Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Experience with Kindle Direct Publishing

My Experience Publishing with Kindle Direct

Every year I have made it a point to try something new.  One year I took up painting, while another year I began learning the arts of ethical hacking and then for two years I decided to go back for my Masters in Education.  I am of the firm opinion that everyone should learn at least one new major thing per year if not more.  Over the last five months I decided to jump into the pool of authors that self publish on Kindle Direct Publishing from Amazon.  I have never actually considered myself an author and can remember a time (before pursuing my Masters) that I thought writing more than ten pages was a daunting task.  Last year my Bosses daughter decided to pursue a career in Self Publishing and has had great success!  Her Amazon page is under the name Bethany Claire and can be found HERE. I haven't made tons of money, nor did I expect to be a top author on Amazon.  From my understanding it takes a lot of work to not only write the books but also to spend time advertising and promoting them.  I have however been pleasantly surprised at how successful I have been and what I have learned both about the process and myself in becoming an author.

You can find me at http://amazon.com/author/michaelkeough.  So far all my books have been of a technical nature since much of what I do is of a technical nature.  I have written three books now and have found the process to be extremely rewarding.  I have been able to not only share my knowledge with others, but its also been exciting to watch the sales come in.  I find myself checking the reports nearly daily and in anticipation of a new sale and somewhat in shock as to how well I am doing.  In fact, as of the time I am writing this blog, when you search "Adobe Muse" on Amazon, my book appears in the top three results.  In my limited experience I have developed a few ideas why some of my books are successful while others don't do quite as well.

Being thrilled at the rapid success of my first book, I decided I would just continue the process and compound my income by writing a second book.  In my second book I spend lots of time and focused heavily on detail (its a programming book so I wanted to make sure I was very accurate).  I submitted this one with high hopes, but was shocked that even after months I was getting very little sales while my first book was selling almost daily.  Why the stark difference in success between books?  One notable things I  found was the number of books on Kindle available for Adobe Muse.  I found hundreds.  When doing the same search on PHP I found thousands.  Adobe Muse is a relatively new software program that is growing more and more popular all the time.  PHP has been around for years and has many established authors selling books on Amazon.  My first piece of advice is to research before you write.  Find books that have a "niche marker" in the store where you can stand out as unique.  Granted there may not be as many people in this smaller market buying books, but you will get better exposure.  If you can be successful in smaller easier to approach markets it will open the doors to larger markets as you get return customers and a growing fan base.

Secondly, take advise from the movie industry.  In nearly every major movie (Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Twilight, Star Wars, etc...) come in a series.  Its difficult to approach this when you are a technical writer like myself, but if you are writing fiction books, try to make it longer then break it in to three books with a strong cliff hanger.  I have also been told on good authority that when you create these trilogies you should not release just one book.  Release them all at the same time.  

You are not Michael Crichton so don't charge like you are.  My books sell for between $2.99 and $5.00.  I am not saying this is how you should price your books, but keep in mind that most people can easily part with $500 but are much less willing to drop $20.00 on a book from an author they know noting about.  

My books tend to be fairly short.  Typically 40 - 60 written pages.  Maybe someday I will branch out into more exhaustive topics but I take the philosophy that most people just don't have the time to read extremely long exhaustive content so why not just start small and short and just focus on writing well.  I would much rather read a well thought out book that is shorter and to the point than a long exhaustive, and time consuming book that never actually gets to the point.

Most of all, I would suggest everyone at least try writing a book on something they are interested in and selling in on Kindle Direct Publishing.  You will be surprised at how fulfilling it is and how much you can actually write when you decide to sit down and actually do it.  If you don't make any money, who cares.  It looks great on a resume, and its a way for you to personally express yourself and your opinions.  Until recent years even great authors had a very hard time breaking into the publishing business.  With Amazon you know suddenly have hundreds of millions of people you can market to without ever having to fight publishers.  Also with Amazon you get 70% of your sales as opposed to traditional publishers who only give you around 30% if you are lucky.

So get out there and write something, and have fun!!!