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Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Highs and Lows of KDP Select

KDP – Publishing for the Masses
by
Bella Harte
Ever the Optimist

Since the inception of KPD, Amazons own publishing platform, the book publishing world has been transformed forever.  Kindles are the new paperback according to some schools of thought, but whether that is actually the case or not, the fact remains that eBooks are a very strong contender in the future of publishing.


Essentially, Pandora’s Box has been opened in the digital publishing world and the lid is not going back on any time soon, if ever.  What this means is that anyone can now write and publish anything at all.  Gone are the days of the dreaded ‘Vanity Publishing’ known as the Kiss of Death within the industry for any unsuspecting author unfortunate enough to get caught in its clutches.  The new and much more user friendly term is indie author for those that choose to go it alone and take their writing career in their own hands.
Getting a Literary Agent and/or Publisher today, is nearly an impossible task unless you are one of the very fortunate few whose timing is beyond perfectly sublime: -  the right pitch, to the right agent/publisher, at precisely the right time. Take Stephanie Meyer and her immensely popular Twilight Series for instance, she is the perfect example of this particular scenario.  However, this for the majority is not the case and the reality is;  a manuscript in the slush pile waiting to be returned with a standard rejection letter.

As any writer knows, this can go on for years, until there’s no-one left to pitch to. Then what? All that time toiled.  The blood, the sweat and the tears for years to end up back in Nowheresville with a novel you’ve poured your heart and soul into.  It can be soul destroying for those who take rejection poorly, and even for those made of sterner stuff, it can be an unpleasant experience.  But the true hard-core writers never give in.
The good news is, now that KDP is alive and kicking, there’s no need to spend endless amounts of time or even years pitching to people who are unappreciative of your work and can take months to send you that crushing blow.  At this point in time, you can dive right in and just publish your masterpiece with a simple click of a mouse (well a little more than that, but you get the picture).  With a little help from an experienced editor to spruce up your prose, someone to design a cover if you are artistically challenged and you are pretty much good to go.  A book can be live and for sale on Amazon within 24hrs, how cool is that? 
Awesome!

But then what?  How do you get sales and your name in lights with no big mainstream publishing marketing team behind you and a budget to match?  This is the not so fun part, the majorly time consuming part – Self Marketing.   You suddenly become not only the author, but the marketing team, constant self-promoter and the single driving force behind your novel. 

There are firms you can pay, but from what I’ve seen this isn’t always a good idea, some are akin to sharks circling, much like the Vanity Publishers of old, filling your mind with delicious promises of untold riches and wild successes and it’s only going to cost you ’XXXX’ amount of £’s or $’s to reach that superstar status you crave. 

Unfortunately, usually the sad reality of that scenario is a lot of money changes hands and the author is left drifting in a sea of novels and they are absolutely no better off than when they started out on their marketing campaign.
  
Author Bella Harte
There is a neat little trick that can be used to help promote your sales and profile within the KDP Select Programme.  Which is the ‘Give-Away’ to help boost your profile among the Amazon rankings:-  Out of every 3 month period, you can offer your novel free for 5 days (these don’t have to be consecutive days either).  While this may be a good idea as it gets your ratings up and everyone loves something for free, someone that may have paid full price for your novel might be quite miffed.    I don’t really see this as too much of a problem if your novel is reasonably priced to start with, but if you’re asking a high price then drop it to zero on a promotion; it could have the potential to backfire with your regular fans.


Also, the one of the major pitfalls of publishing this way is that everyone can do it, which means there’s a real good mixture of wheat and chaff.  Sorting through this veritable book mountain which is growing on a daily basis is nigh on impossible. So the only semi-reliable way to find the ‘wheat’ is by the customer reviews, however even this is not a fool proof method of guaranteeing a great read.  You can’t please all of the readers all of the time. Some may love your work, others may hate it.  There may be wonderful reviews and at times there may be reviews you wish you could throw a match at!  But this is par for the course with all authors, mainstream or indie.   You have to ride out those speed bumps and just keep motoring.

The truth is that being an indie author is not an easy route; it’s not for the faint hearted and certainly not for those that want instant success with little or no effort.  Take the author, Amanda Hocking.  She has to be the single most inspiring indie author of the last few years.  But she spent every minute she possibly could blogging, writing, publishing her novels, connecting with the world on all the media platforms available.  She wrote novels that appealed to a wide audience, she sold them for 99c and after a lot and I mean a lot of work her wring career zoomed into the stratosphere.  So much so, that her sales were at such a staggeringly high point, the mainstream publishing world couldn’t ignore her any longer.  She did get the proverbial goose that laid the golden egg – that amazing publishing deal!

So, sometimes KDP Fairy Tales do come true.  Nevertheless for everyone else, all we can do is keep it real, keep slogging away and hope that what we’ve presented to world doesn’t get panned into the ground and that if we work hard enough, perhaps we can be a lucky as Amanda Hocking.

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The Seraphoenix Saga

Bella Harte
Scarlett Phoenix Blog Tour November 2012
Tour Dates:
1st November ~ www.selfpublishordie.com
9th November ~ www.thoughtsonhigh.com
11th November ~ www.sweetesttaboobook.com
13th November ~  www.rachel-m-hunter.blogspot.com
15th November ~  www.abluemillionbooks.blogspot.com             
17th November ~ www.curseofthebibliophile.blogspot.com
19th November ~ www.cassiesreviewsde-la-mazing.blogspot.co.uk
21st November ~ www.louisewise.com
23rd November ~ www.sarazaske.wordpress.com


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