Publishing FAQs

Publishing Frequently Asked Questions

The following key questions are excerpted from my new book I Want to Publish My Book But I Don't Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Create an e-Book or Print Book. Available at Amazon.

• Where Are You in The Process? Are You Just Starting Out or is the Book Complete?
• What Kind of Book Are You Creating, Novel, How To, Children’s, Picture, Coloring, Poetry, Business, Cookbook?
• Is Your Book Going to Be Paperback, Hardcover, E-Book or All the Above?
• What Do I Do? Self-Publish or Traditional Publish My Book?
• Where Do I Publish My Book?
• Self-Publishing Sites Comparison Chart
• What is Print-on-Demand Printing?
• What is KDP.Amazon/Kindle Print?
• Why Does Kindle/Amazon want My Tax and Bank Account Info?
• What is an e-Pub?
• What Software Programs Should I Use to Create My Book?
• What Programs Should I use to Create a Picture/Children’s Book?
• Can I Create a Hardcover Book?
• Can My Book Be in Bookstores?
• How Do I Get My Book in Bookstores?
• How Do I Make an Audio Book?
• Are You Publishing Primarily in the US or Worldwide?
• How Long Should My Book Be?
• What is an ISBN Number?
• Do I Need to Copyright My Book?
• Who Owns the Book’s Copyright if I Publish on Amazon, Kindle/Amazon or Me?
• How Do Royalties Work?

• Where Are You in the Process? Are You Just Starting Out or Is the Book Complete?
The process of writing each book is unique. But they all begin with sitting down and doing the hard work of getting your thoughts and ideas down. Along with words, we will also need pictures, illustrations or charts for our books.

There are many different ways to write a book. You can sit at a computer, or legal pad, you can also dictate or record it using audio or video and then transcribe. There is no correct way; there is only your way. I am not an expert on writing; I am an expert on creating the book. I didn’t learn how to write until I was 53 and I have now created over 40 of my own books and many more for others. You can read my story on page 35. All I know is keep going, do not stop, keep trying and you will get there. Write a little bit every day.

The goal is, you have to finish. But you do not have to be perfect, that is why we have editors. This is one of the biggest lessons I have learned from being a graphic designer. Our job is to create the ideas and story. The editor and graphic designers is to clean the story up and create the book’s aesthetics.

One of the hardest, but most important things I have learned in writing my books, push the publish button. Release my ideas to the world. When you do, it can be a transformative experience. I find that writing and publishing can be the fulfillment of a dream that you might not know you even had.

Many people come to me and say, I am done with the writing. I don’t know where to start the creating and publishing the book? Let’s see if I can answer a few of those questions and get you through the process.

BUY: The Self-Publishing Manual, Create Your Own Print and e-Book
• Paperback Version
• Kindle eBook Version

• What Kind of Book Are You Creating? A Novel, How to Book, Children’s Book, Picture Book, Coloring Book, Poetry Book, Business Book or Cook Book?
This question can open up all kinds of questions. It is usually a question I ask when I have my graphic designer hat on. It tells me what software to recommend and how to start preparing your artwork for the project. If you are going all text, then you are using MS-Word or Google Docs. If you are creating a book with a lot of design and images. We would talk about InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Or freelance illustrators or designers. This question is very much of a ‘how to’ type of question.

• Is Your Book Going to be Paperback, Hardcover, e-Book or All the Above?
Not something you think about when you start writing the book. But this question comes into play as you start to think about the publishing. Depending on where you want to take your book, the design and layout will change. E-books, you will stay in MS-Word or Google Docs for writing and Kindle for publishing, images will be 72 dpi. Paperback you will be looking at the print side of Kindle and using Adobe InDesign for layout. Hardcover books, for publishing, along with InDesign for layout and production. We start out writing but as we progress we will take different paths. We will cover more of this as we work through this book.

• What Do I Do? Self-Publish or Traditional Publishing?
This is a big one and a question I am often asked. There are two main routes, traditional publishing or self-publishing.

To go the traditional publishing route, you will generally need an agent. Not always but often, and it is the agent that approaches the publisher. This can be a difficult, and long journey. Publishing is a business and they want books that come with an audience and will sell. I am not a fan of this route. If you have a big following, then it is possible, but for most of us, this route is very hard. In traditional publishing, your publisher gains control over your rights and content. If you control your rights you control your content. I teach using your book’s content for marketing and selling. I also want you to create other products by re-purposing your content. This isn’t available to you if you give up your rights and go with a traditional publisher. The author retains ownership and control of their rights and content. One of the best decisions Amazon made. The copyright stays with the author.

I am a huge fan and supporter of self-publishing. Self-publishing before had a bad taste to it, but not anymore. If you want to publish a book; you can publish a book. It is being done all over the place with great success. The gatekeepers have fallen. We have Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP),, and more. No one is going to say no to you publishing your book. It is all up to you. Self-publishing has become easier and easier to do and very often free. For self-publishers, the world is opening up.

The writers I know, who have gone the more the traditional route, have found success with smaller, more focused publishers. Publishers who know their market and can work with an author. For me, it comes down to control. Who controls the rights and uses to our content? I like being able to use my content in any way that I want.

• No one can say no. If you want to publish your book, you can publish.
• Faster to market. I have done books in one weekend.
• Control of your content, you keep your copyright, this is super important.
• You can re-purpose your content for marketing. Create other products such as workbooks and journals. Make podcasts and videos.
• Free to publish or close to it. You pay the costs to edit, design and format your book, free if you do it yourself.
• You will have to market your book yourself. But even with most publishers these days you will have to handle the marketing.
• Higher royalties, estimate $2.50-$3.50+ vs. $.70 for traditional publishing.

Traditional Publishing
• You will need an agent to approach a publisher.
• Lots of people can and will say no to publishing your book.
• It can take a year to create and release your book.
• You lose your copyright and your rights to control your content.
• You will not be able to re-purpose your content. The publisher owns your material. This is important in marketing your book. You want to be able to use your content how you want.
• A publisher will do the production work for your project. Don’t pay a publisher to publish your book.
• You will most likely still have to handle all the marketing yourself. This can be a challenge because your publisher now controls your content and may not like your ideas.

• Where Do I Publish My Book?
The main self-publishing path leads to Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). Kindle publishes both e-books and paperback–print-on-demand books. You create your book using programs like MS-Word, Adobe InDesign and PowerPoint. Once that is complete you create a cover. The two files are upload to Files get reviewed for any technical issues but not editorial. Once approved, you hit publish and you are a published author. Now starts the hard part, marketing and selling your book. With self-publishing, everything is under your control. You keep all the rights to your content.

There are also many other outlets for publishing your book. Sites such as,, Barns & Noble Press,,,, and and more. The message here is that you can publish your book when and how you want and under your own control.


E-Book Publishers
•, the main e-book site, an e-book reader, free,
• distributes e-books to over 80 outlets and devices, free,
• Draft 2, free,

Print-on-Demand Paperback Books
•, paperback, print-on-demand, a division of Amazon, free,

Combination of Paperback, Hard Cover and e-books
These companies offer a variety of options including e-book, print, spiral/coil binding, saddle stitch/staples and pdf with distribution options 
•, print-on-demand, world’s largest book distributor to book and gift stores, some fees,
•, similar to KDP.Amazon but with more printing options, paperback, hardcover, spiral, saddle, free,
• Barnes & Noble Press, formally Nook Press, a new, revised publishing platform from Barnes & Noble, now offering print, e-book and a possible relationship with their stores if you can sell 1,000 books over a year.
•, a variety of different pay packages, fee,
• Books-A-Million D.I.Y. with BAM! Publishing, write, publish, print and distribute in print or e-book,
•, photo and art books, free,

Book Printer with Access to Bookstore Distribution
•, print-on-demand, world’s largest book distributor to book and gift stores, some fees,

• What is Print-on-Demand Printing?
Print-on-Demand is what makes self-publishing a print book possible. Readers buy your book on Amazon or other indie publishing sites. Using digital printing a single copy is printed, packed and shipped to the customer. Think high-quality photocopying. The process is fast and seamless. It seems like the book was pulled off a shelf, but they aren’t, the book is printed, bound and shipped. What this means for you as an author is no inventory. You do not have to do anything other than write, layout the book and upload the print files. This saves you tremendous amounts of money and effort. There are no garages full of books waiting to ship.

•,, and, the leading print-on-demand publishing sites. See the previous question for the web address.

• What is Kindle and Kindle Direct Publishing?
Kindle Direct Publishing, owned by, has several sides. It is the e-book side of Amazon. They are the dominant publisher and distributor of e-books in the world. They are also the supplier of the Kindle e-book readers and apps. KDP is also the print-on-demand, paperback publisher for Amazon.

Kindle E-Books
There are several types of Kindle e-books. There is the general re-flowable e-book such as a novel or non-fiction book that we are used to. E-books are read on the Kindle reading device or app. A big feature of e-books is that the text resizes to whatever device you are using, phone, tablet, or e-book reader. To create an e-book you use a word processing application like MS-Word or Google Docs. You format your e-book and upload two files to Kindle. The first being the interior pages, often written and formatted in MS-Word. The second, a front cover file, usually a jpg document. Hit publish and you are a published author.

You can also publish picture books, children’s books, and comic or graphic novels on a Kindle. In these books, the pages move page by page on the reading device or app instead of flowing. More complex books such as textbooks, travel or cookbooks also work very well on Kindles. These more complex books are usually made from pdf files.

This past year Kindle a really cool, free application called Kindle Create. Create takes your MS-Word or pdf interior book file and turns it into a Kindle book. You can customize, format and add a Table of Contents to your e-book. It works on both PC or Mac and is very easy to use.

Kindle Paperback and Print-on-Demand Books
Kindle Direct Publishing is also the print-on-demand side of Amazon. We use to publish our book through a division of Amazon called CreateSpace merged into Kindle and everything is under one roof.

Kindle prints paperback books in either black and white or color. They have a wide variety of sizes and options. All book interior and cover files upload to Kindle; they process and move them over to Amazon for selling. Kindle pays you once your book sells on Amazon. You manage everything from one Kindle account. For hardcover books or other binding options look at, also

Use word processing programs like MS-Word and Google Docs to create your book. Books with more complex formatting or designed, we use Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator.

My recommendation is to publish your book in both formats, e-book, and paperback. Once you have one format ready to go you are pretty close to creating the other. You don’t know which format your book will be successful in. Do both.

•, e-book, and paperback, print-on-demand division of Amazon, free,
Kindle has a variety of apps to help you create e-books and illustrated graphic books. These apps work with PC and Mac.
• Kindle Create, a free app for creating Kindle e-books. Pretty much any kind of book can be created using Kindle Create, including novels, non-fiction, business books, picture books, textbooks, and comic books. Import your word processing file into Kindle Create, style it, build a table of contents (TOC), export it and publish on Amazon. Kindle Create also imports PDF files. You can move the pages around, build a TOC and create the needed e-book ready publishing file.
• Kindle Kid Creator, great for creating books with illustrations, import PDF file, jpg, png, tiff. Add pages and text to imported PDF files.
• Kindle Textbook Creator, create and publish educational material for Kindle devices and reading apps. Convert PDF file of existing textbooks, study guides, reference material. You can include audio, video, hyperlinks and image popups.
• Kindle Comic Creator, the original Kindle app, designed for graphic novels and comic books. Support for panels, imports, PDF, jpg, png, and tiff formats.

• Why Does Kindle/Amazon Want My Tax and Bank Account Info?
Amazon needs this info to pay us our money. How do they get the money into our banks if they do not know the account number? Account holders must provide this information. All e-commerce sites report sales to the IRS. That is how it works.

• What is an e-Pub Book?
E-pub is the other e-book format and does not work with Amazon and Kindle. It is the format used on all non-Kindle reading devices on the market. This includes Kobo, Nook, Apple iBooks and Sony devices. There are over 80 different sites and many readers.

Generally, you want to be where the most customers are and that is Amazon and Kindle. After that iBooks and Nook which is Barns & Noble’s reader and then Kobo. Kobo is big in Canada, Japan and now a big push in a relationship with Walmart. Kindle has about 40% of the market and ePub and all the other readers have 60%. 40% is a huge amount. Be where your customers are and then pick a couple others. My advice, go with Kindle first.

There are also many other e-book formats to consider, PDF, TXT, RTF, HTML, and others. Depending on your audience and how you are selling your content you may end up using one of these. PDF is the most popular.

• Barnes & Noble Press, formally Nook Press,

• What Software Programs Should I Use to Create My Book?
There are many programs for writing and creating books. I will highlight a few of them here.

MS-Word. Microsoft Word is the standard word processing writing program around the world. It is for writing and for creating documents of all kinds. You may use MS-Word for writing but you can also use it to format your text and create your e-book for Kindle. MS-Word also works fine for creating printed books for Kindle. MS-Word is a very versatile application. You can also use online applications like Google Docs, Open Office and Scrivener.

Google Docs, word processing, and document creation software by Google. Part of the Google Drive service of office products. Available online for free. Requires a Gmail email account. Works with PC or Mac and is like Microsoft’s Office Suite.

Adobe InDesign. InDesign is the number one application for laying out and designing your print book. Think of it as a bucket. You use a word processing program like MS-Word to write your book. An illustration program such as Adobe Illustrator to create graphics for your book. A photo editing program like Photoshop for cleaning up your photos and images. You bring all these files together in InDesign, the bucket so to speak and create your book. InDesign can do pretty much anything you need graphics wise. InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop rent from Adobe on a monthly basis. This package is the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop is the number one imaging-editing program. Photoshop is the second leg of the Adobe Creative Cloud. Anything you need to do to an image or photo you can use Photoshop. Photoshop is a very powerful program. It for editing, touching up photos, building graphics and illustrations. There are less expensive online alternatives such as and But Photoshop gives you the most features and is the industry standard.

Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator is the third leg of the big three Adobe products. Illustrator is for drawing and editing vector graphics. Graphic designers use it to draw illustrations, logos, charts, and diagrams. Illustrator is also part of the Adobe Creative Cloud. These programs can save your files in many formats. They all work together to help you create your project.

Microsoft PowerPoint. PowerPoint by Microsoft is the companion presentation software to MS-Word. Businesses and organizations use it for presenting slide-show digital presentations. It is part of the Microsoft Office Suite. We can adapt it to publishing because of its ease of use. It has a simple graphics platform to create picture books, children’s books, and journal books. In some cases, we can also use Google Slide and Apple Keynote. InDesign is my go-to design program but PowerPoint and the others are alternatives that we can use also. As long as we can save the file in PDF format.

• Scrivener, a word processing program and outliner designed for authors. Inside of this, you can manage your documents, notes, and graphics. PC or Mac.

• Microsoft Office,
•, and other places

• What Programs Should I Use to Create a Picture/Children’s Book?
Picture books and children’s book fall into their own world because they are so picture heavy. Once you receive your illustrations you will need to lay them out and then add text. I would recommend using Adobe products, InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator. The Adobe products give you the flexibility to create your book. They also export the proper high res pdf files for publishing. It is worth renting the Creative Suite for your project.

Publishing a photo or image book on I would look at Blurb’s Bookwright Book Publishing Software. It is an alternative to the Adobe products. It is free and downloads to your PC or Mac. You can create layouts, add text, work with their templates or design your own. Once the project is complete you upload the files right to Blurb.

• Blurb, Bookwright software,

• Can I Create a Hardcover Book?
The short answer is yes you can. If you want to sell a hardcover book to the world you should look at They do a great job. If you aren’t distributing your book in stores but want a hardcover version, use sites like or They both have excellent hardcover options. In fact has a variety of cover binding options. Both Lulu and Blurb have distribution relationships with Amazon. The books can get a little expensive to sell after everyone adds their financial markups.

•, print-on-demand, world’s largest book distributor to book and gift stores, some fees
•, Similar to KDP.Amazon but with more printing options
•, Photo and art books
•, if you just need books printed quickly, paperback, hardcover, coil bound, and saddle stitch,

• Can My Book Be in Bookstores?
When we publish we usually think of a book in a bookstore, but this isn’t the case anymore. Most self-publishers publish only on Amazon. They publish with the intent of never being in a store. And their books are either e-books or print-on-demand paperbacks. They are happy to never leave Amazon. Along with paperback books, we also have e-books, audio books, video, pdfs, and a combination of these. Again, never being in a store.

A key question I ask when someone comes to me is; do they see their books in stores or only on Amazon. Staying on Amazon in either e-book or paperback or both is the easiest path when starting out. Publishing through Kindle for e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks and stay in their universe. It is a good universe to be in. Amazon is one of the most trusted e-commerce platforms to be on. This is where people go to buy and they cover major chunks of the world.

The problem with print-on-demand is that most bookstores won’t order books from Kindle/Amazon. Even though stores can order, they won’t. One reason is Amazon. Stores do not like dealing with the big fish. The other reason, bookstores cannot return unsold print-on-demand books. A little-known fact about bookstores, all the books you see in a store are actually on consignment. If they do not sell, the will return to the publisher. Kindle/Amazon do not take print-on-demand books back. But you can have a very nice publishing business staying on Amazon. Your job then becomes, creating new books and marketing/selling them. Amazon takes care of the rest. If you want a book in bookstores, work with print-on-demand publisher/distributor, IngramSpark. Bookstores can return books ordered through IngramSpark.

•, print-on-demand, world’s largest book distributor to book and gift stores, some fees
•, Similar to Kindle but with more printing options. Has a distribution relationship with Ingram

• How Do I Get My Book in Bookstores?
If you see bookstores in your future, you need to self-publish your book through IngramSpark is part of Ingram. Ingram is the world’s largest book distributor with over 39,000 outlets worldwide. Bookstores order books from distributors. IngramSpark is like Kindle. The print files are the same and the print-on-demand process is the same. But the books print and distribute from their warehouses and return if they don’t sell. Ingram has some small fees but works very much like Kindle. IngramSpark also distributes to Amazon for both e-book and print. And to stores and e-book distributors around the world. Many people who go this route keep Amazon under their control and then use Ingram for the rest of the world.

It can get a little confusing trying to figure out what to do, but it kind of comes down to this.
• If you do not care about bookstores, then stay with Kindle for e-book and paperback print. Manage your Kindle accounts yourself. You will be happy. This is generally what I do. 

• If you want to be in bookstores, even sometime in the future, then take a serious look at IngramSpark. When you move to IngramSpark you will also want to start thinking of yourself as a publisher. It is a bigger deal. You will need to pick up your publishing game and start selling your books to bookstores. You are the book salesperson. None of these other companies do that, it is up to you. Ingram is a printer and a distributor. They are not a sales site such as Amazon, but you will be in their catalog. Making the choice to go with IngramSpark you will need to buy your ISBN numbers. ISBN numbers are the universal tracking code for books. I will talk more about this shortly.

• A good middle ground. If bookstores are in your future, buy your own ISBN number from MyIdentifier is a division of Bowker. Do this instead of using the free ones from Kindle. In the Distribution area of Kindle, do not check Expanded Distribution. This is what Ingram does. Release your book through Kindle/Amazon and start exploring the retail book world. When you are ready you can move over to Ingram and start printing/distributing there. The key is to own your own ISBN number.

•, print-on-demand, world’s largest book distributor to book and gift stores, some fees,
•, Similar to Kindle but with more printing options,
• Barnes&Noble, if you can sell 1,000 copies in a 12 month period you are eligible to pitch your book for selling in their stores.

• How Do I Make an Audio Book?
One of the hottest trends right now in publishing is to release your book as an audiobook or podcast. This is usually done after you have published your book in print and e-book. Sell your audiobook on  And distribute your podcast on Apple iTunes, SoundCloud or Stitcher. Each chapter is an episode. Very often you will see audiobooks selling for much more than the printed or e-book version. Your book is a ready-made series. Record each chapter right from your desktop or for better quality in a recording studio. You can also hire professional narrators through, a division of Amazon. This will give you a professional sound. It is all the same content but in different formats.

Publishing as an Audio Book
• is like Kindle but for audio. It is a division of Amazon and handles their audiobooks. The books themselves are sold through You can create your own or hire a professional reader for your book.
• Findaway Voices, an alternative to ACX and a way to create and distribute audio books to multiple retailers. Great for indie authors., has an excellent Help page which describes the process,

Publishing as a Podcast
• iTunes, Main podcast site,
•, radio shows and podcasts, phone and tablet,

•, complete podcast hosting and publishing platform,
•, online audio distribution platform for audio in all formats, podcast hosting,

• Pat Flynn of Smart Passive has excellent information on how to get started,

• Are You Publishing Primarily in the US or Worldwide?
Are staying only on Amazon? Then KDP is the best choice for publishing e-books and print-on-demand paperback books. This applies to the US, the UK, and Canada. This is what most self-publishers in the U.S. do. It is free to publish on Amazon. Amazon takes care of everything. Amazon handles the selling, ordering, printing, shipping and payments. If you go this route, you can use the free ISBN numbers supplied by KDP/Kindle and save the $125.00. I do this.

If you want to be in retail stores, bookstores, and gift shops then is the way to go. Many authors will use Kindle and KDP for Amazon and IngramSpark for the rest of the world. Ingram is the world’s largest book distributor. They print and can handle all e-book and print distribution. If you want to be worldwide with a paperback, hardcover and e-book then look at If you go this route, you will need to buy your own ISBN numbers. You can also let Ingram handle distribution to Amazon and work with one vendor.

Going the IngramSpark route is a bigger deal. I do not recommend this direction for beginning authors. There are technical and marketing challenges to deal with. I recommend getting your first book finished and published on Kindle/Amazon. Then start building your platform and getting the marketing and sales going. You will learn so much with one book under your belt. You can then branch out and conquer the world.

•, print-on-demand, world’s largest book distributor to book and gift stores, some fees,

• How Long Should My Book Be? 
Your book needs to be as long as you need to tell your story.

It is a tough question to answer. Books can be short or long. With e-books, you can do short read books in the 4,000-8,000 range. This works to get something up quick, or to a regular size book of 70,000 words. The book you are currently reading is in the 30,000-word range.

• Kindle/Amazon paperback, your book needs to be at least 24 pages long, 50-70 works pretty for a short quick book. 150-200 pages make for a decent size book. The average word count per page is 250 words.

• Children’s books generally fall in the 32-page length. I like coloring books in the 80-100-page length and journals 140 to 160 pages.

• A quick print book created at a local printer needs to fit into a unit of 4 pages so 24, 28, or 32 pages will work. Even 8 or 12 pages can work very well as a quick print book. Something you can give away to potential customers. Books with FAQ questions work great for this.

A lot of books these days are quick reads. People do not have a lot of time. So, something you can read in a day can be very popular in the business categories. One idea I teach is do not make 300-400 page books. Break them up into a series or volumes. You can make more money if you have more books and then link them together. Cross-sell inside each book for the next book. But the bottom line is telling the story you need to tell.

• One of my favorite books on how to set up and sell a book series is, Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant

• What is an ISBN Number?
This is a question asked all the time. What is an ISBN number and how does it work? ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. It is the unique barcode with a sequence of numbers found on the back of books. The numbers identify and track the sales of every print book. Some e-books also need ISBN numbers. ISBNs are for ordering and tracking books. The number/barcode is usually found on the lower back corner of the book. There is an ISBN number for every print book published. The number connects to the book title, not the book cover design or the book content. If your book is a new version, edition, hardcover version of a paperback, your book needs a new unique ISBN number.

In the United States, manages the ISBN numbers. You buy them from, part of Bowker. Every country has a different register and cost for purchasing these numbers. In the United States, the cost is $125 each but you can save a lot of money if you buy them in lots of 10 or 100. Usually, all you need is the ISBN number. The book publishing site generates and applies the barcode. Leave a blank space in the lower corner of your back cover for the ISBN barcode. ISBN numbers are usually assigned to the publishing company of record.

Many print-on-demand sites give ISBN numbers away for free. Sites like Kindle, Lulu, and Blurb. Free ISBN numbers that come from each of these sites usually list that site as the publisher. The free ISBN numbers only work on the site that issued them. IngramSpark offers discounted numbers for their books.

The ISBN indicates who is publishing the book, not who controls the rights. The rights belong to you as the author/creator. If you publish with a traditional publisher, they own the rights to the book while under contract.

My recommendation for new self-publishing authors, publish your first book with Kindle/Amazon. Either a paperback or e-book. Stay away from bookstores at this point. Stay on Amazon. If you are publishing a print book? Use their ISBN numbers to start. Kindle print books must have an ISBN number. E-books don’t need an ISBN number. Some e-book sites do need an ISBN number. You will need to check each site’s requirements.

You can’t use any publishing site’s ISBN numbers to print on another platform. You have to stay with the company that issued it. If you have any idea that you might want to distribute your paperback book in bookstores. Including sometime in the future, you have two choices.

One is to buy your own ISBN number from Bowker at and use it on Kindle/Amazon for your paperback. This gives you flexibility. You can move your book to IngramSpark for printing and distribution in bookstores.

The second is to work with for printing and distribution. Use their ISBN number or the one you purchased. IngramSpark also distributes to Amazon.

• To purchase an ISBN number: is the official U.S. ISBN Agency. Sales for ISBN numbers is done through,

• Do I Need to Copyright My Book?

What is Copyright?
“Copyright is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression. Copyright covers both published and unpublished works.” –

You can decide if you want to have a registered copyright or not. The mere creation of your work makes it copyrighted but it has no real enforcement behind it. The first step is to put the copyright notice on your work before publishing. This is what most self-publishers do. Be sure you do this. It lets the world know that you at least know about copyright. Write it like this:

© Copyright Your Name 2019

Registering your book with the copyright office can be done online at and costs $35.00.

Do I Have to Register with the Copyright Office to be Protected?
“No. In general, registration is voluntary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is created. You will have to register, however, if you wish to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a U.S. work.” –

Your work is always protected under copyright. But you cannot do much about it in a court of law if you haven’t registered with the copyright office. Including any financial damages. Suing for copyright infringement is very expensive and usually not worth it. You cannot move forward with a lawsuit without a registered book. Read the FAQ page, it has a lot of info on this.

You should also file your copyright in the country that you live in not the country that you publish your book in. Make sure it is easy to understand which country you are from. Which jurisdiction you are in. Different countries have different rules. Most countries respect other countries’ copyrights.

• U.S. Copyright Office:
• Get your questions answered here at the U.S. Copyright Office’s excellent FAQ page,

• Who Owns the Book’s Copyright if I Publish on Amazon? Amazon or Kindle or Me?
You do. That is the beauty of working with Amazon, Kindle and most of the other publishers mentioned in this book. You keep all your rights. With a traditional publisher, you give up your rights to the publishing company. Not so with Amazon. It is a beautiful thing. This means that you can use your content in your marketing. You can also create more products. Products like workbooks, journals, posters, etc from the same content. Some programs like Kindle Select restrict you from releasing duplicate content. Kindle Select lasts for a 90-day period of time, but you do not give up your rights. Amazon can complain about seeing the same content on your website as in your Kindle book. But again you do not lose the rights. If they ask, acknowledge that this is all your original content. This should suffice Amazon’s inquiry.

• How Do KDP Kindle/Amazon Royalties Work?
Royalties are what we get paid for publishing our books on Amazon or any other site. A book gets sold and everyone gets a piece of the pie.

Kindle e-Book Royalty
Kindle has two e-book royalty payouts based on the list price, 35% and 70%. Depending on how your book is set up and where it sells in the world, determines which one you choose. The royalties are exclusive of VAT charges.

35% royalty, your royalty will be 35% of your list price. Amazon pays for the e-book file download delivery cost. Books need to be priced from $.99 to $200.00. Applies worldwide. 

This is the royalty that works for picture e-books because of the file sizes. Minimum list price will be adjusted depending on the e-book file size.

35% Royalty Rate x (List Price – applicable VAT) = Royalty

70% royalty, your royalty will be 70% of your list price. The author pays for the e-book file download delivery cost. Some limits on where it applies in the world. Books need to be priced from $2.99 to $9.99

70% Royalty Rate x (List Price – applicable VAT – Delivery Cost) = Royalty

You will be able to see the different options and royalties when your select your e-book price.

VAT are taxes added to products in some countries, does not apply in the US.

KDP Paperback Royalty, Amazon Distribution Channels
KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on paperbacks sold in the Amazon market. Your royalty rate is 60% of your list price, minus your printing costs. Printing costs depend on the number of pages, ink, and the Amazon marketplace the book sells in. The author pays nothing to have our books on Amazon. Amazon takes the book’s manufacturing cost out at the time of printing.

(Royalty Rate x List Price) – Amazon Printing Costs = Royalty

List price is $15. Your book is a 333-page paperback, black ink, sold in the US
(.60 x $15) – $4.85 = Royalty is $4.15. $4.85 are Amazon’s costs.

KDP Paperback Royalty, Expanded Distribution Channels
The royalty rate is now 40%

Check the links below for more info on KDP printing costs and a Royalty Calculator.

This all compares to traditional publishing that pays about $.70 to $1.00 per book. Many people get concerned about the royalty thing and get upset that Amazon is taking a piece. My comment is get over it. We are getting to publish our books on the most trusted platform on the planet. Amazon is taking care of everything. The sales page, the order page, the printing, shipping, and payments, all for no out of pocket expense. They actually pay you the money. You do not have to chase anyone around to get paid. It is amazing, if you want more money, raise your price or create more books.

• Kindle Royalties for e-Books, detailed information on how royalties are determined.
• Kindle Royalties for Print Paperback Books, calculator and printing costs information

BUY: The Self-Publishing Manual, Create Your Own Print and e-Book
• Paperback Version
• Kindle eBook Version

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