I'm an established full-time author - willing to answer questions if you have them



Amazon is the place where most sales are made (by self-published authors and traditional alike). So, yeah, you have to make sure you are at least there. When self-publishing Amazon has two models. Select – which is exclusive (meaning you can ONLY have your titles on their site) and non-exclusive where you can also sell on sites like B&N nook, Google Play, Apple’s Ibooks, and so on. You are paid the same royalty rate whether you are in Select or not.

Being in Select is not something you have to commit to for the whole time your book exists. You “enroll” for at least 90 days and can go in and out of the program in those 90-day increments. Being in Select provide some added perks including:

  • Income through the KU program (Kindle Unlimited) - the Netflix of books - where people pay a single fee and can read as many books a month as they want.

  • Being able to put your book free for 5 days in 90.

  • Doing “count down sales”

There probably are others, but those are the big ones. Some indies see 50% of their income coming through KU so many indie authors choose to go “exclusive.” For me, I keep a “wide” distribution (for added sales from other platforms, and because I don’t like limiting the choices of my readers to “just Amazon”

The amount of work an author does to promote their book is the same regardless of which route you go. Traditional publishers don’t provide much in the way of marketing to titles that get a standard advance ($5,000 - $10,000) and for books they acquire for six-figures, the marketing support lasts only a few weeks. Only the author is 100% focused on their books. The marketing department is VERY over worked and new books come out each week, so if you are fortunate enough to get marketing support it will be short-lived and not enough to really move the needle without the author doing the heavy lifting.


Glad you liked it. As for my wife…well, most just ask if they can steal Robin…but I keep her locked up so that won’t happen. ButI do highly recommend you trying to coax your significant other to lend a hand. It’s a lot of work for one person.


The option clause gives the publisher “first look” but not the “right to publish.” What happens is this…

  1. You show them the work (or a proposal of what you plan to write)
  2. They have a certain number of days to review and decide if they are interested (usually 30). If they aren’t then you do whatever you want. If they are interested, you agree to negotiate a price with them (and there is another period of time to allow for that…usually 5 days to 2 weeks. If you agree on terms, then you sign a contract, but if you don’t agree on terms, then you can do what you like.

So, the “option clause” could delay you for about 45 days…but that’s all it can do. That said, if you say to the publisher, I’ve determined my next book, and I’m going to self-publish, and there is no offer you can make to get me to change my mind. That being the case, it makes no sense to waste your time and mine by submitting. And in that scenario, they’ll agree and consider that the option already offered and resolved.


Nice. I hope you enjoy them.


Yes, but even in that case she knocked first. What I’m saying is it’s not often that an author, sitting alone in their room, pounding on keys, and selling well, will hear the phone one day and a publisher say, “I want to sign your xx book.”

Now, what you do hear of, quite often in fact, is an an agent who you’ve never queried reach out and say, “Hey I like what you are doing. When you have a new project, can I see it before you self-publish?”


So, now I know of two. It’s why I said “Generally” in my comment. It’s beyond rare.


I’m not sure. I was in exactly your situation. I had six books written and the "polish to make them professional took me about 6 months a book. I COULD have spent 3 years on the polish and release them all at once. Instead, I released them once every six months: Oct 2008, April 2009, Oct 2009, April 2010, Oct 2010. (The last book was delayed because the series was picked up.

That one book every six months worked well for me. Just as interest wained in one book, a new book was on the horizon and gave me an excuse to talk about the series as a whole. But that was in 2008 - 2010 and that was for MY books. (Each book will have it’s own sweet spot).

These days, there are a lot of people who do rapid release who would put out all books at once, or with only a few weeks between them or maybe 30 days. Part of the reason is the Amazon algorithms (the rankings that get your book more exposure). In some ways is it better to have 5 books all with high ranks for 30 days or 1 book with high ranks for 150 days? I don’t know.

What I do know is Orbit (my first traditional publisher) but out 3 books in a short period for me (Nov 2011, Dec 2011, Jan 2012). They wanted to maximize the bookstore shelving since bookstores would carry the whole series at the same time. But for self-published books you don’t have “shelf space” so that’s not a concern. I think that “rapid release” helped me in some ways, but hurt in others…My marketing support was VERY short lived and “one shot” rather than "three campaigns across three years). So, maybe a year apart (which is how my second series was rolled out) might have been a better choice. But without an alternative reality machine to test out both scenarios, I can’t say for sure.

As I said, each book is going to have it’s own “unique sweet spot” and I don’t know what yours is, nor am I as “up to date” on the pros/cons of rapid release, as I don’t write at a speed that makes that possible. I wish I had a definitive answer for you. You might reach out to some authors in your genre who have done rapid release, and ask them about their experiences.

[quote=“Chaunalea, post:257, topic:2557”]
You also mentioned in another comment to wait about 6 to 9 months before putting out the second book. So when my second book is already polished, should I still wait that 6-9 months before releasing that second book?

I guess that depends on how much time it takes to polish? If you polish in 3 months…should you release then, or “hold it for 3 months”? Not sure. See my comment above.

My rule of thumb is 90%-95% writing 5%-10% marketing while book 1 and 2 are released. Once book #3 hits the street shift go 50% writing/editing and 50% marketing.


can you talk about how KU calculates how they pay out?

i asked around but nobody really knows. they said that the “system” does it automatically and somehow u get money at the end of the month.

also i only know about amazon, what are platforms are available for us indies to publish on?

thanks for taking your time to talk about stuff we would otherwise never know!


Wow ,thank you so much for taking the time to answer! Very helpful :slight_smile: I have been doing research for some time but it overwhelms me and still always seems muddy. Thanks for your insight.


Amen. Haha and when I get overwhelmed, I tend to give up and hide in my turtle shell…


First Serial Rights for magazines are geographic, but I read that if it’s an online magazine it’s worldwide by default since anyone in the world has internet access to it.

For novels, how is that addressed with distributers like Amazon? I assume you can buy traditionally published books in any format on Amazon. If the rights you sold to the publisher are only North America, does that mean Amazon doesn’t offer it on their UK, AU, etc. sites? How does the publisher control that?


Except for 4 countries. If you’re getting 70%, you only get 35% from sales in those countries unless you’re in Select.


I can only speak in generalities.

  1. There’s a KU fund each month that they pay from (they email the amount to you each month). I guess it’s how much they collect from subscribers that month.

  2. They pay you by pages read. Don’t know how Amazon determines a “page.” They used to pay by novels read as long as some percent was read (I don’t remember, but it was either 10% or 20%) but changed to pages because authors were putting very short novellas on KU.

  3. There’s some sort of bonus given to the best sellers.

At least that’s my understanding.


Michael, this is really basic but while uploading my 2nd story I inadvertently put the cover for it on my novel. novel. How do I change covers on a published story? Thanks, Frank Daley


Where? Wattpad? Amazon? I doubt Michael can help with this one.


27.32$ - Give me for the New Year I want to buy a thing but no money.!!!


does the price of the book play any part at all when calculating how much you get?

would you recommend new books to get on KU?

someone in one of the groups i am in shared that he was put his book in KU and he was getting ranked very high because of it. unfortunately, he has no clue how much he is going to get.


No. It’s simply pages read.

I don’t put new books on KU even though I’m exclusive to Amazon. When they get old, I then put them on KU.


Amazon puts aside a “pool of money” at the end of each month and they divide the number of pages read (by all people) to determine a "income per page rate. Generally it’s around $0.0045 to $0.0048. They then count the number of pages of YOUR books that have been read and pay you the result of multiplying those two numbers. There are also “All-star bonuses” where if you are a top author or have a top book - you get an extra amount of cash between $500 and $25,000 depending on how high up the list you are.

So, assuming you have no All-star bonus and in a certain month you had 10,000 pages read then you would earn $45.

The “big ones are”

  • Barnes and Noble’s Nook - accessed through NookPress
  • Apple’s itunes (which you can upload directly if you have a MAC or use an aggregator like Smashwords or Draft2Digital to post files there.
  • Google Play (direct)
  • Kobo - through the Writer’s Life website

Look at Smashwords or Draft2Digital for a list of some of the smaller venues.

You are welcome.


You are welcome.