Amazon Self-publishing 1: Why Self-publish Exclusively on Amazon | Brian Jackson | Skillshare

Amazon Self-publishing 1: Why Self-publish Exclusively on Amazon

Brian Jackson, Author/Publisher/Educator

Amazon Self-publishing 1: Why Self-publish Exclusively on Amazon

Brian Jackson, Author/Publisher/Educator

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
5 Lessons (20m)
    • 1. Why You Should Self-publish Your Book

    • 2. Why Self-publishing on Amazon

    • 3. Why You Should Enter the Kindle Select Program

    • 4. Why You Should Publish a CreateSpace POD Paperback

    • 5. Why You Should Watch the Rest of the Amazon Self-publishing Series

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Amazon Self-publishing 1: Why Self-publish Exclusively on Amazon

Have you written a fantastic manuscript but now you're unsure what to do with it?

Please allow me to make a suggestion...

This is a class that advocates self-publishing over traditional publishing.  At the same time it takes a potentially controversial stand by suggesting that you should be publishing exclusively with Amazon companies.

This class also serves as an introduction and guide to my Amazon Self-publishing (ASP) series.

But before getting all tangled up with a whole series, the first four lessons in this class cover short but important topics that need to be nailed down before we can proceed:

  • Why You Should Self-publish Your Book
  • Why You Should Self-publish on Amazon
  • Why You Should Enter the Kindle Select Program
  • Why You Should Publish a CreateSpace POD Paperback
  • Why You Should Watch the Rest of the Amazon Self-publishing Series

Please enroll in this class.  After all, it's free.

Please watch the lessons.  After all, you enrolled.

If you don't like it, stop watching.  You won't like the rest of the series any better.

If you do like it, please enroll in the next class in the series:

Note: I'm working on the rest of the classes in the series as you read.  Enroll in this class to receive progress updates.

Amazon Self-publishing 1: Kindle eBook: Microsoft Word: Formatting
Premium: Unavailable

Amazon Self-publishing 2: Kindle eBook: KDP: Publishing
Premium: Unavailable

Amazon Self-publishing 3: Paperback: Microsoft Word: Formatting
Premium: Unavailable

Amazon Self-publishing 4: Paperback: CreateSpace: Publishing
Premium: Unavailable

Amazon Self-publishing 5: Book Promotion: Sell More Books
Premium: Unavailable

Note: This series is dependent upon you picking a book cover creation method from my Make a Book Cover series.

All the best and I'll see you in the classroom,


Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Brian Jackson



Born in Los Angeles in the middle of the last century, I have always wanted to be a writer. After twenty-five some odd years spent working in the computer industry in the heart of the Silicon Valley, first for Lockheed as a Systems Programmer and later for Cisco Systems as a test tool developer, I managed to retire early and begin my next career as a self-published author.

Along with writing and publishing my own novels I also publish the works of my wife, Melanie Jackson. During the past four years I've published well over 100 books in paperback and eBook formats. Oddly enough this includes eBooks on how to self-publish books and how to create professional looking book covers using the GIMP. I've also recorded and distributed a pair of audiobooks available for purchase on Amazon... See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Why You Should Self-publish Your Book: Hello and welcome to the class. In this first lesson, I'm going to attempt to convince you to self publish your book by providing a biased view of self publishing versus traditional publishing. In the last lesson, I'll explain how to do it. But for now, let's begin with an overview of traditional publishing. This is how it used to work, and it's not much different today. First you find an agent, then you find a publisher. And what you find out, you found, is just to new masters to serve. Or even worse, you published through a vanity press and pay for an inventory and have to store hundreds of paperback somewhere. Could there be a better way? Yes, there is entered to enabling technologies that changed everything. For the self published author, first e books allow the distribution of electronic versions the written material all over the world. Bring on demand means that books are printed and mailed by companies like Create Space for You as the book is bought. No more maintaining expensive inventories of print books. No more having to go through publishers to distribute your words to electronic readers. And this is all free. You share a percentage of the revenue with the publisher. Now let's go over why you should self published first, Don't waste your time looking for a publisher. Publish on your own schedule. Don't get restricted toe one or two books a year or even have it. Oh, wait two years to publish. Published what you want. If you want to do, We're wills you do were wolves. You don't get forced to do vampires and you publish how you want the places you want. No up front costs, no inventory is to maintain. And you set a competitive book price no more. 7 99 9 90 90 books. And finally you get up to 70% of the list price of the oven E book. Now, this is an important figure. So let's start looking at some of the numbers using the traditional publishing method. You sell a book on Amazon or your publisher does for 4 99 Amazons cut is 35%. Your publisher gets 65%. That means that you get about 3 25 But wait, your publishers cut a 75% your agents cut is 25% which means that you're down to about 81 cents per book. But wait, your agents cut is 15% years is 85%. So you're 81 cents per book gets cut down to 69 cents, or 13% of the original price. 70% versus 13% is a large discrepancy. Now let's look at the self publishing revenue. You sell a book on Amazon for 2 99 instead of 4.9. Amazon's cut is 30% years is 70% easy. Matthew make 209 per book. That's it. No other cuts You get three times the revenue per book sold for a book that's 40% of the cost to your reader. What a deal. You should be able to make money, right? I'm still skeptical, huh? Well, enter my wife, Melanie Jackson, best selling author of romance and cozy mystery. She's an interesting case study in both traditional and self publishing. First, let's look at her traditional publishing. From November 1999 through 2010 she published 23 romance novels with Dorchester Publishing in New York. That's more than two novels per year. During the best year, though, she made $10,000 in royalties. Now let's look at the self publishing history of the same person. In August 2010 I convinced Melanie to allow me to self publish her first cozy mystery moving violation. In 2011 we made $198,000 self publishing. In March of 2011 alone, we made $27,654.67. In January of 2011 Moving Violation made $8321.30 3 cents just on Amazon. And that's just one book. Now you probably think that you're dealing with the best seller. Unfortunately, our sales continued to slip until now. We're making about $1500 a month, or about $18,000 a year. And guess what? That's still better than her best traditional publishing year of 10,000. Let's look at the pros of self publishing. You're in charge of everything research, outlining, writing, editing, book, cover, publishing, advertising and website. You own it all, and you can make it exactly the way that you want it. Now let's look at the cons of self publishing you're in charge of everything. Research outlining, writing, editing, a book. Cover publishing advertising in the website. Yeah, that's right. The pros are the cons, depending on how you look at and sometimes it goes. Either way, it's a double edged sword. Except there are several 1000 self published authors like me ready to help you. Now there must be some pros to traditional publishing. For one thing, you get free copy editing, which can cost up to $300 for a decent copy editor. But is that worth giving up 87% of your revenue? You get a free book cover, but I'm gonna show you how to make a free book cover in my skill share book. Cover Siri's. And don't be deluded into thinking you'll get lots of free advertising out of your publisher. Most publishing houses require authors to promote themselves and even bring their own eager readership to the table. Hey, suddenly, the traditional publishing route isn't looking so good. Ultimately, ask yourself this. Might I be better prepared to find and win over an agent and publisher if I'd already released several self published books? When you weigh things, I think you're gonna find that self publishing wins out over traditional publishing. Here's what I recommend self publish a book. See if self publishing is for U. C. V. Make money. Gain better insight into the publishing process in industry, and depending on what happens, you may continue or you may go the traditional route, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 2. Why Self-publishing on Amazon: in this lesson, we're going to talk about why you should self publish on Amazon. It's really the next logical step, but basically what we're talking about is don't ignore the £800 gorilla in the corner. Amazon owns indie self publishing. To make it is to make it on Amazon. Another way to look at it is that 86% at the very least off our revenue up to about 98% when we were really doing well came from Amazon. All of the other publishing houses didn't amount to beans and compared to what we're we are making and we're making on Amazon, so you will make most of your money from Amazon Kindle e book sales period against the Apple Store against print on demand paperbacks against Barnes and Noble smash words any of these others, you will make almost all of your money from Amazon kindle e book sales. So we're gonna focus on that in this Siri's. I'll see you in the next lesson 3. Why You Should Enter the Kindle Select Program: Hello. In this lesson, I'm going to discuss why you should enter the Kindle Select Program, a special promotion and lending program that Amazon runs for Kindle e books. And I'm going to support my findings with some crude revenue analysis. First, let's look at how you enable Kendall select through KDP. It's one of the first field you encounter immediate might need to scroll the screen backwards. A little lesson that big blue cube see down at the bottom. It says. Enrolled this book and KDP. You want to click that? I'm about to explain why. What is the first of all? What is Kendall Select The Kindle Select is a special program that you can enter your book into for 90 days at a time that provides additional revenue generation and promotional opportunities. First, it grants you 70% royalties, as opposed to 35% in India, Mexico, Brazil and Japan. I know big work. That's not a good one. Number two. It allows you to run five days. Ah, free or countdown deal promotional campaigns every 90 day period. That's a big one. I'm going to show you why in the promotional class in this Siri's and it generates an additional revenue by allowing readers to borrow your book through the Kindle Unlimited and Kindle owners lending library programs. This is big. Almost half of our self publishing revenue now comes from Kent the candle lending programs and allows you to run paid advertising campaigns on Amazon when the X once again big would and what's the catch? Okay, hold onto yourself because this is a big one. You must publish your e book exclusively with Amazon. I know that's a biggie. I'd like to give you some time to recover, but I've got to move on here now. Let's look at the cost of exclusivity. As of 5 15 2015 my wife's books were not in Kendall Select. This has a long history because kindled INS Select didn't exist when we started publishing , and then later we got good readership off Amazon. So anyway, this provides an interesting opportunity for comparison. So here, just before going to Kindle Select, she was making $1800 a month through the Amazon Companies 200 through smash words. That's apple kobo, Sony, everybody like that. And then we published separately through Barnes and Noble and made $100 there. So if you look at all of that, her off Amazon self publishing revenue was 321 100 per month, or about 14%. Now let's do an evaluation of exclusivity, because soon after that, I entered Melanie's books into the Kendall Select program. So 2.5 months, as of 8 31 she had been in the program. And here are some of the results. First, her sales for this particular month were 472 units, or books, for which she received $706.97. But her loans were 102,000 and 11 Que en peas are basically Kendall, pages read, and that's worth five, about $5.20 per 1000 pages read. So that comes out to $524.5. In other words, the Kindle Select program generated 42.57% of our revenue this particular month. Now remember, we're trying to compensate for a fort for 14% of our revenue that we lost by going exclusive with Amazon and as of 8 31 We're talking about 42.57% that were generating through Kendall Select programs. Now, if that's not enough, let's update that to today. One year later, this is my wife's current Amazon exclusive publishing revenue. Okay, you can read it for yourself. I'm not going to read it for you. But basically, what has happened is that loans have gone up slightly as a percentage of revenue. Also, our total revenue is going up slightly both loans and sales. So if you remember, we're trying to compensate for losing 14% of a revenue. We're now generating 43.15% of our revenue through the Amazon Select program and also note that sales revenue is up, which may be due to our weekly Kindle free book promotions, which are part of the Kindle Select program. So I know what you're probably saying to yourself. A rollback. What was that Kendall Select program again? Basically, number one is Forget that Number two. Here, though, is five days of free promotional campaigns. You can use these to generate a lot of readership into a Siri's by giving one book in the syriza way and you get the loan your book out, which makes a lot of money coming up on 50% of our revenue. But you need to publish exclusively with Amazon. Now that actually simplifies things to a great degree. And that's why my Siris on how to self publish is so short and sits sink Now what? I recommend you dio enter the Kendall Select Program for 90 days. See if you generate at least 15% of your revenue from Kendall Select Enable deals. If you do, you're probably gonna beat the off Amazon revenue that you could generate. If you don't well, remove your book from can't Get the Kendall Select Program and self published on nine Amazon platforms BIA BIA smash words or directly to Apple, And with that, that's the end of this lesson. 4. Why You Should Publish a CreateSpace POD Paperback: in this lesson, I'm going to discuss why should self publish Ah, paperback on Create space and the answer may surprise you first, what is? Create space Greed Spaces? An Amazon company. The cells print on demand, or P o. D paperbacks through its site and via Amazon. Now what is print on demand? Here? I put a chart to explain how it works. Here's you over on the left. You use word to format your book for submission. You generate a PdF and submit that, via your browser to the Web based Create Space Interface. They store your book online, and then when a reader requests a copy, the reader is over on the far right, and we're on step for by. They end up retrieving Step five, a copy of the book from the store and Step six they printed and step seven. Ship it to the reader. No up front costs or stored spaced to spy and store an inventory. Books are printed as they're needed and shipped out. Now create space is Amazon. There are other print on demand options such as Lulu, but the reason that you're providing a print on demand book has to do with the fact that create space is Amazon. So why self published on Create space? You'll only sell a handful of paperback books, and you'll have to price them so low that your cut per book is gonna be pennies. So you're not gonna make any money. But providing a paperback will make your Amazon e book product page look great for two reasons. By the mere fact that the book was worth releasing and paperback readers get suspicious. You want your product page your primary selling point on Amazon toe. Look as good as possible. Readers get suspicious when they see that the publisher hasn't even put the effort through to provide the book in paperback. Next is that you can make your paperback price quite high, and Amazon will show it as a discount for the E book price, showing the paperback price and then slashing it and showing the e book price so it makes your e book look like it's hugely discounted. Now, I bet you weren't expecting those reasons to publish in paperback, but that's why you do it. And so part of our process is going to be formatting and publishing on create space. I'll see you in the next lesson 5. Why You Should Watch the Rest of the Amazon Self-publishing Series: in this lecture entitled Why You Should Watch the Rest of the Amazon Self Publishing Siri's I'm gonna provide an overview or a guide to the rest of the Siri's. First, I want to look at the process that we're going to implement to self publish your book. This actually just shows the e book side, but the print on demand paperback side is pretty much the same. You'll be using Microsoft Word most likely to write it. You could be using scrivener or any other number of tools, and then it will come to the point of formatting. That's where I jump in. I'm gonna talk with you about how to format your book to make it look good in e book format . You're then going to publish it via the Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP interface, where it will be turned into a Mobi file, a Kindle format file and presented for sale on Amazon. Now, as I said, the Korean space process is rather similar. Of course, there's no e books involved, and they will print and mail your book for you. So let's look at the entire Siri's you're currently viewing the first in the Siri's the rest have do with formatting your Kindle book, using word publishing your Kindle book, using KDP formatting your paperback using word publishing your paperback use and create space. And then in the final class, we're going to look at some book promotion ideas. Now let's look at detail at each of these classes. Here's the first class, and I'm not going to read this to you. But it's all the things having to do with formatting, and this is the order in which we're going to go through formatting your book. By the time we're done, you're going to have a great looking E book. Next, we're going to fill in all the forms to describe your book via the KDP Web based interface . Next, we're going to move on to formatting your print on demand paperback. That's gonna be much easier because you've done much of the formatting already for the E book, and we're gonna use that as our base. Next, we're going to use the Create Space Web based interface to set up your book for print on demand distribution, and finally, we'll look at a handful of the most important techniques for marketing your book. before leaving. It's worth mentioning that I have two options for making a book cover. You're gonna have to have a book cover to self publish your book. One is using the gimp. The gimp is kind of a hard tool, but I make it easy and the other is really easy, which is using Microsoft Power Point. But then you gotta have an officer a power point license. If you have the Power point license, I'd recommend that simpler option. If you don't, the gimp is free and I'll show you how to make free book covers with it. So that's it. And I'll see you in the next class.