Kindle Publishing: Upload Kindle eBook to Amazon. Step by Step

Note: This article copies some information directly from the Amazon pages:  To keep it all straight, CJ's words are typed in red.

This is the second of three articles on how to upload Kindle format file to the Amazon publishing platform.  Here we walk through the process and explain each step.  For a quick overview, please see the previous article: 

Kindle Publishing: "Upload Kindle eBook to Amazon. Overview".

For your benefit, to help with your planning, I have copied the text from the What's This? pop-up messages.  You should check it again, yourself, in case something has changed.

When you have proofed your book and are absolutely sure it's ready to be published, click the link below to go to the Amazon DTP Dashboard, where you can upload your book.

The first screen invites you to Add a New Title:

We click the "Add a new title" Button, and are presented with the Amazon DTP publish page. (you can see an overview at Kindle Publishing: Upload Kindle eBook to Amazon.Overview.)
We have two major tasks here:

1. Your Book    and   2. Rights & Pricing

Although it looks as though we could work on either task at the point, that is not the case:

We must complete the 1. Your Book section before the second section 2. Rights & Pricing will become available.

If you fail to answer all questions, and hit the button at the bottom of the screen... [Save and Continue], you'll get an error message and a red box will appear around the question you did not answer.

But once you answer all the questions,  [Save and Continue] will take you to 2. Rights & Pricing.

Don't be distracted by the text shown on the right side of the page in this screen shot.  That was merely a convenient place for Amazon to display a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). 

The paragraphs don' t even line up with the steps of our task. so don't expect to glance over there for help as you fill out these steps.

To make this easier to understand, we have copied the FAQ paragraphs and placed them near the steps they explain.

Look back at Overview, if you need to see the complete page;  Otherwise, we are ready to go through the Publishing procedure.

We will look at each step, following, where possible, the same layout as the screen:

Book Basics


 This book is part of a series (What's this?)

Series title:


This is title of your book.  It is not necessarily the same title as that of your input file, and you must enter your title here even if it is the same name as that of your input file. You can include your title, plus sub-title if you have one.  The form allows 500 characters.

Next are a few steps you can safely ignore if you don't need them.

 This book is part of a series (What's this?)

Screen What's This? Pop-up Message
If your content is part of a series of books, articles, or other works, enter the series title here. Magazines, journals, and works in a series, (e.g., series novels) are often assigned volume numbers. If your work has a volume number, enter it here in any format (e.g., "1","I","One")

Edition number (optional): (What's this?)

Screen What's This? Pop-up Message
Use this space to indicate which edition, or version, of your content you are publishing. If this is a first-time publication, enter the numeral 1. If the content was previously published elsewhere and has been edited or otherwise changed, enter the number of this edition.

Description: (What's this?)

Screen What's This? Pop-up Message
Like the copy on the inside flap of a hardcover book, the description appears on the detail page and tells readers a bit about your content.  4,000 characters

This is your chance to tell the world about your book. This appears on the Amazon catalog page when someone views your book. (As a side note here, the description won't show up at the same time your book goes live... typically, it will take another few days.)

You are allowed 4,000 characters for your description. That's quite a lot... and is one more reason it is good to go through this ahead of time, so you will be prepared with a good description.

To continue with the steps of this task:

Scroll down your screen a bit to see Book Contributors, then a button for [Add Contributors].

Here you add the author's name, and you also can add any editors, illustrators, translators, or others who contributed to this book

You must add at least one contributor.

Book contributors: (What's this?)

Screen What's This? Pop-up Message
Enter the names of the people who contributed to your content, including authors, editors, illustrators, translators, and more. At least one contributor name is required.

[Add Contributors]

From Amazon FAQ:

Who are contributors?

Contributors include the author(s) and individuals who created or editing the content — authors, editors, illustrators, translators, and more. At least one author name is required.

Publishing Details

Language: (What's this?)

What's This? Pop-up Message

Enter the language in which your content is written. Click here for information on supported languages

Enter the language in which your book is written.

Check below to learn which Non-Latin languages are supported.

[Click here] reveals the following information on supported languages:

Supporting Non-Latin Based Languages on the Kindle

At this time, authors can upload and sell books in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish to customers worldwide in the Kindle Store. We regret that we are unable to support character-based languages at this time. However, we are working on adding this option in the months to come.

Please note, the Amazon DTP interface will not recognize character-based entries, such as Eastern European characters, Japanese letters, Russian characters, etc.

Next is Publisher.  This item is optional.  If you don't have a publisher, you can enter your own name, or leave this item blank.

Publisher (optional): (What's this?)

What's This? Pop-up Message

Enter your publisher name here. This can be an individual or company name.

Publication date (optional):

There is a pop-up calendar here for you to select a publication date. It is optional, and, in my experiences, Amazon may use a different date, anyway; it may or may not be of use to you

ISBN (optional): (What's this?)

What's This? Pop-up Message

If your product has an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), enter it here. If not, you can skip this field. Note that this field should not be used to enter the ISBN of the print edition of this book.

ISBN Amazon FAQ: 
Should I use my physical book's ISBN?
Provide us with an ISBN that is exclusive to the digital content you are uploading. ISBNs assigned to the physical editions should not be used, as they are unique to that edition.

Publishing Rights

Publishing rights status: (What's this?)

 This is a public domain work.
 This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights.

What's This? Pop-up Message
You can publish content that is in the public domain, and we may request additional documentation to confirm that it is not under copyright. The period of copyright protection varies between countries, so ensure that you indicate your territory rights accurately. Note that titles that consist entirely or primarily of public domain content are not eligible for the 70% royalty option. Select 'This is a public domain work' if your title consists entirely or primarily of content that is in public domain. If the content of your title is under copyright and you hold the necessary rights for this content, select 'This is not a public domain work and I hold the necessary publishing rights'. For full details, terms and conditions, see the Pricing page and Terms and Conditions.

FAQ How do I know if my content is public domain?
Once the relevant term of copyright for a work has expired, the work falls into the public domain. The period of copyright protection varies between countries, so ensure that you indicate your territory rights accurately. The 70% royalty option is not available for works that consist entirely or primarily of public domain content.

Browse and Search

In this section, you enter information to help prospective buyers find your book. 

Add Categories

Search keywords (optional): (What's this?)

What's This? Pop-up Message
Enter 5 to 7 descriptive keywords, separated by commas, to help readers find your content in the Kindle Store.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions
What are browse categories and search keywords?
Selecting browse categories will allow you to place a title among books of a similar genre. Providing search keywords will expand the set of terms that your title is searchable by in the Kindle Store. You can choose up to two browse categories and enter multiple search keywords.

Click [Add Categories] to display the screen below

Note about Categories: Amazon has recently changed this option to allow only two Categories instead of the five that were previously allowed.

Product Image
Now you are ready to upload your  "product image".  That is the image that will appear on the Amazon product page that displays your book.

At first, the Upload button is grayed out...  browse to find your image, then the Upload button becomes available.

When you click Upload, the software will grind away for a while, processing your image, then announce that the upload was successful, and display a thumbnail of your image.

Typically, the thumbnail identifies your image to be sure you have the right one, but is not beautiful.

The instructions say it is optional.  If you don't upload your own image now, Amazon will add a very plain looking image, which may or may not appeal to you.

You can add your own image later, so if you don't have yours ready, it's not a big deal to skip this step for now.

Upload image (optional):

This image will appear in search results and on the product detail page for your content. If you do not upload an image, a placeholder image will be used. You can upload your image to override the placeholder image at any time.

Book Content

Next, you have to decide what you want to do about Digital RightsManagement.
DRM is explained in the FAQ and argued about in Publishing forums everywhere.

You can't change it later, so be sure you get it right here.
This is a required step; if you don't choose an option, the software won't save this page.

Select a digital rights management (DRM) option: (What's this?)
What's This? Pop-up Message
You may choose, on a per title basis, to have us apply DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology which is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of digital content files for titles.

Once your title is published, this setting cannot be changed.
Enable digital rights management
Do not enable digital rights management

FAQ Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Should I enable Digital Rights Management?
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is intended to inhibit unauthorized access to or copying of the content you upload. DRM is a one-time option and cannot be changed once selected.

Book content file:

Now you are ready to upload your manuscript.  You must browse to your file and click it, then the upload button will become available.

After you click upload, the software will start to process your file.

This may take from several minutes to several hours, depending on the size and complexity of your book.

If it is successful in converting your book, you will get a message stating that conversion was successful, and suggesting that you preview your book.

NOTE: Links, including those in the Table of Contents do not work in this Preview!

You should preview your book here, although this preview, like all others, is not entirely accurate.

If you have completed all the required options on this page, you are now ready to press the [SAVE AND CONTINUE] button at the bottom of the page.

If you have skipped a required step, it won't go forward, and the item you skipped will be marked with a red box around it.

You are apt to think that you answered all required questions, but if you go back over this page, you will, no doubt, find an item with a red box around it... something you overlooked.

When you have answered all required items, click [Save and Continue] at the bottom of this page.

You will then be presented with Page 2, Rights & Pricing.

Page 2, Rights and Pricing


  1. I want to thank you for all the help you have given on this Tutorial. I have my book published on Amazon yet no cover appears. I do remember adding the image. Strangely, when I looked at my book on my Droid, initially I had a generic cover. When I clicked on the cover to review my book and then returned to the home page the Image that is in my book, the same one I uploaded appears on my home page as a cover. I repeated this on my two desktops with same results. My question is if I click edit on the Amazon bookshelf and upload another cover image will I have to wait for two to three days before It gets published again? Thanking you again for your help.
    Mitchell Phillips. Book is "Rent A Muse"

  2. Hi Mitch,

    First, thanks for the thanks! [smile]

    I think what is happening here is that you have overlooked the fact that you have two different covers.

    First, there is the actual Kindle device cover that will be on your Kindle (or Droid) as the cover of your Kindle ebook.

    That is the 600x800px image that you embed into your book with Mobipocket.

    Second, there is the "Product" image that appears on the Amazon Sales Page.

    That can, and should be, a larger image than the one you embedded into your Kindle book with Mobipocket. (I don't want to quote the exact size without looking it up, but you can do that.)

    That's the one you upload at the same time on the same page, (and at next paragraph, as I recall) as you upload your book at the Amazon Kindle publishing platform.

    And no... your book won't go into lock-down when you upload a new sales page image.

    Usually that new image will appear on the Amazon Sales page within an hour or so.


  3. First, thank you very much for your tutorials. They have helped to clear up a lot for me.

    But I have not been able to find a clear description anywhere on the internet of how to create the product image. It would seem this should be a very simple subject, but there appears to be an amazing amount of conflicting information about it. I'm hoping you can help make better sense of this.

    The kdp page says the product image should be 500 pixels minimum width by 1280 maximum height. But since the images that I see on Amazon are 115x115, 300x300, and 500x500, it's very confusing to me what the rest of the image space is for!

    1. What size should the image be?

    2. If the image is larger than the final picture, where on the overall image should the actual picture be? Centered? Top? etc.

    3. Is there also a KB limit which should be considered?

    4. When and how can you add additional product images?

  4. David,

    I think you are confusing two different images... the Catalog Cover image, which should be 500x1280 pixels... and which is uploaded here at the "Publishing" step...

    And all the rest... which might be most any size.

    Some people just paste in an image as the first page of their MS Word file, and, while it may act as a cover, it really is just another image in the file... complete with margins around the page... the reason it can be any size the author chooses to make it.

  5. At the risk of really sounding dumb, I still don't get it.

    I do understand that the cover image is a separate image, and this is the image which is included inside the ebook...

    But I don't understand why the Catalog Cover image is anything but 500x500, since this is the size which shows up on Amazon. If the size is larger (500x1280), what is the rest of the image for?

    And since the 500x1280 is described by Amazon as MAXIMUM height and MINIMUM width, how do you determine the best size to use?

  6. David,

    I don't understand your question... and, honestly, I don't try to understand the reasons behind the sizes that Amazon tells us to use... I just follow along, and it usually works out right even if I don't understand why.

    The Amazon software re-calculates the size to make it do whatever it wants it to do.

    Remember, you can click on the "book cover" in the Amazon Sales Catalog page, and the Book Cover will enlarge... maybe that is the reason for what you are seeing.

  7. Hi - my manuscript ploaded fine but I need to edit it and can't figure out how to do it. Can you help?

  8. Hi Spirit Alive,

    I don't do editing, myself, because it just takes too much time to do a proper job... I'd never have time for anything else.

    If you are thinking of hiring someone, think a LOT of money!

    But I can help you do it yourself by sending you to a good source of information.

    The best I know is "Are You Still Submitting Your Work To a Traditional Publisher?", by Edward C. Patterson.

    I posted a review on it, which you can find at Amazon:

    This Comment Box isn't big enough for the whole review, but I'll copy some of it below:

    ~~~ … he gives some of the best advice to writers I've ever read, when he gets right to the heart of a problem that threatens all writers: Too many believe their work is golden, that it springs forth from their heads ready for publication, without need of rewriting, editing, or revision.

    "In fact", Mr. Patterson says, "most writers think they are perfection - first draft is magic, immaculate - eat your heart out, Stephen King."

    The result is that too many books are published before they are ready; contributing to the ever-growing public perception that self-published equals poor quality.

    If your work is poor, mediocre, or even just good, don't publish, Mr. Patterson says, because the first readers will proclaim your stuff "crap", and you will have blown your best opportunity. It also hurts all other authors when some think they are ready for prime time when they are not.

    Any who doubt the truth of that statement, should take a look at reviews of self-published books right here on Amazon, which, far too often, downgrade, and sometimes even declare a book unreadable, because of errors and poor editing.

    If you are about to independently publish, Mr. Patterson says, you should get your mind in order. You will no longer get rejection notices (as with a traditional publisher), but without the proper mindset, you'll still get rejection... public rejection.

    It isn't easy, he agrees, to take off your writer's hat and look at your own work objectively, but it must be done. He then proceeds to tell us how to do it... and how to find editors and beta readers to help.

    He spells out names and discussion groups, and tells us how and where to get involved to get the help we need.

    Some of the editing techniques he describes are things we learned in school - or should have - others are his own, born of his experiences, and others are made possible by today's technology... such as putting your work on a Kindle, looking at it in different type sizes, and having it read your own words back to you.

    If I had my way, I'd make this book required reading for anyone who wants to self-publish on Amazon.

  9. You make this sound really easy. But, going through the forum, people keep talking about html codes and all that stuff. And why you have to do html in order to get your picture to show up. Um, what?!? I am not a designer or a coder, I write. That's it. All I did was upload a picture and a .doc for my book. Its under review now. So, hopefully if something wasn't done right I will be notified. It's my first one so I am trying to pop my amazon kindle cherry.

  10. Yes, Kristi, it really is that easy.

    You do have to pay attention, and follow all the steps, but if you clean up your MS Word file and format it as the tutorials here explain, it really is as easy as pie.

    I will caution you, however, that just because Amazon did not reject your book, does not mean you will be happy when you see it.

    If you didn't clean up your MS Word file and did not format it using MS Word styles as explained here, your book may be a mess of uneven indents and ugly-looking text.

    If that happens, don't panic, as it's not a big deal... just do it over, do it right, and upload it again.

  11. Hi CJ ~ you're material has been a great help to me. Thank you!

    I'm uploading my first book to Kindle in .prc format and it's been uploading for 48 hours now.

    Do you have any insight on how long it takes or anything different I can do?

    In word, the file is 400 pages with a few small-sized black and white symbols.

    Thanks for your help.

  12. Sarah,

    I have had the same thing happen to me...

    Actually, that's not quite true...

    What I mean to say I have had the upload go on for so long that I finally decided to cancel and come back later.

    So far, that has been the solution. When I go back later in the day, or sometimes the next day, the upload takes a normal amount of time.

    I also sometimes get an error that says only that it can't complete the upload and that I should check back later.

    I think the Amazon KDP computers must be overloaded right now... too much popularity all at the same time, maybe!

    So... that's what I'd advise you to do...just cancel and go back later.


  13. Thanks for the insight, CJ. I will try again.

    In your estimation, if all Amazon systems are in order and there are not too many uploads happening at one time, how long do you think a 837 KB file will take to load?

    Thanks again for your help.

  14. Sarah,

    Not too long, I'd estimate, judging from my own experience.

    I just timed one that is over 5 MB, with 98 images, and it took about 8 minutes.

    Here is my time report on it:

    Time to Complete Publication Process at Amazon KDP

    5,383 KB 98 images MS Word docx

    7:51 AM 2/28/2012 start
    7:59 AM 2/28/2012 finish

    As I mentioned before, it's quite possible for the publishing process to hang up and fail to finish, but if you have the same experience several times, there is probably something wrong with your file.

    Did you put it through Mobipocket Creator?

    Many people condemn it because it is an old program, but it is still useful to find errors.


  15. Hi CJ,

    Thanks for your help and insight.

    I have tried a few more times to upload the file to Kindle with no luck yet.

    And, yes, I created the .prc file in Mobi. There were no errors.

    Any other ideas?? Thanks :)

    1. Sarah,

      Please tell me what is happening... I'll try to help.


  16. My question is I'm doing a children's book that has images and text documents, how do I submit that as a file? I have a folder for all of it, and I'm trying to figure out how to do that. Any help would be greatly appreciated it's all in jpeg files.

  17. Jessica,

    I'm not quite sure I understand your question...

    You should prepare your MS Word file and insert your images into the file... just as you would do if you were going to print it out on the printer attached to your computer.

    There is a little more to it, of course... you have to format for the Kindle, not for a paper book...but that's the basic idea.

    All the instructions are here in this website... just click on the photo of the birds and follow along, step by step.

  18. Hi CJ, I am hoping that you are still around. Your help files are really excellent. However, I have just uploaded my book for the 8th time - it is a recipe book with pictures. And my first buyer told me that the pictures don't show up. So each time I have checked the preview after the upload and get a logo of a camera and exclamation warning sign where the each of the pictures should be. I have all my material organised into MS word. Am on Mac 10.6.8. Saved as an HTML. Reduced the file to 32 MB which shrank the pictures. Saved a copy as a zip and uploaded that one but there was no difference. So a plain PDF didn't work (completely reformatted), an HTML left pictures out except the first one, the zip was the same. Any thoughts on what step I may have missed? (I haven't done the MOBI thing). Regards, Wendy

  19. Wendy,

    The error message you describe is because you didn't include your pictures in your file... there is an extra step you need to do.

    Look on the right sidebar of this website for the article "Where are my Pictures?"

    A suggestion to reduce file size:

    Go back to MS Word and right-click on one of your photos, and choose Format... then at the lower left choose "compress".

    Then follow the steps to compress all your pictures.

    I have tried the lowest level... 96ppi on test files. It reduced file size dramatically and the pictures seemed to be ok.

    Real photos in a real file might not work so well...and it might be different in your version of Word, but it's sure worth a try.

    Let me know how it works!

  20. Hello there.
    I am trying to upload my picture book to Kindle. I have designed each page using photoshop and saved them as 600x1024 pix and at 300dpi saved flattened as jpeg. I put them into a Zip file and every time I try to upload them it comes up with the warning 'Your ZIP file contains files in the wrong format. Zip files can only contain HTML files and images. Other formats shouldn't be compressed into a ZIP file. Please refer to our formatting guide for more information.' I then tried to do the same this time saving the imaes to 169 dpi also I have saved them as PDF. Every time I upload any of these, it comes up as this message. What am I doing wrong? Many thanks, Kirsten

  21. Kirsten,

    It sounds like you are doing everything right...

    The only thing I can think of is that you may be including your DOC file in the zipped file.

    The zipped file should include only the htm file and the _files folder.

    If it still doesn't work, consider uploading your MS Word file directly to Amazon KDP... I just uploaded an article telling how to do that.

    1. One more thing, Kirsten,

      If you haven't already compressed your pictures, you can do so in MS Word.

      Right-Click on a picture, then look for the word "compress" in the lower left corner of the dialog box that appears.

      Click on that, and be sure you get all pictures, not just the one you clicked on.

      You will given 3 choices. I find that the middle one saves a lot of space without altering image quality too much.

  22. Hi CJ,

    What a star you are! The information in these tutorials is really useful so thank you so much for explaining everything in such detail.
    I'm still confused about one thing and I hope you can help. Do I upload to Kindle the actual final MS document or do I have to save the MS document as a Web page [filtered]and upload that document to Kindle?
    I'm sure the Amazon help page says you need to save the doc as a web page but I'm also sure that Amazon no longer supports Mobipocket so I'm confused because I thought that was the vehicle to upload a HTML file to Kindle and that there was no longer a need for any HTML document.
    I'd be very grateful if you can help. Thanks in advance.

    1. James,

      Thanks for the comments and the questions.

      I really needed to hear that approval of "explaining in detail"... because that is what I'm struggling with right now... how much can I include without annoying the experts among my readers.

      You are right, Amazon has made so many changes -- not just steps forward, but great bounds forward -- it is confusing for everyone... and they don't even have their own website and help files updated yet.

      I'm going back through all my past articles to try to get everything updated, but it's taking time.

      Since Amazon has not updated the instructions, I have to test everything to be sure I've got it right.

      But... the main thing you need to know right now is:

      Yes... the best route to a perfectly-formatted Kindle file is MS Word straight to Amazon KDP.

      Not only is it easier, faster, and less prone to error, but you will get the toc.ncx file... which you don't get without extra programming if you save your Word file to HTML

      Good luck, and thanks!

  23. Hi CJ,

    Thank you for the prompt and very helpful reply.

    For what it's worth, I think you've got the balance absolutely right: I guess there are many people like me who have a pretty good grasp of the 'big picture' and can generally find their way but the safety net of having the details intelligently laid out for a series of systematic points of reference is exactly what we need because the 'devil is always in the detail'.Even for the 'experts'. So thanks again.

    One more thing that I should have put in my earlier post is about bullet points and numbered lists. Am I right in thinking that if I use MS Word I should not even attempt to use bullet lists or number lists even though they are accessible from the Styles and Formatting menus as Kindle does not recognise them as such?

    Thanks in advance again and keep up the good work - it's very much appreciated.

    1. No, James... it's not quite that bad, but you may have to make some compromises.

      Short lines that don't have to wrap seem to work ok. It's the second line that Word/Kindle can't handle.

      Also, I've found that a small white (clear, like a letter O) bullet works better than a black bullet.

      If that doesn't work, you can always save your MS Word file as "web page, filtered" to get an html file, then edit the html to get the bullets you want.

      I don't do html, but I'm sure you can find directions with an Internet search.

  24. I uploaded my (Word) book and the web links work but the active TOC links don't work. Is this normal? George

    1. George,

      No, that's not normal.

      If you are viewing your Kindle format on a Kindle device, the TOC links should work perfectly... if you have them formatted perfectly.

      Go to to the link below and be sure to do all the steps.

      MS Word Directly to Amazon KDP: Create a Table of Contents for Kindle, Using MS Word 2010 TOC Wizard