Friday, June 21, 2013

Publishing my First e-books…What an Experience!

Publishing my first e-books through Kindle Direct Publishing was more work than I ever expected.  Not that the Kindle Direct portion was that difficult, but there were a lot of steps prior to this portion of the publishing process that were involved and that took me plenty of time to work through.

I mean, I guess if I was willing to just slap some stuff together and call it a book; it may not have been all that time consuming.  But seeing as how I wanted an at least halfway presentable finished product, it took me quite a bit of work.

I have to admit though, seeing my finished works up on Amazon and available for purchase to the world, is kind of cool.

Cover Art
Professional cover art can get costly, and since I’m not really sure just how much I’ll be making off my e-books, spending several hundred dollars for cover designs seemed a rather poor investment.  Therefore, I took some time to go through old photos, and even take some new ones to use for my e-book covers. 

Then I utilized the media programs on my computer to modify and enhance these photos.  I altered their look and the pixel dimensions to a book cover-fitting 500 x 768, cropped and cleaned up the pictures, and inserted title and author text, getting the look and feel I wanted for my covers.

It took me a while to figure out how to do this with my initial cover, but once I had the process down, it didn’t take me nearly as long for my second cover, and by the third one, I had it down and had three e-book covers for one great price…free!

Descriptive Overview
Much like the inside jacket cover, the Kindle Direct Publishing site has a place for an overview of the work so that when prospective buyers view the product online, they can get an idea of what my works are about as well as see a brief bio about me.

Finally!  All those query letters and synopses I wrote to publishers and agents paid off!

I was able to take portions of those write-ups and form the descriptive portions to accompany my online works in a concise, yet informative few paragraphs, providing enough information to intrigue a prospective buyer without giving away too much of the plot.

Formatting
I started off thinking that since I wasn’t using a lot of graphics, charts and pictures in my books that I wouldn’t really have any formatting issues.  This wasn’t to be the case though. 

While it wasn’t a complete disaster transferring my works from Microsoft Word over to Kindle Direct’s format, there were a ton of paragraph indentation issues that I had to go back and fix throughout the entirety of my three manuscripts.  While it only added about two extra days to the process, it wasn’t something that I was expecting, yet still had to fix, since otherwise the Kindle versions of my works just didn’t look right.

Setting a Sales Price for My Books
Setting a sales price for my books was also a point of contention with me.  Having spent countless hours on my three projects, I obviously had a lot of time, effort and emotion put into them, which makes my works quite valuable to me.  I fully understand though that the average reader couldn’t care less how difficult it was for me to write, edit and promote a book, and they simply want the best bang for their buck.

Therefore, I had to balance my desire to recognize something monetarily from my efforts, with selling copies of my book in order to grow readership and possibly even a small following of loyal readers for future works.

With Kindle Direct, I could choose from two residual levels – 30 percent of the sales price and 70 percent of the sales price.  To get the higher residual price, I had to set the sale price of my works at $2.99 or higher.  While this might not sound like much, competing with other e-books that are free, 99 cents or $1.99 means that I could be losing market share by going with this relatively higher rate.  Meanwhile, if I went with a $1.99 or an even lower price, I might be gaining readership but cutting myself short in terms of profit.

It was a tough call, but I went with the $2.99 sales price (70 percent of sales residual) for all three of my works, figuring I’d give it a shot, see what happens, and going in fully aware that I could always adjust the price later if I felt it necessary. 

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