Amazon self publishing- experiences?

Hi fellow Wattpaders😄

I was wondering if anyone out there has ever tried publishing any work on Amazon- and if so, what are your experiences?

Or, has anyone done any research on the subject?

Have a good evening/night/morning/day :+1:

Hi there :wave:

As you’re looking for advice relating to the publishing industry, your thread is better suited to the #industry-insider category and you’ll receive more response there. I’ve moved this thread there for you :blush:

Thanks for understanding,

Hollie - Community Ambassador :azanthiel:

I’m not an insider and don’t publish on Amazon. From what I hear it’s a fine spot to publish but you’d need to do all publicity yourself. If you’re not up for that don’t try. Also anything you publish will not even be considered for publication by a traditional publisher. So if that’s an aspiration then don’t mess with self-publishing. I think a lot of people have some success using the model where they create a trilogy and give away the first book for free.

All the same things apply, but you might also look into Kobo, Nook and Ibooks. Amazon has a rule where you can’t have something digitally anywhere for less money than you charge on their platform (and they check). So if you’re using Wattpad as the service for providing the first free book you might run into issues also releasing the same book on Amazon. The other services don’t have this so I use them.

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I haven’t done Amazon, but I’ve released 4 novels on Smashwords, which makes ebooks available on their site and distributes them to a considerable list of other platforms.

My low sales are a result of my own poor marketing skills, not Smashwords, which has generally been fairly straightforward. You follow their instructions for formatting, upload it, it’s automatically converted into several formats. You set your own price, and as I understand it, you get a better percentage than from Amazon. I’ve never looked for poetry on Smashwords, though, so I’m not sure how well it works for that.

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I’ve never used Smashwords. I’ve heard both good and bad about it though. Have you checked to see if your material gets to Google, Kobo and all the others?

Amazon has 85% of the online book buying market, so if you’re going to self publish, that is the place to be. You can choose to sell only there – many of those who sell only there participate in the Kindle Unlimited program – or you can forego Kindle Unlimited and publish wide. Depends on your book and your goals.

There are 4500 books published Every Day on Amazon, so you cannot just post it and hope for the best. You need to put up a professional product and market it wisely. You also need to keep creating new material. Personally, I’d have more than one book posted before I started spending money on marketing.


You’re not wrong about market share but I did read an article that said most independents actually sell more through the other sites. With Amazon giving them just short of 1/2 of their total sales.

When I released the first one, I checked all outlets I could access without a paid account or equivalent, and it was there, safe and sound. Ditto for the second. I didn’t bother for the other two, since it seemed unnecessary.

I haven’t had any bad experiences with Smashwords.

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The negative I was referring to was here on the Wattpad forums, apparently there had been a plagiarism issue and Smashwords support was unresponsive to it. I assume it was a real thing and the person involved was unhappy with how things got handled, but honestly their expectations might have been unreasonable. That said, I’m glad your experiences seem good, and for myself I think I’m gonna check them out.

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I think plagiarism is inevitably going to be an issue with any digital medium, regardless of which platform one uses. I can’t venture an opinion on how Smashwords would handle it, since I haven’t had it come up and I don’t know the other side. I do know that their support staff have been friendly and helpful the very few times I’ve needed to contact them. The formatting-to-upload process is a bit of a pain, but that’s about the worst I can say about it, personally. :smiley:

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Yes, I’ve been told it’s a good idea to have at least 3 books out before spending on advertising because you’re unlikely to make money on advertising a single book, it’s the sell-through that could make it viable, but I think a marketing plan is probably a good idea too… Self-publishing can work well but I think it’s important to do a ton of research and have reasonable expectations.

Kinda looking into it myself because I have some indie writing friends. One of them does very well, I think. Another recently got an agent because she found the marketing aspect took too much time away from her writing. Others I know have found it hard to get going… so yeah, results are mixed…

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I they’re getting only half of their total sales, they’re pricing VERY badly. If they price between $2.99 and $9.99, they’ll get 70%. And people are making even more through KU.

I would be interested in that article, because I’ve never heard that – not as a group and not by an individual.

If I can locate the article I’ll post a link.

I was not able to locate the article I was looking for. To be honest I didn’t look that hard. I Googled and got disappointed with what I found. I did locate an article (I have no idea about the source) that I think sheds light on the entire concept and does touch on whether to go Kindle select or not (spoiler they’re not committed either way). It’s a couple years old and is only superficially related but even so seems to be one of the cleanest overviews I’ve read.


First off,download their (free) guides to publishing and formatting. Look them over. I did, and unless you are an HTML Guru, you might find a relatively deep pocket needed for contracting work out, or find the work-up intimidating. Or, maybe not, and they do provide fairly straight forward information about your chances there , and how to advertise your stuff, etc. However, it’s real work, and not for everyone. After, you can ask for the experiences of others, but expect the resulting responses to be all over the map, and of course,its still a marathon. Many start, fewer finish, and only a top handful really meet their monetizing goals.

Forget about purchasing any of the “You too can be a brain surgeon” self help guides out here until you have done the above, and made up your mind.


Good article, thank you.

Thanks, that’s useful. What you’re saying is that the traditional publishers will automatically regard you as a lesser writer because you chose to self-publish at some point…? I think the traditional publishing industry need to adapt to changes in the way people consume litterature- but I still believe and hope the physical book will survive for many years to come. :slight_smile:

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Thanks @prysmcat

I see, thank you.