Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing has very much changed the way that we release and consume creative literary content, and has allowed authors to take their destiny into their hands and release what they want to without interference or control by large publishing houses, or indeed any other large, third parties with their own interests.
But how can authors check and make note of their book sales?
What Is Kindle Direct Publishing?
Kindle Direct Publishing (or KDP) is Amazon’s self-publishing wing, aimed at allowing prospective authors to upload and sell their own material through Amazon’s online Kindle book marketplace.
KDP became an incredibly popular tool at the disposal of writers, and meant that, for the first time in history, writers didn’t need partnerships and contracts with publishing houses in order to publish and sell their own material.
This opened up new opportunities for those writers who might otherwise be snubbed by professional houses, and opened up new avenues of creativity for them in the process.
How Does The Process Work?
Once a writer has completed their novel or nonfiction work, they can then prepare it to be uploaded onto Kindle. For this, they need to use the tools on KDP to format their book for publishing on the format, set their own keywords to pop up during searches on Amazon, and likewise negotiate and figure out the price they wish to sell it for.
Once they have done all of this, they can list it on the website and leave it open for customers to purchase it. Once a purchase has been made, the writer then takes around 70%, while Amazon takes up to a 30% cut for facilitating the book on their site.
How To Check Your Sales?
Of course, any small business needs to keep track of their sales – both as an indicator for how they are doing, and for any self employment tax returns they need to fill out. When checking your sales on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, there are presently two methods you can use.
Download A Sales Sheet
Firstly, you could download a copy of the annual Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of your annual sales. This will list every book you have sold within that specific tax year, and will give you a breakdown of just how much money you have made during this period.
Use Amazon KDP Reports
The second option is to use Amazon’s KDP Reports service, which can provide you with detailed run throughs of specific financial periods – showing you what money has been made, the percentage they have taken, and where you are at in terms of success.
How Can This Help Your Sales?
The important thing to remember is that – whether you’ve had a good year or bad – these reports can be useful tools for boosting future sales of your written works. This might sound strange, but bear with us on this!
The main way this can be used to improve your future sales is by comparing the report with your current stats – such as the amount you are spending on ads, and any related expenses you have paid to help your book do well.
If you haven’t done anything, then these reports can give you a potential indication of how well the book might have done with sufficient marketing and backing – not to mention showing you the importance of such tools to independent writers.
Of course, if you have been putting a lot of time, money, and energy into your advertising campaigns – and you still are seeing declines in sales – then this might give you the push you need to pursue different sales techniques and platforms elsewhere.
This can also help you to change your strategy going forward, and adopt new practices to achieve success – all without wasting more precious time, money, and effort on a failing business plan.
Do You Need To Market?
While some writers do well on reputation alone, there are few independent authors who can become successful without pushing their work in one way or another. Luckily there are many ways that you can do this in the modern era.
Amazon runs a system of paid ads that authors can use to publicize their work, and this can be very beneficial – especially if you are experiencing hardships with regards to your sales and the amount of people who are able to see your work.
Of course, one of the best tools at the disposal of writers is social media, which offers free access to potentially the entire world – and with it, near countless potential customers. When done correctly, this can be a ticket to success – however building a following requires time, savvy, and a lot of effort, which means that only the dedicated survive.
This is very much a part of the industry nowadays, and whether you are with a publishing house, or going it alone, social media – and the expert use of it – is the most important thing to any writer.
Websites & Blogs
Along with social media, you also need a website and a blog. These can be great tools for creating a community – which should be the main goal for all aspiring creatives.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and the ways authors can check their total sales.
Kindle Direct Publishing has certainly changed the way that prospective authors can put out their work, and very much allows them to reach a new audience under their own steam, and without any of the interference of large publishing houses that might have their own business interests and agendas.
So if you are looking to self-publish your own work, then why not give Kindle Direct Publishing a try? Something tells me you won’t be disappointed!