Saturday 30 July 2011

Self -publishing on Kindle?

I have a dozen books on and three so far with Aurora/AMP but as yet have not ventured down the route of putting my books on Kindle for myself.
 Several of my writer friends have already done this -some more succesfully than others. Linda Gillard's House of Silence has sold 10000 copies in three months but Gilli Allan's Torn has sold only a handful despite having some good reviews and her doing huge amounts of promotion.  Fay Cunningham has three books on Kindle and is not selling many. Maureen Lee  is selling over 50 copies a day of Dusk. (now under Cath Kincaid) Neither are doing any promotion. Why is this?
How much is down to how high your profile in on the web? Linda has spent six years building her name and already has a substantial fan base from her previously published books. Maureen is a best selling author of nineteen Liverpool sagas - whereas Fay has only  a few books published.  There are writers who have sold over a million books - Amanda Hocking is one - and they have become best-sellers by their own hard work. Having a cracking story also helps.
Already having a fan base from print books is obviously a major factor in selling large volumes of your Kindle book. Self -promotion is also a factor but, in my opinion, too much will discourage buyers. No one wants to hear the same thing repeated on Twitter/Facebook etc. One mention of a review/release etc is enough.
Does price of book matter?
I am sure the price is crucial - less than a pound makes the book seem under valued  but over three pounds (unless being released by a publisher) is too much. Of course things are a bit different in the YA market where youngsters will buy anything under a pound if it is their preferred genre.
A professional cover is essential. Bad covers will stop new readers even downloading a sample.
Another important issue is editing. Far too many self-published books haven't been edited properly.  As a reader can download for free the first chapter they can see at once if the book is good enough to buy - having an excellent first chapter is now even more important.
I have a couple of Regency books that could go up on Kindle and fit well with my other Regency adventures - but will I do it? Not at the moment - regencyreads and Aurora are selling this genre for me  and all I have to do is spend the dollars each month.
 However when I finish my YA fantasy in the autumn I might well do it. I'll keep you posted.
Fenella Miller


  1. YA is a good idea to self-publish as an ebook Fenella as I think they are the age that could have Kindle more. I am planning to self-pub an ebook for teens on Smashwords and they recommend you get it professionally copyedited and proofread before publishing, so I am with Hilary.

  2. Interesting blog, Fenella. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to what sells. HOUSE OF SILENCE sold 10k at £1.90 very quickly, but EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY didn't sell and hasn't really picked up, even though I've now reduced the price to 86p.

    I don't think this is to do with it being backlist. Most of the people who bought HoS had never heard of me, as their reviews demonstrate, so I expected them to buy EG. They haven't. It obviously isn't price and the cover's beautiful. I think it could be the title which doesn't indicate genre (contemporary romance) and it also sounds literary.

    I don't think nuances work on Kindle product pages. I've come to the conclusion that marketing needs to be even more does-what-it-says-on-the-tin than print publishing. The decision to buy (or download the sample) is made very quickly and I think it's made on price, cover, title & reviews, probably in that order.