How Does Amazon KDP Work? Complete Beginner’s Guide 2023

Considering penning a book? You’ve come to the correct location for guidance on how to accomplish it.

Let’s talk about Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP for short.

It’s a platform that lets you publish your books online and get them in front of millions of readers. Why is it important to know about KDP?

Well, if you’re an aspiring author, understanding KDP can make your dream of becoming a published author come true. And guess what? You don’t have to be a computer wizard to get started.

In this article, you’ll learn how to set up your account, the benefits of using KDP, and even some tips on writing your book. So, let’s dive in.

What is Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)?

So, what exactly is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, commonly known as KDP? Imagine having a tool that lets you upload your digital products and sell it to people all over the world. That’s what KDP does.

It’s an online service that allows you to self-publish your books and make them available to millions. Yep, millions.

And don’t worry, you’re not limited to just selling ebooks. You can also publish print books and even audiobooks if that’s your thing. This is where KDP becomes really handy.

Remember, it’s not just about long novels or detailed how-to guides. You can also publish what’s called ‘low content’ books, like planners or coloring books.

Here’s how it works: You create your book, format it, design a cover, and then upload everything to KDP. Once you’ve done that, your book can be bought on Amazon websites globally.

You can set your own prices, and you even get to keep up to 70% of the sales. It’s like having your own little bookshop, but it’s open 24/7, and people from all around the world can visit.

how does amazon kdp work

How to Create a KDP Account?

Alright, you’re pumped about publishing your book, but first things first: you need a KDP account. Don’t worry, setting it up is pretty straightforward.

Let’s dive into the steps.

Step 1: Sign-up

First off, head over to the KDP website. You’ll find a big ‘Sign Up’ button. Can’t miss it. Click it, and you’ll be asked to enter your Amazon account info. If you don’t have an Amazon account, no big deal, you can create one right there. Just follow the prompts and you’re good to go.

Step 2: Enter Company/Publisher Details

Next up, you’ll be asked for some details. If you’re a solo writer, you might not have a ‘company,’ and that’s okay. Just use your own name or pen name. But if you do have a small publishing company or you’re thinking business-minded, go ahead and enter your company name. They’ll also ask for your address, phone number, and all that basic stuff. Just fill it out.

Step 3: Fill In Your Tax Information

Don’t skip this part; it’s crucial. You’ll need to give some tax information so you can get paid. Again, the form will guide you through it. It might seem a little overwhelming, but take it step by step and you’ll be fine.

amazon kdp

Is a KDP Account Free?

Here’s some good news: Signing up for a KDP account is absolutely free. That’s right, no hidden fees or charges. However, keep in mind that when you do make sales, Amazon takes a cut. But you’re not paying anything upfront to get your book out there.

And there you go, you’ve just created your KDP account! You’re one big step closer to becoming a published author.

Benefits of Publishing on Amazon KDP:


Let’s uncover the main reasons why you should get into self-publishing on Amazon in the first place:

  • Massive Reach: First up, we’ve got to mention the giant audience Amazon brings to the table. We’re talking millions of readers from around the world. When you publish here, you’re not just throwing your book into the void and hoping someone finds it. Nope, you’re putting it on a platform that people trust and visit regularly. It’s like setting up a stand in the world’s biggest marketplace.
  • Access to a Wide Range of Tools: If you’re a first-timer, don’t sweat it. Amazon KDP offers a bunch of handy tools to make your life easier. They’ve got stuff like cover design templates, writing guides, and sales tracking. Whether you’re tech-savvy or not, these tools are easy to use and can help you make a polished final product.
  • Option to Publish in Different Formats: You’re not just stuck with eBooks here. Amazon KDP lets you play around with different formats like print and audiobooks. So, if you’ve written a novel, a cookbook, or even a low-content journal, you’re covered.
  • Easy Set-Up: Here’s a big one: the setup process is straightforward. You don’t need to be a computer genius to navigate it. The site walks you through each step, from entering your book details to setting up your payment info. The user-friendly interface is a big win, especially if you’re new to this.
  • Get Supporting Features to Boost Your Sales: Last but not least, KDP offers features like countdown deals and free book promotions. They also offer targeted advertising options, so you can get your book in front of the people who are most likely to be interested in it.

Related: Pros & Cons of Self-Publishing on Amazon KDP

What Content Can You Publish on KDP?

Alright, so you’re sold on the idea of publishing with Amazon KDP, but now you’re wondering – What can I actually publish? The answer is a lot! KDP isn’t just for traditional books. Here’s a quick rundown of the types of content you can publish:

  • Novels
  • Short Stories
  • Poetry Collections
  • Cookbooks
  • Children’s Books
  • Graphic Novels
  • Non-fiction books (Self-help, How-to guides, Biographies, etc.)
  • Academic Papers
  • Journals and Planners (Yes, low-content books too!)
  • Magazines
  • Coloring Books
  • Comic Books
  • Travel Guides
  • Language Learning Books
  • Business Reports

The list is long and varied, giving you tons of opportunities to share your skills and ideas with the world. Whether you’re a novelist, a researcher, or someone who just has valuable information to share, KDP has got you covered.

You can go all out and publish a full-fledged novel, or keep it simple with a planner or a journal. The choice is yours, and the platform offers the flexibility to make it happen.

How to Write a Book for Amazon Kindle?

how to write an ebook for amazon kdp

Writing a Kindle eBook can seem daunting, but it’s really not that bad when you break it down. Here are some tips to get you started.

Pick a Niche

First things first, you need to pick a niche or topic that you’re passionate about. This will make the writing process easier and more enjoyable. Plus, if you’re an expert or have a unique take on the subject, even better! Your unique perspective can add value to your readers’ lives.

Stick to Non-Fiction

While fiction books do sell on Kindle, non-fiction tends to be more straightforward to market. If you’re an expert in a particular field or have a specific skill set, use that to your advantage. Guidebooks, how-to manuals, and educational content often perform well. But remember, you can publish other types of content too, even low-content books like journals and planners.

Use Book Creation Software

Okay, you’ve got your niche, and you’ve decided on the type of book. Now it’s time to start writing. There are many book creation software options out there to make the process smoother. Software like Scrivener or even Google Docs can be really helpful in organizing your work.

How Long Should an eBook Be for Kindle?

This is a common question and the answer is—it depends. Kindle books can range from short reads of about 5,000 words to full-length novels. If you’re writing a non-fiction book, focus on delivering value rather than meeting a word count. Generally, non-fiction eBooks do well at around 25,000 to 40,000 words, while fiction books usually range from 50,000 to 100,000 words.

There you go, some simple yet effective steps to start your writing journey for Amazon Kindle. So what are you waiting for? Your readers are out there, eager to read what you’ve got to say!

How to Format a Book for Amazon Kindle?

Alright, you’ve written your book, and you’re ready to get it on Amazon Kindle. But before you hit that “publish” button, let’s make sure your book looks as good as it reads. Proper formatting is essential, whether you’re publishing an eBook or a low-content book.

Here’s a quick rundown of how to format your book.

  • Trim Size For print books, the trim size is essentially the dimensions of your book. Typical sizes are 6″ x 9″ for most books, or 8.5″ x 11″ for larger format books like workbooks. Make sure you choose a size that matches the content and feel of your book.
  • Bleed If you want images or elements to go right to the edge of the page, you’ll need to add a bleed. Usually, an extra 0.125″ on each edge is sufficient. If you’re not sure how to set this up, there are templates available online to guide you.
  • Cover They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s be real, everyone does. So make sure your cover is professional and eye-catching. The dimensions will depend on your chosen trim size and the number of pages in your book. You can design your cover using software like Adobe Photoshop or even free tools like Canva.
  • File Size For Kindle eBooks, try to keep the file size as small as possible, ideally under 50MB. Large files can take too long to download and might deter potential readers. For print books, follow the guidelines set by KDP. They’ll give you the specifics based on your chosen trim size and page count.

And there you have it! Follow these guidelines and your book will look professionally made, whether it’s an eBook or a printed copy. Now go ahead, take the next step, and get that book published!

How to List a Book on KDP?

So, your book is written, edited, and formatted. What’s next? Listing it on Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is your final step before becoming a published author. Don’t worry, the process is pretty straightforward.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1 – Entering Your Book Details On KDP

First things first, log in to your KDP account and click on ‘Create a New Kindle eBook’ or ‘Create a New Paperback,’ depending on your need.

You’ll see fields asking for the series name, edition number, and author name. Fill these out accurately to help people find your book. Next, write a compelling book description. This is your sales pitch, so make it count.

Then, take care of the copyright section and don’t forget to add relevant keywords. This will make your book show up in search results. Lastly, pick categories for your book, so readers know what to expect. For example, if you’re publishing a cookbook, you’d choose categories like ‘Cooking’ and ‘Recipes.’

amazon kdp low content upload

Step 2 – KDP Paperback Content

If you’re publishing a paperback, you’ll have to decide on print options. This includes your book’s trim size, bleed settings, and cover finish. Follow the guidelines we discussed earlier for trim size and bleed.

After this, upload your book’s interior and cover files. Use KDP’s Book Previewer tool to see how it’ll look once it’s printed. This step is crucial; you don’t want any surprises later on.

Step 3 – KDP Paperback Rights & Pricing

Now, you’ll choose the territories where you have the rights to sell your book. After that, it’s time to set the price. KDP will suggest a minimum and maximum price based on your book’s details, but it’s up to you to decide. Then, pick your royalty rate and distribution channels.

How Long Does KDP Take to Review?

Usually, KDP takes about 72 hours to review your book. They’ll email you once it’s live on Amazon.

Do I Need to Copyright My Book Before Publishing on Amazon?

Technically, your book is copyrighted the moment you write it. However, for added protection, you can register your copyright officially.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully listed your book on Amazon KDP. Good luck with your publishing journey!

Kindle Publishing Costs, Payments, and Royalties:

Wondering about the money side of things? You’re not alone. Let’s break down the costs, payments, and royalties when you publish with Amazon KDP.

How Much Does It Cost to Print a Book on Amazon?

Good news! Listing your eBook on KDP is totally free. For paperbacks, Amazon uses a print-on-demand model. This means a book is printed only when someone buys it. The cost of printing gets subtracted from your royalties.

So technically, you don’t pay anything upfront, but a chunk will be taken from your earnings for each sale. The actual cost varies based on factors like page count and ink type.

How Much Does KDP Pay Authors?

KDP offers two royalty options: 35% and 70%. The rate you’ll get depends on several things like the book’s price, its size, and the distribution channels you choose.

Just remember, if you opt for the 70% royalty rate, a small delivery fee will be taken out based on the file size of your eBook.

How Does Amazon KDP Pay You?

Once your book starts selling, Amazon will pay you through direct deposit, check, or wire transfer, depending on your location. Payments are usually made 60 days after the end of the month in which you made a sale. So if you make some sales in January, expect your payment in late March.

Now, you have a better idea of the financial aspects of KDP publishing. Keep these details in mind to make informed decisions.

KDP Promotions and Advertising:

amazon advertising

So you’ve published your book, now what? Time to get it in front of readers. Amazon KDP offers some neat tools for that.

How KDP Promotions Work?

Once your book is live, you can run promotions to boost its visibility. Options like Kindle Countdown Deals or Free Book Promotions can be really useful. Kindle Countdown allows you to offer your book at a lower price for a limited time, while Free Book Promotions do exactly what they say: make your eBook free for up to five days.

How Does KDP Select Work?

KDP Select is an exclusive program where you agree to sell your eBook only on Amazon for 90 days. In return, your book gets added to Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service, and you get a share of a monthly fund based on how often your book is read.

How Does KDP Advertising Work?

You can also opt for Amazon Advertising to give your book some extra spotlight. These are paid ads that show up in search results or on product pages, leading more potential readers to your book.

Use these tools wisely to maximize your book’s reach and your profits.

Drawbacks and Considerations:


Even though Amazon KDP has a lot to offer, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. One drawback is the royalty rates. For eBooks, if you price outside of $2.99 to $9.99, you’ll get a 35% royalty instead of the usual 70%. Paperback royalties aren’t as high as you might hope, either, because Amazon takes a cut for printing and selling your book.

Another downside is the KDP Select program. While it gives your book a visibility boost, it also means you can’t sell your eBook anywhere else for 90 days. It’s kind of like putting all your eggs in one basket.

Keep these points in mind while planning your self-publishing journey.

Amazon Author Central – An Underrated Tool for Self Publishers on Kindle:

amazon Author Central

Don’t overlook Amazon Author Central when you’re self-publishing on KDP. It’s a fantastic tool that lets you manage your author profile, track sales, and even interact with readers.

Setting up an Author Central Account is pretty straightforward. Just go to the Amazon Author Central website and click “Join Now.” You’ll need to sign in with your Amazon account and follow the prompts to complete your profile.

Once it’s set up, you can add your books, write a bio, and even share blog posts or upcoming events. It’s an underrated way to make yourself more visible and credible as an author.

Final Words:

In summary, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) offers a comprehensive platform for aspiring authors to publish and sell their books.

With a seamless setup process, an array of publishing formats, and access to a massive global audience, KDP is a democratizing force in the publishing world.

The platform provides useful tools for design, formatting, and marketing, allowing even those with limited technical know-how to become published authors.

From setting up your account to understanding royalties and promotional strategies, this guide has equipped you with the foundational knowledge you need to start your publishing journey.

Now, all that’s left is for you to write that book and share it with the world.