Using amazon kindle or other digital means to publish
(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.
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.).