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How to Publish an eBook: Step-By-Step eBook Publishing

Written by

Scott Allan

https://selfpublishing.com/author/scott-allan/

Published on

2020-11-27

You want to learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon, and it’s no wonder…

In 2017 alone, there were 266 million eBooks sold! That statistic alone proves why eBook publishing in 2020 is a must for any author.

how to publish an ebook

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing platform, also known as KDP, is the most widely used self-publishing platform in the world.

Amazon is now responsible for 85% of eBook sales worldwide. This means as an author, if you are ready to publish, you need to learn how to self-publish with Amazon.

With Amazon self-publishing, you can reach the world’s largest book audience and earn up to 70% royalty on your eBooks.

But, there are many steps to consider as you learn how to become an author of an eBook – and in this guide, we’ll show you exactly how.

Here are the steps to publish an eBook:

  1. Write your eBook
  2. Create an Amazon KDP account
  3. Format your eBook for publishing
  4. Add your eBook details
  5. Choose keywords & categories
  6. Select an eBook publishing date
  7. Upload your eBook files
  8. Publish your eBook
  9. Create an eBook promotion plan

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Why should you learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon?

Short answer: We live in a digital world, and eBooks are a sign of the times.

Think about it! People are on-the-go and rely on their technology devices for entertainment, information, and education.

With the eBook reader’s invention, the idea of having a digital book on your device is convenient, and more readers are seeking out this convenience.

A couple decades ago, when writers were learning how to publish a book, there weren’t many options besides traditional publishing, which was exclusive to certain authors.

Related: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

But now… modern aspiring authors (or even those who want to grow their business or make an impact on other lives), are turning to self-publishing to achieve their goals.

Today’s self published authors are taking charge of their writing careers by owning the entire publishing process, for both print, audio, and eBooks.

Here are the main benefits of publishing an eBook:

  1. Easy publishing. Gone are the days when authors had to wait on someone else to publish their book. The eBook publishing process is easy, user-friendly, and can be done with the click of a button.
  2. Low-cost. Publishing your eBook is free on Amazon, but you’ll still want to make an initial investment on professional services like cover design and formatting to get your book ready to be published.
  3. Maximized reach. Get wide distribution of your eBook to readers all around the world without ever mailing anything out.
  4. Passive income. Many people turn to eBooks to generate passive income (they can sell eBooks anytime, anywhere without lifting a finger once its published.) Use this Book Royalties Calculator Tool to determine your book’s possible profits.
  5. Grow your platform. Many bloggers, entrepreneurs, and online business owners use eBooks to leverage their platform, build raving fans and customers, and create book funnels to increase revenue.

There are so many benefits to eBook publishing no matter who you are, or what your goals are.

How to publish an eBook on Amazon

Use the steps below to complete the process from start to finish. As you navigate through each step, be sure to use the images and examples listed below to guide you along the way.

#1 – Write your eBook

First, you need to write your eBook on a topic that you know, and can produce engaging content on.

Many people overthink this process, but the beauty of an eBook is that you can always make changes once its published, and it shouldn’t be extremely long (like a novel might be.)

Generally, eBooks are on nonfiction topics, but you can use it for creative writing if that’s relevant to your niche.

Related: How to Write a Nonfiction Book

These are the quick steps to writing an eBook:

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#2 – Create an Amazon Publishing account

You need an Amazon account to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing. If you don’t have one, that’s the first step you need to complete to learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon.

  • Go to https://kdp.amazon.com and register your Amazon account.
  • Click on “Self Publish With Us” tab and click on that.
  • Click on the “Get started” button.
how to publish an ebook on amazon
  • Sign in with your Amazon login credentials.
  • Set up your tax details when prompted
  • Click “Finished” to start setting up your book
self-publishing an ebook
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#3 – Format for book publishing

Your eBook files must be properly formatted in order for it to be uploaded to the Amazon platform.

For help with determining which eBook file to use, read this guide on EPUB vs MOBI.

You can hire a professional formatter if you want, or you can format the book yourself.

Here’s a guide that walks you through the formatting process for KDP.

If you plan to publish more than one eBook, you may want to invest in a book formatting software such as Vellum. It’s a relatively low investment, and it’s simple to use.

#4 – Add your eBook details

Once your book is properly formatted, it’s time to start the uploading process in KDP.

Step #1: Set up your eBook

  • Select “Kindle eBook”
  • Click “Create a New Title.”
  • Click on the “+” for setting up your Kindle eBook.
  • Sign in again with your Amazon password. This takes you inside your KDP Bookshelf.
  • Enter all the details for your book, including uploading the content, your cover, and finally, choosing the pricing and publishing.
publishing on kdp

But first, it’s important you understand the four tabs on this page in order to learn how to publish an eBook correctly.

Here is a brief explanation about the four tabs on the KDP page:

kindle direct publishing
  1. Bookshelf: The bookshelf is where you are now if you are following along with this post. In your Bookshelf you will create your eBook.
  2. Reports: Track your book sales, royalties earned, sales history and generate monthly or yearly reports for all your book sales activity. This is my favorite page!
  3. Community: Engage with Amazon’s stellar published authors in a discussion forum. Get your questions answered and ask for help from other self-published authors. You can also access the KDP Community Guidelines.
  4. KDP Select: This is Amazon’s exclusivity program for authors. I’ll cover this in more detail later but, for now, you can read about KDP Select here.

Now, let’s set your book up for publication.

As an example of how to do this, I will use one of my books Undefeated throughout the rest of this post.

Step #2: Title your eBook

Your book title and subtitle are two very critical components of your book’s future success. Having said this, you want to come up with a compelling book title that drives a browser’s interest into clicking on your book and ultimately buying.

Related: Nonfiction Book Title Generator

Here are a few tips for the perfect book title:

  1. Your Title/Subtitle includes a solution to a problem: Your title should be crystal clear on what your readers will learn by reading your book. What will they be able to achieve? What will be the big gain?
  2. Implement a hook: This is what grabs your potential readers attention and draws them into your self-published eBook. The title conveys something they want.
  3. List the core benefits: Your potential readers want to know what they will get from reading your book. You should provide enough tantalizing information to stir emotions in your readers. They want what you are promising to deliver.
  4. Keep your subtitle clear and simple: Many authors try to get too creative with titles, but they end up sounding clunky. A great subtitle rolls off the tongue like a well-scripted poem. Keep it simple, yet magnetic.
  5. Include your master keywords: We will get into keywords further down but, you want to include your keywords in the title. But avoid keyword stuffing. It has to look and sound natural.

Now, fill in your eBook title and subtitle now.

how to publish an ebook

Step #3: Add a series and edition number

Series: This section only applies to authors that have already published a series of books. If you have a series of books, go ahead and fill in the series name and volume number now. If not, leave this blank.

Edition Number: You can provide an edition number if this title is a new edition of an existing book.

self-publishing an ebook

Step #4 – Add your author name

This step in the blueprint of how to publish en eBook is pretty self-explanatory, but important to do nonetheless!

Fill in your author name. If you use a pen name you have to write this name in, and not your real name. The name you enter here is what will appear on your book’s page.

As for contributors, you can add the names of people who helped to create the book. This could be your book editor, foreword contributor, illustrator, cover designer, or narrator.

Add contributors

Related: Amazon Author Central

Step #5: Write an eBook description

Your title and subtitle will grab your reader’s attention and drive curiosity. But it’s the book description that will seal the deal.

When self-publishing an eBook, you need a powerful book description in order for potential buyers to read what it’s about.

Here’s why your book description is important:

  1. It is a sales page crafted to capture the interest of your reader.
  2. Amazon’s A9 algorithm scans the book description for relevant keywords indexed by Amazon.
  3. It is the critical barrier for browsers to make a final decision on buying your book…or not.

A great book description means you’re likely to sell more books.

publishing an ebook

What is the best way to craft a magnetic book description? You can learn how to use HTML and insert it into your book description, or…

For the best results, we recommend using the Free Amazon Book Description generator:

Amazon book description

Step #6: Verify your eBook publishing rights

As the author of the book, you hold the necessary publishing rights. There are only two choices here so take the first one, as seen below:

publishing rights

Your book is legally copyrighted as soon as it is written.

If you want to learn how to publish an eBook the right way, take the necessary steps to protect your intellectual property as a self-published author.

Related: How to Copyright A Self-Published Book

#5 – Choose eBook keywords & categories

Keywords and categories are important for your eBooks success on Amazon’s platform, so don’t skip this step.

Keywords are the specific words that customers are plugging into the Amazon search bar to locate material relevant to their interests.

You are allowed to insert 7 keywords for your book on Amazon.

For example, if you are looking for a book on writing children’s books, you could type in the keyword, “How to Write a Children’s Book” and here are the results you get:

self-publish ebook

Use these tools to find keywords for your eBook:

Choosing eBook categories

There are over 20,000+ categories on Amazon, and finding the right one for your book is an important step as you learn how to publish your eBook on Amazon. With so many to choose from, where do you start?

Well, in your bookshelf, under the categories section, you can see this is all broken down from main categories into subcategories. From there, niche it down even further.

Amazon wants your book to be found so they have provided specific categories for your book to be positioned. But you can only select 2 browse categories from within the bookshelf. BUT…

You can choose ten book categories overall for your eBook.

When it comes to selecting your eBook’s categories, you want:

  • Categories that are low to medium in competition
  • Relevant to your niche
  • Categories with good traffic

To rank as a bestseller on Amazon, you have to hit the #1 spot in at least one category.

In the previous step we mentioned the Publisher Rocket software for looking up relevant keywords. Now, for categories, this is the best approach that saves you loads of time. It takes the guesswork out of category selection.

To get approved for more Amazon book categories, you simply contact Amazon directly through the Contact Us tab. Send Amazon an email with a list of your additional categories and the team will insert your book into requested categories within hours.

how to publish an ebook on amazon

#6 – Select your eBook publishing date

The next step in how to self-publish an eBook on Amazon is to select your book release option.

You have two options for releasing your eBook on Amazon:

  • Release it now: This means you are not doing pre-order but, by the time you are finished filling in all the book details, you will launch immediately. If this is not the case, click on the “save draft” option at the bottom of the page. You can publish your book at anytime after all these steps are completed.
  • Make your book available for pre order: Here you can learn about Amazon’s pre order book release process. I would recommend this if you can drive traffic to your book before it is released. It is a good strategy for getting your book to start ranking before it is even live in the store.
book release

Now, select the option that’s right for you and keep going.

#7 – Upload your eBook files

The technical publishing process is almost complete! While entering all of the details for your eBook are tedious, it’s still easier than you might think!

Here are the steps to upload your files:

digital rights management

The supported eBook formats accepted are listed below:

supported ebook formats
  • Click on the button “Upload eBook manuscript” from the second page of your shelf.
  • Select your saved eBook file from your computer
  • Click “Upload your cover file.”
  • Select your cover file from your desktop to upload it.

Note: You can upload the manuscript as many times as you want and the new version will override the existing file.

upload your cover

Now that your manuscript and book cover is uploaded, you can now check the book files with the eBook previewer:

kindle ebook preview

Next, you’ll be prompted on ISBNs. If you don’t buy an ISBN of your own, Amazon will provide one for you free of charge for paperbacks only.

Click to learn how to get an ISBN. If you are planning to publish multiple books, I would recommend you buy a block of 10 or 100 ISBNs.

Next, you can opt to enroll in Amazon’s exclusivity program KDP Select.

Related: Kindle Unlimited Review & Guide For Authors

Lastly, you’ll verify your eBook publishing territories and be on your way!

amazon publishing territory rights

#8 – Publish your eBook to Amazon

You’re in the home stretch! While we’ve covered a ton of information, it’s all valuable content for you to know so that you can make an informed decision.

There are a few more steps to finish, then you will officially be a published author!

Price your eBook and royalty options

A common question often asked is: “How much should my book be after the launch is over?”

This is always up to the author.  But to help you decide, there are two royalty options for your book: 35% and 70%. If your book is below $2.99, you must choose 35%. Between $2.99 and $9.99, you are paid 70% of the sale of your eBook. So, ideally you want your book priced within this range.

The royalty payments do vary depending on the country, but you can learn more here: KDP Select pricing page.

Generally, the 70% royalty option is the better choice, because it pays the most.

Related: Book Royalties Calculator

As a suggestion, if you are just starting out you may want to price your book between $2.99 and $4.99. As your platform grows, consider raising the price to $5.99, $6.99 and eventually $7.99.

Checkout the Digital Pricing Page for a breakdown of royalty options.

amazon pricing support

Digital Delivery Cost: It’s worth noting Amazon does charge a delivery fee that varies on book size. As stated, refer to the Pricing Page for a breakdown of these deliver fees.

amazon royalties details

Publishing your eBook to Amazon

In this step, we’ll cover the final parts of this blueprint on how to publish an eBook on Amazon.

Here are some terms for you to know:

  • The Matchbook program: This allows customers to purchase your digital eBook at a discounted offer of $1.99, 0.99 or free, when they buy your print book.
  • Kindle Book Lending: Allows people who have purchased your eBook to lend a copy to someone else to read, only after a short waiting period. This program also pays royalties to you when the book is lent out, and read, similar to the Kindle Unlimited program.
  • Terms and Conditions: You can find the most current version of Amazon’s Terms and Conditions here.
how to self publish an ebook

Now, publish your eBook. Hit publish and your Kindle eBook will be live within 24 hours.

#9 – Sell your eBook

You’ve learned how to publish an eBook…what’s next? It’s time to get your eBook onto the devices of as many readers as possible, so you need to launch that book!

Do you know what you need to have a successful launch? 

Download your FREE Book Launch Checklist here!

To that, you need to create a promotional strategy for your eBook, which includes various marketing strategies, such as advertisements on promo sites like BookBub.

Make sure you have a book marketing plan and launch this book like a pro.

This means you could sign up for one of the best self-publishing courses and start working with the top-rated self-publishing companies to navigate through the process with support.

Now is your time!

What other questions do you have about how to self-publish an eBook?

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Scott Allan

Scott Allan is a bestselling author who has a passion for teaching, building life skills, and inspiring others to take charge of their lives. Scott’s mission is to give people the strategies needed to design the life they want through choice.