7 Things You MUST Do To Survive & Thrive As A Kindle Publisher
In the world of Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), the only real constant is change.
Shifting trends, evolving reader preferences and continual updates to Amazon’s content publishing guidelines can sometimes present challenges to even just getting your book live and visible in front of the eyes of readers who want what you’re offering.
Whether you are an author with one novel published that you’ve poured your heart and soul into, or you are a marketer with hundreds of ebooks for sale in the Kindle Store, there are certain things that are absolute necessities if you want to get profitable with Kindle publishing and sustain that success over the long term.
Here are 7 Must-Dos to thrive as a Kindle Publisher:
1. Be aware, flexible and adaptive
Amazon regularly makes changes to their content guidelines and their enforcement of these guidelines has gotten very strict over the past couple of months. As a Kindle publisher, it is your responsibility to get familiar with these content guidelines and adhere to them closely.
When in doubt about formatting requirements, email KDP and ask them to review your ebook to make sure it is compliant. If Amazon later comes to you and says the way you have formatted your book is against content guidelines, you can then present them with evidence that a KDP representative gave approval for your book.
Since change is inevitable, it is absolutely necessary to not get too attached to doing anything a certain way as there is a good chance that once in a while you will have to make drastic changes to the formatting of all of your books in order to adhere to the most recent guidelines. Approach these changes with an attitude of optimism and take swift action to make sure your books are compliant.
2. Only Publish High-Quality Books
This one is kind of a no-brainer, but don’t publish low-quality books! It is now more important than ever to publish books that engage readers and have them reading until the end, especially in the case of books enrolled in KDP Select, where publishers are paid per page read. If readers who borrow your book through Kindle Unlimited aren’t turning pages, then you aren’t getting paid. Also, in their content guidelines KDP lists publishing “disappointing content” as a violation, so it’s important to make a conscious effort to publish high-quality ebooks.
3. Develop Your Audience
Start a mailing list as soon as possible! Having a list of people who you know are interested in the kinds of books you are offering is the most effective way to regularly boost sales and potentially get organic, honest reviews. Engage your list and regularly provide them with value by sending links to books you have on free promo or letting them be the first to know about a new launch. Start conversations with your list and ask them for feedback on their preferences and what they like to see in the books they read.
4. Keyword Optimization
Having an amazingly interesting, entertaining or informative ebook is great, but you can have the best book ever known to man on your bookshelf and have it never even be seen by potential readers if you haven’t optimized your search keywords and categories in the Kindle Store.
This is often a missing part of the puzzle for many authors who put all of their time and effort into creating their novel but don’t research or learn about effective keyword strategies. The search bar in the Kindle Store is one of the best tools you can use to decide on keywords. As you type keywords into the search bar, a drop down menu appears with suggestions of keywords and keyword phrases. These are all keywords that are commonly searched for and could be excellent choices for search keywords when you are publishing your book in KDP.
5. Publish Books That People Want to Read
This too may seem like an obvious suggestion, but publishing books in niches that are popular is a really good idea. Many authors get caught up in writing and publishing books according to what their own opinions, preferences, and interests are rather than what is in demand. Although creating books only according to your own interests may be personally rewarding, it may prove to not be very financially rewarding. Time spent doing in-depth niche research goes a long way. Observe bestseller lists and see what is trending and what people are reading currently. Publishing within a niche that is in demand can make all the difference when trying to get profitable as a Kindle publisher.
6. Long Term Vision
Kindle publishing is not a get-rich-quick opportunity! There are a few exceptional authors who hit it big with one or two books published, but we don’t see the hundreds of hours that went into creating and marketing those books. If your approach to publishing is to create several books and scale your business by continuing to add more books to your bookshelf regularly, then it takes time to get to a place where profits become substantial.
Where do you want your publishing business to be 6 months from now or a year from now? Formulate your goals and write them down. Get really specific and start making plans and take action toward reaching those goals. Any shortcuts for short-term gain are usually not worth it as they may violate content guidelines and put your KDP account at risk.
The changes Amazon has made recently to content guidelines makes it more difficult for publishers to game the system for short-term gain. This is a good thing as it raises the barrier to entry for Kindle publishing and it will effectively reduce competition.
7. Stay Committed
Inevitably on your Kindle publishing journey, there will be setbacks, obstacles, and challenges. There may be days where you feel like throwing in the towel and calling it quits. In those times, it is so important to reconnect with not only your goals but also the deep “Why” underlying those goals.
Why are you writing these books? Why do you want to be a successful publisher? If your answer is simply “to make money” that is not good enough and it won’t be sufficient to keep your motivation afloat. Do some deep self-reflection and ask yourself why you want to have a profitable publishing business. Is it for freedom? Security for your family? The ability to provide more opportunity for yourself and others? To positively impact the lives of your readers? Greater peace of mind?
Whatever your “why” is, connect to it regularly and allow that to fuel your motivation and commitment especially when faced with what may seem like insurmountable obstacles. Have faith and remind yourself that within challenges lie the greatest opportunities for lessons, growth, advancement, and progress toward success.
Everyone encounters challenging times occasionally. If you stay committed to your vision and continue to take action in the direction of your goals, you will gain traction on the path toward success.