Kindle Direct Publishing Reviews: Positive and Negative (Why You Shouldn’t Always Believe KDP Success Stories)

March 22, 2024

Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, or simply Amazon KDP, is a business model that has a polarizing reputation all across the globe. Thousands have succeeded and made money, thousands have also failed miserably. For any aspiring entrepreneur looking to enter the KDP market, it's important to understand that KDP isn't a get rich quick scheme that's guaranteed to become successful. Self publishing books on Amazon can still be profitable even in 2023, but it will entail lots of hard work, dedication, and money.

Unfortunately, even if you put in the work needed to make your KDP business work, you're still at the mercy of market saturation, intense competition, and costly expenses. As of 2023, there are at least 1 million KDP authors and publishers around the world. There are also over 50 million books published on Amazon, which means your chances of finding a niche that's unique and profitable are slim. 

In this article, we will be looking at Kindle Direct Publishing positive and negative reviews, reasons why you shouldn't always trust positive KDP reviews, and an online business that's better than Amazon KDP.

Why You Should Not Always Believe KDP Success Stories and Testimonials

Studies show that most people look for success stories, testimonials, and case studies before starting an online business. Amazon KDP has lots of testimonials and positive reviews, especially since it is a business model that has produced thousands of successful writers, authors, and publishers all around the world. Everywhere you look, dozens of authors and writers have almost nothing but good things to say when it comes to KDP. However, you shouldn't always believe KDP success stories and testimonials.

Most success stories and positive reviews come from individuals who own KDP courses. They're trying to sell the idea of making a lot of money on KDP so they can also sell you their course, which often go for a lot of money. They're conditioning your mind into thinking that KDP is extremely profitable when all they're doing is profiting off of you. Additionally, most of these self proclaimed authors and gurus even make more money from their courses than from actually writing and self publishing books.

At the end of the day, the best way to go about KDP (or any business model) is to conduct your own research, put in the work needed, and treat like a regular job instead of nothing more than a side hustle. Any positive review you see on Google might be a fake review from people looking to make money off of you.

Positive Kindle Direct Publishing Reviews From Established Authors

1. Alex Kaplo

Alex Kaplo is an Amazon self publisher who claims that Amazon KDP can help you make six-figures per month. According to Alex, KDP is actually getting bigger and bigger, which means there's more money to be made than ever before. However, he balances it out quickly by stating that self publishing on Amazon is not easy and should be treated like a full scale business in order to be successful.

Alex also has his own course - Publishing CEOs - which teaches aspiring entrepreneurs how they can start publishing on the KDP platform and outsourcing writers to create books.

2. Karla Marie Blocka

Karla Marie Blocka is a KDP author who has published over 60 novels on KDP and has made millions in total revenue. According to Karla, self publishing on Amazon has not only helped her attain financial freedom and stability, it has also allowed her to spend more time with her son and literally work from anywhere in the world. 

Karla now shares her success to thousands of writers and authors through her KDP course, Fiction Profits Academy. She teaches students how they can create, design, customize, and publish their own books on Amazon. However, Karla makes it clear that self publishing isn't guaranteed to make you rich or successful - you have to put in the work in order to start making money.

3. Mark Dawson

Mark Dawson is a writer and author who has sold over 6 million copies of his books, most of which fall under the thriller category. In 2020 alone, John generated a total of $1.5 million in book sales, but it wasn't always all sunshine and rainbows for him. Initially working with a traditional publisher, he claims that moving over to Amazon self publishing is what ultimately allowed him to become a successful author.

John says that his first ever book made zero book sales simply because the publisher was not able to help him gain exposure and generate interest. His self published book, on the other hand, sold 50,000 copies on Amazon within the first few weeks.

To this day, Mark is very vocal in encouraging people to become self publishers and KDP authors. He claims that KDP changed his life and that the financial possibilities are endless, especially since publishing a book on Kindle is very easy.

4. LJ Ross

LJ Ross, also known as Louise Ross, is a renowned author who has produced multiple best-selling books and has generated millions of dollars in revenue. LJ, who used to work as a lawyer, decided to take a career break in 2015.

It was during this career break that she thought of writing a short story with the intention of merely sending it out to friends and family. Little did she know that this was the start of her successful writing career. Today, LJ has sold over 8 million copies and has produced 27 best selling books.

LJ claims that self publishing her books on Amazon was the best decision she has ever made. Not only does Amazon allow her to publish as many books as she want, she can also publish her books anytime, without compromising the overall quality.

Positive KDP Reviews From Other Authors

1. Jeff Carson

Jeff Carson is the author of the best-selling Kindle book series David Wolf and has been self publishing since 2012. According to Jeff, KDP is what ultimately enabled him to quit his job and simply live off of his books. He also claims that living as a writer has allowed him to consistently produce best selling books that always do better than the last.

2. Louise Lennox

Louise Lennox is an indie author who formerly worked as a school principal until the pandemic of 2020. Once schools became remote, Louise had a lot of free time on her hands, which was all she needed to pursue her passion for writing. Fast forward to today, Louise has a total of 12 published novels that consistently generate a steady income stream for her. 

Louise claims that KDP was extremely instrumental in helping her to publish her books easily, while also giving her access to a large customer base where she gained a lot of exposure.

3. Stephanie Bond

Stephanie Bond is a KDP author who has been self publishing since 2010 and has released best selling titles such as Escort Girl and Stop The Wedding. According to Stephanie, unlike traditional publishing, self publishing on KDP gives her full control over what happens to her book, such as pricing, release date, formatting, and even having full ownership.

4. Orlando Sanchez

Orlando Sanchez is a former martial arts trainer who has been self publishing since 2012, but only became a full time author when his business closed in 2020. He has published over 67 books, most of which fall under science fiction and urban fantasy thrillers. Orlando claims that publishing on KDP has helped him recover financially from having to close his business, and that he would still be reeling from his losses if it wasn't for KDP. He also says that he currently makes six figures annually, which is way more than what he used to make as a martial arts trainer.

5. Tricia O'Malley

Tricia O'Malley is a KDP author who has published several best selling books such as Mystic Cove and Wildsong. According to Tricia, KDP completely changed her life. Self publishing on Amazon has not only helped her release multiple best selling titles, she was also able to build a huge following in several countries across the globe.

Positive KDP Reviews on YouTube

1. Sean Dollwet

Sean Dollwet is a self publishing guru who claims that you can make a lot of money on KDP, even without having to write anything. In his YouTube channel, he talks about how he made over $1.6 million with only 20 published books. He uses a method called book stacking, which involves giving each book you publish its own image or branding.

2. Mark Tillbury

Mark Tillbury is an American entrepreneur that has made millions of dollars using multiple business models, one of which is Amazon KDP. Mark claims he was able to generate thousands of dollars every month by selling low content books. Low content books, as the name suggests, are books that have little to no words inside of them. Examples of these include journals, notebooks, stationeries, and many others.

3. Simon Hoiberg

Simon Hoiberg is not an author nor a writer, but a software engineer who runs his own startup. He claims to have made $7,500 on Amazon KDP in just one week by publishing a book that talks about the programming best practices. According to Simon, he spent over 16 hours writing the eBook and spent over $500 dollars in formatting, designing, and marketing. Overall, he generated a gross profit of over $8,000 and netted over $7,500 in profits. With that being said, Simon is a huge advocate of self publishing on Amazon, especially since someone like him was able to publish his own Kindle eBook even without any writing or publishing experience.

Positive KDP Reviews on Reddit

Positive KDP reviews on Reddit show how lucrative the business model is for some authors. For example, Redditors Chad_Abraxas and Crazy-Regular2729 were both able to buy a house, "thanks to self-publishing on Amazon KDP." 

Meanwhile, romance novel publisher Ko-jo-te has made Amazon KDP a full time job, with the support of his wife. "We make a very decent living wage for a family of 3," he writes, adding "It's better than what we could make in regular jobs."

Meanwhile, weirdcorvid and Arkelias respectively shares they have made $14,000 and about $1.5 million via the KDP business model.

Negative Kindle Direct Publishing Reviews

1. Gem Blackshaw

Gem Blackshaw is a YouTuber and a KDP author who has made thousands of dollars on Kindle and has published over 70 books on the platform. She has found a lot of success on KDP, but warns aspiring writers and authors to not be enticed by the idea of making a lot of money instantly. According to Gem, the success stories and testimonials by other KDP authors are usually biased and subjective. Any person who makes thousands of dollars during their first week of book writing are likely to have "struck gold", meaning it's very rare for someone to become successful on KDP in such a short amount of time.

She even goes as far as to say that KDP YouTubers make more money off of their videos than their books. Gem also claims that selling low content books just isn't worth it anymore, simply because it's already extremely saturated and competitive. You'd be better off publishing a few medium to high content books than hundreds of low content books. Overall, Gem believes that self publishing on Amazon is definitely not easy and it is highly likely that you won't make any money during your first few months. Despite being a KDP author, she believes that KDP isn't the best business model and it should be treated just like any other online business.

2. Nuria Corbi

Nuria Corbi is an Amazon self publisher that has generated approximately $10,000 in book sales, but also makes it clear that Amazon KDP isn't exactly what most people portray it to be. Contrary to popular belief, KDP isn't a side hustle that's guaranteed to make you thousand of dollars on a monthly basis. Rather, it's a business model that needs a lot of time, effort, and money in order to work. For Nuria, however, she still struggled to make money despite checking all the boxes. According to Nuria, making even a few hundred dollars was extremely difficult during her first few months. 

It become so difficult that she had to look for other sources of income while still working on her KDP business. Fortunately for Nuria, all her hard work started paying off as more and more potential readers took notice of her books. However, Nuria claims that her success was definitely not easy and it took a lot of failures to get things right. She also warns aspiring KDP authors to not treat KDP as a get-rich-quick scheme.

3. Romney Nelson

Romney Nelson is a KDP author and YouTuber who started his KDP journey a little differently. Instead of doing his own research and finding things out on his own, he spent $5,000 on a KDP course that supposedly teaches how to make money on Amazon KDP. Unfortunately for Romney, he made close to nothing during his first few months as a self publisher, and he never gained the initial $5,000 he invested. During his first five months, Romney made just $120 in book sales and was spending hundreds of dollars in Amazon ads. 

Despite generating thousands of dollars now, Romney paints a realistic picture of what starting your own KDP business might look like - spending a lot of time and effort without the guarantee of making any money at all. 

He also claims that KDP is not a passive source of income as some people say. Rather, it's a business model that requires a lot of effort, time, and money.

4. Natalie Stewart

Natalie Stewart is a YouTuber, and a self published author that mostly talks about KDP and why you should self publish on Amazon. She makes most of her money online, and the majority of her income comes from writing and publishing books. However, Natalie recently uploaded a video stating that she quit Amazon KDP and has moved towards a different direction.

According to Natalie, she stopped using KDP for two reasons. First, she believes that her books aren't getting the results they deserve. She claims to be putting in a lot of hard work, effort, and dedication, but the money she's making with her royalty rate simply isn't enough to keep her going. Despite being an excellent author, the harsh KDP market just isn't allowing her to generate a substantial amount of revenue.

The second reason behind Natalie's departure from the KDP platform is because of the numerous bans and suspensions Amazon has been giving out recently. The idea of working with a company that just hands out bans and suspensions left and right just does not sit well with Natalie. She believes most of these sanctions are unfair, sudden, and sometimes arbitrary. 

Natalie makes it clear that her reasons for leaving are personal and is simply an honest review. It isn't for the sake of leaving a negative review or a bad review against the business model. It is not her intention to scare away or intimidate aspiring KDP authors, nor is she trying to put dirt on Amazon's reputation and image. 

Negative Reviews Against KDP on TrustPilot

Negative reviews against KDP on TrustPilot often mention about payment problems, account suspensions, and customer service issues.  

General complaints about KDP

Coloring book publisher Eric Lawson says he "lost all access" to his book and earnings. He claims KDP took over his title after his contract expiration. Today, his book is being sold in platforms such as Amazon, Google, Barnes & Nobles, and Walmart. "When I finally threatened legal action, they blocked me," Eric also adds.

TrustPilot user Shai writes it's been "a nightmare" dealing with KDP customer service over the years. Payment issues remain unresolved, even after compliance with the company's requirements. "I have 27 titles that sell on Amazon," specifies Shai, "but absolutely no payments that come in."   

Payment issues

Lawrence Morgan shares he has only been receiving partial royalty payments since November 2020. "They pay me for some countries but not others," he laments.

Meanwhile, a KDP member writes about not getting paid at all despite seeing sales on KDP. Another complains about receiving merely $0.50 in royalty from a $24 book. 

Accounts being closed or shut down immediately

Gary Naiman has been using KDP for 10 years and has 13 active ebooks on the platform. "Suddenly, someone or something had closed my account with no explanation," he warns others.

Shane Adonis has a diffierent dillema when their account was temporarily put on hold while pending orders have been canceled after losing their phone and bank card. Shane has contacted Amazon but the problem remains unresolved "I can't even manage my sales report," Shane mentions. 

Customer service complaints

KDP author Sande says the company has not been helpful in resolving an issue with updating their books to its correct version. After ordering author's copies and discovering errors, Sande immediately informed KDP about the problem. However, a month passed and the company still hasn't done anything, citing a policy change. "Customer service is useless," writes Sande," as are managers and sr managers."  

Meanwhile, Jim M48 has had "severe problems explaining copyright law to KDP staff." Despite sending several references, staff members have been unable to help with his concerns. "Obviously, senior management at KDP needs to build a better knowledgebase for support staff." the author says.    

KDP-Neuling ordered a sample copy of their book and found out that some pages, the offset, and the paper were not of good quality. "Why (does KDP) produce such bad books and offer such a bad service?" the writer complains.

Another KDP member shares about encountering problems with publishing their children's book. According to the author, they keep receiving emails claiming that their book has "too many blank pages" although there are none in their original manuscript.

Negative Reviews Against KDP on Reddit

Negative reviews against KDP on Reddit mention common challenges, such as market saturation, sudden suspensions, and fake ratings. For example, JameelSandhamAuthor writes most authors "do not make much money at all," especially since there are over 32 million books on the platform. Apocalysegal also points out that those who make a living from KDP have probably "taken years and many books" before they even got there.    

Arbitrary bans is another problem that many authors and publishers experience on KDP. Case in point, talentkills complains that after 7 days of publishing their first book, "my account is closed, my book will be taken down and they get to keep my royalties." Even big authors like Ruby Dixon suddenly get their accounts banned, according to faefablelark.  

Meanwhile, Orion004 says fake ratings and reviews have become extremely widespread on KDP. In fact, some recently published titles get as much as "1,000 ratings, all five stars" within just two weeks. "It's impossible to get that number of genuine reviews in that time, even if you have a large fan base or use ARC (advanced reader copies) reviews," writes the Reddit user. 

Amazon KDP: Do the Success Stories Outweigh the Negative Testimonials?

The amount of success stories revolving around Amazon KDP largely outweigh the amount of negative testimonials against it. However, the negatives of Amazon publishing as a business model far outweigh the positives. Aside from the issues mentioned above, Amazon KDP is a business model that's extremely saturated and competitive. Here are some numbers to help you have a better grasp on how saturated the industry already is:

  • There are over 2 million books published on the KDP platform, 12 million Kindle eBooks on Amazon, and 48.5 million listed books altogether.
  • Over 50,000 new books are published every month on Amazon.
  • There are over 1,600 Kindle eBooks being released to the public every day.
  • The number of books being published every hour is close to 70.
  • As of 2023, there are approximately 1 million authors and publishers on KDP.

Sure, you can really make money on KDP, but it's definitely not easy. Expect to make less than $100 dollars in your first few months. If you put in the work and effort needed, you could see yourself generating north of a thousand dollars after your first year.

On top of that, you will also have to put up a lot of money on advertising and book promotion if you want your books to be seen by the public. Normally, authors and publishers spend at least $50 on marketing every day. The cheapest way to publish a book is to not sell paperback book titles or hardcovers. Simply create eBooks, publish eBooks, and not spend any money on advertising or marketing. All you will have to pay for are the "delivery" fees or digital storage fees. Doing this, however, not only limits you from reaching as many readers as possible, it also defeats the purpose of the book publishing process in the first place. 

Why Local Lead Generation is a Better Business Model Than Kindle Direct Publishing

While Kindle Direct Publishing can be potentially profitable, the business model can also be challenging. For example, there are over a million authors and publishers on the KDP platform. Competition can be difficult, especially for beginners without a solid fanbase online. Marketing your books may require considerable marketing and ad expenses before you can start seeing sales. Amazon also imposes certain restrictions that may limit your overall control and earnings, even as the copyright owner of your title. 

In comparison, local lead generation is far less competitive since you are only going against 10 to 15 local companies in your chosen city or town. You build a website, choose a domain name, pay for hosting, and then work on boosting its search engine ranking. Once you achieve top results, you can then offer your site for rent to local businesses that need traffic and leads.

With lead gen, no one can stop you from building and ranking websites in Google and selling leads to business owners. It also does not suffer from market saturation because every city has over a hundred niches you can explore and make money with. 


Ultimately, the best thing about local lead generation is its potential to become passive in the long run. I have websites from 2014 that I barely open, yet they still generate $2,000 for me on a monthly basis. Today, I make up to $52,000 per month providing the service to multiple small businesses.

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Ippei Kanehara

$52K per month providing lead generation services to small businesses is for digital hustlers, industry leaders and online business owners.

His #1 online business recommendation in 2024, is to build your own lead generation business.

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