Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an online platform that allows authors to publish and then promote their fiction and non-fiction eBooks to the entire Amazon reader audience. So, any aspiring author can now self-publish their books directly on Amazon, bypassing the need to find an agent or a publishing contract.
Successful self-published authors such as Wayne Stinnett, H.M Ward, Chris Fox, and many others are enjoying incomes of between $5,000 and $100,000 each month. It does take time to grow your income to that level, but as long as you keep writing high-quality books you’ll find an audience of readers waiting for them.
The Amazon Kindle not only revolutionized the way people treat eBooks, but has also created an entirely new way for aspiring authors to reach readers in a way that was never possible before.
Why Use Amazon?
- Amazon makes it incredibly easy to get your book online in a minimum amount of time. Even for those with minimal computing skills, publishing on Amazon’s Kindle platform is relatively pain-free.
- Amazon is an unstoppable Marketing Machine. Once your book sells a number of copies, it will then be cross-marketed to people who had never heard of you before.
- There are very few set-up costs involved in this type of publishing – all that’s required is an Internet connection and a word-processing application.
- Amazon is largest paid search engine in the world. People don’t Google things with their credit cards out, ready to buy, like they do with Amazon. This means more sales for you!
How Kindle Publishing Works
The Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) business model allows you to publish fiction or non-fiction books on the Amazon Kindle platform. The books can either be written by you, or you can outsource the authoring of the books to a professional ghostwriter.
You don’t need a website to get started because Amazon provide you with an ‘Author Page’, and creating your book is as simple as writing it in Microsoft Word, or another word processing program, and uploading it to the KDP platform. You also need to upload a description of the book’s content and an image for your book cover.
This allows you to bypass the accepted publishing model of sending your finished draft to a publishing agent, in the hope that you might possibly be accepted by a traditional publisher. Even if you do get a publishing deal there’s no guarantee that you’ll earn money from your books when they appear on bookshelves.
Running your own Kindle publishing business means you can write a book, and have it appear in the Kindle Store in under a week, depending on how hard you work, and start seeing sales within just a few days.
How to Make Money from Kindle Publishing
There are two basic approaches to earning income with books published on Amazon Kindle. You can either focus on creating dozens of books across a number of topics, or a handful of books in a very tightly focused niche. The approach you choose will also depend on whether you decide to write fiction or non-fiction eBooks.
Non-fiction writers usually have to create either a best-seller, or constantly churn out new books to maintain their income levels. There’s as much demand for non-fiction books as there are for fiction, but the market can become more saturated quicker than you might expect.
Fiction writers, however, can generate a full-time income from as little as three novels that target the right market, with the added bonus that they can take popular characters from their successful books and create a series of spin-off novels or novellas based on those characters.
The biggest mistake self-publishers make is assuming there are people waiting to read their book, without ever researching the market.
So, you might think that your hobby of knitting sweaters for pet armadillo’s is fascinating, but it’s unlikely that you’ll find tens of thousands of readers who’ll agree with you.
If you’re the person your circle of friends comes to for help with their relationships, then you probably have several books worth of dating and romance advice inside you that people would love to read.
In terms of writing fiction books it’s important to pay attention to what’s actually selling in different genres, but look at ways to create your own unique spin on that. So, don’t try to create the new ’50 Shades of Grey’, but the popularity of this book tells you there’s a market for romance fiction of all types, for example.
The reality is that it’s unlikely you’ll write a best-seller straight out of the gate, so your focus should be on long-term self publishing goals, with milestones set out along the way.
How Much Can I Make from Kindle Publishing
We’re going to use two different examples here to highlight the earning potential of a Kindle business empire. We have a personal friend – a non-fiction author – who watched his income from five books grow to a little under $10,000 per month within his first year in business.
It took 6 months before his income grew to a steady 4-figures each month, but he saw a spike in his income each time he released a new book. He’s one example of non-fiction authors who have earned a full-time income from their self-publishing career in their first 12 months of business.
We also have associates who are successful fiction authors, publishing in a number of different genres, including military sci-fi, romance and conspiracy thrillers. Romance is one of the hottest niches on Amazon, with successful authors earning anything up to $100,000 per month. You can also be successful without getting into writing romance or erotica, and Mark Dawson, among many others, is proof of that.
There are thousands of self-published authors earning an extra $10,000 – $20,000 each month, and at the higher end of the scale the most successful authors are making several million dollars each year, with many of them being offered publishing contracts, and/or movie deals for their books.
The amount of money you make depends on how much you charge for each book, and what royalty option you selected for your book. KDP allows you to choose between a 35% and 70% royalty for your books, but if your book is priced at more than $9.99 then you’re not eligible for 70% royalties.
If your book is priced between 99c and $200 then you can choose the 35% royalty structure. The 35% royalty structure might seem like you’re throwing away money, but it can actually save you money if you write particularly long books because of the size of the file customers have to download. It will take trial and error on your part to decide which level of royalties work best for your business.
Examples of Kindle Publishing
Although James Patterson is best known for being a traditionally published author, he’s embraced KDP in a way that many established authors haven’t. Many of his books are ghost-written and he’s now focusing on releasing more novellas than novels on KDP, because he understands that people also need shorter books to read during their commute each day.
His books earn him $90 million each year, and have done so for the last decade.
Amazon loves telling people about Mark Dawson because they’ve been paying him several hundred thousand dollars each year in author royalties due to the success of his books. Mark has become so successful as a self-published author that he’s now training other people to do the same thing.
Mark earns in excess of $400,000 each year from his self-published books.
With the release of his first book – ‘No Such Thing As Werewolves’ – Chris made an instant impact as a new author, and has gone from strength to strength ever since, including teaching others how to mirror his success. Chris also recently released a series of military science fiction books, that combined with his existing novels will see him earning a 6-figure income by the end of 2016, if not more.
One of the most recognizable names in the Kindle publishing industry, this romance writer has sold in excess of 4 million books in the last few years, with an income that matches her ranking as a New York Times best-selling author.
Getting Started With Kindle Publishing
Although there are dozens of products or services you can invest in later on in your new career as an author, you don’t need anything other than a word-processor and an Internet connection to get started. In other words, the computer you have at home right now that you use for watching Netflix or football games, could be used for something far more productive.
If you choose to outsource the writing and editing of your books, then you’ll need to budget for around $300 to have each book written, and about $150 to have somebody professionally edit each book. Most self-publishing authors begin their careers by writing their own books until they can afford to hire somebody else to write them instead. James Patterson is a perfect example of this, and it’s exactly why he can release several new books each year.
What you need
A Kindle Direct Publishing account is provided free of charge, and you can also create an author bio on Amazon. Most authors use a Facebook page to promote their books, so the only potential expense is hiring somebody to design your book cover, and even that’s something you can attempt yourself. The only thing you really need to get started on your first book is a great idea, and a tiny bit of market research.
Best Kindle Training Courses
Kindle Money Mastery
Kindle Money mastery is a step by step guide on how to make money with Amazon Kindle. The course teaches you how to write a kindle book (or have it written), how to list it on Amazon and then how to market your book so it actually makes money.
This guide does a great job teaching you about how to publish non-fiction books on Kindle but if you want to learn about creating and marketing a fiction book, then this is not the course to buy. All the information in Kindle Money Mastery is centered around non-fiction topics like health, wealth and dating. So, if you want to write a romance novel or Sci-Fi series just keep scrolling down the page for my other recommendations.
One of the things I hate about buying products from the Clickbank marketplace is the FRIGGING UPSELLS! I have purchases products in the past that offered me 8 upsells before I was finally taken to the main product download page. I was so pissed off I instantly requested a refund.
Thankfully, Kindle Money Mastery only has 2 upsells to wade thru - and the first one is actually pretty useful. It's called - How to Write a Book In 24 Hours - and it only costs $17. It is not real extensive, and this is probably information you could find for free if you did a bit of Googling, but my time is VERY valuable to me so I just bought it. I glanced thru it and then turned it over to one of my writers who said the information was very useful. He cranked out a book for me in 3 days - not exactly 24 hours but I was pretty impressed with the results.
The second upsell is all about outsourcing. I did not purchase it so I don't know if it's any good, but it costs $147 so I would skip it for now. I really believe that you should master all the aspects of any business model before you start outsourcing.
Kindle Money Mastery costs $67.00 and comes with a 60 day money back guarantee.
Here's a tip which I probably shouldn't tell you as I am an affiliate of this product and it could get me into trouble - but what the hell!
When you are on the K Money Mastery sales page - If you press the back button on your browser a window will pop up - hit the "Stay" button and a new page will open offering you a trial offer of the course for only $7.00. You will have 1 week to cancel or you will then be billed the remaining $60.00.
This will give you a week to check out the program and see if it is right for you. Keep in mind, even if you end up paying the additional $60.00 you will still have 60 days to get a full refund - so you have very little to lose with this one.
Additional Training Resources
How Long Will it Take to Make Money with Kindle Publishing?
Generally speaking, most self-published authors can start making noticeable income by the time their third book is released. There are rare exceptions to this where an author publishes their first book on Kindle and it’s a runaway success, but that’s most definitely the exception rather than the rule.
It’s also worth remembering that Amazon doesn’t pay their authors at the end of the month – there’s a 90-day delay before you’ll see money in your account. That’s why it makes sense to plan on not seeing any real income from your books for the first few months at least, with a long-term plan focusing on each year, rather than each month.
Pros of Kindle Publishing
- Your self-publishing journey can begin with an idea and a few hours spent in an Internet café – just like J.K Rowling, but without having to offer your book to dozens of different publishers in the hope of getting a deal.
- There are zero start-up costs involved – just a computer and an Internet connection.
- You don’t need a degree in English to be successful. In fact, most of the biggest names on KDP barely finished high school.
- A self-publishing business can be run from anywhere in the world.
- If you can tap into the right market the earning potential can be almost unlimited.
- You write books once, and they generate income for years.
- Ghostwriters will be more than happy to write books for you.
- The more you work on your self-publishing business the easier it gets.
- Once you have a loyal base of readers they will promote your books for you.
Cons of Kindle Publishing
- There are no guarantees of success – even well written books can fail.
- You are relying on Amazon for all your income as a self-published author.
- If you don’t keep releasing new books your income will eventually decrease.