How to Self-Publish on Amazon KDP in 2021

How to self-publish on Amazon KDP with PublishDrive

In this guide, we go over how to sell your book on Kindle Direct Publishing KDP step by step. Publishing ebooks has never been easier.

Maybe you just completed your first manuscript. Or perhaps you’re a published author wanting another revenue stream. Wherever you are in the journey, self-publishing on Amazon KDP can do lots for you. Being the LARGEST e-retailer out there, you shouldn’t miss out.

Why You Want To Self-Publish on Amazon in 2021:


There are over 200 million people visiting every month


Books are Amazon’s #5 bestseller category



Amazon’s Kindle device is one of the most popular e-readers


Amazon’s KDP Select program allows you to sell in Kindle stores and Kindle Unlimited


50% of Global Ebook Sales Come From Amazon

Amazon keeps growing. PublishDrive is a platform for publishing and managing books in thousands of online channels including Amazon. On PublishDrive, almost 50% of global ebook sales come from Amazon while the rest happens elsewhere. In the first quarter of 2020, there was a whopping 20% increase in sales (at minimum) on Amazon.

The global demand for digital books is at its highest, especially English-language content. We encourage you to distribute to booming places like Amazon during this lucrative time.

💡 Did You Know?

Publishing on KDP is always an option, but publishing on Amazon
plus THOUSANDS of other stores is even better. 

Publish globally with PublishDrive

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How to Self-Publish a Book on Amazon KDP

Before You Start

Before we get into it, here’s a quick PSA for newbies. If you landed on this page with zero knowledge about self-publishing, no worries. Amazon is a great place to publish your first book. But make sure your manuscript is at its best. You should also have a plan for marketing your book.

Check out these helpful resources:

The marketing part may seem daunting, but it’s crucial to publishing. As an indie, give your book the best chance of success (against huge publishing houses) by researching what works for you.

Need a Helping Hand? 

If you're already selling books on KDP, PublishDrive can transfer
your titles, rankings, and ratings in no time.

PublishDrive allows you to publish your book in ebook, audiobook or print format

“It was fabulous that I could hit one or two buttons and then my whole account transferred over. I started self-publishing on PublishDrive new titles...I would upload it to the system and it would automatically import several fields. I didn't have to add a bunch of extra information. I really loved that quick and easy step to get the book up that much faster.”
– Lauren Smith, Bestselling Indie Author

Start For Free

Once you have your polished manuscript and cover design, let's finally start selling on Amazon!

Step 1: Sign Up or Log in to Your Amazon Account + Register Tax Info

The first thing you want to do is get your Amazon account set up. Sign up or log in with your Amazon retail email account and password here. It’s free to create an account and publish a book on KDP. (But, don’t forget about the other costs that come with self-publishing a book.)

When first logging in, get familiar with the dashboard. You’ll have to navigate it in order to publish and manage a book on Amazon.

Before you can sell, you’ll need to register your tax information. Head under the section with your account info and click “Update”. At the end of the year, KDP will send you a W-2 for tax reporting purposes.

Step 1 for how to publish on Amazon KDP in 2020

And just like that, you’re done setting up your account.

Step 2: Upload Your Book in Ebook And/or Print Version

To get your book up on Amazon, and go through KDP's upload process, have these 3 things ready:


Your manuscript's .mobi file. Use this free ebook converter


Your book cover design 


Your book price, royalty rate, and payment method 

Before uploading, double-check your content to make sure it meets Amazon’s guidelines.

In terms of quality, here are the main ways to ensure your book is at its best:

  • Hire an editor or proofreader. If you’re on a tight budget, check out online services like Reedsy. Or find forums like Reddit. Find beta readers too (ask your friends and family).
  • Get a formatter to look over your ebook or print file. This is very important in guaranteeing a smooth reader experience. To do it yourself, check out formatting guidelines here.
  • Pay a professional for your cover design. To do it yourself, ask others for honest feedback. Is it eye-catchy? Does it meet the several points mentioned in this article?

We're Proud of Our Writers!

PublishDrive indies increased digital book sales by 85%,
distributing to thousands of stores worldwide.

Start For Free

When you’re ready to upload, click “Create a New Title” for either “Kindle ebook” or “Paperback”. Then, enter your details like the book title and author name. Further tips:

  • Have a bomb book description. As one of the first things people see on Amazon, you want to draw readers right in. See here or here for some great examples.
  • Before adding your book categories, research. You want to reach the right target audience and rank higher in more categories. For example, use trending categories with lower competition. Read more tips about Amazon categories here.
Step 2 for how to publish on Amazon KDP in 2020

At this point, you’re 90% done.

Step 3: Set the Pricing + Royalty + Payment Method for Your Book

During the upload process, you’ll be asked to set the pricing for your book. This involves choosing a royalty option. You’ll also be asked to add your royalty payment method.

For ebook, choose between the 35% or 70% royalty option. For paperback, KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty option. Also, delivery costs are calculated per content file size (it's waived if you publish on Amazon with PublishDrive.) See how Amazon list prices and royalties work with PublishDrive's indies here.

For print books, printing costs may vary depending on the coloring method, trim size, and length of the book. Printing costs are deducted after Amazon calculates its revenue share.

When choosing the pricing for your book, keep in mind that most ebooks on Kindle are between $2.99 and $9.99 for the 70% royalty option. For 35%, they're between $0.99 and $2.99. Prices should be at least 20% lower than the print version. (See here for a more in-depth look into pricing strategies.)

With payments, add your information for direct deposit, wire transfer, or check. KDP will pay royalties around 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was made. (PublishDrive pays out a few days earlier, just sharing!)

Finally, remember to click “Worldwide rights - all territories” when selecting your publishing territories. It makes sure your content is protected wherever it's sold.

Step 3 for how to publish on Amazon KDP in 2020

At the very end, click publish!

Step 4: Publish and Promote on Amazon With Time-Saving Tools

Don’t forget about the resources shared at the beginning of this article. When you invest time and effort into your book, your audience will feel the benefits.

Instead of going through the entire process on your own, try out digital publishing platforms like PublishDrive. The team develops tools for publishing, managing, and promoting your book worldwide. Here are the things to know when publishing with PublishDrive:

  • You keep your existing links, reviews, and ratings when moving titles over to the platform. Plus, continuously track rankings and reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
  • Get a full suite of promotional tools and features. To name a few, use the built-in Amazon ads tool to optimize your ad performance. Or, send protected book copies to readers and influencers on Google and Apple to collect reviews. Or, set up a pre-order as a part of your launch strategy.
  • Easily add print-on-demand and audiobook.
  • Choose the best book categories recommended by AI during the upload process.
  • You don’t need an ISBN to distribute ebooks to Amazon as PublishDrive generates a globally recognized identifier for you.

Reach a rising number of readers worldwide by publishing in not only Amazon but other channels.

About Maximizing Your Royalties

When you enroll in KDP Select only, your book is available on Amazon only. Amazon’s share of the global ebook market is high, but I recommend fitting more revenue streams to your business. Being available in several markets and stores is worth it. The more stores your book appears in, the higher your search engine result and Google ranking will be too.

Know that it's never been easier to self-publish your book in numerous stores and countries today. Check out this write-up on why publishing to more places internationally helps maximize your selling potential.

PublishDrive Doesn't Take Any Sales Commission

That means you keep 100% of the royalties you earn with stores!
Get started with global publishing to thousands of stores.

Publish everywhere with the all-in-one self-publishing platform

“Every book release is a big deal...there’s a ton that goes into it. We think about how many books do we have to sell to pay for this time...Being a small business, not just a writer, is hard...Any way you can save time you are also saving money.
Quinn Loftis, Bestselling Indie Author

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