Making Money Writing With Kindle Direct Publishing

You are now ready to self-publish your first book and you’re wondering which online retailer you’re gonna choose. There are lots of them: Sony, Kobo, Apple, Amazon, etc. And you can’t decide which one is the best for you.

I was in your position just a couple of months ago and I couldn’t decide whether I would publish my eBook on Amazon only or with other retailers at the same time. I finally chose to go with the first option, easier to manage on my own at the time I was thinking to self-publish. But how much do I get on the sales?

Kindle Direct Publishing: the Royalties’ scheme

I earn 35% royalties on each Finding Maxwell’s sale. You have to calculate like this:

(Book’s price – VAT) x 35% = Royalties

Which means, in my case, I earn something around £0.28 for one ebook sold.

“But, Estelle, doesn’t Amazon offer 70% royalties?”

Yes, of course, but you have to keep in mind that you need to meet certain conditions:

  • Your book’s price must be between £1.99 and £9.99 to qualify.
  • The price must be at least 20% below the lowest price for the printed book.
  • Your book must be available in every country you have rights.
  • You must enrol your book with KDP Select to earn 70% on sales in Brazil, Japan, Mexico and India.

I know, it does sound complicated. To be honest, I racked my brain over that question as I’m kind of bad with numbers. But the Amazon’s tables were quite easy to understand, and Finding Maxwell is a short story. So the answer was simple: I couldn’t be enrolled for 70% royalties because I couldn’t imagine selling it for more than £0.99.

But maybe your book can be enrolled for 70% royalties option. You would then calculate like this:

((Book’s price – VAT) – delivery costs) x 70% = Royalties

Yes, you read it well: delivery costs. Those can be as lower as £0.06 per book, but you need to check carefully. Because if your file is massive, the fees would eat up your royalties. So, unless you know you’ll have a better profit with 70%, you might go for 35% after considerations.

What is KDP Select?

I mentioned KDP Select earlier in this article, it is a free service provided by Amazon when you choose to publish with it. This service implies to be exclusive with Amazon, no publishing on other platforms, for 90 days. After 90 days, you can choose to renew it or to leave the program. However, it doesn’t apply to printed books, only digital formats.

The benefits are that people who have a Kindle Unlimited subscription can read your book for free and you are enrolled with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, where readers can choose a book for free each month and lend the ones they already have.

You also have the possibility of doing 2 types of (free) promotions:

  • Kindle Countdown Deal: your book is available for a cheaper price during a set period of time.
  • Free Book Promotion: your book is available for free during a set period of time.

I have personally run a 3-days free book promotion and advertised it on social media (mainly Facebook and Twitter) and my newsletter. Finding Maxwell has been downloaded 7 times during those days, but I could have advertised more. I think the best way to do it, and to grow your audience at the same time, is to organise your promotion as best as you can.

Please read the terms and conditions of KDP Select very carefully and, I will never repeat it enough, do your researches. Something that works for me won’t necessarily works for you.

I also recommend the read of JustPublishingAdvice’s article on the subject, to help you decide.

That was the last episode in the Self-Publishing on Amazon’s series, hope you enjoyed it. But it’s not the end yet, I’ve got a little surprise for you next week. Stay tuned!

Do you have any experience using KDP to self-publish your book?
Feel free to tweet me @vdvestelle

This article is the fourth of a series of posts about Self-Publishing on Amazon.
1. How to get your eBook ready for publishing
2. Do you really need an ISBN in digital?
3. What is metadata and how to use it for your eBook?
4. Making Money Writing with Kindle Direct Publishing