Kindle Direct Publishing
For many authors the easiest way to self-publish is via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing), being Amazon’s publishing wing, first launched in 2007, KDP has grown rapidly and allows an author to publish both eBook and paperback from one place (they have recently been trialing hardback books with a beta service aimed at selected authors, so we’ll have to wait and see if this becomes a standard feature of their current service).
You can also publish quite a wide variety of content via their service, publications such as the obvious fiction and nonfiction, but also book series, comics, cookbooks, journals, poetry books, and textbooks, are some of the other books published.
Having an account with KDP is free and uploading your book to publish with them is free too, the charges/cost to publish comes when you actually sell a copy of your book, carrying on with the free stuff, they also off a free ISBN (however, the ISBN will lock them in as the publisher and you can only use it on their platform, so if you want to publish via Ingramspark or another POD service, you’ll need a new ISBN).
Once you have an account with Kindle Direct Publishing, it’s fairly straight forward to upload both your eBook and Paperback ready for publishing, they accept Word documents but recommend that you upload your manuscript for print as a PDF, here are KDP’s guidelines on how to do this correctly.
For eBooks, their preferred format was in MOBI, however, this has recently changed and now they only accept MOBI for fixed (non-reflowable) eBooks. Their preferred format is EPUB (which is great, as virtually every other ePublisher uses this) along with Word doc/docx and their own KPF format (Kindle Create). Kindle create is Amazon’s own free to download software which you can use to format your own eBook ready to upload to KDP, having used it in the past, it is relatively straightforward and great if you are on a budget.
So how much do you stand to earn from using Kindle Direct Publishing?
The royalties do vary between eBook and Paperback, for eBook the options you have are either 35% or 70%, each option does come with its own stipulation, so at first you may think of opting for the 70% royalty, but there are restrictions on minimum and maximum pricing and the book must be enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select. For the 35% royalty there are fewer restrictions and the entry price point for your book is lower (which is great for promotions).
The royalties for paperback books are fixed at 60%, the royalty is taken from your list price of the book and then printing costs are deducted from it, however, if you enable Expanded Distribution then the royalty drops to 40%.
KDP Select, what is it and do I need it?
KDP Select gives Amazon the exclusive rights to sell your eBook, this means that your eBook will only be available to purchase through their platform alone. So why would you want to do this? Well, if you want the 70% royalties this could be the option for you (with Kindle being the number one seller of eBooks, you still have a great distribution even if you go exclusively with KDP).
KDP Select locks your eBook in for a minimum of 90 days, so after this period you can opt back out and use another platform to publish your eBook through.
What about Expanded Distribution?
This makes your printed book available to booksellers, distributors, and libraries, this doesn’t mean that your book will end up in every bookstore on every street corner, it means that these channels can order your book should they wish to carry it. If your book starts selling well and you are promoting it to a large audience, this could be a great option to increase its reach. However, there are a few more stipulations about what is excepted and what isn’t, for full details take a look at the information on Expanded Distribution here.
Kindle Direct Publishing is a great way to get your book published (especially if you are on a budget), their service is quite easy to use and their guides/services to help authors are very useful too, being that they are part of Amazon you know that they are certainly here to stay and for many, they’re a great option to get your book published.
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