You might be asking this very question, is Amazon KDP worth it? Let me tell you from my own experience when I put my books on Amazon.
Selling From Your Website
Emily was completely certain that Amazon KDP was not right for her. So, she decided to put it on her own website and sell her books from there. It was a completely terrible decision.
And that's one of the reasons in today's article we're going to discuss Is Amazon KDP Worth It? The thing is that Emily is an illustrator. She had been putting together children's books or at least doing the drawings for them.
In order to put it together into a single book that children would be able to read. They were books on fairies in this particular case. Emily had a desire to sell as many copies of the book as she wanted to.
But she had heard that KDP may not be the right place for her. So, she decided she would go a different route which would be putting them on her website instead. But she did not realize some of the challenges she was going to be facing when going that particular route.
Because she had heard about other people who had been selling their books on their websites and doing well. After all, she wouldn't have to share any of the royalties. Or the profits that would be coming from the books based on the sales.
What she wanted was to get these illustrations that she had done. Because she's an amazing artist, I'd seen her artwork and it was top-notch. She wanted to get it out there into the world so that other people could also enjoy the value.
And at the same time, possibly earn a side income. That was the goal that she was looking for. But she began to think that maybe she didn't have the skills necessary to do it from her website.
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It was at this point that she had put the book together. But then the first question she faced was what formats am I going to need? She could put it into a PDF.
But if she wanted a paperback version, how exactly was she going to sell that from her website? In addition, what about if people wanted to read it on their Kobo devices or their Kindle devices? How exactly would they read the books?
This started posing a whole series of questions. So that was a little bit of a challenge that she was facing just in terms of that. Even after she decided “Okay, what if I just have the PDF version on my website?”
She had a second one and that was trying to sell from her website. You need a payment gateway where it will accept people's credit cards and information like that. She would need some way to keep track of the contacts.
To keep track of what people ordered and when they placed the orders. Also, all of the tax information and the ramifications of that would be coming through her personal website. She also needed to understand how to set up a sales page.
What about the traffic? Where exactly were all these people coming from? Those who would come to our website and then trust her.
Somebody who they haven't heard of before to give credit card information to her. This was a huge challenge that she was facing on multiple things. And this is one of the reasons Emily decided to post the question to me on Quora where I answer a lot of questions for people in her same situation.
Getting Started On Amazon KDP
We were discussing this issue of some of the challenges both in terms of how exactly she's going to get traffic and these other things. I was suggesting to her don't go this route. You should go with Amazon KDP instead at least as a starting point for this.
Because Amazon KDP or Kindle Direct Publishing takes care of almost all of the things that you would need. So, the first thing she did was she downloaded a copy of my absolutely free Self-Publishing Secrets Checklist.
And as she was working through the steps of that, she realized “Wait for a second here, I don't have to think about setting up a sales page since it's already in place on Amazon.” She could also see that on Amazon, people had already established their credit cards.
They trust Amazon so it's not a huge risk for them to buy her book off of Amazon when it would get posted onto Amazon. She realized that maybe that would be the correct route. We still had the formatting question.
So, she picked up a copy of my book formatting course on how to do it. It’s a Formatting Made Easy course where it goes through the exact steps and shows you how to format it. Where we go back and forth and I guarantee 100% you will get your book formatted one way or the other.
I sometimes even take students’ books and directly put them into Jutoh. To make sure that the books get formatted properly. But we go back and forth to ensure 100% guaranteed you'll get your book formatted.
If you're willing to put in the time necessary to do it, we go through easy steps. Getting the book formatted into the different versions. On Amazon KDP, you're going to need a PDF version for your paperback.
Emily is going to need an EPUB version for her Kindle. In the old days, you needed a Mobi format. But now you can use EPUB which you also can use then on Kobo and Apple. And on all of the other platforms where you're going to be using your book.
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Whether it's Publish Drive or Draft2Digital, you have lots of options. You're going to be able to do the hardback version which would also be in the same PDF. We can use that on Lulu or you can try the all-new Beta that they're doing with Amazon KDP.
When they're dealing with their books there in terms of putting your hardback onto that one. I personally have not tested that out yet. But I know Lulu works fantastic for this and the same goes if you're using IngramSpark.
But Amazon KDP is a fantastic place to start. Because we have the absolute largest group of people. And I'm telling you on Quora specifically, it's the number one question that people ask me on nearly a daily basis.
The question is how do I get started on Amazon KDP? Is Amazon KDP right for me? Is Amazon KDP worth it? These are the sorts of questions that were asked.
Along the lines of how exactly can I progress through these steps and do it on my website? The answer is that this is not a good idea.
Fortunately, for her, since we did manage to get her through the course and get her books into the right formats, she's then able to take those and put them on our website.
And then you're using some different solutions as a payment gateway there. But at the same time, it’s why we also throw them onto Amazon KDP. The only thing she had to remember was that if she's on a KDP Select, she can't sell eBook copies on her own webpage.
Because then that would violate that agreement. She decided not to go that route so that she would have the flexibility of going with both. So, she did it, she took the plunge and she decided to sell it on Amazon and her website.
Driving A Lot More Traffic
Thank goodness for the formatting course. Because then she was able to get it in the formats that she needed. For both locations to solve that.
She used SendOwl as the payment gateway which is one that I would recommend. I don't have an affiliate link with these people. I use ThriveCart but you will pay $700 to get lifetime usage of their payment gateway.
It is best if you have the resources. When your books are earning thousands of dollars a month. Then it makes it a lot easier to make that decision.
But at least in the beginning, $10 a month with SendOwl. And you're completely set as a payment gateway on your website if you wish to sell books directly. That's definitely an option. So, she did manage to get her book up on Amazon. She got her cover there. Since she's an illustrator, she's able to do it herself.
She got it in different formats both the paperback and the ebook version. She also had it on her website using SendOwl which required an awful lot of effort. She's using a WordPress site but it takes time to learn this.
As some of my group coaching clients would also attest to, it's not super simple to get through that process. But it's worth the effort in the long run once you start seeing sales. So, what happened?
She hasn't been selling at both locations. But the answer is that the Amazon sales were 10 times as much as she had been making on her own personal website. The next issue that she'd be looking at would be adjusting her prices.
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It is something I discussed with many of my coaching clients. As we're looking at their particular positions, one of the things we find is we're charging too low prices for our books. And so, we want to make as much money as possible.
Her original reason for not even being on Amazon was that she didn't want to have to split the royalties. But she realized she was making 70%. She sells it for $2.99 on Amazon KDP.
Now, is Amazon KDP worth it? She’s making $2.99 versus her website where she may make 100%. But if you're not making sales, you have a serious problem.
That's because of the two main points I like to point out regularly. It's that you have traffic and conversions. Traffic is how many people are coming to your website.
Well, if you're a new author, it's not going to be that many people coming. Whereas on Amazon, people are looking if your title and subtitle have the keywords in there that they're looking for.
We're going to drive a lot more traffic. That's why Amazon KDP is by far the best route to go.
So, there are a lot of things that she was trying to figure out. That's one of the reasons I pointed out the Top 3 Reasons Why I'm Self-Publishing My Books. As opposed to looking at some of the other options which you can check out more about in my previous YouTube video.