Self-Publishing On Amazon? Here Are the Pros and Cons

Since the beginning of the self-publishing industry, Amazon and other indie publishing platforms have made it progressively easier for authors to get their work onto the market. 

Yes, there are still caveats. And self-publishing isn’t for everyone. 

Knowing the pros and cons of self-publishing makes it easier to decide whether this is the right path for you to take with your book. 

And KDP Direct pros and cons can help you decide whether to include Amazon in your self-publishing plan, considering its perks and the alternatives. 

What you learn here can also help you decide whether any of this is worth the trouble. 

Is Publishing on Amazon Worth It?

If you’re asking the question, “Should I publish on Amazon?” it’s time to assess what you want out of this and what you’re willing to put into it. 

Self-publishing is not a hands-off approach to getting your book out there. It’s up to you to make sure your book gets everything it needs to have its best chance at becoming a best seller:

  • Thorough, professional editing
  • Professional formatting / interior book design
  • Professional book cover design
  • A compelling book description for the sales page
  • Book reviews from beta readers and/or your launch team
  • An effective book launch strategy (to reach your target readers)
  • An effective book marketing plan (to maintain visibility)

The first three things can cost a considerable amount, but if your book is carefully edited, neatly formatted, and wrapped in a gorgeous cover, you’re far more likely to sell enough copies to more than break even. 

Competent editors, formatters, and cover designers are worth the money they charge. The most successful self-publishing authors recognize this when they’re building their own self-publishing team.

Just as they expect to earn good compensation for their writing, they value the work of their editors, formatters, and cover designers enough to pay them their quoted rates.

It takes a great team to create a book your readers will love and recommend to others.

If you doubt your book is good enough to sell thousands of copies (or more), the cost of the self-publishing route will probably outweigh the benefits — even if you shortchange your book creation team or do all the work yourself. 

But if you know your book is worth the cost involved in giving it everything it needs to succeed, the self-publishing route will pay you back in a variety of ways. And you’ll be in a better position to help others make the most of it, too. 

Benefits of Self-Publishing

If you’re still on the fence as to whether you should self-publish your book or find a publisher for it, the following list of self-publishing benefits might help you decide. 

  • Higher royalty rates than with traditional publishing
  • No cost to publish in both ebook and paperback format
  • More control over editing, formatting, and cover design
  • Much quicker process for self-publishing than for traditional publishing
  • No waiting for someone else to decide your book is worth publishing
  • Access to a growing community of self-publishing authors

If you’d rather hand over the control to a publishing house and let them handle the editing, formatting, and cover design — as well as at least some of the marketing — no one can fault you for that. You have a right to choose the publishing route that works best for you. 

If now you’re thinking, “I’m all in for self-publishing,” you might still wonder if Amazon is the best platform for your book. It’s a question worth considering, since you do have alternatives. 

But self-publishing through Amazon has far more pros than cons, as you’ll see in the next section — especially if you live in the United States. 

Self-Publishing on Amazon Pros and Cons

Now that you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to consider all the publishing on Kindle pros and cons. Since KDP Select enrollment is not required for publishing on Amazon, it’s possible to publish on other platforms while still maintaining an Amazon presence. 

If you do enroll in KDP Select, it’s important to know that you’re choosing to limit your book’s presence to the Amazon marketplace — for every 90 days you choose to enroll or remain enrolled in the program. 

In exchange for that exclusivity, Amazon helps you promote your book during those 90 days with a boosted presence during the first month and two different promotional tools — including five days in which you can offer your book for free. 

If you choose to go wide after the first 90 days, though, leaving KDP Select is easy. 

Pros of Self-Publishing on Amazon: 

  • Amazon self-publishing royalties are higher than most (up to 70%)
  • With KDP, you can publish an ebook and a paperback in the same place.
  • Advertise your Kindle ebook and paperback on the same sales page.
  • Immediate availability of your book to Kindle Unlimited readers
  • KDP Select lets you give your book away for free for five days.
  • KDP requires only one ebook format (MOBI) for distribution on Amazon
  • KDP gives you more access to global markets.
  • You can revise your title or subtitle at zero cost.
  • You can have Amazon promote your book for you.
  • Your book is on the biggest book market on the planet (global visibility).
  • You can publish smaller works as ebooks (short stories and “short reads”).
  • You receive your royalty payments faster than with traditional publishing.
  • Amazon handles all the technical issues involved with publishing your book.
  • You don’t have to buy and store 100s of copies of your print books.
  • Readers have one-click access to your published titles. 
  • KDP Select enrollment is optional, so exclusivity is not required. 
  • Amazon partners with Audible and can market your audiobook on the same page as your ebook and print books. 
  • KDP’s dashboard gives you access to sales and payment reports for your records.

With all these pros, it makes sense to consider Amazon for your self-published book, even if you don’t want to deal with them exclusively.

Why pass up a chance to have your book on the biggest book marketplace on the planet — especially when it’s free?

Of course, there are cons to consider for every self-publishing option. Here are some you should consider if you’re looking at alternatives or just want to know what to expect. 

More Related Articles

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17 Steps to Earn Your First $1,000 with Self-Publishing

How to Become a Book Publisher

Cons of Self-Publishing on Amazon:

  • Amazon limits the amount of each published book you can share (up to 10%).
  • Unless you follow their publication standards exactly, they can remove your book.
  • If Amazon thinks you’re using scammy promotions, they can close your account.
  • You can’t take your Amazon reviews with you (if you leave). 
  • The 70% royalty is limited to books priced between $2.99 and $9.99. 
  • You’ll have to pay for your own editing, formatting, and book cover design
  • You pay for your own marketing, too (aside from KDP Select promotions).

Those last two cons apply to any self-publishing platform, not just Amazon. 

True, there are publishing companies that provide editing, formatting, and even cover design — for a price. If this appeals to you, check out our post on the 12 best self-publishing companies, so you can avoid those that overcharge for substandard work. 

And when in doubt, do some internet research. And ask around in your favorite author groups. Like us, many of your fellow writers will want to help steer you away from scams.

Writing a book is hard enough. 

Is self-publishing on Amazon for you?

Now that you’ve looked through the pros and cons of self-publishing on Amazon, you know there’s a lot to consider when publishing your book. And no one can decide for you. 

This is your baby. And you know what you hope to gain by putting it out into the world. 

If you decide to go the self-publishing route, your support team at Authority Pub are hard at work creating content to help you build the best version of your book and to publish it  with minimal headache.

Here’s to a book publishing experience worth repeating. 

What are the pros and cons when you want to enter the self-publishing field? If you want to know more of these pros and cons, check out this post.

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