Some notes on what to expect in Self-Publishing
Amazon takes a lot of heat for being the mega giant company that they are.
But in terms of self-publishing, they are king for a reason, and just became one of your most powerful allies.
The process they provide is really simple, easy to follow, and really is a click as you go and fill in the forms kind of deal.
After you fill out your author profile and get your payment method set up, you’ll be able to list your books onto their website, and I’ll shed some light on that process here.
For the manuscript formatting, they have the Kindle Create downloadable program, which does ALL of the formatting for you. And it can be used to automatically format your physical copies too (a handy thing!). Much more user friendly that trying to constantly revise a PDF to fit the bleeds correctly.
They use a 3 step process
- Enter Book Details
- Here you will put in the following:
- Language (like english, spanish…)
- Book Title
- Author Name
- Description for the book’s page
- Appropriate reader’s age range
- 7 Keywords that you want to have Amazon associate with your book (for readers to search with)
- 3 categories for you to put your book in
- Age range of your target audience
- Book Content
- Here you will put in the following:
- Trim size (for physical copies)
- Paper type
- Color or Black and White interior printing
- Upload your Manuscript
- Upload your cover (or use their designer)
- Assign ISBN
- (Physical) Preview the Book to make sure it’s formatted correctly with the cutting lines and trim size.
- (eBook) Preview the book to make sure it’s formatted for the Kindle app correctly.
- Does you book contain AI Generated Material
- I will side note here since this is where new policies begin making an impact. If you say Yes, it will ask you about 2 categories.
- Both will have drop down boxes asking you how much of your content is AI generated. Including if you edited the content after it was AI generated.
- After you review and approve the book, pricing will become available.
- If a physical copy, a print cost will appear on the bottom.
I will cut here to talk about pricing for a bit. Which is part 3.
With eBooks, they offer two pricing models.
35% and 70%
If you price your eBook under $2.99, or if you do not own the copyright to the book, they will only give you 35% of the sale as royalties to keep. So if you price your book at the lowest setting of $0.99, your take home is $0.35 per copy sold.
If you price your eBook $2.99+ and you own the copyright to the book, they will give you 70% of the price. So at $2.99, your take home will be $2.09 per copy sold.
Adding into the mix is Kindle Select.
Kindle Select allows you to have your book become part of the Kindle Unlimited Program. Readers pay a $10 subscription to Kindle Unlimited and get to read books for free in return.
This means you will get paid by pages read. The royalties are calculated based on how many subscribers there are and the profit is split amongst the number of total pages read by everyone. Those numbers turn out to be enormous. millions of dollars and tens or hundreds of millions of pages read (it fluctuates) … but the break down is that it’s fairly common to see $0.01 per 2-3 pages read. So for a 300 page book, you’ll take $1-1.50 depending on the program’s performance for the month.
The caveat here is that your eBook becomes exclusive to Amazon. (Your Paperback/Hardcover will not be affected by the exclusivity of the eBook, it’s worth noting if you do decide to use KDP Select, you can still publish physical copies elsewhere like B&N Press)
But for some authors, that tradeoff really does pay off and really well too! That’s just a personal decision you’ll have to make when you get to it.
Paperback/Hardcover is different. Printing costs are now involved. They offer a 60/40 split on their books. This means you get 60%, and they keep 40%
They also take the cost of printing out of your cut. So this means you will see a minimum price that you can sell the book for.
For example if your book costs $4.91 to print, the minimum price you can sell it for is $8.18 .
Because at $8.18, 60% of that is $4.91 and covers the cost of the book while still giving Amazon their 40%. But that also means you take home nothing at that price.
But you are the one who sets the sale price as long as it is that minimum amount or higher.
If we set the price of the book at $15.99, Amazon will get $6.39 because that’s their 40% cut. And you get $9.54, the $4.91 cost of printing the book then gets taken out, so your take home for that book is $4.69 per copy sold.
Math… Thankfully the third step, Pricing, will break this down for you in a wonderful and neat little chart.
It will also allow you to set the prices for different regions. Keep in mind your royalties earned will be in those currencies used by those regions.
Some Paperbacks can also be given Expanded Distribution, which allows 3rd party retailers to buy your book from Amazon to sell in their bookstores. It’s worth noting that the 60/40 split will flip by doing this. They’ll get 60% and you’ll get 40%. But given that it really can add to your sales, that’s not a bad deal.
Once you finish the pricing section, your Preorder (if you scheduled a date of release) page will go live after their review process, which can take up to 72 hours. Though it often happens far faster! If you did not schedule a release date, it will go live for sale and be published when it completes the review process.
This is the moment when it officially happens. YOU ARE PUBLISHED!
Important note: If you own less than 100% of your copyright (due to AI generated content or other public domain content), you will not be eligible for the 70% royalties from your eBook, and there will be changes to international availability, limiting where your work can be sold to markets where it is legal to publish work that includes public domain content. KDP select and Expanded Distribution eligibility are also impacted by the degree of AI generated/public domain content.