Kindle direct publishing - anyone do it?

(36 Posts)
Procrastinating Fri 04-Jan-13 11:25:28

I have an old novel (written a few years ago) I want to publish as an ebook, I have read through the process on Amazon and I think I'm going to have a go.

Does anyone publish this way? Some advice would be really welcome as I haven't a clue what I'm doing.

I have put together a cover and a description of about 140 words. Do I need to do anything else?

And what have you chosen to do about pricing?

Thanks so much for any help.

runawaysimba Wed 09-Jan-13 07:21:47

Good luck! I have no advice sorry, but bumping and place marking as I'd be interested in the replies, too.

Procrastinating Wed 09-Jan-13 07:36:25

Thanks simba.
I published yesterday, it was exciting!
There are discussion boards on kdp so that looks like the best source of advice once you are on.

Good luck with your project.

LineRunner Wed 09-Jan-13 07:39:58

I think this sounds really exciting.

Any links? (Otherwise PM me?)

What did you price at in the end, and how did you decide? Good luck smile

andadietcoke Wed 09-Jan-13 07:43:36

I work for a publisher so we're not using kdp as we lose too much control but re pricing there are loads and loads of case studies on the Internet about people's experiments with pricing. The Bookseller digital blog and the digital book world site are good places to start.

Procrastinating Wed 09-Jan-13 10:30:15

I priced at £1.92. You have to price in dollars and it calculates from there. I might change it later when I have thought about it a bit more, I was too excited to think straight yesterday.

From what I read in the forum authors change their prices regularly to give sales a boost, and you can choose to have a few days every month where your book is free.

If you want to see mine LineRunner is it called 'Sip it, it's not pop' by Nell Harrison. I was quite pleased with the cover, but it did take me ages as I'm not very technical. I haven't put it under my real name because I'm a lecturer and there is no way on earth I would want my students reading it.

I'll have a look at the Bookseller, thanks dietcoke.

MmeGuillotine Thu 10-Jan-13 19:45:56

I've published three novels via KDP and to date have sold over 20,000 books so I know a bit about it! I've blogged pretty thoroughly about the way that I've done it but I think posting the link would be frowned upon to post it here if you search my blog name (same as my Mumsnet name) and 'kindle publishing' that'll take you there! ;)

Basically though what you need are:

1. A really eyecatching cover.
2. A good description that really conveys what the book is about and draws readers in so basically what you'd find as the blurb on the back.
3. The right price! I wanted my 70% cut so I priced as low as I could within that so I think they're £1.53 in the UK and $2.99 in the US. You can price differently on all the different Amazon sites and don't need to use the US price as a base that the UK one is calculated from.

I change my covers, description and price every now and again to keep things fresh but beyond that I leave them alone and let them do their stuff.

MmeGuillotine Thu 10-Jan-13 19:47:37

Argh, sorry, my poorly four year old nudged my arm and copied and pasted an extra bit in there! That should read 'but I think posting the link would be frowned upon here but if you search my blog name...' etc etc smile

Procrastinating Thu 10-Jan-13 20:57:05

Thanks MmeGuillotine, I will look you up. I'll look again at the pricing too, it was very confusing (to a first timer anyway).

I had a horrible agent for my book, it is so relaxing to publish this way in comparison to that nightmare. I do feel put away in a dusty corner though, I can't publicise the book in real life but it sounds like you are doing wonderfully well without that. I would be happy with 200 sales!

Do you know if there is a way we can see how many people have clicked through to read the description?

MmeGuillotine Thu 10-Jan-13 21:19:03

No worries. Just bear in mind that if something isn't working for you then you can always log in and change it! smile

I can totally sympathise - I had a bad experience when one of my novels was with a trade publisher who subsequently folded before it came out. It completely put me off the whole experience!

When it comes to publicising my work - all I do is keep my blog and Facebook page updated and chat lots on Twitter etc but without actually directly mentioning my books. This is apparently a bit of an unorthodox approach amongst self publishers but it works for me! smile

No, unfortunately there's no way of knowing how many people have clicked on the page to read the description - only Amazon know that and they aren't spilling the beans! However, apparently the algorithms that create a book's ranking are based on page views and other factors as well as sales. smile

LineRunner Thu 10-Jan-13 21:27:45

Just looked you up, MmeG and I like your web page a lot. smile

MmeGuillotine Thu 10-Jan-13 22:16:00

Thanks so much! I love the cover of your book - it's really eye catching and is sure to work well for you! smile

Procrastinating Fri 11-Jan-13 17:17:28

It took me ages to find the ranking, then I wished I hadn't bothered!

I like your publicity approach Mme, your website is interesting and friendly. I don't think I could do anything like that. Glad you like my cover! It is great to get any feedback at all.

What are you writing LineRunner?
I'll be publishing as me next time, I have a couple of things half finished.

LineRunner Fri 11-Jan-13 19:30:52

I have written a teenage fiction thing, which needs a major overhaul but is ok-ish; and I'm working on an academic book.

The academic book will be sought after as it will be a must-have catalogue of stuff, and tbh I wouldn't mind making a few bob out of it as I never have with academic material before, despite sending years of my life working on it!

Mme Guillotine, your website looks great, and I love the presentation of the books in Amazon (specially the covers)!

I'm planning to publish in Kindle as well, so your blog has been very helpful. However, I still have to finish the book...

One question: do you have to pay any income tax on Kindle sales? I'm self employed, so I suppose whatever money I make via Amazon (I'm an optimist) would be counted as my earnings as self employed, and tax free if less than 11k/year. Does it make any sense?

MmeGuillotine Tue 15-Jan-13 12:55:23

Thank you! smile

Yes, I have to pay income tax on my sales. I was already registered as self employed and have to do an annual return based on my book sales (I have an accountant to do it for me now as this also involves claiming back expenses and I'm rubbish with numbers). I have the same threshold as everyone else so anything up to £11,000 is tax free and I then pay on everything after that. I also pay NI contributions. smile

The only thing with publishing with KDP is that you REALLY need to sort out the US tax situation as well. Make sure you apply for your ITIN (basically an IRS issued tax identification number that proves that you are a non US citizen and therefore not liable for US tax) which you can send off to Amazon to prove your non US status - this means that you get all of the revenue, which you then declare in the UK.

I got my ITIN rather late in the day which meant that Amazon 'witheld' my tax at a higher rate (I think it was 40%) and then sent it on to the IRS at the end of the year. I then had to file a US tax return to claim it all back again as a refund! smile

MmeGuillotine Tue 15-Jan-13 12:57:11

Oops, sorry, the threshold is £7,475 for the year just gone and then £8,105 for the one I'm currently ploughing my way through. smile

Thans, Mme Guillotine, for the ITIN tip. I would never have thought of that...

It seems that Kindle publishing is definitely the way to go. My plan is to offer the book to a few agents, and if none of them shows interest I will self publish it.

Have you tried the 'traditional' publishing way before self publishing? Have you tried agents and/or publishing houses? And before you publish, did you get the books revised? I guess I would like to have a subeditor have a look at it before I publishing...

it should read "before publishing" - I definitely need to re-read what I write...

troyandabedinthemorning Wed 16-Jan-13 13:31:43

I'm currently working on a book I'm planning to self publish, so marking my place in this thread.
Can I ask how you got your ITIN mme? I've seen some stuff that seems to suggest it can be quite difficult if you only sell through amazon...

MmeGuillotine Wed 16-Jan-13 15:06:15

It was really simple. I just requested a letter from Amazon which stated that I sell books through them and then I sent the letter, a form and my passport off to the American Embassy in London, who then stamped everything and sent my passport back to me and everything else off to IRS HQ wherever that is. Two weeks later my ITIN certificate arrived and that was that. smile

MmeGuillotine Wed 16-Jan-13 15:10:38

I submitted my first book a couple of times but kept being told that there wasn't a market for YA fiction about Marie Antoinette so I thought, stuff it, I'll self publish then - at which point I discovered that actually it's total BOLLOCKS that there's no market for YA fiction about Marie Antoinette. ;)

My next book was picked up by a trade publisher but they folded before it came out, which I was actually quite pleased about as my first book had really taken off in the meantime and I realised that I'd probably do better on my own!

I didn't even bother submitting my third book anywhere but just self published straight away. I've been approached by agents and publishers since then though and am currently considering trade publication for my fourth novel but it's by no means assured that I'll go ahead as it will mean a financial loss for me.

I pay to get my books properly edited and typset before I publish them, yes. It's definitely worth doing as it needs to be as polished as possible. smile

MmeGuillotine, is it ok if I send you a PM to ask some details about it? I'd like to know how much roughly a subeditor costs, and how to find one. I'm more concerned about the text, as I think I can layout the thing and make the cover by myself (with DH's help, as he used to be a graphic designer).

Your story is very encouraging! From "no market for that" to 20k copies sold! smile

TunipTheVegedude Thu 17-Jan-13 16:21:49

MmeGuillotine, are you certain it will mean a financial loss? Isn't there a chance that the publisher's expertise and distribution channels and having an actual physical book in the shops will mean higher sales, even though you'll get to keep a much smaller proportion of the cover price?

MmeGuillotine Thu 17-Jan-13 17:30:04

Schroedinger, yes, of course you can! I'm a bit busy this evening but will get back to you as soon as I can! I have friends who are editors, artists and typesetters so tend to call on them for help but some of them will do it for other people. smile

Turnip, I'm pretty sure, yes. The average advance for a historical fiction novel is laughably small compared to my revenue right now. I don't know for ABSOLUTELY SURE, of course, as I've never tried it but it's a bit of a gamble considering this is my only source of income.

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