How Much Do Self-Published Authors Make on Amazon?

In today’s world, the self-publishing market is booming. Authors are reclaiming control of their careers and art forms after discovering a way to bypass the exploitative and laborious traditional publishing process. Although the advantages of creative autonomy, rapid publication, and increased royalties may appear enticing, the financial potential of self-publishing books is worth considering.


Most new authors want to know how much does Amazon charge to publish a book. The question is almost haunting them, as many can’t wait to share their stories with the world. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Amazon, it's a notable platform for independent authors that allows them to publish and distribute their books worldwide. Learning and mastering Amazon as a tool is not always easy. 


Self-published books on Amazon, however, can generate income in excess of $10,000 per month for an author who conducts sufficient research and employs a solid business plan.


If you are thinking about publishing your books on Amazon, you may be wondering how much does it cost to self publish a book on Amazon. It's a complex matter with a wide range of variations across authors, genres, and strategies. Lucky for you, as this blog post spills the beans about selling self published books on Amazon. 


Read on and find everything you need to know about how to sell self published books on Amazon.


What to Know About Selling Self Published Books on Amazon?

Before you worry about how much to publish a book on Amazon, there are some things every author should know, especially first-time authors. Depending on the book, self-published Kindle authors might earn anywhere from $150 to over $20,000 monthly. Remember that your KDP profits depend on a number of factors, such as the kind of book you are selling (paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.), the size of your audience, the royalty scheme you pick, and more.


Not everyone can make it big on KDP, even though these figures seem substantial when compared to the more conventional publishing sector. When understanding how much does it cost to self-publish on Amazon, an important fact to keep in mind is that Amazon publishes over 2 million books annually. Making money off your book will be challenging if you don’t use strategic marketing to draw in potential readers.


Do Self Published Books Sell? – Why Choose Amazon KDP Publishing 

Before you get an answer to how much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon, aren't you more interested in knowing whether self-published books on Amazon sell?


According to Amazon's self-publishing statistics, there has been a significant increase in the number of books sold by independent authors on the platform. Amazon KDP, which is a self-publishing service offered by Amazon, provides various advantages to self-publishers that are not available when working with traditional publishing houses.


One of the most significant benefits of working with Amazon, aside from Amazon's self-publishing cost, is its vast customer base. Amazon has a larger market share than traditional publishing houses and is responsible for more than 50% of physical book sales and around 68% of ebook sales in the US.


How Much Does It Cost To Self Publish On Amazon?

Amazon has made self-publishing a book simple. To get started, create a KDP account and use the provided tools to format and upload your manuscript. Once you're ready, hit the publish button. There are no middlemen involved, and the process is hassle-free and free of cost.


However, for first-time Kindle publishers, it’s recommended to hire professional editors, designers, and marketers to ensure the quality of the book.


The two major benefits every author should know when considering the cost to self publish on Amazon are:


  • Higher Royalties
  • Print-on-Demand

Let's discuss them in detail.


  • Higher Royalties

When it comes to self-publishing and Amazon publishing services cost, Kindle offers higher royalty rates compared to its competitors. While Draft2Digital pays 10% in royalties to self-publishers, Smashwords pays 15%, and XinXii offers 30%, Amazon gives you the opportunity to earn up to 70% royalties on book sales as long as your work is copyrighted and not in the public domain.


  • Print-On-Demand

Some online publishing platforms don't provide the facility to print ebooks. However, if authors choose to self-publish on Amazon, they can opt for print-on-demand services. This method allows them to evade the extra costs of maintaining inventory and only print a book when a user requires a physical copy.


Mastering KDP Book Selling

If you're interested in self-publishing books on Amazon to make money, you might be wondering whether it's an easy process. While it's true that many successful authors have made a lot of money through Amazon KDP and that Amazon self publishing costs are affordable for many authors, several factors contribute to a book's success on the platform. 


Being a good writer who can engage readers with compelling content is important, but there are other things to consider when self-publishing on Kindle. They are as follows:


  • Pick a Demanded Niche
  • Setting Book Price
  • Enrolling in KDP Select
  • Choose Different Formats
  • Selling Multiple Books 
  • Creating Your Email List
  • Utilize Amazon Advertising
  • Say Yes to 70% Royalties

Let’s discuss them in detail.


  • Pick a Demanded Niche

Selecting the right niche for your self-published book can have a significant impact on your KDP earnings. If your goal is to make money, it's advisable to choose a niche that attracts a decent number of readers. However, you should also be mindful of the competition. It's not recommended to sell your book in a category that already has hundreds or thousands of listings. Our suggestion is to narrow down your search and pick a smaller but more profitable niche.


As an upcoming author, it may seem challenging to compete with world leaders and celebrities. However, if you look beyond their influence, you'll notice recurring themes among all the bestsellers. Popular nonfiction books in the United States include autobiographies, success tales, and books on self-improvement. Some of the most popular types of fiction are political fiction, mysteries, and criminal thrillers.


Think about your strengths as you search for a specific audience to target with your self-published book.


  • Setting Book Price

It’s important to note that pricing your book on Amazon can impact the amount of royalties you earn. Books priced below $2.99 only receive 35% royalties, which means authors have to sell a lot more copies to earn a decent profit.


Setting the price point around $6 will optimize your earnings. As a result, you will be eligible for the 70% royalty scheme, which increases your earning potential. Furthermore, the majority of consumers can easily buy a book priced at $6.


  • Enrolling in KDP Select

When you upload your ebook to Amazon KDP, you can join KDP Select for a larger audience and more earnings. KDP Select offers 90-day enrollment periods with promo tools such as Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Promotions. With the Kindle Countdown Deal, KDP Select authors can lower the price of their books for 7 days without losing their royalties. A timer is added to the book's page to notify users of the discounted price.


To participate in Kindle Countdown Deals and reach Kindle Unlimited readers, self-published writers can enroll in KDP Select for at least 30 days. However, KDP Select is an exclusivity program, and during your enrollment period, you can’t sell your book on other platforms. But considering that Amazon has almost three-quarters of the ebook market share, a 90-day exclusivity clause isn't a bad thing.


  • Choose Different Formats

When it comes to self-publishing your book, it’s important to consider the publishing formats you choose. Experts suggest that publishing your book in multiple formats can expand your audience and reach. 


By providing readers with the option to purchase a paperback or hardcover copy of your book, you can cater to those who prefer physical copies over digital ones. Although royalties on print versions of your book may be lower, sales can increase significantly. 


The ebook format you choose also affects your reach. While MOBI and AZW are popular ebook formats, they limit your book to Amazon Kindle readers. In contrast, publishing your book in EPUB format enables you to sell your book on most ebook marketplaces. These can include Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes and Noble, and KOBO. 


Additionally, you can also opt to release an audiobook version of your book, which can be useful for readers who listen to books rather than read them or those who may be visually impaired.


  • Selling Multiple Books 

Publishing multiple books on Amazon KDP can increase your exposure and establish you as a credible writer. Use your professional network and social media to market your book after releasing it. Link your posts to your author's page or book's page. This will make it easier for people to purchase your book.


With Amazon's Author Central, you can create a unique profile that highlights your books, features images and videos, and connects to your blog, all in an effort to attract readers. You can more easily reach those who are interested in what you have to offer if your audience is bigger.


Post book-related content, ask pertinent questions and announce forthcoming events and releases to engage your social media followers.


  • Creating Your Email List

Once your book has gained popularity, start creating a mailing list. This will help you reach out to customers who have already bought a book from you. The Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 marketing rule, is applicable to books too. Only 20% of your customers—your most dedicated readers—will account for 80% of your sales. 


If you want to grow a devoted following of buyers, social media is a great place to start.


  • Utilize Amazon Advertising

KDP Advertising is a useful tool for authors to reach a wider audience. You can easily identify KDP ads by the "Sponsored" tag on the corner. With KDP Advertising, you have complete control over your budget, allowing you to decide how much money you want to allocate to a campaign. 


Amazon's algorithm recognizes the keywords that are likely to convert into book sales. Therefore, when a user enters these same keywords, Amazon's algorithm will prioritize your book, increasing your keyword ranking.


By using KDP Ads effectively, you can increase your book sales.


  • Say Yes to 70% Royalties

To qualify for the 70% royalty option for Kindle books, authors need to price their eBook between $2.99 and $9.99 and ensure that it’s copyright protected. In addition, the eBook’s price needs to be 20% less than the physical copy's pricing.


Still have questions about how much is it to publish a book on Amazon? Get in touch with Maven Ghostwriters! But beware, you might end up getting published sooner than you expect.

Frequently Asked Questions

Ebooks published on Amazon have no publishing costs. The publication of your book in both paperback and hardcover formats, though, will cost you. Amazon sets a minimum price of $0.85 for book printing.

Amazon uses a variety of payment methods, including cheques, wire transfers, and direct deposits, to compensate publishers. If you would want to receive your payment by wire transfer or cheque, you will have to fulfill certain requirements. Prior to choosing a payment method, make sure you understand the guidelines for your region.

Just like with ebooks, paperbacks can choose between two royalties systems on Amazon. One program pays out 60% and the other 40%. You can earn 60% royalties when your books are sold through Amazon's regular distribution network. But you will only get 40% if you sell to retailers like Barnes & Noble through Amazon's Expanded Distribution Network.

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