I’ve been on and off with Amazon KDP for a few years now… I started in 2019 with a few books, had no idea what I was doing, and put it aside while I focused more on Zazzle.
Months later, possibly into the following year, I tried again and uploaded more books. I uploaded anywhere from 100 to 200 books, I’m not entirely sure. I didn’t do keyword research for any of these either, I was just going off of what sold on Zazzle and putting it on Amazon.
At the time, I was mostly uploading lined journals, and, at the time, you could still get regular sales with lined journals. But, for the most part, those days have come and gone.
Since then, I’ve uploaded a dozen or so books every year. I usually upload when I come up with a niche that I think might sell, or when I’m so in love with a design that I have created that I just have to get it on everything.
I went through a planner-making craze and a puzzle book-making faze, neither of which lasted very long because, again, I truly just don’t enjoy the process!
To be honest, I dislike the platform so much that it has stopped me from ever uploading very many books. In fact, over the 4 years that I have been on the platform, I’ve only uploaded a total of about 350 books.
From those 350 books, I do make regular sales, I still get a small deposit every month, but it is quite minimal.
Not uploading enough books has absolutely contributed to my lack of success on the platform, which definitely contributes to my not liking the platform, but it’s not the only factor.
So, without further ado, and at the risk of me sounding a bit whiny, here are the reasons I don’t like Amazon KDP Low Content Book Publishing…
- Amazon is crazy strict
- The uploading process is slow
- It’s Oversaturated
- I don’t like designing book interiors
- You Need Keyword Research Tools
- Product Descriptions
- A+ Content
- Amazon Ads
- Poor Reporting
- No Product Variation
- You’re only helping Jeff Bezos get Richer
- People Make it Sound So Easy
- It Takes too Long to Create one product for a minimal payoff
Let’s take a closer look at each of the items on the above list.
Amazon is Crazy Strict
One thing that always freaks me out is how strict Amazon can be. I’ve heard so many horror stories of people getting their accounts banned.
Most of the time, once you do a little digging, the person who had their account banned did do something wrong. Usually stealing others’ work, having duplicate content, or something of the sort.
However, there are horror stories of people who didn’t do anything wrong but have had their accounts banned for, what seems to be, no reason or a simple mistake.
It is possible to get your account reinstated if you reach out to Amazon and talk to them about what went wrong, but it isn’t a guarantee.
Having a potential account ban over nothing, or a little mistake freaks me out and I don’t enjoy having that looming over my head.
The Uploading Process is Slow
Man oh man, uploading to Amazon KDP takes time!
To be fair, it’s gotten better over the last couple of years, but it used to be that when you went to preview your book, it could take up to 5 minutes. You’d have time to go make a sandwich or something.
I did have a bit of a workaround, where I would have multiple tabs going and input the metadata for one book while another’s preview loaded. But it was pain.
They have updated the platform and it has gotten quicker, but it often still takes a few minutes to load a single book preview, and then if something doesn’t fit you have to fix your design and go through the whole process again. Not enjoyable.
Amazon KDP is extremely saturated. The YouTube Gurus have sung their KDP songs of glory so loud that everyone has had a go at it.
I’m not saying that there aren’t holes in the market, you can always find entry points if you look hard enough. I would just rather spend my time making designs rather than spend hours doing keyword research.
For some people, they love doing keyword research, and if that’s you, then all the power to you! Maybe low content book publishing is for you. But for me, it is not a part of the process that I enjoy.
– My Recommended Tools –
Below are my personal favorite tools that I use regularly in my POD business.
The below links are affiliate links meaning I may receive a small commission for anything purchased through these links at no extra cost to you.
Creative Fabrica – My favorite place to get graphics with a straightforward commercial license for print on demand use.
- Get Creative Fabrica’s All Access Free Trial for one week here ($9.00 a month after that.)
- Get Creative Fabrica’s Yearly All Access Subscription for $59.88 here.
Adobe Illustrator – I use Adobe Illustrator for at least half of my design creations. It’s pricey but so worth it when you choose to take the business seriously. Get a free trial to Adobe Illustrator here.
Graphics Tablet – My partner got me this exact tablet as a Christmas gift when I was just starting out with creating my own designs. It has served me well now for several years and it was a very low cost investment that made a big impact in my POD business.
Ergonomic Mouse – If you spend long hours at the computer like me I highly recommend investing in a good ergonomic mouse. Over the years, I have caused an injury in my hand/wrist from being at the computer so much, but my pain has gotten significantly better since getting this ergonomic mouse on Amazon.
I Don’t Like Designing Book Interiors
My passion is in making the covers, not the interiors. And unfortunately, with creating anything other than basic lines, sketchbooks, dot grid books, composition books, etc – you know, truly low-content books that are quite saturated, the interiors can be what takes the majority of the time.
You Need Keyword Research Tools
You can absolutely do keyword research the old fashion way, but tools like Helium 10 and Publisher Rocket are going to save you countless hours with publishing on Amazon.
And even with those tools, you aren’t guaranteed success.
Once you’ve completed your keyword research and your designing on the interior and exterior, don’t forget that you need to write a compelling and converting product description!
So not only do you need to be a good researcher and designer, but now you need to be a copywriter as well.
It’s not that hard to write good copy, there are enough tutorials on YouTube to be able to write a good product description. You can also use AI to help give you a head start and get the ball rolling. But it’s just one more thing that you need to set you apart from all the others doing the exact same thing as you on Amazon.
You didn’t think we were done after writing the product description, did you? No no no, if you really want to have success with Amazon KDP, you’re likely going to need some A+ content for your product sales page.
Which is basically imagery of your product (that is digital and you’ve likely never held) as well as more copywriting. So fun!
As I’ve mentioned previously, Amazon is over-saturated, so in order to stand out, you may need to learn Amazon Ads.
You gotta spend money to make money, right? This phrase is becoming more and more true as more and more people dive into Amazon KDP.
Not to say ads are a bad thing, they are an amazing way to scale your business, but when you have to try ads just to gain any traction, it can be a bit risky!
There are practically no stats on Amazon KDP. You can see your sales and which marketplace they came from, and yes, that can be helpful, but you can’t see views or anything like that. Which leaves you entirely in the dark about whether your products are even getting seen.
Without better reporting, you don’t know if your keywords aren’t good and your products aren’t getting seen, or if they’re getting seen, but aren’t converting to sales.
So it’s a bit of a guessing game.
No Product Variation
The product variation on Amazon KDP is softcover books, hardcover books, and ebooks. That’s it. Doesn’t leave a whole lot of room to diversify.
I suppose the upside is that you focus on one thing, but for me, I find it a little boring.
You’re Only Helping Jess Bezos Get Richer
I try to limit my spending when it comes to Amazon in general as it all just goes to the top. I’d rather get my designs on other platforms that distribute the wealth a little more.
People Make It Sound Easy
People being the YouTube “Gurus.”
Let me set you straight. It is NOT easy. No business is truly easy and if it’s easy it’s because you likely got lucky and it won’t last.
The fact that it isn’t easy doesn’t deter me, I just can’t stand how YouTubers make it out to sound like it’s so easy to be making thousands of dollars a month by simply grabbing graphics from Creative Fabrica and plunking them onto a page in Canva and Voila!
You can absolutely do that, but it’s not as simple as how they make it seem and that really bothers me. These YouTubers are just taking advantage of newbies trying to get them to purchase Creative Fabrica and Canva through their affiliate links and make money off of them.
That’s not to say all of the YouTubers are like that, and there are more and more people coming out and saying that it’s hard work and takes dedication. But just be wary of who you trust.
It Takes Too Long to Create One Product for a Minimal Payoff
Unless you’re just uploading lines or the sort of book where you can make the interior once and use it over and over again, you could be working on a single book for an entire week and you won’t even know for sure if it will sell. And that’s just the design process.
If you truly want to have success with low-content book publishing on Amazon KDP you also need to spend time doing keyword research and writing copy and creating A+ content and building ad campaigns.
Not to mention the slow uploading process.
When it comes down to it, the process to create a single book is just too long for a few dollars to be made.
Obviously, if you get really good at it, you get faster, and if you start making massive sales then it is worth it. I’m not saying it can’t be done. It absolutely can be done and is being done by plenty of people.
For me, personally, it’s not my jam.
What I do instead
Instead of Amazon KDP, I am all about other print on demand marketplaces.
I am absolutely obsessed with Zazzle. Second, I am falling for Spoonflower, though I only got started on the platform less than a year ago, so I’m still getting the hang of it. It’s possible that over the next 1-2 years Spoonflower will become my favorite platform.
And third, I do alright on RedBubble. I haven’t put much effort into Society6, but I think if I did I would probably like it more than Amazon KDP as well.
I’m not saying don’t do Amazon KDP, this was just a collection of my thoughts about it and why I don’t like it. It was actually cathartic to get it all written down, so thanks for reading through all that!
If you want to try Amazon KDP, I do have some helpful articles of the knowledge that I have gained over the years. Even if I haven’t put it to the best use. At least, if I’m not going to use all of the information I have gathered over the years, I can share it with my readers.
So please do go check out all the KDP info on this site as I’m happy to share what I know!
And if you are interested in learning more about other print on demand marketplaces, specifically Zazzle and Spoonflower, be sure to join my newsletter here.