Have You Published a Book on Amazon?

I have started as an Amazon author and still continue using the site as my main publishing source. It is truly an amazing experience, even more so since it has added paperback/audiobook features. It is extremely user-friendly. The only problem, as it often happens with self-publishing, is marketing. However, in that sense, both Wattpad and Amazon are the same boat - you have to market your book on your own in both cases (if Wattpad hasn’t chosen your books as paid stories or you as a Wattpad Star, which is quite a rare case if we judge by numbers), so I don’t see why you should not give it a try.

There’s an even greater advantage with Amazon - if you do not like how it is going, you can always unpublish the book. You can edit your book, both kindle and paperback, at any time, and resubmit it. If your book is unpublished for quite a long time, you even receive an option to delete it. So yeah, if you want my advice - give it a try and see how you like it.

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I personally don’t think WP and Amazon are alike at all. WP is a free site. You publish here to get feedback and improve as a writer. Make some friends. Readers are forgiving. You can get away with some grammar and spelling mistakes, plot holes, and all kinds of stuff that’s part of the early draft publishing process.

Once you reach Amazon, writing turns into a business. You should never publish a book commercially that hasn’t been in some form or another professionally edited. You need a cover that meets genre standards. Otherwise, you’ll drown. Paying readers expect a certain quality, or your book will be gutted by bad reviews and your brand tarnished. It’s not something I’d try out and see if I like it.

Marketing is also a whole different ballgames.To get visible on WP, you go to the forums, be active, maybe join a book club or send out a couple of tweets. There is not much else you can do (and I sure wouldn’t spend money on ads to get WP readers).

However, to be successful on Amazon, you actually have to spend money on advertising (unless you are a known author or have a fan base). You need a website, a newsletter subscription service, maybe even a Bookfunnel account to run promos to build your mailing list. There is very little interaction with your readers (unless you run a FB group) and readers don’t expect to give feedback to make you a better writer. They already expect you to be at a certain level because they actually pay to read your books. Unedited drafts don’t make the cut.

I’ve seen authors who publish on Amazon and think they’ll be successful over night. Trust me, that’s as likely as winning the lottery AND getting struck by lightening on the same day. You need to treat publishing like a job or you will fail on Amazon. It’s not a step anyone should take lightly.

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I’m 5 years Amazon author, so there’s really no need to tell me all that, but I do agree - all that is true. However, once a person starts thinking about Amazon, it already means they are going serious, because Amazon only sells books with all its pure definition, and not stories, drafts, attempts, just like you said. Wattpad can be used for all these latter ones.

But once you treat yourself as a professional writer (I mean, you perceive writing as one or only of your jobs) you go serious on Wattpad too, and in that sense, Amazon and Wattpad can indeed become more or less the same in term that you are self-marketing in both cases. I agree with all the differences you mentioned though, you’re absolutely right.

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Thanks!

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Personally, I treat them very differently since the stakes aren’t the same, but that’s maybe just me.

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I’ve had a very positive experience with Amazon. Good sales and reviews. I did make mistakes at the start; but ironed out the glitches. The fact that you can control your work, design your own cover and set your own prices felt right for me.

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Do you have any advice on creating covers? What kind of mistakes did you initially make?

I did my own editing and artwork, and I’ve done OK. Mind you, it was bloody soul destroying and took a lot of time and energy. I’ve also seen some mainstream novels with the most appalling mistakes in them.

What was interesting that the few mistakes I did make with editing, though pointed out to me in a few early reviews, didn’t affect the star rating that much.

As a reader, I’ll forgive a few editing errors and so long as I’ve enjoyed the book will give it a high rating. A book would have to be really bad to earn less than 3 stars from me.

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Four years ago when I wrote this novel I tried to get an artist for the cover but didn’t like any and couldn’t afford it either. So I learned Photoshop and Lightroom and did my own.

The mistakes I made with the manuscript weren’t grammatical on the part of my writing, they were just small mistakes with the editing…like missing a comma, or word here and there. That was down to the fact that the book was nearly 600 pages and I got word blind trying to do it myself. I had beta readers who helped with plot and characterisation anomalies, but they missed the editing mistakes as well. It was a long hard slog but it can be done. But I have a very good grasp of English and grammar, and I’d spent years writing for mainstream newspapers and magazines, so I had a bit of an advantage.

But mistakes still happen, even for the top writers and editors, as I’ve seen many times.

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US$400 to get printing and marketing going. But when I started making money, I got all of it and they got none till my $400 was back in my pocket. Couple months later they sold off their rights as my publisher to Harper Collins. From their sales picked up.

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I have several works published on Amazon and on the whole it’s been a positive experiance but took me time to get the gist of it with the formatting and editing.

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Yeah

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[I’m on Amazon](and it’s been a positive experience. You can do zero advertising and get the occasional sale if you have a good blurb and cover. I’ve also recently started doing KDP advertising and have had some limited success, but still learning.

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[I’ve self published one novel] I published a short story through an indie publisher, but I would like to remove my short story off the market because it’s old and not up to my current quality of writing.

Self publishing a novel on Amazon is long process - and I’m not even talking about pressing the publish button. I’m talking about all the prep work that comes before that. All of what I’m about to talk about is all my own personal experience. I’ve prepared another novel for a friend and I’ve gone through the process with two of my own novels, but have only published one.

This is mostly about getting a physical book out there, but most of this counts for ebook version as well.

Obviously, editing is a given by this point. Proofreading as well. Simple line editing services can cost thousands of dollars. A 139,000 word book would cost around $5,000 to edit. I got around this for my own self published book. I edit a TON. I probably edited the entire book around 10 times. Then, I had a program called TextAloud read my book back to me, making corrections as it went. I did this twice. Even with all this, I still have a few errors that I plan on fixing.

Formatting is a must. I’ve seen tons of poorly formatted kindle books. Please never ever use the tab key to indent your paragraphs. This is a huge waste of your time. Use the paragraph tool in your program. Your indents shouldn’t be a mile long, either. You have to hyphenate. You can’t have hyphens connecting words on a page that you have to turn.

I’ve formatted a number of books now in Word and it can be a nightmare. But it can be done, thankfully. You’ll probably want headers at the top of every page, telling the reader what chapter they’re on at all times. This is nice, but it’s not required. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, pick up a Harry Potter book and you’ll see what I mean.

Page Numbers. May they burn for all eternity. (It takes me three hours to format a book with both headers and page numbers. Lots of weird stuff happens.)

Margins. On the inner side of the book, you need a wider margin there than you would on the outer side. Otherwise, the reader can’t see in the middle there. They’ll have to bend your book too much.

Cover. Cover. Cover. Professional Cover. This can cost from $150 to $700. This was something I did purchase for my novel.

By this point, you probably will hate the ruddy thing. Hahaha

I published my novel two years ago, before Amazon reabsorbed CreateSpace, so my experience is a bit outdated.

You have options here. Size of the book, page types, cover types. I would suggest cream colored pages every time. The white is blinding. Size of the book depends on how big a book you’re publishing. You’d have to experiment with that. Matte darkens the color of your cover, so you’ll have to adjust for that, but it feels nice to the touch. Gloss is beautiful and bright, but the light reflects a lot and the cover gets scratched quickly.

Beyond the Alluring Sky, my novel, is 520 pages at 139,000 words. I went with a 6x9 sizing, matte cover, and cream pages.

Once you pick all your options, you submit two PDFs, your book and the full cover. (front, spine, and back) You have to fit the cover on a special printing page of theirs. It’s about a 24hr to 48hr wait for their review process. After which, you get a preview of your book. The preview will be exactly how it prints out - barring print on demand mishaps. I’ve purchased about 20 copies so far and they’re a little different from one another. Not sure if this still is the case with Amazon KDP now. If you find any mistakes, you’ll have to go through the 24hr to 48hr review process again.

Once you approve of it, you can order proofs. They’ll have that printed on the back page, too. If everything checks out, then you hit publish.

And there’s nothing better than holding that sucker in your hands.

But dang, it’s a lot of work.

For those writers wanting to publish their stories, my first advice is to edit. A lot. My second piece of advice is make your series into smaller chunks, about 50k to 100k words. I wouldn’t publish huge novels on Amazon, mainly because it costs money per page to print. This isn’t surprising, but Amazon has a minimum limit on what you may charge for your paperback. My 520 page novel can’t be charged for less than $17.99. (But as the author, I can purchase copies for $7.50) Personally, I would go smaller for my next novel series.

A high quality copy edit of a 139k word book should be under 1k US dollars. I have a very good editor and it would cost me around 800 at that length. No one pays 5k.

Use Vellum if you have access to a Mac. Drop the word document in and it spits out a beautifully formatted ebook and pdf for print books. Takes about 10 minutes.

This is about right for most. If you get high quality original art it will probably be over 1k. My covers with typography run from 1k-1800.

You got lucky with your editor. I took the cheap route on my last two books and it shows. I’d say a very good copy edit in the 139K range cost around $1.5 to 2K, and if you add developmental edit, you might scrape the $5K mark, but that would be a high end editor with a lot of experience.

I agree on the formatting. With programs like Vellum or Scrivener, it’s really easy, especially with standard formatting. If you add Word document to Draft2Digital, you can even get some fancy chapter headings.

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@Anthezar @MaxVWeiss

Sorry, but I had to edit your post. Adding off-site links that promote your works is not allowed in the community.

Thank you for your understanding.

Lina - Community Ambassador

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I’ve worked with 3 editors and all have been about the same for copy-editing - .006-.008 per word. So a 139,000 word book would be about 834 USD. These are popular, good editors (Tamara Blain and Laura Hughes are my most recent). I checked kboards yellow pages and I’m seeing the same range for the editing services being offered.

https://www.kboards.com/yp/

Maybe an ex-big 5 editor would be double that, but that’s not what most self published authors use.

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I published my first ebook through Kindle Direct Publishing a little over a month ago. Easy process and no cost to me. Sales are about where I expected them to be for an unknown author. As long as your book is well edited, best option to self publish is KDP.

She specified a line edit, not copy edit.