Step 1: Publish on Amazon Kindle via KDP to Maximize Revenue

To maximize revenue, you should focus your publishing efforts on Amazon Kindle eBooks.

In this section, I address the first step in marketing your book; namely, self-publishing a copy of your book in Amazon Kindle ebook format via KDP. In fact, I not only recommend publishing your book in Amazon Kindle ebook format, but I go even further by suggesting you make your Kindle ebook the focus of your book marketing and promotion efforts.

Where You Can Self-publish

Before considering where you should self-publish your book, let's take a quick look at the places that you can self-publish your book. The prominent contenders for your self-publishing efforts include the following.

Amazon Kindle eBook via KDP
Self-publishing your book in Amazon Kindle ebook format should be a no-brainer. Amazon is the biggest book seller in the world, and publishing on their platform is completely free. This book stresses this self-publishing option amongst all others.
Amazon Print on Demand (POD) Paperback via KDP
Self-publishing a Print on Demand (POD) paperback makes your book available in print format without you having to print, store and deliver the books yourself. Plus, your paperback books appear for sale on Amazon

Gone are the days of the vanity presses during which you would have to print and store hundreds of paperback books that you would then have to hawk at art fairs during your weekends. POD paperbacks are printed on demand by Amazon as each book is ordered by a reader and shipped for you to the reader's location.

Though not a popular sales option, an Amazon POD paperback is easy to add to your portfolio once you've completed self-publishing your Amazon Kindle ebook via KDP.

I'll have more to say about this self-publishing option in Step 9: Publish a Print on Demand (POD) Paperback Via KDP.

eBook Everywhere But Amazon via Smashwords
Smashwords provides an interesting twist on self-publishing ebooks. Like KDP, Smashwords offers a web-based interface for easily uploading your book for publication on the Internet. What makes Smashwords different is that it makes your book available for sale on over 20 book seller platforms, including their own, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Kobo and Scribd to name a few. Smashwords then gathers your royalties and distributes them via a single point of contact.

With such wide distribution, why wouldn't everyone self-publish their ebook via Smashwords? Keep reading to discover the reason why…

Amazon Audiobook via the Audiobook Connection Exchange (ACX)
The Audiobook Connection Exchange (ACX) is an Amazon-owned company that provides a web-based interface for uploading audiobook files (MP3s) for sale on Amazon, Audible and iTunes. ACX provides the option of either uploading your own recordings or hiring a book narrator to create and upload the recordings for you.

Why You Should Self-publish an Amazon Kindle eBook via KDP

Amazon is the large book seller in the world. Through their KDP interface, self-publishing a book on their site is both easy and free. There is absolutely no reason not to self-publish your book on Amazon. In addition, I have historically generated the bulk of my book sale revenue from Amazon Kindle ebook sales.

You should most definitely self-publish your book in Amazon Kindle ebook format via KDP.

Why You Should Self-publish an Amazon POD Paperback via KDP

As previously mentioned, once you've self-published your Amazon Kindle ebook via KDP, it's fast and easy to push an Amazon POD paperback book. I'll warn you now that you're likely to sell few POD paperback books. Note though that the primary reason to publish an Amazon POD paperback is to bolster the sale of your Amazon Kindle ebook. I'll have more to say on this topic in Step 9: Publish a Print on Demand (POD) Paperback Via KDP.

Though sales will be few, I recommend you self-publish an Amazon POD paperback via KDP.

Why You Should Not Self-publish an eBook via Smashwords

With such wide distribution, why wouldn't you self-publish your book via Smashwords? The reason why you should not is an Amazon offering called the Kindle Select program. Allow me to explain…

You can place your Amazon Kindle ebook into the Kindle Select program for 90 days at a time. During its time in the program, your book will benefit from the following program features:

  1. It grants you 70% royalties (as opposed to 35%) in India, Mexico, Brazil and Japan.
  2. It allows you to run five days of Free or seven days of Countdown Deal promotional campaigns.
  3. It generates additional revenue by allowing readers to borrow your book through the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library programs.
  4. It allows you to run paid advertising campaigns on Amazon.

These are all wonderful benefits. After all, I currently generate half of my book selling revenue from loaning books on Amazon. So, what's the catch?

Entry into the Kindle Select program comes with one big caveat. Hold onto your seat, because it's a big one…

To enter an ebook into the Kindle Select program, the ebook needs to be published exclusively on Amazon. This means that you can't publish via Smashwords and take advantage of their wonderful distribution services.

Ouch!

Still, I find that Amazon book lending alone is enough reason to place all of my books into the Kindle Select program. I'll have more to say about the Kindle Select program in Step 4: Enter the Kindle Select Program for 90 Daysand Kindle Select program promotional opportunities in Step 15: Run Free and Discount Book Promotions.

Self-publishing on Smashwords should be reserved for when you're not concerned with maximizing revenue and instead want to maximize distribution and availability. For example, when publishing a book to be read-only by family and friends, you'll probably want to make the book available in as many formats and on as many platforms as possible. In all other instances, I recommend that you enter your Amazon Kindle ebook into the Kindle select program instead of self-publishing it via Smashwords.

Why You Should Not Self-publish an Audiobook via ACX

Self-publishing audiobook via ACX not only provides an additional source of book revenue but it serves to bolster your Amazon Kindle ebook sales by showing that your ebook is important enough to warrant an audiobook. However, I still recommend that you avoid self-publishing and audiobook for the following three reasons.

  1. Recording and self-publishing and audiobook yourself is time-consuming and isn't justified by the limited revenue your efforts will likely garner.
  2. Hiring a professional narrator on ACX to produce your audiobook for you is expensive. I paid $800 for the professional narration of my last book – an amount I'm unlikely to ever see in return revenue.
  3. Most important of all, self-publishing an audiobook is a distraction from what should be your primary focus; namely, writing, self-publishing and marketing Amazon Kindle ebooks.

For these reasons, I recommend that you at least postpone self-publishing an audiobook until you've become a seasoned author.

Bottom Line

The big take away from this section is that you should not only self-publish an Amazon Kindle ebook via KDP, but you should focus the bulk of your book marketing and promotion efforts on your Amazon Kindle ebook. The other publishing option to note is that you should self-publish an Amazon POD paperback because it's fast and easy and will produce a little extra revenue, but mostly you should do so to bolster your Amazon Kindle ebook sales.