Bess Auer

Author of the Holiday Shakespeare Trilogy

Archive for the tag “kdp”

Publishing on the Kindle and Becoming Agentless

My newest novel Beware the Ex-Varto (Holiday Shakespeare Trilogy, Book 1) is only available on the Kindle. This was a deliberate decision made by me and my now-former agent. (No names! I’ll tell you why later.) Many people have asked why I am not making this book available in print as my first novel is, so I thought my reasons might make a good blog post.

A variety of Kindles are now available.

At first my agent was pursuing the normal avenue of trying to sell my book to a traditional publisher when she came across the Kindle Direct Publishing Program.  The KDP program means any author (or publisher) can format their book into an e-book and upload to begin selling almost immediately. Basically, it’s cutting out the middle-man of the traditional publisher. And with a royalty payment of 70%, that beats the heck out of what I would have been offered by going with a traditional publishing company anyway.


Pros of KDP:

  • 70% royalty domestic, 35% on international sales
  • A percentage pay out on any books “borrowed” through the Amazon Prime Program (think library)
  • Easy uploading of book with minimal ebook formatting
  • Get your book out there and selling quickly
  • People can read it using any Kindle device, including their computer, iPhone, and iPad
  • Promotional days are available

Cons of KDP:

  • It’s exclusive – your book can only be viewed on Kindle devices
  • You do all the marketing yourself (But I would be doing that anyway, because I’m not a best-selling author!)
  • ISBN must be acquired separately as the KDP only provides an ASIN, which is specific to Amazon.com
  • You have to know something about converting a Word document to html and then formatting for Kindle

As we all know Amazon.com is revolutionizing the publishing world. For better or for worse, ebooks are quickly replacing traditional paper books, and it appears KDP is just another way Amazon.com is looking to bury the competition. They are going after big names, like James Franco and other celebrities, to publish books in this program and be available only on the Kindle. Pretty smart, eh?

Now, as to my former agent and why I have now chosen to become agentless. For a percentage of my royalties, my lit agency (again will remain unnamed) promised a proofreading service for my manuscript, formatting into a ebook, enrolling in KDP, uploading to Amazon.com, as well as some minor marketing services.

Well, as it turns out–400 downloads later!–the unedited/unproofread version was the one formatted and then uploaded. Lovely! And while mistakes are certainly made by everyone (Lord knows I make my fair share!) I didn’t like going round and round with my agent to convince her the unedited version was the one being downloaded by readers! Over 400 times! Arrrggghhh!

So, wrongs have been righted (supposedly) and I have learned a few lessons:

  • Cut out the agent and the publisher
  • Get some willing friends to proofread in exchange for a sneak peek at the latest chapters
  • Google and learn for myself how to convert document to epubs for the Kindle
  • Jump on Amazon.com’s author community forums to see what is working well for others
  • Keep all 70% for myself! Yes!

So, there you have my reasons for publishing exclusively on the Kindle. I’ll see how it goes and perhaps this time next year I’ll be back begging for an agent! But, who knows? Maybe I won’t!

And just so you know that agentless authors can self-publish to success, check out Amanda Hocking’s story on NPR.

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