Tuesday, April 25, 2017

To Kindle Direct Or Not To Kindle Direct

There's a fantastic kindle authors contest going on - kindle storyteller 2017 - and you can enter it any time up to May 19th. All you have to do is

  • release a book on kindle - at least 5,000 words and no less than 24 pages in print; all your own work; not violating any laws etc - 
  • create a print version - easy using the new kindle beta print, which looks almost the same as Createspace but without distribution to other vendors, 
  • make sure you use the right keywords (simple to cut and paste) and
  • enroll your book in kindle direct.

All of which should be really trivial if you happen to have a novella lying around almost completed on your computer. I had three, and I had wonderful friends encouraging me to try. So I published them all.

  • Obey the first rule - easy; 
  • obey the second - fine and a perfect chance to try out that kindle print - I LOVE the covers! (Not sure I like the fact that you have to pay full price to buy YOUR OWN BOOK, but they say they'll fix that when it's out of beta - DO NOT MOVE YOUR CREATESPACE BOOKS TO KINDLE BETA YET!!!)
  • obey the third - no problem
  • and then I forgot the fourth.

Somehow I'd neglected to check that creating a book on kdp is not the same as enrolling in kindle direct. So I followed the links, read the fine print, and panicked.

The question isn't so much should I enroll those three small books I'm so proud of in kindle direct. It's do I dare take the risk.
  • Do I know for absolute sure that no one will find more than 10% of one of the stories cached on, say, the now-defunct gather.com website, or on our (password protected) writers' group site, or in separate chapters posted as separate stories on one of my blogs, or ...? If I don't, I risk breaking the rules by enrolling in Kindle Direct. And if I break the rules, I risk Amazon closing my kindle account, which would remove a whole slew of non-kindle direct books. 
  • But that's not the only risk. What if someone accuses me of plagiarism? I won't know who accused me. I won't be guilty (I know that for sure). But how will I defend myself? - I have a friend whose kindle book was removed because of a false accusation; all his emailed proofs of innocence seem to be read and ignored by robots, not by real people who might understand. Do I want to take that risk? 
  • Then there's the fake downloads risk. Various authors have suffered this one, with strangers blighting their books by masses of downloads in a single day, resulting in Amazon deducing they've gamed the borrowers system and removing the book.

The more I look at it, the more I'm almost afraid to even publish. But for sure I'm scared of Kindle Direct, so I'll skip the contest (I wasn't going to win it anyway), ease my stress, and just enjoy the fact that it did inspire me to release:

Enjoy!

2 comments:

Jean Harkin said...

Hi Sheila-- YOu found out in the nick of time! BUt it's a win-win for you. YOur beautiful books are published and you've managed to avoid the pitfalls of kindle direct-- by your keen observation and noticing what COULD happen if earlier versions of your stories are found, even though privately distributed.

Meanwhile, you've published 3 MORE BOOKS!!

Sheila Deeth said...

True, though I do with I could order copies without paying full price. Still, they said personal print copies would be "coming soon," so I'll patiently await them.