- Sue Irven and her husband started selling on Amazon KDP after being laid off during the pandemic.
- They now earn up to $17,000 a month selling designs for products like journals and coloring books.
- Irven explains how to choose winning products, create designs, and maximize sales using SEO.
Even before my husband and I were both laid off in 2020 due to the pandemic, we were exhausted in our respective roles. I was overworked in a dead-end job earning $10 an hour and my husband was a contract driver delivering medicine to nursing homes 6 days a week.
We knew we had to diversify our sources of income and, at the very least, earn more money so that we could work fewer hours. So we tried different secondary agitations.
At first, none of them stuck.
- We tried doing affiliate marketing, but soon realized you needed a large following on social media, which we didn’t have at the time.
- We tried private label e-commerce but it’s very expensive to start with and the shipping times from China were horrible, especially during Covid.
- We even considered buying vending machines, but they were also expensive and we didn’t think they would be lucrative in a pandemic.
During this research period, we searched “how to sell on Amazon KDP” on YouTube, and after watching some how-to videos, we decided to try our hand at KDP.
Now we make between $5,000 and $10,000 a month on average, and our most profitable month so far was $17,000 in profit. I started making sales in my first month with only 10 models.
We were profitable from the first month
KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. Basically, it lets you self-publish things (notebooks, journals, planners, fitness trackers, travel journals, activity books, puzzle books, etc.) through Amazon.
You design the item and list it, then Amazon sells, prints, and ships your products to the customer while you collect royalties from each sale.
One of the best things about Amazon KDP is that you can spend as much time on it as you want. it can start as a part-time side hustle and turn into a main income.
My husband and I started selling on Amazon KDP in June 2020 and made a profit after our very first month. KDP now serves as a full-time income – none of us have jobs outside of KDP, but we suggest people start doing it as a side hustle.
Pre-design keyword research is key
We try to release around 10 designs per week – our best sellers include composition notebooks, sketchbooks, journals, planners and to-do lists. We now have over 200 models that continue to make money.
Before creating new item templates, we make sure our products match the keywords that Amazon customers search for to maximize our chances of a sale.
For example, if we search for “notebooks” and find that flower notebooks are the most popular right now, we’ll plan our designs accordingly. The research process can take an hour or days, depending on how detailed we want to be.
You don’t need an art degree or technical knowledge
We use a third party program called Canva to create all of our covers and interior pages. One of the benefits of doing KDP our way is that you don’t need to have any artistic abilities.
The time required to complete the design depends on the type of product.
“Low content books” like journals or notebooks usually only take about 45 minutes to an hour to design, as you only have to create the front and back covers.
Heavier materials, like coloring books, take about 2-3 hours. To create them, we use Canva Pro, which allows us to take advantage of a large selection of designs included in the membership.
When Listing, Focus on SEO
Once our design is complete, we list them on Amazon while making sure to maximize our keywords and SEO for the best chance of a sale – this is crucial because you want as many people as possible to find your product. Again, we look to see which other items have the most sales and go from there. We also recommend pricing your items close to the average cost of similar items on the site.
Selling digital products means very little overhead – you don’t need to pay for inventory storage, and there’s no upfront cost to start an Amazon KDP account, or list your designs on Amazon. Depending on the price of the item, we keep $1-$5 per sale after the cost of printing.
Although there is no such thing as really passive income, Amazon KDP is pretty close. Every design you create has the potential to earn you money forever. Amazon attracts millions of shoppers every month.
Especially in an unstable economy, we all deserve more free time at home with loved ones and more financial security. Anyone can do KDP, from anywhere in the world – I even taught my 72-year-old grandmother how to do it for fun.
In my opinion, Amazon KDP is one of the most effective side businesses you can start at any time. Instead of “quietly quitting” or “working your paycheck,” it allowed us to work from home while being our own bosses.
Of course, KDP also has its drawbacks.
I would say the biggest drawback of KDP is that it is very difficult to predict sales. Some days you will win $1,500 and other days you will win $50. As a business owner, you have to expect ups and downs.
You also shouldn’t expect to see success right away. It took us 10 designs before we started selling. The more models you have, the more likely you are to make sales. When I was teaching my grandmother, I told her not to get discouraged if she didn’t sell anything in the first month.
My best advice for new Amazon KDP users is to start early and keep designing – it’s definitely a numbers game. The more models you have listed, the more likely you are to make sales every day.
Sue Irven is a full-time Amazon seller and digital creator.
. How earn up to profit by month self-publishing on Amazon