Imagine you received a congratulatory email from Amazon KDP that your book is on Amazon “Live” status. It’s your first time to publish a book on amazon KDP and you feel overwhelmed with joy.
But you have no experience in self-publishing and seem confused on what action to take. Maybe you aren’t used to purchasing stuff online with your visa card or you don’t have a visa card. What do you do?
The answer is simple:
As in every learning process, you need to fail your way to success.
My role here is to help you limit your chances of failure and shorten your way to success.
Many authors in Cameroon have written credible books, but they haven’t published it on the most renowned publishing platform, Amazon KDP.
Thank God you are out of this ignorant loop because of your desire to take some calculated risks.
In this guide, we’re going to explore a number of topics on what to do when you first publish your book on Amazon KDP. Feel free to jump to any section that interests you.
Why publish your book on Amazon in the first place ?
Many Cameroonian authors don’t have their paperback books on Amazon KDP, probably because:
- Many are unaware of how simple the process is to get their books published. They think the process is so cumbersome.
- Some do not see the need to have their books published on Amazon KDP. They prefer to work solo.
- Many are not aware of the Amazon KDP publishing platform.
- Others may know it but feel discouraged because of the challenges of getting royalties and ordering their books from Amazon KDP.
- Some authors think they need to write a perfect book, or get their book to a certain length before they publish it on Amazon KDP.
- Some authors think it costs a lot of money to publish a book on Amazon. However, if you aren’t aware of the procedure, you may need to outsource your book to an experienced freelancer to publish it in your name at a very moderate price.
- Some authors don’t want to share the profit of their book sales with Amazon KDP.
But then, what is wrong with these authors?
They are missing out on a lot of benefits in the publishing world.
As a Cameroonian author, you might feel discouraged to publish your book on Amazon because you know many Cameroonians don’t read books—talk less of buying anything online.
Do not be discouraged!
There are countless advantages of having your book published on Amazon, even if you will not make money instantly. Let’s find out why.
- Amazon KDP is a reputable print publishing platform. Having your print book published on Amazon means passing the credibility test as a self-published author. And you know what credibility can do for you in the long run. When people know that you have your books on Amazon, it causes them to trust you the more because they know quality is of the essence with Amazon brand.
- Secondly, with a book published on Amazon, it facilitates the promotion of your book to every part of the world. Amazon KDP has countless offers and tools that can help you promote your book and reach out to many potential customers. All you need to do is learn those offers and tools as you acquaint yourself with Amazon KDP.
- With a simple link, your potential customers are right on the way to getting a copy of your book irrespective of where they are on the globe. Even if Cameroonians don’t read books, other citizens all over the world read voraciously. Amazon KDP makes you limitless. You do not need to ship any book to anyone. Amazon takes care of the shipping while you pay for the shipping cost at a fair price.
- A book on Amazon means it is available to customers at all times and it is safe and secured. You will never run short of books in stock. Amazon prints and delivers them on time whenever you order copies.
- When you publish with Amazon KDP, they offer you a free ISBN. You could also choose to buy an ISBN elsewhere or from them because FREE has some limitations. If you are on a shoestring budget ,or you want Amazon to have exclusive rights to market your books online, get the free ISBN. Nothing to worry about. The advantage of a paid ISBN is that you can publish the same book with other publishing houses with all legal rights in place. But then, Amazon is the big fish in the sea and all their competitors bow before their throne. So why bother publishing with smaller publishing houses. Outsource everything to the boss and get yourself a free ISBN.
- Once your book is published on Amazon under your name, no one can play piracy with it. It will forever remain your book. You have all legal rights to pursue a case and win it bigly. Case closed.
- With Amazon KDP, you can remove your book anytime you want, update it and republish it at your convenience. There are no restrictions on how many times you want to republish. The choice is yours and you can play with your book the way you want. You have no questions to answer to anybody.
- Amazon KDP prints books on demand. You can order one copy, 100 copies or 999 copies to be delivered to you promptly. There is rarely a delay from the expected delivery date with Amazon KDP, except otherwise. Their shipping rates are moderate and the quality of their books are impeccable. As an author, quality is of the essence.
I can go on and on to enumerate the benefits of publishing your book with Amazon KDP and would not stop. But for now, erase the idea that to publish your book on Amazon is not productive because of your geographical location or because of the poor target audience in Cameroon.
Every serious author should have their books on Amazon. Gone are the days when traditional publishers made book publishing an uphill task for talented writers.
Today, you don’t need to lobby or work according to the terms of traditional publishers to have your book published.
Amazon has made self-publishing as easy as ABC. You can bypass all the intricacies of traditional publishing and get your book published in a short time, and in many formats.
You don’t have to wait for eternity to have your book approved by a traditional publisher before it is published.
Hurray to Amazon KDP!
How to order author copies from Cameroon?
Author copies are copies of your published paperback, which can be purchased at printing cost. To order author copies from Amazon, your book must be in “LIVE” status on your Amazon KDP bookshelf.
Here’s how to go about it.
Amazon KDP has listed the procedure right here.
- First sign-in into your amazon KDP account with your password and username. It will take you to your bookshelf.
- Click the Order Author Copies button. For example , I wish to order copies of Divine Responsibility.
- Enter the order quantity.
- Choose an Amazon marketplace closest to your shipping location.
- Select Amazon.com and click the Submit Order button.
will lead you to this page where you’ll proceed to check out the order.
What if you don’t have a visa card?
For now, you could make use of a prepaid card for your online transactions if you do not have a debit card attached to a bank account.
What is a prepaid card?
A prepaid card is a card that is pre-loaded with a certain amount of cash, and unlike a debit card, it is not linked to a bank account. Generally, when you use a prepaid card, you are spending money that you have already loaded onto the card.
With a prepaid card, you can make a bank deposit into your card equal to the amount you wish to spend online.
Once you purchase something, the bank deducts some charges per transaction to the tune of 500frs for United Bank of Africa(UBA). I know little about the charges with other banks in Cameroon, but it wouldn’t cost you more than a 1000CFA irrespective of the bank.
Therefore, if you do not have a visa card or you aren’t comfortable with online purchases, offer yourself a prepaid card.
How to own a prepaid card?
To own a prepaid card in Cameroon, whether with United Bank of Africa (UBA) or any other bank like Afriland First Bank, you need to visit any branch of your choice with the following documents at hand.
For UBA and Afriland First Bank, and probably many other banks in Cameroon,
Required documents are:
- 1 passport-size photo
- Localisation plan
- A photocopy of national ID Card
- Parental authorization (Only for minors)
- Recent ENEO electricity bill.
- Photocopy of Taxpayer card (for companies)
- An NIU identification number. You can get this number online within the hours of 6pm-7am GMT Cameroon time through this link.
To activate your card, you just need to :
- Load the UBA prepaid card at any UBA Office or through UBA Mobile/Internet Banking.
- Go to any UBA ATM to change PIN
Once you present these documents to a nearby branch, they would process your visa prepaid card and hand it to you instantly (this is the case with UBA).
Other banks like Afriland First Bank might tarry for close to two or three weeks before handing your card.
With UBA, you’d be expected to pay a minimum sum of 12000frs to get a card, and 10000frs with Afriland First Bank. This is the cheapest card you can get to hold a maximum of one million francs for any online transaction.
You could choose to go for the classic card (15000frs) or gold card(25000frs) based on your transaction goals. These prices probably vary with different banks.
How much quantity can you order?
For a start, it is good to order a single copy and verify if it suits you before order up to 999 author copies. If you want to order over 999 copies, you’d need to place separate orders and pay shipping charges for each order.
How much is the shipping and handling cost?
Amazon shipping rates depend on the selected shipping speed and weight or size of the items. The total shipping and handling cost will be listed under in your order summary, and the exact shipping charges are calculated at the time of checkout.
The table below shows the base “Per Shipment” rate used as a minimum for shipping. Rates increase or vary, from the base rate depending on the items in the cart.
If you are in Cameroon, ordering mass copies and shipping it to yourself might be expensive because the “Per Item” cost depends on the item, and is based on the quantity of items, the weight, or volume of each package. More so, the port authorities might impose unforeseen extra charges for you to pay besides what you’ve already paid to Amazon KDP.
So depending on the quantity of books you wish to order, you could sneak out of this problem by ordering mass copies to the address of a friend or family member in the UK, or USA who is coming over to Cameroon. Tell them not to send it through a mailing agency like DHL because the charges will be far more exorbitant.
It is also possible to order your book through other reliable mailing agencies. I haven’t tried this before, but you can try it as a learner.
When will the books arrive?
Depending on your geographical territory, when you order books from Amazon, it is easy to track its arrival from the expected delivery date. After an order has been shipped, you can track your order using an amazon mobile app, or directly from your Amazon account where you placed your order.
This estimated delivery date is based on the quantity of books you’ve ordered and the selected delivery speed.
Should you print your books locally in Cameroon or order copies directly from Amazon?
This question boils down to your overall goals. As in every business, you also need to evaluate your goals before you decide on whether to order copies directly from Amazon or print them locally.
They both have pros and cons. If you realize that the cost of shipping your book directly from Amazon is more expensive than printing them locally, it would be better to go in for local copies.
The problem with locally printed copies is that printers expect you to print large quantities of books before they can make a discount for you. They don’t care if you have an audience or not. Moreover, the quality is not always guaranteed in most cases.
Unlike Amazon, you can print the number of quantities you want based on how you perceive your target audience. Price remains the same for one copy or 100 copies.
How do you get paid by KDP amazon?
Amazon KDP pays you through three principal methods :
- Direct deposit
- Wire transfer
Let’s explore each of the methods.
- Direct deposit
This simply means a bank transfers money to your bank account without need of a check or cash exchange. It is the fastest and most secure way to receive your royalty payments. However, Amazon KDP may not support direct deposit payments to your bank in Cameroon or the region where your bank account is located. You might require some additional documentation for them to release funds into your bank.
It involves a third party transaction with a network of banks. You could also link to PayPal or any other payment agency to receive your funds directly from KDP. However, you will incur some charges .
Amazon KDP will issue you a paper check by mail if the electronic payment method is not available. They have a handling fee per country and it takes longer than to direct deposit.
Which payment method should you choose?
Payment methods are based on bank locations.
As mentioned earlier, direct deposit is obviously the best option to choose because it is environmentally friendly. However, Amazon KDP does not support direct deposit and wire transfers in some countries and local banks. That puts some of us who own banks in locations other than the ones listed below to be at a disadvantage.
Below is Amazon KDP’s available payment methods based on your bank location:
- United States (US)
- United Kingdom (UK)
- European Union (EU)
- Canada (CA)
- Brazil (BR)
- Japan (JP)
- India (IN)
- Mexico (MX)
- Australia (AU)
- New Zealand (NZ)
For those in Cameroon, you can only receive payment by check as shown below.
How to set-up a payment method
Amazon KDP outlines the procedures here for Direct deposit and wire transfer
- Go to your KDP account.
- Complete two-step verification.
- Under Getting Paid, click Add a bank account.
- Choose your country or region of residence and click OK.
- Enter your bank account information according to your country/region requirements and click Add.
- Click Save.
You could also watch this video tutorial on YouTube to have a better understanding on how to go about it.
How much is the payment threshold?
In simple terms, it means that after Amazon KDP deducts taxes and other charges; the amount left from the sales of your book must attain a minimum threshold before you can receive a check or wire from Amazon KDP.
The minimum threshold for books sold on Amazon.com marketplace is 100USD for both checks and wire transfer. With Amazon.co.uk, the minimum payment threshold is 100Euro both for checks and wire transfer.
Direct deposit does not have a minimum royalty threshold, but wire and check payments do.
How to check the amount you’ve already sold
When you log into your KDP account, click the Report section right next to the bookshelf at the top of the page.
Scroll down to see the sales dashboard information.
If you continue to scroll downwards, you’ll see the royalties earned for each marketplace.
How to calculate your royalties
You receive a royalty when someone buys your paperback/EBook through amazon.
KDP offers a fixed 60% royalty rate on paperbacks sold on Amazon marketplaces where KDP supports paperback distribution. Your royalty is 60% of your list price. We then subtract printing costs, which depend on page count, ink type, and the Amazon marketplace your paperback was ordered from.
(Royalty rate x list price)-printing costs = royalty
example, if your list price is
3000CFA and our book is a
333-page paperback with black ink sold on the US marketplace (Amazon.com). Your
royalty will be calculated as follows:
(0.60 x 7500frs) -3750frs = 750frs.
The list price is the price you initially set for your book, while the printing cost of your paperback can be calculated using the formula:
- Fixed cost + (page count * per page cost) = printing cost
For example, here’s how we calculate the printing cost of a 100-page black ink paperback sold on the US marketplace:
- $0.85 (fixed cost) + (100 [page count] * $0.012 [per page cost]) = $2.05 (printing cost)
You could download and use Amazons calculator to calculate the printing cost here.
Share the link to your book
Once your book successfully passes Amazon’s review checklist, Amazon will send you a congratulatory email to inform you that your book is now live on Amazon. The email will be accompanied with a link as shown below: available on Amazon KDP.
If you click on the underlined blue link, it will lead you directly to the page where your book sits on Amazon. Scroll down this page to get details of your book, including the ISBN.
From here, you could copy the ISBN and share with anyone to use and access your book. If you type in the ISBN in the Amazon search bar, the book will pop up immediately.
A more convenient way to share the link to your book is to click on the three dots at the top right-hand screen as shown below where you have the URL search bar and select any of the options: copy link, share link or email link. Once people receive your distributed link through your social media channels or otherwise, they can access the sales page directly by clicking on it.
Do not make the mistake of asking potential customers to search for your name or the book title directly from Google search bar.
Google Algorithm doesn’t work like that.
Your book is new in a sea of books on Amazon. If you are a new publisher, it will take some time for amazon search engine to index your book for visibility.
How to promote your book?
Amazon KDP offers many promotion opportunities to ease marketing. However, as a beginner, you are not obliged to learn everything overnight. You could begin your promotion by making good use of your social media channels. You could use Facebook, WhatsApp, or your preferred social media channel to give your book the widest publicity.
When someone purchases the book online, ask them to write a review about the book in brief sentences. Amazon KDP loves books with reviews. They will rank you high and expose your book to people in need of it all over the world.
What if people do not have debit visa cards to buy your book?
Many Cameroonians have not fully embraced the culture of shopping goods online. Mostly, they prefer to buy from a physical shop.
Besides this cultural perception, the situation is further compounded because even those who own debit cards are skeptical of providing their bank details online. They fear hackers and scammers and feel safer making no buying attempt.
The Global Economy Business.com reported in 2017 that only about 11.5% of Cameroonians aged 15+ own a debit card. This statistics show that many Cameroonians still don’t own debit cards. This makes online transactions an uphill task for many potential buyers in Cameroon.
Like I mentioned earlier, this shortcoming shouldn’t be a reason for you to ignore self- publishing on Amazon KDP entirely.
Rather, view this limitation as an opportunity to stay ahead of your competitors as you wait for money transactions to become fluid for Cameroonians soon. As of 2020, am sure the number of those who own visa cards and shop online must have increased geometrically.
With the rapid evolution of mobile money and cryptocurrency, the challenge of using a visa card to purchase goods(especially books) on amazon will soon be eliminated.
I hope this guide helped to provide you with answers to some questions you’ve been pondering upon.
While you aren’t expected to know everything at once, having a basic knowledge on how Amazon KPD will set you on a good journey.
Don’t worry if you make mistakes along the way. That’s part of the learning process. You can always contact me for more extra support.
Just commit to writing and publishing as the days go by.
And who knows—maybe the next time you press publish, you’ll stand out and sell books beyond your wildest imagination.
After reading this guide, tell me what other steps you would take when you publish the next book on amazon KDP?
If you still have questions lingering in your mind that I haven’t answered, drop it in the comment box below.
Wish you success and a blessed new year.