The dream of every Amazon KDP author is to become a bestseller. But how do you achieve this dream? For authors who are already best-sellers, it is easy to write and publish a best-selling book. This is because they know the secrets of writing a best selling book. The three key secrets are the book content, price and how you promote the book. You will learn in this article, how to write and self-publish a best selling kindle book.
About Amazon KDP
For beginners, kindle books are books published on Amazon KDP (Kindle Publishing Platform). This is a special publishing platforms for self-publishers and authors. Books published on Amazon KDP are sold on Amazon store and are available for purchase globally. This means anybody can buy your book from any part of the world. You can publish different versions of a book. The most common kindle book versions are eBook and paperback. You can also publish hard cover versions and audiobooks. The eBooks are sent instantly to the kindle app of the buyer. Paperbacks are printed on demand and then shipped to the buyer from any Amazon physical store.
You don’t pay any fee to self-publish on Amazon KDP. Rather you are paid royalty each time a copy of your book is sold. For kindle eBooks, you are 35% or 70% as royalty depending on the price of the book. While for paperbacks, the printing cost is first deducted from the price of the book. Then you are 60% of whatever remains as royalty.
You can publish different categories of books ranging from short stories, textbooks, cookbooks, etc. Also you can get paid from any part of the world. If you are not a US citizen all you need to do is to create a Payoneer account for free.
Amazon KDP is not the only online self-publishing platform. There are other alternatives to Kindle self-publishing platform like Kobo, Apple iBooks Author, Barnes & Noble, Draft2Digital, Book Baby, Selz, Gumroad, etc.
Now let’s get started with the kindle best-selling book writing and self-publishing tips.
Tips for Writing & Self-Publishing Kindle Books like Amazon Bestsellers
Write a Content-rich Book
Readers buy new books because they want to learn new ideas or new ways of solving a problem. You can check the reviews and ratings of previously published in that category. Know what is lacking in most of those books. What are most buyers complaining about in those book? Then add them in your book.
Writing is a gradual process. As you write more inspirations come. So take your time to write. First outline all the heading and subheadings that might be relevant. Don’t fail to update it when a new heading or subheading comes to your mind. Now take it heading by heading.
Write gradually, but consistently. When you start writing a new book, don’t abandon it for so long. Make sure you are always thinking about the book, how to make the contents better and more engaging.
Read lots of Similar Books
We learn by reading. Search for best selling books in the category of the book you wish to write. Learn how they write, what sets their books special and the styles they use to engage their audience. These will help to improve the quality of the book you are writing.
Choose a Unique Author Name
You have two options here; you either use your real name or you use a pen name. A pen name (also called nom de plume in French) is a pseudonym an author wishes to use in place of his real name. This name will be printed on the book cover. Many best selling authors use pen names. Names like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, Benjamin Franklin, etc. are all pseudonyms.
Why do some of these authors decide to use pen name? Well, there are many reasons. When a famous authors in a particular genre decide to try writing in another genre, they chose a pen name. Also, if you are not allowed to publish under your real name, an alternative is to use a pen name. You might also discover that many authors have published with your real name, then you can use a pen name. You can decide to maintain a particular pen name if the book is in series. These will help your audience recognize your books.
Amazon KDP allows you to use any number of pen names in your KDP account. But you can add a maximum of three different author names in author central.
Give your Book an Attractive and Suiting Title
The title you give your book says a lot about the book. This is the first thing a reader reads in a book. Some readers conclude on whether to buy or drop a book from the title. That is why you must choose a title for your book carefully.
The best way to choose a good title for your book is to first know the category of the book and what people look for most in that category. Then compare it with the content of your book. Take note of the unique ideas you revealed in your book. They could make a good title.
The maximum number of characters for amazon KDP book titles and subtitles is 200, including space. Subtitles are optional; this is where you give a summary of your book. There are 2 types of book captions (combination of titles and subtitles): Short and Long. Short captions are captions that are not more than 70 characters, while long captions are between 71 and 200 characters. Both are good if utilized well.
Always add the primary keyword of your book before the 70th character so that they will not be truncated in mobile devices. This is a very important book SEO tip.
Give your Book an Appealing Cover Design
Although there is a saying that “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but up to 80% of readers do. Your book cover is what attracts readers to check more about the book.
Put in your best when designing your book cover if you have a knowledge of graphics design. But if you are not a cover design expert, don’t use your book cover final version for practice. Look for a professional cover designer. Invest in it. You will never regret it.
The important aspects of every eBook cover are: Title, Subtitle (optional), Illustrative images (optional) and Author name.
A good book cover always has its title written in attractive and legible fonts. Your book background colour plays an important role. Combine only colours that complement each other. One or two quality images are OK. Don’t kill your cover designs with too much images. Image placement is also important. Also, the font size of your main title should be bigger than that of your subtitle and author name.
Design different versions of book covers and then compare them to choose the best. You can ask your friends to help you judge the covers. Always go for simple but suiting cover designs. Check the cover design of most best selling books; they have very cover simple designs.
Check out the samples of these well formatted book covers in the screenshot below.
There are many book cover design tools you can use. Some popular offline cover design tools are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Corel Draw, etc. Popular online cover design tools are Canva, Adobe Spark, etc. You can check these tutorials on how to design professional book covers with Adobe Photoshop and Canva.
Employ a Professional Editor and Proofreader
You can format and proofread your book manuscript if you know how to do the job very well. But don’t do the final proofreading by yourself. Ask a friend or professional proofreaders to do the job. There are errors you cannot spot in a book manuscript you wrote by yourself, even if you read the manuscript 50 times.
The cost of editing and proofreading your book depends on the length of your book, the word count and editors charge. It could be by word count, hourly rate or flat fee. I prefer word count or flat fee with any freelancer, because it encourages timely delivery and protects me from unexpected bill hikes.
The best platforms to find good editors and proofreader are Upwork and Fiverr. You can post a job listing there, upload a sample page from your manuscript and ask interested candidates for a sample edit. That will give you a good sense of who might be a good fit. Excellent alternative platforms are Reedsy, Writership and eBooklaunch.
Use the best word processing software recommended by your Amazon KDP to write and format your book. But if you are doing the book formatting and editing by yourself, use the word processing software that you know how to use best.
I use Microsoft Word most times for formatting and editing my book manuscript. Check out this free tutorial on how to format and proofread your book manuscripts with MS Word. You can also use Kindle create.
Write an Engaging Book Description/Synopsis
This is where you have enough space to describe your book and tell shoppers why they should buy your book. The maximum character limit is 4000.
After your book titles and cover, this is the next place buyers check to make sure a book contains what they need. Utilize this section to entice amazon shoppers and convince them why they should buy your book out of thousands of similar books.
Take time to write your book description. Don’t rush it. You can also optimize your book SEO here. So make sure you add some relevant keywords that can make your book appear when buyers search for similar books. Add bullet points and write as if you are talking physically to the buyer.
To get some ideas, browse through the top ranking book descriptions for your topic. Check the words and tactics they used to convince buyers. Find one that really “nailed it” in your opinion and use it as a template.
You can use this free kindle book description generator. The tool will do all the html tagging for you. Just enter the plain text, format like you would in Microsoft Word and have the generator convert your text into html. Then you simply copy and paste that html version into the description field of your KDP backend.
Choose Favourable Categories for your Book
The categories you put your book go a long way to determine how easily it will rank and the number of sales it will make. Most times, the categories where your book sells best are not the ones you chose when you first published the book.
The best strategy is to add your book to one easy-to-rank category and another popular category that is not very easy to rank high, but is more related to your book. Popular categories make more, but your book might not rank very high there.
Although Amazon KDP allows you to choose only 2 categories from the back end, you can add your books into a maximum of 10 categories. But you will have to contact their customer support to help you manually place your books into those extra 8 categories or sub categories. You can always reach them by clicking on the Contact us link at the bottom of your KDP dashboard. Contact them as soon as your book goes live because it can take them up to 72 hours for the changes to go live.
Price your Book like a Pro
One mistake most authors make is to price their books very high. I once made that mistake. Most books sell more when priced between $2.99 to $9.99. You can also use the 99c ($0.99) price strategy to generate huge number of sales. Although your royalty percentage is 35%, but you will make more money at the long run. $2.99 is the most widely used Kindle price. $3.99 and $4.99 can also work depending on topic.
The concept is to set a low price for your book initially so that it will start making heavy sales within a short period of time. Then when sales are heavy, you can adjust the price and increase it a bit. Monitor the effect of the price changes have on your book sales until you discover an optimal price for your book.
Enroll your Books to KDP Select
One of the reasons why I self-publish exclusively with Amazon KDP is that they give authors some options to help them increase their books’ visibility.
Ensure you enroll your book to KDP Select while publishing it, from your KDP account backend. KDP Select gives you the opportunity to earn higher royalties. Apart from normal book sales, you earn additional funds when Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) members read some pages of your books or borrow it. But you need to publish exclusively on Amazon KDP for 90 days to enjoy these KDP Select benefits.
It also gives you the opportunity to promote your eBooks for free with two promotional tools:
- Kindle Countdown Deals, where you offer your books for sale at a discount price for a maximum of 7 days.
- Free Book Promotion helps you to momentarily boost your eBooks ranking by allowing readers to grab your book for free for a maximum of 5 days.
You can use any of the options throughout the 90 days period. If you wish to use any of these tools again after the first 90 days, then you need to enroll your eBook to KDP Select again.
You can also reach new audience with the help of KDP select, since your books will be made available through Kindle Unlimited and the KOLL for 90 days.
Do you wish learn how to write, design book covers, publish and promote kindle books?
Check out this kindle book: How to Make Money Self-Publishing Kindle Books for Beginners. All the book publishing tips in this article were illustrated in this book.
Create an Author Page on Amazon
Amazon author page is a free service where you can link your author bio with all your book listings through Author Central. It is one of the best ways to build trust for your author name. Most buyers prefer buying books from authors who disclosed their identity. Some of your buyers can also follow your page so that they will be notified once you drop a new book. So it is an indirect to build a relationship with your buyers.
You can also track your book sales and add some reviews to your books. Also, you can add a link to your blog and encourage buyers to visit your blog. It is one of the ways of getting a backlink from Amazon.
Target Quality Reviews
Reviews help shoppers confirm if the book actually contains what the author claims that it contains. In fact it is one of the key ranking factors for any amazon product, not just books. Because of the important role book reviews play in Amazon product ranking, you need to start planning on how to get reviews for your books even before the book goes live.
The easiest way to get quality reviews for your books is to build a team of test readers or reviewers from your email marketing list. These are actual buyers who will drop reviews for your books few days after they are published.
Before your book goes live, you can send a newsletter to your subscribers, informing them about your book. Then ask for those who are interested in the book and are also interested to drop an honest review for the book. You can use google form to get a list of those who are interested and then create a separate mailing list for them. Then you follow them up. Note that a little percentage of people who showed interest will actually drop reviews when the book goes live. So make sure you get a good number of readers.
- You are not allowed to review your own books or buy reviews. Any of these acts can get your KDP account banned. As strict as these rules may seem, they are beneficial to all of us, because we all use reviews to make buying decisions and we want to trust that those reviews are genuine and not biased.
- If you wrote a great book that really helps people, most reviews will be positive, you don’t have to ask for it. But I usually remind my readers at the end of my books to drop reviews. A few negatives will happen to everyone down the road (unless your book is not selling) and are not that big of a deal. I’ve never seen them hurt sales or ranking.
- 3-stars are considered negative in Amazon’s algorithm while 4-stars are “OK” – just as a side note. If someone in your launch team leaves you a 3-star or less, just let it be. Remove them from your launch team.
Promote your Book on Different Platforms
You need to start planning on how to promote your book, even before it goes live on Amazon. There are different platforms where you can promote your kindle books. Some of them are:
Email Marketing: This should be your first book promotion strategy. Proper utilization of email marketing can help your book to start selling almost immediately it is published. Inform your subscribers about your book few days before the book goes live. Then on the day it goes live, you remind them and then share the kindle book link in the newsletter.
First thing first, you need to grow your email marketing list. You can check out how to build an efficient email marketing list.
KDP Select Free Promotional Tools: These are good book promotion starting point. Since amazon uses number of sales as one of its book ranking factors, you can utilize any of these free tools to put your books in the hands of buyers so that it will start ranking fast.
The Countdown Deal option gives you maximum of 7 days while the Free Book Promotion option gives you maximum of 5 days. Don’t use all the free days at a time. You can use it gradually to boost your book sales and ranking when you notice a fall in any of them.
Social Media: Like Facebook, Twitter and even Pinterest. For Facebook, you can create and join relevant groups where you can advertise your book. For Twitter, follow relevant business companies and share your book links to them. Here are some of the ways to promote your business with social media.
Blogs: You can create a blog for your books or write guest posts related to the content of your book for blogs with high domain authority. They can give you backlink to your kindle book.
Amazon Marketing Service (AMS): AMS is a special promotion platform created by amazon to help all Amazon sellers run paid campaign ads on amazon. Your ads appear when a buyer searches for a similar product. Your ads visibility depends on how well your ads were optimized with relevant keywords. You can promote any version of your books; eBook, paperback, hard cover, audiobook, etc.
You need to do proper keyword research with a good keyword research tool if you want to get maximum returns from the money you spent on ads. Here are some recommended keyword research tools for sellers and how to use them.
Book Promotion Sites: Another powerful book promotion platforms are promo sites where you can submit your book for a fee. They have millions of readers who are always looking for interesting books to read, especially fiction books. Bookbub and Goodreads are the few powerful ones.
Bookbub has different email list for the various categories of readers. So they help you get your books in the hands of the right readers. They are a bit strict in accepting books for promotion. In fact your book must have a good rating and ranking for it to be accepted. Their fee is a bit costly, but it is worth investing. You will cover the cost within few days.
The most popular book promotion site and book club is Goodreads. This is a great social network for authors and now owned by Amazon. It’s free to join. Goodreads in general, is a great platform to spread the word about your books and make them available to interested readers.
They favour fiction book authors most. Goodreads does not give your books much instant sales boost like Bookbub. But they impart a long term gradual book sales boost. Check their site footer and create an author account with them.
You must not use all the promotion strategies discussed above. Note that not all these strategies will work for you. Yu can test each of them to discover the ones to stick to.
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These are the basic tips you need to write and publish a best selling kindle book on Amazon. You can make huge money from kindle book publishing. Just like any other lucrative business, you have to work for it. Try these kindle book publishing tips and become a best seller in your niche! You can check some other lucrative business ideas here.
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