Today I'm welcoming Deborah Durbin to a Q&A on Kindle Direct publishing. Deborah is a journalist, freelance writer and author. She has recently begun successfully selling her Kindle book Oh Great, Now I Can Hear Dead People.
(I've kept the questions simple because there is a lot more information once you get into the process. I'll be gathering a few more facts for you next week.)
Q. Most readers will have heard of, or even used a Kindle e-reader, but may not have realised writers can make their work available to purchase as an e-book from Amazon (and other versions- more later).
How did you find out about this potential publishing opportunity?
A. I received an e-mail from Amazon direct informing me of their Kindle Direct publishing venture.
Q. Do you need to be very computer literate to prepare a manuscript for loading?
(I think this is something that puts many writers off, thinking it will be too difficult.)
Also what advice is there available to help if you have a problem?
A. No, you don't need lots of computer experience. There are many other publishers out there who are more than happy to help and if you go to kindleboards there are pages and pages of questions you can go through and lots of helpful members who have all done it before and are only too happy to advise.
Q.From your experience, what are the most important issues to be considered before you make that final commitment?
A. I tested the market with a book that was just sitting gathering metaphorical dust in my PC. I would suggest you test the market with some spare material you have first- a book of short stories, or poems.
Regardless of how you choose to publish, you have to market yourself.
Q. What are the Pros and Cons?
A. For me the Pros were that it was very quick and easy to do and my book was selling within hours of publishing it. The royalties are much better too.
The Cons are the time it takes to proof and edit your work, then design a cover and marketing of your book, but it is worth a few hours a day joining forums, social networking, blogging etc because it is mainly an online business.
Q. On the basis of your experience so far, will you be adding more, now or in the future?
A. Yes, I have a couple of half written novels that I will eventually publish to Kindle Direct. The marketing opportunity for a writer is worldwide, very fast and instant and I think that many mainstream publishers will have to re-think their marketing strategies in the future.
I've had 11 books published traditionally too, so can compare the two and I honestly believe that e-publishing is to books what itunes is to music.
Q. Not everyone has a Kindle device- I have a Sony Pocket reader myself- so if they want to read your e-book but may not want to read it on the computer screen, is it available in different formats elsewhere?
A. If you also join Smashwords and upload your book with them, it is available to every e-reader or computer (including Macs), but even if you don't have an e-reader anyone with a computer can download your book to their PC/laptop/ipad etc. They just have to first download a free application from Amazon.
Thank you Deborah, I'm sure this will have inspired many readers to investigate further, perhaps they will even decide to embark on e-publishing now or in the near future.
I think this is a great opportunity for writers to get their work out to readers, especially if their work isn't what mainstream publishers want at the moment- not long enough but the story is complete, they don't publish collections of short stories unless you're a well known writer etc. You can even publish a collection of poetry. But you still need to produce a good manuscript, just as you would if submitting to a publisher or agent.
If you've already ventured into Kindle publishing then please let me know how you're doing. All comments welcome.