Disadvantages of Self Publishing with Amazon Kindle
What is self publishing?
Self publishing is where a writer will independently publish a book and is in complete control of the entire creative and selling process.
Basically, a writer will write a book, publish it and market it and sell it all at their own expense. This differs from traditional publishing in that the writer controls everything and covers the cost of each stage of publishing their book.
Traditional publishing goes like this: the writer writes the book, sends it off to numerous publishing houses until one of them decides to take the book on (this is a long process and for new authors it can take a very long time to get a book accepted). The publishing house will edit and print the book and find places to sell the book. They will also take care of the marketing and technical side of publishing the book. The publishing house will usually create the cover for the book and will find places to sell the book.
Traditional publishing can be very difficult for new authors to break into. A writer who has managed to publish a book through a traditional publishing house has a much easier time getting their second and thrid books published through the same house. It can take a very long time to build up a reputation as a writer so it can take a long time to get ones book published but once it is published the author doesn't have to do anything to sell the book.
Publishing with Amazon Kindle
Amazon KDP began in 2007 and has been a massive success. KDP gives writers a massive platform in which to quickly and easily publish an ebook. It is free to publish an ebook through KDP and it is then sold globally through the Amazon Kindle market place.
KDP allows for the following:
- The writer gets full control of the pricing of the book
- They get to show their book off on the worlds largest book selling site
- The book will be sold globally
- The book can be edited and updated whenever the author needs to
- Amazon give the author several options for marketing the book
- The author can write about anything they wish not just catering for a massive niche, which is what writers have to do when they write for a publishing house
There are other great tools that Amazon supplies to their self publishers to aid them in making their book a success.
Amazon has a great royalty scheme going as well. If a writer publishes their book and prices it between $2.99 and $9.99 they will earn 70% of every sale. If the book is priced outside of that range then the writer will earn 35% of each sale. The author has complete control over what price range they use to sell their book and they can alter the price at any time to find the best price to sell their book.
KDP also provides a cover creator for the books. It is not the greatest cover creator out there but it is free and customisable. Most writers log on to Fiverr.com and commission someone to create a cover for their book for $5. These usually come out better then ones created using Amazons cover tool.
With all these great tools and schemes how can publishing with Amazon be a bad thing?
Keep reading to find out.
A Self Published Kindle Book
The Little Problems with Kindle Publishing
One of the big problems that I have found with Kindle publishing is that the customers do not trust sef published works as much as traditionally published works. They also look at the number of pages a book has and the price of a book. They seem to have decided that the higher the number of pages the higher the price should be. For some cases this works out fine. The thing is there are a lot of shorter books published through KDP.
The customers look at these shorter books and completely by pass them because they are self published and short. This can be quite frustrating for a writer. Certain niches and micro-niches can completely cover a topic in 10,000 words. But that 10,000 word book may not get many customers because the whole thing can be read in about 2 hours.
Anyone experienced in writing online articles or creating Hubpages will know that most online readers scan the pages instead of reading them indepth. This is because most people go online to find solutions to a problem and wish to access those solutions quickly and easily. They don't want fluff and filler. They want the answers and they want them now. They also want the information given to them in an easy to understand way.
This is starting to happen with ebooks aswell. Unfortunately a lot of the customers are still have the idea that a book must be written in a formal way and must use 30,000 words to cover a topic that only needs 10,000 words.
A writer could write a 10,000 word book about how to bath a dog. This is a topic that people do search for and that people would like to know about. That 10,000 word book could cover the entire topic in great detail with no fluff or filler and it could be the best written book in the world but not make any sales. The reason is that customer psychology has not caught up with the ebook age.
Kindle success ritual
Everyone can publish a book
KDP gives everyone the ability to publish a book.
On the surface this seems like a great thing. The problem is that just because everyone can publish a book doesn't mean that everyone should.
There are some people out there who are really bad writers. This is not neccessarily a stumbling block. Those who are not great writers but have a great idea for a book should have the chance to publish a book. The thing is they should make sure that their book is professionally edited so that it:
- Reads well
- Has no spelling mistakes
- Has no grammatical errors
- Is well researched
- Makes sense
Unfortunately, there are a lot of lazy writers out there who knock a book together in a week and publish it straight off. This is very lazy and damages the quality of the KDP platform. If KDP gets flooded with ebooks that are of a really bad quality people will lose faith with the KDP and with self published books in general. The worst thing about this is that quite often the badly written books are written by people with online marketing and SEO background so they use their marketing techniques to boost the ranking of their ebook and make lots of sales. This is afairly common practice and will eventually damage the sustainability of the KDP platform.
Amazon decides where ebooks end up in the ranking system via a variety of variables. They look at how many people have downloaded the book. How many views the book has had. How many pages of the book people have read and many other things.
One of the biggest deciders for where a book is ranked is the revews that book gets. This seems like quite a good way of seperating the wheat from the chaff. The problem is there are lots of facebook pages and forums and websites that provide review exchanges. A review exchange is where author A will download author B's book and then will read it and leave a review. Author B will then do the same thing with author A's book. Again this seems OK on the surface. The problem is this only works if both authors are being honest and leaving genuine reviews. Most of the time this does not happen. Authors A and B will leave nice reviews with each other so that they themselves will get a nice review. The reviews are usually 4 to 5 stars and praise the book even if the book is really badly written with loads of spelling mistakes.
The future of Kindle Publishing
Mailing lists and website links
Another thing that has become common practise is writers using their books to get more visitors to their websites or increase their mailing lists. This can be a good practise if it is done honestly and in a quality way. The thing is for every 1 witer who does that there are about 10 who do not.
There are a lot of people who will write a book about a specific topic. This kind of prcatise is really popular among money making books. A writer will write a short book that supposedly tells the reader a great way of making money online. It will generally be a book that takes an hour to read. It will spend the first thrid of the book explaining what the book does and how it will make you really rich. It will then give a few basic and general tips and tricks to entice the reader and will then at the end have a link to a website where you can find out more information.
The readers bought the book expecting it to give them the information not give them a taste of it and then provide a link to where the information can be gained from a website. This kind of self promotion is a disgrace and will damage the longevity of KDP.
As you can see the biggest problem with KDP is that it is vulnerable to people gaming the system and using Blackhat methods to get a badly written book to the top ranks. There is little that Amazon seems to wish to do to change this because it is a very lucrative business and is growing exponentially every year.
It looks like they are going to wait till they are forced make changes to the system. If they keep going like this the quality fo the self published books will be really bad and people will stop buying self published books. This will be bad for those who work hard at their books and actually create amazing pieces of work.
What do you think?
Will KDP survive without drastic changes?
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