How to Make Money on Amazon KDP

Are you tired of keeping your fantastic stories locked away on your computer? Do you want to share them with an audience? Well, you’re in luck – you don’t have to spend a lot of money or jump through hoops to make it happen. Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is here to help you!

With Amazon KDP, you can self-publish a book and potentially reach the 90 million+ Prime subscribers in the United States. It’s completely free and won’t cost you a dime if you choose to do everything yourself.   

Now, I understand it might be a bit overwhelming for beginners to try out Amazon KDP. That’s why I’ve created this step-by-step guide to help you. With this tutorial, your book could be available on Amazon, earning you money in no time.

What is Amazon KDP?

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s self-publishing platform. With KDP, you can publish both ebooks and print books using print-on-demand technology without any upfront costs. As an author, you have direct control over various aspects of the publishing process, including pricing, book design, and marketing.

You can upload your manuscripts in various formats, which are then converted into Kindle-compatible files or printed as paperback and hardback books.

KDP offers a competitive royalty model where authors can earn up to 70% on e-book sales under certain conditions, such as pricing the book between $2.99 and $9.99.

After you have published a book through KDP, it’ll be available for sale in the Amazon Kindle Store, which is accessible worldwide. This provides you with a vast market reach. 

How to Make Money on Amazon KDP: 13 Steps

Making money online with Amazon KDP is not as daunting as it sounds. Here are the steps I’ve tried to self-publish a book on Amazon: 

1. Find a Profitable Niche

To choose a niche for Amazon KDP, you have to follow your own interests and expertise. This can make your writing more enjoyable and establish you as an authority in your niche.

Of course, you can’t just consider your passion. Without a strong market demand, your book won’t sell. The best approach is to align your personal interests with a sizable audience. Here are the top five best-selling book genres on Amazon:

  • Literature & Fiction
  • Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Romance

On the other hand, here are five less competitive genres:

  • Nonfiction
  • Business & Money
  • Science
  • Professional & Technical
  • Crafts, Hobbies, and Home

If you want to make sure your niche is profitable, you have to spend some time on market research. Here are some tips for you:

  • Look at best-selling books in various categories to see what topics are currently popular and profitable. Use tools like Publisher Rocket or KDSPY to analyze market data and trends.
  • Use keyword research tools to find out how much search volume there is for different topics. Tools like Helium 10 or the keyword research features in Publisher Rocket can provide insights into the demand for specific niches.
  • Evaluate how many other books are in your chosen niche and how well they are selling. It’s important to choose a niche that is not overly saturated but still has enough demand to ensure sales.
  • Look for emerging trends that might offer new niche opportunities. Tools like Google Trends or insights from niche research videos on YouTube can help identify what is gaining popularity.

If a niche seems too broad or competitive, consider narrowing it down to a sub-niche. For example, instead of general fitness books, you might focus on yoga for beginners. This can help you stand out in a crowded market.

2. Brainstorm Ideas for Your Kindle Book

Now that you’ve chosen your niche and found a successful category, it’s time to come up with ideas for your first book!

To get started, consider topics you are passionate about or have expertise in. Writing about subjects you are familiar with can make the writing process more engaging and authentic.

You can jot down 10 potential ideas within your chosen niche. For example, if you’re exploring the world of books about cats, you may brainstorm topics about the relationships between cats and humans.

Here are a few example title ideas:

  • “Cat Psychology: A Guide to Understanding Your Cat”
  • “A Guide to a Cat-Friendly Living Space”
  • “10 Proven Ways to Strengthen Bonds between Children and Cats”
  • “How to Build a Strong Connection with Your Newly Adopted Feline Friend in 2 Weeks”

While these titles are just a starting point, they give you an idea of how to brainstorm. Let your thoughts flow freely on your chosen subject, and you’ll likely come up with topics that have the potential to do well.

Another effective technique is the “starbursting” method, which involves asking who, what, when, where, why, and how questions about a potential book idea.

Here are some other ways I have used to brainstorm ideas when writing my ebooks:

  • Check Manuscript Wish Lists (#MSWL): Explore the #MSWL hashtag on Twitter to see what agents and publishers are currently looking for.
  • Use Online Tools: Tools like MindMeister for mind mapping or Ideawake for idea management can facilitate the creative process.
  • Engage with Potential Readers: Interact with potential readers through forums, social media, or beta reader groups to get feedback on what they would like to read more about.
  • Follow Industry News and Blogs: Check out publishing industry news and blogs that discuss current trends and future predictions. Sites like Book Riot and other literary blogs often discuss what’s next in the literary world, which can inspire new ideas.

If you’re looking to write fiction, the best way is to read books within and outside your intended genre to spark ideas. Pay attention to themes, character types, and plot structures that resonate with readers and consider how you can offer a new twist.

3. Write an Effective Title for Your KDP Book

The title of your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) book is more important than you think. Despite the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” people do judge books based on their titles and overall impression, including the book description.

Your book title is your chance to grab potential readers’ attention and make them consider buying your book. A great book title is similar to an engaging blog post titles or email subject lines. When I decided to write my first book, I’ve spent hours learning from expert copywriters. Here’re are some tips for you:

  • Keep It Simple and Descriptive: Your title should be concise yet descriptive enough to give potential readers a clear idea of what your book is about. Avoid overly complex or obscure phrases that might confuse readers.
  • Use Keywords Strategically: Incorporate relevant keywords into your title to improve its visibility in search results. Keywords should be chosen based on what potential readers might use to find books on your topic.
  • Make It Memorable: A memorable title is easy to recall and can generate word-of-mouth publicity. Use strong, vivid language or alliteration to make the title stick in the reader’s mind.
  • Consider Your Audience: Tailor your title to appeal directly to your target audience. Consider the interests, age group, and preferences of your potential readers. For example, a book aimed at young adults might have a different tone and style in its title compared to one aimed at business professionals.

If your book covers a niche topic or you need to include additional keywords, consider using a subtitle. Subtitles can provide more context or detail about the content of the book, which can be particularly useful in non-fiction

Before finalizing your title, test it out. You can ask for feedback from potential readers or use A/B testing on social media to see which title garners more interest.

If you’re struggling, consider hiring a professional copywriter who specializes in book titles. They can offer a fresh perspective and suggest titles based on proven marketing strategies.

4. Outline and Write Your Book

Before start writing your book, you’ll need an outline. Your outline doesn’t have to be overly detailed. However, it should provide a general overview of the ideas and key points for each chapter.

With a solid title and outline in place, it’ll be much easier to fill in the details as you write. Writing a book can be challenging, but it’s better than staring at a blank page.

For my first successful book on Amazon, I actually followed a typical outline, including:

  • Introduction: Introduce the topic, outline the eBook’s purpose and goals, and engage the reader with a hook.
  • Background Information: Provide context and background on the topic, its history, evolution, and current relevance.
  • Main Body: Divide the content into chapters or sections, each covering different aspects of the topic. Use clear, concise language and include examples and visual aids.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points and provide a final thought or call to action.

With your outline in place, you can start writing the first draft. Focus on getting your ideas down without worrying about perfection. Write with a clear voice, avoid technical jargon, and incorporate visuals, statistics, and quotes where appropriate.

If you’re targeting the Kindle market (as we are), a book between 10,000 to 25,000 words is often a good range. However, the ideal length depends on your goals and overall strategy.

After completing the first draft, let it sit for a few days before reviewing and editing. This allows you to approach it with fresh eyes when you perform multiple rounds of edits, including developmental, copy, and proofreading, to polish the content and eliminate errors.

5. Proofread Your Work

Proofreading is the final stage before publication. Many authors who self-publish on Amazon rely on their own “self-editing” skills, but there’s a big issue with that.

Authors are often too close to their own work to spot mistakes. They may read what they intended to write, rather than what is actually on the page, leading to overlooked errors.

On the other hand, professional proofreaders possess specific skills and training that enable them to identify and correct errors that writers may not notice. This includes not only spelling and grammar but also issues with consistency, clarity, and style.

You can find professional proofreaders through various channels:

  • Freelance platforms: Websites like Upwork and Fiverr offer a wide range of freelancers with varying skills and rates. Proofreading costs can range from $0.01 to $0.1 per word, depending on the complexity of the text and the proofreader’s experience.
  • Proofreading agencies: Companies like Scribendi and ProofreadingPal provide comprehensive proofreading services with the advantage of handling large projects efficiently.

Before hiring, check the proofreader’s qualifications, read customer reviews, and request sample proofreads. This helps you gauge their quality of work and professionalism

After finalizing the proofreading, your manuscript should be ready for formatting and publication.

6. Insert an Offer to Collect Emails

If you want to increase your income from selling ebooks, consider inserting an offer to collect emails.

You can use your email list to promote new books, special offers, and events directly to an audience that is already interested in your work. This can lead to increased book sales and more consistent reader engagement.

However, Amazon prohibits links to web forms requesting customer information, such as email addresses, directly within the eBook content.

Since direct links for email collection are not allowed, you need to use indirect methods:

  • Author Page and Website: Include a link to your Amazon Author Page or your personal author website in the back matter of your eBook. On these pages, you can have email sign-up forms.
  • Bonus Content: Offer bonus content that readers can access by visiting a specific webpage. This page can host an email sign-up form. For example, you could include a note at the end of your eBook that readers can access a free short story or a chapter of your next book by visiting your website.

To motivate readers to sign up for your email list, you may offer them something of value:

  • Reader Magnets: Offer a free downloadable gift, such as a supplementary eBook, a guide, or exclusive content, as an incentive for readers to provide their email addresses. This is often referred to as a “reader magnet”.
  • Exclusive Updates: Promise early access to new books, exclusive discounts, or special editions only available to your email subscribers.

You may use tools like Google Analytics to keep track of how effective your strategies are at driving traffic to your email sign-up forms and adjust your approach based on what works best.

7. Get a Professional eBook Cover

Believe it or not, sometimes people judge books by their covers. That’s why it’s important to ensure your book cover looks appealing.

The good news is, you don’t have to become a Photoshop expert and design it yourself. There are many talented freelance graphic designers who can create a stunning eBook cover for you at a reasonable price.

In my case, I went to Upwork and hired a designer for $50 to create a fantastic cover for my ebook. You can also find professional designers on platforms like 99designs, Reedsy, and Fiverr.

After you have selected a designer, take a look at the covers of best-selling books and identify the ones you personally like. Share with them examples of styles you prefer. Give them information about your book’s content, target audience, and any specific imagery or themes you want the cover to convey.

If you want to save some money, you might also choose one of the following ways:

  • Use Online Design Tools: Select an online design tool like Canva, Snappa, or Adobe Spark that offers eBook cover templates and design elements. Choose a template that suits your genre and book content. Many design tools offer customizable templates that you can modify to fit your needs.
  • Purchase a Premade Cover: Look through galleries of premade covers from designers or websites that specialize in eBook covers. Many sites offer unique covers that are sold only once. Some premade covers allow for minor customizations, such as changing the title, author name, and possibly the color scheme.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure your final eBook cover is professional, visually appealing, and appropriate for your book’s genre and target audience. A well-designed cover can significantly impact your eBook’s success by attracting readers and encouraging sales.

8. Format Your Kindle eBook 

Formatting your book for Amazon KDP is easier than you might think. You might either use Microsoft Word or any eBook formatting software you prefer. 

Here’s a breakdown of how to structure your Amazon KDP eBook:

  • Title Page: Your book title should take center stage, with your name as the author listed below it.
  • Copyright Page: Format it as “Copyright © [Year] [Author Name]” and add “All rights reserved.”
  • Table of Contents: In Word, go to the References tab and select “Table of Contents.” Make sure to tick the “Use hyperlinks instead of page numbers” box for proper formatting and easy navigation.
  • Book Content: Organize your book into chapters, using the Heading 1 style from the Word Styles toolbar for each chapter title. Don’t forget to insert a page break after the final sentence in each chapter to ensure Amazon KDP presents your book’s chapters correctly.
  • Bonus Content: This section can include promotions for other books, an index, acknowledgments, and more, depending on your book’s content.

Keep in mind that Amazon KDP won’t recognize special fonts, headers, footers, tables, bullets, or text boxes. However, you can use italics, bolding, indentations, and headings without any issues.

Finally, when it comes to your cover image, make sure it has a minimum size of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side. For the best results, opt for images with dimensions of 2,560×1600 pixels, saved in JPEG or TIFF format.

If you’d rather not tackle formatting on your own, you can hire someone on Upwork for around $50 to make sure your book is perfectly formatted and ready to upload to Kindle. 

9. Write Your Book Description

Now, let’s head over to your KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account at to get your book ready for sale. But before uploading your manuscript, you have to write a great book description.

To write an effective Kindle eBook description on Amazon KDP, you should focus on creating a compelling and informative summary that entices potential readers to purchase your book. Here’re some tips to help you out:

  • Start with a Strong Hook: Your opening sentence or paragraph should immediately capture the reader’s interest. It could be a provocative question, a bold statement, or an intriguing premise that hints at the central conflict or theme of your book.
  • Highlight the Main Plot or Theme: Without giving away spoilers, provide a clear and concise overview of your book’s main plot or theme. Focus on what makes your book unique and interesting. If it’s fiction, tease the storyline and the stakes involved. For non-fiction, explain what the reader will learn and how the book will benefit them.
  • Use Engaging and Persuasive Language: Write in a lively and accessible style that reflects the tone of your book. Use strong adjectives and active verbs to create a vivid picture of what the reader can expect. Avoid jargon or overly complex language unless it’s appropriate for your target audience.
  • Incorporate Relevant Keywords: Strategically include keywords that potential readers might use to search for books like yours. This will help improve the visibility of your eBook in Amazon’s search results. 
  • Include a Call to Action: End your description with a strong call to action that encourages readers to purchase your book. This could be a direct invitation to “buy now” or a suggestion to “discover the secrets within” or “join the adventure.”

For a Kindle ebook, you have 4000 characters to work with. You can make your description easy to scan by breaking it up into short paragraphs. Use bullet points, bold text, and italics where appropriate to highlight key features or benefits. This will help readers quickly grasp the essence of your book.

10. Research Amazon Keywords

Keywords are the terms that potential readers use when searching for books on Amazon. Your chosen keywords can significantly impact the visibility and discoverability of your eBook on Amazon.

Amazon lets you choose up to 7 keywords or keyword phrases to help your book show up in search results. Of course, your book can also naturally appear in other relevant keyword searches based on its performance and other factors.

To get started, you can brainstorm a list of seed keywords related to your book’s content, genre, themes, and potential reader interests. Consider the main topics, settings, character types, plot themes, and any unique aspects of your book.

You can also use some tools to help you expand your keyword list and provide data on search volume and competition:

  • Helium 10: Offers tools like Cerebro for reverse ASIN lookups and a keyword processor to find high-ranking keywords.
  • Ahrefs: Known for its robust keyword tools, Ahrefs can show you the keywords that bring traffic to competing books and their search volumes.
  • Sonar: A free tool that provides a list of keywords based on Amazon search data, including search volume estimates.
  • Amazon’s Autocomplete Suggestions: Uses Amazon autocomplete to generate hundreds of relevant keywords. The Pro version provides more keywords and data on search volume. This feature can provide insight into what Amazon shoppers are looking for.

Long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases, can attract more qualified traffic and have less competition than more generic keywords. They often have better conversion rates because they are more specific to user intent.

You should also look at the keywords used by top-ranking books similar to yours when choosing keywords for your eBook. That way, your eBook might appear along with them.

11. Choose a Pricing Strategy

Amazon offers two royalty options for eBooks: 35% and 70%. To qualify for the 70% royalty, your eBook must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99. Pricing your eBook outside this range, either below $2.99 or above $9.99, will result in a 35% royalty rate.

The price of your eBook should reflect its market and genre. Fiction eBooks, especially genres like romance and mystery, often have lower price points due to higher volume sales, while nonfiction can command higher prices if the content offers unique value or specialized knowledge.

Here’s the pricing strategy that has worked well for my eBook:

  • Free – for the first 5 days.
  • $0.99 – for 3 to 7 days after your free promotion.
  • $2.99 – after your $0.99 period.

In the beginning, I offered my eBook for free because I wanted it to climb the ranks in Amazon’s categories. People love free gifts, so my eBook ended up getting almost a hundred downloads.

By the end of the first 5 days, I tried listing my book for $0.99. I was barely making money at $0.99, but it helped me confirm if people were willing to pay a price for my work. After getting some sales, I raised my book’s price to $2.99 to start making real profits.

12. Promote Your Book 

For your first book, the truth is: if you don’t promote it, you won’t make any sales. Nobody is closely watching your work unless you’re a celebrity.

Here are some ways to advertise your book:

  • KDP Select: Enroll your book in Kindle Direct Publishing Select for additional promotional benefits such as the Kindle Countdown Deal or the Free Book Promotion. 
  • Amazon Ads: Set up Amazon Advertising to promote your book directly on Amazon. Use targeted keywords to effectively reach potential readers.
  • Social Media: Share your book on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Use engaging posts and targeted ads to reach a broader audience.
  • Goodreads: Set up an author profile on Goodreads. Engage with readers, join book groups, and participate in discussions to build a following.
  • Reddit and Forums: Participate in discussions on platforms like Reddit, particularly in subreddits related to reading and self-publishing. Share insights and subtly promote your book.
  • Book Promotion Sites: Utilize book promotion websites like BookBub or Freebooksy to reach avid readers looking for new titles. These sites can significantly boost your book’s visibility during promotional periods.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list and send out newsletters about your book launches, promotions, and updates. Provide value in each email to keep your subscribers engaged.
  • Podcasts and Interviews: Appear on podcasts or conduct interviews related to your book’s topic. This can help you reach a new audience and establish credibility.

You can use tools like Amazon’s Author Central to track sales and gather insights into what works and what doesn’t.

The digital publishing industry is always changing. Stay informed about new marketing strategies and platforms that could benefit your book promotion efforts.

13. Get Reviews For Your Book

Amazon’s algorithm heavily relies on the quantity and quality of your book reviews when deciding whether to show up your books in search results. The more reviews and higher ratings you have, the more visible your book is.

Keep in mind that a “Verified Purchase” review holds more weight than one from a non-verified purchaser. This is why you should try to get as many reviews as possible during the free promotion period. This window is the ideal time to request reviews because it costs readers nothing. Even readers who download your book for free during this time are counted as verified purchasers.

Here are some strategies I have tried to get reviews for my ebook:

  • Create Special Links and Ask in Your Book: Include a direct link to the review section of your book’s Amazon page at the end of your eBook.
  • Use Free Book Review Sites: Utilize free book review sites such as The Bookbag, The Book Blogger List, and The Indie View to find potential reviewers.
  • Use Twitter: Search for book bloggers on Twitter using hashtags like #bookreviews, #bookblogger, and #bookreviewer. Click the “people” tab to view profiles associated with these hashtags and establish contact with them.
  • Goodreads Review Groups: Goodreads offers review groups where authors can post review requests. You can start with the “Goodreads Reviewers Group” and the “Authors and Reviewers Group.”
  • Paid Review Services: Consider using paid review services like Midwest Book Review, City Book Review, or Reedsy Discovery, which are known to provide reviews for self-published books.
  • Email Marketing: Build an email list and send out newsletters to your subscribers, asking them to review your book if they’ve read it.
  • Forums and Facebook Groups: Find forums and Facebook groups related to the subject of your book. Offer group members a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. Use relevant keywords to search for these groups on Facebook or in Google.
  • Submit to Review Sites: Submit your book to review sites like Foreword Reviews, which offers both magazine reviews and fee-for-review services through Clarion Reviews.

Amazon has a strict policy on reviews. Make sure you’re familiar with Amazon’s Community Guidelines to ensure that your methods for getting reviews are compliant.

Is Amazon KDP Worth It?

Yes, Amazon KDP is worth it, especially if you’re willing to invest time and resources into marketing. It’s suitable for authors who prefer having control over the publishing process, including the book’s content, cover, pricing, and marketing strategies.

With Amazon KDP, you can earn up to 70% in royalties on sales, which is significantly higher than the typical 10-15% offered by traditional publishers.

KDP also offers various promotional tools, such as the ability to run price promotions and enroll books in Kindle Unlimited, which can help increase visibility.

However, you must be prepared for the high competition. There are thousands of books being published every day on Amazon. This makes it challenging for new authors to stand out. You’ll have to invest heavily in Amazon ads to gain visibility and sales.

Unlike traditional publishing, KDP does not provide editorial services. So, you’ll also need to manage or outsource editing, formatting, and cover design yourself. This might make some new authors feel discouraged when they’re not familiar with these aspects.

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