With my first publication on Amazon, I thought I’d share my experience getting a completed work out there. Even just to the digital shelves of Kindle Direct, there was a lot of nuance to pay attention to.
One thing I cannot stress enough: edit that book! Then give it another once-over, then have your editor do it again! I had two major issues: I fixed everything without letting my editor read it one final time, and so I missed a couple of things.
Secondly, I used the wrong files for one or two of my short stories. I had several files–early drafts, later drafts, edited versions, and “final” versions. Somewhere along the way, I lost a finished version of a story. When I went to compile it, I ended up having to spend another hour fixing mistakes!
Why is this so important? Because pushing out updated versions is a pain in the butt. (More on this below!)
From there, I used a program called Kindle Create to compile it and package it for Kindle Direct. Unfortunately, it’s in beta, and still a little buggy. I was unable to rearrange chapters by dragging-and-dropping, and so I needed to take my original .docx file and swap things around to how I wanted them.
I also had an issue with creating the Table of Contents. Curiously, the Kindle Create-packaged file does not show a ToC when the book is read in the Cloud Reader, but it’s just fine in actual Kindle apps!
Note that Kindle Create requires you to make a plain-text cover for your book. The image is uploaded later in a separate place in Kindle Direct.
With it packaged, I was ready to publish! Or so I thought.
Besides the stories, what else do you need? Turns out a lot!
- Cover art. I know fancy, paid-for art is far more eye catching, but sometimes finances are an issue! I used Canva to create an acceptable cover. (Note: not a paid endorsement!)
- The blurb! Somehow, I had forgotten to put together that little write-up that’s supposed to catch your attention.
- Bank account information. Naturally, to get paid!
- A copyright page. And acknowledgements, and “About the Author”…
From there, you click “Publish”, and then wait. It says it could take as long as 72 hours for new authors (24 for existing), but my book was up by the next morning!
All in all, it wasn’t too bad. The second time around should be much smoother. I highly encourage anyone out there who has something written but is daunted by the prospect go ahead and give it a go! It’s fairly easy, and will make a lot of sense once you’re done.
So about that update process…
It’s out, it’s up, and… you have a terribly-written sentence in the first paragraph. Welcome to my world. My wife and I excitedly downloaded it to our Kindles, and found this: “Even in the dim daylight, his a shine emitted from his gold-colored armor shined.”
In a moment of utter horror, I looked at the “Reports” tab in Kindle Direct and found that some random person had already bought it! No biggie, I figured: I’ll just push out an update. Within a day, I had a new version out–but with one major catch: Updated versions only go to new customers.
For existing purchases to get the update, you (the author) need to contact Amazon support. This was another process in itself: contact Amazon directly, explain the issue, give them specific examples, and within a week they will give you a decision. It has to be a major issue for them to force an update to existing purchases. If it’s minor (as mine was judged to be), it will be given as an optional update under Manage Content and Devices on Amazon.
In my case, it took about two days. But what a harrowing two days it was!
Fantasy Adventures Volume 1: Five Short Stories of Humor, Love, and War is out now for 99¢!