K is for Kindle and KDP

This entry is part 13 of the series Build a Better Blog

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I’m continuing with the A to Z Blogging Challenge and today we look at the letter K. To me, K can only stand for one thing, and that’s

K is for Kindle. 

Before looking at the topic of writing for Kindle, I would like to make one observation. Before either of us owned a Kindle, a friend and I signed up for a Kindle account, and downloaded the Kindle app for our computers. We could then “buy” all the freebies that appealed to us, as well as a few other books which were on special and we didn’t want to miss them. Some months later, we both received gifts of Kindle e-readers. Immediately we registered them, our entire library of e-books was available to us on our machines. Amazing! I have no idea how this works, but it does. So if you don’t have a Kindle, don’t miss out on the opportunity. Download the appropriate app today – Free!

Although, for me, K goes further.

K is for Kindle and KDP.

K is for Kindle and KDP. #atozchallenge. Have you published with them? Click To Tweet

I love writing, and several years ago the main-line publishers, Revell/Baker published my book, Strength Renewed, Meditations for Your Journey through Breast Cancer. It was a great experience, and I grew tremendously as a writer as a result of the process. However, I also found a number of major problems.

Problems in traditional publication.

  • I had limited say-so over the cover (although I absolutely love the cover they did produce).
    Strength Renewed
  • The title of the book was changed (from Rise and Soar over the Valley of Cancer) despite having a website titled Rise and Soar.
    • The interesting thing was that I feel their book cover suited my original title far more than it did their choice of Strength Renewed.What do you think? Rise and Soar? Or Strength Renewed?
  • I am not able to offer specials, giveaways, or free copies – unless I pay for them myself first. (They gave me a generous supply of free books and giveaways right at the beginning, but that was a few years ago and no longer applies.)
  • I have no control over the price. The e-books today cost more than the print copies! Why on earth?
  • There was a wait of three years between the book being accepted and finally coming out in print.
  • I got little or no warning when they ran specials on the book, which meant I wasn’t able to muster enthusiasm for the special.
  • Because I live in South Africa, it took a trip to the USA to attend the Florida Writers’ Conference for me to meet up with an editor who was interested in my book.
  • There is the need to write a polished Book Proposal and Query letter, and in most cases send this out again and again and again.

These are not meant to be complaints. As I’ve already said, I enjoyed the process and I learned a tremendous amount.

Would I do it again?

If an opportunity presented itself, I would almost certainly do it again. The advance is a nice bonus which I received in two amounts: Half when I signed the contract, and half when they were happy with the manuscript. But considering the thought of the numerous letters and proposals I would have to write, send out, and keep track of, I have no thoughts of going that way right now.In addition to Strength Renewed, I am published in twelve (to date) anthologies and books of devotions. However, in the last couple of years I’ve started writing Kindle books, and find this way more fun.

There are many advantages to publishing via Kindle on Amazon #atozchallenge. Click To Tweet

Advantages of publishing a Kindle book

  • There’s no time delay. As soon as you’ve finished the book and made sure it is well edited and as free from error as you can get it, you are able to publish. There is no delay.
  • You have complete control over your cover. Now here’s a problem. The saying, “You don’t judge a book by its cover” is simply not true. When it comes to the initial purchase, the cover has a huge influence. So unless you are really keen on graphics and know what you’re doing, rather pay a book cover designer for the job. Having said that, so far I have chosen to do my own, and Amazon does offer free help if you want to give it a try. I knew what I wanted, and I was able to find the stock images with help from a friend with experience. A granddaughter who works in this field drafted my first cover for me and guided my initial steps. I love it, and it is a welcome break from writing.
  • You set the price. It is then easy to run specials whenever you like. Depending on which schemes you link up with, you may be able to do giveaways whenever you want. You have a freedom that you don’t have with mainline publishing.
  • You can write it via your blog if you so wish. See B is for Blog a Book for further ideas.

How to write your Kindle book

  • Choose your topic. Decide on the genre you are going to follow. Will it be a novel? A romance? Suspense? Or will it be non-fiction? What topics do you know well?
  • Think about your cover. I find it helps to design the cover at the outset. It keeps me on track as I write. If you want to get outside help and don’t know anyone in the field, www.fiverr.com has many experienced designers. It is a good idea to ask around on Facebook groups to find names that other authors can recommend.
  • Write a description of your book. You may find this changes, but it helps you keep on track if you know what you’re trying to achieve. This will normally be what appears on the back of your print book, should you go that way.
  • How to write via a blog. If you choose to write this way, think of enrolling with the A to Z Challenge and writing it alphabetically. Many people actually write novels this way.
Every step of your self-published book should breathe professionalism. Click To Tweet

Every step needs to breath professionalism

This is where many self-published authors let themselves down, and in turn this gives the term “self-published” a bad name. It is a fact that anyone can self-publish. But once you’ve read one of their books, you’ll never want to buy another.

  • You must have your book edited, preferably by a professional. If you don’t have that option, send your book to a wide selection of “proof-readers”, not including your mother. You don’t want to hear how well you write. You want your faults pointed out, your typos corrected, your spelling and grammar scrutinized and you want to know if it holds their interest.
  • Your cover must entice readers. “I need to read this book!”
  • Your description needs to create a thirst in your readers’ minds. “This is one book I don’t want to miss.”
  • Your formatting must be perfect. This is fairly simple if you follow clear instructions. Here is Kindle’s own Direct Publishing’s instructions. You can also Google™ for additional advice if you need it.
  • Sign up for an Author Page on Amazon if you don’t already have one. Follow through their instructions which will include a short biographical sketch and a good photograph. Don’t forget to link to your website or blog.
  • Promote other books you have written. Amazon does not allow advertising or promotion of any other services, but you may add links to your Amazon Author page, and to your other Amazon based books.

Final steps to publication

  • After you have prepared your book and signed up for an Author page, I strongly recommend you join Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing at least for your first book. This link will guide you through all the next steps.
  • They will tell you it will only take a few minutes. Don’t you believe it. Your first book will take far longer as you stop and figure out what is required, but follow each step along the way, double-checking on your moves, and you will end up with a top-rate book. Once you complete the steps, your book will be live within 24-48 hours, and you can start promoting it.


“Life without a Kindle is like life without a library nearby.”
~Franz S. McLaren, Home Lost

 Do you prefer to read books on Kindle or in print?

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56 comments on “K is for Kindle and KDP

  1. I have used fiverr too. It’s great value. In my case they fixed a broken blog in 24 hours that I had been trying to figure out for months.

    • I used Fiver when I got stuck on a book cover image. I had made the cover for a book about Miriam, which turned into two books. I didn’t know what to do, so I tried to “age” another image of the same model, but it was outside of my abilities. I got a chap on Fiver to age her for me. I never thought of using them to fix a blog problem. Brilliant!

  2. Someday I’ll probably end up getting a Kindle. I still have enough unread print books to keep me busy for a long time, but I guess a Kindle would be good for when I take trips. I’ve read a few books from my pc, but it gets so tedious sitting at my computer to read.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    • Kindles are amazing for traveling, Arlee. My husband and I used to travel literally with a case full of books if we went away for a few weeks. Now we just take our Kindles. Even our Bibles are on Kindle! Happy Easter!

  3. I didn’t know you could just up and publish a book on Kindle – it would be tempting to throw something together and wing it, but as you say, you need to do it well and do it professionally if you want any sort of credibility as an author. BTW I think your cover girl looks like she’s soaring too 🙂
    Leanne | cresting the hill

    • That’s my point. Virtually anyone can publish on Kindle, but if you want to have credibility you need to work at making it professional. Yes, thanks! That’s what I feel about my cover girl too. She is set to Rise and Soar! Happy Easter Leanne!

  4. About the only thing I like about Kindles is the ease of which you can get books – and, no clutter! That’s about it. I love books – their feel, their smell, the fact that you can read them just about anywhere.

    • Yes Alana, I still love print books. I get four out from the library at a time – and when I finish them, I return to my Kindle. But the Kindle’s wonderful for traveling and for sticking in your handbag when you’re likely to be kept waiting sometime. Personally, I need both! Happy Easter!

  5. What a wealth of information! Others have said it and I’m saying it too… I bookmarked this post for future reference.

    I am in the early stages of writing a non-fiction book and haven’t given much thought to publishing. After reading this, I lean towards self-publishing, and for some reason, the thought of that has ignited excitement to continue on my quest!

    (By the way, thanks for visiting my blog! It led me to this post and I’m grateful.)
    Trudy @ Reel Focus
    Food in Film: Kibble

    • Thanks so much for your comments, Trudy. I’m so glad you found this helpful. All the best with your non-fiction book, and have a Happy Easter.

  6. K is also for Kobo, an alternative option to Kindle that I actually learned about first because it was popular here in Canada. Like most companies though, they really can’t compete with Amazon.

    Setting up a Kindle books is ridiculously easy. Almost too easy. It makes it so that anyone can get a book out there, whether they should or not. 😛

    • I’ve never heard of the Kobo. It’s probably not available in South Africa. Thanks for telling me about it. And yes, anyone can publish a book on Kindle and unfortunately people abuse this. There are many books self-published that should never have been.

  7. I am thrilled you stopped by my blog today, Shirley, for it gave me the opportunity to find your timely post!

    I am currently working on my first book – which I hope to self-publish at the end of May. Your advice and information will be quite helpful to me over the next few weeks.

    I look forward to following you on a regular basis 🙂

  8. I’ve published through a small press and on my own. I did do the Kindle route with my own and probably would again at least initially. Having control of everything, including the pricing, cover, and ability to do promotions was a nice change from working with a publisher.

    And yes, your cover works well with either title.

  9. I didn’t think I’d like a Kindle, but my husband bought me one for Christmas about five years ago I think, and I love it! I have access to so many more discounted and free books, it’s portable, backlit, I can make notes in the text, and it save space! I still like to read “real” books sometimes, but I love my Kindle. I read so much more than I used to simple because of the Kindle.

    • Caroline, you obviously have similar feelings to me. I love love my Kindle, but I still do enjoy “real” books at times. Have a Happy Easter!

  10. So much good and useful information. Thank you!

    After switching to reading on a Kindle several years ago, I now prefer it. I also started with the free reader – I read books on my smart phone until I bought a Kindle.

    Anytime I am reading a paper book, I have to have a Kindle book going simultaneously. I can’t read the paper book in the dark before I go to sleep.

    Emily | My Life In Ecuador

    • Yes Emily, you’re right. I still enjoy my print books, but the Kindle can do things the print books can’t. Thanks for the visit and Happy Easter!

  11. that sounds like a lot of work just for one book but it’s worth it of course. I like ‘Rise and Sour’ better than ‘Strength renewed’ because ‘Strength renewed’ sound a bit lacking and ‘Rise and Sour’ sounded like something is actually happening

    I don’t have a kindle and I have tried the app for my computer but I really do not like reading on a screen.

    thanks for your visit, have a lovely day.

    • Like you, I don’t like reading on the screen, but I’m glad I got the app as it got me collecting lots of books when they were free or cheap. Once I got my Kindle, which I love, I had a whole library waiting for me! Thanks, I agree. I much prefer Rise and Soar.

  12. Good summary of pros-cons. That time lag is a biggy at my age. And the price–I’ve noticed that high price on traditionally published ebooks.

    I’m subscribing to your blog so I get more of your great ideas!

    • Thanks for subscribing, Jacqui! Yes, the time lapse is a biggie for me too. I don’t understand the high price on traditionally published ebooks. It doesn’t make sense.

  13. I bought a Kindle a few Christmases ago and haven’t used it once. Instead, I downloaded the app to my phone and ipad and use that instead. *shrugs* I just don’t carry my kindle around with me like I carry my ithings. 🙂

    It was interesting reading about the publication process for an ebook. I can’t believe the e-version of your book is more expensive than the paperback! I’m also a little surprised that they don’t offer authors more giveaway opportunities. Anything to get the book seen and bought by more people would be good, you’d think?

    Anyway, best of luck as you continue to work your way through April A-Z!

    With Love,

    • Thanks Mandy. It is ridiculous that the eBook costs more than the printed book. It costs NOTHING to produce them once the initial formatting is complete. I don’t understand it at all. And you’re right. You’d think they’d want you to sell the book. After the first year or so they’ve moved on to other books. I guess that makes sense.

  14. I love my Kindle. Didn’t think I would as I’m not keen on reading a lot online, but the Kindle has it right. I have read so much more than I would have buying traditional print books. Storage and cost being contributing factors here. And now my mother and mother-in-law both have them and can’t get enough of reading. Can’t be bad.

    • You’re so right, AJ. I “buy” lots of mine when they’re free or on special, so I’m never without a book to read. When I had the app on my computer, I never read the books. But once they were on the kindle I just loved them. When we went away on holiday we always had a case full of books as we’re both keen readers. Now we just tuck in our Kindles!

  15. Shirley, this is another great post. No doubt, you are already succeeding with A to Z challenge. I like k for kindle 😉

    • Thanks, Arfa. I’m enjoying it, but I’m now under pressure. I’ve been working a few days ahead so it wasn’t a train smash if I missed writing one day. However, I’ve now caught up with myself, so need to get a post written each day. At least on Sunday I can get one in advance.

    • Sue, how about something like Sizzling Towards 60 and Beyond – and use some of your posts? I think that would be a fabulous e-book.

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