10 Things Every Writer Should Know About Amazon Publishing (2022)

In 2012, right before my third novel, Forgotten was released, my agent let me know that my US publisher, William Morrow, would not be picking up my fourth novel, Hidden. I was, to put it gently, upset. My first (Spin) and second (Arranged) novels had published with them that year, had been well-reviewed, Target Emerging Author Picks and mid-list sellers. Also: no one ever talks about being rejected after getting a book deal!

This guest post is by Catherine McKenzie. McKenzieis a bestselling author of popular fiction. She has captivated readers all over the world with her absorbing characters, engrossing storytelling, and unflinching treatment of love, loss, forgiveness and redemption – universal themes that affect the human condition. Her five published novels, Spin, Arranged, Forgotten, Hidden, and Smoke are all international bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages. Smoke was named one of the Best Books of 2015 by Amazon. Her sixth novel, FRACTURED, is published byLake Union Publishing and is available now.Visit her online at www.catherinemckenzie.com, on Facebook and @cemckenzie1.

10 Things Every Writer Should Know About Amazon Publishing (1)
10 Things Every Writer Should Know About Amazon Publishing (2)

When I recovered, my agent and I decided to take the book out to new publishers in 2013 and to include Amazon’s new Lake Union imprint in the mix. A handful of enthusiastic rejections™ followed (I loved the writing, this was a compelling story, but…) and one offer: from Lake Union. I was, admittedly, torn. I had heard that bookstores were not carrying Amazon published books. What would this mean for my career going forward? Would a stigma attach to me in foreign markets because of my US publisher? My agent gave me some sage advice: if I could get over the no-bookstore thing, this could prove a great move for me. But if I did it, I had to do it fully; I had to embrace their model and go with it.

(Video) Amazon Publishing: What to Know

I agreed. When they approached us a few months later to be one of the first titles in Kindle First (where my book would be given away for free for a month), I agreed. Etc. And when all was said and done, Amazon knocked Hidden out of the park: Hidden was one of Amazon’s top 10 selling titles in 2014 among all publishers in Kindle format.

I’m now about to publish my third book with Lake Union, Fractured, which comes out October 4th. Lake Union has changed a lot since I signed with them three years ago, as has Amazon Publishing. But one thing is constant: they are constantly trying new things and I always say yes. So if you are looking for a (new) publishing home, here are the top 10 things I think every writer should know about Amazon Publishing:

1. With Amazon Publishing, your books will not be in bookstores.

I run an online group for LU authors and invariably the first question everyone asks is “I heard I won’t be in bookstores, is this really true?” Yes. Like every rule, this has an exception. First of all, Amazon is a bookstore—the largest in the world by far. It will be prominently displayed there and marketed through their many channels. Certain big box stores like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club might take your title. Ditto your local Indie if you have a good relationship with them, or B&N if you plan an event there. But you have to be okay with this being the exception and not the rule.

[How Can the Average Writer Make Money Self-Publishing E-Books?]

2. Amazon Publishing is now one of the big six publishers.

You always used to hear about the ‘Big Six’ before the Random-Penguin merger. Now they call it the Big Five, but they are not counting Amazon. It is clearly in their leagues, from editorial to production to overall units sold. You are not self-publishing. Other than the marketing channels, everything about the Amazon experience can be found in a big publishing house. They just have some extra (awesome) stuff the others don’t.

(Video) Amazon KDP in 2022: What It Is + How Beginners Can Start

3. Your book will not be on bestseller lists.

This is the second question I always get asked. And by that I mean the New York Times. Based on sales, Hidden should have been #2 on the e-book bestseller list for many weeks. It was not because the NYT doesn’t count Amazon reported sales if the book only sells in one channel, like Amazon Pub titles do. This is changing too. The Wall Street Journal now does include Amazon Pub titles, and maybe the others will change eventually. But right now, your book might be selling the most and you will see that on Amazons’ lists, but not others.

4. Amazon Publishing has user friendly royalty statements.

When I get my statements from my other publishers, I still often have to speak to my agent to understand them. Amazon’s monthly statements are straightforward and easy to understand. And yeah, they are monthly, not every six months. At the end of September I will receive the royalty statement for August. Real time reporting!

[6 Things to Consider After You Write Your First Draft]

5. Amazon Publishing provides daily sales data.

You read that right. If you are published through Amazon you can get daily sales data for most sales through their author central portal. That can be a good and a bad thing, of course, as it is easy to become obsessed.

6. Amazon Publishing has some amazing levers it can pull.

Amazon is a company that knows how to move units. It has developed and continues to develop various methods of promoting books like the Kindle First program, special offers for Kindle Fire owners, targeting emailing etc. From what I understand, every Amazon published book gets a basic marketing package that would cost most publishers thousands of dollars to replicate. That means actual advertising as opposed to just promotion which is the limit of what many authors get these days.

(Video) Create an Amazon Author Central Page, How to Sell More Books On KDP

10 Things Every Writer Should Know About Amazon Publishing (3)

Catherine McKenzie will be speaking at our
Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference in
Los Angeles, October 28-30. Sign up and join us!

7. Amazon Publishing will not necessarily pull all its levers for you.

Like all publishers, Amazon still has to make choices about which books they will give extra support to and when. They have lead titles and can choose to hit your book with what I call The Pretty Stick™ or not. That being said, if a book does well, they are quick to re-act and add additional promotion to keep it going. They will also adjust when their traditional methods are not working for a particular title.

8. Amazon Publishing marketing has a long tail.

Most publishers market a book for six weeks after publication. Amazon’s approach is different. [Like this quote? Click here to Tweet and share it!] Hidden is still being included in promotions more than two years after it published.

[Want to Write Better? Here Are 10 Habits of Highly Effective Writers]

(Video) What Size Should Your Book Be? / Self-Publishing / Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

9. Amazon Publishing works best for writers with multiple books.

The positives of Amazon’s system are skewed, in my view, to authors with multiple titles. I do not mean by this that a debut author cannot do well. Several have done very well. But Amazon’s metrics and reader knowledge come into play more and more the more books you have out there. So if you are a book a year writer, or a writer who already has several titles published, you might see benefits to publishing with Amazon that writers who are on a longer time frame may not.

10. Amazon Publishing is still a Publisher.

Don’t get me wrong – I have had a fantastic experience with Amazon and will be eternally grateful for them reviving my career and taking my books to the next level. But as I mentioned above, they have to make choices. And they don’t always share their reasoning. Like any publisher, sometimes their authors can be disappointed with the results. This is life in publishing. If you want total control, self-publish.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Thanks for visiting The Writer's Dig blog. For more great writing advice, click here.

10 Things Every Writer Should Know About Amazon Publishing (4)
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Brian A. Klems is the editor of this blog, online editor of Writer's Digest and author of the popular gift bookOh Boy, You're Having a Girl: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters.

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems
Sign up for Brian's free Writer's Digest eNewsletter: WD NewsletterListen to Brian on: The Writer's Market Podcast

FAQs

What percentage does Amazon pay authors? ›

The royalty rate you get paid from Amazon for eBooks is 70% of the retail price if the price of your eBook is between $2.99 and $9.99. If your book is priced between $0.01 and $2.98 or greater than $9.99, you get paid 35% royalties.

What are publishers looking for in 2022? ›

Here are our top eight publishing trends for 2022.
  • Direct sales continue to grow.
  • Indie Authors embrace next-gen tech.
  • BookTok goes mainstream.
  • Book prices will increase.
  • More success for small publishers.
  • Advertising becomes more inclusive.
  • Advertising becomes more expensive and difficult to track.
27 Dec 2021

How many words do you need to publish on Amazon? ›

You can publish short books on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing. However, there is a minimum page count on print books. Additionally, many expert writers recommend writing at least 2,500 words, as Amazon has removed books containing fewer than that amount in the past.

How do I succeed with KDP? ›

But you can maximize reader excitement by making sure your book stands out.
  1. Create a compelling cover. ...
  2. Edit and proofread your book well. ...
  3. Write a compelling description of your book. ...
  4. Introduce yourself to your readers. ...
  5. Promote your book online. ...
  6. Publish paperbacks through KDP. ...
  7. Upload videos and book trailers.

What does a 70% royalty mean? ›

If you select the 70% royalty option, your royalty will be 70% of your list price without VAT, less delivery costs (average delivery costs are $0.06 per unit sold, and vary by file size), for each eligible book sold to customers in the 70% territories, and 35% of the list price without VAT for each unit sold to ...

Is KDP profitable in 2022? ›

Yes, Kdp is still profitable in 2022 and it will remain profitable, the reason being is the start-up cost is very low. And you don't need to keep an inventory of books to sell them on Amazon kdp as it's a print-on-demand business for books that only prints your books when a customer places an order for them.

Which genre of books sell the most 2022? ›

Here are some fiction genres that will continue to be popular throughout 2022:
  • Romance. The genre of romance is a popular one, with its readership loyal to the core. ...
  • Children's. ...
  • Thriller: Suspense & Mystery. ...
  • Fantasy and Science Fiction. ...
  • Young Adult. ...
  • Find Your Next Read.
18 Mar 2022

What are the main trends in book publishing? ›

Let's have a look at the main publishing industry trends for the year 2021.
  • Go digital.
  • Visual content rules.
  • Self publishing.
  • Voice is king.
  • Mobile first.
  • The Trust issue.
  • Innovative monetization.
  • Stories content format success.

What is a major trend in the publishing industry today? ›

Tech Becomes a Competitive Advantage

Technology is going to be a key driver of change in the book publishing industry in 2021 and beyond. One unexpected way is that publishers are on the brink of using artificial intelligence to write books. Many online publishers are already using AI to write articles.

How many pages is 50000 words? ›

Book Length by the Numbers

A 50,000-word manuscript is 200 pages.

How short can a KDP book be? ›

The minimum page count is 24 pages, and the maximum page count depends on ink, paper, and trim size options.

How long does it take to publish a book on Amazon? ›

It can take up to 72 hours for titles to be reviewed and published, and up to 10 business days for low-content books to be reviewed and published. Publishing: Your title is being published and will be available on the Amazon store shortly.

What kind of books sell best on Amazon KDP? ›

Best sellers on Amazon KDP.
...
The kind of content you can publish using Amazon's KDP:
  • Novels.
  • Journals & planners.
  • Recipe Books.
  • Children's Books.
  • Coloring Books.
  • Comics.
  • Poetry.
  • Textbooks.
8 Aug 2022

How do I self succeed in publishing? ›

HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY SELF PUBLISH ON AMAZON
  1. Published quickly (about a book every six weeks starting in May)
  2. Writing in a series.
  3. Writing in a hot trope.
  4. Consistently grew my newsletter.
  5. Set up newsletter swaps with other authors in my genre.
  6. Paid for promotions through other email newsletters.
21 Feb 2019

Is it easy to self publish on Amazon? ›

Amazon self-publishing is a simple option if you're an indie author looking to publish an eBook or paperback book (through Amazon's print-on-demand service) with less hassle normally found throughout the publishing industry.

How often do you get paid from KDP? ›

Royalties are paid every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was reported (90 days for Expanded Distribution) as long as you meet the minimum threshold for payment.

What percentage does a publisher take? ›

In general, publishers typically take 25% to 35% of the retail price of a book, on average. It is usually divided between the author and the publisher (25- 35%) as a percentage of their book sales.

How long do royalties last for books? ›

In theory, until the book falls into the public domain. That's a long time. In the US, that's the author's life plus 70 years (copyright lasts 120 years for work-for-hire works created for a corporation, like media tie-in novels, but those usually pay a flat fee rather than royalties).

Can I have 2 KDP accounts? ›

Can you have multiple KDP accounts? Yes, but you will need a company for every extra account you want to have (assuming you have the first account under your name).

Do low content books make money on Amazon? ›

Low content books are profitable and are a great source of passive income mostly because they require little effort to create. Moreover, You don't need any upfront investment to create and sell low-content books via Amazon kdp.

Where can I sell low content books? ›

On Amazon, you can create and sell low- or no-content books. And because it takes so little time to create these empty books, you can upload as many as you want. Once you have enough books for sale, you can start to create a nice passive income stream. It's all possible with Amazon's print-on-demand KDP service.

What is the most profitable book genre? ›

Romance books are easily the most profitable genre, with no sign of slowing down. The most recent data confirms that this genre pulled in $1.44 billion in sales in 2021. This genre is easy to write because romance books usually follow a pretty simple formula.

Who is the best selling author in 2022? ›

Top 10 Selling Books, 2022 Year-to-Date
RankTitleAuthor
1It Ends With UsColleen Hoover
2Where the Crawdads SingDelia Owens
3VerityColleen Hoover
4Ugly LoveColleen Hoover
6 more rows

What makes a book popular? ›

Sharp dialogue: Good books are filled with sharp, memorable dialogue. Bestsellers contain dialogue that advances the plot, demonstrates your characters' personalities, and adds texture to the world of your story.

What publishers are looking for? ›

Still, there are some basic elements every publisher considers when evaluating a potential project. Those elements are: content, market, competitive titles, and author platform.
...
Strong characters are:
  • Dynamic: They change, react, and adapt as the story goes on. ...
  • Imperfect: Strong characters have flaws.

What are the different types of publishing? ›

A short guide to the different types of publishing
  • The variety within publishing. ...
  • Trade publishing. ...
  • Children and young adult. ...
  • Scholarly and educational. ...
  • Independent & regional publishers. ...
  • Boutique press. ...
  • Vanity, self and contract publishers. ...
  • Electronic publishing.
27 May 2016

Which is the best way to publish a book? ›

Here's the simple step-by-step process to publish a book:
  1. Choose a publishing route.
  2. Edit the draft.
  3. Get feedback from editors and critique circles.
  4. Title your manuscript.
  5. Format your book for publication.
  6. Design a book cover that converts readers.
  7. Write a 'publisher-ready' book description.
  8. Create a book launch plan.
11 Feb 2022

Are book sales down in 2022? ›

After soaring 18.9% in the first half of 2021 over the comparable period in 2020, unit sales of print books retreated in the first half of 2022, dropping 6.6% from 2021 levels.

What type of industry is publishing? ›

The publishing industries (except internet) subsector is part of the information sector.

Do books sell in 2022? ›

Unit sales of print books got off to tough start in 2022, falling 13.9% last week compared to the first week in 2021 at outlets that report to NPD BookScan.

Is it possible to write a novel in 30 days? ›

It's possible to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but what is really difficult is having a finished product that really makes any sense. When you're in the heat of the moment trying to crank out thousands of words every day it is very easy to get off track. That's where your planning and your outline can save you.

How many words should I write a day? ›

While we don't recommend any particular number, we do think it is a good idea to have one as a daily goal. If you set a goal of 500 or 1 000 words and you keep it every day, you feel as if you have accomplished something. If you want to be a published writer, you should cultivate a writing routine.

How many words self help book? ›

How Many Words are in a Self-Help Book? The average word count for a self-help book is 30,000 to 70,000 words. A 30,000 word book, after formatting for a 6″ by 9″ paperback, can run about 180 pages. Some are shorter than 30,000 words, and some are longer than 70,000.

What is bleed in KDP? ›

Bleed is a printing term that refers to when printed items on a page, such as images or illustrations, reach all the way to the edge of the page. All book covers on KDP require bleed. However, you can choose whether your interior has bleed or not.

Should I pay to have my book published? ›

As a self-publisher, the cost of producing a book should be minimized. Paying someone to publish your book for you will not make you a profit. If you are writing for self-fulfillment, you have even less incentive to pay a publisher. Your highest cost for publishing should be your time.

How many KDP authors are there? ›

Globally Amazon's KDP has now published more than 2 million books. Has 100,000 authors in India.

How long does it take to sell a book on Amazon KDP? ›

Up to 72 hours for Amazon.com; up to 5 days for other marketplaces. For low-content books, it can take up to 10 business days. Updates to sales rank appear? Rankings are updated hourly but may take 24–48 hours to appear after the first completed sale.

Can I publish someone else's book on Amazon? ›

As long as it is free, Amazon will accept you as a publisher. You just need to create a publishing account with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) so that your book can be uploaded. Other authors will compete against you for your attention once you have published.

How much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon? ›

How much does it cost to publish a hardcover book on Amazon? Like paperbacks, hardcover books come with a printing cost–with much higher rates. You can expect to pay 5.5 USD or more per book depending on what ink you are using and how many pages your book has.

Why are my KDP low content books not selling? ›

Your book description isn't compelling enough, it contains spelling and grammatical errors, or isn't formatted properly. The quality of your book cover and interior doesn't match or exceed that of your competition's.

How many pages is a low content book? ›

Since these books are often 100 pages or less, you'll find that many printers who charge per page can become much more affordable. If publishing a book is your ultimate dream and you're determined to see through it no matter what, the good news is by writing low-content books you can turn that dream into reality.

What is considered low content? ›

A low-content book has minimal or no content on the interior pages. These pages are generally repetitive and designed to be filled in by the user. Common examples include notebooks, planners, journals, and other similar works.

Who is the most successful self-published author? ›

And, that's what we're going to talk about today in the 10 famous authors who self-published.
  • #1 Margaret Atwood.
  • #2 EL James.
  • #3 Robert Kiyosaki.
  • #4 Lisa Genova.
  • #5 Wayne Dyer.
  • #6 Irma S. Rombauer.
  • #7 Andy Weir.
  • #8 Beatrix Potter.
9 Apr 2020

How do I publish a short story on Amazon? ›

If you are using Amazon's print-on-demand service;
  1. Upload your manuscript file (. doc)
  2. Upload a cover file (. jpg or . png or . pdf)
  3. Generate a free barcode or upload your own.
  4. The Amazon KDP team will then review your work before it goes live on the site.
29 Aug 2022

How do you make money publishing on Amazon? ›

You can publish a book on Amazon using Kindle Direct Publishing. To get started, create a Kindle Direct Publishing account that's connected to your Amazon account. You can upload a book in Word or PDF format, or use the Kindle Creator tool to convert a book for publishing.

Is KDP Amazon profitable? ›

Yes, Kdp is still profitable in 2022 and it will remain profitable, the reason being is the start-up cost is very low. And you don't need to keep an inventory of books to sell them on Amazon kdp as it's a print-on-demand business for books that only prints your books when a customer places an order for them.

Can you make money writing a book on Amazon? ›

Amazon pays out a 35% royalty rate for books priced at $0.01-2.98 or any book over $9.99. However, if you list your Kindle book within the preferred $2.99 – $9.99 range, you'll earn 70% royalties on all book sales. Obviously, it pays to play Amazon's game and keep your price point within their golden zone.

Where is the best place to self-publish? ›

Top 10 Self-Publishing Companies: A 2018 Guide for First-Time Authors
  • Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Owned by Amazon, KDP publishes and retails ebooks that can be read on Kindle devices or on devices that have installed the Kindle app. ...
  • CreateSpace. ...
  • iBooks. ...
  • Barnes & Noble Press. ...
  • Kobo. ...
  • IngramSpark. ...
  • Smashwords. ...
  • Draft2Digital.

What percentage does Amazon take for books? ›

When you sell a book on Amazon, Amazon takes 15% of the sale price. For example, if you sell a book for $10, the referral fee will be $1.50. This fee is subtracted from the proceeds after a sale is made, so you don't have to pay it upfront.

How much does the average KDP author make? ›

On average you can make $1.90 per sale from Amazon KDP selling a 120-page paperback book with black and white interiors. Based on that, you can make $1,140 / month from your top 20 books each selling one copy per day.

How much do Amazon book sellers make? ›

Most Amazon sellers make at least $1,000 per month in sales, and some super-sellers make more than $100,000 each month in sales. 50% of Amazon sellers make $1,000 to $25,000/month, which could mean $12,000 to $300,000 in annual sales.

Do authors make money from Amazon? ›

Last year, Amazon paid out more than $220 million to authors, the company told me. Regardless of participation in KDP Select, authors who self-publish on Amazon through KDP also earn a 70 percent royalty on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, and a 35 percent royalty on books that cost more or less than that.

How often do you get paid from KDP? ›

Royalties are paid every month, approximately 60 days after the end of the month in which the sale was reported (90 days for Expanded Distribution) as long as you meet the minimum threshold for payment.

How much does a first time author make? ›

How much can authors expect to earn from their books? A first-time author with a traditional publishing deal might expect an advance of $1,000-$10,000 and 5-18% royalties once they “earn out” their advance. Self-published authors do not receive advances, but their royalties can reach up to 70% for ebook editions.

Who is the most successful self-published author? ›

And, that's what we're going to talk about today in the 10 famous authors who self-published.
  • #1 Margaret Atwood.
  • #2 EL James.
  • #3 Robert Kiyosaki.
  • #4 Lisa Genova.
  • #5 Wayne Dyer.
  • #6 Irma S. Rombauer.
  • #7 Andy Weir.
  • #8 Beatrix Potter.
9 Apr 2020

How long does it take to publish a book on Amazon? ›

It can take up to 72 hours for titles to be reviewed and published, and up to 10 business days for low-content books to be reviewed and published. Publishing: Your title is being published and will be available on the Amazon store shortly.

How much do self help authors make? ›

There are self-published authors who can make a living writing with a sustainable income of $5,000 per month to $8,000 per month, even some self-published authors who make an excess of $10,000 per month.

Does Amazon buy second hand books? ›

The short answer to this is no. Amazon will not offer you a cash exchange for any book. In the US, you can exchange your books for an Amazon trade-in voucher, but the service has been closed since 2015.

How many books do you need to sell to make 1 million? ›

Likewise, an ebook in a very popular genre could sell very well, since readers of the genre are always hungry for more. If you make $1 per book, you need to sell a million of them. That's not easy to do… but if you have 10 books, you just need to sell 100,000 of each.

Do self-published authors make more money? ›

Abbott says successful self-published authors will make more money from their books than if they go through a traditional publisher — but that there are ups and downs to both approaches.

How much does it cost to publish a book on Amazon? ›

How much does it cost to publish a hardcover book on Amazon? Like paperbacks, hardcover books come with a printing cost–with much higher rates. You can expect to pay 5.5 USD or more per book depending on what ink you are using and how many pages your book has.

How much does KDP pay per page read? ›

How much is the monthly payout and how has it varied over time? The author payout to US authors has ranged from roughly $0.0040 to $0.0050 per page read, or $0.40 to $0.50 per 100 pages read. Over time, the KDP Select author payout has averaged just under $0.44 per 100 pages read.

How hard is it to get a book published? ›

The simple answer is; very difficult. But the process can be made easier when you get a book published by a publisher like Austin Macauley. Publishing your book sometimes becomes as time taking as writing your book. Choosing the right publisher will, however, make things quick and less time-consuming.

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