Authors who have a book that they are ready to publish have two paths: traditional publishing, where a publishing house publishes the book, or self-publishing, where the author publishes the book themselves. If you’ve done research into self-publishing, you may have heard of Amazon KDP, or, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. Since Amazon holds at least 80% of the eBook market, you definitely want to make sure that your book is available on their platform. But what is KDP, and how can authors take advantage of it? In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of KDP and KDP Select.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP): How Authors Publish Their Books

Amazon’s KDP is one of the tools authors can use to publish their work online. Publishing through KDP makes an eBook available on Amazon to Kindle readers. KDP includes a variety of useful features, including free file conversion, sales tracking, and additional tools to help you format special types of books, like textbooks and children’s books.

KDP’s Self-publishing interface is very straightforward and easy to use. Once you log into the KDP dashboard you’re greeted with the prompt to Create a New Title.

Before you start the publishing process, you want to make sure that you have everything ready. The items that you’ll need when uploading your book are:

  1. Your book’s title, subtitle (if applicable) and series name (If applicable), as well as the author name you want to use (whether it’s yours or a pseudonym).
  2. A marketing optimized book description.
  3. The categories and keywords you want to use. (More information here)
  4. The text of your book.
  5. A book cover.
  6. Which price you’d like to sell your book for.

Once you’ve submitted the above information and hit “Publish” your eBook will be accessible to the Kindle browsing public! For all book alterations, like switching covers, updating descriptions, and changing prices for promotions, authors can use KDP.

But what about KDP Select?

KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited

Once you have uploaded your eBook in Kindle Direct Publishing you have the option of enrolling it in KDP Select. KDP Select is a program that offers a series of additional tools to its partaking authors.

To enroll a title, go to your KDP “Bookshelf” and select the ellipses (…) button to the right of your feature. The fourth option listed is “KDP Select Info.”

Amazon’s guidelines for the eBooks it accepts into KDP Select are stringent, so it would be best to know these before deciding to enroll. Some important things to know include:

  1. Enrollment makes your eBook exclusively available in Kindle, meaning it cannot be available for sale on Nook, Apple, or Kobo retail platforms.
  2. Enrolling your title in KDP Select gives you the opportunity to earn higher royalties, see more book sales, and reach wider audiences.
    1. Once you’ve enrolled, you’ll have access to Kindle Count Down Deals and Free Promotions, two promotional tools available only to members of KDP Select. However, these promotional tools are limited to a certain number of days out of every 90-day enrollment cycle, so promotions of material in KDP Select should be organized and planned well in advance.
    2. A possible explanation of this claim to higher sales can be found in the terms and conditions. For books enrolled in KDP select, Amazon holds the right to market those titles as they see fit.
  3. Any books enrolled in KDP Select are also available to readers through Kindle Unlimited.

If you’d like some more information on Amazon KDP, Kindle Unlimited and what it means for authors you can read more about that here.

Keep in mind, authors do not need to place all their books in KDP Select. Authors can pick and choose which titles they’d like to enroll. We decided to enroll our Holiday cookbook in KDP select, so you can see on the Amazon listing that it is available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

If you’re looking to self-publish your book, KDP is absolutely one of the tools you should use to make your book available to readers. If you’re looking for help with marketing your eBook, enrolling it in KDP Select will provide you with promotional tools and a wider reach at the cost of exclusivity. If you’d like to learn more about how to self-publish, check out the 5 best guides on self-publishing.

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