Can you make money self-publishing on Amazon?

Kindle Direct Publishing

Yes, you can make money self-publishing on Amazon with the Kindle Direct Publishing program. If you are happy to write, you can register on Amazon KDP and publish the story that you would like to share.

I self-published a couple of books and I will share some of the things that I learned.

You need to submit your ebook in a Microsoft Word document.

When I first wrote my ebook, I used an ebook template and then realised that I couldn’t upload my ebook to get it rendered correctly on the Kindle.

Whatever you decide to write, make sure that you write it in a Microsoft Word document and keep it simple with a Table of contents, Headings, paragraphs, easy to read text font sizes (16px) and 1.5-2x line spacing.

How much money did I make selling one of my books on Amazon’s KDP?

I made approximately $60USD in revenue from the sale of my ebook on Amazon KDP. There were quite a few mistakes that I made that limited my chances to earn more. And you should consider should you decide to self-publish on Amazon.

Stats of actual books sold vs free downloads on Amazon KDP
Stats of actual books sold vs free downloads on Amazon KDP

How can you earn money self publishing with Amazon.

Amazon pays publishers in the following ways.

  • 35%: Amount a title earned under the 35% royalty option
  • 70%: Amount a title earned under the 70% royalty option
  • KDP Select Units: Amount every KDP Select-enrolled title earned monthly through Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). If a customer reads pages in your book for the first time through KU or KOLL, you will see a separate line item indicating the accumulated number of pages read under the column “Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read,” and the royalty earned through KU and KOLL under the “Royalty” column.


You need a list of people to promote your ebook to.

This is one of the most important factors for successfully selling your book. You need a list of potential buyers for the book that you plan to sell.

Amazon has millions of people on their website’s database and you can gain access to their list by being listed on their marketplace. Ideally, your book will also get featured in their emails or recommended purchases.

To give you more leverage, you will need to have your own list so that you can promote to your engaged audience.

This means you need to build your list on platforms such as:

  • Facebook Fan pages or groups
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest
  • TikTok
  • Medium
  • Quora
  • Email

Any other platform where you can build an audience database of followers.

You need to sell a high volume on Amazon to make money that will make an impact.

The pricing point for most books will be between $1-20. The royalty fees are split between you as the publisher and Amazon for listing the ebook on their platform.

The thing is to make some good money, you need to sell your ebook in a high volume.

To give you an idea. If you sold 1000 books for $1, the sales revenue would be $1000, but you would earn $350-700 for the sale of your book.

You really want to be earning $10,000 or more with the sale of your ebook. This means if you are selling your ebook at $1, you will need to sell 14,285-28,571 copies of your ebook.

If you take into consideration the average conversion rate, you will need to reach your target market of 714,250-1,428,550.

With these numbers in mind, you need to consider how you will get in front of your market so that you can drive more sales of your ebook.

You need to identify and qualify your target market of buyers.

You need to identify the buyers of your book on Amazon. Write with strategy and solve a problem or need that your market desires.

  • Based on the number of books that you want to sell, which genres have a large audience and active buyers?
  • Do those genres look for new topics or authors regularly?
  • What’s the average price that people buy the books for in those genres?
  • What’s the average amount of units sold in those genres?

Have a backend product or service that be sold from your ebook.

You can make money with your self-published book on Amazon KDP. However, you will earn more by selling more products to that reader.

These can be:

  • Other ebooks that you’ve written.
  • Information products.
  • Webinars and seminars
  • Subscriptions
  • Courses
  • Games

The sale will be easier and you will be able to sell at a premium price.

For the ebooks that I publish, I sold a $1,000 monthly service. The ebook was sold at $9.99 on Amazon.

My earnings through the back end sale was at least 100 times more valuable to me than the ebook.

For a 12 month subscription, that took my earnings to $12,000.

You will need to look at the ‘product solutions’ that you can add to your ebook so you can multiply your earnings.

Increase your earnings by adapting your book in different formats.

You can also adapt your book to different formats. So you can do create:

  • An audiobook
  • A physical book with images
  • A video
  • A narrated slideshow
  • A live performance adaptation of your book.

Some things that you should consider before writing an ebook.

You need to solve a specific problem or need.

The ebook should be 20,000 words or more. (Minimum 8,000)

Use the snowflake method to create your ebook.

Keep it interesting by telling a story.

Additional resources

Story by Robert McKee


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