transform their content into great videos. They help serve publishers, media companies, and brands to expand audience engagement through the power of video content.
How to Become a Self-Published Author on Amazon/KDP
1: Write a book.
This is the hardest part of the whole process. It’s time-consuming. You might suffer from writer’s block during this step. You might lack discipline while writing your book. That is why it is important to hire a coach or find an accountability partner who will help keep you focused and on target during this phase.
There are many steps involved in writing a book and the best one I have found to help you through your journey is the post from Write to Done called The Ultimate Guide to Plan and Write Your Book. It contains the following tips you can use:
Step #0: Check That People Actually Want This Book
Step #1: Get Clear About Your Book’s Eventual Format and Purpose
Step #2: Figure Out a Working Timetable
Step #3: Get Your Book’s Outline Started by Mindmapping
Step #4: Develop Your Ideas into an Outline
Step #5: Fleshing Out Your Chapters with Key Points
Step #6: Make Writing a Breeze with Your Standard Chapter Template
Step #7: Tackle Your Writing in a Sensible Order
Step #8: Staying Focused When You Sit Down to Write
Step #9: Knowing How to Write Each Sentence of Your Book
Step #10: Follow Your Working Schedule (and Get Back On Track When Needed)
Of course, if you are writing an e-book instead of a full-length novel, this step won’t take you nearly as long!
2. Edit your book.
Editing is a necessary component of the writing process and is essential to your book’s success.
If your book is not properly edited, you will receive bad reviews on Amazon, you will lose readers, and you will lose money. People won’t buy your book if they see negative reviews. They also won’t buy any additional books you might write.
It’s worth it to pay for an editor’s services, skills, and knowledge ONCE. By investing in an editor, you are also investing in yourself. You are proving that you are worth listening to, too. People will, therefore, be impressed with your book, the way it was written (ergo, the way it was edited), and you will gain fans for life! You will also reap additional rewards, such as great reviews on Amazon!
3: Finalize the book’s text.
If you have hired me for Step 2, this part will already be done.
If you hire a different editor, that person might suggest you rewrite some sections of your book. In that case. you will need to have your book proofread by an experienced editor or proofreader (such as myself). Do this to ensure the quality of your book is high and your words, sentences, and paragraphs are perfect (without typos, grammatically correct, and impactful).
4: Add images, if desired.
Images are easy to add to books (to both the digital and print versions).
Many authors are now adding images to their books because it’s easy to do so.
I included many images in my book, From Nope to Hope.
(Yes, these people are all authors whom Wording Well has helped!)
5: Write a description of the book (AKA the blurb).
Hire Wording Well’s writer, Lorraine Reguly, for this. (Yes, hire me to help you write a blurb that will capture the interest and attention of your potential reader/buyer!)
Having a blurb that piques someone’s interest is essential to generating sales. A well-written blurb will summarize what the book is about, state what’s in it for the reader (especially if it’s a non-fiction book), and will capture the attention of the reader, making the reader want to both buy and read your book!
This is an important step in becoming a self-published author on Amazon because people will want to know what your book is about. It’s also a key factor in generating sales!
6: Obtain an ISBN for each version.
There is a lot of controversy over whether you should actually purchase your own ISBN or simply use the ASIN that KDP will assign to your book.
An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the most important identifier your book can have. It typically contains 13 digits and is used to identify to booksellers and readers what your book is about, who the author is, and who the publisher is. It also links to essential information used in sales-tracking, retail inventory systems, library catalogs, bookstores, online stores, and for new digital editions of old books.
I am all for obtaining an ISBN for each version of your book because you have more rights if you have your own ISBN! For example, if you have published on Smashwords and used a free ISBN, you cannot use that ISBN to publish on Draft2Digital. The same applies to print books. If you publish with Lulu, you cannot transfer that ISBN to Amazon/KDP.
Furthermore, there are 4 things to be aware of when considering the free KDP Print ISBN, outlined in the following italicized text, which was taken from this article about ISBNs:
1: Using the free ISBN means you must use KDP Print to print your book. You cannot use the free ISBN to print with IngramSpark, for example. Or any other printer for that matter. You are locked in.
2: The name of your publisher will be “Independently published.” If you are doing PR outreach to bookstores or the media, this is like a tattoo on your forehead that says “Amazon-only author.” Many stores and media outlets do not like Amazon.
3: You cannot get a Library of Congress Control Number if you use the free KDP Print ISBN.
4: If you opt for the free KDP Print ISBN, and later change your mind, any reviews associated with that ISBN will likely stay with the book that has the free KDP Print ISBN. (And no, you can never delist or prevent this edition from appearing for sale on Amazon.)
However, the choice is up to you. I would suggest researching the pros and cons for yourself before making a final decision. Reading this article on ISBNs is a great place to start.
Note that ISBNs are free to Canadians (residents of Canada) but need to be purchased if you live in the United States of America. Each country has its owns rules regarding ISBNs, so be sure to find out the rules and laws set out by your country of residence.
Also note that Canada has a law for all authors, called Legal Deposit.
Read the article about Legal Deposit on my author site to learn more.
7: Format the digital version and format the print version (if you are making it available in print).
KDP requires you to follow certain guidelines regarding the files you (and they) use to publish your book.
For example, they prefer a .doc file for an e-book and a .pdf file for a print version. They also want a .jpeg of the cover for the digital version and a print-ready .pdf for the print version.
Hire Wording Well’s formatter, Lorraine Reguly, for this! (Yes, hire me to provide you with whichever author assistant services you need!)
This is an important step in becoming a self-published author on Amazon because a poorly-formatted book won’t keep your readers reading. However, if you format your book properly and make it look nice, your readers will keep reading until the end! They might also leave you a review on Amazon, share your book with their friends, and help you generate additional sales!
8: Create a cover for the digital version and create a cover for the print version (if you are making it available in print).
Hire Wording Well’s designer for this.
Ravi Verma from Rdezines is who I used for my book, From Nope to Hope.
(Yes, Max, Rita, and Leslie also hired me to edit and format their books. That is why I have no problems promoting their books. Their books are awesome! Plus, they are all edited and formatted to perfection!)
Ravi comes highly recommended by me because of his excellent skills and low prices.
Getting a book cover designed professionally is an important step in becoming a self-published author on Amazon because a good book cover is one of the first things that catches a reader’s eye. A great cover will lead to additional sales, too!
9: Create a KDP account and fill out your taxation information.
This is easy to do. Create your account here and then fill out the necessary areas so KDP has the information it needs.
10: Hook up a bank account to your KDP account (so you can get paid the royalties from your book sales).
To add a bank account, sign in to KDP.
Click (Your Name’s) Account at the top of the page. For security purposes, you will be taken to the sign-in page for account confirmation.
Then, in My Account, click Getting Paid.
Click Add Bank Account, choose the location of your bank account, and click Add.
Depending on where you live in this world, follow the instructions listed here to attach your bank account to your KDP account.
You then need to verify your account with KDP. This process takes less than a week.
KDP will deposit some money into your account. You will need to wait for them to do this, then log back into your account and indicate the amount they deposited.
Once your bank account has been successfully hooked up and verified, you can proceed to the next step for how to become a self-published author on Amazon!
11: Upload the appropriate book files to KDP.
As mentioned in Step 7, KDP requires you to follow certain guidelines regarding the files you (and they) use to publish your book. For example, they prefer a .doc file for an e-book and a .pdf file for a print version. They also want a .jpeg of the cover for the digital version and a print-ready .pdf for the print version.
It’s now time to upload these files!
12: Fill out the necessary information for each version (including keywords and pricing).
Log in to your KDP account and fill out each field.
13: Proof your book using KDP’s online previewer.
Launch the previewer and see how your book will look.
Check for spacing issues. A common one is that the text doesn’t always line up with the opposite page at the top of each page.
14: Fix any spacing issues and upload the revised file (and repeat as often as necessary, until the interior is perfect).
Fix the spacing issues in the original Word document, save it as a .pdf file, and re-upload it.
Launch the previewer again.
Repeat this process as often as necessary.
15: “Approve” your files.
Once your book “looks” great in the previewer, approve your files, then submit them to KDP for review.
16: Click “Publish my book” and wait for KDP to review and approve your files.
KDP will review and approve your files, usually within 24 hours. They will email you once they have been approved (or if they find any issues with them).
Once they have approved your files, your book will be LIVE ON AMAZON and ready for purchase!
How to Become a Self-Published Author on Amazon/KDP is easy!
If you follow all the steps outlined above, you will become a self-published author on Amazon/KDP easily!
Are You Ready to Become a Self-Published Author on Amazon?
If you’re ready to become a self-published author on Amazon, let me help you!
Hire me for my writing services.
Hire me for my editing services.
Hire me to be your coach.
Hire me for my author assistant services.
Wording Well takes pride in each service because client satisfaction is a priority!
Let me help you make your dream of becoming an author come true!