Amazon Royalty Rates and Making Money with Your Book

Money in a bagI had an excellent question come in today about my opinion of the royalty rates offered by Amazon for ebooks on the Kindle and I will also put in paperback books through CreateSpace. It is a question about making money with your book.

Most of the money I make on Amazon comes from my paperback books produced through print-on-demand and CreateSpace. For me Kindle does almost nothing. Which is the opposite for many people. It is most likely the mix of books that I create.

I make about $3.27 royalty per book for my paperbacks with an average list price of $9.95 and $1.40 per book for Kindle with prices around $2.99. For the month of December I have sold 427 so far, having a great Christmas and on Kindle I have sold 11 books. Most of my books are on both platforms but I am selling coloring books, geography books, music books, a few business book, stuff like that. So most of my sales come from the printed books.

On Kindle you have two royalty rates, 35% – where Amazon picks up all download costs and give you the widest distribution and 70% – where the author pays download costs and has a little less distribution. You may know or not know that authors pay for the book download. With most books you never notice it because it is so small, but I see it with my picture and graphics books. The download can be a couple of dollars. To cover this I select the 35% option and Amazon picks it up.

Royalty rates are a common question, everyone thinks Amazon is just a big company taking all our money. But I think these issues have to be kept in perspective. Traditional publishers give you about $.70-$1.00 per book in royalties and own all the rights. Even the big guys, most of their money comes from the advances they get and then the author works against it. But our royalties are usually 2-5 times greater than this. And we get to keep all the rights. That being said, you want more money just charge more or sell more books. But that then comes down to what the market will bear, competition, and of course does anyone care and actually buy our books. I also think that Amazon has been pretty successful in pushing all prices down and down. Unless you are a big name you are in the $.99-$2.99 price range for your book. But it is their store.

Another thing to remember, and this is important, is that we aren’t handling any of the e-commerce, sales page, printing, mailing, trust of Amazon and the dropping of the money in our bank accounts. That is worth a lot. I am very pleased with what I get. It is up to me to market and sell more.

Personally I am thrilled by it all. I get to make any book I want and deliver it to an almost global market for zero cost and no one saying no. It is amazing. It costs me nothing but the time to make the book. I don’t have to touch any part of the process after the book leaves my hand. I love getting that money in my bank account.

My part is the marketing. My recommendation is to be always working on building funnels to drive people to buy my books. My job is to build out a website, social media, book videos, off and online marketing. This is what I do. You can’t rely on Amazon to sell your books. You have to be in charge and constantly marketing.

The other thing you can do and a lot people are starting to do this is use your book as a lead generator. Work the back end. You can give the book away for nothing if you have links and content that drives people to your other products. How about leading to a course, consulting, videos, into your mailing list, what ever you can think up.  If you do this, your book might bring $29.95 or $25,000.00 and anything in-between. You can have live web links in your Kindle books right to your website and products. Think of your book like a giant sales pitch, but in a nice way. You can also put web links in your print books, just make them simple and clear.

So my bottom line is I am very happy with the process. I don’t have a garage full of books and I don’t have to do any part of the hosting, printing, processing or dealing with the money. My job is just make books.

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“How to Publish Your Book” Releases Feb 15 in the Kindle Store

How to Publish Your Book, Beginners Guide

How to Publish Your Book, Available at Amazon.com

By Bruce Jones

I am pleased to announce the release of my newest book, How to Publish Your Book, A Beginner’s Guide for Print, Digital and e-Books. In this book I take you through an introduction and overview to self-publishing. The services, the different kinds of books you can create, the where, why and how. The power is in your hands and we can now publish, distribute and sell our writing around the world for almost no money or resistance. It is an amazing moment in time, and we can take advantage of it. This book shows you how.

How to Publish Your Book covers why you should self-publish, how you can make money from publishing your own books, and where you should publish. How to Publish Your Book talks about using the latest print-on-demand services like CreateSpace.com and Lulu.com for producing paperback, hard cover, photo and audio books. After discussing where to publish we turn to where to sell your book, the types of books you can make and then how you do it. The book also talks about the Kindle Comic Creator the new free application from Amazon that lets you publish graphic novels, comic books and children books super easy and very fast. After publishing and selling comes marketing and we have an overview of what to do before your start writing to build your platform and what to do after the book is out.

One of my favorite topics is how you can re-purposing of your content. Write it once and use it over and over in many different ways. We learn about some of the other product creation sites that you can use and how to extend your book.

In all of my books there is an extensive resource list of sites and services that you can use in creating your book and this continues that tradition. The list includes Layout and Design sites; including resources for; Clip Art, Color Palette Generators, Commercial Stock Photo Sites, Fonts, Online Photo Editing, and Public Domain Photo Sites. In the publishing resource we have Book Publishing, e-Book and Print-on-Demand Sites, e-Book Aggregators, and iPad publishing. Re-purposing Your Content includes; Blog Platforms, E-mail hosting, Google Resources, Video and Video Marketing, Photo Sharing, Single Subject Blog Sites and Social Media. The last section of the resources is about re-purposing your content, this section includes; Audio Recording Software, Screen Capture Software, Gift and Apparel Producers, Personal Broadcasting, Transcription Software, Video Distribution and Sharing, Web Based Screen Capture Software and Outsourcing.

How to Publish Your Book is available in the Amazon/Kindle Store. Shortly coming to print. Click here to see the Amazon page.

October 2013 Income Report from Publishing My Books

By Bruce Jones

I am a huge fan of self-publishing and where it can lead you. It is so cool to be writing and producing books and to see them sell. I started out with zero books a couple of years ago and I now have released over 20 with more coming. I started out making a few dollars and have built it up so that I am now making a pretty consistent $700 a month. Well on my way to my goal of $1,000/month in book sales.

My books are on a variety of topics from music instruction, to geography/mapping, coloring books and business book. I have also started to help others complete their dreams of producing books. I have also produced several text books for grade school kids and college. See my books on Amazon at my author page https://www.amazon.com/author/jbrucejones

Cats and Kittens Coloring Book, Available at Amazon

Cats and Kittens Coloring Book, Available at Amazon

One of the things I talk about if you are going to write and produce books is to not limit yourself. It is very hard to figure out what will work and what won’t. You spend a lot of time writing a book and it goes nowhere. You spend sometimes several hours on a book and it becomes a best seller in its category. It is a little humbling to learn that most people don’t care about the topics that you find so interesting. So my advice is spread it around, try different topics and see what happens. With self-publishing, print-on-demand or e-books it is easier to produce shorter books and much more quickly.

I thought I would share some numbers to my publishing successes and show how anyone can do this and make money from it. The numbers reported below are from my CreateSpace.com account. CreateSpace.com is the print-on-demand side of Amazon.com. Upload a pdf of your book insides, upload a cover, fill in the description areas and you are ready to sell. CreateSpace moves your book over to Amazon.com and you are a regular author. When an order comes in Amazon takes the order, prints the book, ships the book to your customer and deposits the revenue in your bank account.

I also produce a number of books and host them on the Kindle platform, the ebook side of Amazon. Most of my books are graphic in nature and aren’t idea for the Kindle but that is changing and I have finally figured out how to move my books over to that. I know that the Kindle and ebooks get all the buzz but it hasn’t really worked like that for me. Almost all my sales come from printing and selling physical paperback books. My recommendation is to do both and see what happens. I have a new video coming out all about how to get your graphic books on to the Kindle.

Ok the Numbers!!
One of the things I have learned is that almost all of my books sell during the course of a year. Some a lot and some very little but they generally all sell. Over the course of this year 20 out of the 22 titles I have, have sold.

CreateSpace/Amazon now sells print-on-demand books in the US, England and Europe which is really cool.

Book Income Breakdown for the Month of October 2013
I sold 201 books for a total of $644.00 with the break down of
USA $529, UK $111, and Europe $3.80.

My most popular title is my Blank Sheet Music Book for Guitar, selling 51 copies
the second title is World Regional Maps Coloring Book, selling 47 copies
Everything else winds down with 15 out of the 22 titles selling.

This was down from the month of September where I sold 285 books for a total of $936. But September with back to school has been a good month before. Lately I have been averaging around 200-225 books/month. I am looking forward to December.

Affiliate Links from Companies or Services I Use to Build my Books
Disclosure: many of the links below are affiliate links that I will earn a commission if you purchase through them. If you do, I appreciate it and if you have any questions about any of the products or services please contact me!
HostGator.com, Web host for my book promotion sites
ShutterStock.com, Website I use for cover and inside stock images
CreateSpace.com, Amazon’s print-on-demand site for publishing physical books
Amazon/Kindle Direct Publishing, Access for publishing on Kindle

Lessons
What I have learned is that my books tend to find a level and then pretty much stick to it fo quite a while. There are top books, middle level books and then some at the bottom. But they basically stay in their ranges.

For me the Kindle platform has been a bust. My books just seem to sit there. I don’t write fiction or story types of books. Which from what I have seen can do very well. I also produce picture books, which I think are now coming into their own with the Kindle Fire and their color readers. I have finally succeeded in getting most of my books converted and uploaded to Kindle. We will see what happens once increase the promotion.

A major goal for this year has been to get my map and music books up on the Kindle side of Amazon. I struggled for months trying to figure out the graphics, what sizes, building clickable table of contents and converting the books, what a pain. Then I found out about the Kindle Comic Creator and bingo making a Kindle book from a pdf file took like 10 minutes to do. It doesn’t solve every problem but it has moved me so far down the line that I now have all of the books I can up on Kindle. It is amazing.

Ok there we have it, my first Book Income Report. I will be putting up the November report shortly. Black Friday and Thanksgiving proved to be pretty amazing, with about 47 books selling on the day before the holiday.

Resources for Publishing Kindle and CreateSpace Books

Kindle Book ResourcesI have been a conversation today with some friends of mine on resources for publishing Kindle and print-on-demand books using services like Kindle/Amazon, CreateSpace/Amazon and Lulu.com. I thought I would start pulling some of this together in a post so others can access this info.

Kindle Book Resources
Amazon has a number of their own resources for pulling together your Kindle book, I found them quite useful along with some other sources. I found I need to read these books several times to get it to really stick. My books have a lot of images in them and it became very difficult to get the pictures to act and look the way I wanted.

  • Building Your Book for Kindle, from Amazon/Kindle, free download from Amazon, very useful, for the PC usersAaron Shepard Kindle Books
  • Building Your Book for Kindle for Mac, from Amazon/Kindle, free download from Amazon, for the Mac users, MS Word works differently on a Mac than a PC, you need this info especially for building your Table of Contents. Building the clickable TOC can drive you nuts

Aaron Shepard’s Books, excellent

Other Books

InDesign has Kindle and epub plugins for making ebooks, I started working down this path as I am an huge InDesign user but eventually went back to MS Word. A lot of people use InDesign to make their books, I just got frustrated mostly because of the heavy picture needs that I had and couldn’t figure it all out. If you are mostly text then life will be easier.

Youtube Resources/Playlist for ebook publishing
In my search for Kindle and epub knowledge I put together a YouTube Playlist called Kindle and Self Publishing

CreateSpace/Amazon Print-on-Demand Publishing Tips
I have another blog called How to Make and Sell Your Book and I did a long post on Using CreateSpace and Print-on-Demand called Publish Your Book Using Print On Demand with CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com, clever right. This article has a ton of info, including some guidance on building your cover. CreateSpace has upgrade the cover process some since this was written but it is still pretty helpful. There is also lots of other ebook publishing info on this site. How to Make and Sell Your Book

Other ebook and Print-on-Demand Links

  • Kindle Direct Publishing has a ton of tips on their site that are very helpful. Take a look at Preparing Your Book and Publishing Your Book
  • CreateSpace/Amazon, CreateSpace is the print-on-demand side of Amazon, it is where you upload and manage your books. Just paperback books, but you are on Amazon. I have over 20 books through these guys. They are excellent, great service.
  • Lulu.com, another print-on-demand book site, Lulu has more options for your books, including hard cover and spiral binding. Excellent quality

Kindle Direct Publishing has released an amazing tool for creating fixed formatted books for the Kindle called Kindle Comic Creator. This tool can also be used for creating picture books. I have just started to mess around with it but one of the things it can do is convert pdf files. It is free and works with both Mac and PC. I make a lot of image based books, music books, maps, and coloring books. My initial test is that it converts these book really well. It seems adding a TOC is a bit of an effort and maybe beyond me at the moment, but all the positives look really cool. Here are some of the things it can do:

  • Create a guided navigation experience with Kindle Panel View
  • Create books with double page spreads or facing pages
  • Import artwork from jpg, pdf, tiff, png and ppm formats
  • Preview content across Kindle devices before publishing