Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

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Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by Lauretta »

Thinking of retiring and if so Iwould like to still be productive and contribute something. Amongst the possibilities, I have thought of self publishing using Amazon, since I have always had at the back of my head the idea of organising one day my thoughts into a book. I thought that self-publishing would avoid the hassle and the stress of finding and dealing with a publisher, and puts you more in control. I have written for journals in the past and found that even though I wasn't explicitly pressured by the editor, I sometimes felt pressure anyway to slightly bend my opinions to fit those of the editor and his friends (probably me being hypersensitive). I get the impression that self-publishing might grant you more independence.
Anyone has done it, perhaps in retirement from their office job, and what were your challenges?
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by flaccidsteele »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:59 am Thinking of retiring and if so Iwould like to still be productive and contribute something. Amongst the possibilities, I have thought of self publishing using Amazon, since I have always had at the back of my head the idea of organising one day my thoughts into a book. I thought that self-publishing would avoid the hassle and the stress of finding and dealing with a publisher, and puts you more in control. I have written for journals in the past and found that even though I wasn't explicitly pressured by the editor, I sometimes felt pressure anyway to slightly bend my opinions to fit those of the editor and his friends (probably me being hypersensitive). I get the impression that self-publishing might grant you more independence.
Anyone has done it, perhaps in retirement from their office job, and what were your challenges?
I just finished self-publishing a book (Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats). I made money before I wrote a single word. This is how...

If your book is a vanity project that you don’t want to promote, don’t care if anyone buys (they won’t), then you can begin right away with KDP

If you actually want to sell a few copies of your book then you need to start promoting the book right away

1) Create a social media following to find people who are interested in what you plan to write. Create daily content. You will quickly learn what your followers like/ignore by what they comment and view

Involve your community in every aspect of your book - your chapter ideas, content ideas, cover ideas, everything. The more your community participates and the more involved/invested they are, the more likely that they will buy your book

Devoted followers become fans. Fans buy books

Respond to all comments/DMs/PMs. Engage them. Ask them what content they’re interested in reading/viewing

2) Set your KDP account to accept pre-orders for your Kindle e-book. Direct your followers to pre-order your book with videos, posts, live streams, and linktree

If your social media followers put down their hard-earned money to pre-order your book, then you’re on the right path

If nobody pre-orders then it’s likely that you’re doing a bad job giving what the market wants or you haven’t built enough trust or goodwill

3) Now that you know there’s money in your book via pre-orders, start writing. There’s no point wasting time with writing a book that you’re unwilling to promote/nobody wants

4) You will need Word (or equivalent), Kindle Create and Grammarly. Write your book in Grammarly. It will correct all your spelling/tense/grammar/mistakes. No need to pay. Simply type your words and keep the error count at 0

Paste the content into Kindle Create. Format it (front matter/table of contents/body/back matter/etc)

Keep a copy in Word just in case you decide to publish outside of the Amazon universe (keep in mind that Amazon is the largest marketplace and will penalize you if you publish elsewhere)

Target book size is 250 pages which is 45k words

Upload the Kindle Create manuscript when done. When launch day hits, the e-books will be automatically delivered to people who pre-ordered and their money will be deposited into your bank account

Technically you’re done at this point. However, it’s a simple process to make your e-book into paperback and audiobook versions so you might as well...

4) Promote the paperback version. Promote the e-book.

5) Take the same manuscript and create a paperback version. KDP prompts you to do this when you open an account to write an e-book anyway

6) Promote the audiobook. Promote the paperback. Promote the e-book.

7) Go to ACX, link your published e-book/paperback and claim ownership as the creator/author and get auditions for narrators to create the audiobook format. Use Royalty Share/Plus so everybody gets paid only when a customer buys it

8) Continue to provide content relevant to your work on social media. Keep promoting those formats and what they bring to the reader/listener. Enroll in KDP promotional/marketing events that will introduce your work to new readership/demographics

OR

You can do it backasswards like most people: write the book in secret. Let nobody know anything. Push it out and watch it sit there with 0 sales. And then spend time trying to promote it into an uncaring world
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by Lauretta »

flaccidsteele wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:39 am
Lauretta wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:59 am Thinking of retiring and if so Iwould like to still be productive and contribute something. Amongst the possibilities, I have thought of self publishing using Amazon, since I have always had at the back of my head the idea of organising one day my thoughts into a book. I thought that self-publishing would avoid the hassle and the stress of finding and dealing with a publisher, and puts you more in control. I have written for journals in the past and found that even though I wasn't explicitly pressured by the editor, I sometimes felt pressure anyway to slightly bend my opinions to fit those of the editor and his friends (probably me being hypersensitive). I get the impression that self-publishing might grant you more independence.
Anyone has done it, perhaps in retirement from their office job, and what were your challenges?
I just finished self-publishing a book (Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats). I made money before I wrote a single word. This is how...

If your book is a vanity project that you don’t want to promote, don’t care if anyone buys (they won’t), then you can begin right away with KDP

If you actually want to sell a few copies of your book then you need to start promoting the book right away

1) Create a social media following to find people who are interested in what you plan to write. Create daily content. You will quickly learn what your followers like/ignore by what they comment and view

Involve your community in every aspect of your book - your chapter ideas, content ideas, cover ideas, everything. The more your community participates and the more involved/invested they are, the more likely that they will buy your book

Devoted followers become fans. Fans buy books

Respond to all comments/DMs/PMs. Engage them. Ask them what content they’re interested in reading/viewing

2) Set your KDP account to accept pre-orders for your Kindle e-book. Direct your followers to pre-order your book with videos, posts, live streams, and linktree

If your social media followers put down their hard-earned money to pre-order your book, then you’re on the right path

If nobody pre-orders then it’s likely that you’re doing a bad job giving what the market wants or you haven’t built enough trust or goodwill

3) Now that you know there’s money in your book via pre-orders, start writing. There’s no point wasting time with writing a book that you’re unwilling to promote/nobody wants

4) You will need Word (or equivalent), Kindle Create and Grammarly. Write your book in Grammarly. It will correct all your spelling/tense/grammar/mistakes. No need to pay. Simply type your words and keep the error count at 0

Paste the content into Kindle Create. Format it (front matter/table of contents/body/back matter/etc)

Keep a copy in Word just in case you decide to publish outside of the Amazon universe (keep in mind that Amazon is the largest marketplace and will penalize you if you publish elsewhere)

Target book size is 250 pages which is 45k words

Upload the Kindle Create manuscript when done. When launch day hits, the e-books will be automatically delivered to people who pre-ordered and their money will be deposited into your bank account

Technically you’re done at this point. However, it’s a simple process to make your e-book into paperback and audiobook versions so you might as well...

4) Promote the paperback version. Promote the e-book.

5) Take the same manuscript and create a paperback version. KDP prompts you to do this when you open an account to write an e-book anyway

6) Promote the audiobook. Promote the paperback. Promote the e-book.

7) Go to ACX, link your published e-book/paperback and claim ownership as the creator/author and get auditions for narrators to create the audiobook format. Use Royalty Share/Plus so everybody gets paid only when a customer buys it

8) Continue to provide content relevant to your work on social media. Keep promoting those formats and what they bring to the reader/listener. Enroll in KDP promotional/marketing events that will introduce your work to new readership/demographics

OR

You can do it backasswards like most people: write the book in secret. Let nobody know anything. Push it out and watch it sit there with 0 sales. And then spend time trying to promote it into an uncaring world
WOW! Plenty of valuable advice there thanks! Great guidance to get started, since although I've often thought about it in very vague terms, it's only this morning that I've begun considering it seriously.
Concerning social media, I don't use FB and I use Twitter mainly to follow interesting people. It's also a question of style, I tend to prefer to develop ideas in a long piece, rather than being liited by Twitter's word count limit.
So I thought of creating a blog. What do you think? I have literally just started investigating this (I think at the same time you were writing your message!) and just found the website wix which offers free websites. Is that a good idea? I thought it might because you have nothing to lose. On the other hand I listened to some talks by Rory Sutherland who says that if you don't present your product with something costly it might not work (e.g. if you send a wedding invitation by email it feels less serious than on expensive paper). So what do you think? More generally, any tips on the best way to create a social media following?
In a way this DIY approach is more challenging than being a job were you have people giving all sort of support in different areas, but it could be fun!!
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

I self published a book over a decade ago. I did it on a dare from my daughter and out of curiosity. I sold enough copies to buy a few (cheap) meals, and made a few friends who contacted me after reading.

Also on a dare, I tried writing it in Apple Pages. Not fit for this purpose. Stick with MS Word.

Formatting text and photos for Amazon publication is a breeze.

Have fun.

I looked it up, and an old copy is selling for almost $1000, clearly with no hope of selling. Sometimes algorithmic price setting fails.
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by FBanks »

flaccidsteele wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:39 am
Lauretta wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:59 am Thinking of retiring and if so Iwould like to still be productive and contribute something. Amongst the possibilities, I have thought of self publishing using Amazon, since I have always had at the back of my head the idea of organising one day my thoughts into a book. I thought that self-publishing would avoid the hassle and the stress of finding and dealing with a publisher, and puts you more in control. I have written for journals in the past and found that even though I wasn't explicitly pressured by the editor, I sometimes felt pressure anyway to slightly bend my opinions to fit those of the editor and his friends (probably me being hypersensitive). I get the impression that self-publishing might grant you more independence.
Anyone has done it, perhaps in retirement from their office job, and what were your challenges?
I just finished self-publishing a book (Kindle, paperback and audiobook formats). I made money before I wrote a single word. This is how...

If your book is a vanity project that you don’t want to promote, don’t care if anyone buys (they won’t), then you can begin right away with KDP

If you actually want to sell a few copies of your book then you need to start promoting the book right away

1) Create a social media following to find people who are interested in what you plan to write. Create daily content. You will quickly learn what your followers like/ignore by what they comment and view

Involve your community in every aspect of your book - your chapter ideas, content ideas, cover ideas, everything. The more your community participates and the more involved/invested they are, the more likely that they will buy your book

Devoted followers become fans. Fans buy books

Respond to all comments/DMs/PMs. Engage them. Ask them what content they’re interested in reading/viewing

2) Set your KDP account to accept pre-orders for your Kindle e-book. Direct your followers to pre-order your book with videos, posts, live streams, and linktree

If your social media followers put down their hard-earned money to pre-order your book, then you’re on the right path

If nobody pre-orders then it’s likely that you’re doing a bad job giving what the market wants or you haven’t built enough trust or goodwill

3) Now that you know there’s money in your book via pre-orders, start writing. There’s no point wasting time with writing a book that you’re unwilling to promote/nobody wants

4) You will need Word (or equivalent), Kindle Create and Grammarly. Write your book in Grammarly. It will correct all your spelling/tense/grammar/mistakes. No need to pay. Simply type your words and keep the error count at 0

Paste the content into Kindle Create. Format it (front matter/table of contents/body/back matter/etc)

Keep a copy in Word just in case you decide to publish outside of the Amazon universe (keep in mind that Amazon is the largest marketplace and will penalize you if you publish elsewhere)

Target book size is 250 pages which is 45k words

Upload the Kindle Create manuscript when done. When launch day hits, the e-books will be automatically delivered to people who pre-ordered and their money will be deposited into your bank account

Technically you’re done at this point. However, it’s a simple process to make your e-book into paperback and audiobook versions so you might as well...

4) Promote the paperback version. Promote the e-book.

5) Take the same manuscript and create a paperback version. KDP prompts you to do this when you open an account to write an e-book anyway

6) Promote the audiobook. Promote the paperback. Promote the e-book.

7) Go to ACX, link your published e-book/paperback and claim ownership as the creator/author and get auditions for narrators to create the audiobook format. Use Royalty Share/Plus so everybody gets paid only when a customer buys it

8) Continue to provide content relevant to your work on social media. Keep promoting those formats and what they bring to the reader/listener. Enroll in KDP promotional/marketing events that will introduce your work to new readership/demographics

OR

You can do it backasswards like most people: write the book in secret. Let nobody know anything. Push it out and watch it sit there with 0 sales. And then spend time trying to promote it into an uncaring world
Wow, this is super thorough and helpful!
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by Lauretta »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:23 am
I looked it up, and an old copy is selling for almost $1000, clearly with no hope of selling. Sometimes algorithmic price setting fails.
:D you never know! Do they have algorithmic buying perhaps? Btw I on a different note, but still on the subject of weird things happening, I once discovered (through my brother) that my PhD thesis appears as a book on Amazon, though it says it is out of stock. Not suprised as I made a handful of copies for my department and myself, and I never even thought of selling it as a book§ Still my brother asked me: 'why didn't you ever tell me you wrote a book?§' I don't know why it appears on Amazon. Some weird things happening :D :D
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (self-publishing).
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by flaccidsteele »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:31 am WOW! Plenty of valuable advice there thanks! Great guidance to get started, since although I've often thought about it in very vague terms, it's only this morning that I've begun considering it seriously.
Concerning social media, I don't use FB and I use Twitter mainly to follow interesting people. It's also a question of style, I tend to prefer to develop ideas in a long piece, rather than being liited by Twitter's word count limit.
So I thought of creating a blog. What do you think? I have literally just started investigating this (I think at the same time you were writing your message!) and just found the website wix which offers free websites. Is that a good idea? I thought it might because you have nothing to lose. On the other hand I listened to some talks by Rory Sutherland who says that if you don't present your product with something costly it might not work (e.g. if you send a wedding invitation by email it feels less serious than on expensive paper). So what do you think? More generally, any tips on the best way to create a social media following?
In a way this DIY approach is more challenging than being a job were you have people giving all sort of support in different areas, but it could be fun!!
You’re welcome! Send me a PM. There’s a lot to say and my fingers are already tired from typing lol
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by millennialmillions »

Just self-published my first book with Amazon, and it's been a simple process. flaccidsteele has some excellent advice. I only have a couple additional tidbits to offer.
  • One advantage of self-publishing is that you can test and change everything. Before publishing my book, I used Google and Facebook ads to test different titles, subtitles, book covers, and descriptions. This let me objectively know which of these would be more popular and get more purchases. Much better than just asking family and friends which they like.
  • Self-publishing doesn't mean you have to do everything yourself. While using Grammarly will catch obvious grammatical errors, it won't go beyond that to improve your writing style, suggest additional content, or call out confusing/boring parts of the book. I used a few friends as beta readers but also paid a professional line editor. Additionally, I used Fiverr to purchase 10 cheap covers and tested to see which would get the most purchases rather than making my own cover.
Best of luck!
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by dual »

Jeff Duntemann is a self published writer with a lot of experience. He writes this on Twitter versus a blog for publicizing his books: (contra is contrapositive diary his blog)

1. More people are on Twitter than cruise blog posts. By posting on Twitter, I make more people aware of me than I do when I post things here on Contra. Every time I tweet a link to one of my books, I sell a few copies.
2. It’s one of the most gruesomely fascinating phenomena to come out of tech since the Web itself, thirty years ago:

I generally lurk, but occasionally I join a Twitter rumble to watch how it all unfolds. I never stoop to profanity or unhinged emoting. Here and there I have politely called a few people on their BS. In doing so I made an observation that bears on today’s entry: When I get involved in a ruckus, my follower count goes up. When I just post odd lots, my follower count decays. The reason is simple: Twitter has made itself into a sort of deranged video game.

Teergrubing Twitter – Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary
http://www.contrapositivediary.com/?p=4395
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by xb7 »

Interesting to me that the couple of responses so far are all about how to sell the book and nothing about how to make it a book that's worth buying.

I published a book on Amazon, lo a few years ago now. Just the one, and it wasn't about making money. I had something to say --- non-fiction. I ultimately did a little gentle promotion in the limited sort of sub-community in which this book had a place. And I made more money from it than I expected. But I definitely wasn't looking to sort of crank out books in volume in the hope of making a lot of money.

A prior response said that it was easy. I found the technical aspect of getting the book formatted correctly to be a bit of a challenge, and I'm a fairly techy guy. I didn't pay any service or buy any tools to render this in kindle format, I just read Amazon's stuff on it at the time and figured it out as I went. But there are a lot of aspects to get right, such as putting in photos/illustrations in a way that will look good and be accepted. Testing on different formats (phone, tablet, computer). Getting multiple people to proof-read, and then having a somewhat thick skin to not take the feedback as a personal attack, but use it to refine and improve the text. Or if objectively needed, go back and significantly rewrite or even rework a portion. Just getting the cover art right was something to mull over and tweak. Testing live reference links. I personally advise having (a) reviewer(s) for the early drafts, then final draft, and then all over again when it's in actual kindle format and being read in that way.

I think that many (most?) of us have the idea in the back of our minds that writing is easy, that "If I just set my hand to it", I could be a great and interesting writer. I've not tried fiction, I stuck to something I know very well. And I think that's likely easier (IF you know your topic well). Even then, you have to convey it to people in a way that is useful and meaningful to them.

I'm definitely not trying to discourage would-be authors. Despite my experience of it not being as easy as I would have guessed, it turned out to be a very positive experience for me (but still --- there will always be at least a few negative reviews, so be emotionally ready for those ...).

But. I tried "Kindle Unlimited" for a goodly while and read a lot of stuff on there. My sense is that there are just a ton of books out now that just aren't worth reading. Would-be authors who have not bothered to try to hone their craft, or in many cases, even to do basic things like ensure that there are no spelling errors. And every one knows that they must market their wares, so it's not easy to break out and get a market with so much content out there.

I would really encourage would-be authors to spend more effort in making sure that they have a quality product to offer. IMO, figuring out the marketing aspect can and should wait until there's something worth marketing.

I DON'T aim these remarks at any others on this thread who have published an eBook, just at a lot of stuff I've read (or at least started to read!) that's "out there".
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by flaccidsteele »

^ by promoting yourself and the content you have in mind, the market will quickly tell you if your book will be wanted

Don’t worry, if you try to promote it and nobody wants it you don’t have to write it. The market will give you advance warning that it doesn’t care. You can then decide if you want to spend the next few months or years of your Life to write a book for your own personal development

Perfect English and pretty diagrams are a waste of time if nobody cares to read it (unless it’s just a personal vanity project)

Personally, I only wrote my book after my followers told me that they wanted it AND they backed up their words with enough pre-orders for me to decide to do it. I’m not interested in giving the market what it doesn’t want. I’d rather do other things
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by Tdubs »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 9:02 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:23 am
I looked it up, and an old copy is selling for almost $1000, clearly with no hope of selling. Sometimes algorithmic price setting fails.
:D you never know! Do they have algorithmic buying perhaps? Btw I on a different note, but still on the subject of weird things happening, I once discovered (through my brother) that my PhD thesis appears as a book on Amazon, though it says it is out of stock. Not suprised as I made a handful of copies for my department and myself, and I never even thought of selling it as a book§ Still my brother asked me: 'why didn't you ever tell me you wrote a book?§' I don't know why it appears on Amazon. Some weird things happening :D :D
There are "publishing" houses that scarf up anything without a copyright and put it out on Kindle or paper. Government reports that can be easily obtained for free from the agency are sold for $40 as a paperback "book."
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by clemrick »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:23 am I looked it up, and an old copy is selling for almost $1000, clearly with no hope of selling. Sometimes algorithmic price setting fails.
Money laundering???? I am waiting for a big FBI case to break and disclose that they were using insane prices on Amazon as the way to launder money.

"Want some coke? Buy this book on Amazon and it will be delivered in a hour."
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

clemrick wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:46 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:23 am I looked it up, and an old copy is selling for almost $1000, clearly with no hope of selling. Sometimes algorithmic price setting fails.
Money laundering???? I am waiting for a big FBI case to break and disclose that they were using insane prices on Amazon as the way to launder money.

"Want some coke? Buy this book on Amazon and it will be delivered in a hour."
That’s more likely than the thought that someone, a decade after the book would have timely information, would have a spare thousand to throw its way.

Interesting thoughts.
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by gretah »

OP - what do you want to get out of writing a book?

Do you have something you want to share? Do you want to make money? Or is a personal project - like stories from you family and ancestors and use Amazon to print and distribute the books? If yes, to the latter, you'll be spending lots of time on marketing - just as people have posted above.

I've written several non-fiction books. Some published by Lightning Press and Random House, some I self-published on Amazon. Some of my books were to make money, some were just to get the word on topics and I wanted to be helpful. I used to like the marketing aspect but I've grown tired of it. Now I just publish "how to" books to be helpful and make a bit of passive income.

I'm low tech and I found the Kindle instructions to be hard to follow at times. Then I looked to YouTube and found the answers I needed.

Good luck!
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by Cruise »

flaccidsteele wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:24 pm ^ by promoting yourself and the content you have in mind, the market will quickly tell you if your book will be wanted

Don’t worry, if you try to promote it and nobody wants it you don’t have to write it. The market will give you advance warning that it doesn’t care. You can then decide if you want to spend the next few months or years of your Life to write a book for your own personal development

Perfect English and pretty diagrams are a waste of time if nobody cares to read it (unless it’s just a personal vanity project)

Personally, I only wrote my book after my followers told me that they wanted it AND they backed up their words with enough pre-orders for me to decide to do it. I’m not interested in giving the market what it doesn’t want. I’d rather do other things
How many hours of blogging/market testing did it take you before you decided to write the book? Did you spend more time doing your marketing or writing the book?

Thanks.
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Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by flaccidsteele »

Cruise wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:48 pm
flaccidsteele wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:24 pm ^ by promoting yourself and the content you have in mind, the market will quickly tell you if your book will be wanted

Don’t worry, if you try to promote it and nobody wants it you don’t have to write it. The market will give you advance warning that it doesn’t care. You can then decide if you want to spend the next few months or years of your Life to write a book for your own personal development

Perfect English and pretty diagrams are a waste of time if nobody cares to read it (unless it’s just a personal vanity project)

Personally, I only wrote my book after my followers told me that they wanted it AND they backed up their words with enough pre-orders for me to decide to do it. I’m not interested in giving the market what it doesn’t want. I’d rather do other things
How many hours of blogging/market testing did it take you before you decided to write the book? Did you spend more time doing your marketing or writing the book?

Thanks.
8 months on this journey

I didn’t have a specific plan to write a book

Decided to go on social media/try something new in retirement

Decided to talk about investing since I’ve been investing since the 1990s

Recorded ~3,15-60 second videos per day

In retrospect if my plan was to write a book instead of trying social media, I would’ve made 10 videos a day. The videos are short. It’s no extra effort to make 10 videos as opposed to 3. I would’ve learned more about what my followers wanted and sooner

After ~4 months and 15k followers, viewers started asking for specific information/video compilation in a book

I made an account on KDP and set up a e-book for pre-order

Told followers that they should pre-order my book. I set a launch date 4 months hence. In retrospect I didn’t know that this was horribly short and many authors set pre-orders 1-2 years out

I had to learn how to write again (I haven’t written anything of note since university), use Grammarly, use Kindle Create, make a book cover, etc.

Followers gave me ideas for a lot content that I wouldn’t have considered

My book launched this month

NB: The better I understood what the market wanted, the better for the book. This wasn’t obvious to me back then, but it’s obvious to me now

Some content that I thought was important got little or no traction, while other throw-away video ideas went viral. I was perturbed at this at first, but it’s actually a blessing. The market was speaking to me and it helped direct my attention and ideas for future videos

I re-made videos that I liked (that flopped) to make sure the market didn’t want it. Maybe I wasn’t clear or didn’t phrase it in a way that put the viewers needs first

I did the same with the throw-away viral videos - re-made them to see if the topic was actually popular with the viewers

It was a lot of trial and error. If nothing else, a few things improved:

1. Getting over being self-conscious of what viewers thought of me. Over time I realized that viewers just want information that is entertaining, useful, and interesting to their situation

2. Speaking concisely and getting my point across quickly (15-60 seconds isn’t very long)

3. Coming up with ideas. The more content I put out, the easier it became to put out content. It was as if my brain became better at coming up with ideas. Not right away, but with repetition ideas started flowing better

I started getting PM from followers. I answered them all and engaged them to find out how I could best help them. They all had different concerns and situations. Those that reach out will become your biggest fans and pre-order customers

NB2: I’m 100% certain that a person who writes a book for the first time has absolutely no idea what their target reader wants to read. I was often surprised what my followers liked/disliked. Use social media to find out. It’s free access to your target customer

NB3: I’ve learned that most people who decide to write a book is like the vendor in this video 🤣
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
flaccidsteele
Posts: 981
Joined: Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:42 pm
Location: Canada

Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by flaccidsteele »

Lauretta wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 2:31 am WOW! Plenty of valuable advice there thanks! Great guidance to get started, since although I've often thought about it in very vague terms, it's only this morning that I've begun considering it seriously.
Concerning social media, I don't use FB and I use Twitter mainly to follow interesting people. It's also a question of style, I tend to prefer to develop ideas in a long piece, rather than being liited by Twitter's word count limit.
So I thought of creating a blog. What do you think? I have literally just started investigating this (I think at the same time you were writing your message!) and just found the website wix which offers free websites. Is that a good idea? I thought it might because you have nothing to lose. On the other hand I listened to some talks by Rory Sutherland who says that if you don't present your product with something costly it might not work (e.g. if you send a wedding invitation by email it feels less serious than on expensive paper). So what do you think? More generally, any tips on the best way to create a social media following?
In a way this DIY approach is more challenging than being a job were you have people giving all sort of support in different areas, but it could be fun!!
1. TikTok and 2. Instagram are the best platforms for getting quick and massive feedback on your ideas right now imo

It’s not even close

As someone who is new to social media, it’s insane to me how these valuable tools are free
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat
Cruise
Posts: 978
Joined: Mon Nov 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by Cruise »

flaccidsteele wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:22 pm
Cruise wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:48 pm
flaccidsteele wrote: Sat Sep 12, 2020 1:24 pm ^ by promoting yourself and the content you have in mind, the market will quickly tell you if your book will be wanted

Don’t worry, if you try to promote it and nobody wants it you don’t have to write it. The market will give you advance warning that it doesn’t care. You can then decide if you want to spend the next few months or years of your Life to write a book for your own personal development

Perfect English and pretty diagrams are a waste of time if nobody cares to read it (unless it’s just a personal vanity project)

Personally, I only wrote my book after my followers told me that they wanted it AND they backed up their words with enough pre-orders for me to decide to do it. I’m not interested in giving the market what it doesn’t want. I’d rather do other things
How many hours of blogging/market testing did it take you before you decided to write the book? Did you spend more time doing your marketing or writing the book?

Thanks.
8 months on this journey

I didn’t have a specific plan to write a book

Decided to go on social media/try something new in retirement

Decided to talk about investing since I’ve been investing since the 1990s

Recorded ~3,15-60 second videos per day

In retrospect if my plan was to write a book instead of trying social media, I would’ve made 10 videos a day. The videos are short. It’s no extra effort to make 10 videos as opposed to 3. I would’ve learned more about what my followers wanted and sooner

After ~4 months and 15k followers, viewers started asking for specific information/video compilation in a book

I made an account on KDP and set up a e-book for pre-order

Told followers that they should pre-order my book. I set a launch date 4 months hence. In retrospect I didn’t know that this was horribly short and many authors set pre-orders 1-2 years out

I had to learn how to write again (I haven’t written anything of note since university), use Grammarly, use Kindle Create, make a book cover, etc.

Followers gave me ideas for a lot content that I wouldn’t have considered

My book launched this month

NB: The better I understood what the market wanted, the better for the book. This wasn’t obvious to me back then, but it’s obvious to me now

Some content that I thought was important got little or no traction, while other throw-away video ideas went viral. I was perturbed at this at first, but it’s actually a blessing. The market was speaking to me and it helped direct my attention and ideas for future videos

I re-made videos that I liked (that flopped) to make sure the market didn’t want it. Maybe I wasn’t clear or didn’t phrase it in a way that put the viewers needs first

I did the same with the throw-away viral videos - re-made them to see if the topic was actually popular with the viewers

It was a lot of trial and error. If nothing else, a few things improved:

1. Getting over being self-conscious of what viewers thought of me. Over time I realized that viewers just want information that is entertaining, useful, and interesting to their situation

2. Speaking concisely and getting my point across quickly (15-60 seconds isn’t very long)

3. Coming up with ideas. The more content I put out, the easier it became to put out content. It was as if my brain became better at coming up with ideas. Not right away, but with repetition ideas started flowing better

I started getting PM from followers. I answered them all and engaged them to find out how I could best help them. They all had different concerns and situations. Those that reach out will become your biggest fans and pre-order customers

NB2: I’m 100% certain that a person who writes a book for the first time has absolutely no idea what their target reader wants to read. I was often surprised what my followers liked/disliked. Use social media to find out. It’s free access to your target customer

NB3: I’ve learned that most people who decide to write a book is like the vendor in this video 🤣
Very interesting. Thanks for your explanation.
notPatience
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Mar 24, 2008 2:46 pm

Re: Anyone tried self-publishing with Amazon? If so can you share your experience?

Post by notPatience »

I’ve been an indie pubbed fiction author since 2010, making my living at it since 2011. I was also traditionally published for many years until going all-in indie in 2015.

Are you looking at a career (including a second career in retirement) or a one-off? Fiction or non-fiction? Those answers make a huge difference.

If you are looking at a career as a fiction writer, I recommend:
--Start a book. If you’ve never written and discover you don’t enjoy the process, run.
--Finish a book. Even if it’s excrement. You learn a tremendous amount by finishing a book.
--Secure editing beyond Grammarly.
--The Creative Penn podcast with Joanna Penn. It covers many aspects of business and craft. Also get her free book Self-Publishing 101.
--Self-Publishing Formula podcast with Mark Dawson. He also offers courses. They are much better than most. However, I’d make sure you’re committed to this before investing in them.
--Not limiting yourself to Kindle. Also publish at Barnes and Noble (Nook), Apple, Google, and Kobo. (If the tech aspects of formatting/uploading daunt you, I recommend Draft2Digital as a distributor. They do take a percentage of each sale.)
--Start a second book. Finish a second book.
--If anyone or any program promises to make you a bestseller, run.
--Being wary. Scammers abound, battening off hopeful authors. Do your due diligence. The good news is a tremendous amount of good free information is out there. Explore multiple sources. Apply critical thinking to all. Particularly be wary of those who don’t “do,” but sell products telling other people how-to.
--Start a third book. Finish a third book. Especially if you are interested in genre fiction, a series is exponentially easier to market.

Know that there are many ways to succeed – or to fail – in self-publishing.

@flaccidsteele says to follow his method or sell 0 books.

I don’t. I write what I’m going to write, then I look for an audience. (Two places we overlap: I often do pre-orders and I use Word.) Yet I have multiple USA Today bestsellers among my indie books.

His is one business model. There are many others. You get to follow one you like or create your own – and you can change it later.

P.S. Be aware on the ACX royalty share program that ACX says it’s a seven-year commitment. Not exactly. Because, at the end of the seven years and forevermore, the narrator retains the right to half of the earnings of that production and can block you from taking that production to other distributors, unless you can negotiate a new deal with the narrator. Also be aware that ACX has changed terms and provisions with little forewarning and that Audible is now urging users to return books after reading them. When that happens, Audible keeps the listener’s monthly fee, but takes back the author’s (and narrator’s, if it’s an R/S production) earnings. So Audible still makes money on the listener, but the author/narrator get $0 for a book listened to, then returned without cause. Many, many authors reporting sharply increased "returns" and drops in earnings.
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