Here’s how almost anyone can use Amazon Publishing to make money writing.
Are you interested in becoming a published author—not just a published author, but one who makes money? It’s time to take a closer look at Amazon Publishing. Long gone are the days in which you had to depend on rigid, hard-to-please publishing companies and face depressing rejection letters—all with the lofty goal of getting a book on the market. The truth is few authors can make it happen with mainstream publishing.
These days, your dream of becoming an income-producing published author is more attainable than ever through Amazon Publishing. In fact, publishing books might just be the perfect add-on for any business out there, whether you sell physical products, services, coaching, or run a blog. You only need a few things:
- Words you want to publish
- A little computer know-how
- Access to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Keep reading for the details on how to put these three pieces in place to establish yourself as an author—whether you are interested in making it big, want to publish to increase your credibility in your industry, or hope to create a steady stream of residual income.
Is It Better to Self-Publish or Get a Publisher?
Going through a traditional publisher for your book can take a long time, and, in most cases, it is challenging to find a company willing to do it. It can be discouraging for aspiring authors to send manuscripts to publisher after publisher, only to receive rejection letters in return. Self-publishing has proven to be a hassle-free and lucrative way to get your book into the hands of readers quickly.
In addition to avoiding the pain and hassle of dealing with traditional publishers, going the KDP route has several benefits:
- Opportunity to engage with Amazon’s massive audience, including more than 100 million subscribers to Amazon Prime and an average of more than 206.1 million visitors each month; even better, there were more than 310 million book buyers who purchased through Amazon in the last year
- Get to market fast—the Amazon publishing process takes five minutes, and your book will appear on the Kindle stores worldwide in 24 to 48 hours
- Earn up to 70% royalty on all book sales and start making money immediately—as soon as your book goes live
- No Amazon publishing contract means you can maintain control of your book rights and set your own prices; you can also edit or update your books at any time
- Publish in digital format or print or both!
You don’t even need to be the next Stephen King or Ernest Hemingway to be a KDP success. The platform features a step-by-step process, making publishing super-simple. The most challenging aspect of making money with self-publishing on Amazon is knowing your target audience and having a good book idea that connects with your audience.
How Much Does It Cost to Publish a Book on Amazon? Is It Free to Publish a Book on Amazon?
Amazon doesn’t charge money upfront for authors to publish their books. However, there will be some Amazon publishing costs, including ebook delivery costs and paperback printing costs, Amazon will subtract from your royalties; the amount varies depending on your royalty plan.
If you choose a 70% royalty plan, you can expect to pay $0.15 per megabyte for both USD and CAD. If you choose a 35% royalty plan, Amazon will waive the cost.
When it comes to printing your self-published paperback, the cost is based on the page count for your book and whether you choose to print in full color or black-and-white. As you go through the publishing process, Amazon’s platform will calculate the figures for you so you can decide which option works best for you. The platform will also suggest a minimum listing price for your book to help you ensure your book sales will be sufficient to cover the printing costs.
The amount you will pay to print your book on Amazon can vary from $2.15 per book for black ink with 24-108 pages to $0.85 per book and $0.07 per page for a full-color book with 42-500 pages.
In addition to print and delivery costs coming out of any royalties, there are optional expenses you may choose to incur depending on your publishing goals. For example, you can pay more for editing and cover design or Amazon Publishing PR and marketing.
How Do I Publish a Book on Amazon?
If you are looking for a guide to self-publishing on Amazon, you will likely find many resources available online as well as on the Amazon KDP site. Let’s go over the basics of how to leverage Amazon to publish your book:
Choose a High-Selling Book
The last thing you want to do is go through the process of publishing on Amazon only to find there isn’t a good market for your book. It’s essential to choose a book idea with the potential to connect with a specific audience: your target market. One way to determine if your book is worthy of publishing is to check out similar listings on Amazon selling right now. If you can’t find any books related to what you want to write, there’s a good chance there isn’t a lot of interest in the particular topic.
Of course, you want your book to offer something other books are not offering—to stand out from the competition—however, if the book topic doesn’t exist on Amazon currently, there’s a probably a good reason why.
As you are researching similar books on the marketplace, you’ll also want to determine if there is an existing monopoly. It’s not a good idea to try to enter a category already flooded with the same type of books because you will likely struggle to get noticed. This is especially true if there are big-name authors already selling books on a specific topic.
Look for categories with plenty of buyers but not a super competitive market. For example, check out the Amazon Best Sellers Rank and assess the “product details” section for the listings. If a book has a ranking between 1,000 and 30,000, you can know there is buyer-demand but not as much competition as there are for books listed in the top 1,000. If a book is ranked 30,000 or higher, avoid the category, because there’s not enough demand.
Identify and Know Your Audience
Just like in marketing for any business, you need to know your target market. Identify who your audience is and get to know what they want to read so you can deliver. If they are looking for a solution to a problem and you are creating a how-to book, make sure you are covering the solution in your book. Or if your target audience is looking for fiction on a particular topic, that’s what you should provide. It’s all about knowing what they want, and writing a book based on your insight and available information.
Write Your Best Seller
Once you know your audience and have identified the right topic and category with a good balance of competition and demand, it’s time to write. Put your ideas to paper as they come; this isn’t about creating a masterpiece. Instead, it’s about writing something which connects with your target audience.
Editing is a crucial piece to publishing work that will sell. Hiring a professional writer from sites like WriterAccess or Upwork will ensure your book is easy-to-read and grammatically correct—two significant factors to any book you wish to sell.
Choosing the right title and subtitle is also essential to your book’s success. Strive to create a memorable, compelling title to grab your reader’s attention. You want people who are scrolling to stop and pay attention when they see your title on their screen. For the subtitle, your goal is to help the reader know why they should choose your book. What will they learn? How will it change their life?
Creating the perfect cover is another way you will engage your audience and set your book apart from the competition. If it’s in the budget, hire a professional company to do the design for you—especially if you have no previous experience in book cover design. While it will cost you to hire out the design, it can be the difference between selling your book and going through all the effort of self-publishing to make minimal sales.
Set Up Your KDP Account and Publish
What do you need to know about Amazon publishing submission guidelines? The beauty of publishing on Amazon is the KDP platform walks you step-by-step through the process. It takes minutes to set up an account and publish your book. The site will ask you to choose Amazon keywords so your book will show up in the search engines for Amazon and Google. Because you’ve researched your target market, you will know what types of keywords they will be using to find a book. After selecting keywords and your category, it will be time to upload your manuscript and book cover and select pricing.
Typically, Amazon authors will price their book between $2.99 and $9.99. A good strategy is to start low and gradually increase the price by $1 increments each week, depending on your sales.
How Much Do Self-Published Authors Make on Amazon? Are Self-Published Books Successful?
The amount of income self-published authors make on Amazon varies greatly. However, 80% of money spent on ebooks goes to Amazon. According to Forbes.com, approximately 1,000 Amazon authors made more than $100,000 in royalties in 2017, while more than 2,000 authors earned $50,000 the same year. Royalty payments are typically much higher from Amazon than they would be from any other publishing company.
If you are ready to take advantage of the potential Amazon offers to authors through KPD, the time is now. Never in the history of publishing has it been so easy to see your book idea become a reality. Whether you are hoping to become the next best-selling author or simply want to create an extra stream of income, the opportunity is there for the taking.