How to Market a Kindle Book: Publish Smart

by | Nov 17, 2020 | Amazon Updates & Marketing Tips, Book Marketing Basics

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This one is for all of you wondering how to market a Kindle book. Let’s begin at the beginning: in order to market smart, you first have to publish smart!

Publishing options can be confusing, especially given all of the choices Amazon offers these days. Before you hit the “publish” button, here are a few things you may want to consider.

Understanding Kindle Unlimited

The Kindle Unlimited (KU) option with Amazon is confusing, at best. If you aren’t familiar with KU, it’s a service that allows members to get eBooks on loan – up to 10 at a time.

As an author you get paid by the page reads, as opposed to book sales. Whether or not KU is a good option for your book depends on a few factors.

If you put your eBook in the KU system, you have to remain exclusive with Amazon for 90 days, after which you can either reenroll the book in the KU system or upload it to other sales portals like Kobo, Apple, etc.

Authors with books in multiple formats (hard cover, paperback, audiobook, eBook) sometimes get confused about what this will mean for their overall book placement. To be exclusive to KU, you only need to keep your eBook exclusive to Amazon.

Your print and audiobook can be listed anywhere you want: you can have the print book up on Barnes and Noble, Bookshop, and other retail sites, and Amazon doesn’t care. They only want exclusivity over your eBook.

So is KU a good idea? Well, it depends. Though the majority of eBooks are sold from the Amazon platform, you may want to keep your options open.

I would encourage you to consider your readership. The book lending system tends to favor genre fiction readers, who generally read a lot and read more quickly than readers of other genres like business, historical, memoir, etc.

And this is where the initial question about how to market a Kindle book comes in. If you opt to do KU, I wouldn’t do it from day one. I’d hold back a bit.

Generally, I advise our authors to wait for three to five months after the book is out to enroll it in the Kindle Unlimited system. Why? Because that way you really push book sales, over page reads, during the initial launch time.

Then, if your sales rank starts falling five or six months after publication, popping it into the KU system can give it a fresh boost by making it newly accessible to Kindle Unlimited readers.

book marketing ideas

Understanding the KDP System

Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is an entirely different system that has nothing at all to do with KU (with the exception being that you are able to enroll your book in KU from the KDP dashboard).

The benefits to using KDP are the features it helps you access via Amazon, Amazon ads being the biggest one.

While I love using systems like Ingram Spark and Bookbaby (to name a few), if they upload your eBook to Amazon, you will miss out on all of the possibilities the Kindle dashboard offers.

If you’re committed to your third party service, it takes a little more maneuvering to take advantage of all the great features you can use to market your Kindle book.

If you publish your eBook with Ingram Spark or another third party service, uncheck the Amazon box so the system won’t publish there. When you do upload your eBook through KDP, it’ll be paired with the print version and you’ll be good to go.

Keep in mind that if you use a third party service to upload your eBook to other portals, you can’t take advantage of the KU system unless you have them pull the eBook off of these platforms, which is a bit involved.

As you can see, unwinding a system is much harder, which is why it’s good to make these decisions early in the game. If you don’t care about doing an Amazon countdown deal or Amazon ads, feel free to upload your eBook to any publisher and let them take it from there.

There is, however, another benefit to using the Kindle Direct Publishing system for your print book, too. Now that Amazon has closed Createspace, you can upload your print book directly to Amazon – even if you use other services like Ingram Spark, etc. for book formatting, cover, and design.

The reason I particularly like this option is really for Amazon optimization reasons. So if I publish my print and eBook straight to Amazon, I can double the keywords I use on the backend because each edition is uploaded separately.

Twice as many keywords will greatly benefit your exposure, and again, you can absolutely use other publishing services to help you create the book of your dreams.

Understanding how all of these pieces fit together is important to the success of your book. It’s also good to know that going in, you have lots of options.

The best way to market your Kindle book is to maximize your options to best serve your book marketing goals. Choosing the right options from the beginning should be your first priority.

Amazon’s systems and services, when used correctly, offer great tools for your overall exposure. Just make sure you’re choosing the right ones for you and your book!

For more tips and strategies to make Amazon your 24/7 bookselling machine, check out my 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition of How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon!

References and Free Downloads
Amazon Cheat Sheet

Sell More Books on Amazon

How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition

How to Promote an eBook with a Limited Time Discount

Jane Friedman: Reporting and Consulting on the Publishing Industry


  1. Werner Neff

    I need a book promotion agent. My book RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY – The Case for Equality and Justice is published with IngramSpark (print) and Kindle (e-book). What can you offer to sell more books. It is for sure a niche product.

  2. Patrecia Gray

    What is Amazon Smart Publishing, and is it advisable to use?

    • Penny Sansevieri

      It’s not actually owned by Amazon, which is misleading. Honestly we typically recommend authors publish through Amazon KDP directly to retain the most autonomy over both their product AND their marketing long-term.



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