How Long Does it Take to Make Money on KDP: Self-Publishing FAQ

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How Long Does it Take to Make Money on KDP: Self-Publishing FAQ
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The time it takes to publish a book might take weeks or years, but the question on everyone’s mind is…how quickly can you start making money? 

The short answer is that you can start making book sales the same day your book goes live on Amazon KDP. The longer answer regarding when you’ll actually see that money and how much you can get is a little more complicated. 

Keep reading for the not-so-secret formula for small tweaks that make a big difference in book sales and how to maximize the royalties you earn. 

Note: If you want to save time and earn money quicker, you need to follow a proven system. Sign up for our webinar where we'll take you by the hand and show you a process hundreds of our students are using to earn money online every month through book royalties.

When Will You Get Paid?

Amazon KDP pays publishers that hit their minimum royalty threshold every month, with a slight caveat. Royalties are paid about 60 days after the month the book sales are reported. So, if you hit your royalty threshold in January, you'll get paid those royalties by the end of March. 

For books enrolled in Expanded Distribution, it takes a bit longer—around 90 days. 

In other words, you might not see a paycheck for your book until a few weeks after the fact, but publishing is all about the long game. As long as you’re consistent, those royalties can keep rolling in on a steady basis. 

How Does Amazon KDP Pay You? 

Amazon KDP keeps things simple when it comes to payments. Your royalties will be sent directly to your bank account via electronic funds transfer (EFT) or by check, depending on your location and preferences. 

Just set up your payment method in your KDP account settings, and you’re good to go. 

If something changes, like moving to a new location or opening a new business bank account, you can go to the settings panel and update it as needed. 

What To Do If Your Book Isn’t Making Money

Even the bestselling publishers know what it’s like to obsessively refresh the KDP dashboard, hoping to see more book sales. It can be really disheartening when there aren’t as many people buying your book as you expected. 

Although there’s never any guarantee that a book will sell, here are some ways we teach our students to get out of a rut: 

Change Your Book Cover

  • Sometimes, reviving your sales is really as simple as changing a few elements of the front cover or swapping it with an entirely new design. 
  • It can be tempting to cut down on costs and take on the cover yourself, but designers are trained in things like color psychology and other elements of style that most of us aren’t familiar with. They’re worth the investment!

Revise Your Marketing Plan

  • Take a peek at your KDP sales reports. Are your books reaching your target audience? Do you notice any patterns with the seasons? Try to observe and make adjustments to your Kindle marketing strategy.
  • Next year, you can plan your promotions around these trends. 
  • In the meantime, you can make intentional tweaks to your book description and book categories to see if Amazon starts showing your work to different audiences. 

Make Sure You Have Solid Amazon A+ Content

  • Amazon A+ Content lets you add extra images or charts to your book page to help potential readers make a better-informed decision about purchasing your work. 
  • It never hurts to see what your competitors are doing and how you might be able to fill in a gap for your readers. 

Experiment with Pricing

  • Try different Kindle pricing strategies to find the sweet spot that maximizes sales and profits. 
  • Consider temporary price drops or promotional pricing, but don’t sell yourself short. 
  • We typically tell our students to start at a lower price at the start of a launch to incentivize more sales and reviews and then slowly increase the price to make sure you’re getting paid your worth. 
  • If you ever see Amazon has changed your price, don’t panic! This is essentially a free sales boost, and you’ll get to maintain your royalty rate no matter what’s displayed. Amazon will take any difference out of their own pockets rather than yours. 

Bundle Your Books

  • If you have multiple books, create a bundle or box set (you’ll need a new ISBN). 
  • Offering a collection at a discounted price can entice readers to buy more, and they also get a better deal on the books, so it’s a win-win.
  • Because a bundle is priced higher than individual books, your take-home royalty will also be bigger per sale. 

Update and/or Re-Release

  • Consider updating your book with new content, a fresh cover, or additional chapters.
  • Updating your book’s details is easy from the KDP dashboard and doesn’t require a re-release. 
  • Re-releases should be a last resort after you’ve tried updating your Kindle book cover, book details, and pricing, and they’re more for major content changes. 

Learn From the Best: AIA Course

Here’s a riddle: What beginner-friendly self-publishing course has already helped tens of thousands of students earn millions of dollars in royalties and consistently earns a Trustpilot score of 4.7/5 stars? 

That’s easy. It’s the AI Publishing Academy, or AIA for short. 

Discover Your Roadmap to Digital Amazon Business

Contrary to popular belief, publishing can’t be fully automated, and we’ve never advocated for that, either. Readers are looking for a human touch and human emotions that they can connect to. 

The right systems and processes can cut the time and cost it takes to self-publish a quality manuscript by at least half (if not more). We show you how to do this with a proven A-Z step-by-step process. 

Expert-Led Training

Learning Amazon ads from someone who’s actually dealt with them before makes sense, right? Of course, it’s a lot better to learn from someone who hasn’t just run thousands of ads but actually profited over half a million dollars from them. 

Brian is just one of the dozens of experts within our AIA community who also started out as a student himself: 

World Class Support

Our growing Facebook community of 40k AIA students and coaches is always on standby for a little extra motivation, support, and troubleshooting. Many have been self-publishing for years and love dishing out the industry secrets they wish they had known at the start of their digital publishing careers. 

Beginner Friendly. Pro-Approved.

The majority of our AIA coaches were students themselves, including Mel, who recently just accepted a promotion. In this interview, she gets real about how much her books are earning and the importance of routine: 

Unmatched Resources for Serious Success

The AIA modules are filled with quick-start templates, guides, and prompts to make every step of the publishing process as digestible and easy to understand as possible. 

You can dig into everything at your own pace, and you can also rest easy knowing the course is updated regularly. 

The Future Is AI Friendly. Meet Publishing.AI

A ghostwriter, editor, and designer aren’t in everyone’s budget. 

It’s why we’re building a first-of-its-kind AI publishing copilot that helps you create quality book outlines, competitor research reports, and even first-draft manuscripts at a much more reasonable price point. 

Access is currently limited to AIA community members, so if you value being an early adopter of industry-leading tech, this is the ticket. 

Get Started with Amazon KDP Publishing with Our Free Webinar

If a course sounds like too much commitment and you just want to learn more about this business model in general, we’ve also got you covered with our 100% no-cost publishing training

How Long Does It Take to Sell on Amazon KDP

Wondering how quickly you can start selling on Amazon KDP? 

It varies from publisher to publisher, but here are seven factors that can speed things up:

  1. Nail the Quality of Outsourced Services
    • High-quality editing, cover design, and formatting can make your book more attractive to potential readers. 
  2. Master Coordination and Communication
    • There’s nothing worse than getting ghosted by a ghostwriter or finding out that their vision for the book’s tone is completely different from what you had in mind. 
    • Keep those lines of communication open and schedule frequent chapter checkpoints to stay on the same page and get your book to the market faster.
  3. Speed Up Revision and Feedback Cycles
    • If you want a ghostwriter or editor to value your time, you need to show them the same level of respect. 
    • Be prompt with revisions and feedback, but also keep it reasonable. A proofreader is very different from a developmental editor, for example. 
    • Quick and thorough revisions mean your book gets polished and published sooner.
  4. Boost Book Visibility and Distribution
    • Use smart keywords and categories to improve your book’s visibility in the Amazon search results. 
    • Have an actual plan for your Amazon ads and promotions instead of relying on trial and error to make the most out of your marketing budget. 
  5. Perfect Your Pricing Strategy
    • Experiment with pricing to find that sweet spot. 
    • Attractive price points and promotional offers can draw in buyers much faster.
  6. Engage with Readers and Gather Reviews
    • Interact with your readers and encourage reviews by adding a request page inside your book. 
    • Be your own cheerleader and advocate for your book by seeing the process through, even if there are moments when you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

How Much Money Can You Make on Amazon KDP?

There’s technically no limit to how much money you can make selling your book on Amazon KDP. 

There are plenty of books earning well over six figures per year right now, which you can find with tools like KDSpy. 

Realistically, you shouldn’t bank on every book being a bestseller, but you don’t even have to be a bestseller to make decent money. Making $500 per book and publishing 6 books would put you in a pretty good spot, for example. 

These things can influence your earnings:

  1. Book Genre and Target Audience
    • Non-fiction genres like self-help, business, and health have dedicated audiences. 
    • If you know what types of problems people are looking to solve, and you figure out how to provide them a solution, that’s the biggest publishing “hack” of all. 
  2. Pricing and Royalty Rates
    • Amazon KDP offers royalty rates of 35% or 70%, depending on your pricing strategy, book format, and book market. 
    • Dynamic pricing involves changing your book’s prices based on things like what your competitors are doing, the holiday or season you’re in, and what’s trending. 
    • A “set it and forget it” pricing strategy is going to leave you money on the table. 
  3. Volume of Publications
    • Publishing multiple non-fiction books can create a steady stream of income, given that they’re all quality works. 
    • Each new book is an opportunity to reach more readers and increase your overall earnings.
    • The best strategy is to focus on just ONE book at a time, especially if you’re new to the process.

You’ve Published Your eBook on Amazon KDP—What’s Next? 

Publishing is a roller coaster of emotions. One day, you’re feeling on top of the world, and the next day, you’re not even sure what you’re doing. 

But here’s a little secret: Most of us in the industry have felt like that. 

Sure, there will be challenges—tweaking your cover design, experimenting with pricing, or revamping your marketing strategy. But each challenge is a stepping stone in your publishing journey that you can use as fuel for all your future works. 

Don’t stress about immediate sales. Enjoy the ride! Celebrate milestones, learn from setbacks, and keep pushing forward. You’ve got wisdom, experience, and passion to share that can make a real difference in other people’s lives.

Great stories take time, and at the end of the day, this is just the beginning of how publishing can shape your life.

You just have to be willing to see how the next chapter plays out. 

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