How to Publish a Book with Amazon KDP

Have you ever thought about writing your own book? 

Have you been sitting on an idea or a completed work for a long time but been unsure about what to do with it? Well, we’ve got great news!

Gone are the days of having to submit book proposals and wait for a publishing deal to publish your first book. With easy-to-use tools like Amazon KDP, you can design AND publish your own book and start selling it online – all within a day. 

If you’ve ever been curious about self-publishing your own book, we’ve put together this quick start guide of what you need to know to get started.

Have YOU used Amazon KDP for a project before? Have questions about the process? 

Let us know in the comments or reach out to our team!

What is Amazon KDP?

The full name for this offering is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s a platform created by Amazon that lets anyone create self-published eBooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers on-demand. These are then sold in the Kindle store and on Amazon. 

Users retain all rights to their published works, and the program itself is free. Users receive a varying percentage of royalties for each sale that can go up to 70%. You can find an initial introduction to exactly what Amazon KDP offers right here

This is a great platform for first-time authors, people looking for more freedom with their publishing, and even those who have a large audience but don’t want to deal with product or inventory. 

How to Get Started

Before you can start using Amazon KDP, you’ll need to create an Amazon KDP account. This will connect to your normal Amazon account if you already have one. 

In addition to creating an account, before publishing a book you’ll need to provide a mailing address and publishing company name, details for receiving royalty payments, and some tax information. 

After setting up your KDP account: 

  1. Provide Book Content: You can upload your own manuscript, or use Amazon’s free creation tools to put your book together.
    1. You can find the eBook manuscript guidelines here
    2. Learn about Kindle Create, Amazon’s free book creation tool right here.
  2. Add a Book Cover: Your book cover is the first thing that will draw new readers in, so it’s important! Amazon also provides a free online Cover Creator, or you can upload your own. 
  3. Choose your book type: Amazon KDP can create eBooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers. Keep in mind that there will be different royalty pricing and requirements for each. 
  4. Add a Book Description, Keywords, and Categories: Choose appropriate categories and descriptions to help readers find your book!
  5. Get an ISBN (If needed): When you select their publishing option, Amazon will also provide a free ISBN to publish your book. These are not needed for Kindle eBooks.

For more details, you can find Amazon’s full step-by-step guide to creating your first KDP book right here

Once you’ve finished creating your book, authors do have the option to order a proof of their Amazon KDP book before selling it. You can do that here

A Look at the Numbers 

There you have it! As long as you have the content, creating a book in Amazon KDP really is as easy as 1-2-3. But, you may have additional questions about printing options for physical books, printing costs and royalties for different types of books. 

Although these options and numbers occasionally change, we’ve provided some of the initial information you’ll want to know. (As of October 2021)

Physical Book Printing Options + Costs

Ink & Paper Options

  • Paperback or Hardcover
  • White or cream paper
  • Black and white, full color, partial color
  • Paperback books have 16 trim size options
  • Hardback books have 5 trim size options
  • Covers can have a glossy or matte finish


With Amazon KDP, authors only pay for printing costs when a book is ordered. You can find up-to-date paperback printing prices right here. You can find up-to-date hardcover printing prices here.

How Payment Works: 

KDP pays royalties every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which they were earned. Here is an overview of what payment looks like for different book types. 

Option 1: Ebook

  • Full color downloadable/printable ebook
  • Price: 35% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 65% for books priced below $2.99 and above $9.99
  • 70% royalty: the Amazon sales commission is 30% for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99
  • For Amazon eBooks, you have an option to make 35% or 70% royalty on each sale. To receive 70%, you have to comply with a few conditions from Amazon that you’ll find here

Option 2: Paperback Book(KDP)

  • No upfront costs or inventory.
  • Price: 60% royalty rate – printing costs = profit
  • Example: List price is $15. Your book is a 333-page paperback with black ink: (0.60 x $15) – $4.85 = $4.15

Option 3: Hardback Book (KDP)

  • KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on hardcovers sold on Amazon marketplaces where we support hardcover distribution. 
  • Price: (Royalty rate x list price) – printing costs = royalty

If you’ve always thought about self-publishing a book, we hope you take this as a sign to go for it! Have questions along the way or need help with your marketing? Reach out to our Red Bird Social team anytime right here. Happy publishing


  1. Kate Magdalena Willens on October 28, 2021 at 12:02 pm

    Wonderful news, thank you!

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