Self-publishing on Amazon pros and cons

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If you’ve written a book, your next question is probably: where should you publish it? Today’s leading publishers are demanding more than ever before for the titles they are willing to take to print or make available as e-books. Thanks to platforms like Amazon, desktop publishing takes the modern author away from the vanity publisher and into the homes of interested customers.

For authors willing to do all their editing and formatting, publishing to Amazon is free. Just prepare the files according to your published standards, upload them and you are ready to start selling. That means you can write about any topic, prepare it as a file for download, and make it available to billions of people around the world.

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Like most other platforms, Amazon requires you to contract with them as part of the desktop publishing process. That agreement limits what you can do as an author to promote your work and restricts sales outside of what is available through Kindle and Amazon.

Because of these potential benefits and drawbacks, all authors should carefully weigh the pros and cons of desktop publishing on Amazon before finalizing any deal.

The pros of self-publishing on Amazon

  1. You have access to high royalties.

By self-publishing to Amazon with the KDP Select program, you can earn up to 70% in royalties on your books sold to customers in multiple countries, including Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico. 70% royalties are already available in most of Europe and the Middle East without a KDP Select subscription. You can choose the 35% copyright option if you want to avoid shipping costs to your customers when they download your title.

  1. Your books will be on Kindle Unlimited instantly.

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s e-book subscription service. When customers purchase access to KU, they are allowed to borrow as many books as they want from the catalog, including their own. Customers are limited to a total of 10 books checked at once. They must return one book to receive another if they have reached the overall limit. Authors get paid for every page of their book read through the program now, instead of meeting the requirement that 10% of titles are read to generate income.

  1. You are allowed to make your book free for five days.

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During each 90-day subscription when you work with Amazon, you can make your e-books available for free for up to 5 days. That gives you the opportunity to communicate with potential clients about your title, generate verified purchases, and then be able to post meaningful reviews of your work to people. other see. While you don’t receive royalties when books are made available for free, this option gives your work a marketing boost as needed over time.

  1. You don’t have to juggle multiple manuscript formats at once.

When you post on Amazon, you are giving them an exclusive agreement for the rights to your work. For the next 90 days, you sell your title exclusively on your site. That may limit some of your distribution options, but it also makes your life easier. Because there’s only one manuscript to create, you won’t have trouble sticking to the formatting rules that other publishers require for that platform. You create a manuscript, upload it, and then start selling it.

  1. You have more access to the global market and sales opportunities.

When you self-publish a book, you will quickly discover that most distributors, retailers, schools and libraries are not interested in contacting you about the use of your work. . You have to go to them to generate some sales, including a big time commitment with no guarantee that you will make some money. By using Amazon, you are given instant access to a global platform that billions of people use regularly. Your future customers can order and then download your book whenever it suits them.

  1. You are allowed to review your title for free.

Unlike other desktop publishing platforms, Amazon gives you the option to correct errors if they are discovered after publishing. You are allowed to upload a revised manuscript for free if you are editing it yourself. They will replace the file provided as a download once the upload is complete and you authorize the changes you made. That makes it always easy to present a professional product to your target audience, updating or moving content based on the feedback you get from it.

  1. You can ask Amazon to advertise your books for you.

Amazon allows you to buy ads on its platform to get your books noticed by more customers. Through Amazon Ads, you can create personalized ads for readers who are most likely to be interested in a book like yours. You can set how much you spend each month, along with the maximum amount you’re willing to pay if someone decides to click your ad. There are a number of eligibility requirements that must be met, and Amazon must approve your creation, 72 hours after submission, before it can be displayed.

  1. You may have a better chance of generating revenue for your book.

Amazon sells more books than any other publisher on the Internet today. In fact, sales on the platform are so great that customers buy more titles from them than from any other publisher combined. That means you have full control over the process, from start to finish, while also gaining access to the world’s largest customer base who care about headlines like the one you’ve written. . Most authors can publish their titles on Amazon with their own listings in 12 hours or less.

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  1. You don’t have to write a complete book to publish it.

If your article is in the form of a short story instead of a full-length novel, you can still take advantage of what Amazon has to offer authors. Short form content sells well at $0.99, giving you the option to create beneficial content or stories. While that means you’ll get 35% of the list price, it won’t be long before sales start to grow. Sales statistics are updated hourly, which means you’ll know how your books are selling today, yesterday, and historically. That gives you information that can help drive better sales over time.

  1. Get your royalties faster than traditional publications.

Amazon pays you royalties from the sale of your books each month. For the first month, there is a first 30-day delay in which withholding is applied to earned income. That’s even faster than paid authors from print publishers, who will pay royalties once a quarter. Some publishers only pay royalties once a year. After a two-month wait, you can get paid monthly using the payment structures offered here.

  1. There are minimal technical issues to deal with when working with Amazon.

Amazon takes care of all technology issues that may arise after your ad runs. If customers have trouble downloading your book, they’ll work with the platform’s customer service agents instead of dealing with you directly. Amazon engineers ensure that site uptime meets or exceeds expectations. The platform also processes the entire transaction, which means you don’t have to worry about credit card processing fees or the like. Everything is managed through its control panel for greater comfort.

  1. You don’t have to buy hundreds of books.

If you have worked with a fictional publisher in the past, you are often asked to ensure that a specific number of books have been sold in order for your title to be published. For many authors, that means paying for books upfront and then trying to get their money back by selling them yourself through book signings and similar events. With Amazon, all e-books are processed online, eliminating the need to invest in getting published.

  1. Cart abandonment is no longer an issue for self-publishing authors.

When customers download e-books from Amazon, especially when using a service like Kindle Unlimited, they can access titles with a single click. That eliminates the need for a shopping cart, increasing the likelihood that your books will be purchased. Each additional step a customer has to take to make a purchase reduces the likelihood that they will receive the money. With this structure, accessing your work is easier than ever.

The cons of self-publishing on Amazon

  1. You must provide 100% exclusivity.

When you self-publish a book on Amazon, you must give them 100% exclusive rights to its content. You may not offer your title to any other publisher. Posting with other providers is not allowed. Other retailers are also not allowed, which means you can’t work with your local bookstore to generate sales. The agreement lasts for 90 days and will then automatically renew unless you decline to subscribe after one of the terms ends. This does not apply to printed books.

  1. There is a limit to what you are allowed to share.

Desktop publishing contracts through Amazon limit the amount of content you’re allowed to share anywhere online. You are allowed to provide up to 10% of the book’s content to others, even on your own website. Anything more than that is a violation of the publishing agreement. If your book includes content from your blog, then the posts will need to appear for you to comply with the agreement.

  1. You will not receive any information outside of Amazon.

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There are titles that sell better on other platforms. The rules of geographical interest always apply, even to titles printed in specific bookstores. When you choose to post on Amazon, you won’t receive any appearances on other online stores for at least 3 months. Then you’ll need to look at the book and self-publish it on the next platform, and then continue with that model until you find the best place to publish. There’s no way to include all online sales locations when self-publishing, unless you’re working with a vendor that has a license agreement with all of them.

  1. All previous listings should be removed from your book.

If you’ve tried to sell your ebooks on other platforms before Amazon, you should remove them before allowing your KDP version to appear online. There can be delays with other stores of up to 72 hours when submitting a delisting request, so this time should be taken into account when working on this type of project. If you have a retailer that doesn’t want to remove listings, the process can get very tedious over time.

  1. Your sales can be made through Kindle Unlimited.

You will get paid up to 70% commission on your books sold directly on Amazon. However, many readers will access your work through a Kindle Unlimited subscription, which means your monthly income is dependent on Amazon’s earnings sharing algorithms. You have no control over the pricing mechanisms when your book is made available through the subscription program.

  1. There are specific structural elements that you may need to follow.

Authors have removed their books from Amazon for simple reasons, such as placing the table of contents at the end of the book rather than at the beginning. This issue is caused by another algorithmic issue. Scammers have turned to Kindle Unlimited as a way to fool customers, so Amazon has implemented automation to enforce terms and conditions, quality notices, and other control issues. . Unless you follow their publishing standards for the letter, there is always the risk of your book being withdrawn for sale.

  1. A 70% royalty is provided excluding shipping costs.

Amazon determines the number of megabytes (not gigabytes) of your books to determine what the download fee will be. The current average on the platform is about 2 kilobytes per page, including your inside and cover images. That limits the use of internal images when uploading because their cost would be high. 

  1. You may need to collect sales tax on your sales.

Although most states in the US do not require the author to be a licensed company, there are some exceptions. Washington State and Alaska are the two most notable geographical locations where authors selling their own work must obtain a business license to legally sell their work, even if they do so through Amazon. That means you’ll also collect sales tax and pay business and employment taxes (or something like that) when you file your taxes each year. To make sure you’re not breaking local laws, it’s a good idea to contact your local tax office for a decision before you upload your book.

  1. You will need a new ISBN for each additional edition of your book.

When you self-publish your book on Amazon, a specific ISBN is associated with the title. Because the platform requires your title to be an exclusive deal, you must assign a new ISBN each time you switch to another platform. You can work around that by purchasing your own ISBN to give to Amazon, but it may not be available on mobile phones. 

  1. If you leave Amazon as a platform, your reviews will also leave.

When you list your book on Amazon for sale, you’ll be presented with a specific list of reviews that you can create for your title. If you choose to move your book to another platform, the listing you created may disappear from Amazon’s search engine. That means you’re forced to start over with your title every time you decide to move on. If you get a significant amount of positive reviews for your book, you’ll almost certainly be forced to stick with Amazon because your next set of customers won’t see what others think or feel about the books. what you wrote.

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  1. You will continue to do all the work alone.

Books on Amazon won’t sell unless they’re professionally presented. That means you’ll need to create a professional cover by hiring a graphic artist if you can’t do the work yourself. Most authors benefit from having a professional editor review their manuscript before publication. You can opt for a paid subscription through Grammarly to help get the job done. Once everything is considered.

  1. You are responsible for all of your marketing.

This shift in the publishing industry applies to everyone, including mid-list authors who have reached out to one of the major publishers. You will pay for your own advertising and marketing. If that’s not one of your strengths, you’ll need to hire a publisher to do the work for you. The cost of this effort varies, but it could mean you might be lucky enough to break even on a few titles if you haven’t been a published author in the past.

  1. There are no direct marketing opportunities available to you.

Because the customers who buy (or borrow) your books from Amazon are your customers, not yours, there’s no good opportunity for direct marketing. You rely on this platform to contact interested customers, send emails, and do on-page marketing for your title. If there’s a hitch in the mechanics or algorithms involved, you’ll never know. While some people will eventually find your social network or website, the number is much lower than if you did it all yourself.

  1. You are facing a lot of competition.

You’re not the only author thinking about desktop publishing on Amazon right now. Because it’s the largest publishing platform of its kind in the world today, more writers work with them, too. Current estimates put the number of authors available on Amazon in the millions. 

The pros and cons of desktop publishing on Amazon are essential to consider if you’re trying to build a profitable business as a writer. While the platform is easy to use and easily handles sales, there are some administrative requirements that you may need to meet on your part. You’ll also be locked into a 90-day deal, which means your options are limited if someone wants immediate access.

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