Avoid This Amazon KDP Mistake
When I started trying to make some passive-income with Amazon KDP, I didn’t do much research or ‘homework’ before testing the waters. Initially I wanted to write about whatever I wanted, get it for sale on Amazon as quick as possible and start making money. However, it’s definitely not that simple.
I soon realized though that I could quite possible make a pretty decent income if I really ‘knuckled down’ and started learning about Amazon algorithm and how to get my books to rank etc. There’s a lot that goes into getting eyes on your books as well as how to make them profitable for you.
I wanted to share some lessons I learnt the hard way and am reminded of every few months when certain sale types show on my Amazon KDP reports.
Understanding Amazon KDP Reports
When you’re really excited to get up and running, that’s almost all you really think about. I encourage you to slow down, if you want to reap the benefits of a good book release and have constant sales month-to-month or year-after-year you need to think about a lot of things.
For me, it helped when I took the time to understand my Amazon KDP Reports for the month. I started publishing through the KDP platform because I wanted to develop ‘content’ that was affordable for everyone in lots of niches. However, I soon realized the hard way that I had priced some books too cheap that I was only making a pittance if they were sold via ‘distribution paid units shipped.’ The first time this happened I didn’t have a clue what it meant and was just in shock at the ‘pennies’ of profit I was making from the sales instead of the pounds!
What are Distribution Paid Units?
Distribution paid units shipped falls under ‘Expanded Distribution’. When you search for ‘help’ on the official Amazon KDP website, it literally states, ‘Booksellers and libraries purchase paperbacks from large distributors. If you enroll your paperback in Expanded Distribution, we’ll make your book available to distributors so booksellers and libraries can find your book and order it.’
This basically means other individuals could purchase your books through Amazon and then sell them in their own online or physical shops. Which sounds great, but you have to keep in mind that they have to buy the book, make a profit, Amazon gets a cut and you get the tiny cut that’s left. You may have the potential to reach more readers through ‘Expanded Distribution,’ as your books could be made available through bookstores, online retailers, libraries and academic institutions. However, if you plan to enroll a specific book keep this in mind when it comes to pricing your title because the royalty rate is 40% of the book’s list price effective in the distribution channel at the time of purchase. Then minus printing costs, applicable taxing and withholding. It can make a big difference to your profits.
My first adult coloring book repeatedly sells this way and I only receive pennies for the purchase….but hey on the bright side it continues to sell!
Interestingly, this adult coloring book only sells through ‘Expanded Distribution’ and sells well on another platform. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not selling individual copies because that’s not your only hope.
However, it’s important to note that the books purchased through ‘Expanded Distribution’ also do not count when it comes to your best seller rank on Amazon, therefore it doesn’t help you move up your chances of getting more eyes on your products.
Don’t be put off!
If you’re looking for a quick way to make some fast cash, Amazon KDP is NOT the way to do it. It takes time, a considerable amount of time and possibly a considerable amount of books also to start making money every month.
Keeping at it, trying different niches, different topics, standing out, advertising, constantly learning and researching…these things are what are going to set you apart from your competition and others starting out. You have to work really hard now to be able to relax and not work as hard years later when you’re reaping all the benefits. Don’t give up, with each book you publish you will learn from it, you’ll learn what works and what might not. Don’t be afraid to try different things and more importantly, don’t be afraid to fail.
Stop worrying about what others will think!
The other mistake I made early on was I didn’t want everyone I knew, (even family) to know that I was writing my own books and selling them. I was worried people I was friends with on certain social media platforms would judge me or think, ‘who does she think she is?’ I also had concerns people would buy them just to be able to make fun out of me. When I’m typing this it sounds so stupid, but those are the honest things I thought and worried about.
When in actual fact I shouldn’t have cared.
My real friends would have encouraged me, purchased books to help keep me motivated, complimented my writing and said, ‘good for you.’ They’re the people you should care about, not someone you’re friends with on Facebook just because you went to school with them years a go and don’t even talk to them now, but for some reason still care what they may or may not think.
My point is, if a so called ‘friend’ judges you or says anything negative or discouraging about you pursuing self-publishing with Amazon KDP, maybe you should think about whether that person is a true friend. Surround yourself with people who want you to be successful.
I know I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it for a long time but…if little old me could make a book or two whilst KDP is packed full of content creators and sellers, and sell it month after month (for the most part) then so can you!