These days more and more authors are choosing to self-publish their work instead of taking the traditional publishing route.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform is a popular choice for self-publishing authors. KDP is a game-changer in publishing, making it easier for authors to break into the industry and get their creative work out there.
In this article, we’ll explore self publishing on Amazon pros and cons.
We’ll take a deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of the self-publishing process. We’ll also explore why this approach is taking over so much of the work that usually goes to a traditional publishing house and even inspiring masses of new writers to publish.
Self publishing on Amazon pros and cons
Is self-publishing on Amazon worth it? Below we’ve listed the pros and cons of Amazon self-publishing.
Later, we’ll explain how to get started if you decide that this popular self-publishing platform is the right choice.
8 Pros For Self publishing on Amazon
Here are some of the reasons why publishing on Amazon can work to your advantage.
1. Amazon is popular
Amazon is more than a household name. It’s one of the biggest companies in the world, and as far as bookstores go, it’s undoubtedly the most popular.
That’s good news for you and your work. Self-publishing through Amazon KDP means that your work is available for anyone worldwide to find and purchase.
Publishing on KDP means that you are available to a global audience.
With well-researched keywords and taglines in your book’s description (which you can find by searching books of a similar kind and using similar terms), you can easily make your target readers aware of your book.
You can also reach your target readers through Amazon Ads, a marketing tool you can use for book promotion.
Given Amazon’s immense popularity and strong reputation as a bookstore, utilizing them to sell your book is a wise choice.
In addition to global reach, KDP offers authors plenty of built-in marketing tools to help them promote their books. Marketing and promotion are major challenges authors face when they self-publish, so KDP’s marketing tools are a game-changer.
2. KDP Select
If you choose to self-publish your book on Amazon, you have the option to enroll in the KDP Select program. With KDP Select, Amazon’s built-in marketing features allow you to promote your book easily and thus boost sales.
One of the most effective marketing tools offered in KDP is the ‘free for a limited time option. Readers can access your book for free for a period of 90-days.
You may think having your book for free on Amazon means you won’t make a profit. On the contrary, if your book is popular, it will enter the best sellers list.
Books on the free best sellers very often lead to significant sales.
Further, even though you won’t make profits during the free period, you can still get your work out there, collect reviews, and build a fan base.
KDP is incredibly easy to use, and this accessibility is one of the reasons why most self-published authors love the platform.
Getting a book published used to be a hassle. One must submit their work to a publishing company, and the waiting period to hear back can be very long.
Beyond the waiting period, there is also a chance of rejection. With KDP, there is no waiting time, and you won’t get rejected (as long as you stay within KDP terms and conditions).
With KDP, you can upload and publish your finished manuscript and book cover in one day. The platform is user-friendly, and only a few steps are involved in the process.
Audiobooks are an increasingly popular means of consuming books. They offer flexible consumption – people can enjoy your book while doing other tasks like driving, cleaning, working, or simply closing their eyes to listen.
When you self-publish on Amazon, you can convert your book into an audiobook, thanks to Amazon’s partnership with Audible. Having an audiobook version of your work is a great way to boost sales, given the popularity of this type of media.
5. Print-on-demand (POD) service
Before self-publishing became popular and Amazon’s KDP was founded, publishing a book was costly for individual authors and publishing houses. If there are thousands of copies of a book, that means paper costs, hardback cover expenses, distribution, storage, and more.
With Amazon KDP’s POD service, you don’t need to pay such costs. Books are not printed, widely distributed, and stored.
Instead, KDP keeps a digital copy of the finished book. If a customer wants the book in print, they can express that intent when they purchase it, after which a single copy will be printed and sent.
POD means you don’t have to pay upfront costs to cover your book’s creation and distribution – a significant advantage of self-publishing.
6. Unrivaled royalties
When you get a book published, you earn royalties from its sales.
This is how authors make money from their work. Traditionally, an author can expect to earn around ten percent of royalties for their work when they publish with a publishing house. Some houses offer slightly higher royalties, and some offer slightly lower.
One of the reasons why Amazon is such a popular choice for self-publishing authors is that royalty rates are much higher than traditional publishing.
Amazon offers two royalty options for authors – 35 and 70 percent. To be eligible for the 70 percent royalty option, readers must be able to buy your book for $9.99 or lower.
7. Full creative control
When you submit a manuscript to a traditional publisher, they may reject your work if it doesn’t align with their brand and values. Alternatively, they may accept and publish your manuscript if you change certain aspects.
As an author and a creator, handing over creative control of your work can be heart-breaking, especially if your book is close to your heart.
One of the major benefits of self-publishing with Amazon is that authors retain creative control of their work. You must choose your book’s content and themes, design, cover, etc.
Of course, taking full creative control also means more work and significant costs if you hire designers, proofreaders, illustrators, etc., but such is the nature of creative pursuits.
8. Earn through Kindle Unlimited
Amazon customers who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited can borrow your book. In the past, payment would only be received if a subscriber reads ten percent of the book, but policies have changed, and now authors get paid a small royalty per page of the book a KU subscriber reads.
3 Cons For Self-Publishing on Amazon
Self-publishing on Amazon is not always a bed of roses. It is also important to be aware of its disadvantages.
1. The competition
KDP is a no-cost, accessible, and incredibly popular means of self-publishing. As such, the competition is huge.
Millions of authors publish on Amazon, which makes it harder for your work to get noticed by your audience.
Of course, if you write in a particular niche that doesn’t have as much competition as others, you’re more likely to see success. Still, the sheer volume of authors publishing on Amazon means that statistically, many books are already available related to your niche.
So, even though KDP is free-to-use, you may need to spend some money on advertising to boost your book’s awareness and sales.
If you want to publish on Amazon, you must agree to their 90-day exclusivity clause. For 90 days, your book can only be available on Amazon and nowhere else online.
If you want to make a big deal about launching your book as a marketing tactic to boost sales, the 90-day exclusivity period can get in the way.
As part of the exclusivity clause, you cannot list your book anywhere else online.
Amazon’s bookstore is enormous and is a go-to for most readers, which means that you can still reach a vast audience, but having to remove your book from other store listings may affect your level of income.
3. Sharing limits
KDP’s self-publishing contract states that authors can share only ten percent of their book’s content elsewhere online, such as a blog post, site, and even on social media platforms.
If an author shares over that ten percent limit, it is considered a violation of the contract and entails penalties.
This limit is a major problem for authors who use other platforms for marketing their work. For example, if more than ten percent of your book’s content can be found throughout your blog, you would need to remove that content from your blog if you wished to continue with KDP.
Is self-publishing on Amazon worth it?
Deciding whether or not to self-publish your book on Amazon KDP can be tricky. The platform has many benefits, especially for first-time authors who want to see their first self-published book online.
The royalties one can earn from KDP are higher than most other self-publishing routes, and with the right marketing and a clearly defined target audience, KDP self-publishing can be highly lucrative.
Moreover, authors can save significant amounts of money that will otherwise have to be spent on traditional publishing.
Still, there are drawbacks to Amazon KDP.
Aside from the incredible competition in most niches, Amazon KDP’s major drawback is its exclusivity clause, which causes a problem for authors who rely on other platforms and sources of income from their books.
Self publishing with Amazon’s KDP program is a wise choice for authors who want to get their work seen and earn unrivaled royalties.
However, KDP is not the only self-publishing platform out there.
Self-publishing, in general, is an exciting but competitive venture, and KDP’s competitors like Barnes and Noble Press, Kobo, and Apple Books are also big players in the game.
KDP is a great option, but it’s wise to research other platforms to make the best decision for yourself, as a budding author.