How to Publish on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)

Kindle_bookAmazon’s Kindle bookstore is one of the fastest growing platforms for getting your work out into the world. Digitally published content is Amazon’s fastest growing segment. More and more authors are coming on to their publishing network every day. More importantly, more and more people are purchasing Kindles and making digital book purchases every day.

The Kindle bookstore can be a fantastic way to both bring in a new income stream, as well as introduce new people to your ideas and product funnel.

People often see publishing on the Kindle as much more difficult than it really is. The reality is, submitting your book to the Kindle store takes just a few hours.

Here’s how to publish your book on Amazon Kindle’s bookstore.

Step 1: Sign In

Go to:

This is Amazon’s Kindle self-publishing platform. Sign into your Amazon account. You don’t need a specialized account to begin selling on the Kindle store.


Step 2: Click Add New Title

Once you’re in your KDP account, click “Add New Title” to begin the process of adding your new Kindle book.


Step 3: KDP Select

Do you want to enroll in KDP select? KDP select allows you to share in library revenues when people borrow your book, as well as to offer your book for free on the Kindle store for 5 days. In order to enroll in KDP select, you need to offer your book only on the Amazon Kindle and no other digital book platform.


Step 4: Book Title

Enter the name of your guide. There are a few things you should be thinking about when you choose a title:

  • It should be catchy. If someone hears the name, it should immediately get stuck in someone’s head.
  • It should suggest a benefit. Let people know what they can get from reading your book.
  • It should be unique. Don’t use a generic title that others have seen a dozen times already.
  • It should catch attention. If someone’s looking at your book in the Kindle store, the title should draw their eyes and rouse their curiosity.

Good examples of this include “The Four Hour Workweek,” “Made to Stick,” “The Tipping Point” and “Good to Great.”


Step 5: Enter Your Description

Your description is your best chance to sell someone on buying your book. Your headline catches attention and your book cover helps build the vibe and brand. But people ultimately decide whether or not they want to buy your book after reading the description.

Your description should focus on the reader. Explain how your book can change their lives or benefit them in some way. It should highlight the juiciest aspects of your book.

Don’t write this all at once. Instead, sit down and write your description from a few different angles. Then pick the best one and really refine it over the course of a few days before publishing.


Step 6: Publisher Details

Enter details about the publisher. Most of this information is optional, but it does help lend some sense of credibility to your book. Note that to publish on the Kindle bookstore, you do not need an ISBN number.


Step 7: Publishing Rights

Verify with Amazon that you have the rights to publish the book you’re publishing.


Step 8: Categories and Keywords

Click “Add Categories” to add categories. Enter your keywords in the keywords section.

Your categories and your keywords are some of the most important aspects of getting found. Customers will browse books by categories as well as search for books using keywords.

If you don’t know which categories or keywords you should use, look into what some of your competitors are using. You can’t go wrong doing what your top 5 competitors are doing in terms of categories and keywords.


This is what the category selection screen looks like:


Step 9: Upload Your Book

Check whether or not you want to enable Digital Rights Management (DRM) to help protect your book from being shared and/or pirated.

Then upload your book’s contents by clicking “Browse for Book” then “Upload Book.”


Once Amazon receives your book, you’ll see the converting screen.


Click “Save and Continue” to continue with the book creation process.

Step 10: Publishing Territories

If you only hold the rights to the book in certain territories, you’ll have to restrict the sales to just those territories. Most people can leave this option on “Worldwide rights.”



Step 11: Royalty Options

Choose which royalty option you want to use to promote your book. Amazon has two different royalty plans that you can choose from. If you’re selling for between $2.99 to $9.99, the 70% option is probably your best choice. If you’re selling for $0.99 or if you’re selling a very high end book, then the 35% option is your only choice.


Step 12: Set Your Prices

Set the prices for your book in various different markets. When you’re setting these prices, try to take a look at what your competitors are charging in those markets before you make your decision.

It’s not unusual for a book that sells for $2.99 USD to sell for £2.99 GBP, even though the pound is worth $1.58 dollars. It’s just how the market works.

In other words, don’t just convert your US dollar prices into pounds or Euros. Instead, research each market individually before crafting your prices.


Step 13: Allow Lending?

Should people be able to “lend” their friends your book? If so, they’ll be able to give someone else your book for 14 days. Amazon will then automatically deactivate the book after the two weeks has passed.

Some people believe this helps increase brand and exposure, while others believe it decreases potential revenue. It’s your choice as to how you want to treat borrowing.


Step 14: Save and Publish

Once you’ve entered all the details for your book and selected all your publishing options, just click “Save and Publish” to finalize your submission!


Amazon will then take some time to review your Kindle book. If you wrote the book yourself, you’ll almost always get approved. Amazon’s primary reason for disapproving books isn’t poor quality, but copyright issues.

Congratulations! After following this submission process, your book will soon appear in the Kindle store. Watch your account carefully and soon the sales will start rolling in!


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How to Use Public Domain Content for Digital Books

online_searchOne of the easiest ways to get high quality content to turn into digital books for Kindle, iBooks, Nook or any other digital ebook store is to repurpose content that is free of copyright, or public domain works. By using content in the public domain, you can just use content that was created by someone else for your digital ebook. This guide will who you how to use public domain content for digital books.

Locating Copyright Free Works


The first thing you need to do is find the public domain works. While these suggestions are intended to be compliant with U.S. copyright law, you should always do your due diligence to ensure content is in the public domain.

1-copyright-gov-guideOlder Works

Generally speaking, any work that was published before 1923 is copyright free. Because of a law enacted in 1998, works created in 1923 will become public domain in 2019. In 2020, works created in 1924 will have their copyright expire and so forth.

There are certain circumstances where older works, published after 1923 might also be in the public domain.

For more information, review the U.S. Copyright Office guide here:


U.S. Government Works

One place to look is government websites. Any document published by the US government is free of copyright, but be aware that if documents were created under government contract with a 3rd party, they are protected by copyright.

You should also be aware that many logos and emblems, while not protected by copyright, are protected by other laws.

Still, if you do your homework right, you’ll find many government websites will have some top notch content up for grabs completely free.  From detailed reports on improving health to high resolution photos of the galaxy, from declassified cold war documents to environmental health reports, all of it is public domain. You just have to dig.

Look through the websites of various government institutions that are related to your field. You can also try searching with “” to do a search only through government websites.


Public Domain Archives

Another place you can look for public domain content are public domain archives. One of the most popular ones is Just make sure you do your own research to check that the content really is copyright free before you use it.


Second Hand Bookstores

One last place to look for public domain works is to try and locate truly unique and rare works that are no longer protected by copyright. These are public domain books that haven’t been digitized and aren’t being used by anyone else right now. If you can locate such a physical book and have it transcribed, you’ll literally be the only person on the internet with that book.

You can find these old physical books at local used and arcane bookstores, as well as some internet stores that specialize in older books.


Make Sure You’re Compliant with the Ebook Store Where You Plan to Publish


Before publishing your works on the Kindle, the iBookstore and the Nook store, make sure your work is compliant with their policies on public domain works.

At the time of this writing, you can publish on the Nook store without restrictions. Kindle stores allow public domain works, but will only give you 35% of the royalties instead of 70%. They also require that the works are either annotated, illustrated or translated to be considered. The iBookstore allows public domain works, but requires documented permission from the creators of the content.



How to Adapt Public Domain Works


Just publishing a piece of public domain work on these digital bookstores is not a great way to get buyers. For one, there’s a good chance someone else has published it already. Also, many of these books are outdated, don’t have photos or use an older or more formal version of English.

In order to launch a public domain work that’ll actually sell, you need to adapt it. By adapting it, you make the work your own. You add value to it, rather than just use what’s already there. You greatly increase your chances of success.

Here are a few different ways to adapt public domain works.

Add an Action Plan

For “how to” books, add an action plan.

For example, Chapter 1 might talk about the basics of how to train a dog. At the end of the chapter, add your own “action plan” that tells people exactly what to do. Do this for every chapter.

You can then rename the book to something more action-oriented. For example, instead of “Dog Training 101,” you could call your book “A Step by Step Plan for Dog Training.”


Add Images

Add relevant images to an older book. For example, if the book is talking about dog training, hire an artist to draw out all the various tricks and positions you want to teach your dog.

There are a lot of different ways you can get images. You can use stock images. You can hire an artist. You can even do it yourself.


Add Step by Step Photos

At least once every chapter, add “step by step” photos.

You know those safety cards behind every airplane seat? Remember how every instruction is illustrated with cartoons, step by step?

Do something similar. If you’re publishing a fishing book, make an image that visually shows how to bait a hook.


Add Sidebars

You can add a lot of value to a book just by adding sidebars. A sidebar could include miscellaneous tips on the side, warning labels, references or just about any way you can think of to help facilitate the book’s content.

One great example of this is the “For Dummies” book series. They make ample use of sidebars to give warnings, extra tips, background information and a whole host of other kinds of information.

You could just add these sidebars to public domain works and make the work your own.


Make Dry Text Fun to Read

A lot of public domain works have great ideas and great content, but sound very dry. You can make it a lot better just by rewriting the text in an easier to read, more fun way.

Sometimes all you really need to do is rewrite old English to modern English. At other times, you might want to add in your own brand of personality.

If you don’t want to do this all yourself, you can outsource it quite inexpensively.



Introducing a popular work in another language can be a great way to bring new life to a public domain work. By publishing in different languages you can reach different audiences.


Publishing Your Book


Once you’ve found the public domain work, you’ve checked to make sure it’s compliant with the store you want to release it on and you’ve added value by making your own adaptation, the last step is to go ahead and publish it.

Rename the book or give the book a new spin. For example, instead of “Think and Grow Rich,” a popular wealth building book that’s now in the public domain, you might call your derivative work “Think and Grow Rich: The Updated Action Pack.”

Then just package your book, upload it and you’re done!

How to Be a Detective for Hot Topics

find_hot_topicsOne of the best ways you can guarantee profits for your digital book is to make sure it coincides with a hot topic. A hot topic is basically anything that a lot of people are talking about right now.

For example, when Tim Ferris’ “Four Hour Workweek” came out, that started a whole explosion of people who were trying to work virtually. When George Bush announced the war on Iraq, a whole host of books on both sides came out. As social media began to take off, a whole host of books came out about that as well.

What you don’t want to do is write a book after the topic has cooled. For example, playing online poker was a huge topic a few years ago. Today, such a book would have virtually no chance of success.

So how do you find hot topics in your genre? Here are a few tips.


Browse the Amazon Bestseller Lists


Look in your genre in the Amazon bestseller lists and see what kinds of books are selling. Whenever you choose a category in the Kindle or regular Amazon bookstore, you can choose to sort by popularity:


If you’re in the health industry and you see that 12 of the top 30 books are dealing with how to build abs, then you know that that’s currently a hot point for your industry.

If you’re in the graphic design industry and you notice that books on photo editing on iPhones are taking off, you might want to do something on that topic.


Use Google Tools


There are a couple of different Google tools you can use to help find hot topics.

Google Trends: This tool will tell you exactly what the hot trends are on a day to day basis. You can also type in a keyword and see whether it’s on an upward or downward trajectory.

This is great for researching a topic after you’ve already decided you’re interested in it. For example, if you decide you’re interested in iPhone photo editing, you can type a few related words into Google Trends to check to make sure it’s actually trending upwards.


Google Keyword Tool: This tool allows you to get exact traffic numbers for how many times certain words are typed into Google. You can also find related keywords to make a better assessment of the popularity of the topic.

This tool is great for evaluating the maximum amount you could earn from your book. However, it’s not a great tool to evaluate trends. Ideally, you want to get in on a trend in the beginning, when search volume is just beginning to rise, rather than when it’s already high and there are a hundred other competitors.

Watch What Magazines Are Saying


You can really stay on top of industries and trends by reading magazines. Magazines are usually updated monthly, which means you’ll be getting up to date information. Unlike internet sources however, magazines contain content that’s vetted by multiple people. There’s rarely any repeat information; instead real journalists go out into the world to look for a real scoop.

Get in the habit of reading a couple different magazines that focus on your industry or niche. If you notice that a lot more articles are suddenly being written about a certain topic, you can bet that that topic is getting hot.

You might also find that is a great source of finding a variety of magazines in given niches. Most of the magazines have current covers shown on the site, so you can see the hot topics for recent issues. If you click on any magazine cover image, it will open up to a larger size so it’s easier to read.


After finding a magazine at, you can search for the magazine’s official company website to find more in-depth information on the current stories.


Watch Audible’s Sales


Audible is an Amazon subsidiary that sells audiobooks at What’s great about Audible is that its audience tends to be early adopters. Also, in order for books to be adapted to audiobook, it usually already needs to be a success or the publishers feel very confident that the book will be a hit.

Because of these two factors, Audible is a great place to look for the hottest new trends. Look in the bestselling sections and the new releases sections of specific categories.

You can also find “Customer Favorites” in the categories that you browse through.



Doing Your Homework

These are a few different ways you can find hot topics to write digital books about and the key is to continue to do research over time. Finding hot topics is all about watching and understanding trends and as you watch them over time, you come to understand how things work.

While it’s very possible to write a successful book even if you’re not writing about a hot topic; your chances of writing a blockbuster are much greater when you’re talking about things that people are already talking about…so do your homework. It’s worth.