Over the past year, I've made over $100,000 publishing Kindle e-books on Amazon. Many new authors, publishers and internet marketers have been taking advantage of the Amazon Kindle platform recently, since it's a very simple and lucrative way to make money online. With the rise of e-books now massively outselling physical paperback books, there's a new opportunity for people to start making money by self-publishing e-books. The great thing is, you don't have to be an established author, or find a publishing company, or even write your own books anymore. Amazon has made it EASY for anyone – and I mean ANYONE – to publish e-books and start making money on Kindle. This blog post will serve as a guide to breaking down exactly how you can get started publishing e-books and making money online.
How Making Money On Kindle Works
Getting started with making money on Kindle is fairly simple. You simply sign up for a free KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account. With your KDP account, you can easily add a new book to your bookshelf within minutes. You simply fill in the title of your book, author name, description, upload a cover, upload your e-book file, select your book price, and hit publish. KDP then reviews your book within 24 hours and will publish it, making it available for sale on Amazon around the world. Amazon then does most of the selling and marketing for you, while paying you a royalty of up to 70% for every sale. Pretty cool, right?
Of course, there is work you have to put in. You must come up with a book idea or niche. You must come up with a title for your book. You need to have a cover made for your book. You can either write the book yourself, or hire writers to do it for you. And of course, there are many ways to market your Kindle book, begin getting reviews, and optimizing your Kindle book for optimal sales. All of this is fairly simple to do and learn, and I'll walk you through most of it in this guide.
Let Me Give You An Example Of My Kindle Book…
Here's an example of one of my books that I personally wrote myself. It's called Life Mastery and it's a self-development book that goes into some of my best strategies that have helped me become successful today. It took me about two weeks to write this book, spending several hours per day. Since publishing it, it's made me thousands of dollars and continues to generate a couple hundred dollars per month of passive income. It's also helped me to build my blog, establish a deeper relationship with my audience, and has made me an authority in my market by being a published author. You can click on the image to enlarge it, or also view the books page on Amazon.
As you can see, this Life Mastery book is selling for $4.99 and has 35 reviews (most of which are five stars). If someone wants to buy this Kindle book, they would simply click the orange “buy now” button and they'd be automatically charged on their credit card. The e-book is then instantly delivered to them, which they can read on their computer or on their Kindle e-reader. At the same time, I immediately get paid for this sale and KDP will send me my royalty earnings via direct deposit to my bank account every month.
Amazon handles the marketing and promotion of your book. They host your book online and deliver it to your customers. They handle all of the payment processing. They deal with any potential refunds or customer support inquiries. They do most of the work for you. The more popular your book becomes (with sales, reviews, etc…) then the more they will market and promote your book on their website. They even have over 300 million credit cards in their system, so customers can easily buy your books at the click of a button.
How much do I get paid every sale? KDP has two royalty options: 35% and 70%. Your book qualifies for 70% royalties if you're pricing it anywhere from $2.99 to $9.99. Anything else from $0.99 to $200 fits into the 35% royalty window. For my Life Mastery book above, I make $3.49 for every sale. Other Kindle books that I have sell for $2.99 and will make me $2.09 per sale. I have some Kindle books that make me $50/month, while others up to $1000/month, depending on how popular the book is and the market for it. While that might not sound like much, here's the crazy part: I have published over 100+ Kindle books this year and 99% of them I didn't even write myself! How did I do it? Keep reading to find out. 🙂
1. Finding A Profitable Niche Or Category For Your Kindle E-Book
One of the biggest things that I've found that determines the success of one Kindle book over another, is the niche or market that book is in. There are some book ideas that you might come up with that there simply isn't be a big enough market for. At the same time, you might come up with a book idea that there is a big market for, but the competition is too high so it'd be difficult to get your book noticed.
The secret to finding a PROFITABLE niche is finding one that has a decent-sized market, while having low competition. I will go into how I look analyze markets and niches in a bit, before that it's important to first come up with a list of potential book ideas. I published a blog post recently called My List Of 141+ Profitable Kindle Book Niches that is filled with a lot of great ideas to create a Kindle book on. The way that I come up with a list of potential Kindle book ideas is simply by searching websites like Amazon.com, EzineArticles.com, and my local bookstore just to see what markets are popular. Sometimes I might even just think of my own personal life ask myself some questions like, “What are some of the biggest challenges or problems I've had in my life that others might have?” or “What are some of the challenges that my friends and family members have had?” I then take out a pen and paper and write down at least 10 of these ideas.
Alternatively, you could also think of fiction ideas as well. If you want to create a fiction book, you could brainstorm some plot ideas or topics you could write on (or hire someone to write on) in romance, mystery, thriller, or even a children's book! Fiction is the largest market currently on Amazon, but I primarily publish non-fiction books since I've found them to be much easier to create and market.
Your list could look something like this:
Getting Rid Of Stress
How To Write A Business Plan
You get the idea? This is just an example of a list that I came up with off the top of my head.
With this list, you next want to determine which ones would be the most profitable (remember: large market, low competition) so that you could create your book on. I'll go into that next…
2. Analyzing The Profitability Of Your Kindle Book Ideas
The first thing that you want to do is see if there is actually a market on Amazon for your book idea. This is a big mistake most people make, as they often just create a Kindle book without doing the proper market research. I've made mistakes in the past of doing this – publishing a Kindle book without doing the research, to later find out there is no market for it and it generates zero sales. This is one of the most important steps, so it's not to be over-looked.
One of the ways I do this is by simply typing in the keyword for the book idea in the search bar on Amazon.com. You also want to make sure to change the selection from “All” to “Kindle Store” when doing the research, as you don't want to be looking at the results of all the other products on Amazon, only Kindle. When doing this, often times a drop-down will show up where Amazon will give you suggestions for what to type in. Check out the image below to see what I mean.
Do you see that Amazon is giving me a list of suggestions when I type in the word “Acne”? Some of the suggestions are: acne, acne treatment, acne cure, acne diet, acne scars, acne remedies, etc…
What does this mean? This means that these are all words or phrases that people are TYPING IN on Amazon. This basically will verify to us that there is a market for this book idea, “Acne”, and that there is potential to make money from this niche. In fact, it's giving me more ideas for a book, based on the suggestions as well. What if I were to create a book on a Acne Treatment or Acne Diet? Or, what about even creating a book on how to get rid of Acne Scars? Well, Amazon is telling us there's a market for it!
Next, you want to begin to analyze the COMPETITION of a niche or keyword. For each keyword that you type in and search for in the Kindle store, there will be a certain number of competing books. In the case of the “Acne” example, you can see from the image below that there are 433 other books for that keyword.
Now, that's not bad, especially since other niches like “weight loss” have tens of thousands competing books. But, if we narrow our search a little bit more and target something like “Acne Treatment”, you will see the number of competing books drop significantly.
For the keyword “Acne Treatment”, there are only 166 competing books. This makes it much easier for you to rank your book in the Amazon search, so that you can get at the top of the list of search results for the keywords “Acne Treatment”. The reason why you'd want your book to be able to be at the top of the list of search results, is simply because your book would then be in front of thousands of people that are searching for “Acne Treatment” everyday, which would produce you a lot of sales. If your book is nowhere to be found in the search results for “Acne Treatment” then your book likely won't get as many sales, as people won't be able to find it. Make sense?
When it comes to analyzing the competition of a niche, the number of other book results isn't the only factor that you want to look at. You also want to look at the quality of the books that are at the top of the list of results, to see if you'd have any chance of beating them for their position. I often look at the cover of the book, the title, number of reviews it has, the price, description, and it's Amazon bestseller rank. If the top book results for my niche show up and they all have a large number of reviews (20 or more), then I'd know right away that it'd be a bit difficult to out-rank them and beat them out, as I'd often have to get more reviews than them.
However, in the example above of “Acne Treatment”, you will see that the top 3 books have very few reviews. The first book has 10 reviews, the 2nd has 2 reviews, and the third has only 1. This is basically telling me that these books aren't yet well-established in this niche and that I could easily out-rank them if I got more reviews and market my Kindle book the right way. Overall, I would conclude that “Acne Treatment” would be a worthwhile niche to create a book on.
Now, this is just a basic explanation of how to analyze the profitability of a niche, but there is a few more factors you want to look at. I usually use a software for doing my research now, which makes things much faster and easier. I recommend a software called AK Elite, as it will basically do the keyword research for you once you pop your keywords into it. It also has a lot of other cool features, such as finding reviewers for your Kindle book and tracking your books ranking for your keyword. There are cheaper options as well, such as KD Suite and Kindle Samarai. All are good and have different features, but I find myself using AK Elite the most, since it's the most Mac friendly and I don't need to install additional software to run it.
3. Create A Title And Cover For Your Kindle E-Book
Once you've decided upon a niche for your Kindle book, the next step is to create a title and cover for your Kindle book. When it comes to creating a title, you want to make sure that you have the keyword for your niche in it. This will help to get your Kindle book noticed and ranked in Amazon for that keyword. So for example, here's some titles that I came up with for “Acne Treatment”.
Rapid Acne Treatment – Simple Steps To Cure Acne Fast
The Acne Treatment Guide – Proven, Step-By-Step Treatments To Get Rid Of Acne
Acne Treatment Secrets – 10 Proven Acne Remedies That The Doctors Don't Want You To Know
You want to make sure that your title is compelling, descriptive, has benefits in it, and really grabs attention. The more keywords you can have in the title, the better, as your book will show up in the search results more often. You can also look at the competing books and try to do something different as well, so your book will stand out.
Once you've come up with the title, you want to create the cover. You could either create the cover yourself if you know how to use Photoshop or are good with graphics, but I'd recommend to hire someone else to do it. There's cheap options of getting a cover made, or more expensive options. The cheapest option would be using a website like Fiverr. At Fiverr, if you search for “kindle cover”, you will see a ton of people that will create a Kindle book cover for you for only $5. You want to make sure you pick someone that has good feedback and has a good portfolio.
Alternatively, you could invest more in a more quality book cover by hiring a more professional designer. I've hired people on the WarriorForum in the Warriors For Hire section, and you could also use a website like KillerCovers. It will cost you a bit more, but investing in a quality cover can really make a big difference in the sales of your book and make it stand out from all the rest.
4. Write Your Kindle E-Book (Or Hire Someone To Do It For You)
The next step is to write your Kindle e-book, or to hire someone to do it for you. If you're a good writer and you enjoy writing, then I'd encourage you to write your own book. It's not as difficult as you think, and if you're planning on selling the book for $2.99 then it doesn't have to be hundreds of pages. Most of the Kindle books that I sell for $2.99 are anywhere from 20-40 pages. A 20-40 page Kindle book isn't difficult to write and could easily be done within a week. When it comes to writing a Kindle book on “Acne Treatment”, the customer won't care too much how long the book is – the only thing they care about are the acne treatments and whether or not it helps them. That's the beauty of publishing non-fiction books, is the audience doesn't make as big of a deal out of the length of the book as do fiction readers.
If you don't like to write or don't know how, then that's not a problem either. I've mentioned earlier that 99% of my Kindle books were created by writers that I hired. In the case of Acne Treatment, since I don't know too much about it and I'm not passionate enough about it to do the research, I'd likely hire someone to do it for me. There are many freelancer writers that you can hire that will write your book for you inexpensively and do all of the research to put it together. Some websites that you can find writers are places like Odesk, Elance, iWriter, WarriorForum in the Warriors For Hire section, and there's many others out there. There are writers that I personally use for my Kindle books that do a great job and write my books anywhere from $25-$50, which I prefer to keep them to myself and Kindle Money Mastery members as I don't want everyone to be using them, but if you dig around enough and find the right person you can get your books done for less than $50!
TIP: I will mention that you want your books to be high quality. Creating crappy books will only hurt you down the road as you'll get negative reviews and it can hurt your book sales. Sometimes it's worthwhile to invest a bit more in your book to ensure it's top-notch and will harvest positive reviews. Make sure that your book is well proof-read too!
Once you have your book written, you need to format it for Kindle. Kindle books require unique formatting before publishing, as it needs to look good in a Kindle e-reader. If you are good with Microsoft Word or Pages, you can do it yourself, but need to follow the Amazon Kindle Formatting Guidelines. I personally use the AK Elite Book Maker software for all of my books now, as I can easily format them within minutes and publish it in Kindle.
5. Publish Your Kindle E-Book On Amazon
Once you have your cover and Kindle book ready, you're ready to publish it on Amazon. All you have to do is sign-up for a KDP account and click on the Bookshelf. You then want to click “Add New Title” and then follow the instructions for your book.
On the next page, you'll need to fill in the book name, book contributors, book description, to verify your publishing rights, add categories and keywords for your book, upload your cover, and upload your Kindle ebook file. Everything is fairly straightforward. The main thing that I'd emphasize would be the book description. Most Kindle books on Amazon have horrible book descriptions, so you really want to spend time here to write up a really great one. KDP gives you 4000 characters, which is up to 700 words, so you want to use as much of it as you can.
Here's an example of my Life Mastery book description:
This book description uses all 4000 characters. To read the entire description, check out my book Life Mastery on Amazon.
I will also mention that with most of my books, I use a pen name. A pen name is essentially a made-up name that is common for authors to use. Mark Twain is a pen name, for example. I use a pen name simply because these are books that I didn't personally write, so I prefer not to keep my name behind them. I see myself more as a “publisher”, than the actual author of these books. In the case of my Life Mastery book, I use my own name behind it because I personally wrote it and am proud of it. So if you aren't comfortable using your own name, don't worry, just use a pen name or you can even put in initials, like “Stefan P.”
On the next page, KDP will ask you to verify your publishing territories and to choose your royalty.
As you can see, you can make your Kindle book available worldwide. This means people from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, all over Europe, Australia, Asia, South America – literally anyone and everyone can now purchase your Kindle book. Of course, the majority of your market will be the United States, but I still make significant money from sales around Europe and around the world.
As you can see, KDP allows you to set the price of your book and which royalty option you'd like to select. I set this book to be $2.99, and it will tell you how much you get paid every sale. It even shows you how much you will make on the other Kindle platforms around the world. To begin with, I usually price my book at $0.99 and the 35% royalty option, simply because I want to get as many people to buy and review my Kindle book as possible. The more people that buy and review your Kindle book, the higher the ranking will be for your book for your keyword and in the Amazon bestseller list. Once the book is ranked well and has a good number of reviews, I'll then change the price to $2.99 at the 70% royalty and start to see the money roll in.
Finally, you get to “Save and Publish” your book, in which case it will be live on Amazon and for sale within 24 hours!
6. Getting Amazon Reviews
Anyone that has purchased anything on Amazon before knows the importance of reviews. Reviews are one of the biggest factors that will determine whether or not someone will buy your Kindle book. If your book has zero reviews, or has some 1 or 2 star reviews, then people likely won't buy it. On the other hand, if the book has a decent number of 4 and 5 star reviews, then most people will likely buy it. People also usually compare books based on reviews. If they are searching for an Acne Treatment book, then people will likely buy the one that has the most reviews.
It's important to understand that there are two types of reviews: verified and unverified.
A verified review means someone actually bought or downloaded your Kindle book, then posted a review. If a review is verified, it will say “Amazon Verified Purchase” next to it. See the example below:
A review that is unverified means that someone did NOT purchase or download the book and left a review. All reviews for your Kindle book help, but verified reviews are more important and powerful. It is said that verified reviews can significantly help the ranking of your Kindle book in the Amazon search.
So how do you get high quality, 5 star Amazon Verified Reviews?
Amazon has some strict Review Guidelines that is important to read over, but one of the best ways that I've found is to simply give your book away. Give it away to as many people as possible. I'd encourage you to find groups on Facebook or communities that could benefit from your Kindle book and then offer to give it away to them for free. You could simply send them a PDF of the book, or gift it to them on your Amazon book page, simply by clicking “Give As A Gift” and send it to their email.
In the example of Acne Treatment, you'd want to find as many people with Acne as possible that you could give the book away to. You could simply search on Facebook and type in “Acne” and you'll find groups and pages that you could tell people about your book. If someone has acne and is looking for a solution to get rid of it, then why wouldn't they receive your book for free?
You could also join forums, such as Acne.org and tell people about it in there. You could also find people on Twitter and tweet people about your book. There are also a ton of Facebook groups of other authors and Kindle readers that you could send your book to, and many of them will be willing to receive your book and review it.
Other resources I'd recommend would be to use the AK Elite Book Club, which requires a one-time fee to join, but you can get other members to buy and review your book fairly easily. In my Kindle Money Mastery program, I have a ton of other strategies and methods that I've used to get reviews for my Kindle books easily, including an exclusive Facebook group of members that can help promote and review your book.
TIP: Keep in mind, if your book sucks, you will get negative reviews for it. Simple as that. That's why you want to ensure it's high quality. I don't encourage “fake reviews”, so don't expect others to review your book if it's bad. If your book is good, people will naturally want to say good things about it.
6. Promoting And Marketing Your Kindle E-Book
There's a ton of strategies that you can use to promote and market your Kindle e-book, most of which are free. Here are a few below:
1. KDP Select Program
When you publish your book, you get an option to enroll your book in the KDP Select Program. KDP Select is a program that Amazon offers that allows you to take advantage of a Free Promotion for your Kindle book, as well as the Kindle Countdown Deals. By enrolling your book in KDP Select, it becomes exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, meaning you can't publish your Kindle book anywhere else on the internet during that period of time. Despite this, I find it still to be very beneficial as it can help you rank your Kindle book fairly easily and quickly.
With KDP Select, you can offer your book for Free for a total of 5 days. You could split those 5 days up over the 3 months, or just do it all at once – it's up to you. When you do run the Free Promotion, Amazon will list your book in the Free Books section of their website and help you promote your book. I've had Kindle books get over 10,000 downloads during 5 days, which has significantly boosted the rankings of my book in a short period of time. I've also had Kindle books that have received a couple hundred downloads, so it also depends on the niche.
2. Kindle Countdown Deals
Kindle Countdown Deals allows you to offer a discount on your Kindle book for a period of time. For example, if your Kindle book is for sale at $2.99, you could offer it for $1.99 for a few days. This can help your book get noticed and generate sales. Your Kindle book must be in KDP Select to take advantage of this, which you can do so in your Bookshelf.
3. Submitting Your Kindle Book To Websites
There are a ton of websites out there that you can submit your Kindle book to for free. I usually submit my Kindle book to up to 40 websites during my KDP Select Free promotion to get extra downloads for it, while also submitting my book to websites like GoodReads, LibraryThing and Shelfari. The more exposure you can get for your book, the better.
4. Promoting Your Book On Social Media
I also use Facebook and Twitter to heavily promote my Kindle books. I will do so throughout my free promotion primarily, but also while it's paid. There are a ton of Facebook groups that you can join of Kindle readers that are looking to download new Kindle books. You can use many of these Facebook groups to get reviews for your book as well.
Here are just a few…
You can find many, many more just by searching for them on Facebook.
The same goes with Twitter. There are many people on Twitter that have large followings that will Tweet your Kindle book to their followers for free. Here are a few of them…
Many of these Twitter accounts have thousands of followers, and there's many more you can find just by searching on Twitter.
Also, you can find people on Fiverr that will do a lot of promotion of your Kindle book for you for only $5. Here's a few Fiverr gigs that you can use:
These are just a few strategies that you can use to start promoting and marketing your Kindle book.
7. 3 Additional Kindle Marketing Strategies
Finally, there are some additional marketing strategies for Kindle that I recommend.
1. Create a KDP Author Profile
Having an KDP Author Profile can really help boost sales and help people find out more about the author before purchasing. It also allows customers to find more books from you.
2. Create A Series Of Books
You want to create a series of books so that you can offer your customers more. If a customer likes your book, then they will likely buy others you have as well. In the case of Acne Treatment, you could create a book on Acne Diet, so that these two books could cross-promote each other and help you generate more sales for them.
3. Use The Inside Of Your Book
You want to use the inside of your Kindle book to help you promote your other Kindle books and make money as well. I usually have an excerpt of one of my other Kindle books inside of my Kindle book, with a link to it. This makes it easy for customers to buy your other books. I also will use the inside of my book to link to a squeeze page, which will offer something for free to my customers in exchange for their e-mail address. This can help you start building your customer list, so that you can promote additional books and products directly to their e-mail. I use LeadPages for my squeeze pages and Aweber for managing email addresses.
My Invitation To You…
I hope this guide has really helped you understand more about the process of Kindle publishing and making money on Kindle. While I tried to cover as much as I can in this guide, I've left a lot out simply because it would take me days to share everything that I know. I wanted to really cover the basics in this Kindle publishing guide, to help you get started and see how easy it is.
If you are looking for more, or are wanting to seriously pursue making money on Kindle, then I want to invite you to join my Kindle Money Mastery program.
Kindle Money Mastery is a step-by-step video training course that walks you through everything. In the program, you get to see me create a Kindle book from scratch, publish it, market it, and start making money from it. The program consists of over 30+ “over the shoulder” videos where you get to watch me do everything. I even share in the program exactly how much my Kindle book is making after 2 weeks, 1 month and 3 months. I leave nothing out and am 100% transparent in the program. I share the writers that I use for my Kindle books, my book cover designer, all of the websites and groups I use to promote my Kindle books, and even how to scale up this business by automating and outsourcing the entire process by using virtual assistants. This entire method reveals how I have been able to publish over 100+ Kindle books in less than a year.
To find out more about Kindle Money Mastery, click here.
I hope you enjoyed this Kindle publishing guide. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think, or if there's any questions that you have. Thanks for reading!