How to publish a book on Amazon and earn money for each sale. How to be a publisher on amazon

If you’re a hardcover author looking to sell hardcover copies of your book on Amazon, check out our guide to hardcover printing with Kindle Direct Publishing.

Amazon Publishing: What Is It Like to Get Signed By Them?

Most book sales these days are on Amazon, so there’s something incredibly attractive about the same company publishing your book. Fortunately, while Amazon’s algorithms may seem mysterious, the operation of Amazon Publishing (one of the largest publishers today) is less obscure – thanks to the views of the authors who have worked with them.

This post will delve into the activities of Amazon Publishing (or APub), giving you some insight into what it’s like to work with them from Natalie Barelli (whose crime novel Until I Met Her was picked up by the APub thriller) and Eliot Peper (whose series Analog was signed by their science fiction and fantasy publishing house).

And on that note, let’s learn a little more about APub and the various overprints.

What is Amazon Publishing?

Amazon Publishing is Amazon’s publishing unit. Founded in 2009, it comprises 16 publishers that publish fiction, non-fiction and fiction for children around the world.

A quick note: when most people think of “Amazon Publishing”, they think of self-publishing on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Amazon’s self-publishing platform. But APub has nothing to do with self-publishing. On the contrary, APub publishing houses operate on the same principles as traditional publishers (think Penguin Random House, Hachette etc.). They buy the rights to the books they publish (sometimes by paying an advance), and then pay the authors royalties from the sale of their books.

Amazon Publishing Imprints

Each Amazon Publishing company specializes in a specific genre or type of book. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Amazon publisher | Overprints

Amazon Publishing – General fiction and non-fiction covering many genres
Stand out with the title: One Indian Girl by Chetan Bhagat

AmazonEncore – publishes works from out of print
Stand out title: Paul Kemprecos Emerald Scepter

Amazon Original Stories – Short Stories and Non-fiction
Stand Out by title: Ricochet Joe by Dean Koontz

Little A – Literary fiction and non-fiction
Stand Out by title: After the Viet Dinh Disasters

Amazon publisher | Overprints 2

Amazon Crossing – publishes the best-selling and award-winning books in translation in the United States
Standout title: A River in Darkness: One Man’s Escape from North Korea by Masaji Ishikawa

Amazon Crossing Kids – Amazon Crossing’s sister, specializes in translating children’s books into English
The title is: A Tiger Like Me by Michael Engler

Two Lions – Books for children up to 12 years old
Stand out with the title: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang

Skyscape – teenagers and young adults
Stand out with the title: The Hundredth Queen Emily R. King

Amazon publisher | Overprints 3

47North – science fiction and fantasy
The title is: Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol

Thomas and Mercer – Mysteries, thrillers and detective stories
Stand out with the title: My Sister’s Tomb by Robert Dugoni

Jet City Comics – Comics and graphic novels
Stand out with The Hedge Knight by George RR Martin and Ben Avery

Montlake – Romance
Stand out with the title: Crazy Little Thing by Tracy Brogan

Amazon publisher | Overprints 4

Lake Union Publishing – Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Diaries, and Popular Non-fiction
Stand Out by title: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

TOPPLE Books – highlights the voices of women of color, non-gender, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer
The title is: Tomboyland by Melissa Faliveno

Amazon publishing seems to be highly appreciated by authors signed by their publishing houses. Entering into an agreement with them does not guarantee the sale of your book, and some authors report a flat line when purchasing their titles.

How to publish a book on Amazon and earn money for each sale

Self publishing on a laptop

Amazon is not only an online store. It started out as an online bookstore and, building on those roots, is also a book publisher. However, unlike a traditional book publisher, where you have to convince a purchasing editor to offer you a contract to publish your book, anyone can publish the book on Amazon by themselves.

How to publish a book on Amazon

You’ll need to create an account with Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing and then upload and publish your completed book. Then anyone can buy and download your Kindle book. Here’s everything you need to know.

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is Amazon’s self-publishing system. If you want to publish your book to the Kindle platform, you’ll need to start here.

  1. Open the KDP website in the browser.
  2. The easiest way to use KDP is to link it to your existing Amazon account, so click “Login” and use your Amazon credentials to set up your KDP account. If you do not have an Amazon account, click “Register” and follow the instructions to create an account.

Kindle Vella is Amazon’s entry into the “serialization market”, competing with Wattpad or Radish for readership consisting mainly of young readers. So what’s the difference between the Kindle Vella?

Create a new title

In the KDP dashboard, you will immediately see a section called “Create New Title” with two options below: Kindle eBook or Paperback. For the purposes of this tutorial, we will only cover setting up your eBook, although the process for paperback books is quite similar. (We also have an entire post on publishing books through print-on-demand services if you want to check it out.)

After selecting the type of book you are creating, you will be taken to a page with three separate tabs with all the details of the book. We’ll get into them soon, but stay on the first tab for now and put the book’s title and language in the first two boxes, then you’re on your way!

Enter your book description

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The rest of this first tab is where you enter all the information about your book. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • if it is part of a series;
  • recommended age range of readers and
  • any additional contributors who worked on your book, such as a book illustrator.

But the most important thing you need to add is the description.

Amazon’s book descriptions are basically what you’d find if you flipped a paperback book – that is, a note. I won’t delve into the art of creating a book description here (just check out this post!), But once you know what you want to say, take a moment to dress it up: Amazon lets you use bold and italics to make your description visually appealing so take advantage of this.

A bold headline statement, catch, or social validation is a common approach used in best-selling traditionally published books – there’s no reason not to emulate them.

Amazon self-publishing | Product description Amazon David Grann

The statement “# 1 New York Times bestseller” is bold to attract readers.

No. However, they accept applications from agents and literary scouts. We know from our contacts that APub publishing houses are actively looking for original content as long as it is first checked and represented by an agent or scout.

Things That Surprised me About Publishing on Amazon:

Formatting was easier than expected. I uploaded a Word document directly to Amazon and had very few, if any, formatting issues.

Editing the content itself is more difficult than I thought and more frustrating. I should have hired an editor right from the start. Lesson learned.

Relatively speaking, non-fiction or self-improvement ebooks like mine are just a tiny chunk of the self-publishing ecosystem. On various e-book pages, you often see 10 or 15 book categories, and non-fiction is just one. Sometimes it will be two, but this is rare. Whereas fiction will be divided into romance, sci-fi, mystery, horror, fantasy and many more. Each of these categories has tons of books and tons of readers and followers.

The Verdict: Is It Worth it to Self Publish a book on Amazon’s KDP Platform?

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