Wondering if readers have recently bought your books from Amazon?
Wondering when Amazon might be sending you some cash?
This article was written just for you. 👇
Writing your book was hard. The publishing process felt daunting as hell. The relief was palpable as your new book eventually found its way onto the shelves of the Amazon bookstore. Perhaps you cautiously opted for a digital eBook-only approach. Perhaps you chose to cover your bases by also sharing the print-ready paperback files with Amazon. This would mean your paperback book was being sold alongside the eBook edition. This way the readers would be able to choose their favourite format.
[Tangent] For those of you who went all in, perhaps there is an audio-version of your book snuggled alongside the eBook and paperback editions. If you are wondering how on earth an audio version finds its way to Amazon, visit Audiobook Creation Exchange (acx.com). For those authors living beyond the borders of the 1st World – Findaway Voices (findawayvoices.com) does a similar job of getting your audiobook to Amazon, albeit a bit slower. [/Tangent]
A few weeks have now flown by and you find yourself wondering how successful sales of your book have really been? Here is how to find your sales reports.
FINDING THE AMAZON REPORTING SECTION. (The short version. )
STEP 1: Access Amazon KDP using this link -> kdp.amazon.com
PS. The most common mistake I see is where the author is attempting to access the Amazon KDP dashboard using the incorrect URL of www.amazon.com. Remember, amazon.com is where readers go to purchase your book. As the author, you have a different link to access the publishing backend or bookshelf.
STEP 2: Once logged in, navigate to the reporting menu link found in the white menu strip in the upper part of your screen.
In a rush? I recommend focussing mainly on these two reports = “Sales Dashboard” + “Payments”.
- Sales Dashboard Report = “Have I sold anything recently?”
- Payments Report = “Has Amazon tried to pay me? When?”
…Now, for those of you with your curiosity tickled and a fresh cup of ☕, 👉 lets dig a little deeper 😊
AMAZON KDP SALES REPORTS EXPLAINED FOR THE BUSY AUTHOR. (The longer version.)
Reports listed in the order they appear left-> right.
SALES DASHBOARD (Default)
- This is the default screen seen after first selecting the “Reports” link.
- This report answers the question “Have I sold any books recently?”.
- “Recently” is by default set to 30 days. This can be increased to include sales from the last 90 days.
- The report shows sales of all published book formats; eBooks, paperbacks, hardcovers etc
- The Sales Dashboard also shows the author-royalties earned by territory. This helps you understand at a glance which country’s readers might be enjoying your recent release.
[Tangent] Understanding the territories in which your book is popular is great for improving your marketing message and medium. It allows the author to customise their advertising to more accurately target those readers. Example: If your latest novel was having surprising sales from the Australia (AU) region – perhaps you could target online publications specific to that region for your book promos? [/Tangent]
- This report analyses your sales over the history of your Amazon KDP publishing account, stretching beyond the 90-day maximum of the Sales Dashboard screen.
- The report shows book sales by format and is summarised by month.
- The report will also summarise the currency earned from the different territories based on the date filter setting.
- A more detailed report of sales activity. Either from the current month or the previous month.
- Also filterable by Amazon Marketplace (US, UK, DE, FR, ES etc) as well as the book format.
- This report also shows free units given away during any recent KDP Select Promotions.
- This report is not necessarily as helpful to an author who might only have a single title released.
- After from the Sales Dashboard, I find this to be the report I visit the most.
- This report shows when Amazon will make/ has made/ has attempted to make payments to the author.
- Why would a royalty payment fail? Perhaps your bank account details were invalid OR a royalty check was returned if your postal address was incorrect.
- The payments are split by the geographic territory in which the book was sold as well as the sales period.
- Amazon recently started paying out SA authors directly in ZAR. (See two most recent payments in pic above.)
PRE-ORDERS, PROMOTIONS, PRIOR MONTHS’ ROYALTIES, AD CAMPAIGNS
To preserve your sanity, I won’t go much further down the reporting rabbit hole. Needless to say, the few remaining reports pretty much do what they say they do.
- Pre-Orders shows you the results of any eBook that was setup to allow pre-ordering before the selected release date. Yes, this is indeed an option for authors who might have an eager following of readers waiting.
- Promotions. For those authors enrolled in KDP Select, it is possible (and recommended) to setup either Free or Discounted promotions for your title. Remember that Amazon allows an author up to 5 consecutive days per title for each 90-day enrolment period. These days then reset and can be used again.
- Prior Months’ Royalties. Self-explanatory.
- Ad Campaigns. It is possible to pay Amazon (using a credit card) to promote your title within their ecosystem.A quick and easy option for an author looking to dip their toes into paid marketing. Read more on paid promotions for KDP Books here.
TROUBLESHOOTING TIPS FOR THE FRUSTRATED AUTHOR
I have sold books and have not yet been paid 😞
IF books have been sold yet no payments appear, the 3 most common culprits are =
- You have not linked a bank account with Amazon as yet. Without any (or valid) banking details loaded, Amazon might still be trying to post you a royalty check. (Only once you have met the $100 threshold.)
- It’s not yet time. Amazon only affects payments up to 60 days after the month in which your book is sold. I know it sucks however sometimes you might just need to wait a little longer ☹
- Valid tax interview? The Amazon tax interview is something every author will need to complete when you first open your KDP account. The interview then needs to be retaken every year or so. If that times lapses and no updated tax interview is submitted, Amazon can withhold your payments.
Want to see my face? 🤓 Here is a video I created on the topic of understanding where your missing Amazon payments might be.
Book sales VS Kindle Edition Normalized Page (KENP)
You might be asking “What the hell is the KENP label found all over the Amazon reporting?“
Or another one, “Does KENP = Books sold?“
Firstly, an author only needs to be concerned about their KENP figures If they are enrolled into digital-exclusivity with Amazon via KDP Select. If you did not tick that box when publishing, then the KENP graph should not be showing any activity and can be ignored.
For an author enrolled in KDP Select, congratulations, you are now participating in the Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. This means readers can loan your title to read, almost like a “Netflix for eBooks” scenario. The readers pay yearly membership fees to Amazon to belong to the KU program and are then given access to the titles enrolled into KU via KDP Select.
The author is still reimbursed however instead of earning income from a sale of your book you will receive income for the amount of pages being read. This is the KENP numbers (Or Kindle Edition Normalized Pages) reflected in your reporting.
A book sold today is not income earned tomorrow. Amazon only pays the author up to 60 days after the month in which the book was sold. Read more here.
The shock of an empty sales report 😮
The most common emotion after finding your royalty reports is frustration and despondency from a sales graph showing less activity than your typical politician. If this might be you, I would welcome you to take a seat, take a deep breath, don’t worry. Every author is faced with the daunting task of selling more books. Marketing your book (as well as yourself as the author) can seem scary, I get it.
Amazon is nothing else but a massive bookstore. It’s not magic. It doesn’t guarantee impressive sales either. You will need to roll up your sleeves and climb into the marketing effort like a champ. There are awesome people who could help you with these marketing adventures. Yes, and there are the scammers too.
Do your homework. Be prepared. The proactive author is rewarded with new readers. Self-publishing aint for sissies.
Need to contact to Amazon support? 📧
For those of you needing to contact Amazon support to ask a few pointed questions about the sales (or lack thereof) for your new title, here is the best way to do it.
Access the direct support page from the “Contact Us” link found at the very bottom of the screen. You would need to be logged into the Amazon KDP dashboard to find it. Here is the link for those of your from (South) Africa or the US = kdp.amazon.com/en_US/contact-us
[Warning] Amazon support is absolutely an outsourced horror. Do not expect friendly or particularly helpful replies on the first contact. I often keep resubmitting the same query until someone helpful replies. [/Warning]
Amazon now does hardcovers
This is a little bit more of a tangent however I recently noticed Amazon allowing self-publishing authors to expand their offering to readers in the form of a hardcover option. An author publishing online is now able to release their title in the following different flavours: eBook -> Paperback -> Hardcover -> Audiobook.
I recommend browsing the Hardcover help page from within the Amazon help section. A hardcover could be a great option for your recent release however remember it will more than likely mean that your book interior and cover files need to be updated first. Yes, this might mean you need to pay someone smart to carry out the design updates.
Banking Details Correct?
This is a point worth repeating. The biggest roadblock to receiving regular remittance from Amazon is a set of valid account details. #AlliterationDoneRight
- For those authors living in the 1st world this is not normally a hassle. Simply plug in your bank account details when prompted by Amazon.
- For those of authors from South Africa, Amazon has tentatively opened its doors for you to you to receive payments directly.
- For other authors I would recommend using the Payoneer platform to receive money from Amazon. It’s not perfect however at the time of writing it was still the preferred option at giving us 3rd world authors a chance at receiving direct payments from Amazon.
That’s it. End of my article. Hope you enjoyed it, importantly I hope it helped you 😊
Did I miss anything?
Was I not enough? (aka Further Reading…)
- Here is the official explanation of the Amazon KDP Sales reports from Amazon.
- Issues signing into Amazon (KDP)? This page from Amazon may help you.