Saturday, January 26, 2013

Indie Author Series: Kindle/Amazon (All In or Diversify)

Welcome to the first segment of the new Indie Author Series. This week, the members of the YA Author Club will be blogging about Kindle, Amazon, and KDP, and they will explain the pros and cons of on going all in with Amazon.

I may be a complete anomaly, but Amazon and its resources have done more for me as an indie author than any other book-publishing site. Amazon supports, embraces, and promotes indie authors, and their mission translates out to great book sales for me and bestseller lists for others.
First, there is the KDP (kindle direct publishing) site where indie authors can quickly and easily release the electronic version of their novels. Making this option enticing is the fact that the upload is very, very simple, and within hours of uploading the book's file, the indie authors can consider themselves officially published novelists.

Second, Amazon offers CreateSpace. On this site, indie authors can create the paper version of their books. For me personally, I sell very few paper copies, but I love to create them because there's something about holding the traditional version in my hand that makes it feel real... like I really just published a book. On top of everything else offered by CreateSpace, there's professional services (publishing solutions, editing, layout and design, and marketing) that can and will turn even the most amateurish book into a novel that is as professional as anything you can buy on a bookstore shelf.
Third, kdp select is a program whereby the author agrees to make their book an Amazon exclusive for three months. When authors go this route, they earn higher royalties, have access to promotion tools not available to authors who are not participating (offering their books for free with the click of a button is one of the biggest benefits), and reach a broader audience. Books enrolled in this program are available via Amazon's lending library. The authors are paid every time the book is lent. The amount paid for each lend is dependent on the number of books borrowed and the amount of the kdp select Global Fund for that particular month. I've tried this option and got great results. The only reason I don't still have my books enrolled in this program is because of the fan complaints from non-Kindle reader owners. The complaints and fan dissatisfaction are enough for me to recommend that new indie authors diversify.

Finally, Amazon has an Author Page. With it, the indie author can connect with the readers in ways they would not normally be an option. From there, the reader can see the author's library of books, and the author can set up his/her Twitter and blog feed. Making it valuable for me, I can track and trend the sales of my books and my author ranking. I'm a visual person. Without the graphs, I wouldn't know where I've been compared to where I am.
It is my opinion that Amazon is the single most important company to embrace if you are heading down the indie author path. Trust me. They give you every tool you need to succeed. It is up to the indie author to write a good book and do all of the preliminary work necessary for the book to hit the bestsellers lists. Fortunately, their most important tools are available to indie authors even if they don't enroll in the kdpselect program.

For more topics just like this, I'm going to strongly encourage up and coming indie authors to continue following the Indie Author Series in order to learn more about our experiences... our opinions... our recommendations.