Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Journey with Self-Publishing, Part 1 – Kindle Direct Publishing


If anyone were to ask me if they should self-publish a book, I would answer with a resounding yes.  Although it was a long process, it has been very rewarding for me. 

I am an avid reader and the kindle app was my best friend.  While experimenting with all the options kindle offered readers, I stumbled upon Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP.  After reading about it, I decided to return to writing in a more serious way.  I have been writing since college but I hadn’t given it much attention in the past few years. 

I had two books, the first two of my Holton series, and a novella already written.  So I brought them out, dusted them off, and went to work.  I had to update all of them.  It is amazing how fast a book becomes dated in our fast-paced technical world.   I really wanted to publish the two Holton books but I wasn’t sure about the process so I decided to publish the novella first as sort of a trial run.  

It was really a simple decision.  I love reading kindle books and thought this would be a great platform for my books.  I knew that I would have a really hard time going the traditional publishing route so I thought this would be perfect for me.  And it was.  It was actually fairly easy.  Maybe too easy?  It was a lot of work but I was able to do it without actually speaking with or emailing anyone.  I did read a couple of books but that was it.  Looking back on it now, I realize I did so many things wrong but at the time, I just plowed right through. 

The two books that helped me the most were Building Your Book for Kindle and Publish on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing both by Kindle Direct Publishing and both free.  Building Your Book for Kindle walks you through the steps of getting your book in the correct format and what needs to be included as well as uploading and publishing it to Amazon.  Publish on Amazon with Kindle Direct Publishing does some of that but also talks about royalties, sales, reporting, and Amazon lending.  I would recommend both.

I also purchased a couple of books from other authors who wrote about how to self-publish on kindle and make money.  They really didn’t tell me much that the two free ones didn’t; although, one of them did have a list of Twitter and Facebook sites that would help with the promotion and advertising of your book.  That was very helpful.

The hardest part for me was creating a cover for my books.  If you can afford to hire someone to create your cover, I would recommend doing so.  This was the part that gave me the most trouble.  I did create the covers myself and I think they are okay but for the next series of books that I write, I intend to get a professional.  There are some inexpensive options available but I didn’t know about them at the time.  I used PowerPoint and created a slide with public domain clipart.  I have four books planned for the Holton series and have all the covers created.  I think they work but may someday get them redesigned by a professional.

The biggest issue with the covers for me was the sizing.  I had a hard time getting the cover to meet the requirements of KDP.  This was mostly because I am not very familiar with jpgs and tiffs.  I do a lot with PowerPoint and felt very comfortable creating the slide I used as the cover and saving it as a jpg was easy enough but getting the dimensions correct was a bugger.

Once the novella was uploaded, I expanded and flushed out the first Holton book, Convince Me, and then had to decide how to promote it (future blog) and how soon to publish the second.  Most of the information that I had read stated that publishing more than one book was the way to go as it would boost sales.  If someone liked one of your books, they would be more likely to purchase another one.  Because of this, I did upload the second Holton book before I started on promotion.

If you have any questions about the process of self-publishing on KDP, you are welcome to contact me.  Just go to the contact page on my website, http://www.blblair.com/Contact.html and fill out the form.  I will do my best to answer your questions.  Next week, I will discuss how I also worked with an Amazon company, CreateSpace, to create a paperback copy of my books to sell.

Future Blogs:
My Journey with Self-Publishing, Part 2 – CreateSpace
My Journey with Self-Publishing, Part 3 – Promotion and Advertising
My Journey with Self-Publishing, Part 4 – Smashwords

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