Amazon KDP Publishing

Amazon Kindle Publishing: How To Self-Publish On KDP

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Amazon self-publishing is the best way to self-publish a book. These Amazon Kindle publishing tips will help you learn all about Amazon KDP publishing.

Learn how to self-publish on Amazon Kindle with this self-publishing guide that will answer all your self-publishing questions about Amazon Kindle publishing.

If you’re reading this article, you already know about your self-publishing options, are probably interested in selling eBooks on Amazon, and are looking for a guide to self-publishing with Amazon KDP.

Is self-publishing a book on Amazon a good idea?

Is self-publishing worth it? To highlight the most obvious difference between self-publishing vs traditional publishing, self-publishing royalties are nearly three times higher than traditionally published books.

Self-published authors also earn more than traditionally published authors as the average royalty paid by a traditional publisher is 10% of the retail sales price, and Amazon self-publishing royalties are even higher.

The KDP royalty plans of Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (or Amazon KDP publishing) pay authors 35% to 70% royalties for sales of Kindle eBooks.

If you enroll in Amazon KDP Select, you can earn even more money through Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. Also, for traditionally published books, royalty payments to authors begin after six months compared to just 90 days for self-publishing royalties.

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In addition, there are many self-publishing success stories of famous self-published books that you can take inspiration from, such as E.L. James’ self-published 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, which went on to become one of the best selling self-published books on Amazon.

Self-publishing is sometimes called independent publishing or indie publishing, and some of the most successful self-published books were originally published independently by famous self-published authors, including:

So is self-publishing a book a good idea, is self-publishing profitable, and can you be successful self-publishing a book in 2021? Let’s look at the stats for the eBook market.

eBooks are often sold for high prices in comparison to physical books. In 2020, the global eBook market was valued at USD 18.13 billion, and it is expected to reach USD 23.12 billion by 2026.

Amazon’s KDP is one of the dominant players in the global eBooks market and subscriptions like Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited now earn close to $6 billion for Amazon and continue to grow.

But what most people forget is that Amazon is also one of the biggest search engines in the world and this behemoth attracts millions of actual buyers willing to pay for products.

So, the answer to the oft-asked question, “Is self-publishing on Amazon a good idea?” is Yes!

Unless you’re a celebrity or well-known public figure who gets a six-figure book advance from a reputable publishing house, self-publishing on Kindle is the best option for a new author with no platform or readers to speak of.

There are so many best-selling self-published books out there nowadays that few indie authors would recommend traditional publishing over self-publishing. There’s no doubt today that you can become a successful author by self-publishing through Amazon Kindle direct publishing.

So, read on to learn all about self-publishing for beginners, how expensive is for self-publishing, and how to start self-publishing on Amazon.

Kindle Direct Publishing

Is self-publishing on Amazon free?

So what does self-publishing cost on Amazon?

Amazon self-publishing costs nothing! Zip! Nada!

As opposed to vanity publishers, who will charge you upfront for editing and publishing your book, self-publishing with Amazon book publishing services costs nothing.

You can publish your book for free as Amazon KDP books have zero cost of self-publishing through Amazon. This is just one reason why Amazon is one of the best free self-publishing companies and the cheapest way to publish a book online.

Self-publishing checklist for Amazon KDP publishing

You can self-publish with Kindle in digital format, and also print self-published books as paperbacks with KDP print on demand.

But first, download Amazon’s free Kindle Create software to help you turn your completed manuscript into a beautiful book of any trim size.

With Kindle Create you can create a professional quality book with a professionally designed theme with chapter titles, drop caps and image placement options.

So how does self-publishing work on Amazon? Here’s the self-publishing process to publish a book on Kindle:

✔ Sign up for Amazon publishing services by creating a Kindle Direct Publishing account.

✔ Next, format your digital content in the form of Microsoft Word documents, PDF files, text files or even Rich Text Format files.

✔ Then import the file into the Kindle Create software and check that everything looks fine.

✔ Use Kindle Create to produce a publishable file (KPF) that you can submit to Amazon KDP as your KDP eBook content file.

✔ Add a professionally designed book cover, or create one using free tools like Canva.

✔ If you don’t have a book cover yet, you can use Amazon’s KDP Cover Creator tool to create a book cover free

✔ Add a well-written and properly-formatted book blurb (description)

✔ Add your Amazon book categories (you can add two while publishing and eight more later)

✔ Set your KDP Select preferences, book price, and publish your book.

As long as your book meets all the Amazon KDP content guidelines and your content is approved by Amazon Kindle publishing editors, you can be a published author in less than 48 hours.

Note: As your book cover is one of the most important factors that impact book sales, it’s advisable to get a professional book cover designed on sites like Fiverr.

Watch this video by my friend and book publishing coach, Derek Murphy, on how to publish your eBook on Amazon Kindle.

Self-Publishing on Amazon: Pros And Cons

Self-publishing has been available in different forms since time immemorial. But is self-publishing better than traditional publishing? And is self-publishing your book right for you?

Self-publishing on Amazon has some pros and cons and not all authors have what it takes to make money by self-publishing books on Amazon.

You may come across authors who believe that self-publishing is a waste of time because they believe the shill of traditional publishers who are losing money due to the growth of self-publishing.

I’ve published through self-publishing houses in India and also spoken to authors who have self-published with vanity publishing companies, and I would recommend self-publishing on Amazon over vanity presses any day.

I know of many savvy, self-published authors who are banking thousands of dollars a month, not just from their self-published books, but also because they invested in building an author platform and monetizing their readers’ audience.

Despite the pros and cons of self-publishing, here are some reasons why self-publishing is better for most authors, and why self-publishing with Amazon is the best option for new authors.

1. Avoid rejection from traditional publishers

Are you an author who has received multiple rejection letters from traditional publishing houses? Many best-selling and famous authors have had to endure innumerable rejections on their journey to getting published.

Traditional publishers have many reasons why they reject authors and manuscripts – because the author is unknown, because the topic of the book is obscure or controversial, or because they don’t care for the author’s writing style, genre, or grammar.

Many well-known publishers also tend to stay away from books that only have small target audiences. If you’ve written a how-to book or a guide on a topic that is likely to only draw in a limited number of readers, self-publishing could be your best option.

If despite receiving rejection letters from traditional publishing companies, you honestly and truly believe that you have a good book, you should consider self-publishing your book.

2. Keep your book copyright

Unlike traditional publishers (and some vanity presses) who require you to sign over the copyright of your book, when you start self-publishing on Amazon you get to keep control of your rights and set your own KDP book pricing, as well as make changes to your self-published books at any time.

When self-publishing on Amazon, you take care of everything, from writing content, marketing, storage, distribution, and all other publishing aspects. But you also own every right to the book, which is registered as your intellectual property, and you have all the rights to enjoy the proceeds from sales.

self publishing

3. Retain complete creative control

Many authors value their own creativity and style. They don’t really care for the need to meet the standards of traditional publishers and editors, and may not agree to any changes required by the publisher.

If you’re a writer who values having complete editorial and artistic freedom and resists criticism and changes in your manuscript, then self-publishing is better for you.

4. Publish on digital and paperback for free

You can reach millions of readers worldwide on Amazon when you start self-publishing both eBooks and paperbacks for free with Kindle Direct Publishing. Your readers can get a book print on demand when they order your paperback by paying KDP printing costs.

While self-publishing companies will register an ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your book, Amazon will assign this to you free when you publish your Kindle Direct Publishing paperback through them.

Besides being one of the top self-publishing companies, Amazon Kindle (KDP) publishing has also become one of the top print-on-demand book companies by merging Createspace with KDP.

Watch this video on how to publish a paperback book with Kindle Direct Publishing.

Traditional and self-publishing book companies make more money from printing your book and not as much from eBook sales, so they’re not as inclined to put any time and effort into publishing and promoting an eBook.

One of my author friends is still waiting for his publisher to upload his Kindle book two years after it was released in print!

I dread to think how much he’s losing in royalties by not having a Kindle book on Amazon. No author should have to endure that, which is why I recommend self-publishing your own book on Amazon.

5. Get to market fast

Publishing on Amazon Direct Publishing is the easiest way to publish a book. Uploading a book to Amazon takes less than 5 minutes and your book will appear on Kindle stores worldwide within 24 to 48 hours.

This means you can get to market fast without waiting for months or years for your vanity press or traditional publisher to get your book ready for print.

6. Change your book content anytime

This matters even more in certain non-fiction categories, such as digital marketing, which see changes almost every day, and may require constant updates when your book content gets outdated.

7. Handle additional costs yourself

While there’s no cost to self-publish a book on Amazon, it’s not that you’ll have zero self-publishing costs when it comes to publishing a book yourself. There are definitely costs associated with getting your manuscript edited by a professional book editor, as well as designing an attractive book cover.

In vanity publishing contracts, the author agrees to shoulder every cost of publication and take on all the existing risks. Publishers have nothing to lose in vanity press deals, even though they earn money from the fees they collect from authors for publishing their work.

Some vanity or self-publishing companies will charge you for additional services such as cover design, proofreading your manuscript, getting book reviews, and indexing, promoting and marketing your book.

If you opt for self-publishing through Amazon, you can take care of these additional costs yourself and get them done to your satisfaction through gig platforms such as Fiverr.

book publishing

8. Do your own book marketing & promotion

Another upside to self-publishing is the fact that unknown authors can shine and make money with a self-published book, as long as they invest time, effort, and money in marketing and promoting their books.

Poor writing, inadequate book editing, a bad title, formatting, and layout, bad book cover design, can all adversely affect book sales, as well as lack of promotion, marketing, and distribution.

Even if you publish traditionally, you’ll have to incur some costs of your own when building an author platform. With a self-published book, you’ll have to pay for book editors, book cover design, author website design, and make sure it meets all your standards.

You’ll also have to invest in Facebook and Amazon ads for authors so you can run book promotions to boost your book sales and reviews. In this way, self-publishing is a risk and you could end up spending a lot of money with very little return.

If you’re self-publishing, can’t afford an editor or book cover designer, and cannot spend money on book marketing for self-published authors, you should probably wait to publish until you have the money for all these expenses.

But, if you consider your self-published book as a product and think of yourself as an entrepreneur who needs to invest in book marketing services and in building your author brand, you’ll do much better than most of the self-published authors out there.

Amazon self-publishing

Self-publishing marketing tips

Marketing self-published books is a must if you want to become a bestselling author on Amazon. Here are some essential self-publishing marketing tips for successful self-publishing on Amazon:

When marketing self-published books, ensure that you follow all the Amazon KDP guidelines that Amazon book marketing services require authors to adhere to.

If you plan to publish a book on Kindle, watch the free marketing webinars in KDP University where you can access Amazon KDP marketing tips, strategies, and tools to help you successfully prepare, publish, and promote your book on KDP.

In the long run, self-publishing platforms like Amazon KDP publishing, which have zero cost of publishing a book on Amazon, are the most cost-effective way to publish your own book and earn more from your books.

To learn more about Amazon KDP publishing, get the book, Amazon Decoded: A Marketing Guide to the Kindle Store, by David Gaughran.

It will help you:

  • Learn about Visibility Marketing and how understanding Amazon can boost your sales.
  • Discover the algorithms that go into Sales Rank and dispel some common myths.
  • Understand the critical differences between the Best Seller list and the Popularity list.
  • Decode the ways Amazon recommends millions of books to readers every single day.
  • Implement proven marketing plans, optimized for maximum Amazon visibility.

Whether you are exclusive to Amazon and chasing page reads, or a wide author trying to survive the onslaught of Kindle Unlimited titles, Amazon Decoded will share the secrets of the Kindle Store and how you can sell more books.

With self-publishing on Amazon, there’s no cost to publish a book and you’ll have control over variable publishing factors and can also enjoy more freedom, in terms of style and earning.

Successful self-published authors are making a killing with Amazon self-published books that made it big and there’s no reason why you can’t do the same with Amazon Kindle book publishing, too.

If you have the determination, the confidence, and the drive to work on marketing your self-published book, the self-publishing dos and don’ts above will help you succeed in self-publishing a book on Amazon.

The number of self-published books that became bestsellers on Amazon is growing every day. It’s time for you to write and publish a Kindle ebook so you, too, can become a bestselling author with Amazon KDP self-publishing.

Join my Facebook Group for Writers for writing tips and inspo and download a free Book Writing Resources PDF.

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