Publish Paperback books using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)
Self-Publishing is one pathway to starting an Amazon business. Here are some ways authors earn an online income through self-publishing:
- Authors write novels
- Poets publish poems
- Photographers share their photographs in coffee-table style books
- Teachers and instructors create workbooks and study guides
- Artists create coloring books (left and right handed), journals, composition books, notebooks, puzzle books, craft books, and comic books
- Coaches might publish sport logs, training journals or other books related to their field
- Organizers and accountants can publish ledgers, journals, bullet journals, diaries, daily planners, calendars, etc.
- Specialists: Can create specialized prompt journals or how-to guides for their specialized profession
- A chef or cook might publish recipes, daily diet plans, or a weight loss program.
- Series Books – Think big and make your book a Volume 1 of …(x)
One thing you will need to publish your book is an ISBN. This is the number displayed in the barcode on the back cover of a book. KDP offers FREE ISBNs and you may want to take advanatage of this if you plan to upload numerous books. Purchasing ISBNs can be quite expensive. The downfall is that it is fairly obvious that your book is self-published. This perception is not as bad as it was years ago. Today, many people are self-publishing high quality products and this is helping the industry. Just be aware that some bookstores will not choose to stock books with Independent Publishing listed as the publisher.
Pros and Cons of KDP Independent Publishing Platform
- No Monetary Start-up Costs: It’s free to open an account.
- Discounts: Amazon often discounts CS books and you still get your full royalty.
- Returns: Amazon handles all returns. Your royalty is not impacted.
- Availability: Your title should never say or “may take 2 – 4 weeks to ship.”
- No spiral bound option
- No hard cover option
- No ability to offer coupons during a promotion or sale
- You’re subject to CS rules and interpretations when it comes to making changes to your book
Print on Demand Books – Quick Tips for Authors
- Length: Books must be at least 24 pages long
- Layout: Inside margins should be extra generous.
- Title: Books must have a title on the spine or front cover
- Title on Spine: Must have over 100 pages to print a title on the spine and 131 pages is recommended for best results.
- Subtitles: Up to 255 characters are allowed in a subtitle.
- Title + Subtitle + Series + Volume Character Count: Taking into account Amazon, Google, Mobile and Tablets, some recommend your title+subtitle character total be 200 characters or less. (Subtitles are limited to 255 characters.) Google displays 72 characters, Kindle readers show 35 characters, Mobile phones 76 characters, and desktop 115 characters. FAQ: Can I change the sub-title? Answer
- Blank Pages: You cannot have more than 2 consecutive blank pages in front or within the book (10 are allowed at the back). Page numbers alone are not enough to be considered a non-blank page. Some people have had such books approved, but it is no longer within the policy requirements.
- Page Quality: CS uses strong white pages. They work well for workbooks (as opposed to the cheap pages found in mass printed school books).
- Look Inside: Appears automatically within 2 weeks of your publication going live. If you do NOT want Look Inside available, you need to call or email Amazon support and ask them to turn off this feature.
- Liking Titles: Call KDP (actually, they will call you after you enter your phone number) for help linking variations (such as hard cover, paperback, audio, out of print (OOP) old editions, and Kindle) so they appear as a “Format and Editions” link on your listing page.
- Changes: You cannot make changes to the Author, Title, or trim size after your book has gone live. (*If you catch a mistake immediately after approval, you might try calling support but if the batch of information is already sent to record the ISBN information, then you will have to scratch your book and use a new ISBN.)
- Bulk or Volume Discounts: Contact CS to inquire about current discount rates. In the past, there have been offers for orders of 1,000 – 1,499 you got a 20% discount, 1,500 – 1,999 a 30% discount, and 2,000 and above a 35% discount. Always compare pricing with some short-run companies. There is also a book calculator here.
Amazon Self-Publishing SEO – Book Ranking Tips
- Keyword Count: Seven (7) keywords or keyword phrases are allowed. Do not separate by commas.
- Search Results: Support says that Amazon ranking position in search results depends most on your keywords entered, followed by title and subtitle, but many other things can also impact rankings, such as customized customer results.
- Keyword Use: If a word is in your title, it’s not necessary to include it again as a keyword. Consider using a phrase instead. You don’ nee to use the word book as a keyword, but might use it as part of a keyword phrase.
- FBA Seller tip: If you are a member of Amazon Seller Central, you can list a copy of your book for sale through your Seller Central Account at a higher price than retail. This addition allows you to gather data (such as views) in your seller central business reports. If your book is not receiving views, consider changing your BISAC or keywords. (You can also gather data about competitor books using this same strategy.)
- Research Your Self-Published Competitors: Enter your keyword and Amazon’s Independent Publishing Platform in a search at Amazon and see how successful the topic is and what books appear in the search results. Gather tips and keyword ideas from what other successful authors are doing.
- Duplicate Book Listings: Duplicate listings of your books on Amazon also decreases your SEO because you have more than one listing competing for a ranking position. Watch a video here on how to combine duplicate listings of your ISBN book. (Learn how to add videos to Amazon – click here.)
- Title + Subtitle + Series + Volume: Consider using keywords in here. Learn more – click here.
- Fine Tune Your Ranking: Use Amazon Advanced Search to see how your book ranks and also, compare with other books. Click Here for Amazon Advanced Search.
Using KDP FAST
Marketing – Ads and Coupons
- Influencers: As with any online selling, if you can get an Influencer to mention your product, it should help with sales.
- The importance of Keywords – article here
- Read more about Keywords and Amazon algorithm here
- Choosing your keywords – read this and for browsing click here
Don’t use your Amazon Prime Account to dropship orders.
Working with Virtual Assistants, Artists, and Writers
Anytime you are working with others, be sure to have a written document which includes the title of the work done, a statement that they are the original creator of the work, and a permission statement indicating the work is released to your company for unrestricted commercial use with additions and alterations permitted. Sometimes you will have to state to Amazon that you retain publishing rights to certain material, and provide any documents from other copyright owners which confirm your worldwide publication rights.