So, you have finished your book, and you want to send it out into the world. Publishing your manuscript as an eBook on Amazon is a great way to do it. It’s a hassle-free process and will help your book reach millions of readers across the globe.
As an author of four books, I understand how difficult it is to finish a book. Thankfully, I have discovered how easy it is to publish an eBook on Amazon – it only takes a few clicks.
In this article, I will take you through the step-by-step process to publish an eBook on Amazon. While the process is pretty straight forward, there are a few tweaks that will help your book sell better.
During my journey as a self-published author, I have learned some of these by trial-and-error. I hope this article will help you fulfill your dream of publishing a book and help you publish an eBook on Amazon
Key Takeaways from this Guide to Publish an eBook on Amazon in India
Stay tuned till the end of this article, and you will learn how to publish an eBook on Amazon by discovering:
How to prepare your manuscript for publication?
What are the three key steps in Kindle Direct Publishing?
What are the different royalties for Kindle eBooks?
How to optimize your book details to boost sales?
Step 1 : Prepare Your Manuscript to publish an eBook on Amazon.in
There are umpteen guides available on the internet about how to format your manuscript. They talk about different software and methods. When I was about to format my first eBook, a novella, I was quite confused about what to use. After much trial and error, I found that Microsoft Word is all that you need to format a text-intensive manuscript, like a novel.
If you are planning to publish an image-intensive book, like a travel guide, then you might need to do some additional steps. We will look at each of these in detail.
Formatting a text-intensive manuscript in Microsoft Word
It’s relatively straightforward to format a manuscript in Microsoft Word. Here are a few tips on how to make your manuscript look professional.
Anything that goes before your main content is the front matter. It includes a title page, copyright, dedication, foreword, preface, and acknowledgment – whichever is applicable. A properly formatted front matter will give your book a professional look. If you are confused about how to go about it, check out a few of your favorite books and see how their front matter is done.
Using Proper Styles
Format the manuscript with proper styles in Word. For example, all the chapter headings can be of the style ‘Heading 1.’ Fonts usually don’t matter, as Kindle will render your content using their fonts. It’s better to use simple fonts like ‘Times New Roman’ or ‘Calibri’ with font size 12 for the content.
Insert a page break at the end of every chapter. This will ensure that your new chapters will start on a new page. If you simply include a newline or spaces, the rendering may not be correct.
Table of Contents
Insert an automatic ‘table of contents.’ Once you have all the chapters in place, you can insert an automatic table of contents. Make sure you update the TOC whenever there is a change in the manuscript.
After your content, you can include the end matter – epilogue, about the author, other books by the author – whichever is applicable.
Formatting image-intensive manuscripts using Kindle Create
It’s a bit difficult to format image-intensive books. If you try to follow the simple Microsoft Word method, formatting becomes messy when rendered as a Kindle eBook. I had quite a tough time arranging the images for my travel guides.
If you use Microsoft Word, don’t include text and images side-by-side. The formatting goes for a toss in small screens like mobile phones. Kindle Create is a simple tool for formatting image-intensive books, even though it’s not very flexible.
How to Use Kindle Create?
Kindle create is available for free download from Amazon. You can export a manuscript into Kindle Create to format it. It allows adding front matter, chapters, and back matter. The important feature of Kindle Create is that it provides templates for each of these sections.
While Kindle Create isn’t as flexible as Microsoft Word, it gives a more professional look to your manuscript. Kindle Create gives you a kpf file, which can then be uploaded to Kindle Direct Publish.
Currently, Kindle Create only supports English manuscripts. For other Indian language manuscripts, KDP accepts manuscripts only in doc or docx format.
How to Use Microsoft Word in conjunction with Kindle Previewer?
You can import your .docx manuscript to Kindle Previewer and check how it will appear on a Kindle device. You can also export your .docx manuscript to .kpf or .mobi format from the Kindle Previewer. The .mobi file can be downloaded into an actual Kindle device.
To check how it renders on the Kindle app on a smartphone, you can send your mobi file to your Kindle’s email address. After verification, the book will appear on your Kindle device or Kindle app on the smartphone.
Step 2 : Sign up On Amazon Kindle Direct Publish Website to publish an eBook on Amazon
The second step is to sign up with the kindle direct publishing (KDP) website. If you are already an Amazon customer, you can use the same credentials to sign into the KDP website. Else, you can sign up for KDP in a matter of seconds – using your email address and mobile number. Simply click on the sign-up button on the KDP home page, furnish the below details.
Once you sign-up, you will get a mail to verify your account. Upon verification, you can sign in to your KDP account. The next step is to provide your personal information like address, bank account details. Also, you need to take an online tax interview.
Step 3 : The Three-Phase Process to publish an eBook on Amazon.in
Once you have signed up and set the personal information, you can proceed to publish the book. The three phases in publishing a book through KDP are adding eBook details, adding eBook content, set the eBook pricing. First, you need to go to the ‘Book Shelf’ and click on ‘Kindle eBook,’ under the ‘Create a New Title.’
Phase 1: Kindle eBook Details to publish an eBook on Amazon
In this tab, the general information about your book needs to be furnished.
Apart from English, Kindle Direct Publishing supports many Indian languages like Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, and Gujarati. Check the drop-down menu to get the full list of languages. Choose the language of your book.
Book Title and Subtitle
This field is pretty self-explanatory.
If are planning a series of books, like a trilogy, select this option. It will allow you to create a new series or add this book to an existing series. If you are releasing an individual book, leave out this.
Provide your first name and last name as you want them to appear on the detail page of your book. Note that if you want to publish under a pen name, you need to give it in this field. Amazon will not verify this name, so no worries about using fancy pen names.
If there are multiple authors for your book, you can add them here. This is useful for anthologies. In addition, you can add your editor or illustrator.
Enter the blurb of your book in this field. This is the book description that will appear on your book’s detail page on Amazon. It’s crucial to have a catchy blurb that evokes the reader’s interest. It’s a significant factor that will boost your sales.
Keywords & Categories
Keywords are similar to the SEO keywords. They have a crucial role in the search performance of your book. You can brainstorm for keywords using these questions. “What are the terms that you expect a reader to search for?” “What are the genre and primary themes?”
The category defines the genre of your book. If you could narrow down your book into a particular genre, it will help the sales of your book. Amazon has a dynamic bestseller list for Kindle eBooks. A separate bestseller list is available for each category.
If your book belongs to a very specific category, for example, mysticism, your book might have lesser competition. You will be able to get into the bestseller list in that category with the minimum marketing effort.
You can make your book available for pre-order. If you opt to enable pre-order, Amazon will create a detail page for your book even before it’s release. Currently, the pre-order option is only available for Kindle eBooks and not paperbacks.
Enabling the pre-order option is good for book marketing. Once the book’s detail page is live on Amazon, you can use it for your book marketing – like posting on social media, share in newsletters or groups. On the date of release, your book will automatically reach the devices of customers who have pre-ordered your book.
Phase 2: Kindle eBook Content to publish an eBook on Amazon.in
This is the step where you upload the manuscript and the cover image.
This section starts by asking you if you want to enable Digital Rights Management (DRM) for your book. If the DRM is enabled, Amazon will restrict the number of Kindle devices on which a user can read your book. For a bit of research I did, enabling DRM might deteriorate the sales. I suggest you do thorough research if you would like to enable DRM.
The next step is the most important one – uploading your manuscript. As we have seen earlier, KDP recommended formats are docx, epub, or kpf format. KDP accepts some other formats as well.
Kindle eBook Cover
One of the most critical components of your eBook is its front cover. It’s the first thing that reader sees in a list of books. If the cover is striking, it will encourage the reader to read your blurb. KDP offers two options for your eBook cover.
- You can design and upload a front cover. Please make sure your front cover adheres to the Kindle cover guidelines.
- The second option is to create a cover using the KDP Cover Creator. The cover can have an image or pattern.
How to use KDP Cover Creator?
KDP provides an extensive image gallery from which you can choose a cover for your book. The first step is to choose if you want to use an image from the KDP gallery or your image. KDP provides an extensive gallery of images you can use on your cover.
The second step is to choose a book cover template that’s auto-generated based on the cover image you have chosen.
After choosing a template, you can customize various aspects of your cover – like the title, subtitle, color schemes, and fonts.
A lot of design options are available on the Kindle Cover Creator. You can experiment until you get the best results.
External software like Canva is also excellent for designing more stylish cover pages.
Kindle eBook Preview
Once you have uploaded your manuscript and the cover image, you can preview the book in the KDP previewer. KDP will automatically convert your manuscript and cover image. Launch the previewer and check how your book will appear on a Kindle device – a kindle e-reader, tablet, or mobile phone. Invest some time in flicking through every page to make sure everything is rendered correctly.
Kindle eBook ISBN
Kindle eBooks don’t need ISBN. For Kindle eBooks, Amazon has something called ASIN, which is autogenerated. If you have a print edition, you cannot reuse the ISBN from that edition. If you choose to obtain an ISBN for your Kindle eBook, you can provide it here.
Phase 3: How to price your kindle eBook in India
KDP Select Enrolment
KDP Select is a program available for Kindle eBook writers. If you choose to enroll in the KDP Select, your book will be available for Kindle Unlimited customers. Kindle Unlimited customers can ‘borrow’ your book instead of buying it. You will be paid for each page read.
If you enroll in the KDP select, then your eBook should be exclusive to Amazon. For the enrolment period (three months), the eBook cannot anywhere else, online portals, or even your blog. But, on the bright side, it will help the book reach more customers and helps you earn a higher royalty.
In this section, you need to define the rights to your eBook – whether you own the world-wide rights or territorial rights. If you haven’t published the eBook elsewhere or haven’t entered into a publishing contract(specifically for eBook), you will most likely have the world-wide publishing rights.
Royalty and Pricing
You can choose from two royalties – 35% and 70%. Here’s a comparison between 35% and 70% royalties. Please note that this chart is mostly applicable to India. You can check on Amazon KDP help for other territories.
|Minimum List Price||₹49||₹99|
|KDP Select Enrolment||Not Mandatory||Mandatory|
|Delivery Fee||None||Based on file size (INR ₹7/MB)|
You only need to decide the price of your book in the currency of your primary market place. Depending on the price of the primary market place, the price in other territories will be calculated. But you can go and edit the prices for the individual territories as well.
If you tick this option, Kindle readers will be able to lend your eBook to friends or family for 14 days. It’s a good option if you want to enhance the reach of your eBook.
Congratulations! You have now completed all the mandatory steps to publish an eBook on Amazon. Once you click on the “Publish” button, it will go for a quick review process with the KDP team. I believe there is no manual verification. It’s just an automated verification to check if your content is available elsewhere online.
If your work is present somewhere online doesn’t mean that you cannot publish it. In that case, you will get a communication from KDP, and you need to reply stating that you own the copyright. In my experience, they will take your word for it and publish the eBook on Amazon!
What happens after you Publish your eBook on Amazon in India?
You will get a mail right after the book becomes available on Amazon. In some rare cases, it takes time to appear in other market places. Once your book is live, you can still make modifications to your book at any time. That means you can edit:
KDP Select enrolment (only add, not exclude)
The changes will be visible within 72 hours. Publishing your eBook on Amazon is a highly flexible process. Once the book starts selling, you can see your sales data on the reports page.