For those of you who don’t yet know what KDP is, it stands for Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. KDP is an Amaon platform that allows you to self-publish ebooks, paperback and now recently added hardcover books for free. Instead of trying to sell your work to various editors or big publishing houses, you can publish your work yourself.
It’s exciting, but there’s a lot of work involved too. If you’re thinking about trying KDP for yourself you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. As a KDP publisher myself, (please see the proof in case you think I’m some sort of con because there’s a lot of those out there) you can see below I wanted to show that I do sell books almost every single month, I don’t have a crazy amount on the Marketplace and have only been doing this on and off for a few years, not seriously and not full time. It’s been something I’ve managed to do on the side whilst having two small children to see if it has the potential to be a form of passive income for myself in the future…it does! (For Amazon legal reasons I couldn’t include the amount I actually earn)
Before you jump into writing your first book, or hire someone to do so I thought it would be useful to share my pro’s and con’s of Amazon KDP so far…
- Creativity. You have complete creative control about what you write about, what niche you target, how you want your cover to look, how long your book is going to be; it is entirely up to you. You don’t have to submit any of your work and wait for edits, comments and approvals.
- Passive income potential. You can self-publish as many books as you see fit or as many as you can create. There’s no limit, minimum or maximum. If you only have the one book idea that’s at least a start, but if you can churn out books like there’s no tomorrow and you’ve done your research on the topic and keywords when it comes to selling and making your books easy to discover and highly ranked, the money you could potentially make with KDP is mind blowing. You could absolutely do this and make a full time income, but it may take a longer time than you’d like.
- Be your own boss. You get to motivate yourself and dedicate as much or as little time as you’d like to KDP. Obviously, if you want to make a lot of money you need to spend a lot of time, but if like me you’re trying to make a little extra on the side while you raise little kids that aren’t in school yet and you don’t have much free time then that’s okay too. I would write once my daughters were in bed at night for a couple hours and not every single night of the week because we all know too well how bed times and sleep patterns go!
- Growing your CV or Resume. Once you’ve started self-publishing you can add self-published author and entrepreneur to your resume. You’ve officially entered the world of freelancing and beyond that you’re trying to build a brand and income streams from your books which are completely under your control.
- Not all your profit. Unfortunately, because you are self-publishing on the Amazon platform any sales you do make, you only get a percentage of as profit. Amazon takes a cut and you get a cut, the amount varies depending on price point, country of sale etc.
- Saturated marketplace. As you will already be aware, Amazon is crowded with successful publishers already and thousands if not millions of books in the same categories you’re trying to break into. There’s already so many people doing this, you’ve got to be prepared to play catch up and not expect amazing results really quickly.
- More work than you’d expect. You may have written your first book and you’re so excited to get it up and start selling. Then you suddenly realize you need to know keywords that people will search for, design and create your own book cover, proof-read your book (more than once), do your own advertising to get customers to buy your book or learn how to do paid Ads on Amazon. The amount of work that has to go on behind the scenes is probably the reason why a lot of people also give up. There’s a lot to learn, but through the guides and help provided on the KDP platform and through watching Youtube videos and reading people’s articles, you can do it you just have to persevere and not give up at the first hurdle.
- Limitations. As an Amazon publisher, you cannot post more than 10% of your content anywhere else online, even if it’s part of a personal blog this would be breaking or violating the agreement you have with Amazon. You also have a 90 day exclusivity period which means you cannot sell your digital content elsewhere. If you choose to enroll in KDP Select then Amazon is the only selling platform you can use for that specific book, people would only be able to discover and purchase your book through Amazon.
There you have it, my pro’s and con’s so far of self-publishing on the Amazon KDP platform. Hopefully this has given you some useful information to think about and helped you make a more informed decision about whether to really work hard and make something through KDP, or to draw a line through it and move on to something you’re more passionate about.