How Amazon KDP is Hacking Self Publishing
Updated July 5, 2023 – Want to See Your Name in Print? Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Might Be the Very Best Way to Make It Happen. Here’s How to Get Started.
Want to see your name in print? If so, 2023 is a perfect time to write that book you’ve always wanted to.
It doesn’t need to be a 400-page novel. You can put together a short book of poetry or, teach a new entrepreneur to sell on Amazon, Walmart, or Shopify. How about explaining the best way to start a fire? There’s a market for those topics as well.
And, of course, Amazon has thrown their hat in the ring.
What is Kindle Direct Publishing?
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows you to self-publish eBooks, paperbacks, and hardcover books for free, through Amazon. It also gives you the option to expand your book’s availability on a global scale. That makes it more accessible for readers around the world.
With Amazon KDP, you have full publishing rights to your book, which is not something a traditional publishing house typically allows.
Amazon hit nearly 514 billion U.S. dollars in net sales revenue worldwide in 2022 and has an audience of over 300 million customers worldwide. For prospective Amazon KDP authors, the ability to sell (and advertise) in Amazon’s ecosystem can be a great advantage, particularly for those just getting started.
Publishing with Amazon KDP is simple and your book appears on Amazon Stores around the world within days. Not only does the Amazon Kindle platform offer publishing for free, but they also offer physical copies of your book through their print-on-demand service at no cost as well!
What Are the Main Benefits of Amazon KDP?
The most obvious advantage of Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s marketplace superpower. The ability to self publish paperbacks for free and at the same time, reach millions of readers on Amazon, is pretty amazing. Still, that’s not all!
Here is a list of other very good reasons to take a closer look at Kindle Direct Publishing:
Get to Market Fast
Amazon says that “KDP publishing takes less than 5 minutes and your book appears on Kindle stores worldwide within 24-48 hours.”
Make More Money
Amazon claims that authors using Kindle Direct Publishing can “earn up to 70% royalty on sales to customers in the US, Canada, UK, Germany, India, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, Australia and more.” When you enroll in KDP Select you can make even more money through Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.
Amazon KDP allows Kindle eBook authors to maintain control of their rights, set their own prices as well as make ongoing changes to their books.
Publish (a Lot of) Kindle eBooks and Paperbacks for Free
There is no limit to the number of books that you can publish,, even using different pen names and in different categories.
Amazon’s Synergistic Advertising Platform
Just like any other Amazon.com product, an author’s books will have a sales rank on the Kindle Store. Amazon Ads might be the best way to quickly influence your rank.
Amazon Ads are tailored to Amazon’s marketplace and help you to connect with customers through ads that appear in Amazon shopping results and drive discovery of your brand as an author. Because Amazon Ads are cost-per-click, you only pay when customers click on your ad.
What Can You Publish with Amazon KDP?
According to Amazon KDP, content typically published using KDP includes but is not limited to the following:
- Book Series
- Children’s Books
(Keep in mind, KDP does not allow the creation of magazines, periodicals, or spiral bound books)
How Do You Get Paid?
You can choose between two royalty options that Amazon self publishing offers for each of your eBooks: a 35% royalty option and the 70% royalty option.
Amazon says that, “any publisher, author, or other rights holder can select the 70% royalty option for their individual eligible titles. To select the 70% royalty option for new or existing eligible titles, follow the instructions on the Enter Pricing Information help page.”
To qualify for the 70% royalty option, books must meet these requirements:
- The author or publisher-supplied list price must satisfy list price requirements.
- The list price must be at least 20% below the list price on Amazon for the physical book.
- Titles must be made available for sale in all geographies for which the author or publisher has rights.
How Amazon KDP Calculates Royalties
- If you select the 35% royalty option, your royalty will be 35% of your list price without VAT for each unit sold.
- If you select the 70% royalty option, your royalty will be 70% of your list price without VAT, less delivery costs for each eligible book sold to customers in the 70% territories, and 35% of the list price for each unit sold to customers residing outside the 70% territories.
For a full list of the requirements and royalty specifics, visit Amazon’s KDP help site.
How to Advertise Your Book
For the last few years, Amazon has increasingly become a “pay-to-play” marketplace. If you want eyes on your products, you’re probably going to have to spend ad dollars to reach your ideal customers.
Amazon PPC is the advertising platform where third-party sellers create ads for their products that helps them to increase sales on Amazon. With Amazon PPC, advertisers pay a fee to Amazon when a shopper clicks on their ad. That’s the pay-per-click.
Running ads for your KDP books is a great way to help you reach new customers. With Amazon Advertising, you can create custom ads for readers likely to be interested in books just like yours. There’s no doubt that Amazon PPC (pay per click) advertising has the potential to boost visibility and sales. However, it takes experience and technical expertise to do it properly and achieve meaningful results.
The best PPC agencies have mastered the art of PPC advertising and are well-positioned to help you achieve success. They analyze every aspect of your business and implement strategies that maximize your ROI (return on investment).
That’s why a good first step might be to reach out to the Amazon advertising specialists at Canopy Management.
Check your book’s eligibility requirements:
Make Sure and Optimize Your KDP Listing
With over 300 million active users, and 75 million products, how does Amazon keep track of all of those Amazon sellers’ product rankings?
Answer: A very smart machine.
Amazon’s engineers have designed and built a series of increasingly sophisticated algorithms to help them determine what products rise to the top of search results.
According to experts, Amazon’s algorithm continues to reward ecommerce sellers that take the time to thoroughly optimize their Amazon listings. Amazon’s recent updates to their algorithm also attempt to increase visibility for listings with authentic reviews and seems to have doubled down on the importance of external traffic.
As an Amazon KDP author, your goal is to make that algorithm very happy with your listing.
One way of doing that is to answer prospective readers’ questions well before they are forced to ask. Because of that, Amazon KDP listings should tell prospective customers everything they want (and need) to know so that you rank as high in the search results as possible.
The Amazon Creative Services Team at Canopy Management are pros at making sure that your KDP listing JUMPS off of the page.
To get a closer look at how to improve your own listings’ SEO (or Search Engine Optimization), here’s a Canopy Management post on the subject.
KDP Select Can Expand Your Readership
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription program for readers that allows them to read as many books as they want. When an eBook author enrolls in KDP Select, their books are automatically included in Kindle Unlimited.
As a Kindle eBook Author, your books will still be available for anyone to buy in the Kindle Store, and you’ll continue to earn royalties from those sales like you do today.
Amazon says that, “when you choose to enroll your book in Kindle Select, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP. During the period of exclusivity, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital.”
Benefits of Amazon KDP Select
- Earn higher royalties
- Earn your share of KDP’s Select Global Fund when customers read your books from Kindle Unlimited. Plus, earn 70% royalty for book sales to customers in Japan, India, Brazil and Mexico
- You’ll have the opportunity to fully realize your kindle book’s full sales potential
- KDP Select allows you to choose two great promotional tools: Kindle Countdown Deals, time-bound promotional discounting for your book while earning royalties; or Free Book Promotion where readers worldwide can get your KDP book free for a limited time
- KDP Select helps you to reach a brand new audience
- It’s a global marketplace. Using KDP Select, readers can discover your books in the U.S, U.K., Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, India, Japan, and Australia
(Keep in mind that when you enroll your book in KDP Select, you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your own website, blogs, etc. You can continue to distribute your book in physical format)
How to Sign Up for an Amazon KDP Account
Amazon publishing and KDP are a great way to publish your own eBook. You have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of a giant corporation (Amazon) to help make it happen. Why not take advantage of the incredibly low bar to entry?
Signing up for a Kindle Direct Publishing account is very simple and can have your eBook published in no time! First, click “Sign in.
Once you’ve entered the basic information, you can start the process of uploading your books.
To begin, go to “Create a New Title” and choose Kindle eBook or Paperback.
The next window allows you to easily move through the process in three windows, eBook Details, eBook Content, and eBook Pricing.
In eBook Details,, you can start entering information about your book such as title, edition, author, description, publishing rights, and keywords.
In eBook Content, you can upload your manuscript, eBook cover, eBook preview, and an optional Kindle eBook ISBN.
(Be sure to read the KDP Content Guidelines before uploading your eBook)
In eBook Pricing, you have the option to enroll in KDP Select and can then select your royalty rate and price as well as choose the territories in which you want to list your book.
Amazon’s KDP makes the process of getting started quick and easy. This isn’t just for large, sophisticated publishing houses, it’s perfect for beginners as well.
Amazon’s enormous ecosystem is built to streamline the process and make sure that you reach as many people (readers) as possible. Now’s the time to take advantage of the increasing number of people transitioning to the web for everything from groceries to their next great read.
Remember, Canopy’s team of Amazon Brand Management and Advertising specialists are here for you. After all, we all love a good book!
How Canopy Management Can Help
Canopy Management is a full-service marketing agency for Amazon and Walmart sellers. Our team consists of former Amazonians, multi-million dollar sellers, and award-winning experts.
When you consider the many ways that Canopy Management can help you grow your business, you’ll see why selling on Amazon is much easier “under the Canopy.”
- Strategic Growth Planning
- Listing Copywriting Optimization
- Listing Photography
- Product Videography
- Advertising Management
- Customer Service
- Demand Side Platform (Amazon DSP)
- Amazon Posts
- Full Service Management
- Amazon Review Aggregation