Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kindle: Easier Said Than Done?

I told you about my quest to make my book Maximum Magic: The Save Our School Summer available on Amazon in the Kindle format.. I said, "They say it's easy -- I'll tell you if that's true."  Well, my book is live, available for sale, and it's true -- it was easy. Time consuming but easy.

It took me two weeks in the evenings after work to get this project done. The first week was mostly spent on one more revision-read, then re-formatting my manuscript to the Kindle specs . The Kindle instructions  are clear and easy to follow. I needed to change my font, re-space my lines from manuscript double spaced, and format my chapters and page breaks. It was tedious work, but not difficult.

The 2nd week I followed the step by step instructions to change the whole thing into an e-book. Again, the instructions were clear, and they also provide a video that shows you what to expect. Amazon provides the MobiPocket software which is free and easy to download onto your computer. Once you've run your book through Mobi, you upload it into a Kindle preview reader to see how it will look on an actual Kindle. And in this new format, voila! You see typos you never noticed before! So back to the original documents, make the changes, upload again to MobiPocket, then to the Kindle previewer. I needed to do this cycle three times, but it was easier each time and not very time consuming.

Once you're happy, you upload it to Kindle which is also easy. It takes about 24 hours for the book to be live, ready for sale. When it was live,  my book was not showing up when I searched in the age bracket I wanted. The Kindle forum answers most questions, and customer service was just an e-mail away, with thorough, helpful answers given within 24 hours.

For ages 8-12
available for Kindle
There are plenty of blogs and YouTube videos to give you more step by step details, but honestly, I found the Kindle instructions to be easy to follow. I just worked on a few steps each evening and by the end of the week I had an e-book for sale.

With 20/20 hindsight, here's what I did right: I didn't promote ahead of time that the book would be available by a certain date. That took the pressure off, and allowed me to take any hiccups in stride, able to wait for the great responses from customer service. Besides, what's the hurry? Once the book is done, it's out there forever.

And here's what I learned: I figured that middle grade readers who were interested in magic would find my book by its keywords, and I would have at least some sales on a fairly consistent basis. Well, the book has been live for one week, with no promotion. Total sales so far? Zero.  

Gotta go -- time to promote!

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins has been #1 on Amazon's "Children's and Young Adult" bestseller list for 30 weeks....until TODAY!  See which author and book broke through to the top. It's on this week's Kids' E-book Bestsellers list.