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KDP author Greg Lim’s favourite softwares to grow his business

    Best tools for Amazon KDP Author v2

    With a highly rated book portfolio on Amazon KDP (50,000+ sales and growing), non-fiction author Greg Lim continues to ideate, write and publish more highly rated education books.

    To keep up with the multiple areas of running his business, Greg employs a range of softwares and tools for insights and higher productivity.

    In this article, you will learn the different softwares and tools Greg uses; and how you can add these to your own KDP book journey as a non-fiction author. We also make an estimation on how much it might costs to subscribe to all these services.

    Picking a profitable book niche in KDP

    Before writing the first word of your non-fiction books, you should look into the potential interest and market available to ensure your book will be a profitable venture.

    Seasoned author like Greg uses softwares to gain better clarity in this process. Below is his current niche picking stack:

    Amazon Book Sales Calculator (by TCK Publishing)

    Amazon KDP ebook Book Sales Calculator free

    By looking into the performance of existing books in the market, you will be able to make an estimate on how your book will fare on Amazon KDP.

    With only a 6% error rate, TCK’s Amazon Book Sales Calculator is Greg’s go-to calculator to estimate sales volume any eBook or printed book is currently getting within a particular segment on Amazon.

    Simply insert the BSR (Best Sellers Rank) and pick a type (eBook vs Book) of any book listing; this calculator will be able to show you the sales per month and daily sales of this book.

    This information will help you decide if you are on to a profitable niche.

    DS Amazon Quick View

    Search result page with DS Amazon Quick View for KDP Author

    DS Amazon Quick View is a Google Chrome browser extension designed for efficient product research on Amazon.

    Instead of clicking or opening new tab for every product on the Amazon search result / best seller pages, this extension will show you Amazon BSR and sellers information directly on the Amazon search result / best seller pages.

    Best of all, you can just hover your cursor over the product image to see full product details. When you are looking into the performance and details of other books in the same niche, DS Amazon Quick View is a must-have as it allows a much faster (and less tab opening) research process.

    AMZ Suggestion Expander

    AMZ Suggestin Expander Amazon KDP book search results

    Another great Google Chrome extension used by Greg is the AMZ Suggestion Expander.

    Designed to ease Amazon sellers’ search for product niche, this extension will expand the number of search keyword suggestion shown in the Amazon search bar. This usually translates to many related ideas within the same niche you maybe be able to write about.

    The next tool here may look a little unusual, until you bumped into DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) issues with your books.

    If you are writing a non-fiction for Amazon KDP (or other platforms), you should absolutely do a trademark search in the USPTO Trademark Search website. The often overlooked side of the capitalist economy is how many corporations could audaciously claim copyright on many ideologies, concepts and so on.

    It would be devastating if you have written a book and ready to sell on KDP, only to receive DMCA from copyright owners demanding you to take it down. When this happened, most authors have absolutely no choice but to oblige.


    Planning an enjoyable reading experience

    Once Greg has done the legwork of picking a niche and started writing the book, he would start planning meticulously to optimise for an enjoyable reading and learning experience.

    KDP Paperback and Hardcover Manuscript Templates

    One way to do this is looking into the book outline and number of pages; and how to fit them into a book dimension that results in a friendly book length. This is especially important given how his books are mostly technical in nature.

    An easy way to spot a KDP-qualified book layout dimension is by using the official templates provided by Amazon KDP. You can download the full range of templates at KDP Paperback and Hardcover Manuscript Templates webpage.

    The zip file you download would contain a range of manuscript templates in Microsoft Words format, which you can open with Microsoft Words or Google Docs.


    Self-editing your book for Amazon KDP

    Most authors get help from editors to ensure the books are sound professionally and grammatically. While Greg would agree to these benefits of working with great editors, he prefers taking on the more cost-saving and fast go-to-market approach: which is to self-edit using software.

    Grammarly

    Grammarly is a feature rich writing assistant software, powered by AI. KDP authors who choose to self edit may find Grammarly’s feature like grammar checker, essay checker and paraphrasing tool helpful.

    Using Grammarly does not undermine the importance of a human editor, however it is often good enough especially for non-fiction books that requires a more neutral and objective writing tone.


    Designing a professional book cover

    The final touch to Greg’s book creation process involved creating a profession yet easy-to-comprehend book cover that appeals to his audience.

    Greg Lim Amazon KDP book cover design

    Greg puts a lot of thought into making the book cover design works to his advantage, with a consistent branding and intentional simplicity to it. This often mean he designs the book cover himself, in order not to compromise his design requirements.

    Canva

    Canva requires no introduction for most, it is one of the most easy-to-use design softwares that appeals to both designers and non-designers.

    While Canva has a free plan, Greg uses the paid version (Canva PRO) – which costs $119.99 per year at the time of writing – as it gives him unlimited access to premium design templates and more powerful design tools to build a consistently professional branding across the book covers.


    [Our estimate] How much does all these cost?

    Being the curious geek we are, we did a tabulation on how much these softwares could cost:

    SoftwareFree plan avail?Monthly feeOne-time
    Amazon Book Sales CalculatorYes
    DS Amazon Quick ViewYes$25.00
    AMZ Suggestion ExpanderYes$9.97
    Grammarly PremiumYes$12.00*
    Canva PROYes$19.99*
    TOTAL$41.96$25.00
    Note: Items marked with asterisk (*) are monthly average based on annual subscription.

    As you can see from the table above, by subscribing to all the higher tier of softwares mentioned, a KDP author will need to pay $41.96 per month; and a $25.00 one-time fee for DS Amazon Quick View.


    Conclusion

    To succeed in your KDP publishing career, you will need proper tooling and softwares to guide your journey. Given the rather affordable costs of these softwares, it is no wonder why Greg employs them to keep him less distracted and focus on the part of the job he enjoys the most – writing.


    Frequently Asked Questions

    I am a fiction writer, are these tools relevant to me?

    While these softwares and tools are more for non-fiction writers, there are definitely still valuables for other writers. On high level, all these softwares serve only one purpose: help fellow authors create a sustainable writing career.

    Another tool especially useful for fiction writers that you can look into is pre-made book cover design.

    Great question! You absolutely don’t have to use the paid version.

    At the end of the day, you have to decide for yourself how much a heavy user you are and where you are on the writing journey – if the free tools can fulfil your needs, there is no reason to subscribe to the paid plans.

    Where can I learn more about tips and tricks to building a book portfolio on Amazon KDP?

    We will continue to add more related articles and resources to this space, so keep watching!

    Meanwhile, feel free to check out Greg’s Part-time Amazon Author course on Gumroad here.