Estelle Van de Velde


Royalties: how much do you earn with self-publishing on KDP?

You are now ready to self-publish your first book Kindle Direct Publishing and wonder how much you'll earn from each book sale? You're in the right place.

Last updated: May 2017


I was in your position in the past. 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's royalty scheme for ebooks

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:

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:

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.

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