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Self Published Book on Amazon? Anyone?


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I have self-published three books on Kindle/Createspace -- these are both Amazon wholly owned subsidiaries.

 

Process:

Over the years, the publishing process has gotten much easier. It's so easy to publish your book on Kindle, you can simply upload your MS Word file. Createspace (for paperbacks) is a little more involved, however, Kindle now lets you publish paperbacks too, so I suspect it might be almost as easy as publishing your digital book, but I don't know as I the Kindle paperback option didn't exist when I wrote my three books.

 

Marketing:

Kindle has recently added advertising options. This really helps keep your book selling. My books are two, three, and four years old. For most authors, older books tend to get stale and don't sell as many copies as newer books. (Of course, the big named authors will continue to sell older books.) These new Amazon Ads have really rejuvenated sales for my books.

 

Pricing:

Since you get to set the price of your book, you control the amount you will make for each book sold. Amazon takes a healthy chunk of the revenue. You get 70% of digital revenue and about 55% of paperback revenue. You'll likely get more money per book sold than you would if you went the traditional route.

 

All in all, it's pretty easy to self-publish. For me, the toughest part was editing. My wife was my editor. She's a wonderful editor, but it can put a strain on your relationship.  ;)  My suggestion would be to get a professional editor and a professional book cover designer. This makes for a bit of a cash outlay. So that's the real difference between traditional and self-publishing. With the latter, you are responsible for everything, including marketing. Going the traditional route, you submit the manuscript, they do the rest.

 

Hope that helps.

 

David

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That does help...  Could you give me ballparks for how much an editor and cover designer cost? All in all, would these 3 books allow you to leave your day job? Or the residuals allow you to get a nice dinner each month.

 

If you don't want to disclose it in a large forum, would you private message me? I'm just fascinated about the concept.

 

I have self-published three books on Kindle/Createspace -- these are both Amazon wholly owned subsidiaries.

 

Process:

Over the years, the publishing process has gotten much easier. It's so easy to publish your book on Kindle, you can simply upload your MS Word file. Createspace (for paperbacks) is a little more involved, however, Kindle now lets you publish paperbacks too, so I suspect it might be almost as easy as publishing your digital book, but I don't know as I the Kindle paperback option didn't exist when I wrote my three books.

 

Marketing:

Kindle has recently added advertising options. This really helps keep your book selling. My books are two, three, and four years old. For most authors, older books tend to get stale and don't sell as many copies as newer books. (Of course, the big named authors will continue to sell older books.) These new Amazon Ads have really rejuvenated sales for my books.

 

Pricing:

Since you get to set the price of your book, you control the amount you will make for each book sold. Amazon takes a healthy chunk of the revenue. You get 70% of digital revenue and about 55% of paperback revenue. You'll likely get more money per book sold than you would if you went the traditional route.

 

All in all, it's pretty easy to self-publish. For me, the toughest part was editing. My wife was my editor. She's a wonderful editor, but it can put a strain on your relationship.  ;)  My suggestion would be to get a professional editor and a professional book cover designer. This makes for a bit of a cash outlay. So that's the real difference between traditional and self-publishing. With the latter, you are responsible for everything, including marketing. Going the traditional route, you submit the manuscript, they do the rest.

 

Hope that helps.

 

David

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That does help...  Could you give me ballparks for how much an editor and cover designer cost? All in all, would these 3 books allow you to leave your day job? Or the residuals allow you to get a nice dinner each month.

 

If you don't want to disclose it in a large forum, would you private message me? I'm just fascinated about the concept.

 

 

An editor probably would run about $1,000 USD

Book cover about $250 to $500

 

Assuming a $1,500 initial outlay...  if you're making $3 per book, it will take just 500 book sales to cover your costs.

 

Book sales...  while I won't get into specifics, you hear about people quitting their day job all the time. If you are writing fiction, and are writing a series of book, and you are writing on a topic that has a following, and people start buying your book, you could quit your day job.  There are Facebook groups dedicated to such successful authors.

 

Conversely, if (like me) you write about topics which only a few people are interested in reading about (ALTHOUGH THEY ALL SHOULD! ;-) ); topics like investing for people who know nothing about investing, then you might not end up making enough to quit your day job. But yes, a nice dinner every month, for sure.

 

There are many people making money writing about niche topics and some make a nice living.

 

Feel free to ask anything else

 

David

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Getting ready to do this myself.  Self-publishing is the way to go.  You write the book in Word and then a few clicks later it's published.

 

I have an editor who I work with on other material, he's working with me on this material.

 

I also have a following that has indicated interest in the subject matter.  There aren't any books targeting what I wrote about either.

 

With that said I have zero delusions that I can make any serious money on this.  My goal is to sell a few thousand copies, if I were to even sell 1,000 that'd be successful.  Something like 80% or 90% of self-published authors fail to sell more than a few hundred books.

 

I look at a book as the best business card you can have.  Createspace allows the author to buy the book essentially at Amazon's cut.  Amazon still gets their pound of flesh, but that's it.  My plan is to buy boxes of books and hand them out like candy.  Another long-game idea is to work with colleges.  I read about this strategy and I am thinking of trying it.  What you do is advertise to college professors.  You tell them that if they have their class read it you'll speak (via skype or in person if it's local) for free.  This is a long game because you're making yourself known to people who aren't professionals yet.  But it's the same reason that Microsoft gave out (gives) Office to college kids for $10.  They become hooked for life.

 

Have you written the book yet?  It's quite the undertaking.  I write a lot.  I have a blog (username.com) where I've written over 2,000 pages of material.  I have a newsletter that's another 600 pages.  And yet writing 200 specific and focused pages about a single topic was difficult.  It's difficult because you need to be mindful of the flow over the entire book.  You can't write it at once, you need to write it in pieces.  It's hard to build the flow, cross reference other things and move the narrative forward.  This is where an editor is excellent, they help with this.

 

What do you plan on writing about?

 

I'll end with a fun publishing story.  I was on a plane a few months back sitting on the aisle row.  There was a man at the window engrossed in some book.  The book didn't seem to fit him, i.e. it was a pop-ish looking book, and he looked like a 50 yr old engineer.  A woman sat in the middle seat.  About halfway through the flight she took out some book, started to read it.  The man at the window kept looking over at her.  Once the flight landed and we were waiting to exit he said "Do you like that book?"  She responded "I do, surprisingly."  And he said "I'm the publisher.  I didn't think it would sell but we took a chance on it.  It's surprised me."  They talked about some story line point that was iffy for him and that was it.  It made sense why the book he was reading didn't fit him, he wasn't reading for pleasure, but likely evaluating new material.  It was a fun encounter.

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Getting ready to do this myself.  Self-publishing is the way to go.  You write the book in Word and then a few clicks later it's published.

 

I have an editor who I work with on other material, he's working with me on this material.

 

I also have a following that has indicated interest in the subject matter.  There aren't any books targeting what I wrote about either.

 

With that said I have zero delusions that I can make any serious money on this.  My goal is to sell a few thousand copies, if I were to even sell 1,000 that'd be successful.  Something like 80% or 90% of self-published authors fail to sell more than a few hundred books.

 

I look at a book as the best business card you can have.  Createspace allows the author to buy the book essentially at Amazon's cut.  Amazon still gets their pound of flesh, but that's it.  My plan is to buy boxes of books and hand them out like candy.  Another long-game idea is to work with colleges.  I read about this strategy and I am thinking of trying it.  What you do is advertise to college professors.  You tell them that if they have their class read it you'll speak (via skype or in person if it's local) for free.  This is a long game because you're making yourself known to people who aren't professionals yet.  But it's the same reason that Microsoft gave out (gives) Office to college kids for $10.  They become hooked for life.

 

 

Content marketing at its finest!

 

Looking forward to your new release...

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I self-published my book. I wrote about the whole experience on my blog (though I'm Canadian so the process might be a bit different if you're in the US): http://www.holypotato.net/?p=1304

 

A few years on and the book has been modestly successful (almost 2500 sold). It's certainly not quit-my-day-job income. I still haven't even made minimum wage for all the time put in to make it happen (but I spent way more time on it trying to make it good than was needed to just push an early draft out the door, and it's not like I would have used that time much more productively anyway). But enough for pizza a few times a month, or to cover the hard costs of another project.

 

My cost estimates would be in the same ballpark as DW's.

 

Dave Chilton (author of the Wealthy Barber) just put together a video course on self-publishing and it looks really good (can dig up the link if you can't find it through google).

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Fascinating discussion. I haven't kept up with this phenomenon in a few years, and it looks like it has gotten a lot easier.

 

I hope this leads to many great books that wouldn't otherwise have been published. Can only be good for the civilization.

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I used to self-publish with very minimal costs. I designed the cover and proofread the material myself and just bought Scrivener for formatting. Eventually, I used my proceeds from those books to pay for editing for the next ones. Now, I'm using the proceeds from those to pay for many many rounds of editing in the hopes of getting traditionally published.

 

If you're just doing this to make some extra cash, I'd just publish it without an edit (if you write clean.) If not, at least get a copy edit. Rates are usually .004-.006/word for light copy-editing.

 

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Thanks for this thread and those contributing! This is very interesting.

 

I am writing a book and was going to wait till I got a complete first draft before contacting publishers. This thread has inspired me to maybe self-publish.

 

My book is in the genre of popular science. I'll probably have to employ a graphic artist, or get much better at generating figures myself!

 

Even if I never get it published, working on it has been extremely useful. One useful part is thinking of how to explain things to a general audience.

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I have self-published three books on Kindle/Createspace -- these are both Amazon wholly owned subsidiaries.

 

Process:

Over the years, the publishing process has gotten much easier. It's so easy to publish your book on Kindle, you can simply upload your MS Word file. Createspace (for paperbacks) is a little more involved, however, Kindle now lets you publish paperbacks too, so I suspect it might be almost as easy as publishing your digital book, but I don't know as I the Kindle paperback option didn't exist when I wrote my three books.

 

Marketing:

Kindle has recently added advertising options. This really helps keep your book selling. My books are two, three, and four years old. For most authors, older books tend to get stale and don't sell as many copies as newer books. (Of course, the big named authors will continue to sell older books.) These new Amazon Ads have really rejuvenated sales for my books.

 

Pricing:

Since you get to set the price of your book, you control the amount you will make for each book sold. Amazon takes a healthy chunk of the revenue. You get 70% of digital revenue and about 55% of paperback revenue. You'll likely get more money per book sold than you would if you went the traditional route.

 

All in all, it's pretty easy to self-publish. For me, the toughest part was editing. My wife was my editor. She's a wonderful editor, but it can put a strain on your relationship.  ;)  My suggestion would be to get a professional editor and a professional book cover designer. This makes for a bit of a cash outlay. So that's the real difference between traditional and self-publishing. With the latter, you are responsible for everything, including marketing. Going the traditional route, you submit the manuscript, they do the rest.

 

Hope that helps.

 

David

 

Dumb question: How do the percentages compare with what a publisher would typically give you?

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Dumb question: How do the percentages compare with what a publisher would typically give you?

 

Publisher gives you much less, but then you don't pay for editing, marketing, etc. And possibly reach/sales are much higher. Possibly. All depends.

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Dumb question: How do the percentages compare with what a publisher would typically give you?

 

Publisher gives you much less, but then you don't pay for editing, marketing, etc. And possibly reach/sales are much higher. Possibly. All depends.

 

I figured it's much less, but I'm wondering if it's 30% or 15%... or even lower. I also assume you no longer own the copyright?

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Traditional fiction publishers often give ~8% on print and ~25% net on ebooks. (And they get 50-70% of the list price.) Agents usually get 15% if you have one. Amazon gives 70% - delivery fees on KDP for stuff that's priced $2.99-$9.99.

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Getting ready to do this myself.  Self-publishing is the way to go.  You write the book in Word and then a few clicks later it's published.

 

I have an editor who I work with on other material, he's working with me on this material.

 

I also have a following that has indicated interest in the subject matter.  There aren't any books targeting what I wrote about either.

 

With that said I have zero delusions that I can make any serious money on this.  My goal is to sell a few thousand copies, if I were to even sell 1,000 that'd be successful.  Something like 80% or 90% of self-published authors fail to sell more than a few hundred books.

 

I look at a book as the best business card you can have.  Createspace allows the author to buy the book essentially at Amazon's cut.  Amazon still gets their pound of flesh, but that's it.  My plan is to buy boxes of books and hand them out like candy.  Another long-game idea is to work with colleges.  I read about this strategy and I am thinking of trying it.  What you do is advertise to college professors.  You tell them that if they have their class read it you'll speak (via skype or in person if it's local) for free.  This is a long game because you're making yourself known to people who aren't professionals yet.  But it's the same reason that Microsoft gave out (gives) Office to college kids for $10.  They become hooked for life.

 

Have you written the book yet?  It's quite the undertaking.  I write a lot.  I have a blog (username.com) where I've written over 2,000 pages of material.  I have a newsletter that's another 600 pages.  And yet writing 200 specific and focused pages about a single topic was difficult.  It's difficult because you need to be mindful of the flow over the entire book.  You can't write it at once, you need to write it in pieces.  It's hard to build the flow, cross reference other things and move the narrative forward.  This is where an editor is excellent, they help with this.

 

What do you plan on writing about?

 

I'll end with a fun publishing story.  I was on a plane a few months back sitting on the aisle row.  There was a man at the window engrossed in some book.  The book didn't seem to fit him, i.e. it was a pop-ish looking book, and he looked like a 50 yr old engineer.  A woman sat in the middle seat.  About halfway through the flight she took out some book, started to read it.  The man at the window kept looking over at her.  Once the flight landed and we were waiting to exit he said "Do you like that book?"  She responded "I do, surprisingly."  And he said "I'm the publisher.  I didn't think it would sell but we took a chance on it.  It's surprised me."  They talked about some story line point that was iffy for him and that was it.  It made sense why the book he was reading didn't fit him, he wasn't reading for pleasure, but likely evaluating new material.  It was a fun encounter.

 

Whats the book about Nate? I enjoy your writing and could be a future customer.

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