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Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Old 04-23-13, 11:30 AM
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Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

I'm thinking of putting together a collection of some short stories I want to write and was thinking of publishing them through Kindle Direct. I was wondering if anyone here has had anything published through Kindle Direct and if so, are there any pointers you can give me or anything I need to look out for/be aware of? Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:45 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

I've published a novel and several short stories through KDP. Here are a few tips:

1. Make sure your covers look good at thumbnail size, with a legible title and artwork that makes the genre easily identifiable.
2. You can use a lot of different programs to generate the ebook file (even just converting from Word), but no matter what you use, always look at the ebook through the Kindle previewer (it's in KDP) before you publish. Make sure everything looks correct.
3. Be warned: collections of short stories do not tend to sell well. I would release the stories separately for 99 cents as well to improve visibility.
4. KDP Select allows you to give a work away for free five days out of every 90 days (you pick the days). This can be a great way to get people to read one piece, and maybe interest them in buying another (or buying a collection). BUT... it means you can't sell those ebooks anywhere else but Amazon. There are other options that allow you to, say, make one story permanently free to get the attention of readers, but they can't be done by going exclusively through Amazon.
5. In your product description, make sure you indicate VERY CLEARLY that the works are short stories. I even put the length in words, since many readers have different ideas about what constitutes a short story. (People have been trained to expect longer works.) If you don't make it clear how long the stories are, you'll probably get some returns (yes, people can return ebooks) and some bad reviews.

I'd be happy to answer any other questions you might have. Hope this helps, and good luck!
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Old 04-24-13, 09:10 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

The stories are short stories in the sense that they could stand on their own, but they're part of a storyline that encompasses the entire book, if that makes sense (think of them as episodes of a TV show).

I think I have a handle on the points you make, but the one thing I'm kind of iffy on is the cover. I admit that I have no artistic ability in the area of drawing and I don't know any graphic artists, so I'm thinking of either using the cover templates that createspace provides or using my own photographs for the covers. They wouldn't be anything real crazy, just simple, kind of abstract images that I would fit in with the stories being presented.
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Old 04-24-13, 01:36 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

If you don't have graphic experience, I would implore you to find someone who does. Your cover is your first impression, and there are so many awful covers in the Kindle store. If you go to kindleboards (the Writer's Cafe section) you'll find some pretty good cover designers that have premades in the $30-50 range. If you need something cheaper, you can always try fiverr.

If you do want to try your own, you can always post the cover for feedback over on the kindleboards. People are generally overly nice, but you'll definitely get some useful feedback.
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Old 04-24-13, 06:44 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Yes, and I can tell you to BE SURE and put your converted book on to your own Kindle and examine it carefully. I have downloaded so MANY free or 99 cent books that are so poorly formatted that I have ended up just deleting them. There is nothing worse than having line breaks in the middle of sentences, having page widths of only 1/2 the Kindle screen. Oh, well, maybe something worse is bad grammar, bad spelling, incorrect usage of words and so on. I'll instantly delete a book if there are 2 or 3 misspelled words on the first page.

So, beware of the pitfalls. Create your work in MS Word, download the smashwords style guide from smashwords.com (it's more helpful than Amazon's Kindle Publishing Guidelines) and create your table of contents and so on, create your mobi file using Calibre or Mobipocket, then convert that with KindleGen. Upload that to your Kindle, check it out, then - if you are happy - send the mobi version off to Kindle for free conversion to Kindle format. Put that on your Kindle and check it again. If you're still happy then submit your work to KDP.

Covers are important, as others have said. Be VERY CAREFUL about making a decent cover. I've also read a lot recently about making and using a logo. I did not do that and wish I could go back and do it now (I could, but I don't want to have to go through all of the various titles and change them JUST for a logo).

Finally, don't be disappointed if you don't become a best seller - very dang few people become one of those! Just be happy that you did what you wanted to do and be satisfied (if not happy) with sales of 4 or 5 per month. Don't be frustrated by bad reviews. Having 100 5 star reviews is worse - it makes it look like you have paid people to put up 5 star reviews. A lot of people read the 1 and 2 star reviews first to see what the PROBLEMS with the book are. On the Kindleboards there are lots of discussions about people having 100 of their best friends post 5 star reviews for their books!

Anyway, getting too long winded here. Good Luck!
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Old 04-25-13, 09:32 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Originally Posted by danwiz View Post
Covers are important, as others have said. Be VERY CAREFUL about making a decent cover. I've also read a lot recently about making and using a logo. I did not do that and wish I could go back and do it now (I could, but I don't want to have to go through all of the various titles and change them JUST for a logo).
Yea, I'm kind of paranoid about the cover art. I don't want to get caught up in legal BS if I use "free" images off something like Wikimedia Commons, so that's why I initially wanted to use either my own pictures or the stock covers createspace provides. I'll take a look at some of the artists on the kindleboards like marginal said. Maybe I can get something decent off one of them cheap.
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Old 04-25-13, 09:58 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Guy Kawasaki's APE book is essential reading for publishing your E-book. Highly recommended.

http://www.amazon.com/APE-Author-Pub...s=guy+kawasaki
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Old 04-27-13, 03:03 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

I recently published my novel there. (Cheap plug removed by me, d'oh!)

In my case, I went through CreateSpace so there is a print version, and then I had that file converted through their tool. Everything looks pretty good except I used drop caps at the start of each chapter, but they were formatted to fit on their own line before each chapter rather than within the paragraph, so I need to go in and fix that.

I'm still very new to it, but there are a lot of schools of thought on what to price it. I probably went to the wrong school because it's not selling - it couldn't possibly be because my book is bad, right?!? I also need to tweak the cover as it looks decent in print but it's lacking digitally.

Also, I uploaded mine to SmashWords and had to make some minor changes, as they seem to have more stringent standards.

Lastly, if you'd like a template for your book I could probably whip something up quick using my existing format - it took a lot of trial and error!

Last edited by JeremyM; 04-27-13 at 08:50 PM.
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Old 04-27-13, 06:20 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Jeremy M: I am 99% sure that we are not allowed to do self-promotion here. I am surprised the mods have not edited your post. If it was okay to do so I would self promote through my signature as I have several books both in print and as Kindle Editions.

Yes, Smashwords has more stringent standards, which is why I recommended that the OP read the Smashwords guide rather than the Kindle Guide. If you follow the Smashwords guide you will most likely surely have no problems with the way your book looks on a Kindle, whereas, if you use the Kindle Guide you may end up with some messed up formatting.

Guy Kawasaki's Ape book has a lot of pretty negative reviews! Plus, it's ridiculously expensive for an indie book!
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Old 04-27-13, 08:52 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

My mistake dan, I took it out. That said, it is too bad we can't at least plug stuff in our signature! Then again, I probably can't whine about board policy, so I will quietly exit the thread now....
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Old 05-06-13, 06:42 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Jeremy M: Weird that we can plug other people's stuff, but not our own, eh! So, maybe I can plug your book in my sig and you can plug mine in your sig. Wonder what the "powers" would say to that?!
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Old 05-06-13, 08:05 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Probably plenty, since that's public instead of in a PM.

Great thread, excellent information. Thank you!
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Old 05-30-13, 08:53 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

I thought I'd give you guys an update on my cover dilemma. I created a minimalist/Saul Bass-ish cover for one of my books just to see how it would look, and I really liked the way it turned out, so I'm going to do that for my two other books.

After I started this thread, I saw Barnes & Noble came out with a publishing platform for it's Nook. Has anyone here ever used this publishing platform (or it's previous incarnation, Pubit)? I wanted to go with Amazon initially because Amazon is a household name and has a fairly large market, which I thought would lead to more exposure for me. But, I also thought Amazon might be too big and my book would get lost in the shuffle. Nook, on the other hand, seems to have a smaller audience, but it's still a known brand. Could anyone tell me what advantage/disadvantage publishing on the Nook would have over Amazon? I tried finding some opinions on this, but didn't really come up with anything.
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Old 05-30-13, 09:03 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Are you not able to publish on both?
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Old 05-30-13, 09:22 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Are you not able to publish on both?
I think if I publish something under Kindle Singles, it has to be exclusive to the Kindle. I'm not sure if that's forever (I would suspect not) or if it's just for a certain period of time.
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Old 05-30-13, 08:34 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

You can publish on both or all!!! As long as you don't enroll your Kindle Book in the KDP Select Program you can publish anywhere and everywhere you want to! Another reason I suggested as above:

"... download the smashwords style guide from smashwords.com (it's more helpful than Amazon's Kindle Publishing Guidelines) and create your table of contents and so on, create your mobi file using Calibre or Mobipocket, then convert that with KindleGen. Upload that to your Kindle, check it out, then - if you are happy - send the mobi version off to Kindle for free conversion to Kindle format. Put that on your Kindle and check it again. If you're still happy then submit your work to KDP."

Then change your copyright notice to conform with Smashwords suggestions and publish the same book on Smashwords. They distribute to SEVERAL places - B & N, Sony, Kobo, Amazon, Apple, Diesel, Page Foundry and others. Seeing as your work will already be on Amazon - I would opt out of their distribution to Amazon - as I have done with my own books. It woold be pretty meaningless to have a book published through KDP sent to them again by Smashwords - and possibly confusing to potential buyers.

If you enroll a book in the Amazon KDP Select program then it can only be made available through Amazon (in digital format). If you DO NOT enroll your work in the KDP Select Program then you are free to do as many different releases as you want to do.

Hope this is helpful
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Old 05-31-13, 06:49 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Does anyone know of a free program or an easier way to get your book in the proper formatting before publishing with Amazon or Smashwords? I've read through the Smashwords style guide as well as Amazon and they both seem to tell you to basically not use the return key for a new paragraph and not to use the tab key for an indent. It would be nice if there's a program or an easier way so I could just type my book like I would normally type anything else and it would be properly formatted. I know there's that Calibre format, but I don't think that helps in regards to proper formatting for paragraphs and indents.
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Old 06-01-13, 07:24 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Use Word 2003 and type as you normally would. Don't be so concerned. Tabs are the only real problem. I used the Enter Key at the end of paragraphs - no problem. How the hell else are you going to go from one paragraph to the next one. I don't think you read the smashwords style guide very carefully - this is a quote:

"Never use more than four consecutive paragraph returns (A.K.A. “hard returns,” created by hitting the ENTER key) to arrange text on the page (this creates blank ebook pages on small-screened e-reading devices)."

That says 4 consecutive returns - count them 1, 2, 3, 4.

I am willing to help people as much as I can, but some of you people are just getting ridiculous at this point and I am getting frustrated by your lack of paying attention to detail of what the style guides say and what this thread says. If you can't pay attention to detail then you're going to be one of those indie authors who produces crap with so many formatting errors that people will delete your books from their device at first glance!

Last edited by danwiz; 06-01-13 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 06-02-13, 10:53 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

If you use word to write you can use https://www.draft2digital.com/ to upload all your novels to all the sites, Kobo, apple, Barnes and Noble, Amazon. From what I read on the KB boards, they are as good or better than Smashwords. For covers, try Fiverr, a site where some one will do a cover for five bucks, I've used them and was surprised by the quality. Oh and lastly, check out http://www.kboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html, where self published authors help each other out. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-13, 09:48 AM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

Originally Posted by pelenor View Post
Oh and lastly, check out http://www.kboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html, where self published authors help each other out. Good luck!
Thanks for pointing me in that direction. I've been visiting that site for the last two months or so and think there's a lot of good information to be gathered from it. There's one thing that's been bugging me: what is with all the erotica? It seems like a majority of the writers there publish erotica, based on the book covers that show up in their sigs, which makes the site slightly NSFW.
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Old 08-23-13, 08:02 PM
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Re: Kindle Direct Publishing - Has anyone here been published through this?

If you use that draft2digital site I really hope that you will download the finished product and check its formatting. I wonder if that is the site that some people use who end up with really messed up formatting and I download the book on one of its free days, look at it briefly and the formatting is so obviously screwed that I just delete it immediately and then also delete it from my Kindle Library.

I cannot stress how important it is for you to check the formatting on your own Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. before actually putting a book up for sale! Here is my review for a recent Kindle Book (thank God it was free):


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Formatting, the formatting - horror!, September 30, 2012

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: NAME DELETED (Kindle Edition)
Well, I admit that I never read any of this book at all. I opened it on my Kindle and - like I always do - I opened the book to be sure that it was okay. I wish I could insert a screen capture from my Kindle.
1. The font is Courier - no big problem with that, I could read it if that was the only problem.
2. Default line spacing is about 2 lines, Ah, that's how he got the book to be around 439 pages, so it's only about a 220 page book - if you're looking only for long books, that's a good reason to delete it at this point.
3. Such large spaces between words at the default spacing - why?! Hmmm, maybe we're down to a 150 page book now.
4. I was too frustrated to continue by this point and just deleted it from both my Kindle and also from my account.

Here is another:

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Grrrr!, September 2, 2012

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: NAME DELETED (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this book, opened it on my Kindle, noticed that it has neither a cover nor a table of contents and said, well, okay. But, then I briefly looked at the first page and the formatting errors stuck out at me like a sore thumb - paragraph breaks in the middle of sentences all over the place. Well, I continued to look and then I noticed the typos on the very first page. I deleted it - darn glad it was free.

When people create e-books I wonder how many of them even look at it on their own Kindle, or ask a friend to look at it on their Kindle before they try and sell real crap? I create Kindle Content too, I know that sometimes there are formatting surprises, which is why I always inspect my work on my own Kindle before I put items up for actual sale. There is also the Kindle Previewer available for people who do not own a Kindle, but want to create Kindle content. Then, people also have the option to preview their work on a Kindle emulator immediately upon uploading their material - there is no excuse for putting crap like this up for sale.

Then, the typos. How can it be possible to have typos on page 1 - was the author too lazy to even look at his/her work? First line of text: "NAME DELETED stood in the lookout=s nest ..." 5th line - formatting problem. Page 2 - formatting problems. Page 3 "wait for
the
captain=s order..." formatting and typo. Possibly every apostrophe in the book has been replaced by an = sign, I did not read any further! Oh, I noticed an @ at the end of one sentence. Another @ mark in the middle of a sentence. What the heck?

Deleted from Kindle, Deleted from archive!
If you ever fix it feel free to let me know and I'll be happy to try again.

Good Luck!
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