In a recent article, we discussed the viability of a Kindle Book, your own self-published work, as a method for monetizing your website. And the benefits laid out are clear. But the barrier to entry on Amazon has gotten extremely low. While this is good for you, it also means that the responsibility of producing something worthwhile lies in your hands. There’s publishing a book just to publish, and then there’s publishing done the right way.
Here are six tips to keep in mind when self-publishing your first Kindle book.
1. Take it Seriously
As mentioned above, the barrier to entry on Amazon is nearly non-existent these days. And that means there are a lot of low-quality books on the marketplace already. In my personal opinion, this will change in the future – Amazon will eventually find a way to either keep low-quality books from getting published or nearly filter them out so only good works get attention.
Until then, it’s still important to take the self-publishing process seriously. Don’t put 50% effort into creating this; approach it like a big publishing company has already dropped an advance and is expecting you to deliver something of a high standard.
Offer something of value, make it unique, and bring it through multiple redrafts. In the end, you want a polished work that doesn’t look self-published, something you can be proud to associate with your business. After all, it reflects on you alone.
2. Harness the Cumulative Effect
You may not see much response to your first book (unless, of course, you’ve already got an audience at your website and are just using the book for monetization). If you don’t already have an audience, don’t expect to get a ton of sales coming right out of the gate. Many more successful Kindle authors are reporting very few sales until they have about three titles or more in the marketplace.
After six, profits often take off, increasing exponentially from that point on.
So the more the merrier.
3. Cross-Promote Between Books
One reason for the above is the cross-promotion that happens on Amazon. This highly-successful retail site has made it their business to know what customers want, and they are great at up-sells and cross-sells – often, they will repeatedly recommend your new books to readers who’ve purchased your stuff before.
You can aid this cross-promotion process by selling your own books in the back, after people finish. Just a simple mention of your other titles, with descriptions included, and a call to action. If readers like you, they’ll check out your other stuff.
4. Find Your Angle
Don’t just write a vanilla book about your niche – come up with something new. People don’t like general works. They want an opinion, a focus, an angle. This is branding and it’s just as important when it comes to Kindle books.
5. Test Your Pricing Strategies
Many new authors price their books as low as possible. This usually means $0.99 or $2.99, depending on the length of the manuscript.
This sometimes make sense but not always, and there’s no reason to sell yourself short. Many new authors report zero drop in sales when they ask for $5.99 or even $9.99. If the information in your book is particularly valuable or you have a special kind of expertise, the ceiling can be far higher.
Test different price points and watch your stats. You might be surprised.
6. Focus On Reviews
Coming out of the gate, it’s best to put your initial focus into getting reviews. If possible, have them lined up before you even start. Don’t buy reviews or trade for fake ones – insist on honesty, as readers know the difference.
Reviews can make all the difference in a purchase; aim for six before leaving the book to its own devices.
I’ll be talking more about monetizing with Kindle in the future, including articles about how to leverage KDP Select, how to get more reviews, and the ins and outs of ranking. If there are any specific aspects you’d like to see covered, please comment below.