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.

TunipTheVegedude Thu 17-Jan-13 20:32:57

That makes sense MmeGuillotine. If you are earning more than the average advance already I see why you'd rather stick with your current business model.

MmeGuillotine Thu 17-Jan-13 20:47:09

It'd be nice to see my books in shops (and not get the daily annoyed emails from people who don't have Kindles and want to read my books) but I daren't risk it right now. Seems a bit silly to say that though as I know so many writers DREAM of being trade published and I'm here in my corner grumbling about it. I'm also aware that a lot of people think that being paid for writing cheapens the whole thing and makes it all very sordid. I am not one of those people. ;)

troyandabedinthemorning Thu 17-Jan-13 20:47:09

I'm loving the advice thats coming from mme guilotines school of publishing smile I'm really pleased the ittn was easy- I'd heard it was difficult to get the letter you need out of amazon. And good to know that I was right to budget for editing!

MmeGuillotine Thu 17-Jan-13 20:51:13

Haha, I was on the Getting Published panel at the Mumsnet Blogfest, fighting the corner for self published writers but didn't get to actually say how I do it so this is a lot of fun. smile

I'd heard the same thing but they sent one out right away. It has to be a physical copy btw - the IRS won't accept a photocopy or a printed out letter. If you have trouble with Amazon, Smashwords also send out a letter which you can request once you hit $10 sales. I got one of those as well as security back up just in case the Amazon one didn't work out! smile

Yes, definitely work out a budget for editing. At the very least it means that when someone tries to get all snotty with you about being self published and being unedited, you can retort with 'It was edited actually so ner'. smile

MmeGuillotine Thu 17-Jan-13 20:52:26

Also if you're (understandably!) nervous about sending your passport off to the US Embassy, you can trot to Grosvenor Square in London and do it all in person. smile

MorvahRising Mon 18-Mar-13 09:54:15

May I join in? I am hoping to put a novel on Kindle in the next couple of weeks. My second novel is with an agent who is faintly interested providing I do a lot of revision, although I suspect 't'will come to nothing! The prospective Kindle one is my first which didn't have any luck on the traditional route.

MmeGuillotine thank you very much for so many useful tips both here and on your blog. Really helpful, especially on the pricing. Trouble is, I've been writing for so long I find it quite hard to believe anyone actually would want to pay me for it!

MorvahRising Wed 27-Mar-13 11:56:46

Procrastinating, how are your sales going? My book's up now too. I'd love to know what is regarded as a fairly good take up. If I could hit 100 that would be pretty good! Mind you it was a huge thrill when the first one sold, as I felt that as someone has actually paid for something I wrote, I can now officially call myself a writer!

LisaMed Sun 31-Mar-13 10:17:08

Disclaimer still at the start of this, and I don't know what Mme Guillotine thinks (but am devouring your advice - thank you)

but I have self published with Smashwords as well as Amazon (which is okay) and Smashwords distribute to kobo, Barnes and Noble, sony etc - even WHSmith online.

I have no idea how it works or how glitch free it is. But my stuff is in those shops. No idea how it is selling as "*&%! Smashwords haven't updated what has happened there for the last three months, but probably will soon, fingers crossed. And they are more or less user friendly, though I found it more complex than Kindle.

Mme Guillotine do you need to send a copy of passport for the IRS thingy? I'd skimmed the letter with Smashwords but didn't realise. I have no passport!

Procrastinating Sun 16-Jun-13 17:09:14

I know this is an old thread now, but I'll reply anyway Morvah, my sales are going well I think but not even in the foothills of Mme Guillotine's. I wasn't expecting much, so anything is nice and I still get excited every time I see another one sold. What surprised me is where it is selling, America and Japan more than the UK. Wierd. I got two lovely reviews too.

How is yours doing Morvah?

MorvahRising Wed 17-Jul-13 23:52:47

Hi Procrastinating, sorry, only just seen this!

Well done on your reviews and sales! It is ridiculously exciting isn't it; I check my figures far too often and get all depressed if it slides down the ratings.

Sales are not startling but steady and as you say I also have a way to go before I am competing with MmeGuillotine! I am only just starting to market it properly and send it out to reviewers which is taking quite a bit of research.

Have got 19 reviews on the UK site, of which three are by people I know (although I didn't threaten them at gunpoint!) and I know a few are by lovely MNers to whom I am exceedingly grateful.

Have had most sales in the UK. I'd like to sell more in the US, well done for cracking that market! Loads were downloaded in the two free promotions I did but I haven't had many paid ones there, and only one review on the US site. The book's set in Cornwall, which is a big part of the selling point, so maybe US people aren't interested? I have had a few though to Germany, Japan, France, Spain, Brazil, India and Canada which is very exciting!

Oops, sorry, rather a long post! How have your sales gone in the last month since you posted?

confusedofengland Tue 23-Jul-13 15:16:40

Reading this thread with interest. Can I just ask one question (to which the answer may be completely obvious & I may just have missed it). How much does it cost to publish a book on Kindle Direct Publishing?

Thanks & well done on your success so far, OP & indeed any others who are doing well smile

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now