How to Self Publish yourself on Amazon

by Hope Ann
Ready to self-publish on Amazon?
Considering self-publication on Amazon but don’t have a clue where to start or what to expect? Take a glimpse behind-the-scenes, so when the time comes to push the button and create your own ebook, you already know what lies ahead of you.

Before you publish
Assuming your book is already proofread and edited, the next step is formatting. You can hire someone to do this for you from places like Fiverr, or you can spend an hour or two and format the book yourself. Though some people use HTML code, I’ve found that following Amazon’s free ebook of guidelines using Microsoft Word works very well and is pretty easy to do. You can download a free copy of their formatting guidelines here.
You also need a cover. Don’t rush this step. Almost everyone judges a book by its cover to some extent and you don’t want your months of writing ignored because of a sloppy cover, especially when you can hire someone on Fiverr to make a good cover for as low as $20. Amazon’s guidelines for ebook covers can be found here.
Finally, research categories and keywords. You’ll be allowed to chose two categories and seven categories when you self-publish your book, so pick the best ones you can to increase your book’s chance of being found in a random search.
Categories can be found on Amazon’s sidebar, with subcategories and sub-subcategories. Once you click a category, the number of books for that category will appear in the upper left hand corner, giving you an idea of the competition. If you click the first few books and scroll down to the book information, you can see what number the ebook is ranked in the kindle store, getting an idea of how popular the category is. Together, these numbers will help you figure out what categories will give your book its best chance.
Keywords are somewhat similar. Think of Amazon like a search engine and imagine what people looking for a book like yours might type in. Try out the keywords and see how many results you get and what the books are ranked.
Finally, set up your Amazon account. Even if you have one already, you’ll have to get a KDP account and enter in tax and bank information, as well as chose a payment option (electronic transfer, check, etc.).
The Publishing Process
On your KDP dashboard, right at the very top, you’ll have an option to create a new title. Once you’ve clicked it, you only have two pages to fill out.
The first page is metadata about your book. You enter in your title, subtitle, series name (if it’s part of one), author name, a description, categories (after all your category research, the categories you see here and the ones you see on Amazon aren’t quite the same. You might have to do some experimenting with them to get your book in the categories you want), keywords, and the age range of your book (optional, but if you want your book in a children’s or young adult category, you might need to use it). At the bottom of the page, upload your cover and manuscript, and move on!
The second page is all about money. You set the price for your book and choose your royalty option. You can select between receiving 35% royalties or 70% royalties. To use the 70% option, your book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Once you’ve chosen your price, you push publish, wait around 12 hours, and your book will be live on Amazon and ready to buy!
After Publication
You can’t set a book’s price to free, but if you want an permafree ebook for marketing purposes, you can upload it somewhere like Smashwords, then contact Amazon to ask them to price match your book. They’ll generally do so within a few days.
Also, if you find a mistake, want to update a portion of your book, or change a category or the description, it’s very easy. Just click on the book in your dashboard and it will take you to the same pages you filled in when you published the book. Switch or change whatever you like, push publish again, and the changes will be live around twelve hours later.
Set up an account on Amazon Author Central so people can look you up and see what else you’ve written.

How to self publish Yourself


8 thoughts on “How to Self Publish yourself on Amazon

  1. A lot of good info here, but just reading it, sounds like a lot of digging and basic research to get the categories and keywords just right.
    As for the covers, that might be an issue with me, for I don’t have money to put into it, nor the artistic talent do make a good one myself.
    Still, thank you for spelling it out. I do hope to have a title on there eventually, other than my less-than-desirable self-pub’d poetry book.
    Thank you for taking the time to explain it all. For one like me, trying to do so with no knowledge of how it works would turn into a veritable nightmare.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes self publishing is a lot of work and costly too. Another way would be sending it directly to publishers in the hope, that they accept your work for publishing. It’s hard work but they pay for all. That’s what I’m aiming to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As it happens, I do have one of my works, not posted on my blog or site, that is being considered. I have a bit of nervousness, as I keep expecting an email telling me they changed their minds. I’ll probably have a bit of corrections to do, maybe have to add some more to get a higher word count, but that they are considering it is a thrill.
        I’ll not go into more detail, for every time I’ve had a big event looming, if I brag all over the place, it falls through. Let’s hope for the best. 🙂
        I hope you can get some of yours out there, too! I think going with a publisher would be best, but that doesn’t mean there’s no work for the Author to do. They will still expect us to work some marketing and other stuff, plus if it’s a series, which seems all the rage these days, more writing has to be done as well.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah yes, I can relate to the bragging events, it’s just we are eager to share our excitement till me realise otherwise.
        The waiting game is so brutal, it makes you check your email literally a few times a day, but congratulations John. I’m so happy for you, you seem like a lovely persona and you deserve recognition for your work John.
        Wish you all the bests and once it is successfully published do share some information on your book, so I can purchase as copy,read it and review back.
        More than happy to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Aaww I’m happy to hear that John and I am looking forward to reading your work. I do now and again review books for Netgalley, when I get the time but I’m glad to hear you’re happy. All the best.

        Liked by 1 person

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