Guide To Self Publishing On Amazon [2021]

Last Updated on May 17, 2021 by Jordan Alexo

Are you ready to start rolling down the cash like a money machine? Wow… 2021, is about to become one of the best years ever! This guide is about to teach you how to start your journey as a Kindle publisher. Contrary to other years, I feel this is yet to become one of the best years ever. This course is for nonfiction, so let’s get the ball rolling!

What is My Promise?

If you follow this guide until the end:

  1. You will understand the step-by-step principles of self-publishing.
  2. You should have a book published on Kindle Direct Publishing.
  3. If you don’t have any other online business, you are about to make your first dollars online

Sounds great? Then keep reading…

How Should You Follow This Guide?

I recommend you read each step and immediately put everything to practice. Learn and take action is one of the best ways to learn anything.

This tutorial is going to help you publish your first nonfiction book on Kindle Direct Publishing. Hopefully, after a few days, you will start making money online.

Guide To Self Publishing On Amazon [2021] (video)

How Much Do I Need To Get Started?

If you don’t have much money, then you can always write your books. I started this way back in 2017. I wrote dating for men book called “I am a Sexy Motherf**ker.”

Well, I can’t say my book was the best piece of cake ever! I still made some sales, which later I invested in ordering books from a ghostwriter team.

Nowadays, I prefer to order all my books from a company called “The Urban Writers.” I recommend you check their service since they provide awesome content for a reasonable price.

Usually, it costs around 600 dollars for a 120 to 150-page book; This is about 30.000 words. To cut costs, you may start with shorter books. However, you can easily get into most nonfiction niches with this length since most niches require more depth to explain their content better.

You can still get away with shorter books with about 15.000 words (80 to 90 pages). For instance:

  • Nonfiction for kids
  • Cookbooks

It’s an ideal way to cut some initial expenses. Meanwhile, you get the chance to build your income; then, you may reinvest the money you made on lengthier books.

What Is Kindle Direct Publishing?

Kindle Direct Publish is a program that belongs to Amazon. You or any other person may register an account there; Allowing you to publish books on their platform. Besides, Amazon is one of the biggest eCommerce websites in the world. You can promote your books immediately to millions of their customers without sweating your pants off.


You may click here to go to the page above. Here you can create an account, which I recommend you to do now. For instance, look at the example below. “Yoga: 2021 Guide for Healing…” this book must belong to a publisher. You have both authors and publishers. The difference is an author is someone who belongs to a specific niche. In other words, you could also call them authority figures. Typically, this person may have a blog, YouTube channel, Facebook fan page, and thousands upon thousands of followers. Besides, a shitload of money to advertise their books.

A publisher doesn’t have the same sources. In most cases, you don’t stand a chance against an author. Therefore, you should avoid them.

You can easily see this by the number of reviews one book has; if a book has around 100 or more reviews, it may belong to an author.

However, based on the cover and lack of reviews on the book below, this book looks like it belongs to a publisher. Using Kindle Direct Publishing, you could publish a similar book and hopefully one with a better cover hehe ;D

Why Should You Become A Publisher

Reason #1: Contrary to past years, more and more people are spending their time at home without much to do. More than ever, people are purchasing online, including books.

Reason #2: A splendid way you can make passive income online. Perhaps, one of the best ways! I started publishing books about three years ago, and they are still making money nowadays. Of course, they don’t make as much money as before. But still, I did the work once, and they generate monthly passive income for years.

I don’t know any other online business like this one. For instance, to maintain a blog or YouTube channel, you need to publish content weekly. Besides, it usually takes months until you start getting people reading or watching your content.

Reason #3: Ideal online business for beginners. Contrary to other businesses, you can follow a proven step-by-step. Other businesses require you to learn multiple skills, which may take several months. For instance, to have a website, you need to learn:

  • Search engine optimization – Optimize your website to receive traffic from the search engines, such as Google
  • WordPress – the platform that allows you to build a website
  • Email List – How to make an email list using a program like Aweber, Get Response, etc.

As you may see, you need to learn a huge amount of new skills. However, with Kindle publishing, you can start by following this guide here.

Step 1) Create a KDP Account

Just head over to this page here and create an account. Follow the straightforward steps provided by Amazon.


 Step 2) Kindle Keyword Research

Let’s start the hunt! Time to find extremely profitable keywords.

What Is Kindle Keyword Research?

A keyword is nothing more than a combination of words customers insert in the search box to find relevant products on Amazon.


The example above, “Yoga for beginners,” is the keyword, or you could also call it a book title. One of the most important tasks of a publish is to find hot book titles on Amazon. As you may imagine, not every single book title is making money. For instance, “martial Arts” is less profitable than “Yoga for beginners.”

You have more customers looking for Yoga books than Martial Arts.

How To Find A Huge Amount Of Kindle Keywords?

I will explain an easy way to make a list of hundreds of keywords in a matter of minutes. I recommend you have by your side a notepad. I like to use Evernote. It’s free, and it automatically saves everything you write there.

Just open a blank Evernote page. Here you will write all the keywords you are about to discover. Afterward, go to Kindle Best Seller. For this, Google “kindle best sellers” and click on the first link.


On the next page, choose “Kindle ebooks” then “nonfiction.”


On the next page, you will see a list of several nonfiction categories. Each category is also known as a niche.



Not all categories are profitable for publishers. I’m not saying you can’t find some money-making book titles in them. For instance, “Arts & Photography” may have profitable book titles; However, if you don’t have a camera to take high-quality photos, then it’s a no Bueno! 

Now let’s talk about the six most profitable categories. Note, you don’t need to get into these niches. But they have proven time after time to be moneymakers for most publishers.

1- Business and Investing

Extremely profitable niche. Everyone’s mom, dog, and cat likes to discover new ways to make more money, invest, budget, etc.

2 – Computer and Technology

Often you can find profitable book topics here. However, one of the problems is most of the content required is technical, such as programming books, etc. Therefore, you will need a specialized writer, and usually, they charge more for their writing. In other words, you should expect to spend more on this type of book.

3 – Cooking, food, and wine

I have done thousands upon thousands of dollars out of cookbooks. The problem about cookbooks is:

  • Usually, customers expect them to have images showing the dishes. It is a pain in the butt to find relevant images without copyrights.
  • You will make most of your money out of paperbacks. So, don’t expect to sell audiobooks. Rarely, anyone purchases cookbook audios.

If you are willing to get over those hurdles, then cookbooks are a great way to make money.

4 – Health Fitness and Dieting

Another great niche. Not much to say about this niche. Dieting is always profitable. Most people want to lose weight. Once again, most books sold here are paperbacks. 

5 – Children’s nonfiction

This niche is better than ever. With so many people spending their time home and schools closed. Parents often buy nonfiction books for their kids; as a way to keep them entertained while learning something. Another thing is the fact you can get away with short 50 page books. Always a great way to cut some initial costs when you are beginning.

6 – Parenting and Relationship

Another profitable niche. One thing I don’t like about this niche seems to have many authors. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a less competitive keyword where you can crush it!

7 – Self Help

Another extremely profitable category. Here you can find books about yoga, chakras beyond other niches. Usually, customers who enjoy self-help also enjoy listening to audio. For this reason, you can make money on all three formats, such as e-books, paperbacks and audios. 

What Do I Recommend?

Before you read any further, choose a niche you’d like to try out. It can either be the one I mentioned or another one you prefer. Furthermore, don’t stress over it. If the first niche doesn’t work out, then you can choose another one later on. The most important thing is to put the following concepts to practice. 

Let’s Quickly Find Hundreds Of Kindle Keywords…

Okay, so at this point, you should have your Evernote opened and chose a category from the ones listed under nonfiction. In my case, I picked “business and money.” For me, it’s not a huge struggle. I love to learn more ways to make money, manage, and invest in it. I’d call a win-win.


As you may see, here you can see 100 best-selling books in the “business and investing” niche. However, on the side, there are more subcategories. I recommend you select a subcategory so you may find less competitive book titles (keywords).

Normally, I go to each one of these subcategories and analyze all the books there. It may take some time, but by the end, I have a nice amount of keywords.

But here, I am going only to check “Green Business” because it sounds interesting.


Now I am going to search on each book title for keywords. You should hover each title with your mouse to see the full title of a book.


You should look at the book title and try to find a combination of words that make sense. Or in other words, something people could potentially search on Amazon to purchase books. For instance, “Inspiring Entrepreneurs” is maybe something customers search for. On the contrary, “Around the World” doesn’t make sense. I doubt many people search for that.
Let’s check another book title.


There’s plenty of potentially profitable keywords in this book title, such as options trading, trade options passive income, and financial freedom. As you may see, all these keywords make sense. You could easily imagine customers searching for these titles on Amazon. Just write down every keyword you find on your Evernote. Don’t worry, whether they are good or bad at this stage.


Another great way to find more Kindle keywords is to go to the author’s page. You can do this by hovering the author’s name with your mouse and then “open link in new tab.”


You can find more keywords by checking the book covers and their respective titles. Just hover the book, and you will see a similar window opening as shown below.


Another step is to check a book’s description for keywords. On the author’s page, click on a book’s title and then go to that book’s page and read its description.




As you may see from the example above, I quickly found social media strategist, influencer strategy, and talent partnerships. If I spent more time reading the description, I’d undoubtedly discover more Kindle keywords. At this point, I guess you already understand the concept. You may use these strategies to find hundreds of keywords in a matter of minutes.

What Should You Do?

I recommend using the strategies explained and writing down all the keywords you find until you have about one-hundred. This gives you a good starting point before passing to the next step.

Step 3) Analyse Kindle Keywords

Now it’s time to pick a winner. I will explain the criteria I follow to see if a keyword is profitable and doesn’t have overwhelming competition.

If you have been following along, you should have a list with about one-hundred or more keywords. I am going to explain the process I use for a few keywords. However, you should apply the same tests to each keyword you have listed.


I gather a total of 26 keywords. I use an awesome tool called KDSpy to analyze my keywords quickly. This browser apps allows me to see all the important information compacted in a single window. KDSpy is an inexpensive application. You just need to purchase it once, and then it’s free forever. I highly recommend you get it before reading the rest. Just click here to get KDSpy today!

Anyway, I am going to search for “Inspiring Entrepreneur” books on the Kindle store.


After clicking on the KDSpy icon, I get the following results.


Test #1: Profitability

An easy way to see this is to look at the first six results, then see if their “Sales Rank” is below 100.000.


The Sales Rank depends on the number of sales a book makes. Thus, the lower the number, the more a book is selling on Kindle Amazon. For instance, a book ranked at #100 sells better than another one ranked at #10.000.

Essentially, if you have the top six books ranked below 100.000, then it means people are purchasing them. So, if you rank your book on the first top six results, you have a good chance of making money.

Test #2: Competitiveness

Only pass to the second test if the keyword is profitable. Otherwise, don’t waste time checking its competition. No money, no good! Instead, pass to the next one on your list and repeat the same process.

Furthermore, profitability isn’t everything, so don’t immediately order five books without analyzing the rest. Competition is also another important factor. For instance, you don’t want to see something like this:


As you may see, the twenty listed books have thousands of reviews. Meaning these books most likely belong to famous authors. Usually, publishers aren’t able to get as many reviews for their books. 

I suggest you avoid keywords where most books listed have beyond 90 reviews. Instead, search for keywords where you may find books from other publishers. 

How can you distinguish publishers from authors?

  • Often publishers have cookie-cutter book covers. Perhaps, they got it from Fiverr like many others before them. I still recommend getting your covers there. However, you should hire someone who provides unique work.
  • Most publishers’ books often have between 15 to 60 reviews. 
  • Their book titles usually sound boring.

What Should You Do Now?

Analyze your keyword and see if you can find several books with about 60 reviews. Saying this, you want to pick keywords that are profitable and have a fair amount of competition. If that keyword doesn’t pass this test, then pass to the next one. You should repeat the same process until you analyze your entire list. At that point, you should have a few decent keywords.

Step 4) How To Write A Killer Outline

Most publishers get sloppy when it comes to their outline. Your outline should explain in detail the content you want your writers to craft.

Often many publishers complain about their team of writers providing boring-ass content that could make a baby fall asleep. Although, they fail to recognize that in most cases, it’s their fault.

If you want a fabulous book, then you must write an awesome outline.

My outlines typically have around 800 to 1000 words. I explain everything I want to be included in my book.

But perhaps you are thinking, “Jordan, Jordan! But how can I write an awesome outline? I don’t even know what my readers want!” Don’t worry!

I’m here to save your butt! You don’t need to spend hours reading blogs, watching YouTube videos, climbing mount Everest, and spending 30 days meditating empty stomach to discover this part. All you need is… Amazon.

Search for similar books and read the reviews left on books from authors. Customers explain everything you need to know from:

What they need, desire, dislike, hate or love. So, don’t wait any longer and follow the next steps. Use your main keyword and search it on Amazon. Hint, one of the keywords which passed both previous tests.


So let’s imagine I wanted to publish a “Social Media Marketing” book. I check all the books listed under that keyword and open the ones, which have the most reviews on a new tab. Afterward, I analyze one by one and read the reviews left by other customers. I prefer only to check the books with the most reviews. Normally, these books belong to authors, and their reviews are more credible.


Customers nearly leave everything you need to know about what they enjoyed or didn’t like about a particular book. You want to read most reviews and get an idea of how you can make a better book than your competitors.
Now what you want to do is start by reading most of the 2-star rating reviews. I don’t waste time with the 1-star reviews because often it is from pissed customers who don’t have anything good to say.

Read the 2-star reviews, and ask yourself, “What aspects didn’t people enjoy about this book?”


You should start writing down everything you can find on Evernote.


Then, read the 3, 4 and 5-star reviews, and rinse and repeat the same process. As you may see above, I ask myself

  • What did people like?
  • What didn’t people like?

Each different aspect, I had a new bullet point. After reading most of the reviews left on a book, I open its preview and check its table of content.



The table of content provides an idea of the necessary information you should include in your book. Once you have done this process for one book, you should repeat it for more than four or five other ones. You should end with an outline that provides a good idea about the content required. It should have about 800 words.

What Should You Do Now?

Just make write your outline, if you still haven’t, and follow the advice I provided.

Step 5) How To Order Your First Kindle Book

I recommend you order books from Urban Writers. This ghostwriter company provides high-quality content for decent pricing. Just click here to head over to their website. Also, make sure to use JA% to get a 5% discount on your order.


Go to “Book Services” and “Writing Packages.” You have four different packages. The difference between each package depends on the quality of the writers, number of revisions, and proofreading. Often I choose either the cheapest package, “Rising Package,” or the second one, “Urban Package.” These packages still provide high-quality content at a lower cost.


The image above shows the settings I often use. Nowadays, most of my books have 30.000 words. You should include the most relevant niche.

Content title: is your main keyword or book title.
Content subtitle: is the subtitle of your book. It should provide a brief explanation of the content of your book. Don’t worry if your subtitle doesn’t sound groovy! Later on, you change it before publishing your book.
Author name: is your pen name. If you don’t have one, be creative and invent one.
Author Bio: often, I don’t provide one.
Who picks writer and editor? Select the second manager. Later down the road, if you have preferences, you may mention them here.

Basic description: I never tried this feature. Thus, I don’t know the quality of their description; I prefer to get them from Fiverr. Later, I will explain how you can do this.


Outline and Requirements: Just copy and paste your outline here, then check “I have included an outline and all requirements” and press “add to cart”.


Press “check out” on the next page.


On the last page, choose to either pay with a credit card or PayPal and add the coupon code “JA5” and order your book.


What Should You Do Now?

Well, go ahead and order your first book. After about 20 days you should have it ready.

Step 6) How To Get a Book Cover And Description

Let’s see how you can get a book cover done and description. For this, I head over to On this website, you can get inexpensive and high-quality book covers and descriptions.

You want to search for “Kindle book description” on Fiverr.


Now you should read the gigs and see which service they provide. Also, check their portfolio and see if you enjoy their work. Afterward, choose between two to three gigs and order them. I won’t talk about how you can order a cover because it is straightforward. But the idea is, after a few days, to pick the best cover from the bunch. Later use the same gig for your future books.



Basically, you should do the same to get a book description. Search for “Kindle book description” on Fiverr. Afterward, choose about two gigs and once you receive them, choose the best one for your cover.



Step 7) How To Publish Your Kindle Book And Paperback (e-book)

Login to your Kindle Amazon account. Choose “Kindle eBook”.




Book Title: Add your main keyword here

Subtitle: Add your subtitle here, make sure it sounds crazy-ass good!


Author: Add your primary author name (pen name)

Description: You should copy and paste the one you got from Fiverr

Publishing Rights: “I own the copyright and I hold the necessary publishing rights


Your Keywords: Here, you have seven fields where you can add extra keywords to help your book get more easily discovered by customers. 

How to fill these fields? 

Make a search using your primary keyword. In my case, it is “social media marketing,” then you want to open on a new tab several books listed there.


Go to each book and check their categories. Afterward, write down the categories on a blank notepad. As you saw initially, there are category pages. Often customers go through these category pages to find books. By adding related categories to your seven keywords, will help your book rank well for them.


You should repeat the same process for each one of the books you opened until you have seven categories. Once done, copy and paste them into your seven fields.


Categories: Choose choose the categories that make the most sense.


On this page, you don’t need to do anything else. Pass to the next page “Edit Book Content”.


Digital Rights Management: I select no here. You may read the label to get a better idea. On this page, I upload my eBook manuscript and cover design. Nothing special here! The cover should be the one you received from Fiverr. Always make sure to make a preview and check your entire book for formatting problems.


If you’d like to learn how to format your e-book, then watch my video here.

If everything looks alright, then pass to the last page “Kindle ebook pricing”.


I no longer enroll my book in KDP Select. This program allows you to use the 5-day free promotion. I prefer not to let people freely upload my e-book because, in a way, you lose potential customers. Perhaps, people who would have bought your book otherwise.


Select a royalty plan and set your Kindle eBook list prices below. I initially set it at 35% so that I may price my book at $0.99. I like to keep my book cheap initially to get reviews later on easily. I am going to explain the process I use to obtain a couple of reviews.

Book Lending: I allow lending for this book.

How to publish your paperback?

Select “create paperback.”


On the next page, you basically have everything copy and pasted from your e-book. So, you don’t need to worry about it.


On the next page, you want to assign ISBN. International Standard Book Number is a book’s identification number. Every paperback must have one and allows people to search for your book in a bookstore easily.


Above, you can see my preferred options. In terms of trim size, the standard is 6×9 inches or 8×5 inches. I suggest using 8×5 inches if you have a shorter book as this size makes it look thicker.


You should upload both files here. Make sure to format these files for paperback properly. Both the cover and manuscript need to have the appropriate sizes. Otherwise, it will look like garbage. You can either do it yourself. Although, formatting your manuscript isn’t complicated. However, the book cover is a different story.


I recommend you head over to Fiverr and search for someone to format it. After you have this done, open a preview of your book and see if everything is well-formatted. If things look right, then pass to the last page, where you must set the pricing. For books with around 30.000 words, I put the price at 16.95. I suggest you do the same thing.

Step 8) How To Get Kindle Book Reviews

Last part about getting reviews. Suppose you want to have the best-selling book, then you must have reviews. One cool way to get them is by using Pubby. I’m not going much into detail about this platform here because I am still testing them out. Later on, I will do a full guide explaining all the details.

Basically, once you register an account with them, you must purchase and review other publishers’ or authors’ books. Each time you do this, you accumulate a certain amount of points on Pubby. Finally, once you have a good amount of points, you may post your book there and pay points so other people may purchase and reviews yours.


It’s a new platform give it a try. Just click here. I recommend you spend a few days working on other people’s books, before promoting yours there.

Frequently Asked Questions

Now I am going to conclude by replying to a few common questions.

How to increase book sales on Amazon?

R: One of the best ways to get twice or more book sales overnight is by using Amazon advertisement. I’m not going to explain this in detail here because this would require a full post. However, I made a fantastic tutorial about this here.

How to promote your book outside of Amazon?

R: Why only stay on Amazon? Why not promote your books on other platforms? Making more money with the same content. Here are a few platforms I recommend you try:

Ingramspark: I love this platform. I publish all my paperbacks here too. I suggest you do the same thing. I did an excellent tutorial explaining this here.

Draft 2 Digital: I’m not a huge fan of D2D but it’s still a thing. You may publish your ebooks here too. Just make sure these ebooks aren’t enrolled in the Kindle program. Otherwise, Amazon may remove your ebook from their stores.

Last Thoughts?

Hopefully, at this point, you have your first book published on Amazon. I love this business because it doesn’t take long until you see your first sales. This always motivates you to continue. If you followed this tutorial you will certainly make money online. It may not be a huge game-breaker, but it’s a start! You have learned a new skill, all you need to do is continue learning more and more.

Eventually, your books will crush it like there’s no tomorrow. If you have any questions related to Kindle Direct Publishing, please leave it in the comment section right below. Thanks for reading! Stay tune with Jordan Alexo.

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for the tips. I wrote short stories in the Winter of 2019 and I still make a few dollars a month even though I moved onto other things. I have to say I had more instasuccess on Amazon with KDP than I did with blogging or YouTube. There is a heck of a lot of competition though.

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