Back to all articles
Post Art - Indie Author Vocab

The Ultimate Guide to Indie Author Vocab

Post Art - Indie Author Vocab

Calling all indie authors! Ever felt confused by all the publishing-specific lingo that’s floating around? Have you been overwhelmed by all things Amazon-related? (Hello, “KENP reads” and “KDP Select.”) Wondering what to make of genre-specific terminology like “HEA” and “closed-door scenes”? If so, look no further. We’ve assembled a list of top indie author vocabulary to help clear the air.

Below, please check out our resource for publishing industry-specific vocabulary. Have anything to add to the list? Be sure to let us know in the comments.


KDP (aka Kindle Direct Publishing)‘s eBook publishing unit launched in November 2007, concurrently with the first Amazon Kindle device being released. At this time, Amazon launched Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), originally called Digital Text Platform, to be used by authors and publishers. Through KDP, authors could independently publish their books directly to Kindle and Kindle Apps worldwide.



If an eBook is “wide” that means that it is available on Kindle, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, or other retailers. You may hear authors speak of “going wide,” which means they are working on not being exclusive with Amazon.



A book that is “permafree” is a book that is permanently free on Amazon or another retailer. Click here for more information on making books free on Amazon. 



A device is how a reader is accessing books (for example, this could be a Kindle, iPad, Kobo reader, or Nook Tablet).



A platform refers to the store that a reader accesses books (Amazon, Apple, Nook, Kobo, Google Play, and more).


Kindle Countdown Deal (aka KCD)

Kindle Countdown Deals are a KDP Select benefit that lets authors, no matter where they are located, run limited-time discount promotions for books that are available on and Customers will see both the regular price and the promotional price on the book’s detail page, as well as a countdown clock showing how much time is left at the promotional price. Authors will also continue to earn their selected royalty rate on each sale during the promotion. 

Click here to learn more about Kindle Countdown Deals. 


Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s Netflix for books. Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service that allows subscribers to access over one million titles in the Kindle Store, including books, audiobooks, and magazines. Using your Amazon account, you can browse and borrow up to ten titles and access them from any Amazon device or Kindle reading app, even while travelling. There are no due dates. Titles in the Kindle Unlimited catalog can change at any time.

In order to have your title listed in Kindle Unlimited, you must enroll in KDP Select. Click here to learn more about KDP.


KDP Select All-Stars

If authors enroll their eBook in KDP Select, they’re eligible for the KDP Select All-Star Bonus. In addition to paying royalties from the KDP Select Global Fund, each month Amazon rewards All-Star bonuses to books and authors that are read the most in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). All-Star recipients are also eligible for All-Star badges on their book detail pages. Anyone with titles in KDP Select–even a brand-new author–is eligible. 


Amazon awards All-Star bonuses to authors and titles that provide their customers the best reading experience based on how much they’re read in KU and KOLL. Authors who publish books together are considered a single “author” for the purposes of KDP All-Star bonuses. Amazon emails the award winners. To be eligible for All-Star bonuses, authors must claim their title on their Author Central Page and they must be in compliance with Amazon’s Content Guidelines. Violations of Amazon’s policies or guidelines may result in loss of eligibility for programs such as KDP Select All-Stars. 


KDP Select Free Days

After an eBook is enrolled in KDP Select, authors can run a Free Book Promotion by offering it for free for up to 5 days out of each 90-day KDP Select enrollment period. Authors can run a Free Book Promotion in all Kindle marketplaces where the KDP Select-enrolled title is available for sale. 

Click here to learn more about how authors can make their book free.



If an author is enrolled in Select, requiring that their eBook is available nowhere else other than Amazon, then Kindle Unlimited (KU) members can borrow it for free (that is, free beyond the $10 a month they spend to be in KU.)

Authors get paid for these borrows if subscribers read their book. Payment comes out to a little under half a US cent a page for each page they read (the exact amount varies month to month). Every book in Select has its number of Kindle Estimated Normalized pages (KENP) assigned. It’s the bots’ guess as to how many Kindle screens their book is long. The KENP chart on the main Reports page shows how many pages of an author’s book were read by KU borrowers each day.



This stands for Kindle Owners Lending Library. Prime members can borrow one book in Select each month through this program. It pays the same as KU.



HEA stands for Happily Ever After and indicates the kind of dreamy fairytale ending that romance readers live for. 


Closed Door Scene

For romance books – Kissing, heavy petting, “making out,” but no body parts mentioned explicitly. All actual intercourse takes place behind closed doors/off page.


Open Door Scene

Similar to closed door scenes, but steamier. Here, readers can expect to find several sex scenes. Hottest of the hot, no holds barred. BUT—there must be a compelling story.


Author Central Page

The Author Central Page on provides a handy place for readers to learn about authors. Helping readers get to know an author is an effective way to introduce them to—or better educate them about—their books. On the Author Page, Amazon displays essential information about authors—including bibliographies, biographies, author photos, and even feeds to blog posts. (Check these examples: William Shakespeare, Delia Smith, and Stephenie Meyer.)

Click here to learn more about Author Pages. 


Box Set

A box set is a collection of books by one author sold in one collection. These can also be referred to as boxed sets and are typically represented by unique, 3D-esque cover images. 

Click here to see an example of a box set on Amazon.



This is a book that is available to purchase on Amazon before its official release date. When this option is available, you’ll see a Pre-Order button on the Kindle book detail page indicating that it is a pre-order item. Pre-Orders are also available on wide retailers, and can be an important part of an author’s release strategy.



BookBub is a free service that helps millions of readers discover limited-time deals on acclaimed eBooks. Members receive a personalized daily email alerting them to the best free and deeply discounted titles matching their interests as selected by their editorial team. Authors can also run ads on Bookbub, or apply for Bookbub deals to get in front of these readers.



Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) are unique blocks of 10 letters and/or numbers that identify items. You can find the ASIN on the item’s product information page at For books, the ASIN is the same as the ISBN number. You will find an item’s ASIN on the product detail page alongside further details relating to the item, which may include information such as size, number of pages (if it’s a book) or number of discs (if it’s a CD).

ASINs can be used to search for items in Amazon’s catalogue. If you know the ASIN or ISBN of the item you are looking for, simply type it into the search box (which can be found near the top of most pages), hit the “Go” button and, if the item is listed in the Amazon catalogue, it will appear in your search results.

ASINs are frequently required by promotional sites like Freebooksy and Bargain Booksy to direct readers to your Amazon book page.

Get more articles like these!

We send out monthly emails full of tips, resources, and industry data!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.