kdp guide

Amazon KDP: Complete 7 Step Guide to Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon KDP has taken the publishing world by storm.

For the first time in history, authors can self-publish a book with the click of the button – and Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has made the process more accessible than ever.

kdp guide

In fact, it’s pretty easy to publish your book on KDP, which is why it’s caught on so rapidly, especially for those who found traditional publishing to be a roadblock in their author journey.

Related: Self-Publishing vs. Traditional Publishing

But, the process can be overwhelming – especially if you want to make sure you’re doing it correctly from beginning to end, from book formatting to book launch.

In this complete guide to all things Kindle Direct Publishing, we’ll walk you through the process on how to publish a book using Amazon’s KDP, starting with how to properly format your book files.

By the end of this KDP guide, you will have your book available in the Kindle Store, and ready to get into the hands of your readers. 

Here are the steps to format and publish your book on Amazon’s KDP: 

#1 – What is KDP?
#2 – How does KDP Publishing work?
#3 – Benefits to publishing on Amazon KDP
#4 – KDP Publishing Cost & Royalties
#5 – What is KDP Select?
#6 – KDP Formatting Guide
#7 – KDP Publishing Guide

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What is KDP? 

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s book publishing platform that can be used to self-publish a book online, which readers can purchase as an eBook or print-on-demand book. It is one of the top self-publishing companies and currently dominates the self-publishing book market. 

Amazon KDP is a major player in the publishing industry, currently holding at least 80% of the eBook market.

Thanks to Amazon KDP’s launch in 2007, modern writers are faced with an important decision when determining how to become an author

In fact, writers of all disciplines have enjoyed an explosion in career flexibility over the last decade or so with rise in remote writing jobs (find out more here). This explosion has led to the increase in publishing eBooks, print books, and more through self-publishing.

Related: How to Publish an eBook

Authors have two choices for publishing their book: traditional publishing or self-publishing. When weighing the traditional publishing vs self-publishing options, many writers consider the higher royalty rates on KDP, and the ease of self-publishing, as there are not any competitive hoops to go through like there are with traditional publishing. 

what is KDP

How does KDP Publishing work?

KDP Publishing is a platform for authors to self-publish eBooks and paperback books.

For eBooks, authors can directly upload their book files, and it will appear in the Kindle store as an eBook for readers to purchase and instantly download.

For printed books, authors upload their book files and KDP Publishing uses print-on-demand technology to print the paperback book once it’s purchased; the printing costs will be subtracted from the royalties you earn from every book sold.

You can learn more about which files to use in this EPUB vs MOBI guide.

Here’s how KDP Publishing works:

#1 – Upload your book files to Amazon KDP.
#2 – Publish your book to the KDP platform.
#3 – Readers can purchase your eBook and instantly download it to their device.
#4 – Readers can purchase your paperback copy and Amazon’s KDP platform will use print-on-demand technology to print and ship your book directly to the reader once purchased.
#5 – Amazon will pay you book royalties per book sold on the KDP platform.

how kdp publishing works

Why publish on Amazon KDP?

There are numerous benefits to self-publishing your book on KDP. The Amazon KDP Publishing platform has helped revolutionize the publishing industry, giving authors the opportunity to make it easier to publish a book and create a sustainable book business.

These are the benefits to KDP Publishing:

#1 – Wide distribution. Amazon’s platform is huge, which means authors can tap into global markets across the United States, Europe, and Japan.
#2 – Higher royalties. With Amazon, authors can earn higher royalty rates than they typically would through traditional publishing houses. Depending on the type of book you sell on Amazon, royalty rates can be as high as 60%.
#3 – Author rights. Even though you publish your book to KDP, you retain the rights to your book through Amazon’s non-exclusive agreement.
#4 – Quick publishing time. Typically, with traditional publishing, books can take a very long time to get to market. With Amazon’s platform, the KDP publishing process is very quick.
#5 – No inventory. Long gone are the days when authors had to purchase printed copies of books upfront in order to sell them. With print-on-demand technology, books are printed as they are purchased.

benefits of amazon kdp

KDP Publishing Cost & Royalties

So what are the costs associated with publishing on Amazon? And how much do authors earn when they sell their book through KDP? What about the payment schedule?

In this section, we’ll answer all those questions and more!

How much does it cost to self-publish on Amazon KDP?

It is free to publish a book on Amazon KDP. It does not cost authors anything directly. However, if you are selling paperback books on Amazon, the cost to print the book will be deducted by Amazon from your book royalties. This means that when you sell a paperback book, you will essentially pay for the price to print the book.

Aside from being free to publish on KDP, self-published authors typically spend money on author services to prepare their book for publishing. This includes services such as book cover design, formatting, editing, and marketing fees.

Related: Self-Publishing Costs

How do KDP royalties work?

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing pays its authors through royalty fees. There are two royalty fees to consider: the eBook royalty rates, and the paperback royalty rates.

The royalty rate for eBooks is 35% or 70%, depending on which royalty rate your book is eligible for. To see specific requirements of each, click here.

The royalty rate for paperback books is a fixed 60% royalty rate.

For each royalty rate, this means that you will receive the % royalty rate of your book’s list price.

For help comparing your book’s royalty rates, use our Book Royalties Calculator.

When does KDP pay?

Kindle Direct Publishing will pay your royalties to you every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month that your royalties were earned.

However, a caveat to this is that your payment amount must meet a minimum threshold before it is paid out. You can choose to be paid out through several options including direct deposit, wire transfer, or check.

Amazon Publishing Costs & Royalties

Cost to PublishFree
Cost to PrintFixed cost + (page count * per page cost) = printing cost
eBook Royalties35% or 70%
Paperback Royalties60%
Fee PayoutMust meet minimum threshold before pay out
Fee ScheduleRoyalties are paid every month, 60 days after the end of month that royalties were earned

What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is a program for authors to give Amazon exclusive rights to sell an eBook on the Kindle platform only. This means that the author’s eBook will only be available for purchase on Amazon’s Kindle platform, and the author is not able to use another self-publishing platform to distribute their eBook.

Related: Amazon Kindle Unlimited

In exchange for exclusive rights to sell the author’s eBook, Amazon provides incentives to the author, such as promotional tools, like Kindle Unlimited, and possibly higher royalty rates.

If you’re considering enrolling in KDP Select, your enrollment is not indefinite, meaning you can test it out for 90 days. KDP Select enrollment lasts for 90 days, which allows authors the option to auto-renew enrollment in KDP Select for another 90 days, or opt out.

KDP Formatting Guide

KDP Formatting Guide

Now that you’re clear on exactly what KDP is, let’s get started with the formatting and publishing process.

Note: In this particular article, I’ll be covering the steps to formatting your book for KDP specifically using Microsoft Word, which is one of the easiest programs to use. As the author of How to Format Your Book in Word, I’ve found that Word is a program that most authors already have experience using.

If you don’t want to use Microsoft Word, you may wish to hire a professional eBook formatter, or another book formatting software.

Now, if you’re wanting to still do it yourself and do it in Microsoft Word, then you’ll be able to format it properly using the steps in this guide.

#1 – Format your book file using Microsoft Word

If you’re an author or writer, chances are that you’re already familiar with using Word. If you’re one of the few people that have never used Word before, that’s okay. There isn’t a steep learning curve to using the program and you can use Word tutorial videos to get the gist.

Formatting your book in Word for Kindle is really easy. Although there are technical aspects that you should be aware of, it’s really not rocket science.

You can only apply formatting as per the technical requirements of the Kindle device, which is specified by KDP itself. And to be honest, these are not complex in any way whatsoever.

When I say formatting for the Kindle is technical, I mean there are specific ways that you can do certain things and there are features you cannot use. 

For example, you cannot have text boxes in your eBook file, as also headers and footers are not recognized in the Kindle device.

We’ll cover how to do this in detail below.

#2 – Format your file for KDP

In order to publish on Amazon’s KDP, your book manuscript needs to be formatted for the KDP platform. Otherwise, certain errors or layout issues will occur.

In addition to formatting your Word file, which includes the text contents of your book, you will also need to create a separate cover image. 

Use these specifications for your cover image when formatting your file for Amazon’s KDP:

  • The cover image size should be a minimum of 625 pixels at shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side. The best quality is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels
  • The file format should be TIFF or JPEG.

Amazon has introduced the Kindle Create tool, and the information for using this tool is also included in this guide. 

Using Kindle Create, you can check your Word file, add special features, etc., and then create a .kpf file that you can then upload to KDP. 

If there are issues with your Word file when you preview it in Kindle Create, you will have to make the changes in Word, and then preview it Kindle Create again.

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#3 – Use the recognized Kindle styles

Pay attention to the following points if you have already applied any character or text styles to your Word file. 

Kindle does not recognize (or has limited support for) any of the following styles:

  • Text boxes
  • Bullets
  • Auto Numbering
  • Special fonts
  • Headers and footers
  • Special Word styles
  • Tables

You can use the following formatting in your Word manuscript:

  • Indentations
  • Bold and italics
  • Headings

Although you can upload your Word file directly to KDP, I highly suggest you convert your Word file to a .kpf file before uploading it. A .kpf file is Kindle Create’s file extension. This optimizes fonts, line spacing, margins, etc., to improve reading your eBook on the Kindle devices.

#4 – Structure your book for KDP

An important step in publishing your book file to KDP is making sure you have all the necessary front and back matter formatted for your book. 

If you don’t have the necessary parts, be sure to add a page in your manuscript’s Word file to create the page in your book.

The 5 parts to include in your book structure for KDP are:

#1 – Title page
#2 – Copyright page
#3 – Table of Contents
#4 – The Body (Your actual book content)
#5 – Back matter (Acknowledgments, Index, Promo for Other Books, etc)

We’ll cover more details on these parts in the next sections. 

#5 – Add a KDP title page

The first part of your book that you’ll need in order to publish on KDP is your title page.

Your title page text will be centered with the title of your book, the author name below, and a page break inserted below the author name.

Things to review for your title page: 

  • Is your title page text centered on the page? 
  • Is your name listed below the title? 
  • Do you have a page break below the author name? 

Here is an example of a title page:

KDP title page

#6 – Include a Copyright Page

You can include your copyright notice on your title page (as shown in the above example) or you can have a separate copyright page.

Your copyright page can include the following:

  • Copyright © [Year] [Author Name]
  • All rights reserved.

You can also include text as follows (or similar based on your needs):

“No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of very brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.”

#7 – Convert your Table of Contents for KDP

Using Word’s auto ToC tool will work just fine when you get your book’s structure ready to publish on KDP.

Kindle Create converts your ToC entries to hyperlinks as part of creating a ToC page in your eBook.

Follow these steps to use the Table of Contents tool in Word:

#1 – Place your mouse pointer at the beginning of your manuscript, after the Title page, or Copyright page (if you don’t have a blank page after the Title page, add one for the ToC).
#2 – Click the References tab.
#3 – Move to the Table of Contents button and click the down arrow.
#4 – On the drop-down menu, move your pointer down and click the Insert Table of Contents option.
#5 – For Mac users: Choose the Custom Table of Contents option.
#6 – On the Table of Contents window, uncheck the Show page numbers check box. Since the Kindle device does not display page numbers, this is not required.
#7 – Click the Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers check box.

NOTE: This option is available in Word for Mac, version 16 only. If you convert your Word file in Kindle Create, this will be done automatically.

Word ToC Tool

#8 – Add an optional Dedication Page

If you choose to, you can add a dedication page, and that will follow your Table of Contents.

You can keep it simple, like in the example page below, which shows the Dedication page for the book, The Miracle Morning for Writers.

Dedication Page Kindle Direct Publishing

#9 – Include the body

After the front matter pages, you will have your book’s body pages. This includes all of your book’s actual content, divided into chapters.

The body of your book will usually include the following:

  • Prologue (fiction), or Preface (non-fiction)
  • Introduction (non-fiction). Some non-fiction authors add a “Why I wrote this book” chapter.
  • Chapters or sections

#10 – Insert your page breaks

Always insert a page break at the end of a chapter so that the new chapter will start on a new page. Not only does this make your book formatting look clean and organized, but it improves the reader’s experience.

Here’s how to insert a page break: 

#1 – To insert a page break, place your pointer where you want the break.
#2 – Click the Insert tab, then click Page Break.
#3 – You can use Ctrl+Enter (Cmd+Enter for Mac users) to insert a page break.

#11 – Organize your content with chapter titles

Adding chapter titles are crucial for not only formatting your book for KDP, but also for organizing your book’s content into bite-sized sections for your reader’s experience. 

Here’s how to format your book’s chapter titles for KDP using Word:

#1 – Select your first chapter title.
#2 – Set the alignment to Center.
#3 – With your chapter title selected, right-click the Heading 1 style button on the Styles toolbar.
#4 – Choose Update Heading 1 to Match Selection. All your chapter titles will now have this style throughout your Word file.
#5 – Using the Heading 1 styles for the chapter titles in your book will display in your Table of Contents (ToC) and enable your reader to navigate through your eBook.
#6 – Remember to insert a page break after the last sentence of each chapter.

#12 – Add graphic images for Amazon KDP

If you are publishing a non-fiction book to Kindle Direct Publishing, you will probably have graphics in your book. These graphic images can include infographics, charts/graphs, or photos. 

IMPORTANT! Don’t just copy and paste an image from another program into your Word file.

Here’s how to properly insert images into your book using Word:

#1 – Click the Insert button
#2 – Click Picture 
#3 – Select the image from the location on your computer’s hard drive

You do not need to include your cover image in your Word manuscript file. Your cover image will be added automatically when you publish your eBook, and it is uploaded separately.

KDP Publishing Guide

KDP Publishing Guide

Now that your file is properly formatted for KDP, it’s time to start the publishing process!

In this section, we’ll cover the steps to upload your book file to Kindle Direct Publishing, and self-publish it on the platform.

#1 – Convert your Word file with Kindle Create

Once your book’s Word file is properly formatted and ready to go, you can convert the Word file using Amazon’s newly-launched Kindle Create. 

Here are the steps to complete the Kindle Create Setup:

#1 – Download Kindle Create here (Windows and MacOS versions are available)
#2 – Install Kindle Create (it takes only a few minutes).
#3 – If you’re ready to convert your file to Kindle Create, when the window below displays, click the Finish button.
#4 – If you’re not ready to convert your file, first click the Run Kindle Create checkbox (uncheck the box) and then click the Finish button. You can then open Kindle Create later, when you’re ready to convert your file.

kindle create setup

To convert your Word file in Kindle Create, open it and follow the easy prompts:

#1 – After your file is uploaded, the following window will display.

#2 – Click the Continue button.

kdp create

#3 – On the next window, click the Get Started button.

Be ready for some exciting things…

You should see the following window, displaying your eBook:

kindle create

#4 – Choose the chapters you want included in your Kindle eBook (these will display in your Table of Contents), by checking or unchecking the Select boxes on the Suggested Chapter Titles pop-up window.

#5 – Click the Accept Selected button when you are finished.

#6 – On the left-hand Contents nav bar, you can quickly move to the relevant section (chapter) in your eBook, by clicking on the relevant thumbnail.

#7 – On the right-hand Text Properties nav bar, you can choose different formatting elements to use in your eBook.

NOTE: Depending on the element you choose, the following message will display at the bottom of the Text Properties area: “Tables, Separator, Footnotes, Inline Images and Lists cannot be edited or formatted in Kindle Create yet.”

If there are any errors with any of the above, they will need to be fixed in your Word file, and you will then need to upload the file to Kindle Create again.

#8 – After you have selected the chapters you want included in your eBook, you should preview it.

#9 – Click the Preview button (top right of the window).

#10 – Note the Inspector window on the left…

On the Inspector, you can change the device you want to preview your eBook in. The options are:

  • Tablet (portrait and landscape)
  • Phone
  • Kindle E-reader

You can now navigate through your eBook to view what it will look like on the different devices.

#11 – You can choose a theme for your eBook, on the Theme option (right-hand nav bar). After you have chosen the theme, click the Select button.

#12 – You also have the option to add special elements to parts of your eBook, using the Common Elements feature.

#13 – When you’re satisfied with the look of your eBook, you can publish it. This does not publish your eBook to Kindle Direct Publishing, but creates the .kpf file and you can upload that file to KDP, instead of your Word file.

#14 – If you click the Publish button, and your file has not been saved, a reminder window will display that your file has not yet been saved. Click the OK button on this window to first save your file.

#15 – After your file is saved, click the Publish button again (top right).

#16 – Choose the location where you want to save your .kpf file, and then click the Save button.

Your saved file will now be available to upload to KDP.

#2 – Prepare to self-publish your book on KDP

Once your file is properly formatted and converted, you can self-publish your book to KDP.  Before you open the Kindle Direct Publishing site, be sure you have all the necessary files and information needed to complete the process. 

Here is the information you will need to self-publish your eBook on Amazon KDP:

#1 – Your formatted Word file or your Kindle Create file
#2 – Book title and subtitle (if you have a sub-title)
#3 – Your cover image (2,813 x 4,500 pixels)
#4 – Your book description (4,000 characters or less, including spaces)
#5 – Know the category for your book
#6 – Keywords (choose up to seven); double keyword phrases count as one keyword, e.g. self-publishing is considered one keyword
#7 – Your financial information (for your royalty payments)

Have the above available in a text file, then you can just copy and paste when you upload your information and files.

Got everything?

Let’s publish…

#3 – Complete the steps to self-publish on KDP Publishing

Self-publishing a Kindle eBook on Kindle Direct Publishing is really easy. It takes a few minutes to fill in your details and upload your files. Then within 12 hours (for English language books), your Kindle eBook will be live in the Amazon Kindle Store.

When you have all the information and files discussed in the previous section, you’re ready to publish your eBook to Amazon. 

There are two main steps when you upload your eBook files (Amazon refers to these as steps, but they are more like sections, which is why we’ve named them as such).

Within each section, there are actually a number of steps, which we’ll go through.

Section #1 – Your book

This section covers what Amazon considers “Step 1” for self-publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing. 

The first section to self-publish on KDP includes these steps: 

#1 – Enter Your Book Details (more covered on this in the next section) 
#2 – Verify Your Publishing Rights
#3 – Target Your Book to Customers
#4 – Select Your Book Release Option
#5 – Upload or Create a Book Cover
#6 – Upload Your Book File (see the section below for more details)
#7 – Preview Your Book

Enter Your Book Details

If you already have an Amazon account, you can use your existing login details to log into KDP here: https://kdp.amazon.com/

After you log in to your KDP account, the main dashboard will display. If this is your first Kindle eBook, the dashboard will be empty.

kdp options

#1 – Click the Kindle eBook button on the left of the window.

NOTE: Open your text file where you have all your book details then you can just copy and paste your information.

#2 – Choose the language your book is written in from the Language drop-down menu.

#3 – Type your book title in the Book Title field.

#4 – If you have a subtitle, type this in the Subtitle field.

#5 – If your book is part of a series, type the series name and number in the relevant Series fields.

#6 – Enter the edition number in the Edition Number field. If this is the first edition, you can leave this blank.

#7 – Type your name in the Primary Author or Contributor field.

#8 – Type your First and Last name, and choose the Title of Author. If you don’t enter your name here, your name will not display on your book’s page in Amazon. If you want to add the name/s of people who also worked on (or contributed) to your book, click the Add Another button.

#9 – You will be able to add the first and last name of any of the following:

  • Author
  • Editor
  • Foreword (the name of the person who wrote the Foreword)
  • Illustrator
  • Introduction (if someone other than you wrote this)
  • Narrator (for audiobooks)
  • Photographer
  • Preface
  • Translator

NOTE: If someone else designed your book cover, you can add their name as the Illustrator.

#10 – Copy and paste or type your book’s description in the Description field.

#11 – If you are publishing a public domain book, read the What’s this? pop-up.

#12 – If you’re publishing an original work that you wrote, click the second radio button, indicating that it’s not a public domain work.

#13 – The next section is your keywords. These are the terms (keywords) prospective buyers will use to find your eBook in the Kindle Store.

You can enter up to 7 keywords – double keyword phrases count as 1 keyword, e.g. self-publishing and self publishing is considered 1 keyword.

#14 – Click the Set Categories button, and choose the category for your book (there are many).

Amazon defines a browse category as the section of the Kindle store where users can browse to your book.

kdp categories

#15 – If your book has a specific age group (e.g. children’s books), choose the Age Range using the relevant Minimum and Maximum drop-down buttons.

Similarly, choose the U.S. Grade Range if this is applicable to your book.

#16 – If you are ready to go live with your eBook, click the first radio button (I am ready to release my book now).

#17 – If you’re not ready, and want to make use of Amazon’s pre-order service, click the second radio button: “Make my book available for pre-order.” 

Upload Your Files

If this is your first time self-publishing on KDP, I highly recommend that you read the Help icon message on the next window.

#1 – Choose the option you want by clicking the relevant radio button.

#2 – Click the Browse button and select the Word file (.doc or .docx), or the Kindle Create file (.kpf) of your eBook on your computer’s hard drive, and upload it.

A message will display after your book file is uploaded.

kindle direct publishing

#3 – Click the Launch Cover Creator button.

A note on your book cover design: If you haven’t had a professional cover created, you can make use of the Cover Creator tool in KDP. Since having a professional, quality book cover is extremely important, especially as a self-published author, you should seriously consider hiring a professional book cover designer.

#4 – If you have your cover image available, click the Browse for image… button. Click the Save changes and continue button.

#5 – Click the Browse button and select your cover image on your computer’s hard drive, and upload it.

#6 – You now have the option of previewing your Kindle eBook.

If you created your .kpf file using Kindle Create, you can skip this step, as you will already have previewed your eBook.

#7 – Click the Launch Previewer button.

If you’re satisfied with your eBook, you can click the Save and Continue button.

Alternatively, if you see something that’s not quite right, you can fix the error in your Word file, and re-upload your file again.

Once all of the tasks in Step 1 are completed, you can move on to…

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Section #2 – Rights & Pricing

The second part to publishing your book on KDP, is focused on your author rights and the pricing of your book, as well as a few other logistics. 

The second section to self-publish on KDP includes these steps: 

#1 – Verify your publishing territories
#2 – Set your pricing and royalty (more on this below)
#3 – Kindle Matchbook
#4 – Kindle Book Lending
#5. – Optional – KDP Select Benefits

You can decide if you want to enroll in the KDP Select program after you weigh some of the pros and cons. 

What are the benefits of KDP Select?

#1 – You earn higher royalties
#2 – You maximize your book’s sales potential
#3 – You can reach a new (wider) audience

Publishing Territories

You have the option to select only certain territories to sell your book in, but I advise you to choose Worldwide rights (why leave money on the table, right?).

Click the relevant (Worldwide rights – all territories) radio button.

Setting Your Book’s Price on KDP

Amazon recently rolled out its new service, KDP Pricing Support, which at the time of writing this article, is in beta. However, you can check to see what other books similar to yours are priced at.

For example, the following was presented for one of my books:

KDP Pricing Support (Beta): “Based on historic data for KDP books similar to Never Give Up!, a list price of $2.99 (USD) in a 70% royalty plan maximizes author earnings.”

#1 – Click the View Service button to check the pricing for other books similar to yours.

#2 – At the bottom of the graph, you have the option of accepting the suggested price, or declining it, and returning to the page you were on.

#3 – If you don’t accept the suggested price, you will return to the Rights and Pricing page, and you will need to enter your List Price manually.

#4 – Scroll down and view all the currency prices, and check the exclusions.

#5 Book Lending allows your customers to lend your book to friends and family, after they have purchased it, for a period of 14 days.

#6 – If you are satisfied with everything, you can click the Save and Publish button. If you’re not ready to publish your eBook, click the Save as Draft button.

On your dashboard, you will see that the status of your eBook is now In Review, and you cannot access your book details.

That’s it – your book is now uploaded and published to KDP. 

Congratulations – you’re now a self-published author on KDP! 

Your Kindle eBook is now published to Kindle Direct Publishing. It will take about 12 hours (if your book is in English) to be live in the Kindle store (about 48 hours for non-English books).

After everything is uploaded to KDP, you will receive an email confirming that your book is available in the Kindle Store.

The next step is to go forth and start optimizing your Amazon Author Central Page.

It doesn’t matter how many books I self-publish, this is always exciting – waiting to receive the email. I suggest reading the mail, and even check out the links within the mail. Then, order your author copy on Amazon’s KDP.

How to order author copies on KDP

Now that you’re a published author, it’s time to order author copies on KDP and have your paperback book sent directly to you.

Your book must be in the “Live” status in order for it to be eligible as an author copy, so make sure it’s “Live” in KDP first.

Once it’s “Live,” follow the process listed below.

Here are the steps to order author copies on KDP:

#1 – Go to your “Bookshelf” and locate the paperback you want to order a copy of.
#2 – Click on the “Order Author Copies” link in the menu (it looks like this: …)
#3 – Enter how many copies of your book that you want to order.
#4 – From the drop-down menu, the Amazon marketplace closest to your shipping address.
#5 – Click “Proceed to Checkout.”
#6 – In your Amazon shopping cart, complete your order.
#7 – Your book copies will be printed and shipped to you.

It’s a wonderful feeling to add your printed book copy to your own personal bookshelf!

That’s it – you’re done! While it was a lot of steps and information to go through, I told you it wasn’t rocket science.

Now that your book is uploaded to Amazon KDP, it’s time to start book marketing on sites like BookBub to start attracting some readers around the world!

What questions do you still have about Amazon KDP?

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I Wrote a Book Now What

I Wrote A Book! Now What?

Writing a book is a tremendous first step toward publication. It shows you have the perseverance necessary to carry a dream from the first stage to the final product. Writing a book shows you have something to say and believe in it enough to devote hours, weeks, and even months to share it. 

But now that you’ve written a book, what’s next? The next right step for you depends on the way you choose to put your book out into the world. In this article we discuss two separate options:

In this article, we separate them out so you can clearly see both paths and choose which one is best for you. Whether this is the first book you have written and you want to self-publish, or you’ve written several books and decided to traditionally publish, this article covers the steps you need to take.

If you’re not sure which route is best for you, spend time reading through both options. You may want to create a pros-and-cons list and compare them before making a final decision.

Let’s dive in!

The Process For Traditional Publishing

The process for traditional publishing can be broken down into multiple steps. Many of today’s publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. This means you will need to sign with an agent before you have access to the bigger publishers.

Pitching Agents 

A great way to get exposure to agents is by attending writing conferences (whether they are virtual or in person). You may also want to browse the internet for reputable literary agencies and query several agents. Twitter is also a great way to connect with agents. Twitter pitching festivals help you get noticed and many writers have begun conversations with agents in this way.

Whichever agency you choose to pitch, make sure you follow their guidelines exactly and that they represent the genre you write. Make sure that your query does not have any typos. Remember, your query letter is your first impression with an agent, and you want to make a great one.

Book Proposals 

After you sign with an agent, you will need to write up a book proposal. If you write fiction your proposal will include your:

If you write nonfiction, your proposal will include a chapter-by-chapter synopsis instead of an extended synopsis, along with the above points. 

To Edit, Or Not To Edit?

Make sure your writing sample is free of errors, represents your writing style, and is written by you, the writer. While it may be tempting to hire a professional editor to edit your writing sample, the publisher is offering a contract based on your writing, not an editor’s. Additionally, when traditionally publishing, the publisher takes all the financial risk. Upon a signed contract, they will hire a professional editor for you to edit your manuscript. 

Remember, in traditional publication, you do not choose the publisher, the publisher chooses you. This means you will likely want to shop your manuscript to many publishers to speed up the process and give yourself as many chances as possible to land a contract.

Working With A Publisher 

After you sign your writing contract, you will begin the process of publishing with a traditional publisher. The publisher will assign a professional editor to work with you and make your writing the best it can be. They will also begin work on marketing, cover design, and anything else the particular publisher does with their authors. Typically, once you make up your advance in book sales, you will begin receiving royalties. 

Don’t forget that while the publisher takes all the financial risk and plays a big part in marketing your book, you are the author and play a major role in the success of your book. The more involved you can be, while understanding you’re working with professionals who do this for a living, the more likely it is your book will succeed.

The Process For Self-Publishing

While the process for traditional publishing has quite a lot of work on the front end, the process for self-publishing has quite a bit of work on the back end. Before starting the traditional publication process, a writer must write a book, query agents, sign with an agent, the agent must pitch to publishers, and then if offered a contract, the process begins.

For self-publishing, a writer can skip querying agents, signing with an agent, and pitching to publishers. Note that while it is not essential to write a book proposal for self-publishing (since you do not need to pitch to a publisher), the process of writing a proposal can help you understand your project at a much deeper level. It may be worth considering.

Reaching Out To Editors 

After you draft your project, you will likely want to hire a professional editor. Do your research, know what you are comfortable investing, and connect with other writers who have worked with editors previously. Reach out to several editors, get to know their personality, the genres they enjoy editing, and read some of the books they have edited. Working with an editor is a very collaborative process, so it’s crucial to work with an editor you connect with. Take their suggestions seriously and always be open to their feedback.

Creating Your Marketing Plan

After you finish editing your book, or even during the process if you’re feeling adventurous, it’s time to create a marketing plan. Because you are self-publishing, you have 100% say over what you market, when you market, how you market, and who you market to. If you feel more comfortable sitting behind the screen and writing books and not as comfortable navigating social media or interviews, you may want to hire a marketing professional to help you launch your book. Scour the internet and do your research just as you did with your editor to make sure you hire the right professional. Research their previous work, especially sales and analytics, to ensure you hire someone who can help you succeed. 

Cover Design

Designing a cover that captivates readers and portrays your story is essential. While we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the fact is, we do. You wrote a book because you are creative. You probably even thought about cover design at some point. However, chances are you are an excellent writer but are not as equipped in graphic design. Even if you do have a background in graphic design, it helps to have a fresh pair of eyes.

Choose your top favorite book covers and note the illustrator. Reach out to your author friends and ask them if they have worked with designers before. Browse the internet and do your research. Your cover design is the first impression readers have of your book. Take the time necessary to find the right graphic designer and create the best book cover for your story. It’s crucial it stands out.

Putting Together A Launch Team 

A launch team, or street team, is a group of people dedicated to helping you promote your book before launch day. Often, launch teams are created in a private Facebook page and members are added via an application process. 

While it may feel a bit overwhelming wondering where to find potential launch team members, reaching out to online writing groups is a great place to start. Create an application process and tweet it out (don’t forget to include the hashtag #WritingCommunity). Post it to your writer’s Facebook page. Create a reel and post it on Instagram. You’ll likely be surprised how quickly you can form a launch team. 

Press Kit

A press kit / author media kit can be extremely helpful when scheduling interviews as you near release day. A press kit is simply information about you and your book that will be helpful for those who want to know more. Think of it as a calling card—a way to show you are a professional writer who should be interviewed. 

Ideally, create your press kit as soon as possible so it’s ready when it comes time to book interviews. Create a list of TV stations, podcasts, influencers, etc., who share your audience and would consider interviewing you. 


Presales are crucial whether you choose to self-publish or traditionally publish. Your launch team can help by spreading the word about your book and encouraging potential readers to pre-order. Interviews raise awareness about your book, and the stronger your marketing plan is, the higher your presales are likely to be. 

Remember, presales aren’t just about selling books but help you land on bestseller lists. Hitting these milestones will not only help with the marketing for this book but set you up for success as you release future books. 

Thanking Your Village 

As the old proverb goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Your book is your baby, and it does in fact take a team of committed individuals to help your book see success. After you’ve written your book, take the time necessary to show your team appreciation for their help. While your team did not write the book itself, the reason they helped you is because they are passionate about stories as well. Show your appreciation and genuine thanks. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to release a book.

Moving Forward

Congratulations! You wrote a book and now you know the next steps to take. Whatever avenue you choose, self-publishing or traditional publishing, go for it with the passion you had writing your book. Passion spreads. Word of mouth is still one of the best marketing tools to this day. Never underestimate the power of passionately pursuing your book’s publication. 

Writers usually write because they simply love writing. But if you are a writer you are also a storyteller. Storytellers share their stories because they love the power of story. Sharing stories takes forethought, dedication, and grit. 

Many dreamers dream of writing a book. Many writers begin writing a book. It takes a special person to take the dream to draft, then to edited manuscript, to publishable material, and finally, to launch day. But you made it. When release day comes, celebrate the success of making it!

Then, pour yourself into your marketing. Whether you’re self-publishing or publishing traditionally, you have to keep marketing your book if you want continued sales.

Remember, your first publication will likely be your most difficult because you have never done it before. Be encouraged that the next time you publish a book, you’ll understand the process just a little better. Enjoy it!

How To Write And Publish A Bestselling Book in 90 Days

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Amazon CreateSpace – 2022 Guide for Authors

Many of today’s aspiring writers choose the self-publishing path for several reasons – one of them being that this rapidly evolving industry offers an abundance of opportunities. Plus, the chances of getting your book picked up by a traditional publishing company are becoming slimmer.

If you’ve already done some research into self-publishing, you’ve probably heard of Amazon’s platforms CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). These two used to be the go-to options for most self-publishing authors. 

In this post, we’re going to cover what happened to CreateSpace and what other options you have for self-publishing your book in 2022. 

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Here’s what what we’ll be covering on Amazon CreateSpace today:

  1. What was Amazon CreateSpace?
  2. Why use Print on Demand? (POD)
  3. Amazon launching KDP Print
  4. CreateSpace is now Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
  5. CreateSpace and KDP — similar features
  6. What’s the difference between CreateSpace and KDP?
  7. CreateSpace alternatives in 2022
using Amazon CreateSpace on a laptop

What was Amazon CreateSpace?

CreateSpace was a self-publishing platform using the Print on Demand-model (POD), i.e., printing and shipping books to fulfill customer orders. They produced high-quality paperbacks from files you uploaded yourself. 

Does Amazon still have CreateSpace?

CreateSpace was a popular choice among self-publishing authors, mainly because of their reasonable prices, speed and convenience. They offered a range of reasonably priced services, such as design, marketing, printed proofs, and extended distribution. In 2005, Amazon bought CreateSpace while developing its existing self-publishing service, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Why use Print on Demand? 

POD books used to be considered an inferior product, with cheap covers and low-quality paper. That’s no longer the case. Today, traditional publishers also use POD technology for books they don’t intend to store. For the most part, POD books are equal in quality to those printed on a press. 

Plus, the POD-model means that you can save money by not printing hundreds or thousands of copies at once. It’s an excellent option for self-publishing authors, especially if you’re on a limited budget. Print on demand gives you more freedom to market and sell your book without worrying about shipping, storing, or checking stock levels.  

Amazon launching KDP Print

For a few years, CreateSpace and KDP were two separate Amazon-owned businesses, with the first being a POD service and the latter a platform for publishing e-books. In 2016, Amazon launched their second POD service, KDP Print. One of the reasons behind the launch was to encourage authors more strongly to add a print version to their Kindle book. 

However, KDP Print’s launch left many authors confused about whether they should stay with CreateSpace or shift to the new platform. Since Amazon wouldn’t allow authors to go back once they’d made the switch, the decision had to be permanent. And rumors about CreateSpace closing down or merging with KDP were already starting to arise. 

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Is CreateSpace still in business?

Two years later, in August 2018,  Amazon confirmed the rumors and announced that CreateSpace and KDP were merging into one. Effectively, all CreateSpace services were now discontinued, and the books were shifted to KDP

The merge inevitably brought about a few changes, but on the whole, there are more similarities than differences between the two platforms. KDP is an established and trust-worthy service that’s been around for years. And with KDP Print, you have the benefit of being able to publish both paperbacks and e-books. Plus, you receive the combined royalties on one platform. 

If you want to find out more about this platform, you can read our extensive KDP guide here

CreateSpace and KDP — similar features 

Amazon made the transition as smooth as possible, keeping most of the features that made CreateSpace such a popular platform. Few of the affected authors seemed to encounter any significant hiccups when shifting their books. 

After Amazon moved the books to KDP, you could track your sales on the new platform. You could also access the older CreateSpace report data in your KDP reports, minimizing the risk of losing anything. 

The paperbacks are still printed in the same facilities as CreateSpace, except when they’re distributed to Europe. Other features that remain the same are:

  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN). You still have the option to use your own ISBN, get a discounted Bowker ISBN, or a free one through KDP.
  • Distribution and associated fees. KDP Print also offers distribution to Amazon only (with a 40% fee) and extended distribution to stores outside of Amazon (with a 60% fee). Note that there are new requirements around extended distribution, which you can read about below. 
  • Book cover and design tools. KDP Print uses the same Word templates and Cover Creator tool that CreateSpace offered. So the quality of the design remains the same. 

What’s the difference between CreateSpace and KDP?

For the most part, CreateSpace authors have gladly moved over to KDP, despite inevitable changes and new features. KDP is an excellent all-in-one platform and a quick print-on-demand service. It can help you reach the paperback markets in the US, Europe, and even Japan with comprehensive distribution services. There are many areas where KDP is gaining ground on CreateSpace, such as:  

  • The integrated sales dashboard. Having a combined publishing and accounting platform for both Kindle and print versions is a big plus, giving you an improved user experience. 
  • Updates without losing the old version. With KDP, you can update your book while the old version is still available for purchase. This feature is a vast improvement, especially for those authors whose books are selling well. 
  • Expanded international distribution. Authors will now be able to distribute to Japan, which wasn’t possible with CreateSpace.

Along with these three changes, there are a few more differences between CreateSpace and KDP. We’ve put together a list that summarizes the most important ones you need to know. 

Other changes between CreateSpace and KDP

  • Royalty payment schedule. While CreateSpace paid royalties approximately 30 days after the end of the month where you earned them, the KDP payment comes out 60 days later. But the payment schedule is still monthly, the same as it was on CreateSpace. 
  • Unsupported languages. Some languages supported by CreateSpace may be unsupported by KDP. CreateSpace books that are already published will continue to be available on Amazon, no matter what language. But you can’t publish or update new books in an unsupported language, and drafts that you move over may need to be translated. Note that Amazon continues to evaluate its features and services, including supported languages.
  • Expanded distribution. On KDP, your book must be available on Amazon to enable expanded distribution, which wasn’t a requirement with CreateSpace. 
  • Author copies. KDP lets you order author copies by adding them straight to your Amazon cart, like a regular order. If you’re a Prime member or if your order is above Amazon’s minimum spend, this process can save you both time and money. 
  • Local printing for Europe distribution. CreateSpace only manufactured their books in the US. With KDP, local printing and shipping are available within Europe. Good for the environment and more convenient for customers. 
  • Printing costs. There are some minor differences in terms of printing costs. For example, certain low page count books printed in Europe (color books less than 30 pages and black-and-white books less than 110 pages) will have increased printing costs. However, this affects only a few titles.
  • Amazon advertising. With KDP, you’re able to purchase Amazon advertising for both e-books and print books. 

CreateSpace alternatives in 2022

As we mentioned before – the self-publishing industry is evolving vastly, and there are so many alternatives. While Amazon’s KDP is undoubtedly one of the giants, other options may suit you better. Here are some other examples of self-publishing companies offering print-on-demand services: 

  • IngramSpark is a self-publishing company located in Nashville, with a global distribution network offering print books and e-books. 
  • Lulu has been around for over a decade, offering a range of services, including print, publishing, global distribution, and Shopify integration. 
  • BookBaby has all the services necessary for self-publishing, such as book printing, e-book conversion, and cover design. 
  • Izzard ink is a hybrid publishing company founded in 2013, offering everything from distribution to marketing and design. 
  • Blurb is a POD service offering image-based products (such as photo books and magazines) and standard print books. Thanks to their printing software, they’re an excellent option for high-quality images. 

This list is only the tip of the iceberg. If you want to read more about other alternatives, you can find our comprehensive guide on self-publishing services here, including comparisons and reviews. 

Pssst…. want the “fast pass” for learning how to self-publish in as little as 90 days?
Check out our free training linked in the image below!
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We hope this post has given you some more insights into the world of self-publishing and cleared up any confusion around CreateSpace. 

Feel free to leave a comment below and share your thoughts on self-publishing services. 

self-publishing platforms

Self-Publishing Platforms – 12 Options for Authors

Deciding on the right self-publishing platform is an exciting time for any author.

When you reach this stage in the process, your book is so close to being enjoyed by readers. All of the time and energy you’ve invested is about to bear fruit. All that’s left to do is choose the best way to make your book available to the world.

Choosing a platform isn’t something you should rush. Your choice will impact the number of potential readers you are able to reach. It also determines how much you can charge for your book and the royalties you receive. 

So what are your options? Which self-publishing platforms are available, and how can you choose between them?

Read on to discover our guide to twelve options available to independent authors today.

self-publishing company

This guide to self-publishing platforms covers:

  1. Amazon KDP
  2. Apple Books
  3. Barnes & Noble Press
  4. Blurb
  5. Bookbaby
  6. Draft2Digital
  7. Ingramspark
  8. Kobo
  9. PublishDrive
  10. Smashwords
  11. StreetLib
  12. XinXii 
self-publishing platforms

What is a self-publishing platform?

Before we delve into our list of self-publishing platforms, let’s stop and consider exactly what the term refers to. 

A self-publishing platform is simply a service that allows you to offer your book to the world. 

Broadly speaking, you have two types of self-publishing platform available:

  1. Retailers 
  2. Aggregators 

Retailers are stores such as Amazon that allow people to browse and buy books. 

Aggregators are specialist services that allow authors to distribute their books to a large number of retailers through a single service. 

Choosing an aggregator involves a trade-off. You can save time and effort by not having to manually upload your book to multiple retailers and monitor its performance, but you will have to pay for this convenience in the form of a one-off fee per book, a monthly subscription, or a portion of your royalties, depending on the retailer. 

Now that the basic idea of a self-publishing platform is clear, let’s take a closer look at your options!

self-publishing platforms

Amazon KDP

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service is the dominant platform in today’s self-publishing marketplace. 

Offering your book on Amazon should be an easy decision. It’s the platform where most people go to buy new reading material. Amazon also offers the Kindle device and app, giving customers another way to discover your book that doesn’t exist on some other platforms. 

For self-published authors, there are plenty of benefits to being on Amazon. You can easily offer print and audiobook versions of your work. You also have the ability to create a hub where readers can discover more about your work via the Author Central service.

If you decide to offer your book on Amazon exclusively, you gain access to special programs like Kindle Unlimited. Every author should evaluate if that’s a choice that makes sense for their situation.

Whether or not you decide to publish on Amazon exclusively, you should make its platform part of your approach to publishing. Otherwise, you’re missing out on a vast number of potential readers.

Apple Books

Apple Books might not account for the same level of sales as Amazon, you would be unwise to dismiss it.

There are plenty of iPhone, iPad, and Mac users out there who prefer to stick to apps made by Apple wherever possible. Apple is known for frictionless integration across its entire ecosystem, so this preference makes sense.

Aside from access to devoted fans, Apple Books has a number of other benefits. A 70% royalty rate is on offer no matter the price of your book, so you don’t need to go through the price constraints imposed by Amazon. Apple also offers authors more control by not engaging in automatic price matching, allowing you to know your book’s price will remain stable.  

Barnes & Noble Press

While Barnes & Noble might be one of the biggest names in the publishing world, the company has struggled to compete with Amazon’s success. However, they provide an easy to use platform for self-published authors, meaning there’s no harm in offering your book there if you decide to avoid Amazon exclusivity.

Barnes & Noble Press supports both ebooks and print books, and also has the benefit of promoting titles to customers of its Nook device and app. 

One final benefit to choosing Barnes & Noble Press is that all of the platform’s print books can be ordered by request to any physical Barnes & Noble bookstore. 


Although Blurb is most famous as a major provider of print on demand services, the company also offers the ability to create eBooks using either its own tools or 3rd party options like Adobe InDesign. 

When you decide to use Blurb as a platform for creating a print or eBook version of your book, the company lets you sell it through either its own retail service, or via its partnerships with Amazon, Apple, Ingram, and even Kickstarter. 

If physical books are an important part of your approach to self-publishing, you should check out Blurb further. In addition to print on demand you also have the option to order a large batch of your book with a lot of options relating to design and format. 


BookBaby is one of the powerhouse players in the self-publishing world, offering not only one of the best-known aggregator services out there, but also its own retail store. 

Authors who choose BookBaby as their self-publishing platform benefit from the size of  its distribution network. The company claims to have the widest reach, partnering with over 60 retailers from across the globe.

If you’re willing to invest money upfront, and you need the full range of services provided by BookBaby, it’s a platform worth exploring further. However, if all you’re looking for is a simple retailer or aggregator, BookBaby probably isn’t the best fit for your needs. You can learn more here.


Draft2Digital is one of the most famous aggregators out there, distributing books to almost all of the major retailers, including Amazon, Apple, and Kobo.

As well as its aggregation service, Draft2Digital offers authors help with formatting and promotional abilities such as Universal Book Links. One of the major reasons to choose Draft2Digital is the company’s lack of upfront fees. Instead, Draft2Digital makes money by taking around 10% of the retail price each time a copy is sold. 

Before you settle on Draft2Digital as the right aggregator for your next book, take a moment to read in more detail how the service compares to Smashwords


IngramSpark is a good option if you are looking for an aggregator with global reach that offers excellent customer support. 

Authors who decide to use IngramSpark as a self-publishing platform tap into one of the largest worldwide distribution networks possible. As well as the major book retailers IngramSpark’s titles are available to libraries, universities, and indie stores.

You need to pay an upfront fee to publish via IngramSpark. The company supports both eBook and print formats and you get a discount if you will only be offering one type or the other. Check out our full guide to IngramSpark here.


Rakuten Kobo, commonly referred to as just Kobo, is one of the biggest international book retailers on the market. As well as its retail operations, the company provides a self-publishing platform known as Kobo Writing Life. Like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, Kobo also offers a physical eReader device. 

Kobo distributes books to more countries than the vast majority of other platforms, claiming over 190 nations at the time of writing. 

The ability to set your own pricing, the backing of parent company Rakuten, and the lack of an exclusivity requirement are some of the major reasons to think about publishing with Kobo. 


Like a lot of the other aggregator platforms featured in this guide, PublishDrive boasts of the wide reach of its international distribution network. However, while offering everything you would expect, PublishDrive also has some rarer features that help it to stand out.

A lot of aggregators support print and eBook formats, but PublishDrive also supports audiobooks. Also, PublishDrive offers you control of how you want to pay for their service. Most platforms either charge a flat fee per book or take a slice of your royalties. PublishDrive operates on a subscription model where authors pay a monthly rate depending on the number of books they have.

If you’re trying to decide between different book aggregators, it’s worth crunching the numbers and seeing how many copies you would need to sell to cover PublishDrive’s monthly subscription. Depending on your popularity, PublishDrive might make a lot more financial sense than giving up a portion of your royalties. 


Smashwords is one of the oldest and most famous book aggregators out there. For many authors, the choice of platform comes down to weighing up the pros and cons of Smashwords and Draft2Digital. So what are they?

Draft2Digital is widely considered to be an easier and more intuitive service than Smashwords. The Smashwords interface is older and looks a little dated. Smashwords also doesn’t provide the formatting capabilities found at Draft2Digital. 

Also, one thing to be aware of is that Smashwords doesn’t distribute to Amazon. It has a wide reach other than that, but it’s something to keep in mind. We feel that most authors will prefer Draft2Digital to Smashwords after weighing up both options.


If international publishing is a big part of your approach to self-publishing, you should check out StreetLib. 

An international approach is baked into everything StreeLib does. For example, its dashboard is available in a wide range of languages and the company website has dedicated pages for almost any country you can think of.

StreetLib distributes audiobooks in addition to print and digital. You can access all of your worldwide sales data directly within the StreetLib dashboard, removing the need for any external sales tracking service. 

If you’re based outside of the USA, or are an American author who wants to sell books around the world, take a closer look at what StreetLib has to offer. 


XinXii is another example of an internationally-focused book aggregator. So what are the key facts you need to know about XinXii?

This aggregator offers support for eBooks and audiobooks only. There is no print on demand option, so if you are looking to sell physical copies of your work, this isn’t the right service for you. 

Although XinXii has a wide range of international distribution partners, there isn’t anything that really stands out about their service. If you don’t care about the lack of print book support, and you particularly like the markets XinXii distributes to, you might want to explore further. 

What is the best self-publishing platform?

So now that you have a good grasp of the different self-publishing platforms, how can you determine which is the best fit for your needs as an author?

Overall, there’s no single best platform. Different companies have various strengths and weaknesses. It’s all about asking the right questions to narrow down exactly what you’re looking for. 

To help you determine the right self-publishing platform for your needs, take the time to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I looking for a retailer to upload my book to directly, or an aggregator service that will distribute to multiple retailers on my behalf?
  2. What formats do I want to offer my work in? 
  3. Would I rather pay an upfront fee for aggregated distribution, a portion of my royalties, or a monthly subscription? 
  4. How important is international distribution to my book marketing plan?
  5. Do I need help with formatting and other services, or do I want a simple distribution platform with no added extras?

Want the “fast pass” to finding the right self publishing company for you?

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You now have everything you need to choose the best self-publishing platform for your book

Will you decide to be exclusive on Amazon to take advantage of their special author programs? Or will you go for the widest international reach possible with a powerful aggregator?

No matter what type of platform you end up going for, we wish you and your book every success!

Self-Publishing Programs – 9 Teaching & Tech Resources

So, you’ve reached the stage in your journey as an independent author where it’s time to seek out the best self publishing program for your needs.

Investing in knowledge and technology to bring you success is a smart move, but it’s easy to make the wrong choice.

Ask around the writing community and you’ll be sure to come across plenty of disgruntled authors who shelled out cash for a program that wasn’t the best fit. There’s nothing more annoying than getting your hopes up about a particular tool, only to find out it wasn’t what you expected.

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So how can you avoid making the wrong choice?

No matter if you’re looking for a writing course to boost your self-publishing knowledge, or a software program to give you better capabilities, we’ve got you covered.

Read on to discover our curated list of the best educational and software programs out there for self-publishers.

This guide to self-publishing programs covers:

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Self-Publishing Programs

#1 – Self-Publishing School

Trying to navigate the maze of self-publishing on your own is no easy task.

There are so many different skills to master and things to learn. From the initial process of coming up with a book idea, all the way through to marketing your work in a way that sets you up for a successful career, there are plenty of hurdles to fall at.

You could spend an eternity trying to figure it all out, but there’s no need to do that.

Our partners at Self Publishing School have distilled years of wisdom into several concise programs that set you up for success.

A lot of people seem to have the misconception that Self Publishing School is a single course, but that’s not the case. This is not like other self publishing programs, as the name suggest, it’s delivered like an actual school. They can help you no matter how far along you are as an author. From teaching first-time writers to come up with a roadmap to publish their first bestseller. Or helping existing authors set themselves up for a full-time career. Self Publishing School has a program for every situation. See our full review for more details.

They also have an incredible range of free resources, so take the time to check those out if you aren’t sure about investing in a full program at this stage.

#2 – Authority Pub Academy

Authority Pub Academy is taught by Steve Scott and Barrie Davenport in tandem. This is a refreshing change from a lot of the other programs out there, as it allows you to enjoy two different personalities and teaching styles.  

This teaching program is a good option for new authors who are looking for a mix of tangible and intangible advice on what it takes to make the leap and become an author.

Some of the content covers aspects such as the mindset authors need to adopt to succeed, as well as more practical tips such as the process of writing a book. It also delves deep into how to set up an account on KDP.

If you’ve already published a book, you might find a lot of the material in this course to be a bit beneath your existing level of knowledge. That’s not to say it has nothing to offer seasoned authors, but it is better suited to those just starting. 

Like many of the programs featured here, Authority Pub Academy covers book launches and marketing in some depth, showing the importance of these topics. 

Authority Pub Academy might not cover anything groundbreaking, but there’s no denying the credibility of Steve Soctt and Barrie Davenport as teachers. If you’re a fan of their personalities, consider exploring this program in more detail. 

You can learn more here

#3 – Self-Publishing 101

Mark Dawson is one of the most successful authors to ever self-publish. If you’re looking for an inspirational success story, look no further than Dawson.

As the name suggests, Self-Publishing 101 is intended to teach the fundamentals for authors who might be adept at writing a book but unsure of how to take things further. 

Dawson’s course covers the basic elements of establishing your author platform, some guidance on whether to commit to Amazon on an exclusive basis or go wide, how to put together the right team to help launch your book, and how to attract the right reviews to boost your book in Amazon’s eyes and sell more copies. 

If you want to learn from a true self-publishing rockstar, Self-Publishing 101 taught by Mark Dawson could be a good choice for you. Explore it further in our full review. It’s easily one of the most personal self publishing programs.

However, if you’ve been around the indie author scene for some time, you might already have a good understanding of most of Mark’s ideas.

#4 – Your First 10K Readers

Your First 10K Readers by Nick Stephenson stands out from several of the other teaching programs featured here due to its focus on a more advanced approach to publishing. 

You won’t find basic tips on writing a book here. This course instead offers advanced tips on how to succeed as an author if you have already mastered the fundamentals. 

If you choose Your First 10K Readers as your program of choice, expect to learn the truth about how Amazon’s algorithm operates, how to not only build but monetize your author platform, advanced approaches to book launches, and how to advertise a book on Facebook.

While it’s great to see a course aimed at intermediate and advanced publishers, not all of the material here will be useful for everyone reading this. For example, a lot of authors feel that advertising a book on Facebook isn’t as useful as advertising it on a more buyer-focused platform such as Amazon or Bookbub.  

If you feel you have a solid grasp of the basics of self-publishing and would like a structured course to take things to the next level, consider looking at Your First 10K Readers in more detail. Just be sure to look at the contents carefully to double-check it covers the material you will find useful and take action on. 

#5 – Tribe Writers 

Jeff Goins is one of the most likable people in self-publishing. 

His blog is a fantastic resource for self-publishers who see themselves as artists looking to make a decent living from doing what they love.

So what does Jeff’s Tribe Writers course cover?

The first focus of the course is helping authors to find and hone their unique voices. The course then delves into more practical aspects such as platform building, how to reach more readers, and how to eventually get published.

While there’s some useful material here, there’s not nearly as much as found in other courses. You can learn a lot more in-depth information elsewhere. 

That’s not to say that Tribe Writers is bad. Far from it. If you are a fan of Jeff Goins and want to get an understanding of his approach to platform building, this might be the right self-publishing program for you. You should compare the contents and pricing with the other programs in this guide before making your final decision. 


What is the best self-publishing software?

Well, before we take a look at five great software programs for self-publishers, let’s stop and consider how to choose the best one for your needs.

To help you weigh up different options, keep these factors in mind:

  1. Features. What features do you need from a self-publishing software program? It’s useful to write these down so you don’t overlook anything when evaluating different options.
  2. Compatibility. Is any software you’re considering compatible with the hardware you use? For example, if you want to work on Mac and iPad, you need to check compatibility with macOS and iOS.
  3. Cost. How much does the program you’re interested in cost? Is it a one-off payment or do you need to subscribe? How does this cost compare with other options?
  4. Learning curve. How difficult will it be to learn to use a particular program? Are you willing to invest the time or is it better to use a simpler option?
  5. Integrations. Is your intended program capable of integrating with other software? Do you foresee any issues using it in conjunction with your existing tools?

With those five guiding criteria in mind, let’s take a look at five of the best self-publishing software programs. 

Writing Software

#1 – Publisher Rocket

If you’re like most self-published authors, writing your book isn’t the difficult part. You’ve probably been a lover of the written word for most of your life, so putting words down on the page is a pleasure for you.

The frustration often begins when the time comes to market your book. Knowing the right categories and keywords is an entire science on its own, and figuring out manually can be seriously time-consuming.

Thankfully, a better way exists!

Self-publishing stalwart Dave Chesson of Kindlepreneur fame created the Publisher Rocket program to make his personal book marketing process more efficient and effective. It’s a powerhouse software solution for authors that takes the mystery and guesswork out of book marketing.

If you want to save wasted time and energy, you owe it to yourself to give Publisher Rocket a closer look. New features are being added all the time, such as the data you need to market your book internationally.

You can learn more about Publisher Rocket in our in-depth review here.

#2 – Scrivener

Have you tried to write an entire book using a program like Google Docs, and found it didn’t have all the features you would hope for?

If so, you’re in the same boat as a lot of other writers. As versatile and useful as Google Docs is, it wasn’t designed with book creators in mind.

Enter Scrivener!

Scrivener is one of the most fully-featured writing programs out there. It’s jam-packed with the features authors need to research, write, and export their books.

Scrivener has something of a reputation for being difficult to learn. While it does have a learning curve, it’s a lot easier to understand in its current iteration than was the case with older versions.

If you’re willing to put in some time to get to grips with Scrivener, we’re confident you’ll find it a rewarding experience. It happens to come with a full free trial so you can decide if it’s right for you before investing a single cent.

See how Scrivener compares to other options in this book writing software guide

#3 – Grammarly

If a self-editing tool isn’t part of your stack of author programs, you’re seriously missing out.

One of the main criticisms of self-publishing is that it lacks the rigor and care that an editor from a traditional publishing house would bring to the table.

To be truthful, editing is one area where some indie authors feel they can cut costs. But what if you could cut down on the amount you need to invest in a human editor by using a state of the art program in the first instance?

That’s where Grammarly comes into play. Let’s be crystal clear about one thing – Grammarly is no substitute for a talented human editor. However, it is an amazing way to self-edit your work initially, catching your most glaring errors and allowing your real editor to make deeper improvements, rather than spotting your spelling and grammar mishaps.

If you use a tool like Grammarly consistently, you’ll learn more about yourself as a writer and where your weaknesses lie. This is invaluable feedback that not only gives you polished writing but also invaluable insight.  

Delve deeper into what Grammarly is capable of with our full review here

#4 – Hootsuite

When used properly, social media is a fantastic way for self-published authors to connect directly with their readers and form meaningful connections. But it’s very much a double-edged sword for a lot of writers. There are so many different social media platforms that they can end up being a time drain that doesn’t produce meaningful results.

To avoid social media becoming a burden rather than a blessing, you need to be proactive and disciplined about the way you use it.

One of the best ways to regain control over your social media as a self-publisher is to use a program like Hootsuite to efficiently manage multiple platforms from a single app environment.

Hootsuite allows you to advance schedule content for your social media platforms. Rather than having to manually post, you can line up all your content for a period of time. This allows you to take advantage of the efficiency that comes with task batching.

If you find yourself constantly checking multiple social networks to like and reply to comments, please stop!

You can save massive amounts of time by using Hootsuite to make social media work for you, rather than the other way round.

self-publishing company


Although picking is entirely a function of your needs, we hope that our thorough look into self publishing programs as well as writing software offered you value when considering your next step. We encourage you to let us know in the comments below what course or software you choose and any results or observations you find helpful for the community to consider.

Additionally, if you have any other suggestions for the best programs out there, feel free to leave a comment!