Self-publishing has changed over the years. What worked back a few years ago is no longer relevant. Thus, you either learn to adapt or your book business won’t stand the test of times. Today, let’s talk about five essential aspects you need to know to succeed with Kindle publishing on Amazon in 2020 and 2021.
5 Secrets to Help You Succeed With Kindle Publishing (Watch Video)
What has changed on KDP?
One of the significant changes has been the level of competition. Long are the days where you could publish a 30-page book with crappy content and make money like there was no tomorrow. But don’t get me wrong, still, in some niches, you can get away with shorter books, such as non-fiction books for kids. However, you need to up your game for most other niches, or you won’t survive.
The publishing game has become more challenging because of the amount of competition. People try to outperform one another by producing better quality books resulting in a higher entry barrier. For this reason, you need to be more efficient and knowledgeable to succeed.
The other part is Amazon is getting smarter. I started back in 2016, and most publishers, including myself, used to get fake reviews for our books. I’m not saying I am proud of this, but I’m always transparent about what I did, contrary to most publishers out there. The fact is books need reviews, or otherwise, nobody will purchase them. But nowadays, fake reviews are frequently deleted by Amazon, so it’s no longer a valid strategy if it ever was one.
Anyway, we are at the end of 2020, and it has been a crazy year! The five aspects I am about to share with you will work now, next year, and in the years to come. Everything I am about to explain focuses on crushing your competition.
1 – Focus On One Kindle Publishing Niche
In the old days, gosh, I sound like granny smith by saying this, but publishers used to apply a strategy called the shotgun approach; This consisted of publishing books all over the place. Whenever you found a profitable keyword (book title), you would immediately publish a book without thinking twice.
You would often see the same author (pen name) with books about meditation, Paleo cooking, real estate for beginners, etc. As you may imagine, this doesn’t make sense! A real author usually is an expert on one or two niches at most, but certainly not on everything under the sun.
The shotgun approach used to work temporarily, and it may still work nowadays if you plan on making some quick money for a month or so. But it isn’t the most effective strategy for the long-run.
So what should you do? The best approach is to focus on one niche at a time, especially if you are a beginner. Meaning, you should choose one niche and publish two relevant books to test the waters. Afterward, you can bundle them together and publish the third one. For instance:
- Book 1: Yoga For Beginners
- Book 2: Yoga Poses
- Book 3: Book 1 (Yoga For Beginners) + Book 2 (Yoga Poses)
As you may see, all these books are related; you should also publish them under the same author name. Essentially, you create a book series. Of course, depending on your budget, you may immediately publish more books. Or, you can apply the same strategy to multiple other niches. However, the idea is to test the waters by publishing two books. After a month or so, you bundle both of them and publish the third one at a higher price.
Depending on your results, you may continue publishing more related books under the same author name or not. The idea is to have an author name with multiple related books. My main author has around 25 books at the moment.
Why Is This Strategy More Efficient?
- You don’t need to waste so much time keyword researching.
- You provide plenty of content for your readers. If they enjoyed reading one book, then perhaps they may purchase other ones from the same author.
- You don’t need to spend money in other niches without knowing if they are profitable. Instead, you rinse and repeat what is proven to work for you.
- Amazon loves to make money! In other words, they prioritize the authors who sell well by increasing the visibility of their books on their platform.
At the same time, you shouldn’t put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, follow this approach and have multiple authors in different niches. Often, niches have their ups and downs, and by doing this, you’ll have a more steady income. For instance, my diet cookbooks at the moment are selling poorly. But, my business books are making more money than before the pandemic.
2 – Why You Must Produce High-Quality Kindle Books?
Long gone are days where you could publish a short miserable-looking book and make money. I started by publishing books with around 10.000 words (70 pages), and they were profitable back in 2016. But nowadays, to beat your competition, you need to have lengthier books. In a way, longer books provide more content, and readers associate that with quality.
I recommend 30.000 words per each non-fiction book, that’s about 180 to 200 pages. You can also add a few images to make your books look thicker and the content more appealing to your readers.
This length provides a fair amount of content to your readers. Besides, once they receive the paperback, it won’t look thin like a TV guide.
Furthermore, you won’t end up having customers complaining about the shortness of your books. The other reason is because of audiobooks.
ACX has fixed prices depending on the amount of time of an audiobook. With 30.000 words, your book passes to the 3-5 hour listening time and makes approximately $10 to $20 per sale.
You can still get away with shorter books, but you need to be smarter with your content. For instance, my cookbooks have around 15.000-word. Although they are cheaper to produce, they barely make money on audio. The bottom line is the shorter the book, the less money you’ll make selling audiobooks. Besides, you may get customers complaining about the shortness of their paperbacks, depending on the niche.
Don’t leave anything, untouched! Remember, as a publisher, you should take advantage of every single detail, including:
- Having a book cover design your readers can’t resist
- A book title and description that makes your book sound better than sliced bread
- Addicting content that makes your customers want to buy more of your books
Famous authors can typically get away with lower quality cover designs and broader titles. Not the first time I see one with a crappy looking cover, and still, their books sell better than hotcakes. The reason is they have thousands of followers on their social media networks, perhaps a blog and YouTube channel, and more importantly, they can throw money at promotion like there was no tomorrow.
But that certainly isn’t your case! For this reason, you must pay attention to every detail of your books.
One of the most important parts and often underlooked by most publishers is to send a great book outline to your ghostwriters’ team. In case you are the one writing your books, then make sure to understand what your readers want. I explain how to have a killer book outline here.
3 – Publish Your Kindle Books Outside Of Amazon
You have no reason to stay just on Amazon. Of course, you will do most of your money there but not publishing your books on other platforms is the same as leaving money of the money for others to grab. I recommend the following platforms:
I don’t make much money here, but you can easily make an extra $100 per month. Not bad, considering you publish your e-books once and nearly forget about them. It only takes a few minutes to publish each book, and then the income is passive. Just make sure you first unroll your e-books from the KDP program. Otherwise, you might experience the wrath of Amazon.
I made a brilliant tutorial explaining how to publish your first book on IngramSpark here. I recommend you read it and immediately publish all your existing books there. I love this platform! You can publish your e-books, paperbacks, and hardcore. However, I only publish paperbacks on IngramSpark, and passively make 300 or more dollars per month.
I can’t talk much about Gumroad. I’m still trying to figure out their platform. But don’t wait for me, jump in and try it for yourself!
4 – Use Amazon Advertisement
It would be best to use Amazon advertisement; it is one of the easiest ways to double or triple your earnings nearly overnight. I explain more about how to use their advertising in this tutorial here.
Make sure to set a budget aside just for ads of about $1000 or more because it takes 60 days to receive your royalties. For this reason, you need to have enough month to sustain your campaigns during that period—nothing worse than needing to shut down your most profitable campaigns because you dried off your budget. Besides, the more sales your books make, the better they rank organically on Amazon.
5 – Sell On All Three Format On Kindle Amazon
It would be best if you didn’t waste time waiting for your books to be profitable in one format so you can confidently publish on another. Instead, immediately publish them as an e-book, paperback, and audiobook. Usually, I publish my paperback first, then e-book, and then head over to ACX to find someone to narrate it. I also suggest entering a niche profitable in all three formats.
I suggest also choosing a niche profitable in all three formats, such as spirituality, business, and self-help. As a result, you’ll have more potential sources of income.
However, you may run into problems with ACX if you reside outside of the US, UK, Ireland, or Canada – they don’t accept applications from other countries. Here are two ways to solve this issue:
The first solution is to create US LLC. You can build a company in other mentioned countries, but the US tends to have fewer bureaucracies. Afterward, you make a second account for your business. Don’t worry, because you can have a personal and business account with Amazon.
If you don’t want to run into so many problems, then the second solution is to register an account with Findawayvoices. You can find people to narrate your books there, similar to ACX. However, you shouldn’t expect to make as much money selling your audiobooks there as you would on Audible and Amazon. Still, it’s better than nothing!
Besides, the popularity of audiobooks keeps increasing year by year. I can easily see a switch in my habits. I used to read paperbacks a few years ago mostly. I still do nowadays, but less in comparison. I prefer to listen to audiobooks because it’s more convenient.
I can head over to the gym or take a walk while listening to them. I don’t need to find the right time to sit down, open a paperback, and spend the next hour or more reading it. I guess more people out there feel the same way. Of course, audiobooks don’t sell well in all niches.
One last tip before we wrap this up! Don’t just read this post and go on with your life like nothing ever happened. At this point, you have the necessary advice to scale up your business in 2020 and 2021, so go out there and take action!
Furthermore, if you have any questions or you would like to share some advice with other readers, then make sure to leave it in the comment section below. Thanks for reading!