Kindle’s growth has fueled a proliferation of overhyped, overpriced Kindle courses promising instant riches on Amazon even if you can’t write or don’t want to do any work. The fact is that Kindle is just another publishing medium and, like any other publishing campaign, a Kindle promotion requires work to achieve success.

Following the steps in this article won’t make you an instant bestselling author without a lot of work. But it might save you some time, and hopefully save you some money paying for information that can be found for free if you know where to look.

You can find more details about the steps outlined here in Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Help area.

1. Create Your Kindle Direct Publishing Account

The first step is to create your Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing account. If you already have an Amazon account, you can log in with your existing login email and password. Otherwise you can sign up for an account by entering an email as a new customer and creating a password.

Once you have an account, you will need to enter some profile information about your publishing company, tax information, and payment method.

You can publish under own name or the name of your company. If you plan to publish as a company, you will need to have previously set up your company mailing address, tax information, and banking account.

For tax information, you can use a Tax Identification Number (TIN), Employer Identification Number (EIN), or Social Security Number (SSN).

Amazon offers the option of payments by electronic transfer to a bank account or by check. For non-U.S. sales, Amazon has options for transfers and checks specific to different countries.

2. Do Your Market Research

With your account set up, you’re set to start publishing. Before rushing to write your first book, though, you should do your market research. As you’re considering potential topics and audiences, gauge the size of your target market by using resources like U.S. Census Bureau Economic Statistics, the Google AdWords Keyword Tool, Bowker’s Books in Print, and Kindle’s Best Sellers Rank system. Make some rough estimates on how many books you can expect to sell per month, multiply this by the price per book, and get an idea whether the topic you’ve selected seems worth the time it will take to write and promote the book.

3. Create Your Promotional Plan

On the basis of your market research, create a promotional plan for how you intend to sell your book. Start by identifying your book’s main sales features, including the market needs it addresses, the benefits it delivers, and who would be interested in what the book offers.

Use this information to create a title that conveys your main sales points to your intended audience. Visualize some covers that might go with your title. Draft a brief description of your book emphasizing your sales points.

List some ways you can promote your book to your target market after it’s published. How will you promote the book on Amazon using the site’s built-in features like categories, keywords, and your profile page? Do you have existing customers, business partners, or networking contacts who might be interested in the book? Can you drive traffic to your book’s Amazon page from a mailing list, blog, search engines, or online ads?

4. Create Your Text Document File

After selecting your book’s topic and title, you can create your text document file. Amazon’s help area includes detailed tips for formatting Kindle documents. Amazon allows you to upload a file in a number of different formats for conversion to Kindle format. They recommend normally uploading in Word or HTML for best results, with Word being the simplest option for most authors.

Whatever format you use, before you begin writing, be sure to note which formatting features Kindle supports and does not support during the conversion process. For instance, with Word documents, Kindle will support headings, bold, italics, indentations, tables, and JPEG images inserted with center alignment, but not special fonts, bullets, tabs, headers, or footers.

Each format has its own specifics. See Kindle’s help resources for details.

5. Create Your Cover Image File

Amazon also has formatting requirements for Kindle cover image files. They accept Kindle covers in JPEG or TIFF format.

They require images to be at least 1000 pixels long on the longest side. For quality they recommend 2500 pixels long with a 1.6 height-to-width ratio.

Amazon’s site displays images in RGB color mode.

For covers with white or very light backgrounds, Amazon recommends adding a thin medium gray border of 3-4 pixels to distinguish the boundary.

6. Convert Your Files to Kindle Format

Converting documents from formats such as Word into Kindle format involves translating them into filtered HTML format. Amazon provides a conversion tool to assist with this process on a screen that appears when uploading a Kindle book for publication.

There are also a variety of other tools to assist with this process before uploading a book on Amazon, which can make it easier to edit your book to look the way you want. One tool that is easy to work with is Mobipocket Creator. Using Mobipocket Creator will create a file in PRC format, one of the text formats Amazon accepts for Kindle conversion.

7. Add Your Title

With your text document file converted, you’re ready to load it and your cover image file to Amazon and publish your book. Log into your account and click on the button called “Add a new title”.

You will then be prompted to fill out a series of fields specifying your book’s product details, uploading your files for preview, confirming your publishing rights, and entering your pricing and royalty information.

Before logging in to enter these fields, it’s advisable to type up a file with your book’s product details, including a title, description of 30 to 4,000 characters, a listing of up to two categories from Amazon’s Kindle Books Department (which has different categories than their general books department), five to seven keywords to index your book in Amazon’s search engines, and the price of your book.

You should also review Amazon’s digital rights management, royalty, and Kindle lending policies.

8. Promote Your Title

After adding your title to your Kindle Direct Publishing account, it will become available on Amazon. You can then log in to see reports tracking your sales.

Your sales results will be directly proportionate to the effort you put into promoting your title. Contrary to what some unscrupulous advertisers would have you believe, if you publish a title on Kindle and just let it sit there, you will get very few sales. To generate sales, you will need to take an active role in promoting your book.

You can promote your book by using the same types of tactics you would use to promote other types of books, as well as some tactics specific to Amazon. Amazon has its own internal search engine and social network, and optimizing your use of these is a good place to start your promotional efforts. From here you can branch off into promotional tactics such as soliciting reviews of your book, creating a website and mailing list to promote your book, syndicating publicity materials, and running ads for your book.

When using these tactics, pay attention to how they affect your sales results. You can then concentrate on the promotional methods that seem to generate the best sales.