Amazon KDP Test Run

So I am gearing up to publish “The Back Doors of Fancy Places”, and I thought that I would do a test run with an engineering paper that I recently wrote. Here is my experience so far with the Kindle Direct Publishing platform.

  1. It is very easy to use – This manuscript went from word document to published in no time flat. There are some formalities that are required, such as deciding on royalty rates, pricing, and digital rights management. For the record, I think digital rights management is fairly useless for the first time author. Mainly because, if anyone liked my work well enough to make an extra copy for a friend, frankly I could use the free marketing. The pricing and royalty selections can get a bit confusing. From what I could gather, 35% is the only option for ebooks  less than $2.99, and for everything else the 70% option is the best unless your file size is very large which would cause the delivery charges to eat up your profits.
  2. Images can be a real pain – So I have exactly one image in my paper. It shows a basic diagram of how osmosis can generate an increase in pressure which can be used for generating electricity. This was not simple to format properly. In the “tips” section it recommends using the “insert image” function in microsoft word. I did this, and I still had a ton of trouble getting the image to not be the very first thing in my paper. No matter where I inserted the image in the document, the preview always showed the image at the very top of the page. Eventually I was able to get it to show up at the bottom of the first page… I think.
  3. Kindle Select is a mystery – I chose kindle select for my paper because I have absolutely no intention of publishing it anywhere else. It allows you a few features like kindle unlimited subscribers can read your book for free. Sure, why not, I really am not making any financial decisions based on the success of this paper. There is also some sort of “global fund” containing millions of dollars that I won’t see a dime of, but sounds cool anyways.
  4. Cover creator can make your life easy, but it’s pretty worthless overall – So I chose to use the cover creator in combination with a photo I downloaded from Pexels.com (big shoutout to pexels.com by the way, they have some GREAT free photos, and I use a lot of them for my blog posts). This was fine with me for an engineering paper that will never ever sell a single copy. (because no actual, living people read engineering papers, ever. And when they do, they go to a reputable source, such as an engineering journal.) The cover creator was fast, and let me publish in a matter of hours, but the end result shows. The creator is clunky, and the templates come out looking very much like templates. You can do custom stuff with it, but that takes time, kind of ruining the whole point of the software. On this note, go make a friend who does graphic design and wants to build a portfolio, pay a few dollars for good artwork and fonts, and ask them for their expertise to design a great cover. (My friend josh over at intrepid sparks put together the cover art for The Back Doors of Fancy Places. I couldn’t be happier.)
  5. People will not magically find your product – I knew this already, but I think that somewhere in the back of my head I thought that out of the millions of ebooks being bought on amazon maybe just one person would find mine. Nope. Sales have been a depressingly flat line that fluctuates between a low of zero copies and a high of zero copies. Again, I knew this would be the case, but it is still a little depressing to see that horrible flat line staring back at me each time I check my “reports”. If you have any tips or tricks to advertise, I’d love to hear them.

-Anderson Ryle

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