Sunday, March 06, 2011

Publishing a Kindle Book

Well, I've taken a little look at it all. Initially it seemed that the 70% rate was a load of bollocks because when searching you mostly come up with 35%. However, further searches (thanks Geoff Lynas) reveal that there is a 70% rate for certain regions, and most importantly for me they are UK, USA and Canada. It's also the case that there is a 'shipping charge' of $0.15 X number of megabytes and a 15% VAT rate (though when and where that's applied I'm not sure).

Another thing putting me off was finding pages with all sorts of instructions about loading the books in HTML or plain text but, on checking, I found that the Word 'doc' format is supported. Just to check all this out I signed up (here) with my Amazon ID and finding that there's a 'draft' setting I loaded up my novella The Parasite and, sure enough, I can take a look at how it will look on a Kindle and it's fine.

The only drawback here for me is that this is all (please correct me if I'm wrong) on and, because its US, any payments I get will have to be by cheque rather than direct to my bank account. Then again, if the cheques turn up promptly I've no problem. I do wonder what the minimum amount is before a cheque can be sent.

Okay, I am now going to rework The Parasite and give it a go. When it's up for sale I'll let you know how it all goes.


Geoff Lynas said...

Can't you use Paypal Neal? Dead easy to set up.

Antony said...

Paypal is easy to use, but they do have a tendency to charge you extra for certain things... but if its just for 'dipping your toe in the water' it should be fine.

KJ Mulder said...

Amazon doesn't allow for Paypal to be used as a payment method.

From their documentation it seems the only payment method for those outside the US would be by cheque once you have a balance of $100 or more.

You could also try Smashwords. They seem to give 85% of proceeds to authors and can pay via PayPal. Another bonus is that they'll offer non-Kindle file formats. Downside is that you'll have much less sales than on the native Amazon site, since it's a much smaller site.

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

paypal has a little fee they stick on. heres the fee calculator:

this is fookin' great news.

Jay said...

Depends on how you want to sell things. I've done shareware back in the mid 90s-00s and the #1 thing to make a sale was ease of paying. You make it too complicated, people skip you. So this is where Paypal comes in very handy. The #2 was getting your product listed/mentioned on other sites and search engines. I actually made a lot of money selling a niche program people literally all over the world bought.

But then you needs to look after your e-commerce yourself and depending on how popular things are it could take a lot of your time. Your books would be sold drm free most likely as well since you're not using Amazon/Apple/Sony schemes.

This is where vendors come in handy and look after it all for you and send you a nice cheque in the mail.

e-books aren't going away, they aren't a fad. Just like music has gone digital (iTunes) and movies now (Netflix), books are next consumable content to come online that people are finally embracing. As much as I like buying physical books, my national book club went bankrupt recently which is a telling sign of the publishing times. I've bought about a dozen books in the last 4 months and 0 have been physical. Where I used to buy both I've never even touched a paper book in a couple years.

Like you've mentioned Neal, there's no immediacy rush, take your time figuring things out. The Kindle publishing section ( has active forums with people who can answer your questions. At least it sounds like you're able to give it a go without being blocked by a contract unlike most musicians who sell their souls.

gweminence said...

This is awsome, Neal. I hope you work the kinks out to your satisfaction. I'm an avid ebook reader -- this, from someone who's spent his life collecting 'real' books, until the kindle came out -- and really look forward to your work on my current and future readers.

CG said...

Things I know about Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (née DTP):

•To get the 70% rate, your book must be priced between $2.99 and $9.99.

• There will still be the odd sale for which you are only paid a 35% share, due to an Australian resident, say, buying the book via The rate is based on where the customer is, not the store.

• Amazon reserves the right to lower the price you set, in order to undercut/remain competitive with other sellers. Don't know how often they do this.

• The "shipping charge" is applied to all works that earn the 70% rate, but unless you're loading them up with images, a Kindle-formatted novel (not novella) with a juicy cover embedded usually only warrants an $0.08 shipping cost.

• Can't help you with issues of VAT

• Unless you have a US-based bank account, yes, you will have to be paid by cheque and only once you are owed > $100. Which I shouldn't think would be a problem.

• Payment is net 60, so it'll take a few months

• If the work you're trying to e-publish has been in print elsewhere before, Amazon tends to require that you provide proof that you own the rights. It's ultimately good that they're vigilant, but in my experience you have to wait for them to notice and complain and then reply with the rights, which gets tiresome and slows everything down. I wish they'd provide a mechanism for attaching them from the outset.

You might also look at Barnes & Noble's PubIt Nook-publishing equivalent. For an author I work with, it's proven to be about 5x as profitable as Amazon.

Jacques Hughes said...

Don't worry about the specifics. The work you do is what we want to read.

Ask your publishers to be adventurous. Publish your novels as paper, some downloads/ebooks (personally, I've gotten into audiobooks recently, because bandwidth allows it:)) but others as maybe different formats.

For instance, I'm probably going to go and buy some of your books just because I can hear someone reading them to me. I read it on paper, but I'll happily buy again to hear a good voice read it to me. And then again, for some journeys, I'll d/l the ebook (if available) to read on planes.

Seriously, don't underestimate how much people who buy your books admire your writing. I'm an e-book (sony) man now, have been for a few years, but I'll but the audiobooks, especially Voyage of Sable Keech.


Unknown said...

Nice, I am addicted to the kindle app on my iPad, so easy and great to use. Crack on, it may be worth cranking out several short stories a year if this works for you......( just kidding!!)

Jimmy Devine said...

Nice one Neal, can't fault you.

Disco Stu said...

Damn you sir, you tempter!

So far I have resisted the lure of the Kindle - but how can I hold out under these circumstances?!?

And the moths were so comfortable in my wallet as well.

Jacques Hughes said...

I'm also available for reading audiobooks, wedding, funerals and bar-mitzvahs from early May onwards :)

vaudeviewgalor raandisisraisins said...

on a completely alien burning foot:

different suns with runcible tapeworm?

Neal Asher said...

Right, going through these. Geoff's Paypal question has been answered. Jay, the cheques are the payment to me. For people buying it'll be as easy as any other Amazon Kindle purchase. 'c' none of that pricing stuff bothers me. That would be the range I'd sell The Parasite at - it is afterall a 40,000 word novella. It was published before by Tanjen but they went bankrupt years ago so the rights are mine.

Finally, I'll give this a go, see how it runs, then maybe consider sorting out a paper copy to sell. If it works out well I'll do the same with Mindgames: Fool's Mate.

Andrew said...

I use a kindle to read all of my books now. I recently read a paperback that someone bought for me and have come to the conclusion that I preferred my sony ereader (before I broke it) and the kindle.

I'm looking forward to buying this novella. And as someone said on an earlier thread - how about that fantasy you have never had published?

Neal Asher said...

I'm still working on it, and gathering material from it for another 'On Writing'. Damn but I like the word 'look' back then.

Neal Asher said...

Of course there are drawbacks for me that shouldn't be ignored. I don't get the full editing, and there's little likelihood of me seeing it got for translation in 10countries.

The Kat said...

Good news, can't wait to read it. I'll be very interested to see how you do.

IMHO I think any reduction in number of sales, may be more than offset by your increased margin. I think a very important part will be getting the pricing right, lower prices will effect your return per sale but may increase your sales.

I'd be happy to do what I can to help push it, when its ready.