Amazon Kindle Publishing
Charlotte Rains Dixon  

So You Want to Be a Kindle Author

Please welcome my good friend Derek Ayre to the site today, as he relates his adventures in publishing for Amazon. For more information on Derek, visit his blog, or this post.

So You Want to be a Kindle Author
by Derek Ayre

Writing for Amazon Kindle seems like a godsend for a new author. The fact that you can actually see your book up for sale on Amazon, available to a world-wide audience, is in itself a wonderful experience.

Over the years, like me, you may have submitted your manuscript to publishing houses and agents only to receive a generic letter of rejection. I have often wondered, whether or not a new author’s work even gets read… Anyway, for me, all that printing of hard-copy with the addition of supplying return postage and packing is now a thing of the past. I have written and converted two Kindle books, Gavin’s Music a story for adults based on my experiences as a musician back in the 1960s and The Corridor, a fantasy book for kids from the age of around 10 years.

My E-Publishing Experience

Uploads are made to the KDP section of Amazon and if you already havean account with Amazon, you simply sign in with your e-mail address and password. Next you will be taken through a few forms requesting name, address, bank details for payment and the usual IRS forms for U.S and tax exempt declarations for non U.S. citizens.

And then you are ready to get down to the business of uploading your e-book.

The first thing I realized was that before it went live, my e-book would need a cover and using an artist or specialized e-book cover creator could be expensive, so I took a few photographs and then used my trusty Adobe Photoshop Elements to create a cover. My first book, Gavin’s Music, was the story of a young musician (pianist) working and playing his way through the world of the sixties British nightclub scene, which was based on my own experience. I have my own piano, so I took a photograph of the keyboard and as a background, a photograph of a musical score and layered one on top of the other. It took me quite a while tweaking the cover and showing it to writing friends before deciding on the finished article, but the finished cover can be seen here.

Before I went ahead with my first upload, I procrastinated a lot. This is something that did not occur when I used to send off my hard copies, possibly something to do with the fact that KDP was going to publish my book for all the world to see right now! Wow!

I also heard that getting the right format for the Kindle which is .mobi file, could be more than a little tricky. However, when I finally disciplined myself and got around to it, I found the whole process easy because I cheated… I purchased a software program specifically created for the task that really took the stress out of converting from my word processor to a .mobi file called The UEC (Ultimate E-book Creator).

This piece of software certainly didn’t disappoint and the format of my books proved to be excellent as I could create them as they would appear on a Kindle on my computer before uploading to Amazon.

What I Did

I copied and pasted my book chapter by chapter from my word processor files into the UEC software and then attached my Kindle to my computer and loaded the finished book onto it. There was something wrong though. The spaces between paragraphs looked huge on the smaller screen, so I decided to get rid of the double spacing between paragraphs and opt for indented paragraphing instead. Perfect!

For current price of $67, the UEC software, in my opinion, was worth every penny. It is available here and a full video demo of the product is available on their home page explaining how it all works in greater detail.

The Alternative

You can upload as a Word document or an html file, but I have heard that often times it can all go terribly wrong… the formatting can change in the conversion process. How true that is I do not know, because coward that I am, I never even ventured to try! But let me explain.

I consider myself fairly savvy at html and most other computer tasks, having written my own websites using html code, but I had a lot of “what ifs” regarding the technical side of presenting a whole novel, and what ran through my nagging mind was that I would risk embarrassment if the format of my book looked a mess to the first people who read it.

But through the process, I later discovered that whatever method you use you will get the opportunity to preview your e-book exactly how it would appear on a Kindle whilst still in draft mode on Amazon, and it will stay in draft mode until you select and click “Publish”. Amazon then does a spell check, and does seem to be able to detect names and nicknames and other obvious non-dictionary words and ignore them. I had practically proof-read my novel to death but Amazon found just one typing error. I quickly changed that, resaved my UEC .mobi file and uploaded it again within minutes. Another spell check and it registered zero spelling mistakes.

So my book is up on Amazon and now people need to know it is there. I need to promote it. So far I have tweeted, and also posted to my Facebook account. There has been some downloads and interest in the book from friends and I’ve had one review on Amazon. I have also started a blog on and have done some Google searches on novel e-book promotion. But this is early days and I hope to come back sometime in the future with a post telling all about my great success.. Well, one has to stay positive!

Thanks for reading.

Book Links:

Gavin’s Music
The Corridor

My Blog

Do you have experience with Amazon Kindle publishing? Please comment!

0 thoughts on “So You Want to Be a Kindle Author

  1. J.D.

    That’s good info, Charlotte. Agents gun-shy, publishing from computers, Florida State beating Auburn . . . the world is upside down.

  2. Zan Marie

    Thanks for the info Charlotte and Derek. I formatted my print versions of my books back in 2009 and 2010, but didn’t have time to do the ebooks. A local publisher did them for me for reasonable royalties. Each of us has to think through what we want to do. It sounds like you found your way, Derek. Good luck!

  3. Charlotte Dixon

    And the great thing is that now there are so many options!  There's so much doom and gloom about publishing in the mainstream press, but it really is a wonderful time to be a writer.

  4. Charlotte Dixon

    Oh God, J.D., that game was killer last night!  I was so excited that Auburn looked like they were going to win and I was thinking of how happy you must have been.  And then….well, we know what happened.  Sigh.  Anyway, Happy 2014.

  5. J.D.

    This coming year college football rolls out its playoff system. Four teams, I think. Perhaps the Ducks and the Tigers can have a reunion in January 2015. Good luck to Oregon next season, Charlotte. It’s only 263 days away.

  6. Charlotte Dixon

    I'm so happy they are going to a playoff system.  If the Ducks and the Tigers meet next year, we both need to attend the game and meet up after.  :-)  Now you've got 263 days to totally focus on your writing.

  7. Ledger D' Main

    I uploaded two books into Kindle, for someone who can’t follow directions well it’s a mysterious pain. I suggest downloading the submittal instructions and printing them out, also download the Kindle previewer, it will show you what your layout will look like in Kindle. I would also say that the Kindle E-mail help department is 1000 percent helpful, answered all my questions within 24 hrs, sometimes within a couple of hours. Kindle has a set of generic covers that you can use, which is what I did (I don’t have Photoshop), or you can create and upload your own. I did this about 7 months ago and haven’t seen any moola yet, Kindle only pays when you have sales of 100 dollars or more. In some of the payment schemes you have to let Kindle users ‘borrow’ your book, this lasts a couple of months. Don’t get excited about making any money, cuz G-DAMN there are a lot of books on Kindle, yours like mine will probably be lost in the wash along with that missing sock, but hey, it’s out there…Right? And maybe on one of his long cross-country first class flights Mr. Spielberg will randomly pick yours…

  8. Charlotte Dixon

    Thanks for the info, and how about letting us know the titles of the books so we can go check them out? 

  9. Ledger D' Main

    Before I can let you and yours open my Pandora’s book of woe, I have to know…Have you signed up for Obamacare? Do you have a personal shrink? Do you have LifeAlert? Does bad writing scare you as much as things that go bump in the night? Does a split infinitive make you gnash your teeth?…

  10. Don Williams

    Thanks for the info on Amazon. Ever since I read of a girl who has made millions with Amazon’s self publishing I have been curious about the process. The link to the software was especially interesting, so thanks again Derek. I’ll have to look into to it more closely.

  11. Charlotte Dixon

    Don't need Obamacare as I already have insurance; no; no; no; no.  

  12. Charlotte Dixon

    Yes, Don, the Amazon Kindle publishing is very intriguing.  Thanks for the link–I'll check it out!

  13. Ledger D' Main

    Well since you meet the minimum requirements of someone who likes to live dangerously and likes to guzzle kitchen brandy, I’ll tell ya, however it’s against my better judgment and my lawyer says that I must issue the following statement—READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. MY CLIENT HAS NO MONEY AND NO ASSETS AND LIVES UNDER A BRIDGE AT 5th AND WALBASH—Fortunes of Fate…Elephant Feathers and Other Fables…both published under the nom de plume of R. B. McIntosh, have fun, I’ll have my people contact your people…

  14. Charlotte Dixon

    Thanks, heehee!  I'll go check it out.

  15. Derek

    Hi Zan Marie,
    Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, having done it now the preparation of the book seems quite easy for the future and I won’t be so panicky about getting it wrong.

  16. Derek

    Thanks for your reply. I think when I first checked out uploading the Kindle books, being also resistant to following instructions, I got a bit bogged down with it all. I agree that it is a good idea to print them out, as sitting back and reading them away from the computer is a lot easier. I think my mind associates the computer screen with information overload before I even begin to read!

  17. Derek

    Thanks reading and commenting Don, especially for the link. That is most interesting and very inspiring! Millions eh? A sort of J.K. Rowling of Kindle. Have to read this again! Living in the UK, I don’t understand how I came to miss this!

  18. Ledger D' Main

    Derek—good luck and don’t be wary of E-mailing the help department they are very helpful and will answer even the dumbest of questions, also get the free Kindle previewer, especially if you have photos like I did…good luck with your sales…

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