My first week as a published author

When She Was Bad first appeared in the Kindle store on June 12th, so I’ve had a week now to learn a little more about the Kindle Direct publishing experience, good and bad. Here are a few notes on my first week as a published author:

  • I decided to do a ‘soft’ launch and just announce the book’s availability to my Facebook friends and on LinkedIn. I estimated that maybe around fifty people would be interested in buying it, maybe some of them would look at the sample, and maybe a dozen or so would take the plunge and download it (a few may wait for the promised print edition). Then, maybe a handful of them would actually read it reasonably quickly and I’d get enough feedback to eliminate any “distracting errors” (as Amazon calls them) like typos or grammatical boo-boos in a free update I could publish before the end of the month. 
  • “Crowd Proofreading”; maybe I should patent it now...
  • I actually sold over forty copies in the first few days. Which was way beyond my expectation but hardly going to make my fortune.  Sell twenty in a day and you can break (briefly) into the Amazon top 10,000 and the Kindle top 500.
  • Some of the Kindle tools are rubbish. The online Reviewer in particular I can single out as a complete waste of time as it only emulates older Kindle models and Apps. I spent a frustrating couple of hours trying to eliminate blank pages between my chapters that were showing in the Review’s Kindle DX mode. When I finally gave up and just uploaded the HTML file, they were nowhere to be seen!
  • I had to strip out all comments and accept all changes to my Word document before exporting the HTML version, otherwise they appear in the book on the Kindle. Other than that I did nothing clever or particularly technical with the file. (BTW I’m glad I wrote my later drafts with Microsoft Word rather than Google Docs or Apple Pages - it’s in a different league when preparing professional documents.)
  • Kindle publishing is really, really fast. I made my first sale (to Jon Fein in NY - thanks, Jon!) before I realised it was out. I had uploaded the file only thirty minutes earlier.
  • The book looks best in Baskerville on the Kindles and even better on iPads and iPhones.

A number of friends have finished it already and their feedback has been hugely heartening and encouraging. I still find it humbling when I hear that anyone is willing to spend the hours to read my efforts. I also find it somewhat stunning that they say that they’ve enjoyed it so much and are recommending it to their friends, too. Hopefully the Amazon reviews are on their way.
My next step is to finish the update and make that available to all, again via the Kindle store. That will, for now, be my definitive version of the text which I’ll use for the print copies later in the summer.

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! Looking forward to reading When She Was Bad. The last novella I read a few days ago is "The Heroic Slave" by Frederick Douglass.

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