Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) 2024 Guide: How to Self-Publish on Amazon

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) 2024 Guide: How to Self-Publish on Amazon
Table of Contents

What is Kindle Direct Publishing?

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) royalties 

How to advertise your KDP book

How to open a KDP account

How to find the best niches for KDP

Low-content books on Amazon KDP

Do you love to write your own stories, but wish you had an audience to share them with?

Getting your book published can be a difficult and expensive process — but not with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) on Amazon. 

With Amazon KDP, you can publish your own ebook or paperback on Amazon for free, where it will be available digitally to the millions of Amazon shoppers who use Kindle readers. With Amazon’s free print-on-demand service, you can also offer your customers a physical paperback copy of your book. 

What is Kindle Direct Publishing?

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, is Amazon’s self-publishing platform that allows authors to sell their books to Amazon’s massive audience — without the hassle of going through a traditional publishing company. 

With Amazon KDP, authors can create ebooks and paperback books, all without any upfront costs or inventory orders. On top of that, KDP gives authors full rights to their books, something that a traditional publishing house typically won’t do.

If you are an author of any kind, KDP is a great way to get your books published and listed for sale — for free! You won’t pay fees to Amazon until you make a sale — but we’ll go over that in a later section. 

What are the benefits of KDP?

At this point, I’m sure you’ve deduced the biggest benefit — zero cost to publish and list your book. But let’s go over more reasons why you should sign up for KDP on Amazon.

  • You can publish ebooks and paperback books. With KDP, you have the option of publishing a Kindle ebook or paperback book — or both! If you choose to sell a paperback book, Amazon will print your book and ship it out to your customer for you. No need to purchase bulk inventory ahead of time.
  • No upfront costs in exchange for a revenue share. While it is free to list your ebooks for sale on Amazon KDP, you will split the revenue of the ebook sale with Amazon. How large that share is depends on which royalty option you choose and how large your ebook file is. I’ll explain that more soon.
  • You can publish as many ebooks as you want. Under one account, you can publish as many ebooks or paperback books as you can write, even under different pen names and categories.
  • You can buy your own paperback books wholesale through KDP. If you would like to have some physical copies of your book on hand to sell or give to friends, you can place a wholesale book order within your KDP dashboard. Amazon will then print the number of copies you ordered and ship them to you — you’ll pay the printing cost for each book.
  • Your books will have a sales rank on the Kindle Store just like This is great news — as a small author, you’ll have the same opportunity as larger, better-known authors to rise in rank and make sales.
  • Sell worldwide to Amazon’s massive audience. Obviously, a major benefit to self-publishing on Amazon is the fact that you’ll have access to millions of Kindle users. As long as you own the rights to your book in each country it’s sold in (which Amazon refers to as territories on its KDP help pages), you can list your book for sale across Amazon’s global marketplaces. See the royalty help page for more information. 

What kind of content can you publish with KDP?

According to the KDP help page, content typically published using KDP includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Novels
  • Book Series
  • Children’s Books
  • Comics
  • Cookbooks
  • Journals
  • Poetry
  • Textbooks

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) royalties 

When you publish ebooks through KDP, you will get paid in royalties — both you and Amazon receive a percentage of the revenue. 

There are two royalty rates to choose from: 35% and 70%.

70% royalty option

I know what you’re thinking: well, obviously, you should go with the 70% royalty option, right?   

It’s not that simple. In order to qualify for the 70% royalty rate on Amazon KDP, you must meet certain criteria:  

  • Pricing. Your ebook will need to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99
  • Distribution fee. You will need to pay a distribution fee, or “delivery fee,” for each purchase, which will depend on your ebook’s digital file size. Amazon charges $0.15 per megabyte for each book sold between $2.99 and $9.99. Amazon compresses ebook files, so your fee may not be as hefty as you think. You can try out their fee calculator on the pricing page after you list your book. 
  • Physical books. If you sell physical copies, the ebook price must be at least 20% below the paperback’s list price.
  • Copyright. You must own the copyright to the ebook. If the book is public domain, you cannot receive a 70% royalty.
  • International sales. Your books must be enrolled in KDP Select to be eligible for 70% royalty on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and India.
35% royalty option

Here are the requirements for the 35% royalty rate option: 

  • If your book is priced below $2.99 or above $9.99, you will receive a 35% royalty. 
  • You will not pay a delivery fee when choosing this option. 
  • 35% royalties make sense for large books such as textbooks, cookbooks, or picture books with big file sizes. 

Amazon also places list price requirements on ebooks published through Kindle Direct Publishing. 

List Price Requirements for (USD)

Royalty Rate Option Minimum List Price Maximum List Price
35% Less than 3 MB $0.99 $200.00
3 MB to 10 MB $1.99 $200.00
Over 10 MB $2.99 $200.00
70% $2.99 $9.99

Paperback royalties

The royalty structure for paperback books is different. 

KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on paperbacks sold on Amazon. Amazon will then subtract the printing costs from your royalty. These costs depend on page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace your paperback was ordered from.

To figure out exactly how much you will earn for your paperback book, you can use Amazon’s printing cost calculator or this handy equation: 

(Royalty rate x list price) – printing costs = royalty

For example, your list price is $15. Your book is a 333-page paperback with black ink sold on the US marketplace:

(0.60 x $15) – $4.85 = $4.15

The $4.15 is what you will be paid for that sale. 

How to advertise your KDP book

Luckily, you don’t just have to list your book and hope it sells. Amazon offers cool marketing tools to get your books in front of potential buyers. One of them is Amazon Advertising

If you sell physical products on, you should be familiar with Sponsored Product ads, a type of Amazon pay-per-click advertising (PPC).

Here’s how it works:
  1. You set up an ad campaign in which you target specific keywords relevant to your book — keywords your intended audience will likely use in the Amazon search bar.
  2. Then, when a customer searches for those keywords on Amazon, your ad may appear within the search results, where the customer can click through to your book’s product detail page. With PPC, you bid on clicks for those targeted keywords — the better your bid, the more likely your ad will appear. 

For example, say you published a comic book about a new superhero through Kindle Direct Publishing on Amazon.  You’d want to target keywords such as “comic books”, “superhero comic book”, and “superhero stories”. With the right bid, your ad could appear within search results — or even on product detail pages for similar superhero comic books. 

This is a great way to get your new book title out in front of potential readers who are already interested in buying the kinds of books you write. 


Whether you’re launching your first private label product, reselling wholesale products, or you own a large brand, it’s imperative that you have an Amazon advertising strategy in place.

KDP Select

KDP Select is another way ebook sellers can gain traction on Amazon. This program is optional and only eligible for ebooks, not paperbacks. 

According to Amazon, “KDP Select is a free Kindle book program that gives you the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money at no additional cost. All authors and publishers, regardless of where they live, are eligible to enroll their Kindle books in KDP Select.”

While the “reach more readers and earn more money at no additional cost” part sounds great, there is a catch. 

Benefits of KDP Select:

  • Higher royalties in select countries. Make your Kindle book eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico. If not enrolled in KDP Select, your royalty will be 35% for these countries.
  • Access to additional promotional tools. Kindle Countdown Deals: Only KDP Select authors can limited-time discounts on their ebooks to customers on and Customers will see both the regular price and the promotional price, along with a countdown clock for the discount.
  • Free Book Promotions. Authors can offer their book for free for up to 5 days out of each 90-day KDP Select enrollment period. While you won’t earn royalties through a Free Book Promotion, it can help you earn a ton of downloads and reviews and build social proof around your book to entice paying customers when your promotion ends. 
  • Kindle Unlimited. Your book will be enrolled into Kindle Unlimited, which allows customers of this program to read an unlimited amount of books for a monthly $9.99 fee. You won’t be paid the usual royalty price through Kindle Unlimited — you’ll be paid per page that the customer reads from your book. This may seem counterintuitive, but it can pay off. While Kindle Unlimited users may not be willing to pay for a book by an indie author outright, they can try a few pages, then get hooked, and leave a social proof-boosting review. 

Drawbacks of KDP Select:

  • Potentially lower earnings than from book sales. Since Kindle Unlimited royalties are paid per page read, you may not make as much money as you would if someone bought your book outright. 
  • Your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon. There is a minimum 90-day enrollment period during which your book can only be sold on the Amazon Kindle store—not your own website, on another marketplace, or even given away for free. 

How to open a KDP account

With KDP, you get to list an ebook for free AND create your own print-on-demand paperback version. This all sounds pretty great, right? If you’re an author of any kind, it only makes sense to offer your books on Amazon through KDP. 

Signing up for an account is very simple, and you can have your own ebook published in no time.

First, go to the Kindle Direct Publishing website and click “Sign up.”

Once you fill in some basic information, you can begin uploading your books!

To start, go to “Create a New Title” and choose Kindle eBook or Paperback. 

Next, you will fill in information about your book such as Title, Edition, Author, Description, Publishing Rights, and Keywords. 

In the next section, you will upload your Manuscript, eBook Cover, eBook Preview, and an optional Kindle eBook ISBN. 

Make sure you read the KDP Content Guidelines before uploading your ebook. 

Next is pricing your book. In this section, you will choose if you want to enroll in KDP Select, choose the territories where you want to list your book, and select your royalty rate and price.

Under “Royalty and Pricing”, you can choose the 35% plan or the 70% plan. Amazon will show you what your royalty will be based on your list price. 

Remember, if your price is over $9.99, then you are only eligible for the 35% royalty. 

After you fill in all this information, your book is ready to publish! Just like that, your very own authored ebook or paperback will be available for sale on Amazon. 

How to find the best niches for KDP

Now that you know how to sell books on Amazon KDP, how do you find trending niche KDP ideas? By using Jungle Scout’s Keyword Scout tool, you can find popular book-related keywords to potentially create your own KDP book on. 

Go to Keyword Scout and start searching for ideas you have, or keep it broad and search for keywords such as “ebook,” “children’s book,” “puzzle books,” and so on. 

Let Keyword Scout show you the high-volume and relevant keywords related to your original search. 

Keyword Scout will come up with hundreds or even thousands of keywords to give you book ideas. The tool will also show you the search trend of each keyword. This gives you an idea of what niche/topic is currently trending. 

For instance, in this list of keywords, the keyword ‘puzzle books for adults’ is trending upwards. 

While that keyword is still pretty broad, my next step could be to search for that keyword on Amazon and see what types of books appear. From there, you can niche down and find a KDP topic that is a little more specific. 

When using Keyword Scout, ensure that the book topic you are interested in has at least 1,000 monthly searches for the main keyword and 5-10 other related keywords that you can add to your KDP listing. This is because consumers search for products in different ways, so you need to be sure that multiple keywords and variations of those keywords are accounted for.

Use Keyword Scout to find niche KDP ideas.

Low-content books on Amazon KDP

Creating low content books for Amazon KDP used to be a fantastic way to publish books on Amazon KDP.

They’re easy to make with lots of different niches to target. However, low content books have become extremely saturated over the years. 

How to create medium-content Books on Amazon KDP

Check out our new video on YouTube that explains how you can create medium-content books to publish on Amazon KDP. We go step-by-step in showing you how to find a niche with high demand, low competition, and high royalties!

You don’t need to be a writer to launch a popular book on Amazon, you just need to know how to do your research and how to create an eye-catching book cover. Watch the video to learn how!

Start selling your books on Kindle Direct Publishing

Hopefully this helped give you a better understanding of how KDP works and how any author, big or small, can publish their own writings. Whether you write mystery novels, bedtime stories, or scientific textbooks, KDP can help you reach the masses. 

Have you published a book through KDP? Let us know below, or share a question you have about selling your books on Amazon.

Want to learn more about how you can use Jungle Scout to launch, grow, and run your Amazon business? Click the “Learn More” button below!

Start selling books on Amazon.

Learn more about how you can use Jungle Scout to launch, grow, and run your Amazon business.

Brian Connolly is an Amazon seller, ecommerce expert, and writer for Jungle Scout. He lives in the New Jersey Shore area with his wife and cat. When he isn’t writing advice online for aspiring and experienced Amazon sellers for Jungle Scout, he spends his free time boating, fishing, and selling boating-themed items on his Amazon business.

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