so, a few people recently asked me about my experience with self-publishing, specifically asking what i think about amazon’s KDP.
(keep in mind that i am no professional here. i am only including my own experiences using KDP as a poet, short story writer, and anthology-editor. this will also be nowhere near to any sort of KDP tutorial, just various notes/thoughts i have on it, written in no particular order whatsoever.)
so first of all, KDP used to be createspace, which was a bit more versatile in some of their formats (especially covers), and that’s what i used for my first two projects. (writing night book and the skeleton girl). KDP did not change the process in any major sort of way, it was a fairly streamlined switch-over. so there’s that.
a second note: i prefer physical copies of books. i’ve used KDP for that purpose. while it certainly has the capability of producing digital format books, my one brief experience attempting it was, in my opinion, not so successful. for writing night book, i originally offered a digital version as well as the physical. for me, with the moderate effort i put in, the formatting would not bend to my will – whatever i did, i could not match the formatting of the physical book. perhaps it was my own fault, had i put more effort in, i could have gotten it right. it was frustrating regardless – it should not have been an issue to begin with.
KDP, overall, is very easy to use, and self-explanatory. it was simple for me to transfer my projects over (i used microsoft word, and saved the content as a PDF which KDP then uses). it makes it easy to review your project online, and proofs are easy to order (and inexpensive) during the process.
creating the cover for one’s project (front, back, binding), is work. KDP has several pre-formatted options for covers, somewhat versatile, which if one goes that route, makes it easier. however, in my opinion, those options scream ‘self-published’ rather than ‘published’ (looking less professional, whatever that means.) i have been very fortunate in that respect to have experience with a photoshop-like program (arcsoft photo studio). i would recommend, if creating the cover on one’s own (KDP also uses PDF’s for self-created covers), to have multiple eyes on it first.
multiple eyes. so very important. KDP checks on a few basic things during the creation process, like margins, or excess blank spaces – a number of small things. however, one must be sure (for any self-publishing, not just KDP) that their content has been edited fully, gone through with a fine tooth comb as it were. and then, once it has been gone over, go over it again. i would highly recommend hiring an editor, especially for longer work such as novels. for poetry and short stories, editing is still quite a bit of work. again, hire an editor.
(a note on hiring, whether cover artist or editor, or anyone else: do your research. several folks out there overcharge. several folks out there are inexpensive, but may not do as well as one needs them to do. KDP in and of itself, in my experience, has no scamming associated with it in any way, but once one goes outside of their site, anything goes i’m sure. )
KDP creates a free ISBN for one’s project, which cannot be modified once begun.
royalties through KDP, i believe, are fair. based on the length of one’s project, KDP will calculate a minimum price, which one can increase if desired. based on the price that is set, KDP will calculate the appropriate royalties. here’s a link to their royalty calculator.
obviously, once a project is complete and ready to go live, KDP will make it available on amazon. there are other options as well, allowing a project to go international, and/or be available at various booksellers.
which brings us to gettin’ paid. so one has their project up on amazon – now what? potential readers are not going to find it – maybe randomly? – unless one does some more work: advertising. KDP offers to advertise on amazon, obviously. i have no experience with that process, so i can’t comment on it. i am certain it has some sort of financial cost attached, which any professional advertising would. without paying an advertiser/entity, one is going to have to push their own product, which, again, is work. for me, this is the hardest part of the process. how does one advertise their own work effectively? i am still working on this. for my own projects, i’ve blogged/reblogged posts about them on the various social media sites that i am on. for the number of times i have done so, which has not been terribly many, i have gained a few book sales. i tend to fear being ‘spammy’ to my followers/friends, which is an aspect of being a writer that i never even remotely thought of in the past. long story short (too late, i know), i’d recommend doing more research on effective advertising in the self-publishing world than just reading this weird little blog post of mine.
ultimately, i enjoy using KDP. it is easy to use, and gives me the extreme pleasure of holding a book. that i made. in my hand.