Congratulations! You did it.
You wrote and edited and proofed your book. You added appropriate front and back matter. Now, you’re ready to upload your book to KDP and press go to become a published author and a publisher.
Here are a few things you need to know.
First, make sure you are using your most up-to-date and thoroughly edited version of your manuscript. If you have multiple versions on your computer, either delete the past versions if you are the kind of writer who can do that. Or, if you can’t hit delete (Dave and Johnny never can), create an Archive: Do Not Use folder on your computer and put past versions in there.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s get your manuscript uploaded!
To upload your manuscript:
Log into your Kindle Direct Publishing account.
If you don’t have a KDP account yet, you can start with your regular Amazon account and can even use the same username and password. Simply go to kdp.amazon.com. If you’re already signed into Amazon, the site will ask if you are signed into the right account, or if you would prefer to sign in as a different user.
You should immediately see the option to Create A New Title once you’re logged in. Click on the Kindle ebook option. This will take you to a page where you can choose the language of the book. Enter the title, the subtitle, series, edition, and author information.
Next comes the space for your book description. This is where you will type in the blurb that will be visible alongside your book on its Amazon product page. For formatting purposes, you will want to enter in the HTML code for the description.
If you don’t know HTML, Kindlepreneur has built an excellent tool that you can use to make sure the formatting looks the way you want it to: https://kindlepreneur.com/amazon-book-description-generator/
Enter your description into the upper field, check to make sure that all of the italics, bold, and spacing are the way you want them, then hit the generate code button and your code will appear below.
Copy this code exactly the way it appears and past it into the description box.
Next, confirm that you own the copyright to the manuscript that you are about to upload.
Now you can choose your keywords. Think of these keywords in terms of what people who are interested in the kind of book you are now publishing will type into a search field.
Is it Suspense/thriller? Police procedural with a supernatural element? Maybe comedy horror or steampunk space opera? Get creative, but don’t spend too much time on this. The official Amazon categories you choose below this will make much more difference for discoverability than your keywords will, but keywords are still like additional signs telling your potential readers where to shop.
Next up: choose categories! Again, these are much more important than the keywords, so choose your category and subcategory carefully. Make sure this is the very best reflection of where your ideal reader will look for your book on Amazon.
The age and grade range below the category field may or may not apply to you. If it does, enter the information. If not, you can easily skip it.
If you are ready to make your book immediately available, click on the I am ready to release my book now option. If you’re doing a pre-order, click on that and hit the save and continue button to navigate forward to the next page.
This is where you find the Manuscript section. Click on the Upload Ebook Manuscript option.
Find your manuscript file on your computer and click on Open.
Now … time to wait. It may take 5-10 minutes for your file to convert and your manuscript to upload.
Then comes the field where you upload your cover. Again, this can take a few minutes, so get ready to be patient.
Once the manuscript and the cover are uploaded, you may be tempted to haul off and hit that publish button out of sheer, blissful excitement, but hold on a minute! You don’t want to do that without previewing the whole thing first. I can’t tell you how many last-minute mistakes we’ve caught by giving our books a quick preview before hitting publish. Many things that are difficult to see at various stages of this process might become glaringly obvious now.
Amazon’s Online Previewer Tool allows you to not only see what your book will look like on a Kindle, but also on other kinds of tablet readers and smart phones.
Click on the Kindle Ebook Preview section and select Launch Previewer. Now, under the downloadable preview options, select Preview On Your Computer and follow the instructions to download your file.
Be sure to pass through every page of your file to make sure everything looks the way you want it to. If you see something that you’d like to change, go back to that manuscript file, the final one you uploaded, and make changes there.
Save those changes then follow the above instructions to re-upload the new manuscript. Be sure again to delete the previous preview file and any other non-current files again so you don’t get confused and use the wrong one. Then do the preview step one final time to make sure your changes look exactly like you want them to.
Congratulations! You’re now a published author.
Now it’s time to get started on that next book!
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