This is my second edition of a Q&A … You can find Part.1 here.
You can find the video I did on YouTube below.
Just here I will post the video and then below is a typed up version but I will have written this post FIRST in this case and therefore, may be some additional details that aren’t in the video.
If you have any other questions you’d like me to answer for you now & potentially in future videos – please let me know in the comments section either here, or on the video on YouTube.
KDP Q&A…… ASK ME ANYTING!
Question 1: What Do You Do When You Get A Bad Review?
This can happen of course and the worst thing is when it happens for the very FIRST review you get.
From my experience, it’s happened rarely but a couple of times right when I started I got a bad review for an actual error in the book.
Once I remember was a spelling mistake right on the cover!
What I did in that case was actually completely unpublish the book and republish a new one, with the new corrected cover and start over.
Sometimes, if the very first or second review is bad – it may be worth just taking that book off, improving it and updating it in some way and then publishing again.
Because you can never get rid of that initial review and it’s not a great way to start.
But what if you have quite an established book selling loads, with a number of reviews already…… And then you get a bad review?
Well, if you have a book that sells well, it’s highly likely you will get some bad reviews.
Check out the best selling books on Amazon…. None of them escape a bad review from time to time.
The thing is, as long as your good reviews OUTWEIGH your bad ones – you probably won’t have too much of a problem.
It can depend on the nature of the review.
Unfortnately, certain types of review CAN have a bit of a negative impact and even worse than this, there is nothing you can do about it.
One I have sometimes got is about the binding. If the book isn’t bound properly, the pages can come out.
I’ve had issues where the book cover was not printed properly too and people taking pictures of this.
I can only hope they reach out to Amazon for a replacement and it’s frustrating that we cannot contact the customers directly from our own author pages, via our own pen names for example, to rectify any issues.
While these are issues caused my Amazon themselves, they would still class this as a valid review.
Another thing I have had a negative review for, has been FINGERPRINTS on the cover.
This is often seen especially if you have a black book in MATTE.
For this reason, I highly recommend you do not publish black books with a matte cover and opt for the glossy finish in that case.
If you get comments about the quality of the physical book, there isn’t much you can do and depending on how bad this review is, this may sometimes lose you customers.
I have had a couple of situations where sales have definitely been effected by certain reviews and in those situations I will often tend to create more books in that niche and hope some others do well and make up for those lost sales.
Often, this has worked pretty well.
Another thing thats frequently happened is that I would end up getting more reviews over time and the positive reviews eventually overshadow any negative ones.
Question 2: What Type Of Books Make You The Most Money?
I have been asked this many times but not matter how many times I answer, it’s one of the common things people say.
The books that have made me the most and make up most of my top 10 are various types of journals with prompts and in fairly similar niches.
I can’t go into more detail than that. Despite the fact that the main niches I’m in are pretty oversaturated now, I still don’t want to carelessly add to that situation by piling load more people in an already crowded place.
Right now I’m moving out of my comfort zone a bit and working on bringing out books in a couple of new niches.
Rather than obsess about whether a niche is going to work, I highly recommend you just pick SOMETHING.
Getting started can be the hardest part initially but by forcing yourself to just get started before you feel ready, you will be pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and start making progress.
Question 3: If I do several books in a niche, can I still use identical keywords in the backend?
Yes, 100% you can use identical keywords in the backend if that’s what you choose to do. But why waste an opportunity to experiment?
Once your book is published, you are able to change your keywords at different points if you choose.
While it makes sense I that you’re going to be targeting the same keywords in the same niche – I do like to make each book somewhat unique, even if it is in the same niche.
So, that might mean by combining two related niches, or just a certain theme or style that is different between books.
This is what I recommend personally and as a result, there are ALWAYS different and unique keywords that you can target for each book.
There are also going to be slight variations on a keyword that mean the same thing that you could try and just see which one ends up ranking and making sales.
Then you can always tweak the keywords in your other books later – if one keyword turns out to be particularly successful.
Question 4: How Many Books Do I Need To Make $200 A Month… (Or $500… Or $1000 etc!).
You could really put in any number here but I often will get asked how many books you need to make X amount per month.
Well, if you make $2 profit per book. Then you will need to sell 100 books per month to make $200.
That could be one book.
Or it could be 10 books that sell 20 books per month.
Or it could be 200 books that each sell 1 book per month.
So, is it easier to make one book sell 100 copies per month? Or 200 that sell 1?
In reality, it’s not that simple.
But Amazon is a little bit of a lottery. No matter what tools are at your disposal, you will not always create a book that sells.
It’s more likely that many books you put up don’t sell, or don’t sell very much.
Then the ones that do sell, may not be the ones you expected.
So, there is a numbers game involved. You do need to put enough books out there to start seeing what works for you.
You also need to be honest with yourself about your ability and if you aren’t sure, ask someone else you trust to be honest with you about your books.
You need to be creating books that real people out there want to buy, or NEED to buy. Ideally, you will be fulfilling a need or want for people out there.
Even better if you have a sort of avatar in your mind as the IDEAL customer for your book. The type of customer that will see your book and instantly love it.
The more specific you are about the type of person that will want your book, the better your book will be ideal for that person.
It really helps if you already understand that market and who you’re trying to appeal to.
Question 5: What ACOS Do You Aim For With Ads?
If you have no idea what ACOS means and haven’t started Ads at all, then just skip this section, I will link below to some videos I have on Ads.
However, I’m really not an Ads expert and really, the more time goes by – the less I feel like one!
I think that is partly the nature of running Ads to low content books. Unfortunately, because our royalty amount is quite low, it will be difficult in many cases to make a reasonable profit on the Ad itself.
Sometimes running the Ad will lead to more organic sales and therefore, it’s worthwhile it running.
Or sometimes, you’re going to just want to be running an Ad to rank a book and therefore, are not looking to make money directly from the Ad anyway.
For me, Ads have almost always worked better to either rank a book initially or to simply generate more sales overall when I’m aiming for a breakeven ACOS or even a little bit unprofitable.
So, in my case – I am aiming only for a break even ACOS in my standard Ads most of the time and when I’m ranking a book, I don’t think about the ACOS now.
All I’m trying to do initially with a new book, is make sales and I understand that if this is in an area with some competition, then it is going to cost me money to promote it.
However, I can think this way because I already am bringing in a good income from self publishing and know that ultimately I am in profit at the end anyway.
If you are in a position where you aren’t making any money from KDP – then investing a certain amount in promoting your books may feel uncomfortable, because you haven’t had any proof that your book is good enough that people want to buy it.
In which case, I would only recommend promoting books in the beginning if you really are 100% sure your book can stand up to the competition.
I do see a lot of sponsored listings from books that really should not be there. You need to get honest feedback from someone about your books before taking that leap.
However, it is harder to get organic sales at this stage on KDP. I personally always rely on Ads now to get the ball rolling and therefore, I cannot comment too confidently on how well books sell initially without Ads anymore.
That said, I have had two books that did start selling recently without Ads out of the blue — but this was several months after publishing.
One I couldn’t advertise and one I had advertised initially, but then switched off due to no sales.
This can happen to me too! I sometimes run Ads to new books that won’t sell that first copy and I have to make a decision to turn it off.
This happened to me a while back with a book. I spent around £15 and I believe I’d only made a sale or two. I was 100% confident with the cover, but it was in a saturated niche.
I switched the Ad off and miraculously got a five star review. I started up the Ad again and this time it started to make sales.
So, my aim now is to try and spend money to get some of those initial reviews, because this can really help to get the ball rolling.
With established books, I do try and maintain a break even ACOS – but I don’t mind equally if it’s a bit unprofitable because my aim with the Ads really is to gain more visibility and sales overall, (this includes organic sales).
Everyone is different of course and will have a different idea of how to do things but this is just what I do.
Question 6: Do You Prefer Auto Or Manual Ads?
I will say that this really can come down to the book and often the niche.
I have had some books that just spend too much money with Auto Ads and are very difficult to optimise because there are so many keywords you need to take out of the equation.
Perhaps I’m just impatient with that, but it can take a long time to try and weed out all the irrelevant or general keywords/products Amazon puts your book into.
I have created LOTTO campaigns, where you bundle a whole load of books into one campaign at a low bid and I had mixed success with this. But better success when I bundled books in the same niche into one.
However, I usually start Auto campaigns with the idea of collecting successful keywords, which I can THEN put into a manual exact match Ad later on.
The thing is, sometimes the keywords that seem to work in the Auto campaign, won’t work in the exact match Ad!
Again, there are so many variables and there seems no hard and fast rules as to what works and what doesn’t.
Equally, an Ad that works well one month – won’t the next.
What I tend to do with a brand new book is to TRY and Auto Ad initially and see how that plays out.
If I do get profitable keywords from that, I may then put them into a manual campaign and see how that goes.
If the Auto campaign generates too many search terms from the start and is spending a large amount of money with little or no sales….
Then I will often just try an exact match manual campaign myself, using only a small amount of keywords that I know are 100% relevant to the book.
(Maybe only 30 to 50 keywords).
Very often, I only end up with a handful of keywords that lead to sale with each book.
I personally rarely ever use broad match or phrase match these days.
Question 7: Is It Still Worth Starting KDP?
I have been asked this a fair amount and I feel that this is going to be far more worth asking someone who has started recently, than me who started in 2019.
However, I think it depends on your goals as well. As in, whether you’re looking to make a part time income – or a full time income and beyond with KDP.
I think it still is possible to make great money on KDP starting now — but I couldn’t guarantee that.
It’s far more likely that you can make a decent side income however.
While I have been lucky enough to make a good income on KDP, I wouldn’t really recommend going all in and relying on it 100% for your income.
If you are going to rely on using those places for your income, then better having several of those bringing in some money, rather than having all your eggs in one basket.
This is coming from someone whose eggs ARE mostly in Amazon’s basket and trying to focus on ways to change that in the long term.
My recommendation for KDP would be to go into it with the intention of making an additional income, on top of something else that you already have coming in.
I certainly think it is much harder now to make a mark.
I almost always run Ads to new books to try and get them ranked now, (aside from ones that I can’t run Ads to).
In the beginning, I didn’t run Ads at all. I didn’t run a single Ad for over a year and was making a full time income by then.
That said, I have still had books sell anyway recently without Ads. Ones that I stopped running Ads to – or didn’t run Ads to from the start.
So, if I can do that right now and have books sell with zero reviews — then of course other people can also.
I think one issue is that people are often confused when their books don’t sell and presume that anyone should be able to make sales on KDP.
You need to create books that appeal to particular audiences and often solve a problem. If you’re creating covers that are too generic, dull or just plain bad — it’s not going to work for you.
Alternatively, if you’re trying to compete in an oversaturated area, with a book that won’t compete with the best out there anyway – you’re also going to really struggle to see any sales.
It is possible to make sales in those higher competitive areas, but you need to have something that makes people WANT to buy your book, over another that could have hundreds or thousands of reviews.
I am thinking of doing a video purely on whether you should target low or high competition niches, let me know in the comments if this would interest you.
Also, please do let me know in the comments if you have any other questions you’d like me to add to these Q & A videos!