Tips for Self-Publishing on Amazon: 19 Ways to Reach More Readers

Unlock tips for self-publishing on Amazon! Explore 19 ways to reach more readers and boost your book’s success. Start your journey to bestseller status today!

Tips for Self-Publishing on Amazon: 19 Ways to Reach More Readers
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Think about the last time you walked into a bookstore. How many hundreds of books did you walk by without even thinking twice? Now, add a few zeroes to that number. That’s what self-publishers are up against today. 

If books just sold themselves, everyone would be a self-publisher, right? 

The good news is that if you’re here reading this, it already puts you lightyears ahead of most digital publishers. 

This blog post is filled with proven tips and tricks for getting the spotlight on your books (and keeping it there)! 

What Is Self-Publishing?

Self-publishing refers to how a polished book made its way into the world. It doesn’t necessarily mean the publisher also did the writing, editing, or formatting of the book themselves. That’s a huge misconception we see all the time. 

As the self-publisher, you’re the one who gave the book its final seal of approval and took the necessary steps to share it with the world. That’s it! 

As a reward, you get to collect all the future royalties on the book, which will vary based on where you choose to publish. Amazon, for example, pays up to 70% in royalties, while most traditional publishers offer a fraction of that. 

What Does the Average Self-Published Author Make on Amazon?

The truth is that the average self-publisher is a hobbyist and doesn’t prioritize making money. For that reason, the “true average” is somewhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars a month. 

On the other hand, there are self-publishers who treat their books like a business. These publishers are in the knowledge game to give readers the best possible solutions to their problems because they know it’ll lead to a win-win. Happy readers lead to more sales and royalties, having more sales gives you the resources to publish more books, and so on. 

It’s just like sports. The Michael Jordans and the Kobe Bryants of the world didn’t get to where they were by shooting hoops once a month. They worked at it every single day until they knew with absolute certainty that they were the best. 

How to Be Successful on KDP

Success and making money on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) hinges on having the right mindset. That’s also true of most businesses. It’s not necessarily the smartest or richest ones that succeed in the end, it’s the ones that don’t give up. 

Here are five principles to keep you motivated:

  1. Stay Persistent: Success doesn’t happen overnight. Keep writing, learning, and publishing.
  2. Embrace Feedback: Use constructive criticism to improve your work. Feedback helps you grow.
  3. Stay Passionate: It’s much easier to sustain a business when you’re doing what you love!
  4. Think Long-Term: Plan beyond a single book and have a plan for your royalties. 
  5. Adapt and Keep Learning: The publishing world changes and evolves. You can too!

19 Steps to Help You Start Self-Publishing On Amazon

Let’s take it from the top! Here’s what it takes to be a publisher: 

#1: Follow A Proven Process to Jumpstart Your Journey

The blueprint for Amazon publishing already exists, and it’s already been tested by tens of thousands of beginners all over the world…

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#2: Create a Kindle Direct Publishing Account

It takes less than 10 minutes to set up a KDP account as an author or a publisher.

What is Kindle Direct Publishing?

KDP is Amazon’s book platform, which lets authors and publishers upload, track, and get paid for their eBooks, print books, and hardcover books all from a single portal. 

What basic information do you need to create a Kindle Direct Publishing account?

You’ll have to provide your email address, legal name, physical address, and bank details to get paid the royalties for your book sales. You can choose between direct deposit, wire transfer, or a paper check. 

#3: Input Book Details

When your book is fully polished and ready for publishing, you’ll return to your KDP portal to list it. Amazon will walk you through the uploading steps with prompts on every page asking you to fill out information like your Title and Subtitle, Author Name or Pseudonym, Book Categories, and Book Description. 

#4: Design an Effective Cover

A hobbyist would say that a book cover is meant to get potential readers interested in the story. A business owner would say that the point of a book cover is to generate book sales. Both are right! 

First impressions are everything, and your book cover is either guaranteed to invite your readers in or keep them scrolling by looking for something that actually captures their attention. Here are our tips to create a book cover for Kindle.

What are the requirements of an effective book cover?

Some first-time publishers make the mistake of thinking that a book cover only includes the front of the book, leaving out the back cover and the spine, but you’ll need a cohesive design with all three parts or Amazon won’t accept your file. 

The style of the image and font are totally up to you, but depending on the format you want to publish in, there will be different file size requirements. Luckily, KDP has a free book cover formatter built into their platform, which tells you exactly what dimensions you’ll need, and you can use it to preview your files. 

Top free sites to help you design a book cover: 

  • Canva 
  • Shutterstock 
  • Gimp

#5: Conduct Keyword Research

Here’s where you get to become a scientist and conduct some research!

Why are keywords important to self-publishing?

Keywords help your ideal readers connect with your books and find them in the Amazon search results. They should appear in your title, subtitle, and book descriptions. 

What good is it to publish a book and land on the 20th page of Amazon if most people never look past the first five? 

Amazon Keyword Research Tools

  • KDSPY
  • Publisher Rocket 
  • JungleScout

Read our full guide on how to pick the right keywords for Kindle publishing.

#6: Choose Strategic Categories

Amazon limits the number of categories you can choose for your book, so you'll need to be strategic. The best strategy is to find a good balance between popular and niche categories. 

For example, if you've got a meditation book, you might choose the broader category of "Self-Help" and a niche category like "Self-Help > Stress Management" if your book focuses on techniques for reducing stress. 

Popular categories can give your book more visibility, while niche categories can help you stand out and potentially rank higher. 

Another note here: Amazon might move your books into a different category based on their algorithm. This can be a good thing and lead to more sales, but mistakes can happen. Reach out to support if you think they’ve made a mistake. 

#7: Format Your Manuscript Properly

Proper formatting makes your book look more professional and provides a better reading experience. This includes setting the right margins, choosing a readable font, and organizing your chapters correctly. 

KDP will make you preview your file before submitting it and won’t let you officially hit “publish” until everything matches their official guidelines. This is usually the step where first-time publishers run into a few snags, but try not to let it derail you from the publishing path you’re on. 

#8: Craft a Compelling Book Description

A good cover might be enough to get someone to click “buy” on your book in their cart, but a book description is there in case they’re still not quite sure. It’s your last chance to convince them that this is the book that’s going to help them solve a problem, and they need it NOW! 

You can also use HTML to make your book description stand out with bold text, italics, and bullet points. If you’re not familiar with these tags, Amazon has a handy HTML guide here!

#9: Plan Your Launch Date Wisely

Though this definitely isn’t required, you might consider setting a strategic launch date for your book and pre-orders. You can do both directly from your KDP portal. 

You can also move your launch plan around depending on how your pre-launch and gathering of reviewers are going. 

#10: Use Amazon’s Marketing Tools

KDP is loaded with free marketing tools and promotions, like Kindle Countdown Deals and the Kindle Unlimited program. These tools can get your books in front of more Amazon shoppers and encourage more ratings, which ultimately help you sell your books organically. Click here to learn more on how to market your self-published books.

#11: Set Competitive Pricing

Research similar books in your genre to find the sweet spot that balances value for readers with a fair return for you. Figuring out the right price for your Kindle book is an art and you need to test the best for your book.

Pro Tip: Price your book slightly higher than the competition to give yours a more premium feel. 

#12: Encourage Reviews

Gathering positive reviews can influence other potential readers and improve your book’s ranking on Amazon.

Verified reviews are given more weight, but in general, the more reviews you get, the merrier. 

#13: Optimize Your Listing

Even after you publish your book, you’ll want to return to your KDP portal and regularly update your listing with new categories and a better book description as the popular keywords change. 

But just like the first time, any changes you make should be based on real research you conduct on your competitors’ books and the genre. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 

#14: Promote on Social Media

If you want to expand beyond Amazon, you can use social media platforms to reach a wider audience. Share engaging content, connect with readers, and use targeted ads to drive interest and sales for your book.

#15: Implement Paid Advertising

Amazon ads can be major for driving traffic to your listing. 

Other types of paid advertising on platforms like Facebook and Google are disruptive to the user’s experience. On the other hand, people searching on Amazon are already in the shopping and buying mood. 

#16: Monitor Sales and Metrics

Track your book's performance by monitoring sales and other key metrics inside…you guessed it…the KDP dashboard. This data will help you understand what’s working and what’s not so you can adjust your sales strategies. 

#17: Manage Your Author Profile on Author Central

After your first book goes live, you’ll need to create and connect it to Amazon’s Author Central profile. 

This is another free tool from Amazon that lets you interact with readers, update your biography, and showcase all your books to build a strong author brand and create reader loyalty.

#18: Run Special Promotions

Depending on your book topic, it might be a good idea to align discounts and special promotions with holidays or significant events to attract more readers. In our experience, it’s best to start running a holiday promotion about a month out from the day to reach the most people. 

For example: You might run a Halloween promotion starting in August or September. 

#19: Consider Publishing a Series

Publishing a series is a great way to brand yourself and keep readers coming back for more. 

Here are some non-fiction series ideas to get you started:

  1. Health and Wellness: Create a series that covers various aspects of living a healthy lifestyle, such as “Nutrition Basics,” “Effective Exercise Routines,” and “Mindfulness and Meditation.”
  2. Personal Finance: Write a series on managing money, including “Budgeting for Beginners,” “Investing Made Simple,” and “Retirement Planning Strategies.”
  3. Career Development: Develop a series focused on professional growth, with titles like “Mastering Job Interviews,” “Networking for Success,” and “Advancing Your Career.”
  4. History and Biography: Produce a series that explores significant historical events or influential figures, such as “The Great Wars,” “Presidents of the 20th Century,” or “Pioneers of Technology.”
  5. Self-Improvement: Offer a series on personal development topics, such as “Building Confidence,” “Time Management Tips,” and “Goal Setting and Achievement.”

Slow and Steady Wins the Race!

Self-publishing is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Don’t rush the process—make sure your book is polished, or don’t put it out! 

  • Stay persistent
  • Have fun with the journey
  • Enjoy the process of seeing your hard work pay off

Success will come with time, passion, and a focus on what really matters: Happy readers!

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