Hear directly from five self-publishers whose lives look completely different now with a Kindle publishing income.
Anyone can absolutely make a good Kindle publishing income...just ask the thousands of AIA students who’ve quit their jobs to travel full-time, retired early, or even set out to sail the seven seas (more on that later). In this blog post, we'll do a deep dive into the online business model that's taking the passive income community by storm—self-publishing.
Hint: All you need is an Amazon account to get started. Check out our free Kindle publishing income mini course that shows you the exact blueprint to tap into AI and make money online, even as a total beginner.
Earning money through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) involves the same royalty system that celebrities use to continue making money even decades after putting out a hit song.
As a self-publisher, your earnings are directly tied to the choices you make during the publishing process. It might sound a little intense, but all that control is actually the best part of self-publishing. You get to make all the decisions instead of blindly following what a traditional publishing house forces you to do with your works and ideas.
When you publish an eBook on Amazon's Kindle platform, you'll earn royalties each time a customer purchases your book. Amazon KDP offers two royalty options:
35% Royalty Rate
70% Royalty Rate
You'll also earn royalties for your hardcover, paperback, and audiobook versions of the same book. These royalties will be paid directly to your bank account or mailed as a check two months after the book gets purchased.
Yes, those first two months can feel agonizing waiting for the notification from your bank that the funds have cleared, BUT as you grow your publishing business, you won't have to worry about that anymore because you'll be making a steady income even if you decide to take a month off to go explore France.
We refer to royalties as virtually passive income because you can literally sell eBooks in your sleep. Amazon operates round-the-clock, which means multiple books can earn money without any additional labor or costs on your part after the initial work to get the manuscript polished and published.
Wanna see how much Amazon might owe you for your next book? Play around with our free eBook royalties calculator!
Publishing on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is totally free. There aren’t any account maintenance fees, subscription fees, or anything like that. You don’t even need a Prime account. You can upload your book directly to KDP, set your price, and start selling without any upfront costs, depending on how much control you want over the process. On the other hand, you can also choose to outsource 99% of the work.
Here are some of the potential costs involved in the process of self-publishing on Amazon if you do decide to bring in some other creative professionals to help:
Pro Tip: All businesses, even online businesses, are going to incur costs. That's just how it is. But when you compare the profit potential of Kindle eBooks versus drop shipping or Doordashing, there's no competition. The Kindle publishing income cost in the short-term might be your dedicated attention and a couple of hours a week, but the long-term gains are complete freedom over your schedule and income.
Making a good Kindle publishing income isn't about publishing multiple books as quickly as possible. It's about quality and strategy. At least, that's what separates a publishing hobby from building a real online business.
Here are some ways to get more Amazon book sales and take advantage of all of Amazon's content marketing features:
You cannnnn set a price for your Kindle books and forget about it, but you'd be leaving money on the table if you did. There's a better way to price your Kindle book and maximize your publishing income!
Price Increment Post-Launch:
Monitor and Adjust:
Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service that allows readers to discover and read as many books as they want. As a publisher, you're paid based on the number of pages Kindle Unlimited subscribers read in your book rather than per book sold.
Your book’s performance on Amazon is partly dictated by algorithms that favor:
Offering your book in multiple formats can significantly increase your visibility and revenue. By catering to diverse reader preferences, you can also tap into different market segments and use other pricing psychology strategies like anchoring.
If you've started with an eBook, consider taking advantage of Amazon's print-on-demand (POD) services to offer a paperback version. Other services like IngramSpark also allow you to upload your digital book file, set a sales price, and only print copies as they're ordered, reducing the need for inventory storage.
Audiobooks can reach an audience that prefers listening over reading, and it's actually how the Mikkelsen Twins got their start. Producing an audiobook involves narrating and recording your content, which can be outsourced to platforms like ACX, where you can connect with professional narrators.
Once you have multiple versions of your books published, you can access new features inside your KDP account, like bundles. Price anchoring is based on the idea that, in most cases, readers purchase the best deal. Using this knowledge to your advantage, you can strategically choose which version to push—like your book bundles.
Book bundles are an excellent way to offer value to your readers and encourage them to purchase more of your work. You can create bundles of digital books, combining:
Pro Tip: Price bundles attractively compared to buying each format separately. Your readers will get a great deal out of it, and you'll pocket more royalties than if you were to sell just one individual book. It's a win-win.
A lot of our students prefer actual walkthroughs, so let's take a look at what anchor pricing might look like for each version of a book.
Disclaimer: These are obviously just an example that won't hold true for every niche market or audience. You'll have to research what your fellow authors and publishers are doing based on your unique book ideas.
Pro Tip: Like all things publishing, pricing takes practice! If you don't get it right from the start, you're not doomed. You can still make a decent Kindle publishing income that will grow with time, even if you haven’t created any bundles yet. We can't tell you how many hundreds of our students have "accidentally" made $2k+ on just ONE book in ONE month.
Getting off the corporate hamster wheel and running a Kindle publishing business means having to get comfy with taxes and money matters, but it's really not as bad as you might think. Here's a quick overview:
You’ll be responsible for tracking your royalties and book sales, even though KDP provides detailed reports every month. You’ll want to track:
Self-publishing is a legitimate business model offering passive income online for those willing to put in the upfront work. As a business owner, your focus should be on creating quality content, optimizing your book's visibility on digital platforms, and marketing. The strategy is to build a portfolio of works that consistently sell over time, generating a steady income.
One advantage of treating your self-publishing endeavors as a formal business is the ability to write off related expenses on your taxes. This can include costs associated with marketing, cover design, editing, and even a portion of your home if you have a dedicated home office.
As you build your publishing confidence, you can start thinking about scaling your business up even further with more advanced marketing tactics like these:
Building a book series is a good way to keep readers coming back for more content.
Working with ghostwriters and designers can elevate the quality of your Kindle books.
Amazon ads can enhance your books' visibility and increase sales.
Creating a Facebook group can foster a dedicated reader community and boost engagement. It’s definitely not something you have to do to be successful, but some of our students really enjoy engaging with their readers this way.
As a self-publisher and business owner, bumps in the road are inevitable, but the quicker you can bounce back from them, the better you can make your next book and the more royalties you’ll see in your bank account.
Reader feedback can make you a better Kindle publisher if you don’t take it personally.
To iterate something is to build off it after multiple repetitions, like learning to ride a bike and eventually getting rid of the training wheels.
Each publication can be a stepping stone to understand your audience better and enhance your strategy for future releases.
Earning income through Kindle Direct Publishing doesn’t require you to be a writer.
Here are several methods to generate revenue on the Kindle platform:
1. Hire Ghostwriters: You can hire a ghostwriter to craft books for you from scratch or build on your drafts. This is a common practice where you retain full rights to the content while the ghostwriter remains anonymous. Most people don’t even realize that 9/10 celebrity books are all written by ghostwriters.
2. Use AI Writing Tools: AI writing programs can produce a draft or list of ideas, which you can then edit and polish to your standard.
3. Curate Public Domain Works: You're allowed to publish public domain content according to Amazon’s content guidelines. However, these works must be differentiated by adding your own commentary or illustrations.
The publishing process itself is relatively quick. You can upload your book in a matter of hours, and it typically appears on Amazon within 24 to 72 hours after submission, provided there are no issues with your content or book cover (front, back, and spine).
Here's a general timeline you can expect:
Absolutely not. You can make a good Kindle publishing income from anywhere in the world. You don’t even have to be in the same market as you’re selling to. For example, some of your most avid readers might end up being halfway across the world in Australia! You’ll be able to check this within your KDP dashboard.
A Kindle publishing income offers the flexibility to craft your online business completely around your lifestyle without a boss or anyone else to answer to. These are some types of students we've had over the years:
The World Traveler:
The Full-Time Parent:
The Side Hustler:
The Retiree Author:
The Remote Worker:
Who better to hear from than five individuals and couples who took our Kindle publishing income course and made it their own?
Koorosh came out of his retirement as a former professor after getting inspired by the thought of bringing in passive income every month. Just one book ended up doubling in sales month after month, eventually bringing him over $1k per month. That's when he decided to expand his online business by building his own website and learning how to format his own books.
Listen to his experience and best advice here!
Robyn was also a former teacher who launched a book on Audible and almost gave up early on in her self-publishing journey. Her favorite part of the AIA course was the module about developing a "Millionaire Mindset" because it ultimately helped her push past all the self-doubt and limiting beliefs that were getting in her way.
If you need some inspiration today, this is it:
Fred never thought he'd add "best-selling author" to his resume, let alone make almost $9k in a single month from just one book. He was even more shocked to find that he was still bringing in book sales, even during the months he was focused on being a dad instead of publishing.
Stefan is one of the founding members of our accelerated course and a former marketing exec who knows how miserable corporate life can be. He shares his coaching expertise on how to build a community and really make the most out of our Kindle publishing income course.
Carissa is a mompreneur who didn't think she'd ever have time to publish one book, let alone multiple. It took her longer than she would have liked to get her first book up on the Amazon Kindle store, but it all paid off when the royalties started coming in.
There are a lot of misconceptions about what it actually takes to self-publish a book these days.
We can tell you it doesn't take a million dollars, a college degree, or expert computer skills. At the same time, you can't just click one button and have a bestselling manuscript appear out of thin air (we're working on it, don't worry). The bread and butter of building a successful online business with publishing is making content that potential readers actually WANT to read. That's it. Whether you create it all by hand or work with a ghostwriter, that will always ring true.
1) If you're looking for a legitimate Kindle publishing income course with a step-by-step guide and video walkthroughs of every single step of the publishing process (without overwhelming you with too much information), our AI publishing academy might be a good fit.
2) If you're looking for a high-level, bird's eye view of the whole process and the strategies taught in our hyper-specific course, then our exclusive free self-publishing webinar is for you.
Both will show you how to find the most profitable low-competition niches and turn your book ideas into a Kindle publishing income that pays you for years and years to come. The question is, what are you going to do with your new publishing income?