Self Publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing
Many people think that today all the money is on Kindle Direct Publishing. When someone speaks about “Amazon self publishing” today, chances are they mean KDP and not Amazon’s traditional self publishing route, CreateSpace, as we discussed it above. KDP is Amazon’s latest platform for publishing ebooks chiefly for their Kindle ebook reader device. The process of self publishing with KDP is extremely simplified (compared to CreateSpace) so virtually anyone can do it, despite their computer skills.
To publish with KDP, as most people do nowadays, you just need a free Amazon account and a properly formatted manuscript. Formatting your manuscript to be compliant with Amazon Kindle’s bookstore is arguably the most complicated step in getting it published, especially if you have already written and formatted your book. Thankfully, Kindle kindly offers a free ebook which can serve as an excellent guide to publish your first Kindle book. This guide is the “Building Your Book for Kindle” ebook and can be downloaded for free here. Properly formatted manuscripts include minimal formatting (otherwise the book cannot be displayed on Kindle platforms) and some very specific requirements about page breakers, font size, table of contents etc.
After formatting the book, you must consider your book’s publishing rights. Do you own the rights to the book you are publishing or is it public domain? It is fine to publish public domain books in Kindle (you get less money than original books though) but you need to clearly define the publishing rights beforehand or you risk being banned for fraud! In addition to publishing rights, you must also define content rights for your book. Typically, most self published authors will set international content rights but if you sold exclusive rights for your book for some country you MUST specify it, otherwise you may be in legal trouble!
While publishers have a lot of freedom to set their royalty rates with CreateSpace self publishing, this is not the case with KDP. KDP basically offers only two royalty options: 35% Royalty and 70% Royalty. Basically, very small and very cheap books are eligible only for the 35% Royalty plan while longer books and books priced at $2.99 and above are eligible for the 70% Royalty plan. Additionally, publishing in certain countries is only available with the 35% Royalty plan and re-publishing public domain books is also only available for 35% royalties.
Plagiarized content and spun public domain books are very common in Kindle book store as publishers try to make a quick buck by rehashing old content. Amazon strictly prohibits pirated and spun content but sadly the marketplace is not at all moderated so plagiarism runs wild, threatening to drown your original book among dozens of spun junk publications.
Having set the rights and royalty options, you must finally decide the price of your book and then launch it (remember that prices under $2.99 are not covered by the 70% royalty plan.). Books enter a 12-hour review period (48-hour for Non-English books) in which the book is reviewed and prepared to be featured in Kindle store. Your Kindle book will almost always be accepted at this stage (unless it is in an unreadable format, includes illegal content, pornography, offensive content etc).
Congratulations, you now know the basics to get your books self published on Kindle!