Sunday, May 1, 2016

How to Make Your Manuscript Into a Kindle E-Book on Amazon (for Free) - Part 4 – Uploading Your Ebook

In February we talked about how to format your Word doc to be a Kindle bookWe covered making your document from Word and creating your own template.

In March we discussed creating templates for your Front Matter and Back Matter to reuse over and over in new e-books you create, 
saving you time.

Last month, in April, we talked about how to create a cover for your e-book or places where you can make your own, buy one, or hire someone to make it for you.

Now that we have all the pieces put together for your entire Kindle e-book, let's walk through the process of uploading it on Kindle. Exciting, right?! (Tweet that!)

This month we'll fill out the Amazon forms required to upload your e-book and get it on sale or available for pre-sale. You'll find more in depth information in the instructions you printed off back in February's post. 

While, I'm going to briefly walk through the items on the upload pages, you may want to be familiar with what you'll need. 

Before you go to KDP...

When you're ready to put your e-book online with Kindle, you'll need to have several pieces of the puzzle ready. (Tweet that!) It might help to give careful thought to and prepare your:
  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Description of your book
  • Keywords
  • Categories


When choosing a title, carefully choose key words so people searching for your topic will find your book. But note: when you enter your title, it must match what is on your book's cover and inside title page exactly. Amazon doesn't allow any variation here.


Again, use key words to make your subtitle SEO friendly. 

Note: I learned the hard way that subtitles are limited to 200 characters. If you go over, Amazon's search cannot find your book making it unsearchable! (Tweet that!)


Use your best sales pitch here to convince would-be readers that your book is the one they need. 

(Authors are notoriously not good at "selling." I wasn't. I had to learn and study how to sell things. I've taught workshops on what I learned about how to sell your book. I plan to share this information in a new e-book. Please watch or Follow my Amazon page for a coming e-book called "10 Tools for Marketing Your Book." To Follow, click the yellow button beneath my image. Also, watch for a post on Amazon's "Follow" program coming in July.)

Keywords and Categories

Search for and find several books comparable to yours. Visit their Amazon pages, scroll down, and note what categories they are in. You may want to put yours in the same categories. Also note the key words used to describe these books.

Prep Your File for Upload

I create a folder called "Kindle Files - [my e-book title]" and put my final documents there, including my Word document and the HTML document we're about to create. Having all these in one folder makes it easy for me to find every time I need to, like when I want to update the End Matter because I'm releasing a new book, or when I find a correction I need to make.

Now, the first thing you'll need to do is convert your manuscript to an HTML file. You'll find the instructions on pages 12 and 13 of your printed directions from Amazon. Simply use Word's "Save As" and choose "Web Page, Filtered." If asked about "office tags" answer yes.

If you don't have any photos, you're done. If you do have photos, follow the directions in #3 on page 13 of your printed instructions, which is easy: You now have to files with the same title for your book, a folder and an HTML file. Right-click your HTML file, hover over "Send to," and then choose "Compressed (zipped) folder." Now click and drag that folder over the zipped file and let it go. Ta da. You're done. This is the file you'll need to upload on KDP.

Open KDP

Now open your account at If you haven't opened your account yet, do so now.

I'm going to briefly walk through the items on the upload pages and give you hints I've learned along the way. For more in depth instructions, follow the directions in your print out and/or on the screen at KDP.

A WORD OF WARNING: When working on the KDP site, always save your e-book as a DRAFT until you're absolutely sure it's ready to be released -- especially if you want to take advantage of pre-sales and let people pre-order your ebook before it releases. This is because once you set it to pre-order, you can't un-do that without huge penalties! If you un-do it, you'll lose your pre-sale privileges for one year! (Tweet that!) You don't want to do that. So always always always save as a draft...until you've walked through all the steps and understand what you need to have done before you book goes live (final edits or whatever). So always click "Save as Draft," NOT anything that says "Publish."

New Title

On the Bookshelf page, click "Create new title."

Enroll in KDP Select? 

I recommend you DO enroll this book in KDP Select IF, and only if, you plan to sell your e-book ONLY on Kindle. You'll be able to offer special deals when your book is live, which is good for promoting your book. However, if you want to sell your e-book elsewhere, do not enroll your book in KDP Select because this program is for books that are only available on Kindle.

#1 Enter Your Book Details

Title, Subtitle 

Next you can copy / paste (to avoid typo errors) your book's title and subtitle. Again, make sure your title is exactly as it is on your cover and in your book. And make sure your subtitle does not exceed 200 characters.


If your book is part of a series, as my e-books in my "Getting Published" series are, fill in the series title, volume, and editions.


Enter the name of your publishing company. Yes, you are now a publisher so come up with an awesome name for your company. (One that no one else is using.) (Tweet that!)


Now, copy / paste into the box that awesome description of your book that you already wrote and double-checked for errors.

Book contributors

That's you. This is where you "Add contributors" and add yourself as the author. The name you put here is how it will appear on Amazon. 

If other people helped with your book that you want to add you can, but you don't have to add anyone else. Maybe if you have someone associated with your book who also has a great presence on Amazon, it might help bring you more traffic if their name shows up.


Your International Standard Book Number links to the bar code that stores scan when they ring up their sales. You have to purchase an ISBN  so it costs you money. I can't for the life of me understand why anyone would put one on an e-book, but you can if you want to. It's optional. You may NOT use the same ISBN as on your print book (if you have one). I leave it blank.

Amazon will assign your book an ASIN automatically which is like an ID number for your book. This costs you nothing. When you're book is assigned its ASIN, you may want to make note of it and store it in your marketing materials or somewhere handy. It helps when searching for your book, such as on Goodreads.

#2 Verify Your Publishing Rights

Instructions are right there.

#3 Target Your Book to Customers

This is where you enter two book categories. Choose carefully because this is how readers will find your book. However if you want to change them later, you can. Later you can change this up to see if you get better results being in a different category. 

This is where I look at which categories other similar books are in and do the same.

Age Ranges, etc.

Read the directions and see if it applies to your book.

#4 Select Your Book Release Option

This is where you DO NOT want to click "Make my book available for pre-order" until you're sure you're ready to do so. 

A lot of this you can do in stages as you have time, if you need to. Then keep saving as "draft" (at the bottom of the page). Don't put your book for pre-sale until you have everything set because you can't un-do it!!!

#5 Upload Your Cover and #6 Upload Your Book File

Self explanatory.

I do NOT enable digital rights management (DRM). From what I've read on this topic a few years ago, DRM can cause problems so I opt out of this one. You may want to google it, read up on it, and make your own decision. But choose carefully because I believe if you choose DRM, you CANNOT undo it. Ever!

#7 Preview Your Book

When you have it uploaded, it's always a thrill to actually see it! Take the time to scroll through your entire book on the previewer. You'll see things that need fixed -- like a chapter that didn't start on a new page or a different margin at the top of different chapters.

To fix any problems, you'd go back to your Word document, make the changes, re-save it as the HTML file, zipped file, and drag photo file to the zipped file (as described above), then come back to this page on KDP (from your Bookshelf choose to "edit" your file), and re-upload your ebook. Once done, it will take a little while to be approved, but soon your changes will go live. And your book will never be off line for sales.

At Bottom of Page 

Be sure to click "Save as Draft" until you're sure you're ready for your book to publish or be available for pre-orders.

Page 2 -- Pricing Page

#8 Publishing Territories

I always go with "Worldwide rights."

#9 Pricing and Royalty

Enter the price you want for your e-book. You really should price your book between $2.99 and $9.99 so that you will receive 70% royalties from Amazon.

In special circumstances you may want to price your book outside of that range. For example, I've priced my short e-book "Cutting the Passive Voice" at $ .99. I wanted to offer it so anyone can afford it. Also because it's short, it's very helpful to writers, and I've actually given it for free off my web site in the past.

I wanted an almost-free e-book to "give" away that would help writers. Plus, at the back of this little e-book (as with all my e-books) I have a section of "More Books by this Author." So while I'm only receiving 35% royalty on my 99-cent book, every time it goes out to someone it also has the potential of making them aware of all my other books. I feel it's a win-win for me and my readers.

Consider: What inexpensive yet valuable e-book can you offer for a low price that can also cross-market all your other products? (Tweet that!)

#10 MatchBook

If you ONLY have the e-book version of this book (not a print version), you may not enroll in MatchBook.

#11 Kindle Book Lending (KOLL)

Yes, I always allow my ebooks to be in the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). Unlike a regular library, you will get paid a small amount for every page a person reads of your book. So why not? Plus it gets your work out there to more readers, who just may become fans, write you a review, or buy your next book.

At Bottom of Page 

Click "Save as Draft" until you are absolutely positive you are ready to go. Your book is proofread. You've fixed all the problems you've found. Etc.

At this point you can make your ebook go live soon (within 24 hours) by checking the confirmation box and then clicking "Save and Publish." HOWEVER, I think it's very wise to always take advantage of the opportunity to take pre-sale orders.

Making Available for Pre-Orders 

If you want to do so, return to page 1 and click that you want to put your ebook for pre-orders.

You can set the date for your e-book to publish up to 90 days ahead. In my experience, you won't get many pre-orders until the publishing date draws closer. (Maybe if you're famous and your book is greatly anticipated...) But don't get discouraged if you don't see many pre-sales at first.

Understand you can move your date up (closer), but you cannot move your date back (farther away) without stiff penalties. That's why I say to make doubly-sure you're ready to go before you do that.

Also understand that you MUST upload the FINAL draft of your e-book ten days before it publishes. That means you can't make any changes or corrections the last ten days it's on pre-order. That's another reason to make really super sure it's ready to go before you set it for pre-order.

I love using the pre-order option. It lets me get a running start on promoting my book. (Tweet that!) I can strategically pick my publishing date -- maybe to coincide with a conference I'm teaching at or a holiday that celebrates the topic of my book. While I'm waiting for the date to arrive, I can work on many ways to promote the book, including sending out a newsletter, offering guest blog posts, posting notices on Facebook and Twitter that readers can now pre-order -- all with links to the pre-order page on Amazon. I can also create a book trailer and other promotional products.

On that exciting day when your book finally goes live, all your pre-sales count as sales in one day. This could land you on a "best seller's list" in one of those categories you entered for your book. (Tweet that!) Keep an eye on those categories when it goes live and you might seen it go to under 100 on those lists -- and you can click on the link to see it on that list of great books. Then you can celebrate that (and use that fun event to promote your book even more!). Post a link to the list on all your social media.

Your book might also land on a "Hot New Releases" list, which you'll see when you click through to one of the category lists. (Tweet that!)

That's probably more than enough info for this month. So what are you waiting for? Get your e-book cooking on Kindle. Next month we'll talk about ways to market your Kindle e-book so readers can find it, plus ways to get those wonderful, pretty essential Amazon book reviews. It's one thing to have your e-book available among the millions on Amazon. It's another thing to let people know it's there and how to find it!

Here it is!

  • My next e-book in the "Getting Published" series releases on May 16! You can pre-order now and get it as soon as it releases!
Releasing May 16, 2016!

Includes my formula for writing query letters PLUS 9 actual query letters for you to follow as examples. Order today!


  • Get "3 Free Low-Maintenance Ways to Keep Your Tweets Rolling!"
  • Also get the free document "Which Rights Are the Right Rights for a Writer to Sell?" 

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