How does self-publishing work on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing?
If you’ve written a book and dreamed of publishing it, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an Amazon self publishing service available to all Australian authors. Through KDP, Australian authors can self publish ebooks, paperback, and hardcover books.
In the following guide, we’ll focus on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and cover everything you need to know about getting started on Amazon KDP. Want to learn more? We’ll cover:
Kindle Direct Publishing, otherwise known as KDP, is Amazon’s self-publishing platform. KDP allows authors, including Australian and New Zealand authors, to publish their books online to Amazon’s massive market without having to deal with a traditional publisher.
While the dream of being traditionally published probably sits somewhere inside most authors, the reality of getting a traditional publishing deal is extremely difficult. According to WordsRated, the number of authors who land a traditional publishing contract is between 1-2%.
Considering that almost 11,000 books are published daily, the competition to land a traditional publishing deal is fierce.
Amazon KDP allows authors to create ebooks, paperback, and hardcover books without any upfront costs and fees. Along with no added costs, KDP also allows self-published authors the ability to retain the rights to their books, which is something a traditional publisher doesn’t offer.
If you’re an up-and-coming Australian author, KDP is a fantastic way to get your book out into the world and into the hands of potential readers. Do you want to know the best news? Except for manuscript setup costs such as editing, proofreading, formatting, and cover design, it won’t cost you a cent.
It’s easy to identify the two most significant benefits of Kindle Direct Publishing: zero setup fees and access to the book publishing market. But if you’re still considering the pros and cons of Amazon KDP, let’s go over a few more benefits of self publishing on KDP.
- Amazon KDP lets you publish ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers – When you self publish on KDP, you’ll have the option of choosing what format you self publish in. You can choose between ebooks, paperbacks, and hardcovers, or a combination of any of these options. Amazon even prints and ships the book for you, but we’ll talk more about Print On Demand (POD) later in the article.
- No Upfront Costs or Setup Fees – By allowing authors to self-publish on Amazon KDP for free, you get access to a huge market of potential readers, and Amazon takes its cut when you make a sale. We’ll talk more about the different royalties and costs associated with KDP in more detail further down.
- You Can Self Publish As Much As You Want – There’s no limit! However, Amazon is flooded with low-tier books, so professional books will stand out. How many books you self-publish on KDP is up to you. However, if you’re using any AI content, Amazon has introduced an AI disclaimer and a limit of 3 books per day.
- You Can Order Discounted Copies – Via your Author Dashboard. In the KDP dashboard, you can order proof copies or advanced reader copies (ARK), as well as wholesale copies, and you can even send discounted books to reviewers, friends, and family. You’re just responsible for printing and shipping costs.
- Access to Amazon Ranks – Just like every other traditionally published book on Amazon. Even when you self-publish on KDP, you get full access to sales ranks on Amazon Marketplace. You’ll have the same opportunity to succeed as every other author.
- Access to Amazon’s Global Book Marketplace – Love it or hate it, Amazon has a huge footprint in the global book market. When you self-publish your book on KDP, you’re getting full access to that marketplace and all of Amazon’s Global Territories.
So, is Kindle Direct Publishing free for Australian authors? Yes. Amazon KDP is 100% free. There are no setup fees, listing fees, or account fees when you self-publish your book.
Instead of charging self-published authors any fees to publish their books, Amazon instead takes a percentage of the sale price minus any printing or delivery costs.
You can learn more about Amazon KDP’s Printing Costs here.
After Amazon has deducted their printing costs and shipping costs, you, as the author, are paid a royalty. How much your royalty is will depend a lot on the price you set on your books. It’s important to remember that the price you set on your book will play a huge role in how it sells on the platform. If it’s priced too high, it won’t be competitive with other books. Too low, and you won’t make enough money.
There’s a very fine line to walk between underpricing and overpricing your book.
Ebook Royalties on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
When you self publish an ebook on KDP, you get paid royalties when someone buys or downloads your ebook through the platform. Along with your cut, Amazon also takes a cut for themselves.
You have the choice of two royalty options, 35% and 70%.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why wouldn’t everyone choose the 70% royalty? Well, there are certain requirements or conditions that go along with each royalty. Let’s check out the 70% royalty option first in more detail.
70% Royalty Option on Amazon KDP
Below are the criteria you must meet in order to qualify for the 70% royalty option:
- Pricing – The ebook needs to be priced between $2.99 and $9.99.
- Delivery Fee – You’ll need to pay a delivery fee of $0.15 per megabyte for ebooks sold between $2.99 and $9.99.
- Physical Copies – If you have a print copy of your ebook, the ebook must be priced at least 20% lower than the physical book price.
- Copyright – You must own all rights to the ebook. Public domain books are ineligible for the 70% royalty. Learn more about public domain books here.
- International Sales – Your ebook has to be enrolled in KDP Select and on sale in Japan, Brazil, Mexico, and India.
Below are the criteria you must meet in order to qualify for the 35% royalty option:
- Pricing – If the book is priced below $2.99 or above $9.99, it’s eligible for the 35% royalty option.
- Delivery Fee – There is no delivery fee associated with the 35% royalty.
- Ebook Size – The 35% royalty option makes sense for authors who are publishing large ebooks with big file sizes, such as cookbooks, photography books, textbooks, or picture books.
There are also list requirements for ebooks published in KDP.
Paperback Royalties on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
The royalty structure on Amazon KDP works a little differently for paperback books and hardcover books.
Kindle Direct Publishing offers authors a fixed 60% royalty rate on all paperbacks and hardcover books sold on Amazon marketplaces. From that 60% royalty, Amazon then takes off printing costs.
Your printing costs are determined by interior page count, the type of paper and ink, and which Amazon marketplace the book was purchased from. To get a better understanding of your printing costs, Amazon KDP has a printing cost calculator you can use before you publish your book.
A quick formula for this is: (Royalty Rate x List Price) – Printing Costs = Royalty.
We did an in-depth analysis of Print On Demand (POD) in a previous article, What Is Print On Demand for Authors? So, we’ll just do a quick look here for this article.
Self-publishing platforms, such as Amazon KDP and IngramSpark, offer self-published authors the opportunity to take advantage of Print On Demand services. When someone orders a copy of your paperback or hardcover book, the platform prints and ships them a copy.
You don’t have to worry about printing or shipping. The platforms take care of everything for you. Instead of having to work with a printer, order copies in bulk, and send them away, they take care of the whole process.
If you’re selling thousands of copies, you may want to consider offering your books to these platforms on consignment.
In 2021, Amazon KDP announced that was now operating printing facilities in Australia, which was great news for Australian self-published authors. Previously, books were printed overseas and shipped to Australia.
How does Kindle Direct Publishing printing in Australia benefit Australian self-published authors? Firstly, it doesn’t just benefit Australian authors. It also benefits any author who’s selling books via Amazon in Australia. Let’s check out some of the benefits of Amazon KDP having printing facilities in Australia:
- Faster Delivery – Rather than waiting an average of 10 days, Amazon now offers delivery of printed books in 2-3 days.
- Better Quality – By printing in Australia instead of overseas, Australian authors should see a marked improvement in the print quality of their books.
- Free Book Listing – Australian authors can now list their books on Amazon KDP free and order author copies via the platform, which will be printed and shipped from within Australia.
- Focus – Rather than using multiple platforms, Australian authors can now focus exclusively on Amazon KDP if they prefer.
KDP Select is an optional program offered to authors using Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s designed only for ebooks, and for Amazon customers, it’s called Kindle Unlimited.
Amazon has this to say about KDP Select: “KDP Select is a free Kindle book program that gives you the opportunity to reach more readers and earn more money at no additional cost. All authors and publishers, regardless of where they live, are eligible to enroll their Kindle books in KDP Select.”
If you’re thinking that reaching more customers and earning more sounds great, there are conditions. Let’s look at the pros and cons of KDP Select for authors:
The Benefits of KDP Select for Authors:
- In Brazil, Japan, India, and Mexico, KDP Select opens up the 70% royalty option instead of the 35% royalty.
- Enrolling in KDP Select allows you to access promotional and marketing tools such as Kindle Countdown Deal, 5 free days every 90 days, plus discount schedules.
- Access to the Kindle Unlimited program allows subscribed users to read your book for free in return for receiving a per-page read royalty. The per-page read royalty is calculated as a percentage of the total pool of people who have enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Personally, I don’t find it beneficial for children’s books as the page number is so low. Still, for fiction and non-fiction books, it may be more beneficial because if someone reads your entire book, it may be higher than your regular royalty.
The Negatives of KDP Select for Authors:
- You could end up getting less for your page read, depending on how much they read, the per-page read royalty, and how much you usually make from an ebook sale.
- Your ebook can only be exclusively listed on Amazon. You can’t have your ebook for sale on any other platforms if you have it enrolled in Kindle Select.
Signing up for Kindle Direct Publishing is easy and free. If you’re a self-published author, you really can’t afford not to self-publish on Amazon. Let’s check out how you sign up for a free KDP account:
First, head to the Amazon KDP website and hit the sign-up button.
Once you have filled in your basic account information, it’s time to start uploading your books. Also, you will need to submit some basic financial and tax information before you can sell any books on KDP.
Kindle Direct Publishing for Australian Authors – Conclusion
It’s important to remember that your book is an investment. When you spend any money on publishing your book, it’s an investment you want to get back unless your book is a passion project. Treat your book like the investment it is! It’s worth it.
There are a lot of programs that you can use for free if you have the time to learn them and the technical experience. However, there are also many companies, including Author Services Australia, which offer professional self-publishing services. We love helping author self-publish their books. Your dream of becoming an author is just a few clicks away.
Our friendly and professional team at Author Services Australia is happy to help! Need help with self-publishing, such as ghostwriting, editing, formatting, cover design, or manuscript uploading? Our experienced team is standing by!