How to Publish on Kindle Unlimited | A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide

Ollie Ander
Is probably just a couple cats in a trench-coat—the hair shedding and sunlight napping are highly suspect.
Why do you want to publish a book— Fame, fortune? For many authors that pursue self-publishing, profit is put on the backburner in comparison to the overwhelming desire for visibility. We all want to be seen, and authors all want their books to be read. To that end, enrolling your book in Kindle Unlimited can make your book easily available and get it into more readers’ hands than any other individual self-publishing platform or program.

What is Kindle Unlimited?

Kindle Unlimited is a monthly subscription service through Amazon that allows readers to rent eBooks instead of purchasing them outright. This lack of commitment gives readers the incentive to take risks and discover new authors! If that sounds like you, enrolling your book in Kindle Unlimited could be just the thing to get your foot in the door—or rather, eyes on the page!
This article is a comprehensive step-by-step guide on how to publish your eBook on Kindle Direct Publishing, and enroll it into KDP Select, which will in turn make it available to readers through their Kindle Unlimited subscription.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Publishing on KDP

Here's how to get your title published on Kindle Direct Publishing.

Finish Your Manuscript

You get a freebie on the first step because it’s the longest, hardest one of them all. Congratulations on writing a book! Now let's get it published.

Export Your Manuscript Files

You can export your manuscript from $ NovelPad$  in EPUB or DOC file formats by going down to the "Download Novel" button in the bottom left hand corner of the writing browser. KDP accepts both formats.

downloading a novel on novelpad as epub
Although EPUB includes any cover you’ve uploaded, you will still need a separate JPG or TIFF file of your eBook cover for the KDP eBook setup process.

export novel as word or epub from novelpad

Make an Account with Kindle Direct Publishing

To publish your books through Kindle Direct Publishing, you will first need to $ make a KDP account$ . The Amazon/KDP account you have for personal use and purchasing do not have to be linked or use the same email information, but you can set it up that way if you want. However, Amazon does not tolerate duplicate accounts for either purpose (don’t make a whole new KDP account for every pen name you write under).
Before you get too excited and hit that +Create button, go to the "Your Account" tab at the top right, to take you to the "My Account" page. Before you can publish anything through KDP, Amazon needs to make sure they can pay you. You’ll want to do this sooner than later because it may take a few days for Amazon to verify the information.

your account kdp

Author/Publisher Information

Many authors pause on the "Author/Publisher Information" section because they write under a pen name. Please only use your legal name and information when filling out your KDP account back end information. It will not be visibly linked to your books on Amazon or publicly accessible in any other capacity. In fact, every single book you publish through KDP can have a different author name. Aside from books joined in a series through their KDP setup, titles can also be linked through an $ Amazon Author Central$  profile, which is entirely separate from your KDP account.

Getting Paid

In the "Getting Paid" section you will be required to attach a legitimate bank account. (There are no Paypal or Stripe alternatives here unfortunately.) No special business account types are required though, and Amazon should accept any depositable account with any bank that’s registered with your country.

Tax Information

Next is the "Tax Information" section. You must fill this out accurately with your legal name and information. Just like the "Author/Publisher Information" section above, you cannot use your pseudonyms here, but that’s okay! Only Amazon will have access to your legal information and only for the purposes of paying you for your book sales.

Setting up Your eBook

+ create amazon kdp
Okay okay, you can hit that enticing +Create button now! On the next page, you will be prompted to choose which format you’d like to proceed with creating. Since Kindle Unlimited is exclusive to the distribution of eBooks, that’s what we will be focusing on.
If you would like to publish your novel as a paperback or hardcover, you can do so anytime later and link it to your pre-existing eBook version.

create kindle ebook
There are three pages of information you will need to fill out before you can publish your eBook: Kindle eBook Details, Kindle eBook Content, and Kindle eBook Pricing.
You can scroll through these tabs at the top of the page and enter information as you prefer (some of us don’t have every detail planned out when we get to this point, or find out we’re missing something— it happens). KDP will prompt you to save whenever leaving a tab you’ve made changes to, so make sure you hit that "Save" button and don’t lose anything along the way!

kindle ebook details in progress kdp

Kindle eBook Details

In this section you will fill out all your eBook’s relevant metadata. This information is what will be displayed on your book’s Amazon page, and influence where it sits within the content recommendation’s algorithm. As much as your book’s associated author name and book description are a given, think carefully on which categories and keywords you’d like to attach to it, as those will affect who your eBook gets shown to and what titles it will be in competition with.
At the end of the eBook setup process authors may be looking for the ability to delay the release. (I know, the temptation to hit the "Publish Your Kindle eBook" button is strong!) If you need more time to review your book or its details, you can always save your progress with the "Save as Draft" button along the bottom of all the eBook setup pages. To further resist the temptation of the yellow PUBLISH button at the end of the Pricing tab, please note that you can set up your Kindle eBook for Pre-order at the bottom of the Details page. If you publish too early, you cannot do pre-orders after the fact, so keep that in mind.

Kindle eBook Content

This section is where you will upload the digital files for your novel. Make sure you check the Digital Rights Management (DRM) box in the Manuscript section if you would like to inhibit unauthorized access to, or copying of, your digital files.
There is now also a section on this page where you will need to declare whether any AI tools were used in the creation of your book.


There are a few options available for file formats of your manuscript. KDP will accept Microsoft Word (DOC/DOCX), Kindle Package Format (KPF), EPUB and MOBI file formats. Word and EPUB files are the accepted and most trustworthy standard, both of which you can easily download your novel as from $ NovelPad$ ’s writing browser.

Kindle eBook Cover

Even if you exported and uploaded your manuscript in an EPUB file (which can contain your cover) you will also need to upload the separate cover file to KDP. Only JPG and TIFF formats for eBook covers are accepted. Hopefully Amazon will introduce PNG options in the future.

Kindle eBook Preview

Now that your manuscript and cover files are uploaded, I highly recommend you open the Kindle eBook Previewer and scrub through the entirety of the novel. It’s surprisingly easy to overlook an extra indent here or there while you’re in your writing software, but those innocent mistakes become glaringly apparent once formatted into an eBook. Don’t be ashamed if you have to re-upload your manuscript a couple times to tweak the little formatting errors that may pop up.

Kindle eBook ISBN

Kindle eBooks are not required to have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) but if you bought one ahead of time, you can attach it to your eBook here, and declare a Publisher if you have one (or are one yourself). All eBooks published through KDP without a preexisting ISBN will be given a free ASIN, but you will need an additional ISBN for other formats (or if you'd like to publish the eBook outside of Amazon).

Kindle eBook Pricing

In this final tab, you will need to choose whether you’d like worldwide distribution rights, your royalties percentage, and at what price you’d like to sell your novel. There is a calculator in the "Pricing, royalty, and distribution" section, so you can play around—input numbers to see what royalty you will receive on a sale. There are different minimum price requirements for the 35% and 70% royalty options, so keep an eye on that—don’t price too low!

KDP Select Enrollment

This is the first and most important section of the Kindle eBook Pricing tab. What you price your eBook at for a general sale does not affect the royalties you will receive when your book is read through Kindle Unlimited (which is what this article is all about!).

KDP Select Enrollment
You can check the "Enroll my book in KDP Select" box when you first set up your eBook, and upon initial publication, or you can come back and enroll your eBook in KDP Select anytime afterwards. If you tick the option box, once you hit publish, your eBook will be enrolled!

What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is a 90-day program that KDP authors can enroll their eBooks in. KDP Select is only available to eBooks. The program is free and all authors are eligible, no matter where they live. Having your eBook in KDP Select will make it eligible for other benefits like $ Free Book Promotions$  and $ Kindle Countdown Deals$  but the main draw for enrolling is Kindle Unlimited. All eBooks enrolled in KDP Select automatically become available on Kindle Unlimited.
What’s the catch, you may be asking? The requirement to enroll your eBook in KDP Select is that it must remain exclusive to Kindle for the full 90-day duration of the program. You can re-enroll your book or opt out of the program at the end of that period, but you cannot host your eBook on any other publishing platforms until then! The 90-day period is not negotiable. Even if you unpublish your book, it still cannot appear or be distributed elsewhere until the term is completed. Do not test this requirement, as it could jeopardize your future of ever dealing with Amazon again.

How does Kindle Unlimited differ from KDP?

Kindle Unlimited, as a subscription for readers, is like a book borrowing service. Readers can pick up and read any eBook enrolled in Kindle Unlimited without need of purchase. This drastically changes how the authors of KU books receive royalties, because no direct sale is made for that title.
Instead, KU authors are paid per page that a customer reads of their book. Only pages read for the first time are counted toward this earnable rate (repeat borrows and rereads do not earn the author any more money). The payout per page can fluctuate, as all Kindle Unlimited subscriptions are pooled into one sum, and then distributed amongst KU authors based on their page reads at the end of a term. Kindle Unlimited payouts follow the same payment schedule and setup as regular KDP sales.

Although the monetary payoff is lower (per page) for KU authors compared to a direct sale, Kindle Unlimited has been invaluable for beginning writers in need of being discovered in the first place. Kindle Unlimited offers readers a risk-free chance to try out your work.
For authors publishing to a genre of avid-readers, Kindle Unlimited is the go-to option, as their demographic is less likely to choose to buy an eBook when there’s so many more they could "borrow" through Kindle Unlimited instead. It can be hard to snag readers if you’re writing in a saturated market, and Kindle Unlimited could be just the ticket to get eyes on your words.
So, you plopped your eBook onto Kindle Unlimited, what’s next? If you want to remain relevant and competitive, you may want to consider writing to market. Those KU readers are hungry, so you’d best keep them satisfied! Check out this article on $ “What is Write-to-Market? An Author's Fast-Track to Earnings”$  if you truly want to get started on your Kindle Unlimited author’s empire!
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