Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My review of self-published e-book programs:

As many of you aspiring writers probably(hopefully) know, Amazon will allow you to publish your work to their e-reader platform for free, let you set the price, and offers a 50% royalty. This has, predictably, flooded the market with a bunch of really crappy e-books.

People don’t tend to think twice about spending a dollar or two on something, so it works out well. Unfortunately, this is the sort of thing that cheapens all of literature. Professionally produced and edited books just can’t compete, traditional publishers are going out of business, and the reader is stuck with a massive pile of terrible e-books that really didn’t seem like they cost that much at the time.

Well, in an effort to see both sides of the fence, I’m publishing an e-book! My kindle is sadly busted, so I’ll be counting on some other kindle owners to test it out for me.

I’ve already got a book in mind: a throwaway novel titled “Epic”. I loved the story enough to write the whole thing, but apparently not enough to painstakingly edit and expand it. So now it’s destined to become a cheap e-book!

I’ve already started the process of releasing Epic through Amazon’s CreateSpace, so now I guess its time to finish the process of turning it into an e-book. For added promotional value, I’ve tacked the first chapter of Author of the Gust and the first story from The Concourse to Victory onto the end of Epic; we’ll see where that goes.

Its called Kindle Direct Publishing, and you can find a link on Amazon’s main page, though you might be better off punching the name into a search engine. You will need to have an Amazon account already present, and the KDP will want some extra personal information. Things like your legal name and social security number, in other words things that help them pay you.

Keeping in mind that KDP is free, you get exactly what you pay for: you get to format the book yourself using poorly-built tools and incomplete documentation. Now, I have a background in graphic design and know a few things about page layout and formatting. Basically, I am not completely in the dark. For the rest of you, well, you are going to have more than a small amount of difficulty with KDP.

I’ll give that the instructions really aren’t all that bad. You can do it all in Microsoft Word and rather than kludge together their own directions, the fine folks at Amazon have helpfully linked to the appropriate knowledge base article.

In all the process is mostly harmless. Amazon allows you to set royalty rates and determine prices. Since Epic was basically a throwaway I kept the costs low($1.07, in case you were interested). At that price I stand to make about $0.35, not that I expect anyone to actually buy it.

Anyway, the book should become available on CreateSpace and Kindle at around the same time. Up next: Nook and Sony E-Reader publications!

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