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 kdp.amazon.com 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 blogger.com 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!

Patting Myself on the Back

And may I now direct your attention to the right of this post, to the brand spanking new sign-up box? 

I'm very excited to offer you a free report, 100 Questions to Jump Start Your Writing, when you sign up for me newsletter.

There's good reason to do this, because it will be full of information about upcoming events, writing (ya think?) and also news about forthcoming products from moi, such as an Ebook I am about to publish called Set The Words Free.

The main reason I'm patting myself on the back, however, is that poor little ole un-techy me actually figured out how to create an autoresponder and sign-up box all by myself.  I subscribed to Aweber, and if any of you need to create newsletters, autoresponders, or marketing campaigns for your sites or blogs, I highly recommend them.   They have great, clear, step-by-step directions that you can print out and follow along.  Trust me, if I can do it, anybody can.  It actually was kinda fun. 

Now I really love getting emails saying that people have signed up so humor me and do it.  I promise, promise, promise that your information is safe with me and will never get out of my clutches.  They'll have to kill me before I divulge your information, I swear it!

Okay, I might not be willing to defend your email address to my death, but close.

Please note: if you signed up on the old sign-up form I had, please re-sign-up.   Aweber is very picky about what addressed they will let you import, as well they should be, so it is easier just to start fresh.  Besides, though it pains me to admit, there weren't that many of you.

Now that I'm offering something for free, I feel certain you will sign up.  Right? Am I right?  Prove me right!

Just Do It

I read recently that its the 20th anniversary of the Nike slogan, Just Do It.  I live in the Nike company town and went to school at the Nike company college, so of course this anniversary has extra special meaning for me.

Well, not really, but it always has been one of the most brilliant slogans ever written.

I thought of it the other morning when I was working on a project that seems to have dragged on for months.  Its an e-book that I’m writing and every time I feel like I’m making good progress on it, I realize I still have way more to do.

I was bemoaning my fate to myself, loudly and very dramatically, when the thought occurred to me.  Just do it. Quit whining and hand-wringing and just do it.   Use the energy that gets wasted on whining and worrying about it on writing.  (I used to tell my son this all the time–that if he’d use the time and energy he was wasting on complaining about having to clean his room on actually cleaning his room it would be done in a jiffy.  Well, maybe more like a week, but you get the drift.)

So I did.  And I got a huge chunk done rather quickly.  Tried it again this morning, and guess what?  It worked again. 

The e-book is almost finished (details to follow soon) and I’m excited about it.

So put aside your dislike of large corporate behemoths and join me in wishing Just Do It a very happy anniversary.