Hey all! I’m still kind of reeling from the fact that I am now published. I’ve been unbelievably happy the past week. It’s also weird and overwhelming in a way. But in a good way. I promise. It is very hard to not go and look at my KDP dashboard and find out how many books have sold.
On a different note, I had a taekwondo tournament this past weekend. It was exciting and terrifying all at once. This is the first time I competed in forms since the great freeze up during a creative form when I was a deputy black belt. To those interested, my division had three people. I took third in forms (sadface) and second in sparring (HAPPYFACE!)
One of my writer friends asked me to describe my experiences with Kindle Direct Publishing. I wrote him a very detailed email (which included a Word document with a bunch of screen shots.) I figured that all of you might want to hear about my experience with it as well. I know a lot of other people have done this – but I might as well do it too. I’m not going to include the screen shots for this, though.
Kindle Direct Publishing is EXTREMELY user friendly. I would say just about anyone could use KDP effectively. I read through the legal stuff a few times to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into. I wanted to make sure that I maintained my rights to my novel and all that stuff (you do.) You do have to have an Amazon account to sign up with them. Once you’ve agreed to the terms and finally signed in, you get to your dashboard. You click on “add new title” and go on from there. Most everything in there is fill in the blank. What is the title of your book? Is this book in a series? What is the series called? Add a description. If you have questions about anything on the page – there are little links that give information on everything.
Book Cover, Uploading, and Previewing
So book cover. You’re going to want one. It’ll make your book stand out. I’m on the website deviantART a lot, so I had a pool of artists to choose from. Talk to friends who are artists – see if they would do it, see if they would know anyone who would be able to do it. Or join up on deviantART and look for artists you like. There are specifications on the website about size and format, so make sure the artist knows those specifications. Uploading your book. Amazon doesn’t accept all formats. My first attempts at uploading were with .doc files. The formatting was AWFUL. I looked at many tutorials and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I think it was in part due to the fact that I use OpenOffice instead of Microsoft Word. Anyway, I saw that most of the tutorials recommended that .hmtl was a better format. I tried that and the formatting was fine. Moral of the story: .html for formatting. It’s not hard to convert text files into .html. Most programs have some built in function for that. Previewing goes hand in hand with uploading. After you’ve uploaded your novel, you’re going to want to take a look at it. This is where you check if formatting is satisfactory. If you don’t like it, you can always re-upload an updated file and try again. KDP has a previewer that you can download as well as a simple one built into the website. Both are helpful. Check your novel in BOTH of the previewers. After all of that, you just hit save and continue.
Pricing and Rights
The next page is all about pricing and rights. KDP makes this easy. The first part is where you select if you have worldwide rights. The only exception to having worldwide rights is if you’re publishing a public domain story. You might not have worldwide rights then. The next part is about choosing your royalty. I picked the 70% profit option. I’m selling for $5 USD. You can sell for different prices in different countries – I opted to charge the same amount everywhere. There is a set of boxes to check to have the prices in other countries be adjusted to be the same as the USD price.
I didn’t do this that long ago. But I’ve already got some tips. Make sure someone proofreads your text. A friend on twitter bought the book and found quite a few homonym errors and mentioned that it was jarring. Your word processor isn’t going to find those mistakes because they’re actually words. Do this BEFORE you publish the book. To fix the errors on Kindle, you have to update the file, which means waiting another 12 annoying hours before it’s back on the market. Shameless self promotion. Do it. Post that link EVERYWHERE you can think of. Friends and family will help you get the word out there too. They want to see you succeed. I’m still working on this self promotion thing. It’s not easy.
KDP is extremely user friendly. Formatting issues aside, my experience was very simple and very smooth. I would recommend that authors take advantage of this. Yes. It is self-publishing. Yeah. We all wanted that email or call from a literary agent that goes “WOW. I just found the next great thing.” But times are changing.
So once again! Opus Aria is up on Amazon! You should go check in out! If anyone out there is willing to write a blog/review on it I would be so grateful. You have no idea. ~LL Lemke