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WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 3

Help for writers

Ebooks: How to Sell on Amazon: An overview of the KDP platform and what it offers to indie authors.

Joanne Phillips

There's just no ignoring the Zon these days - Amazon is the biggest retailer of books and ebooks, and if you want to reach readers as an indie author then a KDP account is an essential first step.

For the uninitiated, KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. Via their KDP account, authors can upload their ebooks to Amazon for free, set the price and choose categories and keywords which will help readers find their books. The entire process really is incredibly simple, and self-publishing authors who are new to the world of ebooks should not be fazed by it. We'll come back to KDP in a moment, but first let's take a look at what you'll need before you can start.

The mobi file

Once your book has been edited and proofread, you'll need to have it formatted as an ebook. EbooksDigital bookstore selling wide range of ebooks in 50 categories from Hildegard of Bingen to How to Write a Dirty Story and showing how the range of ebooks available is growing. have fluid, or reflowable, text, which means there are no fixed pages, and the reader - using the e-reading device of their choice - can change things like font size, orientation and line spacing. The main types of ebook formats are epub and mobi - and mobi is the format necessary for reading on a Kindle device or app. It is possible to turn your Word doc into a mobi file, but beware attempting to do this entirely by yourself unless you have researched the process thoroughly. (More on this in the next article in this series.) Readers are very unforgiving of poor formatting, and it would be a shame to garner negative reviews for the sake of a small outlay for professional formatting or a bit of time and effort learning how to do it properly yourself.

Get it covered

Along with your mobi file you'll need a cover. This should be in jpeg format, and remember to think about how your cover will look as a thumbnail in the Amazon store - i.e. very, very small! And in black and white, because many people are still using the earlier version of Kindle (myself included) which doesn't have a colour screen.

Ready to upload!

You can sign up for a KDP account with your Amazon account username and password. Once you're all set up it's time to upload your book ready to sell! The straightforward process also asks you for your blurb or book description, allows you to choose two categories in the Kindle ebook store, and up to seven keywords or key phrases. KDP offers two royalty options: 70% for books priced at $2.99 or over, or 35% for books priced from $0.99. Why would you choose the 35% option? There's no doubt that books priced as cheaply as 99c (or 77p) have a better chance of attracting new readers, especially if the author is new and has little or no following. It's worth experimenting with price to see what works for you and your particular title.

When you've completed all the steps simply click ‘Publish' and in a few hours your book is available for sale in the Kindle store. Then you can go and crack open the champagne!

Select or not?

We can't leave the subject of KDP without mentioning Amazon's Select programme. In return for exclusivity (meaning you can't sell a digital version of your book in any other e-store while you're enrolled), KDP Select offers authors a number of special benefits: your book will be available to Prime members, earning you extra royalties if someone ‘borrows' it; you can also set your book as Free for 5 days in any 90 day period, utilising what many indies have found to be a valuable promotional tool. You will earn a higher royalty rate on sales in areas such as Japan and India. The downside is exclusivity - while your book is only for sale on Kindle, readers with other devices, such as the Kobo, will not be able to download it. Many authors choose to enrol their book in KDP Select for the first six months or so, and then once they have maxed out on their free promotions, leave Select and roll the title out to the other stores.

WritersServices Self-publishing offers a well-established assisted self-publishing service, as well as its highly-regarded copy editing and proof-reading services.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 1: What is self-publishing?

An explanation of self-publishing as it stands today, introducing the term ‘indie' and a brief overview of routes to market for indie authors.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 2: Choose Your Self-publishing Route

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 4

Ebooks: Formatting your book for Kindle

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 5

Ebooks: Distributing to Other Eretailers

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 6

Cover Design Know-how: Tips from a top designer on how to make your indie cover look professional and stand out from the crowd.

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 7

Print On Demand for Indies

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 8

Ebooks: Pricing Strategies for Indie Authors

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 9

Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors: Online

WritersServices Self-publishing Guide 10

Marketing and Promotion for Indie Authors


Joanne Phillips lives in Shropshire, England with her husband and young daughter. She divides her time between writing novels and freelance indexing. She's the author of commercial women's fiction Can't Live Without and The Family Trap, and the Flora Lively Investigates series of cosy mysteries. Can't Live Without was an Amazon top 100 bestseller in 2012 and her books regularly appear on category bestseller lists. Joanne blogs about writing and publishing at

Connect on:
Twitter: @joannegphillips

Other articles by Joanne Phillips on the WritersServices site:

The Business of Writing
The Ins and Outs of Indexing
How to Market Your Book Online