Self-publishing on Amazon: Pros and Cons
Have you been thinking about Amazon’s self-publishing, but you are not sure if it is right for you? Perhaps you are not sure if it will be worth it in terms of the money and income you are going to make.
Times are changing, and many of you are much aware that the current self-publishing model in opposition to the one that we come to await in the past has considerably transformed for the past five years or so. Formerly, those who used to admit to being self-published independent authors, they used to be denigrated and looked down upon. Today it is becoming more and more trendy, thanks to Amazon permitting self-publishing authors to share their works on their marketplace.
The big question is, why exactly would you self-publish on Amazon? Of course, there are a diversity of reasons, but the major one is a broad reach. Amazon has a wide range, and it’s also growing annually. It is sensible to partner with a significant platform for greater exposure to a large number of people. Discussed below are the pros and cons of self-publishing on Amazon.
Pros of Self-publishing in Amazon
Publisher Accessibility – You can publish your book on Amazon for free and get it live within two days. Kindle direct publishing platform is open to upload, free to use. It is reasonably intuitive and considering that you can access their free online course known as KDP jumpstart, which simplifies publishing on Amazon. Nevertheless, KDP is not the only place you can access the Amazon from; the other ones include aggregates such as Publish Drive, lulu.com, Draft2Digital, Ingram Spark, among many others.
High-profit Margins – In Amazon, as long as you price your books to $2.99 and above, you get a 70% Royal Margin. Amazon pays 70% of every sale they make, and that exchange for Amazon is doing all the heavy lifting. Spending less is another excellent benefit, as one does not have to get the books printed or buy any inventory upfront. When someone purchases the paperback version of your book, Amazon will print it on demand and send it out to the customer.
KDP Select Program – This is exclusivity on the Amazon Platform using the Kindle direct publishing platform. At first, it may seem you are starting to limit yourself; even so, the KDP select program does have benefits, and it includes you are having more of a payout, worldwide speaking. You are involved in a lending program, anytime someone borrows one of your books on Amazon’s platform, and they flip through it, each page read influences your best- seller rank.
Customer Accessibility – The millions of people on Amazon’s platform are a warm audience ready to buy your products. Selling on other websites, you may find who is not responsive enough, as you may find in Amazon, who already have their wallets open. They are ready to invest in the products available on Amazon’s platform. You do not have to deal with customer service or anything of the sort. Amazon handles everything from distribution, to customer service, to create the website and the sale page for you, and people trust Amazon with their credit cards.
One product page for three iterations – If you have published an eBook version, a print book version, and an audiobook version of a particular book, they will go into one product page. Through this, when your target audience accesses your product listing, they choose to select and pick what version they prefer. In Kindle Direct Publishing, they have kindle matchbooks where after one buys a print book version of your publication, they could also get the eBook version at a good discount if you choose to participate in the matchbook program.
Free Advertising for your Author Brand – To know you get free advertising with Kindle direct publishing or Amazon, even the aggregates, for the most part, there are exceptions for this rule, don’t charge you to upload. You do not have to pay a dime to get your author brand into an excellent market place. Whenever you feel not publishing on Amazon, consider putting your best version over onto Amazon and then take the rest and fulfill them through your website and have people redirected over there. You will get paid for the opportunity to be in front of your ideal audience, and from there, you can educate your audience about where they can find the rest of the content.
Cons of Self-publishing on Amazon
Customer Retention – this would happen with any third-party platform you would choose to publish on, where Amazon will retain every customer. It means whenever someone buys your book directly from Amazon, its Amazon’s customer, not your customer unless that customer makes an effort to go ahead and search you, find more of your books, or perhaps opts-in into your mailing list. To encourage this, when publishing on Amazon, always have a link to your giveaways like a free book like a free short story and all the fiction books that you publish. These short stories can be exchanged with the customer’s email address to build your email list.
The 35% Royalty they have on Ebooks Amazon pays you 35 cents of every dollar when it comes to your royalty payout. Generally, ‘The Amazon sweet spot’ is for ebooks under $2.99 or over $9.99.
Unclear Guidelines – Sellers in Amazon are always having their account suspended or banned or terminated due to the ambiguous guidelines. Cases of scammers in this business have significantly ruined for the entire bunch. Genuine authors usually get affected by the vetting procedure that Amazon puts in place, especially where scammers are gaming the system. This is why it is crucial not to publish on Amazon exclusively but to plan to build that Author brand beyond just Amazon.
Market saturation thus zero organic traffic – Publishing on Amazon is free and an easy thing to do. Hence, it is flooded with millions of books, making it hard to rank organically for your books. It is why it’s essential to put out high-quality books that people would want to read as it will make them want to read anything else you have put out when you build a brand through your email list and Facebook group to nurture your relationship with your buyers or customers who will keep paying you in the future. No matter what happens on Amazon’s account in the future, you will always have an excellent source of income as you will have your direct customers at hand and no rely on Amazon.
Amazon pays two months out – You have to wait two months to settle in Amazon as it can bring you cash flow issues in the beginning after you have invested in creating content. However, once you are over that initial hurdle, you will be okay since you will be paid every month. On the other hand, the Audible publishing platform pays you every thirty days.
Risk Vs. Reward – As with everything in life, there is a bit of risk with a bit of reward or a lot of risk for a lot of rewards. For those of you out there who have spent a lot of time and thousands of dollars on your self-published book, you are very aware that there is a bit of risk and may never make dime self-publishing on the Amazon platform. Unfortunately, in this business, there are less successful people than there are unsuccessful. There is a lot of risk versus reward, and it is an everchanging business as the risk change from one day to the next, as well as the rewards.
Scammers – Cases of falsified page reads to keyword stuffing, to fake reviews or swaps; these are loopholes that should be noted to be worked on. Like any other business, they’re always going to be one person who tries to ruin it or everybody; that one person who will try to game the system and try to take from you and your business. The audience that is purchasing from Amazon ends up being scammed, which is quite unfair.
Common Mistakes Self-Publishers Make
Self-publishing is hard and confusing but also immensely rewarding, and it’s a great feeling to see something you only created in your head, go out to print, and people are reading it. Many people are self-publishing for all sorts of different reasons, and a lot of people end up making the same mistakes. Shared below are the top common errors that self-publishers make:
Not hiring a structure or a general editor – the author often does not agree with the general editor is changing, and sometimes they may feel they are editing out all the good stuff. In self-publishing, you literally can do whatever you want; however, it is imperative to hire a general editor since what makes sense in your mind might not make sense yo everyone else.
Not hiring a line editor or a copy editor – to enhance the chances of your bookmaking it to Amazon, your book should be edited well enough. Hiring a copyeditor can be costly; however, there are cheaper alternatives to ensure the grammar is perfect.
Not Shelling out for a barcode or ISBN – Buying barcodes and ISBN can be expensive, and some authors don’t feel the need to buy one. However, if you let Amazon sign an ISBN to your book, they control some of your rights. You never know, your books can become popular, and if that’s the case, you need to have an ISBN, and that’s one of the reasons you are self-publishing so that you can control the rights and do whatever you want. Besides, the barcodes make the book looks better, and buying one isn’t that hard.
Economizing on a cover design for your book – it is natural for most humans to judge a book by its cover. The cover of your book should be the first convincing part to get people to buy your book. If you are not a designer, pay for someone to do your book cover, and you will be glad you did in the end.
Inefficient Marketing – Adequate promotion or marketing for your book is required. You can do through social media handles such as youtube, Facebook, and other handles and create enticing strategies that will make people want to buy your book. You need a blog if you have a book, and people can buy your books through the links you provide on your blog. You can also promote through guest-posting on other blogs but check whether the blogger accepts guest-posts before you submit. You can also link your book in your author bio when you write or do anything in public. Send press releases to media outlets in your area that cover your subject, and finally, you will never go wrong by providing a service for free and plug your book at the end.
Assuming your book is not a real book because the book is self-published, you get full control of your work when you self-publish your book. As long as your book is out there, treat it like a real book, and you will see the profitable outcome.
Steps to follow to sell your self-published book
Online presence – you need to build an online presence and get newsletter subscribers and social media followers and friends. This audience will most likely be the first lot to grab a copy of your book once it’s published. Keep sharing new stuff on your blog or on a social media forum that you aspire to get more audience. People love seeing new stuff to read every day.
Friends who blog – Network with friends who blog and let the links to your book be visible everywhere; this important since it’s hard to do it all alone. Friends referring and recommending your book will be a massive boost for your sales. They can leave comments about the book on your blog or page to encourage more people to purchase it.
Get the word out there – Speaking about your book is a reliable way of selling your book. If you have short talks, you can find business networking groups or meetup groups and forums that you can give short lectures, and if you are convincing enough, most people would love to read your book. Follow the niche you are writing about, and you find more related meetings and forums where you can request a short talk. You can make a speech by making it sound less of a sales speech.
Promotions – Having giveaways for your readers will always boost your sales. You can have short audiobooks for potential buyers of a particular group and other incentives to keep your buyers coming back and acquiring new ones while at it. You can use numerous ways for promotions; the primary need is to give your book visibility, maintain your readers, and acquire new clientele.