Know which Amazon Self-Publishing Platform is Right For You – ISBN, KDP, and Seller Central Information You Need to Know.

You have written the perfect book that you think people will enjoy and it is different than all the other books you have read. You submitted your manuscript to publishing houses, but unfortunately, there have been no takers. For this reason, you’ve decided to self-publish using Amazon. It is well-written, properly edited, and formatted and you have created a professional-looking cover. But how do you choose the best self-publishing platform for your situation?

To help you choose the best Amazon platform consider these factors.

1. First develop a marketing plan to promote your book before and after its release including a budget. It’s important to come up with a budget and to have a goal of how many books you want to sell. Perhaps it’s your first time self-publishing and your goal is only to have your book for sale on Amazon with no expectations. I would not say this is a good strategy but at least it is a goal. However, do not expect books to sell on Amazon by themselves just because you have a good title or even a good story. There are millions of books on Amazon your chances without any promotions and marketing are poor.

2. Price out your book with a price range before you self-publish. Research pricing for ebooks and paperbacks or hardcovers in your genre. Consider factors like book-length, material costs, production costs, shipping costs, royalties, and tax. After you publish you can experiment with a few different price points to find the optimal balance between sales volume and revenue.

3. Review Quotes. One of the biggest ways to promote your book is to get review quotes. Read articles on how to get these quotes before officially self-publishing. In fact, publishing houses send pre-published books called Uncorrected Proofs out to other authors and news publicity lists five to nine months in advance to get quotes before the on-sale date. This strategy will help sell your books and if the quotes are good by bestselling authors or celebrities it may help you decide on which platform to choose.

All of these 3 factors will help you choose the platform that will best suit your needs. Even so, another big factor is if you are a risk-taker. It really boils down to what you are willing to lose or can afford to lose in the gamble.

Making the choice.

The BIG QUESTION. Do you print the book yourself or go with KDP? It all depends on how big your budget is and your goals of whether to spend the money to print the books yourself or sign up for Amazon’s print-on-demand KDP account. The advantage of printing the book yourself is that you will earn more profit if you sell all the copies. Plus you will have other distribution centers like bookstores to sell from. Despite this fact for first-time authors it is extremely hard to get your book into a store. The disadvantage of printing the book yourself is the upfront costs and if you don’t sell your losses may be great. The advantage of a KDP account is that you do not incur any upfront cost but your profits are lower. If you have little or no money to start with the choice is obvious.

If you print the book yourself you will have to get an Amazon Seller Central account. This is different than the KDP account. This can lead to additional expenses. Before printing the book yourself, be sure to include marketing and shipping costs in your budget. Many people forget to add in the shipping cost which usually adds $14 to the price! The biggest disadvantage of the Seller Central account is if you want to advertise and promote your book on Amazon, you will have to pay a monthly fee. If you have only one book to sell this could greatly eat into your profit. You can have a free account in Amazon Central, but only paid accounts will let you advertise on Amazon. Advertising can be of huge significance to the success of your book. With the KDP account, you do not have to pay a monthly fee to advertise only the cost of advertising. There are advantages and disadvantages for both accounts. The advantage of having a Seller Central subscription is if you have more books to sell or you are a publishing company since you can put any number of books into one account with only one monthly fee. The other advantage of a Seller Central account is that it gives you more control.

ISBN Strategy (a product identifier bar code used on all books). Selling depends on several factors. One factor can be just the name and reputation of your company. If you look professional consumers are more likely to purchase your product. If you go with the KDP account, Amazon has two choices for ISBNs. One ISBN option is free and the other is purchasing your own. Although it may seem to be a no-brainer to get the free one, you will not be able to list your organization name on the product details page, instead, it will only say “self-published”. For this reason, you might want to think about buying your own ISBN where you will be able to list your organization and look more professional. If you decide on both a Kindle and a printed version of your book you will need separate ISBNs.

    • Another advantage of having your own ISBN is if you want to sell your book in other bookstores and distribution centers. Amazon’s free ISBNs can only be used by Amazon. Despite this advantage, you may not want to or have all the time to market to other distribution centers. An interesting statistic, self-publishing authors in other markets besides Amazon only sell less than 10% of total sales.
    • The disadvantage of having your own ISBN is if you need to change your price. In the case of inflation, you might have to increase your cost. To do this you will have to reprint your book or make stickers to relabel your old ISBN bar code. With a free ISBN from a KDP account, you can resubmit your cover with a new price and Amazon will take care of the ISBN for you.

Marketing Strategy.
Although this has nothing to do with helping you make decisions on Amazon, it will help you sell more books. For marketing, utilize social media, news outlets, publicity outlets, author events, email lists for newsletters, keywords, and other channels to reach potential readers, but don’t just rely on free social media posts unless you have a lot of time to spend. Most of the time social media posts will not get you much traction unless you have tons of time or you choose to spend advertising dollars. If you want your book to sell and you don’t have tons of time you will need to pour money into running advertising campaigns, and promotions with discounts to generate a buzz. Advertising sounds scary to new-time authors since they will have to spend money upfront without knowing if the book will sell. Nevertheless, you will not know until you try and the whole purpose of writing the book was to have others enjoy it. The good thing is that Amazon will let you choose any budget you can afford. It will still take some time, research, and experimentation to find an advertising budget that generates profit.

Self-publishing on Amazon can be a rewarding venture, but it requires careful planning and execution. There are many factors to examine. By considering these factors and taking the time to plan and execute your self-publishing strategy carefully, you can increase your chances of success on Amazon platforms. If you need help with self-publishing, getting you book ready for print, cover design, or creating an ebook consider KatArt Graphics. Free consultation before you start.

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Michael Gugliotto

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