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How to Sell a Book on Amazon


As an author who has published 16 books on Amazon, I can attest to the importance of utilizing this platform to reach a wider audience. Amazon is the world's largest online marketplace, with millions of daily visitors searching for various products, including books.


Amazon ships over 66,000 products per hour, and millions of people use the platform to buy their favorite items every day. By selling your book on Amazon, you not only gain access to a massive potential customer base but also benefit from Amazon's robust marketing tools, such as targeted advertising and recommendation algorithms.


In this article, I will share my experience and insights on how to successfully sell your book on Amazon. Whether you're a first-time author or a seasoned writer, this guide will provide you with valuable tips and strategies to optimize your book's visibility, increase sales, and achieve your goals as a published author. So, let's get started.


Selling Your Book on Amazon

The choice you make when designing and printing your book - either as a hardcover or paper cover, its page number, marketplace, etc - will determine how much you eventually make from your book.


Getting Started with Amazon KDP

Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) is a self-publishing platform that allows authors to publish and sell their books on Amazon. Here are some steps to get started with Amazon KDP:



1. Create an account:

To publish a book on Amazon KDP, you need to create an account on the platform and add your payment details.


2. Format your book:

Amazon has specific formatting requirements for eBooks and print books. You can use their free tools, such as Kindle Create or Kindle Direct Publishing, to format your book correctly.


3. Upload your book:

Once your book is formatted, you can upload it to Amazon KDP. You will need to provide a book title, book description, and cover image, and select the categories and keywords.


4. Set your price:

Amazon KDP gives you the flexibility to set your book's price. You can choose to enroll in the Kindle Select program, which allows you to offer your book for free for a limited time or to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.


5. Publish and promote your book:

Once your book is reviewed, approved, and published, it's essential to promote it to reach potential readers.


It can take a few days to a few weeks to start making money on Amazon KDP, depending on how quickly your book gains traction. The amount of money KDP authors make varies widely and depends on factors such as the book's genre, price, sales volume, and marketing efforts. However, some KDP authors have earned six-figure incomes from their book sales on Amazon.


Calculating Cost of Printing and Royalties

Selling your book on Amazon comes with fees that you need to factor into your profit calculations.


Amazon KDP provides self-publishing authors the opportunity to earn royalties on their paperback sales on Amazon marketplaces where KDP supports paperback distribution. The royalty rate offered by KDP is a fixed 60% of the book's list price.


If you set a list price of $10 for your 210-page paperback with black ink sold on the US marketplace, then your royalty calculation would be as follows:


(0.60 x $10) - $2.85 = $3.15


Here, the printing cost is calculated based on the page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace your paperback was ordered from. As your book has 210 pages with black ink and is sold on the US marketplace, the printing cost is estimated to be $2.85.

Therefore, after subtracting the printing cost from the royalty calculation, you will receive $3.15 as your royalty per book sold.


If you enable Expanded Distribution, the royalty rate changes to 40% of the book's list price effective in the distribution channel at the time of purchase minus printing costs. Therefore, for a list price of $10 for your 210-page paperback with black ink sold through Expanded Distribution channels, your royalty calculation would be:


(0.40 x $10) - $2.85 = $1.15


Despite these fees, selling on Amazon can be lucrative. Authors like Paul Marles have reported making an excess of $2000 a month selling low-content books on the platform.


However, the number of books you need to sell to make a profit depends on your book's production costs, marketing expenses, and other factors. It is important to calculate your break-even point and adjust your pricing and marketing strategies accordingly.


Getting Paid on Amazon

When it comes to getting paid from Amazon book sales, authors can choose to receive payments either by direct deposit or check. Amazon pays out royalties 60 days after the end of the month in which the sales were made. For example, if you make book sales in January, you will receive payment for those sales by the end of March.


In summary, while there are fees associated with selling on Amazon, the potential for profit is significant. By understanding Amazon's fee structure and optimizing your pricing and marketing strategies, you can increase your chances of making a profit and achieving success as an author on the platform.


Promoting Your Book on Amazon



Selling a book on Amazon requires more than just listing it on the platform; you need to actively promote it to reach potential readers. Here are some strategies to increase the visibility and sales of your book on Amazon:


Optimize your book's product page:

Your book's product page is the first point of contact with potential readers, and it should be well-optimized. This includes having an eye-catching cover design, an informative book description, relevant keywords, and a compelling author bio.


Encourage reviews:

Positive reviews are essential for building trust with potential readers and improving your book's visibility on Amazon. Encourage readers to leave honest reviews by including a call to action in the book or in your author bio.


Leverage Amazon's advertising tools:

Amazon offers several advertising options, such as Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, to promote your book. By targeting relevant keywords and audiences, you can increase your book's visibility and reach new readers.


Offer promotions:

Running promotions, such as free book days or discounted prices, can help increase your book's visibility and attract new readers.


Price your book competitively:

Pricing your book too high can turn off potential buyers while pricing it too low can signal low quality. Research the prices of similar books in your category and set a competitive price that reflects the value of your book.


Becoming a Bestseller on Amazon

While there is no set number of sales that guarantees a bestseller status on Amazon, it generally depends on the category and competition. Amazon updates its bestseller lists hourly, so the number of sales required to reach the top of the charts is constantly changing.


A book is considered a bestseller if it consistently ranks high in the category charts and generates significant sales over a sustained period.


Becoming a bestseller on Amazon requires a combination of great writing, audience research, book optimization, author branding, book promotions, reviews, reader engagement, and advertising. Here are some practical tips that can help you become a bestseller on Amazon:


1. Write a great book:

This is the most important factor in becoming a bestseller on Amazon. Make sure your book is well-written, engaging, and offers something unique to readers.


2. Research your audience:

Know your target audience and write a book that appeals to them. This includes understanding their interests, reading habits, and what they are looking for in a book.


3. Optimize your book listing:

Make sure your book title, cover, and book description are eye-catching and optimized for search engines. This will help your book show up in search results and increase your visibility.


4. Build your author brand:

Establish yourself as a credible author by building your author brand. This includes having a professional author website, a social media presence, and engaging with your readers.


5. Leverage book promotions:

Use book promotions such as Amazon's KDP Select program, book giveaways, and discounted pricing to promote your book and increase visibility.


6. Build reviews:

Encourage readers to leave reviews for your book. Positive reviews can help boost your book's visibility and credibility on Amazon.


7. Engage with readers:

Interact with your readers through social media, email newsletters, and book clubs. This can help build a loyal fan base and increase word-of-mouth marketing for your book.


8. Use advertising:

Consider using Amazon advertising to increase the visibility of your book. This includes sponsored products, sponsored brands, and sponsored display ads.

Requirements for Selling on Amazon

Selling on Amazon requires meeting certain requirements, including obtaining approval, licensing, and registration. Here are the key requirements for selling books on Amazon:


Getting approval for selling books on Amazon:

To sell books on Amazon, you need to open a KDP account and get approval from Amazon. Approval is generally straightforward and can be obtained by following the application process and meeting the requirements set out by Amazon.


Licensing requirements for selling books on Amazon:

You do not need a specific license to sell books on Amazon. However, if your book contains copyrighted material, you need to obtain permission from the copyright owner before publishing.


Registering as a business to sell books on Amazon:

Depending on where you live, you may need to register your business with the local government or tax authority.


Required documents to sell on Amazon:

You need to provide certain documents to sell on Amazon, such as bank account details, tax identification numbers, and proof of identity. You may also need to provide documents such as a business license, copyright permission, or ISBN (International Standard Book Number) for your book.


The Best-selling Books on Amazon

As an author, it's important to understand what types of books tend to sell the most on Amazon and the factors that contribute to their success. Here are some key points to keep in mind:


Types of books that sell the most on Amazon:

Fiction and non-fiction books tend to sell well on Amazon, with genres such as romance, mystery/thriller, and self-help being particularly popular. Children's books and cookbooks also have a strong market on Amazon.


Factors that contribute to the success of a book on Amazon:

Several factors can contribute to a book's success on Amazon, including positive reviews, a well-optimized product page, competitive pricing, and effective marketing efforts. It's also important to choose relevant categories and keywords to help readers find your book easily.


Other factors that can affect a book's success on Amazon include the author's reputation and existing fanbase, the timing of the book release, the season of the year, and current events or trends that align with the book's themes or subject matter.


Wrapping It Up

Selling your book on Amazon can be a great way to reach a large audience and potentially achieve bestseller status. However, it's important to understand the various factors that can impact your success on the platform, from pricing and marketing strategies to product page optimization and reviews.


As a seasoned self-published author with years of experience selling books on Amazon, I can tell you that it takes time, effort, and a willingness to learn and adapt to succeed. But with the right mindset and approach, it's absolutely possible to build a successful author career on Amazon.


If you're considering selling your book on Amazon, I encourage you to take the time to research and educate yourself on the platform, and to connect with other authors and publishing professionals who can provide guidance and support. By taking a strategic and informed approach, you can position your book for success and achieve your publishing goals.

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