Firstly, I believe that publishing to KDP is not the only way to profit from ebook publishing. It is simply the most well-known and easiest. This is likely because Amazon store represents a huge slice of the market. The company controls about 50% of the book market in the UK and claims 67% of eBook Sales market share overall. This article will however focus on how to publish an ebook on Amazon and make money.
Over 1.4 million self-published books are released through Kindle Direct Publishing every year (though these are not all exclusive to KDP). (WordsRated.com).
The dominance of Amazon is unchallenged. About 91% of the US self-publishing market now uses Amazon print. As IngramSpark also feed to Amazon, as does Lulu, this number makes sense.
Five Ways that Kindle Publishing has Changed
Increased Competition: The Kindle Publishing market has become more crowded over the years, with more authors and publishers entering the market. This has made it more challenging for new authors to stand out and attract readers.
Expanded Global Reach: In 2015, Amazon’s Kindle Publishing was only available in major countries. Today, it has expanded to more than 100 countries, allowing authors to reach a broader global audience.
New Marketing Tools: Amazon has introduced new marketing tools to help authors promote their books, such as Amazon Advertising and Kindle Unlimited. These tools have made it easier for authors to get their books in front of more readers.
Changing Royalty Structure: In 2015, Amazon paid authors a 70% royalty rate for ebooks priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Today, the royalty rate is still 70%, but the pricing range has changed to $0.99 to $9.99. Amazon has also introduced a new royalty structure for ebooks borrowed through Kindle Unlimited. This 30-cents-at-a-time royalty has not been favoured by authors.
Improved User Experience: Amazon has made significant improvements to the Kindle reading experience over the years, including adding new features like X-Ray and Whispersync, and improving the design and functionality of the Kindle devices and apps. These improvements have made reading ebooks on Kindle more enjoyable and convenient for readers.
Ways to Profit from Amazon Publishing (and still be in charge)
Since self-published titles listed on KDP surged from 3,804 books in 2007 to over 2 million titles now, it’s like you are holding up a tiny sign in a fast-moving highway of cars.
Most people in publishing think the key to getting success and a high bestseller rank (BSR) on Kindle is to give away ebooks at the start and also to game the keywords. These are the low-hanging fruit. But giveaways and countdowns require you to tick ‘Select’, which closes off other eBook distribution channels, like iBooks – access via Draft2Digital or Smashwords or BookBub.
While it’s good to look into keywords used by searchers on Amazon, which you can do freely or with a paid research tool, this alone won’t generate viral sales. Buzz-driven sales generally come from a high level of:
- Word-of-mouth positive talk
- Mass media/influencers talking about your book
- Reviews, Book reviews in magazines, Excerpts printed in magazines, etc.
- Being an authority in your space (you can’t really beat a Stanford professor or an astrophysicist)
From experience, I believe you can earn more royalties by finding out how to write a riveting book, one with something new to say. Then back this up with an evocative, clear cover and simple title. I will have a lesson in my new Book Funnel course about bestseller book ideas and titles. Why not ask to be notified?
What is Involved in Publishing to Kindle?
Before you upload to KDP, you will need a KDP account filled out with your name, email and address, all the book details, two (researched) categories, 6 keywords and an ebook cover (JPG) with good quality resolution. Later, you can add another category by request.
You will need to have somewhere to get paid into and for KDP, your tax file number helps. There is also the fact that credit unions aren’t very good at receiving EFTs, so I used my ANZ account to receive funds from Amazon.com.au sales. They don’t send cheques to Australians.
Tax Interview: You will need to quote your country’s Article number and TFN (TIN) or EIN to claim the tax treaty.
Once you publish, you will sign up for Amazon Author Central straightaway and fill out your author photo and bio. So many authors who used a subsidy publisher have no account and thus no real followership.
What Can’t You Publish on Kindle?
As KDP keeps ebook viewing simpler, you can’t put sophisticated interactive elements in your ebooks, however, you can put in short links to your content resources or some external (unchanging) resources.
Authors cannot add lots of lines in an ebook, so take those dotted lines out before publishing. You are allowed to insert colour photos but the text should be all black.
By their rules, you can’t have a book full of affiliate links.
You also can’t say in the imprint page that Amazon is the publisher. The author or the publisher is the publisher.
Note: Australians don’t need to go and register copyright. It is enacted by law, once you put Copyright © 2023 Your Name.
Best Way to Make Money on Amazon Kindle?
The best way is to be sure you have a job. Got that? Great, be creative with your book. I don’t mean mix genres – please, don’t do that. I mean, how about coming up with a new analogy or promise?
A clever analogy can help sell the concept. Another way is with a Wow promise/statement. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari caught that one.
A clever title must follow up on its promise. It must encapsulate what the book is all about.
Now, the guys at Category Pirates say in Snow Leopard, after studying the top 400 bestselling NON-FICTION books on Amazon, that Personal Development is the leading category. Followed by Personal Finance, followed by Biography and Autobiography. This is all explained simply in ‘Snow Leopard’, on Audible, a must-read for the serious author.
Why Don’t Self-Publishers Produce Audiobooks?
Here’s a startling fact. Wordsrated claims that only 1% of audiobooks on Audible are self-published. This indicates that the process is both difficult and expensive.
Magic Studios can help you understand this, with their how to publish an Audiobook article (they are in Perth).
Another place that helps with audio recording and sound is Modern Media School in Clontarf, Qld.
A third place to record is Brisbane Audiobook Productions, Brisbane – Simone helps with the lot, including getting onto ACX – Audible.
Voiceovers can be done by local talent or by Findaway Voices, an alternative platform to the ACX service (which only serves Americans, Canadians and UK peeps). It utilises the Draft2Digital distribution service, so is ideal if you also use this for ebook distribution.