How Much Does the Average KDP Author Make?

How Much Does the Average KDP Author Make?

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How Much Does the Average KDP Author Make?

How Much Does the Average KDP Author Make?

This is a tough question to answer to answer because it is different for every single person. There are so many variables to consider like the title, the cover, the popularity of the author, and genre just to name a few. You could make nothing or thousands of dollars. There are many factors in play that have to do with the sale of a book on amazon.

How Much Does The Average KDP Author Make?

 If you are wondering how much you will receive in royalties that I can only guess at because that too is based on many variables. It will also depend on what option type of royalty you choose.

How Much Does An Average Self-Publishing Author Make On Amazon In A Year?

If you publish with the KDP Select program, you can earn up to 70 percent royalties on your book in many major national markets. Otherwise it is 35 percent.

Let’s Talk About Expectations …

Expectations come in to play here as they are often too high and you will probably be disappointed. Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t think you are going to earn hundreds or thousands right off the bat. I am not saying you can’t be excited, after all you created something (Good Job BTW!), but don’t count on rent money just yet. There is a term that is definitely associated with writing for a reason,” Starving Artist”.

What Goes In To The Sale Of A Book On KDP?

The first and primary things are the right keywords, categories, cover, interior, and price point. These are the things that get the process started and your book in front of buyers.

The market also needs to be big enough to support the niche of the book. You need customers. Your profit depends on this. Make sure there is an existing base of customers hopefully before you even think of creating a book. Niche down and look for great keywords.

Then there is the advertising. Whether you use the free method listed above, use a blog or social media, or pay for ads on Amazon, you need to advertise your books.

The price point is important because it needs to be around the same price as other books on the subject and you still need to be able to make a profit off the sale of the book. In some niches, like journals, that is pretty low.


A journal at most is $9.99 leaving a little over $2.00 profit margin. Most journals are under that price. Most authors make anywhere from .50 cents to $1.00. Selling journals in to days market is pretty difficult.

Is it worth your time to make a journal? Probably not, but it is a good example of the low tier profits that can be made. It is a controversial subject whether it is or is not a good thing that Amazon accepts this type of book as many authors do not consider it a “real book”.

What are your thoughts on selling journals on Amazon? We would love to hear from you in the comments below!

Amazon KDP Royalty Rates

eBook Royalty Options

According to Amazon, “You can choose between two royalty options for each of your eBooks: the 35% royalty option and the 70% royalty option.”

Here is the link to Amazon’s List Price Requirements
so that you can determine which one your book is eligible for.

Note: Public Domain books are only eligible for the 35% option.

Paperback Royalty Rates

For Paperback books the royalty is determined by the following formula

60% x list price – printings costs = Royalty.

Source: eBook Royalty Options

This means that the royalty comes from your book’s price. Then you need to subtract the printing costs to arrive at your final net profit.

Printing Costs

If you are curious about how Amazon calculates the printing costs then know we were too! Amazon calculates all this in the end of the form that you fill out when you upload your book. So we never really looked before today, but they use the following formula

Fixed cost + (page count * per page cost) = printing cost

Source: Paperback Printing Costs

What Are The Pros Of Selling Self-Published Books On Amazon?

Selling self-published books on Amazon offers several advantages, which is why it’s a popular choice for many authors. Here are some of the key pros:

  1. Vast Audience Reach: Amazon is one of the world’s largest online retailers, and it has a massive customer base. This means your book has the potential to reach millions of readers worldwide, increasing your chances of finding an audience.
  2. Ease of Publishing: Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform is user-friendly and allows you to publish your book in eBook and paperback formats with ease. There are no upfront costs, making it accessible for authors on a tight budget.
  3. Control Over Pricing: You have control over the pricing of your book. You can experiment with different price points to find the one that maximizes your earnings and attracts readers.
  4. Royalty Options: Amazon offers competitive royalty rates, allowing you to earn up to 70% of the book’s list price for eBooks in certain markets and 35% in others. This can result in a higher income compared to traditional publishing.
  5. KDP Select: While it’s optional, enrolling your eBook in the KDP Select program gives you the opportunity to earn royalties from Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. This can provide additional income if your book is popular among subscribers.
  6. Regular Royalty Payments: Amazon pays royalties on a regular monthly basis, providing a consistent income stream for authors.
  7. Global Distribution: Your book is available to readers in multiple countries. Amazon has a global presence, and you can choose to distribute your book in various markets, expanding your potential readership.
  8. Marketing Opportunities: Amazon provides tools and services for authors to promote their books, including Amazon Ads, Kindle Countdown Deals, and free eBook promotions. You can also leverage customer reviews and ratings to boost your book’s visibility.
  9. Print-on-Demand: Amazon offers print-on-demand (POD) services through KDP, allowing you to publish paperback versions of your book. This eliminates the need for inventory and upfront printing costs.
  10. Flexibility: You have the flexibility to update your book, change its cover, and adjust pricing at any time, which can be valuable for authors who want to refine their work over time.
  11. Data and Analytics: Amazon provides sales data and analytics that can help you understand your audience better and make informed marketing decisions.
  12. Author Central: Amazon’s Author Central platform allows you to create an author profile, connect with readers, and enhance your author presence on the platform.
  13. No Exclusive Contracts: You are not tied to Amazon exclusively, so you can publish your book on other platforms if you choose, giving you more distribution options.

While these advantages make Amazon an attractive platform for self-publishing, it’s important to note that success on Amazon requires more than just publishing your book; effective marketing, book quality, and reader engagement are also critical factors in achieving your publishing goals.

What Are The Cons Of Selling Self-Published Books On Amazon?

While there are many advantages to selling self-published books on Amazon, there are also some potential drawbacks and challenges to consider:

  1. High Competition: Amazon has millions of books available for purchase, which means your book will face intense competition for reader attention. Standing out in such a crowded marketplace can be challenging.
  2. Visibility Issues: Without effective marketing and promotion, your book may get lost in the vast Amazon catalog. You need to invest time and effort in marketing your book to increase its visibility.
  3. Amazon’s Algorithms: Amazon’s algorithms can be complex, and they influence book rankings, recommendations, and visibility. Understanding and optimizing for these algorithms can be challenging for new authors.
  4. Royalty Constraints: While Amazon offers competitive royalty rates, some markets or pricing choices may result in lower royalty percentages (e.g., 35% instead of 70%). This can affect your earnings.
  5. KDP Select Exclusivity: While enrolling in KDP Select can have benefits, it also means your eBook cannot be available on other platforms during the enrollment period. This exclusivity can limit your distribution options.
  6. Review System Challenges: While Amazon’s review system is valuable, it can also be subject to manipulation and abuse. This can lead to issues with fake or malicious reviews.
  7. Market Saturation: Some genres or niches on Amazon may be oversaturated, making it difficult to gain visibility and attract readers if you write in a popular category.
  8. Dependence on Amazon: By relying solely on Amazon, you are putting all your eggs in one basket. If Amazon changes its policies or if there’s a disruption in their service, it could impact your sales and income.
  9. Limited Control: While you have control over many aspects of your book, you still have to adhere to Amazon’s terms and conditions, which can change over time. This can impact how you price, market, and distribute your book.
  10. Discoverability Challenges: Discoverability is a persistent challenge on Amazon, especially for new authors. Building an author brand and attracting readers may take time and effort.
  11. Technical Issues: While Amazon handles many technical aspects, you may still encounter formatting or technical issues when preparing your book for publishing on the platform.
  12. Quality Control: Some self-published books on Amazon may not meet professional standards in terms of editing, cover design, and content quality. This can contribute to a perception of lower quality for self-published works.
  13. Income Variability: Sales on Amazon can be inconsistent. Some months may bring in significant income, while others may be slower. It can be challenging to predict and budget based on these fluctuations.
  14. Marketplace Changes: Amazon’s policies and marketplace dynamics can change, potentially affecting your publishing strategy and income.
  15. Limited Print Distribution: While Amazon offers print-on-demand services, if you’re looking for broader print distribution to physical bookstores or libraries, you may need to explore other publishing options.

Despite these potential drawbacks, many authors find success on Amazon by carefully planning their self-publishing strategy, investing in marketing and promotion, and continuously improving their writing and book quality. It’s important to approach self-publishing on Amazon with realistic expectations and a long-term commitment to building your author brand.

Is Selling Self-Published Books On Amazon Right For You?

Take everything you have read today and really let it all soak in. There is no right or wrong answer just what you feel is best for your situation. My overall suggestion is to use multiple sources to sell your books. As long as you abide by amazons rules you should be fine.


A lot goes into to creating a book and then you actually have to sell it. So don’t take the process lightly. Make sure you have done your research in to keywords, categories, covers, the market, and the final price of the book. These are the things that will help your book sell.

There is a wealth of information in Amazon’s own documentation and the direct links are embedded in the above text and throughout our KDP series. We like to say around here “For-armed is for-warned”. So stay informed! After All this is your business and you don’t want to risk your KDP account being terminated

#How much do KDP authors make?

#How much does an average self publishing author make on Amazon?

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  1. Thank you for this interesting article. I have a friend that is considering writing a book, and I will refer him to this article. I also didn’t know that it is important to focus on categories and niches if you want to make money from writing a book. I plan to discuss this with him as well.

  2. The profits are there and at the same time, you must do your homework well along with putting everything in place. But still, it all depends on how your book also interests your audience and how engaging it is which plays a big part in your success.

  3. Thanks for this information on what the average earnings are for a KDP author. I have spoken to several authors and they find it much more profitable to promote their own books through paid advertising or JVs with other prominent leaders in their niche. Although Amazon does provide exposure the profit to be made is much lower. It is a viable option though.

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