Welcome to my series with tips based on my DIY Kindle-ization Journey. For those who just found this blog, you can take a look back at the Installment #1 Helpful Links, followed by #2 Why Do It? and #3 The Challenges. Tuesday Tips #4 covered the various platform options and what’s required for each. #5 Formatting For Kindle was followed by #6 Picture This! a how-to primer on including photos, tables and illustrations in your Ebook. If you’re like me and write nonfiction, chances are you have photos, illustrations or boxed/tabled information included in your format. And last week covered–well, the cover in #7 The Cover Story. Today’s installment covers the upload of your book to create your Kindle edition.
Before I get to that, just a few thoughts. I’m just back from Thrillerfest--probably the single most amazing writer conference event available today. More than 800 established, best-selling, and aspiring authors gathered in New York for nearly a week’s worth of seminars on craft, and panels on technique as well as industry information. Wherever I roamed–seminars, signing events, panel discussions, the bar, in the hallways–the E-lephant in the room was present.
The topic came up everywhere. My pet colleagues know that if there are 3 dog trainers in a room, you’ll get 5 opinions on the good/bad/ideal on training and the same applies to opinions on Ebooks. The first thing Friday morning, I attended the only panel that addressed the issue directly: “What’s First, The Chicken or the Egg? Alternatives to Traditional Publishing”
David Hewson was the Panel Master, and started off the session by “banning” the term legacy publishers from the discussion. He also seemed to dislike the term social networking but that was harder to avoid–all this said with good humor, of course.
A.J. Hartley described the unheard of turn-around process of going from “idea” to “published” in less than a year with his book co-authored with David Hewson of “Macbeth, A Novel.” Alternative publishing makes that possible.
Daniel Slater oversees Author and Vendor Relations for Amazon Kindle. He said that Ebooks offered great opportunities for authors, and has “given power to the audience/reader.”
Lou Aronica also was on the panel–click on his name for more on his insights, as he’s a best selling author, former publisher of Avon and Berkley Books and now is president/publisher of The Fiction Studio. On the panel he said, “Virtually all the profits now exist on the digital side,” but that traditional publishers must keep a print presence, and that “they’re very confused.” Traditional publishing has built in constraints that dictate a different pricing model which can tie publisher’s hands in the market. He noted that readers will pay $13 or more for digital bestsellers–BUT that the next crop of bestsellers that come from somewhere else (outside the traditional model) will emerge with different pricing.
He also said, “There’s always been bad books. There’s more now. But in the digital space, that mess is not as visible. Customers figure out how to distinguish the good ones. The whole job has become more holistic than in the past. And authors must dedicate significant amount of time to marketing . . .” to be successful.
Steve Feldberg is Senior Director, Editorial Business Development, for Audible.com and prior to that spent more than 25 years in network TV news. ITW has worked with Audible on The Chopin Manuscript and the Copper Bracelet among other projects. He said, “It used to be the question was can I get published? That’s gone away.” He noted that the marketplace doesn’t make a distinction on how it’s consumed–it’s ALL published.
Joel Fishman is a former Doubleday editor, literary agent and ghostwriter and recently founded an authors’ consortium that will publish his thriller PRIMACY this September. In answer to questions about judging quality of self-published books he said that people have always read what others recommend. Self publishing has opened up opportunities for authors, but also forces authors to do more themselves. He said that you can self publish almost as well as traditional, but it costs [if you want to do it right], noting that a professionally designed book cover easily runs $1000-2000.
So–are you ready to DIY? Traditional publishing takes longer and sales/returns are expected almost immediately–if that doesn’t happen, the book goes away. Ebooks publish very quickly and initially sell few with sales that grow over the lifetime of the book. In both cases, author marketing must happen or the book dies.
Amazon has made the process nearly dummy-proof. Here are the basic steps.
- Input title, author(s), publisher, edition, rights–YOU can be the publisher or create your own name/publishing entity. If this is a revision of a backlist title, include that you’re publishing a 2nd edition.
- Book description (back cover copy/reviews/etc.). This is the information that appears on your book page on Amazon, so get it right–think flap copy, back cover info, what sells books.
- Choose territory distribution & royalty rate.
- Assert your ownership/permission to pub content; if this is a backlist book, you’ll likely get a message requiring proof of rights reversion (PDF of the letter, etc).
- Price the book—depends on book size, and the price dictates the royalty. Remember that Amazon will LOWER your book price if it finds another copy priced lower.
- Click “publish”—visible on amazon.com in 2-5 days
- Can revise/update anything anytime (price, description, royalty) but takes 2-3 days to update
- Contact KDP Forum for technical help
Next week we’ll tie everything together with marketing tips specific to Ebooks in the last DIY Kindle-ization installment.
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