If you really think about it; why publish a book in the first place if hundreds of people don’t buy it every month? Why put yourself through the torture if it can’t even pay your bills?
I’ve been privileged to discuss with and help a hand full of authors publish ebooks on Kindle. One of the common questions I get asked: Is it really profitable?
My answer is usually Yes and no.
Here is why.
It depends on your Goal
I published my first kindle book in 2012. Interestingly, I published another kindle book just two weeks ago (at the time of writing this post). But to date, the total revenue can’t even pay my budget house rent. I’ve even had to remove some titles from the Kindle store.
Typically, I charge $3.00 to $7.00 for each eBook. Amazon takes 30% of the sales. Another 30% for tax leaves me with 40%. So, $1.2 to $2.8 for each book sold.
If I sell 15 books every week, which is not a typical result for most authors, that will be $6 to $14 per day. In one long year that will amount to $936 to $2,184. The problem with estimations like this is that it’s always far from reality. I haven’t even made that much since day one of kindle publishing.
So, if you are talking of profitability in terms of book sales, I’ll be honest with you. Majority of Kindle published authors make little to nothing. Sad reality, right? Anyone promising you overnight bestseller list, is either propagating falsehood or not telling the whole story.
Why do I still promote kindle publishing?
So if it’s not that profitable, why encourage and even help authors publish on kindle?
- Indirect Marketing: Yes, I may not have made that much from sales of kindle eBooks but I’ve leveraged on kindle platform to reach an audience that has helped grow my online platform. In fact, my main objective for kindle publishing is not to make a lot of eBook sales, but to reach potential sponsors and partners. The result is a growing business reaching an international audience and sponsorship.
- Be perceived as knowledgeable: We are creatures of perception. The mere idea of having a book with your name on it published on the largest book store on the planet does raises an eyebrow. It puts you on a different scale from your contemporaries. You can attract clients that you ordinarily would not have reached. It positions you as knowledgeable in your field.
- You may get it right: I'm not saying that authors are not making a living from kindle publishing. Though people who do are tiny percentage of the universe of kindle publishers. But, who knows; you could strike a great publicity stunt and be the next Chinamanda Adichie.
- Not all books are made for Kindle: For books whose audience is more local than international, I simply sell them locally on a 100% self-controlled platform. If you ideal audience are not on Kindle, there are other ways to sell your digital book. Create a sales page and sell it on your blog or website.
If there is any more reason to publish your book on kindle, consider these;
- It’s simple: Publishing on kindle is really simple. I’ve written a detailed step by step guide to do it yourself here.
- It’s Amazon - Amazon sells more books than all the other self publishing platforms combined. That should mean something.
- Promote your services: It’s logical. If someone is willing to pay a few dollars to get and read your book, s/he is more likely to patronize your complementary service than someone who just stumbled on your website or blog.
- You’ve got nothing to lose: If you are planning on publishing your book at all, you lose nothing putting it up on kindle. Note that you cannot use the Kindle Select program if your book is available elsewhere.
- Update on demand: One of the best things about digital publishing is that you can keep your book fresh and relevant at every time. You can add new or remove outdated information to the original manuscript, upload and update the book in store as you deem fit.
Don’t expect to get rich publishing on kindle, but it’s not impossible. You can make some bucks, while looking at the bigger picture.
Have you published on kindle? What is your experience?
Be sure to read the Part 2 of this article.