No, we’re not talking about reselling a book you’ve just read – we’re talking about actually going through Amazon to publish your own pages without the daunting prospect of agents, publishers, and pitches. For writers looking to sell their books in a simpler way, Amazon’s independent publishing options are the perfect solution.
First, you’ll want to pick your platform. Amazon offers a few different options when it comes to publishing – via Kindle, print, or audio. Royalties are different depending on which you select, and each goes through a different system (Kindle Direct Publishing for the Kindle, CreateSpace for print, and ACX for audio.
Self-publishers, listen up – we’ve got all the details below!
Kindle. Using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), you can upload your book online for free. You’ll get up to 70% of the royalties to keep, and it usually gets onto the website within a few days of you submitting it through KDP. You’ll start by filling out the basics – title, description, keywords, categories, age range, book cover, and the file itself.
Then, you’ll choose pricing and check out some optional KDP Select benefits. KDP Select offers the chance for higher royalties and some promotional tools, so it’s worth checking out for some more visibility.
Print. Want to see your book in print, old-school style? CreateSpace and Amazon work together to make it easy – you’ll just upload a PDF of the book and a cover (they’ll provide specs), and it’ll be printed as copies are ordered. That eliminates the upfront cost of printing books – especially because you can’t predict how well it’ll sell.
When you set the price, Amazon will let you know a minimum price that it needs to be to cover book-printing costs (depends on the size of the book). It’s your call what the list price will be above that – Amazon takes the flat book-printing fee, and you take the rest as royalties.
Audio. ACX generally is a one-stop shop for anyone who wants to get involved in the audiobook biz, from authors to narrators to producers to publishers. For now, though, we’ll focus on what it does for authors.
First, you’ll find your book in its database and claim it through ACX. You’ll have to confirm you actually own the audio rights before starting the process. Then, it can take a few avenues – narrators and producers might audition to read it, you’ll search for those narrators yourself, or a publisher might ask to buy the rights to your book. You can also read the book yourself, if you like, with help from ACX.
These royalties can be up to 40% depending on the options you choose (giving Audible exclusive distribution rights will get you the full 40%). The cool thing about ACX is that you can post a profile of the book and explain the kind of narrator you’re looking for, or proactively look for narrators and producers on your own. Then you can work out a deal, start the production process (expect it to take 3-8 weeks), and review the finished product before it is distributed.
All are great options for writers looking to be featured on Amazon (it does have a worldwide reach and millions of users, after all), and each offers its own rewards and flexibility depending on what you’re looking for. Independent publishing is easier than ever, so check out these options!