If you’re new to self-publishing, you’re starting at a great time. Most aspiring authors like you are choosing to self-publish over any other way. And the self-publishing platforms, tools, and resources keep getting better.
So many people are self-publishing that CreateSpace merged with KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) to keep up with the demand. This is great news for self-published authors! KDP is now the best place for self-published authors to publish paperback and digital books.
For published authors, this means no more creating and managing print books in CreateSpace and eBooks in KDP. For new authors, this means they have to make fewer publishing decisions. And they can start with one integrated self-publishing platform.
In this article, I’m going to break down everything you need to know about self-publishing with KDP. Let’s get started!
Note: If you like this article, consider signing up for our self-publishing course. BookWorthy covers every step of the self-publishing process. We even dive deep into the KDP platform so you have the confidence to self-publish your book.
KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is a self-service website that allows anyone to publish both ebooks and paperback books for free. Amazon owns KDP (and holds at least 80% of the ebook market).
The KDP platform isn’t only a self-publishing platform. They also educate writers along the self-publishing process with free resources and tools that make it pretty easy to publish your book.
But, everyone who’s done this before knows that publishing is only one step in the self-publishing journey. In fact, most self-published authors I work with don’t have much trouble publishing at all. They often get stuck long before they even get decide to use KDP.
There’s a ton of work that goes into coming up with your idea, creating an outline, and figuring out how to write a book. But, when you get to publishing, there’s no better platform than KDP.
There are many other self-publishing platforms to choose from. Many authors choose to work with Lulu, BookBaby, or even Barnes & Noble Press. Some authors even choose to work with a vanity publisher like Author House or Xlibris.
We’ve done our research. And for every other self-publishing platform, the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. Here are three reasons we teach our students to self-publish with KDP.
It’s easy to be naive as an aspiring self-published author. But don’t be. Everyone you work with wants to control a part of the process. They want a piece of the pie you’re baking.
With KDP, you get to keep control of your rights and set your own list prices. You can make changes to your book at any time. And, compared to other platforms, KDP takes the smallest percentage of your royalties.
Publishing with KDP means that you get to earn up to 70% royalty on book sales. That percentage changes depending on whether you’re publishing a paperback or an ebook. And which distribution channels you’re using. But as the author, you’re still getting the best deal.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough room to dive deep into the KDP royalty structure here. But we cover the details of how to calculate your exact royalties in the BookWorthy self-publishing course.
Because KDP is owned by Amazon, most print and ebooks published through the KDP platform have worldwide distribution rights, which means that customers from around the world can buy your book on Amazon.com and it’s affiliated sites (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.ca, Amazon.com.au, etc.).
If you’re interested in reaching more readers outside of Amazon, you can enable Expanded Distribution for your paperback. You’ll be able to get your book in bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and online retailers.
If you’re still reading, it’s my guess that you’re serious about self-publishing a book. And it’s likely that you’re at least interested in self-publishing with KDP.
On their site, KDP provides a few great resources to help people navigate the self-publishing process.
But, to be honest, their site is tough to navigate and it can be easy to get overwhelmed. So I provided a simplified process below to help you get started with self-publishing on KDP.
The truth is that nobody publishes a book alone. Don’t believe me? Read the BookWorthy self-publishing stories and you’ll see a common thread. Our students got stuck because they didn’t know where to start or they were trying to self-publish alone.
Don’t make the same mistakes. Register for BookWorthy and you’ll never feel lost, confused, or alone.
If you’ve already written your book, go ahead and skip this step. If you haven’t, do yourself a favor and read my article: How to Write a Book in 30 Days. In this article, I shared our best book writing secrets. People like you have read this article and written a book in 30 days that they’re proud of.
You can either format your manuscript yourself or hire a designer. In chapter six and seven of BookWorthy, we teach you how to do all of this for free. And we include plug-and-play templates in various sizes that you can use with Microsoft Word or Google Docs.
And before you can publish your book, you’ll need print-ready cover. Like editing, you can hire a professional designer or illustrator, but you don’t have to. In 5 Free Book Cover Makers for Non-Designers, we reviewed the best book cover makers on the market for aspiring authors like you.
KDP holds strict content and paperback formatting guidelines. This is to ensure high-quality work from the authors who self-publish on their platform. In fact, KDP rejected the BookWorthy Workbook a few times because of minor formatting issues.
If you have an Amazon account, signing up for KDP is easy. Visit the KDP homepage and click “Sign In” on the top right. If you don’t have an Amazon account, you can create one for free.
Once you’re signed in, you’ll want to find the “Create a New Title” section and click “Kindle eBook” in your bookshelf. If you want to publish a paperback book, you can create an eBook edition of your paperback by clicking “Create eBook” next to the book on your bookshelf.
The next step is to enter your book details: title, description, keywords, categories, etc.
After you’ve entered basic information on your book, you’ll want to upload your content. Upload your manuscript and cover. Then preview your book.
You’ll need to select the territories where you hold distribution rights, select a royalty plan, and set your list price.
If each item I listed is overwhelming to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. In BookWorthy, we break down each of these technical aspects of publishing in a way that makes it all feel simple.
Last but not least, you’ll want to finally push the “Publish” button. This is when you become a published author! If you published a physical book you’ll finally get to hold it in your hands.
Imagine if you could spend three months with someone who saved you three years of mistakes. And what if that person provided shortcuts that would’ve helped you realize your dream of becoming a published author?
Whether you’re at the starting line or you’re stuck in the process, register for BookWorthy. You’ll get the tools, resources, and accountability you need to make it across the finish line. It’s almost like having a person self-publishing team.
Imagine what it’ll be like to hold your own published book in the palms of your hands. Your story is worth publishing. Register for BookWorthy today.
Simon Villeneuve is the Co-Founder of BookWorthy.com. He's also a marketing consultant who helps organizations tell a better story that inspires their customers to action.MORE ARTICLES