Amazon is an awesome tool for authors who want to self-publish a book. Print-on-Demand simplifies what used to be a complex business and production process, ensuring that copies of your book are printed only when readers place orders.
What does that mean? As a writer, you get to focus on the creative work. You have the freedom to sell in small quantities without taking a financial hit. And, with Amazon, there’s a seamless, no-hassle, behind the scenes service shipping your book to buyers, bookstores, and libraries around the world.
Plus, consider this: self-published authors earn higher royalties than those offered by traditional publishers. (Ebooks earn earns 50% more, and on-demand earns 32% more than traditional publishers.) As an Amazon self-published author, you’ll deduct a small fee to cover print and retail costs. The rest of the profit goes to you!
If you’re writer seeking simplicity and freedom in the publishing process, follow these 10 tips to self-publish your book and make a profit!
1. Keep Your Copyright
Self-publishing means that writers retain the rights to their work. Forget navigating dense agreements with publishers. When you’re a self-published author, there are no confusing contracts, no legal or agent fees. If your work is original, the rights are yours to keep.
One of my favorite romance authors, Barbara Freethy, who is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 64 titles, had the foresight to do this when she was with a publishing house. When she went indie in 2011, having the rights to her books was a boon to her initial business.
2. Utilize Professional Services
If you’re serious about self-publishing your work, use only high-quality reputable services to handle your book’s cover art, layout, and formatting. Check out royalty-free services like PerpetuityPublications and Jhillmark who efficiently and effectively upload books. Their up-front fees are fair. They’re contact-free and royalty-free. And, their product is on par with the quality of big publishers.
3. Get an ISBN (barcode)
Protect your work. Always register an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), a unique numeric book identifier. Note: if you’re publishing across formats (e.g. ebook, paperback, hardcover) you’ll need a unique ISBN for each edition and variation of your book.
4. Submit to Amazon Kindle
Do yourself a favor: publish a Kindle Book. Submit your work directly to Amazon Kindle and earn a 70% royalty. Also, look closely at options to “distribute” or to “opt out” as you may be paid less if you work with a third-party ebook distributor.
5. Price Your Book Right
Retailers prefer your price ends in .99 (i.e., $0.99, $2.99, etc.). If you’re working with Amazon Kindle, assign a price from $2.99-$9.99 to lock in those 70% commission rates. If your price falls outside of those parameters, your royalties drop to 35%.
6. Change Your Price and Cover
Some books don’t sell right away. Others do well, then stop selling. If your sales slump, change your cover art and/or lower your book price. Many authors find these changes make a critical difference.
7. Get More Quality Reviews
Amazon uses an algorithm to decide which books to promote. The better your reviews and star-ratings, the better Amazon and other retailers will position your work. Get get additional reviews, promote your books free online through promo sites and book communities. These sites for readers and writers bring in fans and followers who’ll read and review your book. (Remember, never pay individuals for positive reviews or ratings.)
8. DRM and Kindle Select
Digital Rights Management (DRM) is Amazon’s way of preventing users from copying your Kindle book. DRM means readers can only read your book on a Kindle (or device running the Kindle app) that’s linked to an Amazon account. Weigh the pros & cons of DRM before you decide on to agree or opt out.
Also, look closely at KDP Select. This program gives authors access to promotional tools such as a Kindle Countdown Deal (limited time discounting for your book), a free book promotion Free Book Promotion (readers can get your book free for a limited time), etc. Amazon Prime members can also “borrow” KDP Select books for free. Do keep in mind: checking the “yes” box for Kindle Select gives Amazon exclusive rights to distribute your ebook. Therefore, you won’t be able to sell your ebook on Apple iBooks or Google Play Android platforms.
9. Android Books Do Exist
Android also accepts ebooks for self-publishing. Maybe your readers prefer reading on Android devices, rather than Apple or Kindle. Keep in mind, it’s good to provide readers with options!
10. Promote Your Other Books
Here’s an opportunity! At the end of your book, insert a sample chapter or a cover image of your other books. If you’re publishing an ebook, insert promotional info at the start and the end of the book, including links to social media, your website, author profile, and retailers who sell your other books. Readers will click, forward links to friends, write reviews and buy your work.
11. BONUS! Call To Action Example!
If you do not yet have other books, consider this call to action as an example for the last page of your book:
Are you a self-published with additional advice?
Add to this list in the comments below!