Format a Book in Word: Self-Publish Your Kindle Ebook

By Colin Dunbar

Self-publishing a Kindle ebook is really easy. It takes a few minutes to fill in your details and upload your files. Then within 12 hours (English language books) your Kindle ebook is live in the Amazon Kindle Store. Easy-peasy.

Before you open the Kindle Digital Publishing (KDP) site, you should have the following readily available:

  • Your formatted Word file (see Kindle Formatting)
  • Book title and sub-title (if you have one)
  • Your cover image
  • Your book description (400 characters or less, including spaces)
  • Know the category for your book (or have a good idea)
  • Keywords (choose up to seven); two words count as one keyword, e.g. self publishing is considered one keyword.
  • Your financial information (for your royalty payments)


Have the above in a text file, then you can just copy and paste when you upload your information and files.

Got all the goodies?

Let’s publish…
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There are 2 steps when you upload your ebook files (Amazon refers to these as steps, but they are more like sections); within each section there are actually a number of steps.

The steps are…

Step 1 – Your book
1. Enter Your Book Details
2. Verify Your Publishing Rights
3. Target Your Book to Customers
4. Select Your Book Release Option
5. Upload or Create a Book Cover
6. Upload Your Book File
7. Preview Your Book
Step 2 – Rights & Pricing
8. Verify Your Publishing Territories
9. Set Your Pricing and Royalty
10. Kindle Matchbook
11. Kindle Book Lending

Optional – KDP Select Benefits

You can decide if you want to enroll in the KDP Select program. According to Amazon, the benefits include:

  • You earn higher royalties
  • You maximize your book’s sales potential, and
  • You can reach a new (wider) audience.

More details about KDP Select are available here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A6KILDRNSCOBA

Upload Your Files

If you have an Amazon account, you can use your existing login details to log into KDP here: https://kdp.amazon.com/

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After you log in to your KDP account, the main dashboard will display. If this is your first Kindle ebook, the dashboard will be empty.

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Click the Add new title button on the left of the window.

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The Bookshelf will display.

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1. Enter Your Book Details

NOTE: Open your text file where you have your book details (you did put it in a text file, didn’t you?), then you can just copy and paste your information.

Type your book title in the Book name field.

If you have a subtitle, type this in the Subtitle field.

If your book is part of a series, tick the checkbox adjacent to This book is part of a series.

Enter the edition number in the Edition number field. If this is the first edition, you can leave this blank.

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You will probably need to scroll down to continue…

The next field is the name of the publisher. As you are self-publishing, type your name (or the business name you are using) in the Publisher field (you also have the option of leaving it blank).

Copy your book description (or type it) in the Description field.

Click the Add Contributors button. Type your First and Last name, and choose the Title of Author. If you don’t enter your name here, your name will not display on your book’s page in Amazon.

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You must add your name as the Author next. If you don’t do this your name won’t appear on your book’s page in Amazon. Click the Add contributors button; choose Author and add your first and last name. You will be able to add the first and last name of any of the following (Title):

  • Author
  • Editor
  • Foreword (the name of person who wrote the Foreword)
  • Illustrator
  • Introduction (if someone other than you wrote this)
  • Narrator (for audio books)
  • Photographer
  • Preface
  • Translator

NOTE: If someone else designed your book cover, you can add their name as the Illustrator.

REMEMBER: You must add your name as the Author here. If you don’t do this your name won’t appear on your book’s page in Amazon.

If your book was a joint writing venture, you can add the other author(s) here as well.

If your book is another language, choose the language from the Language drop down menu.

Enter your ISBN in the next field.

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And scroll down…

2. Verify Your Publishing Rights

If you are publishing a public domain book, read the What’s this? pop-up.

If you’re publishing an original work that your wrote, click the second radio button, indicating that it’s not a public domain work.

3. Target Your Book to Customers

“A browse category is the section of the Kindle store where users can browse to your book.”

Click the Add Categories button, and choose the category for your book (there are many).

If your book has a specific age group (e.g. children’s books), choose the Age Range using the relevant Minimum and Maximum drop down buttons.

Similarly, choose the U.S. Grade Range if this is applicable to your book.

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The last requirement in this section is your keywords. These are the keywords prospective buyers will use to find your ebook in the Kindle Store.

You can enter up to 7 keywords – double keyword phrases count as 1 keyword, e.g. self-publishing is considered 1 keyword.

And we’re onto the last sections…

4. Select Your Book Release Option

If you are ready to go live with your ebook, click the first radio button (I am ready to release my book now).
If you’re not ready, and want to make use of Amazon’s pre-order service, click the second radio button (Make my book available for pre-order (details of pre-ordering are available here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=AGSSZQVFKECO5)).

5. Upload or Create a Book Cover

If you have your cover image available, click the Browse for image… button; the following window will display. Click the Save changes and continue button.

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After your details are saved the following window will display.

Click the Browse button and select your cover image on your computer’s hard drive, and upload it.

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Depending on the file size of your cover image, this may take a few minutes. The following message will display while your cover is being uploaded to KDP.

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When your cover image is uploaded the following will display.

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If you haven’t had a professional cover created, you can make use of the Cover Creator tool in KDP. As your book’s cover is important, you will need to decide if you want to make use of the cover creator, or rather go with a professional cover designer.

Details about the Cover Creator are available here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A1DHGMW609HBI8

If you fancy yourself a designer, you can use the free Canva to design your book cover. Keep in mind that your book cover can effect your sales. Canva have amazing examples to get your creative juices flowing… https://www.canva.com/templates/book-covers

We’re nearly there… :o)

6. Upload Your Book File

If this is your first time self-publishing, I highly recommend you read the What’s this? message.
Choose the option you want by clicking the relevant radio button.

Click the Browse button and select the Word file of your ebook on your computer’s hard drive, and upload it.

Similar to your cover image, the following message will display while your book file is uploading.

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And that will be followed by the following message…

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Depending on the file size of your Word document, this may take a few minutes (or longer). Although the message suggests saving and continuing, I always keep everything as is, and wait (ok, I may go make myself a cup of tea :o)).

When your file is uploaded, the following will display.

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The Spell Check notice is a handy feature… but this will pick up any names in your book file, e.g. people or place names. If this is the case, click the View them link and if it’s only people or place names, you can ignore it.

We’re very close, now…

7. Preview Your Book

You now have the option of previewing your Kindle ebook.

Choose the option you want to use and check if everything looks as it should.

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This is what your Kindle ebook will look like when you preview it:

09a kindle
If you’re satisfied with your ebook, you can click the Save and Continue button.

Alternatively, if you see something that’s not quite right, you can fix the glitch, and re-upload your Word file.

NOTE: You also have the option to download a book preview file. This is the Kindle .mobi file, and you can then use the Send to Kindle (available for PC and Mac) tool to view it on your Kindle device. You can download this tool here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/sendtokindle/pc

Or, if it’s been a long night (or day), you can click the Save as Draft button, and return at another time. You can safely log out and return later.

If you published your ebook, you will see this at the top of the window:

If you saved your ebook as a draft, the Complete will be replaced with In progress.

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If you did save your draft, and return to KDP, you will see your book listed in the Bookshelf, and the status will display as Draft (see below).

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Click on the title of your book.

Your book’s details page will display.

You can now make any changes, or re-upload your cover or book interior file.

If everything is in order, you can click the Save and Continue button, and move on to Step 2.

8. Verify Your Publishing Territories

You have the option to select only certain territories to sell your book in, but I advise you choose Worldwide rights (why leave money on the table, right?).

Click the relevant (Worldwide rights – all territories) radio button.

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9. Set Your Pricing and Royalty

Next up is setting your price.

The KDP Pricing Support is a new service, and still in Beta, but it could be useful. You can check what other books similar to yours are priced at.

For example, for my book, the following was presented:

KDP Pricing Support (Beta)
Based on historic data for KDP books similar to The Little Book of Encouragement for Aspiring Self-Publishers, a list price of $2.99 (USD) in a 70% royalty plan maximizes author earnings.

Click the View Service button to check the pricing for other books similar to yours.

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At the bottom of the graph, you have the option of accepting the suggested price, or declining it, and returning to the page you were on.

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If you choose Yes, you will return to your Rights and Pricing page, and the suggested price will be entered automatically. You will notice the applicable prices in other currencies are also displayed.

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If you don’t accept the suggested price, you will return to the Rights and Pricing page, and you need to enter your List Price manually.

Scroll down and view all the currency prices, and check the exclusions.

10. Kindle MatchBook

If you already have a hard copy of your book available on Amazon, Kindle MatchBook offers your customer the option to purchase your Kindle version for $2.99 or less. This is applicable even if they have previously purchased your hard copy book.

11. Kindle Book Lending

This allows your customers to lend your book to friends and family, after they have purchased it, for a period of 14 days.

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Remember to click the rights checkbox at the end of the page.

If you are satisfied with everything, you can click the Save and Publish button. If you’re not ready to publish your ebook, click the Save as Draft button.

If you choose to publish your ebook, the following message will display briefly. Click the Back to Your Bookshelf button when it becomes active.

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You will see that the status of your ebook is now In Review, and you cannot access your book details.

Congratulations!

Your Kindle ebook is now published to Amazon. Notice that it will take about 12 hours (if your book is in English) to be live in the Kindle store (about 48 hours for non-English books).

Sign out, and I think it’s in order to say we can take a break… :o)

After everything is uploaded to KDP, you will receive and e-mail (see below) confirming that your book is available in the Kindle Store.

It doesn’t matter how many books I self-publish, this is always exciting for me – waiting to receive the e-mail.
This is the e-mail you will receive from Amazon…

NOTE: I suggest reading the mail, and even check out the links within the mail.

SUBJECT: Your book is available in the Kindle Store!

Congratulations, your book “The Little Book of Encouragement for Aspiring Self-Publishers” is live in the Kindle Store and is available* for readers to purchase here. If you have republished your book, your changes are now live.
Thank you for publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Now that your book is live, we would like to highlight KDP Select, an optional program that offers KDP publishers the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money.
It’s easy to enroll your book in KDP Select. You can make your book exclusive to Kindle for a 90-day enrollment period and start enjoying some of these great benefits: Earn a share of the monthly global fund when your book is selected and read past 10% from Kindle Unlimited or borrowed from KOLL. Plus, use the book promotion tools including Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting you set for your book on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk to help readers discover your book or schedule a Free Book Promotion so readers worldwide can get your book free for a limited time.

Visit your KDP Bookshelf to select your book and click “Enroll” under KDP Select.

Best regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team

Here are some additional author resources to help you sell more books:

  • Create a dedicated Author Page – You can increase your sales potential on Amazon by creating an Author Central account and share your most up-to-date information with a dedicated author page. Publishers, be sure to work with your authors to set up their Author Central accounts as well. Click on the links below to create author pages on different Amazon marketplaces.

Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.de
Amazon.fr
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.jp

  • Publish your book in print with CreateSpace – It’s easy to publish a print edition of your book with Amazon’s CreateSpace. You can use free tools to build and publish your book or take advantage of professional publishing services. You will keep control of your work and can make your book available to millions of readers worldwide on Amazon.com and other channels. Click here to get started.
  • Create your audiobook with ACX – The Audiobook Creation Exchange (ACX) makes it easy to turn your book into an audiobook and create a new revenue stream. ACX connects authors with professional audio producers to create audiobooks. Learn more about ACX’s distribution options and royalties here.
  • Join Our KDP Community – KDP Forums are a great place to learn from others and share your experiences about independent publishing. Click here to check out the community.
  • Merchandise your book – Take advantage of promoting your book with some ideas on how to merchandise, visit our tips here.

Use these helpful links to make any updates to your book:

  • Refer to our guide, Building Your Book for Kindle, or visit our Help page for information on modifying your content.
  • Adjust the price of your book at any time; click our Help page for details on how to enter pricing information.
  • For instructions on including descriptive information, such as title, author, or description, visit this Help page.

*Please note that the product description may take up to 24-48 hours to appear on the detail page, and links to the book’s physical counterpart may take up to 48 hours. For information on how the detail pages are linked, visit our Help Page. If you are resubmitting your content file or updating your book details, the changes should display live within the next 24-48 hours.

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You’ve just self-published your Kindle ebook, and it’s available in the Amazon Kindle Store!
Is that cool, or what?

See you next time for uploading to Smashwords.

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2 Comments

Filed under Kindle Publishing

2 responses to “Format a Book in Word: Self-Publish Your Kindle Ebook

  1. Awesome blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a
    little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free
    platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there
    that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips?

    Appreciate it!

    • I went with the free version, but registered my own domain name. As for tips with writing… it was Stephen King who said, “Ass to the chair.” :o) It’s a matter of sitting down and writing. The hard part with writing is promoting/marketing your book.

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