They make it sound so easy…

Awhile back I put forth the idea for an experiment.  A good scientist does research before delving into the actual experiment. Do a Google search for “self publishing on Kindle“. All sorts of interesting links pop up. There are people selling “how-to” guides, authors giving advice on pricing e-books, success stories, etc. If one goes directly to Amazon there is more in-depth information. There seem to be two options for publishing. If, like me, you do not own a nice fancy, insanely priced Adobe Creative suit, you can use Amazon’s service to convert from a Word or other type of digital document into their Kindle format. (Although, I do know someone who owns it and may bribe him to let me use it to compare the D-I-Y vs Amazon’s formatting.) If by chance you do own the desktop publishing software, you download a plug in, do the work yourself, and tada, your book is ready to astound the Kindle community.

Pros of doing it yourself in Adobe:

  • No need to fork over 30% cut of royalties over to Amazon. (I think. Amazon must get something, but I haven’t seen that agreement yet.)
  • If there are errors, only you are to blame.
  • I’m sure there are more, but  as I mentioned, I haven’t read the user agreement for this route. Amazon may slip some of the same things in for people merely selling.


  • Have you SEEN how much that program costs? :O
  • If one has never used Adobe, I imagine there would be many long hours of frustration while learning new software.
  • Allowing Amazon to do the formatting means you forfeit a portion of your profits.
  • They can go in and alter formatting at their discretion. (Odds are they rarely do this, but this particular clause disturbs me).

I’m not sure if this is for everyone, or merely the “Kindle Direct” users, but Amazon lets the author set a list price, but then retains the right to set the retail price to whatever they want it to be. Again, this is an issue where odds are they generally don’t change the price, but the fact that they can is annoying. Of course, in traditional publishing, the author has no say-so whatsoever in the cost of the book. Considering that, it isn’t too big of a pill to swallow.

Here’s an interesting conundrum:

“You will not, without our express, prior written permission: (a) issue any press release or make any other public disclosures regarding this Agreement or its terms;…” Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing agreement. Hmm. I haven’t accepted their terms yet, as I’m merely researching at this point and not ready to publish anything. Why can’t people discuss the terms? Why do they want it secret? I find this the most disturbing.

So does it count as a breech I publish this prior to accepting?

Hopefully my fellow writers find this information useful. In the meantime I shall plod along with my edits and the construction of my website.




4 responses to “They make it sound so easy…

  1. I wonder if the clause quoted could even be held up in a court of law, for those who have agreed to their terms. I would seriously doubt it. Perhaps this is used more as a detour ant; of course I am not a lawyer. Interesting points you make. How does self publishing with the Nook compare? Perhaps this is an opportunity for a group of writers to pull together and offer up a competing platform…very doable!

  2. I had nothing but a good experience when I was a Kindle Direct user. Regular payments, no hassles, no headaches. I highly recommend the program.

  3. As far as B & N goes, getting into their system is like applying for a building permit in NYC. Tons of hoops and red tape.

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