Amazon, Apple, formatting, Kindle, Kobo, KOLL, KU, Notes of Change, self-publishing
I’m giddy with excitement – the text of “Notes of Change” is finally, well, finalised. It has been through several drafts with me, corrections/suggestions from two beta readers, some plot clarification (which moved the chapter count from an irritating thirty-nine to a lovely round forty) and a final read-through yesterday. Final word count is 75,672, which is about average for a Sam Plank book (as readers will know, he’s not a man given to florid description or overlong introspection).
And now that the creative part is done, I move into the phase of lists. I have a list of the steps to create the paperback edition, one for formatting the e-editions (more on that in a minute), one for “pre-publication tasks”, one of “people to tell about the new book”, several of “book promo and marketing ideas” and other random sets of bullet points and reminders jotted in notebooks, sent in emails to myself and written on my phone. One day, dear reader, this will all be amalgamated into a slick publishing process – but today is not that day! Today is the day for formatting the paperback edition.
Ah yes, the e-editions. For the past few years – can’t quite remember when I first did it – I have published my e-editions through the KDP platform (part of the Amazon mega-corporation) and opted for their KDP Select programme. This means that the e-books are sold exclusively in Kindle format through Amazon, and not in any other e-format through any other seller (such as Kobo or Apple). The benefits (this is over-simplifying) are two-fold: you get a better royalty percentage from Amazon than they would offer if your book was published “wide” (i.e. with other sellers as well), and they put your book into their KU and KOLL programmes. KU (Kindle Unlimited) is where people pay a monthly subscription and then can indefinitely borrow up to ten books – as an author, I get a pro rata share of the “KDP Select Global Fund” according to how many pages of my e-books are read by those borrowers. KOLL (Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) allows those who are enrolled in Amazon Prime to download one book a month – as an author, I get a share of the KOLL pot according to the number of downloads of my e-books. And over the years, I’ve rather taken my eye off the ball. Recent soul-searching (and bean-counting) has revealed that:
- The amount of money I make from my books being in KU and KOLL is insignificant to the point of invisibility
- Competitors to Kindle books are growing in number, and many offer good exposure, international coverage, decent royalties and a chance to diversify my risk
- There is an increasing number of readers who are going off Amazon, for all sorts of reasons, and looking for alternative places to buy their books.
In short, I have decided that the e-book of “Notes of Change” will not be going into the KDP Select programme and instead will be published “wide”. The existing six Sam Plank books are stuck in the programme for a couple more months (auto-renew – a casualty of taking my eye of that ball) and then will be withdrawn and also published “wide”. You can see why I need all those lists…