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The Las Vegas Writers Group Message Board › Has anyone published an e-book via Amazon/Kindle?

Has anyone published an e-book via Amazon/Kindle?

A former member
Post #: 3
I've just started a group here in Las Vegas devoted entirely to eBook publication. I invite all Members here to join us on Nov. 21st at 7pm. The details are here: http://www.meetup.com...­. I'm also hoping I can make it out to a meeting of yours very soon, as I need help with my fiction work. :)
Sincerely,
-peggy
A former member
Post #: 9
Hi Tom,

You're right! What do you have to lose? Not much because publishing on Amazon doesn't cost anything and, with a bit of practice, doesn't even take very long. I've published all three of my books on Amazon.com in e-book format as well as in Paperback format through CreateSpace.com which I found by way of Amazon.com's self-publishing options.

I've been very happy with the experience. Sure, I've only seen about $12 deposited into my bank account so far but the thing that I love the most about Amazon.com is that they allow you to choose up-to five days per quarter that you can offer your book for free to Amazon readers. What makes this so great is that you can increase your exposure. You don't make any money off of those freebie sales but in a single 3-day freebie offer I had over 1,000 downloads on my books and have seen traditional sales increase from maybe 1-2 books per month to more like 10-12 and am expecting my second deposited earnings to be closer to $30. That's a pretty decent jump for an indie-pubber that no one has ever heard of from one quarter to the next.

Amazon uses association marketing - meaning if I download your book and I've also downloaded a main-stream book like the Twilight series or something, Amazon.com may associate your book for future readers. Of course it generally takes a lot more readers than one to get association marketing rolling for you but this is why those free promotions are important. My books are supernatural fiction so after the 1,000 free downloads I've noticed that if I view other supernatural fiction books on Amazon.com my books will occasionally appear in the "Customers who bought this item also bought" section. The more people who download my books that have also downloaded other popular supernatural fiction books the more likely my books are to appear in this section when others view those other popular books. In other words, I am benefiting from the association.

CreateSpace.com is a great way to self-publish your book in paperback and is mostly free. You can put your book on Amazon.com (in paperback) and sell it through the CreateSpace.com website for free. If you spend $25 for expanded distribution your books can also be ordered through major retailers including Barnes & Noble (two of my three publications can be ordered from B&N now because of this distribution option and my local B&N is even carrying copies of one of my books on their shelves).

CreateSpace.com also provides you with a free ISBN for all books that you publish through them (both ISBN-10 and ISBN-13). If you publish your book through CreateSpace.com first to get your ISBN, you can then include the ISBN in your Amazon.com e-book listing so that both formats will appear on the same Amazon.com details page, giving readers the option to choose which format they prefer without having to hunt for one or the other.

I think that the trickiest part of publication through Amazon.com and CreateSpace.com, for me, has been formatting the books so that they look nice and professional for readers. What looks awesome in a Word file doesn't always turn out so great on a Kindle or in paperback. Both websites provide step-by-step instructions for proper formatting but I did find that a fair amount of Googling to better understand MS Word's functions was necessary in the beginning and it's best to have three copies of your book (one in traditional MS Word or whatever editor you originally used to write it), then copy that file twice so that you can format one specifically for the Kindle and the other for Paperback. This will save you a lot of headache and time, I promise. Also, be sure to take advantage of both Amazon and CreateSpace's online book reviewing tools where you can see what your book is going to look like before you submit it for public distribution. It may seem like it takes a long time to go through a 400 page book one page at a time to make sure everything looks good but I promise you, it doesn't take nearly as much time as getting a copy of your own book, realizing that your chapter heading is at the bottom of an otherwise completely blank page and then the rest of the chapter starts on the next page and now you have to fix it and hope no one else has ordered these flawed copies yet.

Publication to e-book format on Amazon usually takes between 24-48 hours once your files are completed and accepted. Publication to paperback on CreateSpace takes more like 72 hours, usually, for the files to be accepted and your book to be available by order through CreateSpace and Amazon.com. Expanded distribution through places like Barnes & Noble stores and BN.com can take up-to six weeks.

The only downside, in my opinion, to these methods is that sometimes I feel like they want me to charge more for my books than I would like. It's not a lot more. My 400 page novel is priced at about $15 so that's not horrible but since I'm a name that no one has ever heard of I would prefer to price it closer to $10 (upside through, B&N is selling it for $12 and change so that's good).

Finally you need to understand that simply self-pubbing through Amazon or CreateSpace, even with expanded distribution, will not guarantee sales. You're going to have to put a lot of effort and time into self-promotion because the Kindle library is huge and it is very easy for people to just pass over your book without ever knowing it exists. I try to spend at least 8 - 10 hours a week on self-promotion via any method that I can think of including sending a review request to the local newspapers, handing out 5-chapter samples of my latest book at libraries and book stores, passing out business cards, telling everyone I know on Facebook and Twitter and constantly reminding them to tell people they know, etc.

Traditional publishers put a lot of work into marketing for you but if you ever want your book to be read you have to realize that your goals for self-pubbing should be simply to put your work out there. You can't expect to make the NYT bestsellers list or become a millionaire, if those things happen then great and awesome icing on the cake - but don't expect it. Heck, even the majority of traditionally published authors never reach those goals so you have to write and pub for the love of writing and pubbing - that way you're not setting yourself up for disappointment. Others may disagree with me on that, and that's fine. I tend to be the type of person that holds very low expectations and high hopes, that way I'm more likely to be pleasantly surprised as opposed to morbidly disappointed.
A former member
Post #: 1
"You're right! What do you have to lose? Not much because publishing on Amazon doesn't cost anything and, with a bit of practice, doesn't even take very long. I've published all three of my books on Amazon.com in e-book format as well as in Paperback format through CreateSpace.com which I found by way of Amazon.com's self-publishing options."

For myself, Lynsee, I've had quite a bit of success through Amazon, and am more interested in hearing how you got your paperbacks onto the bookstore shelves (currently both of mine can be bought through Barnes and Noble online, but have no shelf-presence).
A former member
Post #: 11
"more interested in hearing how you got your paperbacks onto the bookstore shelves"

Well so far the only bookstore carrying my books on their shelves is Barnes & Noble but I think that's mainly due to the fact that I haven't really put any effort into the independent book stores yet. I have made multiple trips to my local B&N for shameless self-promotion disguised as friendly visits. :) On my first visit I simply asked the gentleman at the information desk if he could check to see if my first book was available for order through B&N and it was. I told him that I wrote it and that I was a local author and he offered to put me on something called "The Short List" as a local author and told me that if my book made enough sales they'd put me on the shelves.

A few weeks later I went back to see if I could give them some free copies to put on their shelves and talked to one of the managers. In our discussion she told me, again, that I would have to have some substantial sales before they would put me on their shelves but after I left that night she actually did go back and order two copies of my first book.

A month later I went in to see if my second book was available by order and the clerk mentioned that she had two copies of my first book on the shelf, then told me that if I wanted to sign them they'd move them to an easel on the information desk counter so I did. I went back every week or so to see if they'd sold and until last night neither copy had but I'll touch more on that later.

A few weeks ago I went in to see if my latest book was available through them for order, and it was, so again I mentioned that I'm a local author who wrote a book that they were already carrying and left my card with them.

Last night I stopped by after the meeting to see if either copy of my first book has sold and, lo-and-behold, one of the copies was gone. A gentleman picked up a book next to my remaining copy and said "Oh autographed" so I pointed to my book and said "This one is signed too and if you buy it I'll put your name in it". He asked me what it was about and I told him it was a vampire novel and he said his daughter loves vampire novels and had me put her name in it and bought it. I then proceeded to ask the information desk about my latest book and she told me that they have two copies in order to put on their shelves but they haven't arrived yet so I gave her my business card again, just in case they lost the first one, and told her to call me when they come in so that I can sign them also.

I think the fact that my books ended up on the shelves at my local B&N was about 50% luck, 30% the kindness of that particular store's manager, and 20% shameless persistence on my part. In addition to my local efforts I told everyone to order my book through B&N instead of Amazon for three reasons (though, don't get me wrong, I love amazon.com and buy ALL of my books from them personally). First, The lowest price I could charge for my latest book on Amazon was $15 but B&N is selling it for $12. Second, by having my friends and family order through B&N it increases my chances of them carrying my books on their shelves in other stores besides just my local store (especially since my friends and family are scattered all over the U.S.). And last, because ordering through a B&N store means that they won't have to pay shipping.

Really the first and third reason are their incentives and the second reason is my long-term goal. Hope this information helps!
Carolyn M.
user 11559745
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 2
Yes, I've recently published 6 books to Kindle. Just like Deborah said last night, you can easily track your sales and also promote your books and it opens up many options, besides being fast and cheap.
Carolyn M.
user 11559745
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 3

"a fair amount of Googling to better understand MS Word's functions was necessary in the beginning" - do you happen to remember any of the good sites for this. I had to do a lot of work with formatting, even when copying from one MS Word doc to the same kind of doc. The paragraphing didn't come out the same. Any help would be great. Thanks for the great info you put here!
Wayne B.
user 13881731
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 2
Besides getting some material directly to Kindle/Amazon there are a number of publishers that accept books and place then on their own sites as well as Amazon.
Carolyn M.
user 11559745
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 4
Wayne - who are those other publishers?
A former member
Post #: 2
"more interested in hearing how you got your paperbacks onto the bookstore shelves"

Thanks for the info. And it certainly sounds like a good start for you.
Wayne B.
user 13881731
Las Vegas, NV
Post #: 3
As per question about pusblishers doing Kindle work, etc. you might be interested in checking out the following links. Note that one link brings up their sample contract. If there is interest will place links for anything interesting that I might find while researching, especially anything more of a general novel nature.

http://www.samhainpub...­

http://clublighthouse...­

http://clublighthouse...­

http://www.evernightp...­

http://www.draumrpubl...­
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