1. seixal
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    seixal New Member

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    Is publishing on Amazon worth it?

    Discussion in 'Electronic Publishing' started by seixal, Mar 22, 2016.

    As many people who write I am considering publishing some completed works of mine. However I am aware that finding an editor is a rather arduous quest. Therefore I keep my expectation in the down-low. I recently came across the self-publishing service provided by Amazon and have been toying with the idea since. Has any of you had any experience with it they would care to share?
     
  2. TheRealStegblob
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    TheRealStegblob Active Member

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    No real experience with it myself, but aside from the fact you wouldn't be traditionally published, there's not a huge reason not to do it, to my understanding.

    It costs pretty much nothing and I understand a few books that started out as self-published ebooks get actual publishing deals. You'd only have to do all the marketing yourself and everything, and you wouldn't get any of the guidance or assistance being traditionally published would bring. So it's all up to you, really.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't think we can really say if it would be worth it without knowing what your ultimate goals are, and without knowing how much you plan to commit.

    If you're interested in traditional publishing, you should at least TRY for it before you go to Amazon - once a book is self-published, it's generally less attractive to publishers, unless the sales numbers are excellent.

    If you're not interested in traditional publishing? Different story.

    Also important to decide whether you're looking for a writing career or just trying to get some work off your hard drive. If you're looking for a career, you should probably invest some money into editing and cover design, which means self-publishing could end up costing you a fair bit. If you're just looking to get some work out there for fun, sure, why not? I mean, it's not good for publishing in general (because it will be adding to the discover-ability problem for serious self-published authors) but that probably won't affect you...
     
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  4. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Go traditional, Amazon only helps if you're self-publishing or already have a well-rounded career.
     
  5. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would absolutely try to publish traditionally before committing your story to self-publishment.
     
  6. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    I'm self-published (one book). I printed up 1600 copies and sold them through specialty bookstores, directly from my web site, and through Amazon. I gave up on Amazon because they weren't willing to warehouse more than a copy or two of it, which meant that every time they wanted one, I had to foot the bill for mailing them a copy. And since they were only paying me something like $7 for a book they were selling for $16, my mailing cost to them dropped my profit to less than $5.00. I ended up converting it to an e-book, which still sells a couple of copies a month on Amazon. They pay me something like $6 a copy, but nothing from me is required.

    My next book is done, and I'd like to self-publish that one in a hard-copy form, too. But I still haven't figured out how to get the copies to the customers without having to do it myself, which is a big drain on time.
     
  7. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I've got three e-books on Amazon and Smashwords. Smashwords, for all its bluster and higher royalties hasn't sold squat for me. It is, however, the best way to get it into a format for e-readers other than Kindle.

    I really see it as a lose-nothing proposition. You get your book out there so people can read it and without any real cost to yourself. The problem is that everyone is doing it; the market is flooded with new material and a large amount of it is utter crap. As a result you have to give your work away for free or next to nothing to move it at all until you establish some kind of following...which may never happen. The emotional boost it can give, however, can't be discounted. Having my work available to the public was a big moment for me.

    So how did I fare? Well, thanks to friends and family almost exclusively I've moved about 30-40 units. Yup, that's all. My royalties amounted to around $20. Certainly not a good return on investment of my time nor did it pay for the one professional cover I purchased ($50). But, you have to start somewhere.

    Part of the problem is (and I was surprised to find this) a lot of people still demand a paper copy and not an e-book. I resisted this for quite awhile but finally figured out how to use Createspace and just today received the first proof copy of my first book. And let me tell you...having an actual book in your hands to flip through and read your own words is a wonderful experience I really can't describe. Publishing my first e-book was an achievement. Having a copy of my book to hold is a personal milestone.

    Ultimately I think you have to use both types of publishing to have any chance to succeed on even a small scale.
     
  8. Gilganjun
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    Gilganjun New Member

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    Very interesting info there from an insider with direct experience. Pity the book is selling regularly at the moment. Have you done any marketing, like sending around to websites, bloggers, clubs for review? What's the title of the book by the way?
     
  9. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I self publish through Amazon and Google books. The non fiction has outsold the fiction by nearly five to one, so I think genre plays a big part.

    I also have the fiction available on paperback through Createspace (part of Amazon) which is their version of print on demand.

    I originally went with self publishing because I couldn't get an agent/publisher, but in all honesty, I love the fact that I own the full rights and can publish my books exactly the way I want to. Yes, I would like to be a full time writer but I know that's not going to happen any time soon, so having a regular job too, means I'm not reliant upon book sales/royalties for my main income.

    So, it all depends on what you want out of your writing career.

    Whatever you decide, good luck!
     
  10. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    I've done zero marketing. Sending my book out to people to review...there are many choices via Google but I find that most "aren't accepting submissions at this time". Sales success isn't currently of high importance to me so I've not been working at it vs. writing new material.
    I don't want to get in trouble for promoting my books here but you can find them via my pseudonym and a simple search as seen below in my sig.
     
  11. RikWriter
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    RikWriter Member

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    I have five novels and a short story collection self-published as e-books on Amazon. It's definitely been worth it for me. I tried to get published for a few years in the late 90s and never got picked up despite having a professional literary agent. I put my stuff online and I've made thousands of dollars every year from royalties with really no financial expense from my end. I never once paid to have them edited or paid to promote them. All the promotion I've done has been on my own and hasn't taken that much time or effort.
    This is easier in my genre (mil-sf) than most, admittedly. Science fiction and military science fiction in particular, fantasy and romance do particularly well in self-publishing.
     
  12. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Why would people be upset at you promoting your books quietly on a writing site? :D
     
  13. Rich Bivins
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    Rich Bivins New Member

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    It really depends on what you write and how you promote it. Amazon will not promote it for you so you have to build your own author platform and then engage with your social networks. I personally chose to publish with Kindle but only because my content thus far fits that platform. I have 4 books published, 2 of them are children's books and in the past year have only sold a whopping 10 copies. 1 book is about The Law of Attraction and I've sold about 20 copies in the past year. My most successful Kindle book is a business book geared to non-profits and I sell at least a dozen a month for the past 3 years.
    I'm still working on my fiction novels while also building up a supporting website and Facebook fan page, engaging readers and genre fans on Twitter and Google+. When I'm ready to publish, I'll enlist the help of several virtual book tour sites as well as followers on Goodreads, do a pre launch Twitter and Facebook party... then start of book 2 of the series because a series performs much better than a one book wonder.
     
  14. JLT
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    JLT Active Member

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    My wife used to be a big buyer of e-books from Kindle, right up until last night. She eventually got sick of Amazon's routine of requiring her to re-download a book she'd bought, over and over again. It's some sort of piracy control, I'm given to understand, but he has told me that the frustration factor now outweighs any convenience she may have gained from using Amazon.
     
  15. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I've had my kindle for four years (and the kindle app on my phone for at least two) and I've never had to re-download anything. That sounds very ominous.
     
  16. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, neither have I. That doesn't sound right, @JLT... has she contacted Kindle support about it?
     
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  17. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Martian" was initially published a chapter at a time on Amazon, and caught the attention of a mainstream publisher/movie op, but that is the exception and probably a reflection of the author's quality. As everyone notes success varies. I am considering Amazon if I can't get a mainstream publisher, due to length (250K words)
     
  18. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I think The Martian was published on Wattpad a chapter at a time, and then was self-published on Amazon before being picked up.

    Re: Kindle, it's the latest (mandatory) update. It keeps doing it to me too and it's really annoying, because I need to be somewhere with a WiFi connection to get my books. I hope they change it soon...
     
  19. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I've had the update, which is all it was - and if you check with Amazon's site, it will tell you which kindles are affected - but I've still never once had to re-download any of the books on there.
     
  20. Brindy
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    Brindy Contributing Member Supporter

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    And this is what is driving me... the thought of actually holding a book in my hand that I have written. Only 6 more weeks and the dream becomes a reality.
     
  21. Alex R. Encomienda
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    Alex R. Encomienda Active Member

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    Hey! On createspace, do you have to already have a book published through Amazon? Do you need a paypal account, if so? And also, what does it cost to get a paperback copy?
     
  22. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    1. No
    2. No. Credit cards can be used for purchases/expenses while my royalties are direct-deposited into my bank account.
    3. Createspace books using the normal size format are priced according to the number of pages so it will vary. Retail price of my books are $8-$10. The cost of a 'proof' copy to an author is around $7 including shipping (at least in my case/book size).

    My royalties average out to about $2 per copy on Createspace vs less than a dollar for digital copies which retail for just under $2.
     
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  23. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had a similar experience with Smashwords (via ActionTales, the original e-imprint). Over a fourteen-year period, my sales were around $40 for two novels.

    Last year, a friend of mine asked about my novels and I directed her to Amazon. She bought both (I even doubled checked with her to be sure) and yet only one showed up on my royalty cheque. I don't know who took (or redirected) the money from that second sale, but I never got it. And it could have been any one of Amazon, Smashwords or ActionTales.

    As soon as I confirmed that she'd actually bought both, I pulled my novels.
     
  24. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, Andy Weir first started putting his novel out there chapter by chapter in 2009, a time before everyone and his dog had an ebook for sale, so I think it was easier to be noticed.
     

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