Using amazon kindle or other digital means to publish

by Bryan
(Carpenter, Wyoming, USA)

Question: I know this question isn't really about writing a story but I am curious if you know anything about it. Assuming I ever get a book finished I had planned to try and publish it through kindle and their print on demand service. Then if it does well I wanted to try and publish with a real agency.

Have you ever heard of people doing that? I have heard of some people making good money and getting a lot of people reading their stuff through kindle but I have no idea if it really works that way.


Answer: There certainly a lot of people publishing on amazon, but I gather that the ones making money (and headlines) are a tiny handful compared to the vast number who make next to nothing.

As for attracting an agency's attention, you have two challenges. First, you would have to sell a lot of copies to get attention. I've heard some suggest 20,000 - which is a huge task for a self-publisher without book marketing savvy and a big budget. Most self-published books sell under 200 copies. That's partly because a lot of bad books are self-published, partly because self-publishing is home to a lot of books that were never intended for commercial success (family histories, etc.), and partly because self-published books face more barriers. Many readers shun authors they know are self-pubbed. So do many reviewers, bloggers, library associations, grants, major awards, etc.

Second, if your first book doesn't sell well, that might not look good to an agent when you try to sell your second book (having been disappointed by the self-publishing route).

That said, things are changing and no one really knows where the industry is headed.

If you want to at least give yourself a fighting chance, you will need to have your book professionally edited and get a top-notch cover design.

Then educate yourself about promotion.

However, before you do any of this, the best thing might be to join a writers group and get feedback on your writing from knowledgeable people. If you want to become a pro and you have a great product, it's worth considering taking the traditional publishing route. If that doesn't work out, you can always self-publish after. But if it does work out, traditional publishing has some advantages (for instance, none of the barriers I mention above, greater status, the fact that the publisher will pay you an advance, etc.).

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by: Bryan

Hmm definitely seems like the deck is stacked against new authors. Kind of feels like the publisher decides what type of books get published and thus what type of books the fans can read. At least it does seem like there is alot of publishers out there. Of course it makes sense for them to be picky, they have to invest alot of money to get the book ready.

Just out of curiosity what quality should the book be in before i submit it as a manuscript? By that i mean should i go and hire an editor first or just mail it in when its done? Do they want me to do all the editing work for them so its top notch and in the best possible standing?


by: Glen

Certainly it is a publisher's job to find books with the potential to be commercially successful (so they can stay in business). They also try to publish a lot of books that deserve to be published, even if they are not destined to be best sellers.

Of course, they are not perfect at spotting the next big thing (who is?) and can only publish so many books a year. So many great books get rejected many times before being sold.

You shouldn't need to hire an editor before submitting a manuscript, but you should make the manuscript as good as you can. That means becoming good at self-editing. Learn as much as possible about how to do this. You may also want to join a critique group with other writers so you can get knowledgeable feedback on your work - and learn to give it in return.

by: Bryan

Hmm that's good to know, it kind of sounded like no matter how much work i put into it that most publishers would deny me anyway. So its nice to know that they do try to publish good work even if its not going to be a best seller. I mean i don't want to sound over critical of myself but i just cant see a novel i wrote being a best seller. But if there is at least a few willing to take chances that would be something to hope for.

As for a critique group, i should probably do that one of these days. I had joined a forum that was based around that a long time ago but it didn't end well. I cant remember the name but it was set up to where published writers would look over what you wrote and give you tips on how to improve. But when mine was looked at the guy said he read maybe a page and tossed it out saying it sucked. No tips or anything on how to make it better, or even any idea as why he felt it sucked. So after that i kind of just shied away from those types of sites.

But anyway thanks for the info, I will have to see what i can find when the time comes.

Self Publishing Via Kindle
by: Todd M Rogers

The inimitable J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series (arguably one of the most successful book titles in history with over 550 MILLION COPIES of the books in circulation) was repeatedly rejected as being too long, too involved, too dark, too this...too that.

Someone took a chance on it, and look what happened!

Self publishing is the wave of the future. There are ways to get traffic to your book that will get you noticed, and to do that, you're going to have to go the grass roots route to publishing, having family, friends, co-workers review your work (which works by the way!).

You might not win a Pulizter or a Hugo, but many writers (myself included) do not seek these awards as validation that my story is good. That I leave to my friends, family and general readership that I build over the course of time.

It is a known fact that if your story is crap, you will not be able to get the work finished because you'll have written yourself into a brick wall, either requiring extensive rewrites, or scrapping entire story lines and starting over, which could kill your book's chances of even being self published.

Here are some facts for you to consider:

1) Self Publishing is the wave of the future because more people will have access to the tools and the means to put their works up for sale on the various sites like Amazon, Bookshelf or another platform.

2) The costs of self publishing are high. It can cost (again, without the proper tools) $1200 just to get your story professionally proofed and a cover created.

3) There are currently 455 MILLION registered credit cards on Apple's Bookshelf platform, an additional 255 MILLION on the Amazon platform, for a total of approximately 710 MILLION potential customers....chances are that you'll sell more than 200 copies over the course of time, but do not expect any one title to make you rich.

4) Any good story, if a work of any type of fiction, is best done if serialized (multiple titles within the same storyverse). Any hopes of rising above the general clutter of self pubbed titles will rely upon your linking your stories together and offering books at 99 cents to drive traffic to your other adds up, trust me.

5) If your book does well in the self pub arena, it CAN be picked up by a major publisher, however, even if you are picked up by a major publisher, do not expect to be made rich on royalties.

That means you need to think beyond the boundaries of the book and figure out why you're writing the book at all.

Is it because you want the royalties? Is it because you want to effect some change? Is it because you have a message to convey that you think everyone needs to read?

Once you've figured all this out, there are resources to help you get self pubbed and you can design your own covers and format your own covers, or you can outsource this by going to and putting your requirements out there and see who bites.

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