Amazon has revolutionized the publishing world with its self-publishing service, allowing any person to self-publish their books for free in digital and print formats. The program has served to incentivize and promote the proposal that revolves around the Kindle, the electronic device for reading eBooks, turning Amazon into the absolute leader in this market. Let's see how Kindle Direct Publishing works, to understand how to publish a book with Amazon by yourself and how much you can earn.
What is Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing service
In 2011 Amazon expanded its business by launching the Kindle Store, a section of the Amazon.it website where it makes available millions of eBooks, the books in digital format to download and read through Kindle tablets. The catalog includes great classics of Italian literature, worldwide bestsellers and the works published by thousands of authors through the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system, an option that allows anyone to propose their own books to users.
Amazon's self-publishing allows users to self-publish both paper books and digital eBooks, offering the possibility for users to choose the desired format and purchase the content. Today Amazon has undoubtedly become a reference point for the international market, both for eBooks and paper books, thanks to the dominant position in the sector conquered through Kindle and related services, such as Kindle Store, Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime Library.
With this service it is therefore possible to publish any type of book, such as novels, short stories, guides and essays, carrying out the entire process on your own by following special guided procedures, first of all registering by creating a profile on Amazon KDP Italy. The books can be edited at any time, it is possible to choose the selling prices and earn royalties, with a system that is completely free for authors.
Kindle Direct Publishing: how it works
The functioning of Amazon's self-publishing service is quite simple, although being able to obtain adequate results in the presentation of content requires patience and experience. However, there are several types of support offered by Amazon, including the introductory guide to Kindle Direct Publishing, the more in-depth interactive manual KDP Jumpstart, or the KDP University with a collection of technical material, articles, videos and webinars dedicated to authors who want to self-publish their work with Amazon.
Once you have uploaded a new content, including the text formatting and the cover, you must pass the quality guidelines, passing the verification process by which it is certified that the book is in line with the requirements requested by Amazon. After finishing all the various steps, it is possible to publish the content, choosing whether to make it available in digital format, in the paper version or both.
As far as eBook publishing is concerned, in this case it is possible to offer the virtual book in the Amazon Kindle Store, or to subscribe to the KDP Select service in order to include the content in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Prime Library. The first is the catalog of eBooks reserved for subscribers, which with a price of 9.99 euros per month guarantees unlimited access to all digital books. The second is a service dedicated to Amazon Prime subscribers, who can borrow one eBook per month with no expiration date and read it with their Kindle device.
Inclusion of the digital book in these two services guarantees higher potential earnings, since the eBook will be available to a larger number of users, an aspect that allows you to increase the revenue generated by the download and purchase of the content. In addition, the royalties proposed by Amazon are higher with these two options, however it is necessary to guarantee exclusivity for at least 90 days from launch, with the obligation not to distribute the virtual book through other channels for 3 months.
What are the earnings with Kindle Direct Publishing
The potential earnings of books published with Amazon through the Kindle Direct Publishing program depend on various aspects, however there are two main ones. First of all, the price is decided by the author, so it is necessary to carry out accurate market surveys, to understand what could be the most appropriate cost to ensure proper placement and a good number of readers. After that, based on the price of the book, royalties are calculated, with a payment that takes place every month starting from 60 days after the crediting of sales.
Royalities are counted depending on the amount of the eBook, in particular with a 35% share for digital books up to 2.99 euros starting from a minimum value of 0.99 euros, otherwise for content with a price above 2.99 euros Amazon recognizes royalties of 70%. The percentages are calculated on the cost of the eBook excluding VAT, it is also necessary to subtract the so-called shipping fees, or the rates for sending the file which vary depending on the size, with an average price around 0.06 euros.
Registering to KDP Select you can increase profits, getting more revenue from every page read from digital books borrowed by users, through the services Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Prime Library. On paper books, the gain is 60% for each volume sold, a quota from which you must also remove the costs for printing, which are different depending on the market, the number of pages and the type of ink used.
How to publish a book on Amazon
To publish a book on Amazon, using the Kindle Direct Publishing system, you must obviously have a content ready and check that it meets the guidelines of the American company. Then you need to create an account on the site kdp.amazon.com, using the same credentials of the Amazon account you use for online purchases or creating a new profile. At this point you need to enter the information about the author or publisher, add the data for receiving payments and fill out the tax questionnaire.
Now you can proceed to publishing a new book with Amazon's self-publishing program, entering the KDP Library, selecting the item Create New Title and choosing the option + Kindle eBooks. The next step is the most complex and time-consuming one, in fact you need to format the book so that it meets the quality standards required by Amazon KDP. To adapt the content you can use the free Kindle Create software, or you can use paid professional third-party tools such as Amnet, EQOD, ebookpbook or Booknook.biz.
The text must be formatted in .mobi format, then you need to make a cover by adding images in JPG, PNG or TIF/TIFF format, again using a paid program or Amazon's free Cover Creation application. Finally you can check the result with the Kindle Previewer feature, so if everything is okay you can proceed to publish the eBook, entering the title, the description of the digital book and the reference keywords, uploading the text and the cover, indicating the price and the countries in which to make it available.
How to promote a book with Amazon self-publishing
Among the services made available by Amazon's self-publishing service are the promotion tools, with a really wide and varied set of solutions to sponsor the book and boost sales. One of the options is Author Central, a program with which you can share information about the author and his latest works with all interested users, otherwise with Amazon Advertising you can advertise the eBook or the paper book within the e-commerce, making customized ads for target users.
Or you can offer the book for free for a period of time, through limited free promotions, make available discounts with countdown through the Kindle Countdown Deals service, or allow interested users to read an excerpt of the book. Other useful tools can be loans for Kindle, providing the possibility for readers to lend a content to other people, or you can create gift options to stimulate the purchase of the Kindle book by advertising it on social or other channels.
Pro's and Cons of Kindle Direct Publishing
The self-publishing service offered by Amazon offers a number of concrete benefits, providing an efficient solution to authors who wish to self-publish a paper and digital book. The advantages of Kindle Direct Publishing are numerous, however the most appreciated one is the free publication of the contents, without any kind of investment being necessary. This is certainly a positive aspect, especially for small authors and publishers, ensuring maximum accessibility of the service.
Amazon's KDP also provides a free copyright protection system, which helps authors protect themselves against illegal distribution and exploitation of their works. Not to be underestimated is the possibility to take advantage of the enormous visibility guaranteed by Jeff Bezos' company, especially by entering the Kindle Unlimited catalog. At the same time, the royalties are quite high, not to mention all the tools offered by Amazon for formatting, printing and promotion.
With Kindle Direct Publishing you can keep control of your prices, deciding the purchase cost of your books, access to the marketplace is instantaneous within 48 hours at most, plus there are plenty of free online resources to learn how to optimize every process of publishing books on Amazon. On the contrary, as for the disadvantages of the service, with KDP you have to do everything yourself, taking care of every operation from editing to dissemination, so you need time and patience to improve your skills and start getting satisfactory results.