How to Get Your Book on Amazon

I put my first book out in June, 2009. Since then, I’ve written a couple more, and in that time, I’ve tried a few methods of selling them.

1. As an automatic .pdf download from my website. I’ve used ejunkie quite happily in the past, but I currently use a plugin called Easy Digital Downloads.

2. As a hard copy through various outlets. I print the book in a spiral-bound, workbook format and sell it through Biz Books and The Ferry Building Gallery. It’s also handy to sell at workshops where I present. I use my beloved Square to accept credit card payments for that. Obviously, though, I don’t make as much money on this method of selling–printing costs cut into my profits.

Rebecca Coleman's book on Amazon

3. Other online book-selling sites: I tried Smashwords for a while, but never had much success with it, and now am going to try Amazon. And show you how to get your book on Amazon. As a quick aside, you don’t need to have a 100-page manual like what mine is. It could be a short and sweet 10-page whitepaper, that you can sell for $.99 or even for free just to get some traction and publicity.

For me, there were two main reasons why I didn’t try selling my book on Amazon from the beginning. The first was because of American taxes. Selling my Canadian book through an American website sounded like a giant tax headache. The second reason was because of pricing. Amazon has two different types of residuals. If you sell for $9.99 or less, you can get 70% residuals. If you sell for $10 and up, you only get 35% residuals. The thought of selling a book on my website for $19.95, and then selling almost the same thing on Amazon for $9.99 bothers me. Simply put, I can make more money from selling my book through my own website.

However, Amazon has two things going for it: a lot of traffic, and the ability to download books as a Kindle .mobi file. My book download is a .pdf, and many people print it off to read it and make notes, although you can read it via your iPad. So, I’ve decided to give it a go over the next few months and see how it goes.

How to get your book on Amazon

1. Point your browser to If you don’t already have an Amazon account, you’ll need to get one. Log in to your new account.

2. Tax information and forms and how to fill them out are here.

3. Once you’ve sorted out your tax paperwork, click the big yellow button that says “Add New Title.”

4. On the next page, you’ll need to decide if you want to be on KDP select. This means better marketing for your book, but you also have to give Kindle Amazon exclusive rights to your book. I’m clearly not going to do that. Next up, enter in your books name and subtitle. Fill in the rest of the information: your name, a description, and verify your publishing rights (you’ll probably want to retain your rights, not make it in the public domain). Choose what genre your book is in, and who you want to target it to. Finally, you can choose what the age range is for your book, and what grade level it’s written at.

5. After you’ve filled in all this info, you’ll need 2 files to upload:

  • a cover for your book (ideal dimensions:  2820 pixels x 4500 pixels), either ,jpg or .tiff.
  • a .mobi file properly formatted for the Kindle. My book is written in MS Word. You have two options for creating an .mobi file. One is download and use Calibre to format your book correctly. Or, you can pay someone to do it for you. I used someone on Fiverr, who also added a clickable table of comments. Either way, make sure you preview your book before you make it live to make sure it looks okay (which you can do inside KDP).

6. Choose your publishing territories and your royalties. Amazon will automatically convert currency in any country and pay you accordingly. Your last two choices are whether you want your book to be part of Kindle’s matching program, or their lending program (which I think is kind of cool).

7. Click “Save and Publish.” Congratulations! You did it! Now you just have to wait 12 hours or so for it to begin to show up in the Kindle marketplace.

Of course, now that your book is up there, now you have to start marketing it…

Additional resources:

Amazon Authour Central

How to Rank Well on Amazon


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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