Indie publishers: starting with Amazon


I am an indie publisher, all that means is that I publish my own work rather than via an agent or Publisher. I use Amazon and all my books are digital (at time this was posted).

Over the next few weeks I am going to share the process with you. I will break it into simple steps, so even if you just fancy getting that one short story or those poems published – you can!

Step One – starting with Amazon

I chose Amazon because it is well-known, well-used and free. My first attempt in November 2013 was painful because it was entirely new to me. Now I find it easy, though complacency can still trip anyone up.  I create checklists so I don’t forget key tasks and I tick them off as I go along.

Amazon is the overall company.

Kindle refers to the eReaders & the on-line store.

KDP = Kindle Direct Publishing, this is the section that handles eBooks.

Your account is with Amazon via KDP. Once you start they give you lots of tools to help manage your books: an author page, Bookshelf display of your books with easy editing, on-line guides; options for Lending your books, Cover-Creator (if you don’t have your own book cover) and sales info.

So – how to start… the first five steps…

1. sort a Bank Account. Amazon is a US company so if you are outside the US your account will need to have an IBAN (International Bank Account Number) for payments. I recommend opening a separate account for your payments. It makes things easier for you – you will need to declare income.

2. read the free on-line guides. Search for KDP Amazon – there are even eBooks you can download.

If you are not already a Kindle book reader – join up! You don’t need to own a Kindle, download the Free App. All your eBooks are stored in a ‘cloud account’ and you can read them on most devices: tablets, PC, MAC & smartphones.

3. get an account with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). They will ask for some personal details, an email address and of course a password.

4. Taxes! VAT applies to eBooks but Amazon add the VAT for you (phew!). If you are not a US resident – check your tax status. There are simple guides on-line, you will need to consider filing forms – read carefully, take your time. And remember earnings from writing are income.

You will get an email notification of payments (monthly) and in March a form will be posted to you with payment/tax info keep this safe.

5.  Amazon provides great on-line help – use it! Read their guides & download their own FREE guide to publishing.


The Publisher

You are the author & the Publisher – so decide on your name, some writers use their own name (I do, my eBooks are all under Elizabeth Haley-Wood whilst I use Lizzie HW for social media). You may prefer a pen-name or even different names for different genres. Just remember who you are!


A little info about royalties:

KDP offers choices over pricing. You can set different prices for different countries but the system will convert your $ List Price according to current exchange rates and show the various prices for worldwide markets.  Based on your set prices royalties are either 35% or 70%.

If you put your book into the KDP Select option you can ‘lend’ your book to Amazon subscribers who read it for free but you get paid a % of a special KDP fund. It’s your choice!

Also there are ‘special offers’ you can use in each 90 day period of KDP Select enrolment: FREE or Countdown (where you can reduce the price) ~ you will need to test these to see if they do what you want.

You cannot start a book as FREE with Amazon so you need a price. But it is easy to change it.

The minimum List Price is $0.99 (maximum $200.00)  – search for  List Price Requirements within KDP for the full set of details.

It is a wonderful feeling when you get your first payment, even if it is small, because you earned it 🙂



😉 OK? Here’s your checklist:

  • Bank account
  • KDP account
  • tax affairs sorted
  • guides & on-line help
  • choose your author (publisher) name
  • think about pricing/royalties

Now ~  write the book! (it can be a single short story, a novella, a novel, poetry, a collection of poems or short stories or an anthology)


Once you’ve done all of the above…. go back to your book – edit it, spell check it, get someone to proof-read it ~ do this until you are sure it’s polished.

Next week: I will cover formatting, book layouts and creating covers.

Lizzie HW









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