Kindle Publishing Guide – Step By Step To Your First $1000 (2020)


In this post, we’ll go through how to do Amazon Kindle publishing for beginners, in 7 actionable steps.

This is the business model that initially allowed me to escape the 9-5, and was bringing in around $4500 a month when I was doing it full-time.

I’m barely involved with it nowadays, but it’s still providing me with over $2000 every month — mostly from books I made almost 2 years ago.

Is Kindle Publishing Still Profitable In 2020?

While it’s been a while since I pulled back from Kindle publishing, I’ve released some new books here and there, and one thing is clear:

It still works.

So, if you’re willing to put in the needed effort, self publishing can potentially become a nice extra income stream for you.

If you’re interested in making money from the largest ecommerce site on the web, read on — the 7 steps to do so are as follows:

kindle direct publishing

Step 1: Create Your KDP Account

First off, you’ll need to set up your very own Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) account.

This will enable you to publish books on the Amazon stores.

The process is pretty straightforward:

A. Go to

B. Click “Sign up”.

C. Click “Create your KDP account”.

D. Enter your name, email address, and password.

E. Once the account has been created, make sure to enter your author/publisher, payment and tax information (they’ll guide you through this).

Voilà — you’re now (theoretically speaking, at least) ready to publish ebooks on Amazon.

keyword research

Step 2: Keyword Research

It’s only the second step, but it’s also the most important one, by far.

What you do with this will determine whether you earn $50 or $5000.

No, that’s not an exaggeration.

If you don’t take your keyword research seriously, your publishing business will never take off — end of story.

However, do it right on a consistent basis, and you’ll have no problem scaling things up.

kdspy kindle

To do effective keyword research for Kindle, you’ll want to get a tool called KDSPY (also known as Kindle Spy).

This is a useful browser add-on that lets you:

– Get an overview of a category or keyword within seconds — three “traffic lights” show you the popularity, earning potential and competition.

– See the estimated sales and revenue of all the books listed under a specific category or keyword.

– Generate a word cloud of the most commonly-used words that the best-selling books use in their titles.

– Analyze author pages to see how well their books are doing.

– Track your competitors’ books performance over 30 days.

All of the features are potentially useful.

However, the key thing you’ll want to focus on is the data found in the main window:

kindlespy interface

How To Use KDSPY

After searching for a specific keyword in the Amazon Kindle store, click the KDSPY icon, look at the data, and scan for the following essential criteria.

– The top 5-6 books listed for the keyword should ideally have an Amazon sales rank below 100 000 (the lower the number, the more copies are being sold).

– These 5-6 books should have the keyword itself somewhere in the title.

– Competing books should not have more than 50 reviews on average. If they do, they’ll be very hard to compete with.

OK, seems simple enough, right?

Keep in mind, though, that these are general guidelines — you may be able to make money from a keyword which doesn’t fit these criteria.

However, it’ll be a riskier investment to make.

Now, with the general guidelines in place, let’s go through an example of how to do keyword research with KDSPY:

how to activate kdspy

A. Once you’ve downloaded and installed the plugin, click on the KDSPY icon found on your browser’s toolbar — this will take you to the Amazon Kindle store.

B. Think of a keyword you want to research.

Let’s try something popular by searching for “keto cookbook”.

Whatever you feel about this diet, it’s no secret that it’s quite trendy at the moment.

With that in mind, this keyword is most likely profitable.

Type it into the Amazon search bar and search away.

C. Once the page has loaded, click the KDSPY icon once again, and you’ll be presented with the data.

KDSPY example

Wow — look at those numbers!

All but one of the books listed on the first page are selling like hotcakes — sales ranks well below 100k.

If you managed to rank a book here, you would surely make some great money.

Avoiding The Red Zone

Don’t get too excited, though…

Look at the image again and observe the number of reviews the books have (in the column to the left of the sales ranks).

404, 910, 1056!

To say that this keyword is competitive would be an understatement.

Unless you plan on running a long, expensive, marketing campaign, you’ll have little-to-no chance of getting your book on the first page here.

Still, do you see how smooth the research process is with KindleSpy?

Just type a keyword into the Amazon search bar, click the KDSPY icon, and analyze the findings.

Coming Up With A Title

ebook title ideas

Once you’ve found a keyword that meets the criteria listed earlier, you should think of a title.

The keyword needs to be in it — the earlier it appears, the better.

The subtitle is not that important, but it can certainly score you a few extra points over your competitors.

Here’s an example of a book title based on the targeted keyword “vegan keto cookbook”:

“The Vegan Keto Cookbook: 105 Healthy & Delicious Recipes For A Plant-Based Ketogenic Diet”

Note that this title includes the keywords: “vegan”, “vegan keto”, “vegan keto cookbook”, and “keto cookbook”, all in one.

As a bonus, the subtitle includes the related words “recipes”, “plant-based”, “ketogenic”, and “diet”.

This means that the book could potentially rank for every one of these combinations.

When possible, remember to use this trick when you create your book titles.

If you can’t, though, don’t worry too much about it — focus most of your efforts on the main targeted keyword.

The Value Of Good Keywords

Now, I know what you might be thinking…

Pretty much everything about the keto diet is way too saturated, so why am I not using another keyword as an example?

Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but I won’t be showing you a low-competition, profitable keyword in this article.


Well, even if I did sacrifice one of my good ones, you’d be competing with all the rest of the people who read this (which includes other established publishers, no doubt).

Important tip:

If you’re in the self publishing business, feel free to help people out, but never, ever give away your keywords.

Finding profitable ones can take hours upon hours of searching and analyzing.

And, when you finally do find one, there’s usually a fair bit of money involved.

So, keep them close to your chest, or you’ll soon see a flood of new competitors attempting to outrank your book.

Finding New Niches & Keywords

If you’re struggling to come up with niche and keyword ideas by yourself, the best way to get inspiration is by looking around on Amazon.

A. To begin, open up a new browser tab and click the KDSPY icon, which will take you to straight to the Kindle bestsellers page.

B. Then, take your time to dive into each of the categories and sub-categories listed in the left-side menu.

C. Go through the “top 100 paid” for each of them, and look for books that use a keyword in the title, such as “backyard foraging” or “social media marketing”, for example.

Kindle bestseller keywords and niches

D. Write these down in a document while you continue to browse through the different categories’ bestseller sections.

E. When you’ve found 20 or so, check each of them with KDSPY to judge their viability (like we went over earlier).

ebook cover creation

Step 3: Creating A Cover

You’ve probably heard the old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

It’s a wise saying that can be applied to many parts of our lives.

However, when it comes to producing and selling actual books, you’re better off ignoring it.

I’ve been involved with online publishing for over 3 years now, and I can tell you, without a shadow of a doubt:

People do judge books by their covers, and it shows in your sales.

If you want your title at the top of the rankings, you’ll need a relevant and eye-catching cover.

Where To Get Your Covers Made

OK, so how do we go about this?

fiverr ebook cover design

To keep the profit margin high, we’ll avoid hiring from expensive graphic design companies.

Instead, we search for ebook covers on Fiverr.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty of talented, independent graphic designers there — you just have to sort through the less-than-great ones to find them.

I’ve actually had every single one of my covers created through Fiverr.

It may take some time to find a freelancer with the style you like.

However, once you’ve done so, doing repeat business with them is quick and easy.

After you’ve found a freelancer to work with, it’s time to order your book cover.

Most of my covers were made by this skilled gentleman.

As long as I linked him the stock photos I wanted and described my idea, I always got great results.

My top-selling covers have all been made by him.

How To Make Sure The Cover Is High-Quality

To avoid getting a mediocre cover for your book, you’ll have to put in a bit more work than just giving the freelancer a title and topic.

Personally, to ensure I receive an eye-catching cover from my designer, I do two important things before placing my order:

Firstly, I come up with a general idea for the design myself.

Sometimes, I get specific, and may even give the freelancer a rough sketch of what I’m after (easily made in Photoshop or even MS Paint).

If I struggle to come up with something, I can browse through the Kindle store and look for designs I like.

I then think about what elements could be changed and improved on for my book.

Secondly, I handpick the images I want to be used.

Cover designers on Fiverr usually list what image sites they use in their gig description.

If they don’t, you can always ask them.

The most common one is Shutterstock.

With a design in mind, I search through the image site myself and pick the most relevant and eye-catching ones I can find.

By supplying the freelancer with images and an idea for the design, I’m rarely, if ever, surprised by the end result.

If I need any modifications, it’s usually something minor, like the font of the title.

Yes, doing these two extra things may add some hours to the process.

However, I highly recommend that you take your time with your book cover — you need to get it right.

typing on laptop

Step 4: Getting Your Book Written

Ok, now it’s time to get to the meat of the matter — the book itself.

Just so we’re absolutely clear on this:

Ideally, you should not be writing every book yourself.

Sure, if you’ve nailed the previous steps, there’s no harm in doing it a few times if you’re skilled enough — I’ve certainly done it.

Still, as I explained in my own story about self publishing, you’ll soon realize that scaling things up will be close to impossible (at least in a reasonable time frame).

The Mindset Needed For Publishing Success

If you’re intent on actually earning a decent income from selling books online, remember this:

Be a publisher, not just a writer.

Ideally, you’re buying the rights to books written by others and then publishing them to earn royalties on Amazon.

By hiring freelancers, you can have multiple books in the pipeline at any one time — even if you’re writing one yourself.

This will allow you to scale up your business much, much quicker than if you did everything yourself.

That’s how most people make serious money with self publishing on Amazon.

Working Your Way Up

Now, if you don’t have the funds to hire anyone at the moment, that’s fine — you can certainly write the books yourself.

Be warned, however, that the grind will be pretty rough, and you’ll take much longer increasing your income.

If you can stomach it, though, you can always begin writing the books yourself.

Then, as you start making money from it, you can start gradually outsourcing more and more.

where to hire ghostwriters

Where To Find Ghostwriters

Alright, say we do have the money for it; where do we find ghostwriters to create our books for us?

Well, opinions are a bit varied on this.

Some swear by companies like The Writing Summit or Ewritersolutions.

I have indeed tried these services before, and have received some decent-quality work from them.

However, I strongly prefer to handpick my own writers, to make sure their style, tone and knowledge of the topic fit my project.

I do this by crafting detailed job posts on Upwork, and then I carefully examine each candidate with my requirements in mind.

Go The Extra Mile

Yes, this takes some more time, for sure, but for me it’s paid off in the long-term.

This is what I recommend you do as well, unless you’re really short on time, or you’re struggling to find suitable freelancers.

If that’s the case, go with a ghostwriting company.

If you’re willing to put in the extra time, though, I have some advice for you, based on my own experience.

How To Get Good Writing From Upwork

Upwork job post template 2

Here are the steps I go through to get high-quality, yet affordable, books written through Upwork:

A. Research & Create A Table Of Contents For The Book

Before I post a new job offer on Upwork, I make sure the book’s table of contents is ready to go.

I do this by researching the topic online — blogs, guides, magazines, videos, academic sites, and more.

Sometimes, I even spy on some of my competitor’s books (on Amazon, click on an ebook’s cover to see inside it, including its table of contents).

Then, I make sure to one-up their ToC by adding additional chapters to mine.

upwork job post template

I also look at their negative customer reviews to see if there are legitimate shortcomings I can take care of with my upcoming book.

When the table of contents is ready, I simply attach it as a Word file along with the job post on Upwork.

This makes the research much easier for the freelancer, and allows them to focus more on the writing process.

It also gives the applicants a better idea of what to expect.

Furthermore, similar to the cover creation process, doing this removes a lot of uncertainty from the equation.

Instead of just giving the writer a title and a short description, like most publishers do, I supply them with specific topics for each chapter.

If needed, I also add a few lines of notes beneath the ToC itself.

Now, as the writer progresses, I have something tangible I can check their work against.

B. Write A Detailed Job Description

In order to attract the right candidates for writing your books, you need to supply them with enough details.

To avoid any confusion, and make sure we’re on the same page, I always write a thorough, precise job description for the freelancers.

From years of hiring writers from Upwork, I’ve come up with a job post template that works very well for this.

Feel free to copy it:

Project Type: (Ebook, article etc.)

Topic: Non-fiction: (Niche): (Subniche, if applicable)

Payment: $(Number) per 100 words.

Project Length: Between (Number ) and (Number) words.

Deadline: (Number) days from start.

Key Requirements:
– The freelancer must be able to write fluent English.
– The freelancer must be sufficiently knowledgeable about the topic, and/or be able to perform adequate research.
– The finished work must be free of plagiarism.

General description:
– I am looking for a skillful ghostwriter who can flesh out the attached table of contents and create a helpful, informative and easy-to-read guide on (Topic).

– I am primarily looking for someone who’s interested and/or involved with (Topic).

– The maximum word count for the whole assignment is (Number). The minimum amount needed is (Number).

– You will be paid $(Number) per 100 words. This means that you will be paid a maximum of $(Payment rate per 100 words x maximum word count / 100), and a minimum of $(Payment rate per 100 words x minimum word count / 100).

– When you reach about (50% of maximum word count), you must send me a draft so I can review your progress. This is an important step to ensure that we are on the same page regarding the direction of the project.

Please attach one or more samples of your writing. It does not have to be part of a published work, but must be original and non-fictional in nature.

Any feedback regarding the table of contents is both encouraged and appreciated. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you.

Some notes about the job post template, to clarify some points:

Payment rate per 100 words: I usually set this to anywhere between $2 to $3, depending on my budget. Any lower than $2 per 100 words, and you’ll mostly get low-quality writing. There are always exceptions, though.

Project length: I set this to anywhere between 15000 to 25000, depending on the niche and the length of my competitor’s books. With the right formatting (more on that later), a 15000-word manuscript will give you a printed book of about 120 pages, which is the absolute minimum I’d go for.

Deadline: I normally set it to 21 days (3 weeks) for 15000 words (5000 words per week). Add more days if you’re shooting for a higher word count.

Interested/involved with topic: This part is optional and highly dependent on the topic of your book. You may want to word it differently, but it’s a nice inclusion to have (most of my best-selling books have been written by people who had an interest in the topic beforehand.)

When you submit your job post, you can also add some questions that the applicants must answer in their cover letters.

I usually go with these two:

– Do you have an interest in, or experience with, (Topic)?
– Have you read the table of contents? If so, what are your thoughts?

The first question gives the freelancer a chance to share their knowledge about the topic.

The second question more or less forces them to look through your ToC before applying for the job.

There’s a few other options you get when posting a new job, but I won’t bother with them here — they’re pretty much self explanatory.

Once you’ve included the aforementioned information, go ahead and post your job to Upwork.

C. Choose A Suitable Candidate

how to find good freelancers

Ok, so your job post has been submitted, along with the table of contents you attached.

Now, it’s time to sort through the writers.

It usually takes between 2-4 days for a job post to gain a considerable amount of applications.

Once you have a decent number of people lined up, bust out your magnifying glass and get to work!

Here are some tips on how to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to writers:

– Carefully check the body of their cover letter.

Look for obvious spelling errors and weird sentences.

If there are a lot of them, that’s a huge red flag for me.

Just think about it:

If they couldn’t even write a simple cover letter correctly, how are they going to handle a 20 000-word book?

– Read through their writing samples.

If you used my job post template, you would’ve requested that the freelancers attach one or more samples of their writing.

Make sure that you take the time to read through every single one of these attachments and/or links.

The more you read, the more info you’ll give to your mind’s pattern recognition system.

As more info is gathered, any writing flaws will become apparent — flaws that may go unnoticed if you’re just skimming through a single page.

– Read the freelancer’s reviews.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but a lot of people just look at the ratings while not actually reading the content of the reviews.

Of course, there are plenty of skilled writers who haven’t got many reviews yet.

Furthermore, a lot of clients simply don’t write anything — they just pay, rate and move on.

Still, if the freelancer has a bunch of written reviews by previous clients, look for these 4 qualities in particular:

– High-quality writing.

– Communicative.

– Ability to take feedback and do revisions.

– Good at keeping deadlines.

Sealing The Deal

business to business

Once you’ve carefully examined all of the candidates, go ahead and hire your favorite one.

Be sure to remind them of sending you a draft halfway through the writing process.

Other than that, there’s not much more to it than to wait.

Remember, though:

If your budget allows for it, you should always have multiple books in the pipeline at any one time, to maximize the growth of your business.

In other words, there should always be something else for you to do.

Plagiarism Check

When you’ve received a completed text from one of your writers, you should make sure that it’s free from plagiarism.

If there’s one thing Amazon doesn’t tolerate, it’s trying to publish copyrighted material.

This is one of the things that can get your KDP account banned, so you need to make sure the book your received is original.

The best way to make sure of this is to use Grammarly’s plagiarism scanner.

In my mind, this and KDSPY are the only two programs you really need to run a Kindle publishing business (besides a word processor, of course).

Grammarly’s plagiarism detector will quickly search through billions of webpages and academic databases to check for duplicate content.

Even if you write the books yourself, you should still use this to check if you have been too “copy-pastey” during the research phase.

Grammarly plagiarism scanner tutorial

To use the plagiarism scanner:

A. Log in to your Grammarly account and copy-paste about half of the book at a time into a new document file.

B. Wait for the analysis to complete, and then click the “plagiarism” tab.

C. If you find that only quotations or small phrases from various unrelated pages come up, you’re good to go.

However, if there are whole sentences that have been ripped from different websites related to your book, that’s a no-go.

Grammarly plagiarism checker

In that case, you need to either ask your freelancer for changes, or rewrite the plagiarized portions yourself.

Finishing Touches

In addition to plagiarism checks, you also have to make sure that the text is sufficiently proofread and edited before you move on.

You can of course outsource this if you want.

Personally, though, I always proofread the books myself.

It’s the only way I can be 100% sure about the quality.

If you keep your focus, you can usually finish the job in a couple of days.

Make sure that you don’t slack on these final touches, since poor grammar and typos can taint an otherwise great book.

Also, I recommend that you add some images.

This will increase the perceived value of your book, and the average person will be more likely to find it enjoyable.

You can use images from free stock photo sites, like the ones mentioned in this post.

If you have the budget for it, though, a subscription to a premium site like Shutterstock will serve you well in the long run.

kindle publishing for beginners

Step 5: Publish Your Ebook With Amazon KDP

kdp create ebook

Once you have the completed text and cover in your hands, it’s time to finally put them together as an ebook via the KDP platform.

To begin, log in to your KDP account, go to your bookshelf and click on the “+ Kindle ebook” button to start putting it together.

It’s a pretty straightforward process, but there are still a few things that are worth pointing out.

Use the main keyword

In the “title” field, make sure to type in the keyword-optimized title of your book (for example, “the vegan keto cookbook”).

Input your subtitle in the optional field below.

Write an attractive product description

It’s recommended that you use the description field to its full potential.

On Amazon, you can use HTML to create headings, make text bold and italic, and insert bullet points.

If your writer has created an introduction for your book, you can use parts of it for the description.

I also like to include an H3 heading near the end that says, “In this book you will learn about:” or something similar.

Then, I insert a bulleted list underneath it, which contains about 70% of the individual topics included in the book (chapters and subchapters).

Beneath the list, I write “and more!” (since I only reveal about 70% of the topics here).

To end the description, I give the potential customer a call to action — something along the lines of “Download now and start learning/get started with (topic) today!“.

If you don’t know how to write HTML, check out this neat little free tool.

Keep in mind, though, that not all of the HTML tags can be used on Amazon.

Check this page to see which are allowed in the descriptions.

Publishing rights

Make sure you select “I own the copyright and hold the necessary publishing rights”.

kdp publishing rights


This is another important part of publishing a new ebook.

Find 7 keywords that are related to your main keyword/title.

Don’t do it lazily by just typing in guesses.

Instead, as in step 2, do proper research with KDSPY.


Choose the 2 that are the closest matches for your book.

If you target the right categories, people that browse them might get your book in Amazon’s recommended feed or promotional emails.

These are the people who are most likely to buy, so make sure you maximize your chances by putting your book in the right sections.

Kindle ebook content

Once you’re done with ebook details, click “save and continue” to proceed to the content page.

Here, you simply upload your finished Word file and cover image, and KDP will convert them for you.

Make sure to look through the online previewer to check if everything looks good.

kdp preview ebook

If it does, click “save and continue” once more to move on to the pricing options.

KDP Select enrollment

On the pricing page, tick the first box to enroll your ebook in the KDP select program.

This is highly recommended for new books, since it will enable you to market it for free for 5 days, while getting a nice algorithm boost from Amazon.

It will also make getting reviews much easier (more on that soon).


Select “All territories (worldwide rights)”.

This will make your ebook available on all Amazon marketplaces (,, etc.).

Royalty and Pricing

Select the 70% royalty plan and set the price to $2.99.

For most (non-fiction) niches, this price point will typically result in the most money made overall

If your book starts selling really well, though, you can always experiment a bit.

kindle ebook best pricing

When you’re done with all of the aforementioned options, click “Publish your Kindle book” to, well, publish your Kindle book!

email list for blog

Step 6: Promote Your Ebook To Get Reviews

Now it’s time to promote your newly-released ebook.

Note that this step is not about spending hours and hours funneling people outside of Amazon to your book.

Instead, this step is all about getting reviews, so it ranks higher in Amazon’s own search engine.

This will result in more organic on-site traffic to your book’s product page, and thus more sales.

It will also maximize the conversion rate by providing sorely-needed social proof.

In other words, don’t waste your time doing fancy funneling tactics with Adwords or Facebook to get sales — it’s just not necessary.

Amazon’s search traffic is what we’re after.

Ok, so with that in mind, here are the methods you can use to promote your ebook:

Promo Method A – Free Book Submission Sites

Submit your book to free ebook directories like Contentmo, FreeBooks and AwesomeGang for the 5 days your title is available for free.

These free promo days can be scheduled on the “KDP select info” page of your book (note that this can only be repeated every 3rd month, so you’ll have to make good use of these 5 days).

You can submit your book to the directories yourself, but it’s quite a chore.

Alternatively, you can buy a cheap Fiverr gig to have this handled by someone else.

If you have a bigger budget, there are also some useful ones that’ll get your book promoted to huge email lists full of readers.

Should you get a good number of downloads during the free promo period (1000+), this may net you a handful of reviews.

To maximize the chances of this happening, you should put a short message in the middle and at the end of your ebook.

Something like:

“Dear reader,

If you enjoyed the book, please consider leaving a short review. I would really appreciate it.

Thank you,
(Your name or penname)”.

Promo Method B – Email List

how to build an email list from scratch

The best long-term strategy for book promotion (but also the most time-consuming) is to grow an email list of loyal readers.

If you cultivate a good relationship with your subscriber base, you can promote your new releases and re-market older ones.

To begin, build a simple landing page where you give away some free ebooks (or other cool stuff) in exchange for people’s email addresses.

In order to grow your list quickly, promote the landing page on established social media channels (if you have any) and/or through paid ads on Facebook, Bing etc.

You can also put the link to it inside all of your ebooks.

Between the ToC and the first page of the book, include a page with a short call to action.

It should tell those who are interested to sign up to your list, and they’ll get one or more free reads.

When you release a new book, inform your list of the free promo period, and ask them to check out your book and leave honest reviews.

Once the promo period is over, send a follow-up email to politely remind them to submit their reviews.

The email list method works best if you build a separate one for each niche.

This way, people know what to expect, and you can grow a dedicated audience that is hungry for more.

Promo Method C – Established Audience

Reach out to an existing audience from one of your (or a friend’s) blogs or social media accounts.

Encourage them to read and rate your new ebook.

If you have an audience in a niche that’s relevant to your book, you can inform them of the free download that’s available for a limited time.

Once again, ask these people to leave honest reviews, and add that you would really appreciate them taking the time to do so.

If you’ve given enough value and built relationships with them beforehand, some of them will do it just to help you out.

How Many Reviews Do Your Ebook Need To Sell?

As you can probably guess, the amount of social proof needed for a book to rank and sell on Amazon varies greatly.

It mainly depends on the following factors:

The keyword competition: If the front page is filled with books similar to yours with 100+ ratings, you won’t convince many people with a measly 5.

The level of authority needed in the niche: People may buy a book about growing strawberries without hesitating. However, they’ll need some reassurance before they’ll take your advice on trading the forex market.

The price point of your book: In certain niches, especially technical ones, you can get away with pricing your ebook higher than $2.99. However, this will most likely require a higher amount of social proof as well.

The amount of saturation in the category/niche: If you’ve targeted a market that has very few relevant books ranked, people don’t have a lot to choose from. In these cases, your book can sell well with just a handful of reviews.

With that being said, I know you probably want some numbers to shoot for.

Don’t worry, I got you:

For most niches with moderate-to-low competition, a great range to hit is between 10-20 reviews in the first month.

However, should you fall a bit short of that, you’ll probably still get some sales here and there (provided your book is of good quality and you picked a good keyword).

kindle audiobooks and paperback sales

Step 7: Paperbacks & Audiobooks

Many publishers, especially those educated by outdated online courses, make the mistake of not converting their ebooks to paperback and audio formats.

And it’s a BIG mistake.

Over 70% of my royalties from self publishing actually come from paperback and audio sales.

Do you really want to leave that kind of money on the table?

Also, since you’ve already paid for the manuscript, there are very few additional costs involved when creating the print and audio versions.

What You Need To Make A Paperback Book

createspace earnings

On the KDP platform, making a paperback book out of your ebook is pretty straightforward.

Also, most of the details are automatically copied anyway.

So, I won’t waste your time by outlining every single step here.

However, there are certain things you need to have sorted before starting the process:

A. Convert your ebook file to a paperback-friendly format

After you’ve chosen a page size in the paperback setup (I recommend 5×8 for 15k-25k words), you need to convert your book’s Word file to match it.

The first step is to download a 5×8 template from this page, so you don’t have to manually set the proportions in Word.

Then, there’s the formatting, page numbering and resizing of images and headings.

You could easily do this yourself, but it will take some time to get it all right.

If you want to leave this to someone else, you can outsource it on Fiverr or Upwork.

B. Convert your ebook cover to a paperback cover

For everything to fit, you’ll need to resize the front cover, as well as adding a back cover and spine.

If you’re Photoshop-savvy and can spare the hours, you can probably do this yourself.

Should you want to save some time, though, I recommend ordering from this guy.

He usually finishes it in under 24 hours, and, as you can see, the service is dirt cheap.

C. Setting the right price point

Most people are willing to pay more for a real book they can hold in their hands than a digital one.

In my experience, the best price range for paperback books of around 20k words is between $12-$14.

As long as you don’t choose a colored interior, this price range will net you around $5-$6 in profit for every paperback sold.

If you get an OK number of daily sales alongside the ebook and audiobook versions, this quickly adds up to be a nice extra income stream — even if you just have a handful of popular books.

create audio book for free

How To Turn Your Book Into An Audiobook

Creating an audiobook and getting it onto the Audible marketplace can be done quite easily.

And you should definitely do it.

After all, audio books are more popular than ever — there’s a lot of money to be made from them right now.

To create your audiobook, use the Amazon-owned ACX platform, which connects publishers and voiceover artists.

The signup process is simple — if you’re in the US, UK or Canada, just use the same info you gave for your KDP account.

If you’re outside these areas, however, you are technically not allowed into the ACX program (at least for now).

Still, many people from all over the world have managed to create ACX accounts by:

– Using a mailing address located in one of the accepted countries countries (from mail forwarding companies, for example).

– And a Payoneer account’s info in place of the regular banking details.

Just be warned that, even though this has worked for some time (and still works today) the ACX staff may start closing these foreign-made accounts later down the line.

No one really knows.

For now, though, you can give it a go if you want.

After you’ve made an account on ACX, you can post a new audiobook project to the platform by:

A. Clicking “add your book”
B. Searching for your title
C. Selecting, “this is my book”

Once you’ve filled in all the details and uploaded a short audition script, artists can submit their recordings for your consideration.

Royalty Share VS Upfront Payment

how to promote to email list

If you want to create your audiobook for free, you can select the royalty share option.

Instead of paying the voice talent a flat fee for each hour of produced audio, this will split the royalties 50-50 between them and you.

Considering that the most royalty you can get from retail sales is 40% (with ACX-exclusive distribution), such a split is pretty rough.

Still, it’s completely free to set up, while still giving you passive income you otherwise wouldn’t have.

So, even if you don’t have the budget for paying voiceover talent, there’s no reason not to create audio versions of your books.

The Best Choice

If you do have the budget for it, I strongly suggest that you pay upfront, as you’ll get double the income from each sale.

I’ve found that between $75-$100 per finished hour (PFH) is sufficient to get good narrators.

In that case, a typical 1.5-hour audiobook (about 15k words) will cost you between $150-$200 to make.

Unless you’re really unsure about the profitability of the audiobook, this will be worth it more often than not.

When starting out, I did royalty shares on two of my most popular audio books to date, thinking I was saving money at the time.

As a result, I ended up losing out on thousands of dollars in the long run.

So, whenever you can, choose the “pay up front” option.

You can thank me later.

Audio Book Promotion

call to action copy

Once your audio book is completed, you can promote it with the promo codes that ACX gives to you.

Thankfully, they are not so strict with reviews on Audible as they are on Amazon (for now, at least).

So, you can give these codes to your email list, Facebook groups, and even friends and family, without worrying.

All in all, ACX is a terrific platform to use in order to squeeze even more money out of your manuscripts.

If you keep at it, you may even find that your audiobooks generate more income than both your ebooks and paperbacks.

self publishing for beginners

Beginner’s Guide To Kindle Publishing — Complete!

Now you’ve learned how to do Amazon Kindle publishing the right way.

As long as you do proper keyword research and put in the work, you can potentially make hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every month from this.

It’s actually one of the most passive income streams I have right now, besides a few of my smaller, evergreen, niche blogs.

In fact, the lion’s share of my royalties come from books I published almost 2 years ago.

I put in the initial effort to create and rank some high-quality books for keywords I found with KDSPY.

Since then, Amazon’s search traffic has done all the work for me.

kindle publishing earnings

Pretty sweet, right?

So, the bottom line is this:

If you want to set up multiple streams of income online, self publishing is one you don’t want to miss out on.

As long as you follow the steps we’ve gone over here, and put in the work, you’ll be making some nice extra income in no time.


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