How to Self Publish a Book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing | Haydn Adams | Skillshare

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How to Self Publish a Book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing

teacher avatar Haydn Adams, Creative Technical Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Setup your account


    • 3.

      3 steps to a published book


    • 4.

      The Details of the Book


    • 5.

      The print options


    • 6.

      Submitting a Manuscript and Cover


    • 7.

      The needed components of a book


    • 8.

      Setting up your book cover


    • 9.

      Pricing and Rights


    • 10.

      Kindle Create Software


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About This Class

In the old days, in order to publish a book, you'd first have to write the book and then send manuscripts out to large publishing houses. You'd then wait and pray and hope you had a book worthy of a future ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Technology has progressed in the book publishing world. And Amazon is at the forefront. In this class, I walk you through the steps it takes to publish a book and eBook. I want to show you how fairly easy it is to complete the needed steps for Amazon to give you the OK to be on their store.

Yes, you still have to design a cover and do some work on the inside layout. But Amazon helps you with the design and setup. After all, they want you to publish a book on their store. 

I break down the various fields and entry points so you are setup to go to publish your book / eBook on Amazon via the Kindle Direct Publishing

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Haydn Adams

Creative Technical Educator


I grew up in two words—the web design / development world where I wrote HTML, CSS and now JSX, and the graphic design world where I mastered H&J's in Quark (yes, I said Quark).

I've now shifted nearly all of my work online but find that the design elements shouldn't change just because they've shifting to pixels rather than paper.

In 2020, it's crucial to understand how to code, especially as a designer, and more so to learn how to design through coding.

Before making Udemy videos, I was a instructor at Academy of Art University in San Francisco where I taught web design and development for over 13 years. Also during that time, I launched 3 iPhone/iPad Android apps and had the best-downloaded app in the University's history.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Hey there. And thanks for stopping by the course how to build a book slash e book on Amazon's Kindle direct publishing method. I'm gonna focus on the book that I built called How I Fell In Love With an Island. Yes, this is me, Hayden S. Adams and I have both a paperback and of the Kindle edition available on Amazon's marketplace. Let's again, I've got a Kindle version and I have a paper back. So how did I do that? That's this course is going to get into if we take a peek behind the curtain, we go up to what's called the Kindle Direct Publishing or kdp dot amazon dot com. And here is where My book Lives and breathes in. See both the Kindle e book is live, and the paperback edition is live in the next series of videos. I Want to walk You through how it created this project from start to finish, minus the writing. For the most part, here's some things I'm going to cover in this course, talking about the components needed to publish a book on Amazon. One of the details and the information you're gonna need to put together to build a book. I also taught how to set up the files to submit to Amazon. Now, keep in mind, you might need to hire a graphic designer. Some things are a little more advanced, Complicated. If they do get a bit that way, call your local designer and they can help you with basic details. And also, I'm gonna focus on how to build both a soft cover and a e book for Amazon's Kindle Direct publishing a couple things I'm not gonna cover groups. And one more thing. The meta information on Amazon. I'm gonna tell what Amazon needs in order to help you publish your book. Now let's get to the second part. Jump that kind of a bit. What? This course will not cover thistles, Not a marketing course. This is more of a nuts and bolts course that walks you through the process of building and consider right successfully submitting who? That was a tough one right there. So once again, this course is not about marketing tactics. This course is also not about pricing strategies. Pricing is a whole different ballgame. I'm an artist. At the end of the day, my goal is to push you from the start to the finish line If you need help with pricing strategies. This is where I would hire a marketing professional to guide you. And what is the approach Appropriate price for your book. And also, I'm not gonna go into what makes an amazing cover. This is a whole separate chapter I might do in a separate learning course because of the designer to think Mike covers pretty darn awesome. But I'm a little bit biased. And once again, this might be a whole separate conversation. And so I'm not gonna put this in this course. And lastly, I will not go over how to make fruitcake. I'm sorry. There's one thing I am not good at. It's a baker and let alone fruitcake. I am recording this in December of 2018. So it's kind of the holidays, and I'm started to point you. But if you came here looking to how to make fruitcake, this is not the course for you. But if you're looking Teoh, figure out how to build a book on Amazon for the Kindle Direct publishing like a self published book. Then this course is definitely for you. Let's come along and build a book. Thank you. 2. Setup your account: the first thing you want to do before anything else to set up an account, head to your favorite browser and type in the phrase KDP. For Kindle direct publishing dot amazon dot com, it looks something like this. Once you get into here and you want to sign up, you need a couple things first. Is your or any author information you want to set up for that person? The second you're going to need is a payment. Banking info. How is Amazon gonna pay you? That's always a good thing on the last pieces. As they call it, There's a tax interview. They want to know how to either withhold or not withhold your taxes. So here is the first up you got to do. Set up your account at Katie Pita amazon dot com. Put your author information in your payment banking info and complete, as they call it, the Tax Interview. 3. 3 steps to a published book: Once you have your account established, we're gonna need to get three things. Input it into Amazon to finish or publish a book. The first thing is to provide your book or e book details. This is more of the meta information about the book. This helps Amazon create keywords, Search for your book and other pertinent details. Everything is just text at the end of the day. Well, look at this part. First will go Step one, Step two. Step three. After we go through the details, we're going to focus on the book slash e book content. Now, hopefully, if you're watching this, you've already written a majority of the content. This course we're not going to focus on effective writing strategies, but this course is once you've done your book and you're ready to publish it or give it to Amazon. And the third piece to this, in the three Steps to a published book, is the book e book Rights. In pricing this once again, you're going to stipulate that you own the rights or that you have notification of the rights to the books information and you established pricing both in the United States, least where I am and around the world. Let's take a look at the first step. The details 4. The Details of the Book: So once you've established all the basic information your author information the taxes and the payment solutions, you should be brought to this page. This is a kindle or Katie p dot amazon dot com and the Kindle direct publishing. I'm gonna be in the bookshelf area that I already have a book published, which is down here. If you're coming in for the first time with no book published, you're probably only going to see create a new title and Kindle e book in paperback. I'm gonna start first with the paper back and let's go through the bits of information that Amazon needs. Remember that last slide talked about paperback details, paperback or e book content in rates and praising this is once again Step one, Step two and step three. I'm going to show you my example and also show you what you have to put in. If we scroll down the page a bit. The first question is the language. In this case, my book is written English, but if you were watching this internationally, it of course, asked you for whatever language you want right this in. Now keep in mind that once you put this in It does state. You cannot change this after your book has been published. If you are planning to put your book in multiple languages, picked the most prominent language first Spanish, English, German, Japanese, whatever language it is. Be where you cannot change this want Your book has been published in this case. My book is set to English. The next piece it of is the most important. Your book title. My book happens to be called How I Fell in Love With an Island. Keep in mind it's a little hard to read on the screen here only because Amazon did fade my text only because I cannot change this once the book has been published. So if I was publishing them for the first time, I would say how I fell in love with an island. Now, if you have a subtitle which I do recommend, you do put it right here. My subtitle was Acsi If I Can Spell It Right. Accidental Adventures in the Cook Islands. I wrote that subtitle for a reason because I want to make sure included the phrase Cook Islands because the book was about the Cook Islands. But the titles just said How I fell in love with an island. So once you put this in when you publish it, you cannot change it. Spelling does count, so please double check this. Let's get on the page a little further. The next thing it's asking for is a Siri's. Now this is optional. I don't have a Siri's like a Volume one or a Volume two or a Volume three, so I left this empty. As you can see, my Siri's info is optional, and I didn't actually use it. If I go back over here, the next piece is the addition number. I said First edition. I did put a one in here just because I felt like if I ever go back and I rewrite this book or added chapter, I do something else that I could always have a second addition in that way. But the first run, I did write a number one. After that. We're looking for the author. Now the author in this case is myself. Hayden Atoms. So I wrote, If I scroll down the page Hayden, my middle initial is S and Adams no. Do bear in mind that you can have a prefix and a Suffolk's to your name as well. So if you have, if you want, have a MR or a doctor or a professor or in your honorable of a judgeship, you can put a prefix a Suffolk's and your middle name if you want. Teoh, keep in mind this is required, but the Suffolk's and prefix is not, even though it doesn't say that. As you can see here, I don't have any Suffolk six or, in this case, a brief X or a Suffolk's. The contributor part is important, and I didn't put this in because I only had a few friends edited but didn't have a per se well known editor in this sections. I love this one blank, but you can also have if you have a second author. If he wrote this in partnership, for example, don't get in a political sides. But James Patterson co wrote a book with former President Bill Clinton, of course, that this is the case. I would add a second other to this informational sheet for the contributors. I can also set editor who wrote the foreword, My illustrator who wrote the introduction, the narrator, photographer preface, translator and contributions by You can add names. I have not gone to see how many names you haven't here, but this is where if you do want to give credit to any one of those other professions, here is where you're going to do it. I left my blink because I didn't have really anybody else, and the photographer took the picture on the cover was myself. The next part, which is really, really important, is the description, and we can click on this and say customers view your book description as a shop on Amazon offers first experience with the content of your book. Well written description peaks reader's interest and assures them that your book is of high quality. You get 4000 characters, as you can see here, I've got 3300 left. I wrote about two paragraphs worth in here. It could have separated the sentence, but it's little quick little paragraph. It's a small book. It's about 100 103 pages, but it's about 110 altogether. So small book for a smile and didn't require a big description. But if you've got a massive volume is amount of information take up this entire section. Key words matter. Tell people about the book that you were writing. The more content, the more keywords Amazon can pick up and understand what your book is about. Let's continue the page little further. This is also very important publishing rights. I wrote the book myself, so I inherently owned the copyright, and I hold necessary publishing rights. If you do not, don't check that box. You are telling Amazon you have the right to make money from Amazon off. Hopefully your work or work that you on the copyright to. If you are found a contempt well, bad things can come down the pipe. I wrote the book so thereby I was able to own the copyright. I also shot the pictures for the front and back cover. So by default, this is where I said I own the copyright information right here versus public domain works . And if you want to get more into that, you can click on this extra area, and it tells you about learning mawr about the publishing areas going forth. Second, the last piece of the bottom, actually third last piece, say misspoke on that piece is the key words. Tell me about your book. Tell me about the keywords is itself help. Is it cooking? Is it travel? What the heck is your book all about? In this case, Keywords. I had travel. I did do a little research on my certain subject and found there's actually a travel s a category. Thank you, Barnes. Noble ability. Peruse your different stores and categories inside your stores to find travel. An essay I also wrote about the Cook Islands, which in the South Pacific and the main island is rara Tonga. So my key words were five. I probably could add two more, as I think about a second time, but for the most part, I added five. You can add up to seven to describe your book, and as the keywords go, so do the categories. So it asked you to choose categories, and this gets in to a lengthy area that you can keep clicking and keep clicking and keep clicking. Think about how you want to categorize your book. My book was nonfiction Travel to Australia and Oshie. Anna Oceanic is I consider it the South Pacific, as there's not really a category for the South for I would say the Coke Island. So I did just say Australia. You know, she Anna, which probably includes New Zealand. I also put mine under nonfiction travel and overall general. But the more specific you can make it, the better in here. And the last question at the very bottom is, Does it contains adult content? Is booking language situations or images in a proper for Children under 18 years of age? I will let you be the judge of whatever content you have. My guess, if you're watching this video is probably gonna be on the no site. And mine was a swell. It was just fun stories about getting into in interesting situations on the Cook Islands. This, if I go back to this page, is the first step in the paperback details. Note. It'll say in progress. Let's go back to top my page unless you have completed it. You have to have all three check boxes here, here and here for Amazon to review and then approve your book. But this is the first step. The paperback details 5. The print options: all right now, I'm not ableto walk you through Step two or the paperback content yet until I finish the paperback details. In my example, I have finished the details. So I'm gonna show you my example of what I've done on my end for the paperback content. The first thing you're gonna wanna have is either getting Amazon to give you an eye spn number or you can use your own. If you have previously purchased on ESPN from 1/3 party company, that's not Amazon. You're welcome to use it. In this case, I didn't have a nice being number for this book. And so I was assigned one through getting a free ktb i ESPN the I ESPN is once again like a barcode or identify. I'll identifiable how talking all of a sudden number for your book. The imprint is independent published, which is what my book is the pronoun. ESPN is this long number, and it is attached to my book. My publication date officially was October 19th. So if you have a date in the future, we want to set for this. That's up to you. And now you get into the print options for your book. This is where you gotta think about all the details up front. And I want to show it to you now because this might be the last chapter you watch before you finish the next couple steps. I have the black and white interior with cream paper. I was thinking adding pictures to my book, so I was thinking about color interior with with white paper, but don't need about two or three pages of pictures. And I thought that having the whole book with color interior wasn't gonna justify a travel s a book and hence the color interior was not selected. I could have also chosen the black and one interior with white paper, but I felt the cream is a nice color to read the book with. Once I started looking at thes three options that I had decide how big should my book be? Now, once again, this is where you get to decide this. This I'm not a marketing expert. When it comes to size is what I did when this section came up is that I truly tore apart my library at my house and it hurt a measure with a tape measure. Ruler. How big certain books were. I also went to a bookstore. I went down to Barnes Noble. Yes, I'm tired. Amazon. But Barnes Noble had a local physical store, and I figured out what size of the best size for me. If you don't quite know what size is the best click on what is a trim size, and it will show you the various trim sizes you can set in your book. Anywhere from FIPE, inches by eight inches down to 8.27 by 11.69 inches of the trim size. So it'll tell you how big of a book you can make it. Eight by 10 8.25 by six You can make it squared 8.5 by 8.5, and it also gives you the corresponding centimeters as well, if you want to use that to set it up. But this is important because when you lay out your book, you want to use this measurement as a guide for your book. Keep in mind that you can also go up to these many pages. If you get near 828 pages, you're my hero. I'm like 100 11. I think in my total book size, I'm well within the range of the black ink and cream paper. But just know that if you are publicizing in a large book and you have a lot of writing, you can only go up to 550 pages. In this design approach through Amazon, we go back. Once you figure out a trim size, you'll want to set either a bleed or a no bleed and what this means. That does sound weird first, but as a delight, I'm used to hearing it. Ah, bleed means that when you lay out your design, the pictures hit the edge of the page versus this has no bleed. Were nothing touches the very edge of the page. My book was just text, so thereby I selected no bleed. But if you have a bunch of pictures going to the edge of the pages, you will need to have a bleed set up on your design. Now this gets a little more complicated and you might want to recommend, or I would recommend hiring a professional to design and layout your book. They will know how big to make it and how much access to add either a bleed or a no bleed for my book, I chose no bleed because I don't have any pictures that go off the edge of the page. The next step in this whole setting of your print options is your cover. Do you want to Matt, or do you want a glossy version? Mine is a photograph, so I chose glossy. But just think about if you want more a matte or glossy. If it's more illustrative, text base or UM, or photography based cover, then you're gonna wanna have lossy. But really spend some time thinking about all these options because your design and your cover design will be affected by the trim size of your book. 6. Submitting a Manuscript and Cover: This next section of the set of process might just take you the longest. It's the manuscript and the book cover Uploading. As you can see, I've uploaded 13 versions and I'm a graphic artist, So this can take a while to be done properly, but basically through the set up process. And this is where we have to get into Amazon help section even deeper because all books are not created equal, there's no econ. Say what is the preferred direction, but they give you a template for your preferred trim size. So let me close some extra screens and close this extra piece, and they basically say the manuscript templates they give you you can choose a template in which toe work from Based upon the size of your template, I can say temp, little simple, silly that templates with sample content I can grab because I had a five by five by 8.5 book. I can click on this, and Aiken, download me going downloads folders. I'm talking right here, and maybe I will find it, and maybe I will find it. Maybe I will not. So what I also have here if I move it to a different screen is the sample will show you how you can set up your book with this manuscript as a Microsoft Word document. Now I use Adobe in Designer Professional Zion software as I am by a trade, a graphic designer. And so I use an uploaded, a Pdf file of my document. But you're welcome to use of Myrie ad of different file types, a dock or a Microsoft Word document or a D o c x html rich text format, or RTF. And I used the for best results, the PDF file or the portable document format as I exported this out of Adobe in design. So you will need a paperback manuscript of Well, I have your manuscript and a book cover down here. I think I've done about, I don't know, five or six different versions of this book cover depending upon how it's changed, because here's the thing you have tow. Launch this book pre viewer. That's a fun name. In order to get to the save and continue. If the's do not work appropriately and in preview your book successfully and saving continue, you can't go on forward. The launch pre viewer does just that. It gives you a preview of your book and how it's gonna look. My was already done, so it goes pretty fast once you have a book uploaded. However, when I first did this, it took about 5 to 10 minutes to upload successfully. But it shows me my cover, which here's my back description. They put the barcode and for me, my company, Nautilus Designs and the cover on the right hand side. And so I can go through this section and show how the book is assembled. Which leads me to my next chapter in this learning. Siri's is what does Amazon require of content in order to publisher book and approve it successfully Now bear in mind right before I end this that if it does not work appropriately, it will tell you that what is wrong with your book On the left hand side, please check the information that what you have stated is what you have inside the book. My was approved. I'm not gonna click approve again. I'm gonna exit print, preview our just don't mess up my book at all. And this is how I can go forward. So our next section is what do you need in your manuscript for Amazon to approve it 7. The needed components of a book: So what goes inside of a book? Amazon needs the following pieces or to approve a book successfully. The first thing is the initial page with title. This could be a graphical looking title or just simply in times New Roman. The title of your book. On the third page, the second page is blank, and I'll show you my example of my book set up in in design in a second. But the secondary page has a title and subtitle. And if you want to add your company or publishing company, you can call it your last name Press. Like my last name is Adams. I could say Adams press, in this case, I have my design company, Nautilus Designs. And so I just said, Nautilus Designs is my printing company on the page. After that, you can I wanna have the pert information of the copyright the I s bien. If you want a library of Congress number, I don't have it. I went past that stage, but if you want to, you can apply for that and get it. Hence, I said loc and other pertinent information basically don't steal. Don't copy. Do not rip off my work you'll also then want, or it's an optional if you, I would want it at least, is a dedication page. I dedicate my late grandfather, who was always a fan of travel, which I'll show you in a second. A table of contents is also needed to have your readers navigate through your book, and the last is the actual book content. That's of course, the bulk of content that you wanna have. If you want a preface or a Suffolk six at the end of prologue or an epilogue, you're also welcome to have that as well. But these are the most important and required pieces that Amazon needs to approve your book . So let's take a look at the set up of my book that I have in pages in order. So in any book set up, the first page is always the right hand side is you open up the book cover, which is over here in this left side. From here I have how I fell in love with an island the next two pages. This left page is blank, but this right hand side is full with more information. So first it was high phone of that island now included my author name and off the subtitle of the book and my printing press. And it was from other books that I also include location. And where I'm coming from is Marin County, California I was gonna specify a San Francisco worsening else because I am just north of San Francisco, up in Northern California. But alas, I digress after that, my copper information where the company is first addition, no book may be reproduced or transmitted I spn number website and also I wrote, done and produced in the United States of America. I have a dedication page We having fun yet which was my late grandfathers kind of saying in his lifetime. And after this, I start the table of contents on the right hand side and using any professional software. This is, of course, adobe in design that I was able to do tale of contents pretty quickly, easily, and I've got a couple pieces down here and I start the thank you page right off the bat from the very get go, and I included the thank you page. Some people don't, but it's hard to keep it as page one going forward, but Amazon looks for the following bits of information Bear in mind. Also, you can not have three pages that are empty of content. Amazon assumes that that is a printing air. And so I did have that on my initial proofs. I didn't have a certain chapter. I left it blank thinking that a while put that chapter when I finished writing it. But I left it empty to just add the space for the proof. And Amazon Lego. No, you cannot do that. So do bear in mind that you can have two pages devoid of content, but if you have 1/3 paged of what of content, it will not let you submit the file successfully. 8. Setting up your book cover: in the last section. We talked about the manuscript and what is needed to go inside of it. In order for Amazon to approve it, the next piece is the book cover. Now, if you've already established your trim size, that's half the battle. Because the next stage is establishing the spine. Size is well, if we go back to our cover design, this is my example. In my book, we have the cover on the right and the back cover on the left and in the middle is the spine. But just how big should that spine be? That's all depending upon, of course, How many pages you have now, Amazon makes us really easy. And I love this part, especially from a designer. It really gave me so much. Used to know how big to make my design. If I click, I'm going on my command key on the Macintosh. I can go to the KDP template area and here it'll say. Okay, how big of a book do you wanna have? I'm gonna go 5.5 by 8.5 and my page count. Using adobe in design was 111 and my paper color was cream. I can then download a cover template as I'm talking on a move to a different screen for one second over here. And there we go 5.5 by 8.5 cream and 120 pages. This will give me my effective size both as a PNG file. It'll tell me that my spine has be 0.3 inches with cream paper, of course, 5.5 by 8.5. Now, I let Amazon also put a barcode. And for me, just because I wanted to make it well, easy for me to publish the book. And so it tells you the barcodes going to go right here. So you're design when you make it will be in that certain position. Now, if you are working a professional software, it also provides you with a pdf file. So same things before PNG versus pdf. But I could then put this into adobe in design in turn, this template into a working design. If you're not familiar with these pieces of software as a recommended before, you might wanna hire professional graphic artist because that old saying is true. You can't always judge a book by its cover. But people do judge a book by its cover, and in the market of being self published, you want to know as much as possible to the big guys out there. And so if you're going to spend some money on someone spent on the book, covers the first thing they see when they want to buy your book. And so this is how you can use Amazon. Let's go back to my browser, and in this book cover area, you can say download a KDP template to download the effective size of your book to make a cover. 9. Pricing and Rights: Once you finish Step two or the paperback content and Amazon gives you the green light, you can now proceed to the paperback rights and praising This is the fun but often daunting task of figuring out how the hack to price and where your book goes. The territories. I chose worldwide rights because my book can go anywhere in the world. For my choice, I chose 99. My book is about 100 and 11 pages. Ah 103 effective reading pages. And so it's a smaller book. And so I said, 9 99 I get a base rate of 60% and minus the cost of to 18 for printing My rail. T is 3 81 I also allowed for expand distribution, which talks about how you can go through libraries, academic institutions, and that rate is 40%. And I get 1 81 out of that. You also can choose how you want a price. Your book based upon other currencies. Now, of course, my book is based United States, so I started with United States dollar. But of course we have the Great Britain, the different euros and Amazon, France, Amazon, Germany, Amazon UK. We have Estonia. It's explain, I believe, and Amazon I t n c o dot jp for Japan. Now this did automatically put the numbers in for me. So once I typed in 99 I was able to keep that the numbers the same across the different platforms and channels. So do be aware that if you sat one, they all will convert to the rough with the same price in that situation. Once you get to there, you click on the term of conditions. You say it's under review and you publish your paperback book and you fingers crossed. And that is the three steps. The paperback details, the paperback content and the paperback rights and pricing to your successfully self published book. 10. Kindle Create Software: if you've noticed that I focused first on the soft cover and then the second thing I want to do is focus on the Kindle edition. There's actually a piece of software called the Kindle Create. If you Google surgeon, you confined it there or in the help section I rebuilt my book Inside of Kid No create. So this is my Kindle Edition that I have here and how this works is pretty straightforward . I copied and pasted all of my text in the Kindle create. And in these different settings, I said, Is it a chapter title? Is that a chapter subtitle Chapter, first paragraph? And then I went down and said, OK, now they're just paragraphs going forward. The great part about this is you can save it appear. You can also preview it using different readers, and then you can publish it right directly from Kindle create. And if I say publish, I'm not going to do that because I want to erect my current design. But I can go right through here, save my copy and publish it directly through Kano, create thereby uploaded a file and tying the two together and making sure I have both my Kindle e book and hello Kindle e book and my paper book under the same area to promote both at the same time. So I do recommend doing the paperback version first. If you want to do a soft cover or if you're just gonna go direct to Kindle, you can skip half of my directions from before and go directly to the Kindle e book. Once you have all those set up to go, the last step is for it to approve your book and no change from live. Excuse me from pending approval. Toe live when this book is ready to go. And this is the various steps that you need to take or to publish a book using kindles are the Amazon Kindle direct publishing.