More independent authors than ever before are using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP)—and they are reaping the rewards. The number of authors earning $50,000 or more in royalties increased 40% between March 2022 and March 2020, when the pandemic began and many authors found more time to write. In the last two years, KDP has also expanded print book availability to Australia, Japan, and the Netherlands, and made distribution off Amazon available in the UK. Now, millions of writers around the world use KDP to build successful careers with self-publishing.
Prior to the pandemic, Louise Lennox spent two hours each weekday commuting to and from her job as a school principal. Once schools went remote in March 2020, Lennox capitalized on her newfound free time to pursue her passion for writing. She devoted 90 minutes a day to writing and had her first novel written in the first 30 days of working from home.
“I write what I have termed ‘Happy Black Romance,’ where the heroine is unapologetically Black, fiercely loved, and guaranteed a happy ending,” said Lennox. “I found that many Black romance books were focused on edgy street drama, and that’s not the reality for many Black women. I wanted to keep my novels focused on our happy stories. I wanted to focus on the joy of Black love.”
Lennox decided to self-publish her book through Kindle Direct Publishing. In less than 24 hours, her first novel was available for readers to purchase. Since her first book, Lennox has published eight additional novels and two novellas.
“Kindle Direct Publishing made it easy for me to self-publish my novels and instantly access a large reader fan base,” said Lennox. “The success from my books has become my fun money. I have a milestone birthday this year, and I’m using my KDP earnings to treat myself and my family with a trip to Italy.”
Lennox utilizes Kindle Unlimited, a reading subscription program that gives readers access to more than 1 million titles, including thousands of audio books and current magazines, to build her readership and grow her community of romance readers.
“Now that I’ve established my base, I grow it by using the promotional tools that are only available to authors who enroll in KDP Select, a program which helps maximize books’ sales potential and reach more readers, such as via temporarily offering the book for free or at a discount,” said Lennox. “Those promotional tools draw more and more readers to my books every time I schedule them.”
Lennox isn’t the only person who leveraged time at home during the pandemic to pursue a writing career. Thousands of independent authors have already earned more than $50,000 in KDP royalties so far in 2022, and more than 2,000 of those authors have surpassed $100,000 in royalties.
Through KDP, self-published authors are empowered to take control of the creative and business aspects of publishing their work, ranging from the content to the artwork to having real-time visibility into sales metrics. Amazon is constantly evolving its tools to deliver a best-in-class service for writers pursuing their passion. In 2021, Amazon introduced several tools, including a new text editor that helps authors format and preview books before publishing, and the A+ content tools allows authors to enhance their details page, which helps drive conversions and increase sales. With reader innovations such as Kindle Unlimited and Prime Reading, authors have a variety of opportunities to connect with readers.
When his martial arts school closed due to COVID-19, Orlando Sanchez made his side hustle as an author into a full-time job. Sanchez has been writing and self-publishing urban fantasy thrillers on KDP since 2012, but after his business closed in 2020, he solely focused on his writing. He utilizes KDP's eBook and Print Preview tools, which allow him to view the finished book before it’s published to make sure everything is just as he wants it. For 2022, he has six novels and several novellas ready to be self-published.
“I love the control and freedom I have by self-publishing on KDP,” said Sanchez. “I’ve invested a lot of time and effort into my work and currently make well into six figures annually. If I hadn’t been able to focus on my writing full-time and self-publish with KDP, the long-term impact of having to close my business could have been devastating.”