More help and advice
To gain an insight into how self-publishing could be your path to a career as an author, Techradar Pro spoke with Steve Windsor the author of the Fallen series of dark supernatural thrillers. Steve also has advice and marketing materials on Author Basics.
Techradar Pro: What key advice would you give to a new author who is about to start using the Kindle publishing system?
Steve Windsor: KDP is not the only player on the block but they're the one you need to learn first. KDP publishing is a bit like placing an ad on Craigslist. Only, you are trying to sell your story, not an old couch. The trouble is, KDP readers look at your story and think: 'Old couch.' You have to write the best story you can first.
TRP: Are there any pitfalls to watch out for when using Amazon's publishing system?
SW: Whenever you click publish to change anything on your KDP book record, you lose control of your book for 12-24 hours. Make sure you have everything the way you want it before you hit publish.
TRP: Can authors become blind to the other publishing platforms available to them because of Amazon's influence in the marketplace?
SW: Absolutely. Amazon, regardless of what they say, wants to be Google, Microsoft, eBay, and the online equivalent of what Barnes & Noble used to be. In short Amazon has no interest in letting you think there is anyone else who can do even close to what they do.
TRP: Are there any tools that you would recommend that make using Amazon's self-publishing system more efficient or easier?
SW: Learn Scrivener NOW! It's simply the most powerful self-publishing tool I know of. Writing, formatting, compiling to all the different formats you need. The learning curve seems steep, but once you get some time behind the wheel, you'll understand how valuable it is.
TRP: What does the future look like for self-publishing with the Amazon system?
SW: Amazon is in the middle of becoming eBay, and doing a damn good job of it. The self-publishing division, KDP and CreateSpace, is becoming more competitive, with better quality products and more of them. And as always, what was once an indie author playground is now becoming more and more like a powerful New York publishing house. One that rewards success and punishes failure.
Amazon is busy releasing all kinds of programs that try to corral authors into their platform, search out the best authors/books and reward them with special exclusive services available from Amazon. It all starts with learning to write better and better books. However, that's not enough – you have to learn marketing above all else. Without that, the ocean is simply too big for anyone to find your book by stumbling across it.
Big success is possible
The massive success of E. L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey), Amanda Hocking (My Blood Approves), Hugh Howey (Wool) and Andy Weir (The Martian) illustrate how successful self-publishing can be. With readily available tools, all you need to worry about is writing a great book.