How to…

In an effort to further help new authors, and potentially some experienced ones, we’re creating this “how to” section to provide guidance for some of the reoccurring situations that arise when publishing an eBook. The first how to, below, is a step-by-step of submitting your newly created MOBI file to Amazon’s KDP system. If there’s a how to you would like us to create, please do not hesitate to ask through the Quote & Contact page.


Submitting your MOBI file to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing system

Before submitting your book you should have already signed up for an account on Amazon’s KDP system. If you have not, go ahead to now and sign up.

After signing up and logging in, you should click on the “Bookshelf” tab at the top, if you are not already there. The top of your screen should look like the image below.

Kindle Direct Publishing Dashboard for 'how to' guide

Next, click the “Create new title” box that is on the left side of the prior image to start the process of publishing your eBook on the Kindle Direct Publishing system.

Here is where some new authors get overwhelmed a bit, but there is no reason to be as it is all a simple form, just potentially unfamiliar.

The first question asks about enrolling your eBook in KDP Select. If you are unsure what KDP Select is, please read about it here as well as the FAQ linked at the bottom of that page. One important note about KDP Select: If you want to publish your eBook on any retailer other than Amazon, you cannot participate in KDP Select while it is also available on those retailers. The majority of authors we work with do not enroll in KDP Select, but please be sure to make an informed choice for yourself and your goals.

1. Enter Your Book Details

Next you should fill in the book’s name, followed by the subtitle if one exists, in the next field. It is not unusual for the book name and subtitle to be combined under the “book name” field. Do not feel obligated to use any of the optional fields on the form if you feel they do not apply to your book.

Next is the edition number which, if this is the first time publishing this book, can be set to 1. If this is not the first edition, and the eBook is significantly different, you should fill in the appropriate number.

Following that is the publisher field which can usually be left blank for independent authors. If you have created a publishing company, or even just the name for one, which you want to attribute your eBook to, fill it in here. At the very least, this publisher name should also appear on the copyright page.

The KDP system provides for a 4,000 character description of your eBook, which is a pretty good size. Be sure when you write your description, if you have not already, that you proof read it for spelling and grammar a couple of times over. If a potential reader finds errors in grammar and spelling in the description, they are very likely going to be hesitant to purchase your eBook. If you’re uncertain, write your description in Microsoft Word and run the spell and grammar check on it. This should weed out the majority of these issues for you. Then just copy and paste it from there into the form on the KDP website.

The next option is for the contributors to your eBook and is where you will set the author’s name. Additionally, you can set any of the following names for contributors to your eBook: editor, foreword, illustrator, introduction, narrator, photographer, preface, and translator.

2. Verify Your Publishing Rights

In the next question, “Verify Your Publishing Rights” the second option is almost always what should be chosen. It states, “This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.” If the first option, “This is a public domain work,” applies to you, you will know it.

3. Target Your Book to Customers

The next selection, the categories your eBook should be classified under, is very important. A lot of books may only definitively fit into one category, but you should still set both of them. If your eBook only fits one specific category, try setting the second one to the “general” category for that section. An example could be a fiction eBook about the holidays in which you would set the first category to “Fiction->Holidays” and the second category to “Fiction->General.” If you can classify your eBook under two specific categories, that is better as it will make it more likely that a reader looking for a book of a certain topic will find it.

The “Age Range” and “U.S. Grade Range” selections apply to eBooks that are written for children, for the most part. The age range option has an “18+” option, as well, that you can set if you want to be clear that it is not intended for those under the age of 18.

The search keywords field is to help readers find your eBook when they don’t already know about it. These do not have to be single word keywords, but can instead be a term of multiple words. We would not make them more than a few words long though. Each keyword or key term is separated by a comma. Your eBook title and author name will already be searchable, and you only have 7 possible choices for this box, so you should not use either your book’s title or the author name for this section. Think like a reader that knows nothing about your eBook’s existence, but that would enjoy it if they were looking for a book in the category yours falls in. What search terms might they be using?

4. Select Your Book Release Option

The option labeled “Select Your Book Release Option” is intended more for established authors, publishers, and eBooks that expect to be marketed quite a bit prior to the release. If this is your first book, you quite likely want the first option, to make the eBook available immediately after the form is submitted.

5. Upload or Create a Book Cover

Next you should click on ‘”Browse for image” and then “Browse” on the pop up window that comes up and then navigate to the cover for your eBook that is saved on your computer. Select your book cover and then click open. If you created a cover with multiple image sizes, or the graphics artist that created it sent back more than one, be sure to select the image with the higher resolution. The image’s resolution should have a minimum of 1,000 pixels on the longest side and a maximum of 2,500 pixels on the longest side. The sizes we like to see are 1,400 x 2,100 pixels or 1,313 x 2,100 pixels.

6. Upload Your Book File

The second to last option is about digital rights management. The majority of eBooks we’ve worked with do not bother enabling digital rights management as it can potentially inhibit the legitimate purchasers of your book, but do little to thwart the unauthorized copying and use of your eBook. This does not mean you should not enable it. If your preference is to have this option turned on, that is what is best for you to do.

Finally (sort of), is the uploading of your eBook. Click the browse button just below “Book content file” and navigate to the file for your eBook. If we did the eBook conversion for you, this will be the MOBI file and is labeled as such in the file’s name. This is the format that Amazon’s KDP System sells books in and the format that Kindle devices and applications read. If we did not do your eBook conversion, we do recommend getting your book in the MOBI format prior to submission to the KDP system, even if we’re not the ones to do it for you.

Now, click “Save and Continue” and move on to page 2, which is much shorter so don’t fret. You’re almost done.

8. Verify Your Publishing Territories

The first option here is selecting where you have the right to publish your eBook. For nearly all authors we encounter, the first option, “Worldwide rights – all territories”  is correct.

9. Set Your Pricing and Royalty

Pricing. This has likely been decided by you already, but if it has not and you’re unfamiliar with the KDP pricing model, you should read about it be clicking here as well as the list price requirements by clicking here.

The short version of it is this (though you should read into it more before deciding):

Select the 70% royalty option if your eBook is priced between $2.99 and $9.99, otherwise you must select the 35% royalty option. Additionally, if your eBook is over 3 megabytes and less than 10 megabytes, it must be priced at $1.99 at least. If your eBook is larger than 10 megabytes the price needs to be at least $2.99.

Note that if your eBook is over 10 megabytes and it is not image intensive (and often times even if it is image intensive), then your eBook’s file likely needs some work done on it to get that file size lower as we rarely encounter eBooks that grow to that size when we’re finished with the conversion. (Note of importance: The 10 megabyte size discussed here is the “deliverable” size as calculated by Amazon. If your MOBI was created by us, or created by someone else and they used the proper tools, then the deliverable file size should be roughly 1/3 of the actual file size. If you need more on this, contact us). File size is important even if your eBook is not over 10 megabytes, as Amazon will charge 15 cents per megabyte against your royalties when your eBook is sold under the 70% royalty option.

10. Kindle MatchBook

The second to last option is regarding your book if it is sold in print by Amazon also. If this applies to you and you need assistance, please contact us.

11. Kindle Book Lending

The final option is for the “Kindle Book Lending” program, which if you selected the 70% royalty option you are locked into. For more details on the Kindle Book Lending program, click here.

12. Save and Publish!

Once you’ve read the “Terms and Conditions,” check the box to confirm your rights to the eBook and that you are in compliance with those terms and conditions.

Lastly, click “Save and Publish.”

You will see a small pop up window letting your know your eBook is in the review process and will be published within 12 hours. In our experience it does not take 12 hours before your eBook is live, so check back in a few hours and you should see it live on their website!

I hope our ‘how to’ on submitting your eBook to Amazon’s KDP system has helped you. Know that the first time is a lengthy and sometimes time consuming process, but it gets easier with every book your publish, so keep writing. If you have any questions or would like clarification, please do not hesitate to use the form on the “Quote & Contact” tab to contact us.

Thank you,

eB Format