An Intro to KDP Book Creation – Get Started Earning From Home
What is KDP?
KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing and is a print-on-demand (POD) service provided by Amazon that allows authors to self-publish and sell books through the Amazon store. It’s free to join and provides a great opportunity to earn some extra money working from home. Some people earn full-time incomes with KDP. In the last couple of years, KDP has become a very popular way to earn from home as the result of numerous YouTube videos promising easy, passive income.
The truth is a KDP business requires quite a bit of work to earn a decent income – the same as any legitimate business. It’s passive in the sense that once the work for a book is completed and it has been published you can continue to earn royalties on sales for many months or years.
The cost of entry for starting your KDP business is very low. You could get started at no cost but paying for a few low-cost services can make the process much easier. Examples of these services are online tools for performing keyword/niche research to assist in finding profitable subjects to write about that customers are searching for, tools for creating low-content interiors (puzzle books, coloring books, planners, etc.), and images for the book’s cover and interior. Some people also outsource some or all of the book creation which can get costly.
What Kind of Books Can I Create?
On the Kindle platform, you can create an ebook, a paperback book, or a hardcover book. Depending on the content of the book, you may publish it in multiple formats. For example, a fiction book could be published as an ebook, paperback, and hardcover. You cannot create a spiral-bound book.
Books fall into a few broad categories:
eBooks for Kindle sell extremely well on Amazon. The top-selling fiction categories are romance, mystery & thriller, fantasy & science-fiction, and young adult. There is a lot of competition but self-published authors can break through and earn tens of thousands per year in royalitiies. The debut novel, Holy Island, written by L.J. Ross, sold over 4.5 million copies.
Fiction books can (and should be) published as paperbacks and hardcovers also. Some people still prefer to read a physical book.
There are a large number of topics for non-fiction books; gardening, cooking, do-it-yourself, software guides, and parenting are just a few of the subjects that can be written about. In addition, self-help, motivational, business, and health & fitness books sell quite well. Although non-fiction books can also make successful eBooks, books with lots of tables, sample programming code, and illustrations don’t always format well as an eBook.
Low-content books are basically books where the customer is going to write or fill in the majority of the content of the book – the author writes little or sometimes no content. An example of a no-content book is a composition notebook. Low-content books include puzzles, coloring pages, journals, and logbooks.
Due to the fact that the customer is expected to write in the book, a low-content book should never be published as an eBook. Most should be sold as paperback only, but a few books that an individual would be expected to keep after completion (for example, a collection of family recipes) could also be published as a hardcover book.
You can find more information on low-content books on this page.
The best-selling children’s books currently combine education with fun activities. Illustrated stories for children also sell well as eBooks but require art skills or expensive outsourcing.
What Skills Do I Need To Create a Book?
This one seems to be obvious. But the type of writing dictates the amount of skill involved. A non-fiction book may require the ability to clearly explain technical topics, a young teen fiction or children’s book requires being able to write for a specific age level, while activity books usually require very little writing.
Writing, especially non-fiction or low-content books, is a skill that can be developed and honed by almost anyone. Probably the most important aspect of writing to learn first is how to outline. Outlining will speed your book creation and ensure everything that needs to be covered is presented in a logical order. Outlining A Book Made Easy is a Kindle book that explains outlining in a simple and quick to read guide. It also has 13 outlining templates to get you started.
Many of the low rankings given to books are for typos, grammar mistakes, and poor book organization. Poor book organization refers to text that doesn’t ‘flow’ from one subject to the next.
Editing can be difficult and tedious but it’s important for presenting a professional, quality book. Tools like Grammely can be of great assistance in catching common spelling and grammar issues. Another good procedure is to read your text out loud. You’ll often hear sentences that sound awkward. Outsourcing is also an option but can be expensive.
Design and Layout
The first thing your potential customer sees and judges your book on is its cover. It may seem difficult to learn enough design skills to create your own covers but understanding a few basic rules of layout can greatly improve your book’s cover appeal. Most poor cover designs ignore basic rules like alignment and use too many fonts. See Resources for Learning Graphic Design for recommended resources for learning basic design.
Where Can I Learn How to Create A Book?
You’re at the right place! In addition to the most comprehensive listing of learning resources for KDP book creation, I’m working on a series of articles to cover the entire process. I’ll continue to refine existing articles as well as add new ones weekly.
Also, there are a number of online courses on Udemy. Listed below are courses that can give your KDP business a headstart (some are free) – ones I have completed and can recommend are indicated with a green background:
Courses for Low-Content Publishers (24)
- It’s free to join
- You get access to a huge market of buyers
- Amazon manages all customer service (taking orders, billing, shipping, returns, etc). You just need to create and upload.
- Skills can be learned or outsourced.
- You can work from anywhere and reach markets around the world.
- You can’t build a customer contact list.
- Point of entry is low so you’re competing with lots of spammers and copycats.
- Amazon has complete control of your livelyhood. They can change terms and conditons at any time or completely shut down the business at any time without notice.
Despite the cons, I still feel Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform is a great way to begin earning additional income. Yes, it takes work to create quality content and it takes time before steady sales are consistent but KDP is free to join and it is possible to create content entirely free of cost. Once the content has been completed and published, earnings are passive and can continue for years.
In addition, the skills learned for KDP can be applied to other printable product platforms like Etsy, RedBubble, etc. Once you’ve got your KDP business up and running, it’s a good idea to get started with additional income streams with printables.
This video shows Amazon’s print-on-demand (POD) process: