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How to Publish an eBook on Amazon's Kindle Store


Amazon.com is currently the largest online ebook retailer, and so it's the first place you want to list your eBook as an aspiring writer looking to e-publish your masterpiece.

However, just to torture you, Amazon's eReaders — known as The Kindle Touch and The Kindle Fire — don't read digital files the same way your standard home computer does. Amazon's Kindle eReaders can't read MS Word .doc or .docx files.

Instead, each Kindle eBook listed for sale on Amazon.com is formatted in Amazon's own propietary ".Mobi" format. That means, when people buy and download eBooks from Amazon's online store onto their Kindle eReaders, they are downloading special file formats that YOU — aspiring writer who wants to publish their eBook on Amazon.com -- needs to understand.

For this reason, we have broken up the process of publishing an eBook on Amazon.com into two steps:


STEP 1-A. Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

You would think that figuring out how to upload your book to Amazon's Kindle Store would be pretty obvious.

Guess what? It's kinda not that obvious.

We don't know why, but Amazon has chosen to make the procedure of publishing an eBook a game of "cyber-hide-and-seek", and so, step one is actually all about finding the friggin' Kindle EBook Publishing Link on Amazon.com.

We found the secret portal link by scrolling down to the bottom of the main Amazon page, and looking for the sub-header: MAKING MONEY WITH US -->Self Publish with Us --> KINDLE BOOKS (on the sidebar).

That said, we're not big money whores, so maybe that's why it took us about 10 minutes to find it. Note to selves: work on becoming bigger money whores.



STEP 1-B. Your Amazon "Kindle Store" Account:

Create a new Amazon Account, Use Your Existing Amazon Account, or Create an Separate Account Using a Pen Name

In order to sell ebooks on Amazon's Kindle Store, you need an Amazon.com account.

If you already have an account, and you don't mind using the same account to purchase vintage Jane Fonda exercise videos as you do to sell your erotica eBooks, then simply sign-in.

However, if you want to keep your eBook-Church and "Kitchen-Appliance-Shopping"-State separate, OR if you don't have already have an Amazon account, you'll need to register for an account as a new member.

If you're interested in snagging an agent or a traditional publishing deal, but you want to sell your eBooks in the meantime, then we recommend using a different author name and title than the one you're using to query agents. If you use a pen name and a different title, there's no way anyone will ever know that your book is self-published on Amazon — unless, of course, you tell them.

And although it starts to feel like literary espionage — multiple accounts, and names, and titles, and passports — if you want to digitally self-publish your ebook while you're waiting for Ms. Agent and Mr. BIG Publisher to discover you, we say: "Go for it!"

Once you've signed into whatevah-account-you-wanna-use, scroll down to the bottom of the page to MAKE MONEY WITH US --> Self-Publish with Us --> Kindle Book.

Okay, so you're here ---> Welcome to Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing. Right? Boy, is that a mouth-full or what? From this page, and this page only, you need to click on the SIGN-IN button again, and proceed to STEP 1-C.

STEP 1-C. The "Tax and Money" Part

Setting Up Your Kindle Store Account with Your Bank Account and IRS Reporting Information:

One of the most important parts of setting up your Amazon "Kindle Store" account is finding the Secret Portal Ebook Prompt --> YOUR ACCOUNT IS INCOMPLETE. TO PUBLISH A BOOK, YOU WILL NEED TO COMPLETE THIS. UPDATE NOW...

This prompt appears in the upper-right hand corner after you have followed Step 1-A and 1-B and logged into your Amazon account. Go ahead and click on UPDATE NOW, and then complete all your legal, tax mumbo jumbo that's require for Amazon to ultimately pay you when your ebook is selling like hot tamales.

This is the only section where you'll need to use your real name or entity information. And remember, it's all about the moohla, right? Ahhhhh, riiiiiiiiiiight. Becoming bigger money whores. *licking pencil -- scratching off the list* Check!

Basically, you go through this rigmarole in order to set-up your tax and bank account info and receive a Publisher Code. This Publisher Code is tied to your Amazon account, so again, if you don't want your back-to-school shopping exploits to be tied to your erotica eBook publishing hobby, it's probably best to create a new, separate Amazon account from the get-go.

Congrats, your Amazon "Kindle Store" has been updated and you can now start publishing your eBook — fiiiiiiiiinally.

STEP 1-D. Uploading Your eBook to Your Kindle Store

And Other Details like eBook Formatting How-to's, Cover Art Image Tips, and DRM Explanations

Go ahead and login to your Kindle Direct Publishing account.

You will now need to upload your eBook to your BookShelf. Simply follow the link that says: To start publishing a book on Amazon Kindle, add a new title.

The process of uploading a book is separated into two phases:

Phase 1 - The Book Basics:

This phase includes listing various stats like title, edition, description, language, publishing rights, category, product image, and digital rights management (DRM).

A Few Details:

  • Your Author Name: Use a Pen Name for Your Pen Name if you're worried about an agent or potential publisher discovering that you digitally self-pubbed your book

  • Cover Image: 750 x 1200 pixels - aspect ratio of 1.6 - JPEG or TIF (for Kindle Direct Publishing account upload). And 900px x 1100px for your greyscale Kindle book cover uploaded into Mobipocket. Honestly, we're still experimenting on this front, but it should be noted that the Amazon says in its dimension guidelines: a minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side; and for best quality, your image should be 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side.

    Here's the problem with that: if you're using royalty-free stock photos or images on your cover, you're going to have a hard time coming up with inexpensive images that are 1500px x 2500px. So what Amazon is really telling you -- make sure you upload a pretty large book cover with a decent resolution. Again, we've had luck with 750 x 1200 pixels.

  • Publisher: If you're self-pubbing, it's fine to leave this blank.

  • To DRM or Not to DRM: If you allow for DRM encryption, then users won't be able to physically transfer your eBook between devices, but they'll still be able to access your eBook on other devices via Amazon's various Kindle apps for iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, etc. If you do choose non-DRM, then your eBook will show "Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited" in your eBook's profile page.

  • Uploading your manuscript: After you actually upload your file, a Kindle Simulator will appear and you can review how your manuscript will look on the Kindle. If you're a PC user, we highly recommend that you use our How to Covert Your Manuscript into a Kindle eBook Guide. If you're a Mac user, use Calibre to generate both your ePUB and Kindle Mobi formats.


STOP the premature hyper-ventilating... yes, it's overwhelming, but the good news is that you can work on it bit-by-bit, save a draft, and then return to it whenever you're having insomnia and need something to work on to put you to sleep.

Plus, you need to save your hyper-ventilating for after you're actually pressed the PUBLISH button.

Phase 2 - Rights & Pricing:

You cannot skip to the Rights & Pricing Page until you've finished with The Book Basics page. So hunker down, pour water on your face, and get it done.