Why it is not worth self-publishing with Amazon?
Updated: Jan 6
It may sound like a blaspheme to go against what give us, self-published authors, so much (we can discuss this "so much" later), yet it's actually counterproductive and in no way helpful if you are serious about your writing.
Yes, Amazon KDP has the tools, the means and the platform to make you reach people but the all of this has a cost, a dear one. For obvious reasons I cannot list real numbers, though you pretty much can do the math if you have a quick rummage on their FAQ about "getting paid" - what you earn is a misery compared to what they get with your hard work.
And technically you cannot even reach the aesthetic perfection of your book. Compared to book-stores printing, all paperback and hardcovers of my own book are of a below average quality:
The dark images get darker and the colors of the cover are washed out - my book cover comes out better if I print it on medium settings on my basic printer than what it comes on their end (and this I cannot stress enough how bad it is for selling)
Speaking of covers; the thumbnail of my paperback and hardcover book on Amazon's site is also washed out for some reason, even compared to the e-book series (asking customer service about that they said they said the cannot see any difference)
Cream and white paper are way too thin and transparent
The drawings and illustrations inside the book are poor quality as well, often come with issues - straight printing lines, and artifacts that I spotted and asked for refund, but a reader that does not know the book or the illustration has no way of knowing if it was meant that way!
Check for yourself the difference in the thumbnails of my book
Have a look at the original image (converted to printing color requirements and quality-tested on other printers)
Now look at the pictures from the actual Amazon paperback and hardcover
Costing Issues and KDP realibility
Ever since I have published I have started creating as many campaigns as there are months for each Amazon marketplace.
Although they can offer some success and reach even more people, there is no way to accurately verify if the clicks have been generated by real users or Amazon itself. Just like facebook (which has been verified to be a scam when used to advertise with, bots and scripts to generate clicks etc.)
You pay for bids/clicks and are mathematically charged on the end of the month for each invoice, but when it comes to revenues you will have to wait 60 days. I have been through the numbers of the past months, a generous period for Winterhorn's sales, and I yet have to make them add up since I am not getting what it is showed on their KDP.
KDP itself is quite simple and useless to some extent, but it does help with seeing the traffic generated on your printed books. However, after almost 2 years use, I still cannot guarantee that it is reliable.
The overall experience with self-publishing feels like that slippery object that you will never get the full grasp on. There are factors and things you cannot control and will never be allowed to. It is great to get yourself started, but definitely not the way to materializing your writer's dreams. You will be placed inside a pool of all sorts of self-published writers, from the astonishing and hard working ones that have inspired us all to the ones that publish a book every month and have covers that make your eyes bleed.