How To

How to self publish with Kindle Direct Publishing

How to self publish with Kindle Direct Publishing
Trevor Hutchins

Trevor Hutchins

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Here’s an exciting thought: you can publish your novel with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) from!

Finally! Done!

KDP allows anyone to upload their work on Then, every time a purchase happens, books are made to order, manufactured at professional quality, and shipped within weeks…or less! We’re not exaggerating: with Amazon Prime, our full-length novel was printed shipped in just two days!

So, if you want to circumvent traditional publishing, are targeting a super-niche crowd, or simply want to try Amazon’s printing program, we’re here to help!

How to self publish with Kindle Direct Publishing

Step 1: Getting Started in KDP

Follow this link and follow the usual startup procedures. When that’s done…welcome to the website! It will look something like this:

Kindle Direct

From this page, you can start creating new paperback novels (and eBooks), or check what projects have already been started in the “Your Books” section below.

Of course, since we’re creating a novel, head into the creator studio! If you want to create an eBook later, you’ll be able to use transfer paperback settings easily.

create a new title

Here, we have the three main steps:

Kindle direct publishing

We’ll discuss how to complete each one. During this portion, work carefully but don’t stress too much: even if you submit the novel for review, most details can be altered after being accepted.

(And if a few copies are printed with errors? Who knows, they might be really valuable once you’re a popular novelist!)

Step 2: Paperback Details

These details go quickly! Anything that can’t be changed after initial publication will be marked with (*) hereon.

  1. Language*. The dominant form of writing within the novel.
  2. Title info*. If you haven’t considered a subtitle, now’s the time.
  3. Series. Writing a trilogy? If it has a name, put it in!
  4. Edition number*. This can be left blank.
  5. Primary Author*. You!
  6. Contributors. Who helped? And how?
  7. Description. Write a good, gripping introduction with your main characters, the antagonists, the setting and the plot. How would you inform and interest your friends?
  8. Publishing rights. If you wrote the book, you have the copyright.
  9. Keywords. What words might Amazon users search when looking for your novel?
  10. Categories. What’s the genre?
  11. Adult Content. Be honest. If your novel’s got it, mark it!


Step 3: Paperback Content

Here, we get to the real intricate stuff! You may need to use trial and error to get some parts right, but trust us: it’s worth it. This section brings the novel together, so we’ll take it slow.

1. Print ISBN. If you don’t have an International Standard Book Number, Amazon provides one for you!


2. Publication Date. Leave this blank if you’re printing for the first time, or put in the original date. Easy as that.

3. Print type*. You must choose between options for the Paper Type, Trim Size, Bleed Settings, and Paperback Cover Finish.

Paper type dictates what color the page will be: we went with classic black and white text on cream pages (white pages are available too), but a visual novel or comic book may need fully colored pages.

Trim size determines the book’s dimensions. Many novels use the classic 6×9 inch cut, but your novel might lend itself to a different size. If unsure, find some books and measure them.

Unless you have a good reason for the pages to run off the edges, hit “No Bleed”.

The cover finish determines if the cover will be shiny (Glossy) or not (Matte). We chose matte for our project because fingerprints show up more easily on glossy covers.

Kindle direct publishing options

4. Manuscript: this is a biggie. To create the body of your book, Amazon takes your document and puts every page into their printer preview. The intro section appears like this:

Upload doc.
After hitting “Upload”, you select the document file from your device.

PDF files work best because the images can be resized easily to your desired trim.

In contrast, the average Word document will need to be resized beforehand from 12.5 x 11-inch paper (the default setting) to fit Amazon’s specifications. This means you may have to alter your manuscript itself; a change in size can mess with such things as chapter spacing.

5. Book Cover: another biggie! You can use a full, ready-to-print PDF. However, most users will probably rely on the Amazon cover creator instead:

Cover Creator Start

Opening up the cover creator will take a minute. At the end, you’ll see something like this:

Cover Creator

Take it step by step! The first tab, “Choose Design”, allows you to find a good template. When you select one, it moves to”Style and Edit,” where the cover art, spine information, back description, author details, and more can be freely manipulated. Finally, “Preview” shows an overview of the work!

(As you can see, we chose the design that allowed our cover art to be featured on the front page.)

6. Book Preview. Finally, you get a chance to review your novel from start to finish!

Quality Check Start

Make sure the pages are set and the cover wraps appropriately. If KDP discovers a problem or you want to change a detail, head back and fix it before moving on. You’re almost there!

Quality Check

Step 4: Paperback Rights and Pricing

The steps in this area won’t take long at all.

  1. Territories. If you wrote your own book, smash “All territories” and ride on.
  2. Pricing. Amazon provides a minimum price based on their printing and shipping costs, and a maximum cost based on common sense (our novel capped at $250). When you choose your cost (based on what readers will pay, your desired profit per book, what price will look good on a novel, etc)., Amazon automatically adjusts the number for other markets and their currency. You may need to readjust if printing and shipping costs are higher in another area.
  3. Terms and Conditions. By hitting publish, you agree to Amazon’s terms. Within 72 hours, your novel should be available for purchase on their website!

What Comes Next?

First off, plan some kind of celebration! You’ve made a huge accomplishment that many will never experience. Have friends and family over, eat a nice meal, play some video games. Keep writing and reading!


Whenever you’re ready, we recommend ordering one of your own books: make sure the printing turned out well and enjoy holding the physical copy in your hands! It’s a good feeling.

Finally, consider finding ways to promote your novel. Local libraries often have days for community authors. Post on your social media platforms: you’ll be surprised how much support you’ll receive! Get creative, and the sky’s the limit!

Trevor Hutchins

Trevor Hutchins

Trevor Hutchins writes screenplays, novels, and articles from his home in La Mirada, California. He self-published hist first novel, 'Wynden's Legacy,' on Amazon in May of 2017 and hasn't stopped writing since.

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