When anyone says they want to self-publish a book, they always mention Amazon KDP. This is common because KDP is very popular AND many shoppers use Amazon for buying books (as well as many other things). So it makes sense for them to want to publish there. Well, from someone who doesn’t know their options.
When a popular aggregate like KDP is all they see and know, it seems like the best path for their publishing journey. I get this all the time. People will talk to me about wanting to publish, which is natural since I’m an author and the creator of the Self-Publish Program, and they always bring up KDP. It’s usually the second or third thing they say after exclaiming, “I’ve always wanted to publish a book!”
This makes me smile, but it also makes me want to give them my 2 cents just to help them make the right choice.
Don’t get me wrong, KDP can be a great choice! I’m not knocking down this option. However, if they had a little more knowledge, they might find another Print on Demand company that will work better for them.
As a publishing coach, I teach about the many options that are available for indie authors. I will suggest that some explicitly use KDP, but only when it supports their particular book goals.
Every printer is unique and supports each author in different ways. You should choose one that will help you reach your book goals just as you would choose a business partner.
Put your needs first, then find someone who will help you succeed. This is the coolest part about self-publishing. You get to be selfish and make decisions that will meet all of your dreams and expectations.
To help you make the right decision, I’ll cover some of the pros and cons of KDP.
First, just so we’re clear, KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. And just so you know, you can publish on Kindle as an ebook but also in other print formats: paperback and hardcover.
I do tend to suggest this option for authors who simply have a dream of getting published and want the easiest path to make it happen. KDP is very easy to use and they have a ton of resources to help you. But, with that, it can feel somewhat overwhelming since there are a ton of resources. It can sometimes be crippling.
In the Self-Publish Program, I provide tutorials to help streamline the process using FREE resources that help make your book look professional. You don’t have to use Word, as they really lean into. You’ll notice there are a lot of Word templates and Word formatting instructions on Amazon. But I think there are easier ways to format your book.
If you go directly to Amazon to publish your book, they push your book higher in searches making it easier for consumers to find.
Amazon hasn’t announced this, but many others say they’ve noticed this is how Amazon has worked when publishing with them directly. At least it’s important to note so you can be aware.
With Amazon, if your book is published with them explicitly, you’ll have more options to use their marketing tools like discounts, free Ebook options, and Kindle Unlimited.
Marketing tools like these are really useful when doing promotions. I haven’t found another printing company that has marketing tools like these and they really can draw attention to your book.
Who doesn’t like free? Amazon doesn’t charge you to use their publishing service, and in return, you will get a royalty from each sale. Pretty nice, especially if you don’t have extra money to spend.
I know what it’s like to not have the money to support this dream so it is important to me to tell people how to become an author on a budget.
Every module in the Self-Publish Program shows you how to complete each publishing step without spending money, just so you know all your options to work with a budget.
Amazon offers a royalty fee of 40% for expanded distribution books, 60% for Amazon direct distribution, and 70% or 30% for eBooks. It’s pretty clear how much you will make per book but you don’t have the flexibility to change it much. There’s really a limited number of options here. Some other Print on Demand companies allow you to choose the wholesale discount for retailers between a given range.
I like having the power to choose and make adjustments per book. So this lack of choice is a negative for me in most cases.
Since they only allow hardcover options for books with 72 pages or more, this limits those of us who LOVE publishing children’s books. Paperback is fine too, in fact, all of mine are paperback, but I’d like to include an option for hardcover and can’t do that with Amazon KDP. The most pages I have published for a children’s book is 52. 20 additional pages is ALOT to add to a picture book.
From personal experience, Barnes & Noble doesn’t have access to Amazon’s wide distribution channel. So the books of mine that have been published with KDP directly, cannot be ordered and placed into Barnes&Noble. 🙁 I don’t know what other retailers can’t access Amazon KDP distribution, but Barnes&Noble is pretty big, and you’d want to make sure they can carry your book if they want it.
This one is the biggest CON. I LOVE being able to presale my books to help build hype and skyrocket rankings, but unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t carry this option when you use them directly.
If you use another Print on Demand company that distributes to Amazon with a pre-sale option, they will allow customers to pre-order.
So its clear KDP has the power to set up presales in their system, but won’t let their own publishers have this option. It’s frustrating to say the least.
So now that you know my pros and cons list, I hope you feel more prepared to make a choice that will benefit you and your book goals.
You can always check out the Self-Publish Program if you want more help in publishing your book.
And if you haven’t finished writing your book yet, join the FREE Writing Program where you’ll also get access to a FaceBook group for writing accountability.
Good luck, future author!
Remember, you are the author of your life story. How will you write your next chapter of life?
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Besides being a cookie connoisseur, I am a wife, mom of 2 and author of 7. Through my passion of teaching, I created the Self-Publish Program where I help busy women professionally self-publish the book of their dreams on a budget. Follow for more tips!