When uploading your book and cover at Kindle Direct Publishing, the last screen you’ll come to is for Paperback Rights and Price. On this page, you’ll establish in which countries you want Amazon to sell your books and the book’s price.
The first section “Territories,” gives you top options – select every country in the world or go through them and select specific countries. This is an important question if a publishing company owns the distribution rights of your book in a specific country but you have those rights internationally. For example, if you were a German author who published with a company in Germany, you might want to self-publish your book in the United Kingdom or the United States. You then would make sure you click the U.K. and the U.S. but not Germany.
Most self-published authors, however, own the distribution rights for every country in the world. They should click the “All territories” bubble.
Next is the primary marketplace. For most authors, this is the country where you reside and is the one where you’ll make most of your sales. American writers, for example, would select “Amazon.com” while those in the United Kingdom would go with “Amazon.uk.”
This is where you list the price of your book. Among the big decisions you’ll make when self-publishing is what price to charge. If priced too high, you’ll decrease your sales to zero. If priced too low, you’ll miss out on revenue.
Before examining what factors to consider in determining your paperback’s price, recognize that readers expect to pay less for an ebook than they do for a paperback. After all, the paperback requires trees, ink, printing presses, and labor to produce and send it; an ebook doesn’t (Well, the labor largely is limited to a few computer and software techs.). Paperbacks that I charge $10 for go for $3 as an ebook. As of this writing, most ebook prices average about $2.99. So if you charge $5 for your ebook, you should charge up to $15 for your paperback.
Once you know the minimum price you can charge – it is given in light gray below the “List Price” box – determine your costs by considering these factors:
• Competition’s prices – Identify the prices of a dozen books very similar to yours in topic and page length that are available for sale at Amazon.com. Making a chart listing the title/page length/price is useful. Now fit your book into that chart for page length and undercut the competition’s listed price. That is, if your book is 275 pages and the other books at or above that file length sell for $15.99, set the price at $15.89.
• Set your goals – Is your goal to establish yourself as an author or have you already done so? If the former, then keep your price low, even though that means your royalty payments will be less in the short run. That’s because low prices help generate sales that pushes your paperback higher into Amazon.com’s rankings, which in turn will generate more sales. If you’re already established, you can go for a higher price and hence higher percentage of royalties knowing that a built-in audience is willing to pay for your books.
• Ensure a profit and respectability – Don’t reduce your price to the point where you earn mere pennies for your paperback. You must keep your book somewhat above the minimum price that KindleDP requires. Hence, if the minimum price of your book is $5.99, don’t set the price at $6. You’d have to sell a hundred books to make a mere dollar. And those 100 sales will be tough as many readers will wonder if your book is of questionable quality as it is priced so low.
Once you’ve determined your book’s price, enter it in the “List Price” box for your marketplace. Amazon automatically will calculate the list price in other countries and the royalties you’ll receive in your marketplace and those in other countries.
For books sold from Amazon’s website, you’ll make 60% of the the list price minus the print cost. So, if the list price is $9.95, you would multiply it by 60% and get $5.97. From that, you subtract the print cost; if that print cost were $2.30, my royalty would be $5.97 – $2.30, which equals $3.67 per book sold.
You also can sign up for “Expanded Distribution,” which gives you around 40% royalty. With this option, Amazon will allow distributors to also market your book to booksellers and libraries. You get a lower royalty because the distributor takes a cut.
Terms & Conditions
After entering your price, the next section advises you that by agreeing to let Amazon print and distribute your book, you’re agreeing to KindleDP’s terms and conditions. A link takes you to the legalese. If you disagree with the terms and conditions, then KindleDP simply will not print your book; there’s no negotiation here.
Request a Book Proof
The last section asks if you’d like to receive a paper copy of your before asking KindleDP to publish it. If you’re new to self-publishing, requesting a proof isn’t a bad idea. It does delay the entire uploading process, however, and you can’t make any changes to what you’ve entered at KindleDP until the proof arrives.
You probably can skip requesting a proof for two reasons. First, you can see what your book looks like in the Previewer on the Kindle Paperback Content page of the upload. That should be sufficient to identify any formatting issues. Secondly, you always can change the book after it has been published. Sure, “bad” copies of the book will go out, but usually it’s just a typo or two that somehow escaped you.
To request a proof, simply click the “Request a Proof” button. You’ll only pay for the wholesale cost (the printing cost and Amazon’s cut) as well as shipping. You also can choose how many proof copies you’d like in case you want others to also look over the book.
Publish Your Paperback Book
The last step is to click the yellow oval that says “Publish Your Paperback Book.” Once you do, you’ve submitted your book to KindleDP for vetting. During that time, KindleDP’s bots will scour your manuscript to ensure that you’ve entered information, a manuscript, and a cover that doesn’t cause printing or distribution delays. This process can take up to 72 hours but usually is finished within a day or so.
If KindleDP rejects your manuscript, your book goes into “Draft” mode on your Bookshelf. KindleDP will email you to explain the problem. Often their explanations are vague and will require you to do some googling to figure it out. Simply copy and paste the key phrase explaining their rejection into a search engine. You’ll be surprised by how many other people have faced the same problem! Don’t be surprised as well by the lack of answers and even the wrong answers being given on the various chat rooms where the question is asked. You may have to try a couple of different solutions before you land on the correct one.
However, if you’ve followed all of this series’ instructions for formatting your manuscript and designing your cover, the odds are very good that KindleDP will approve your manuscript. When they do, it automatically goes up for sale at Amazon.com, and you’ll receive an email from KindleDP with a link to that landing page.
The Amazon page may not look perfect, missing your cover or the Read sample feature, during the first few hours that your book is up for sale. Be patient; up to a couple of days might pass before Amazon fully populates your site with all of the information you entered when uploading your book.
My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.