Amazon Self-Publishing for Beginners

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

With all the new blogs and recent news articles urging writers to publish their eBooks on Kindle, the topic is probably one you’re at least familiar with by now. As most people know, Amazon has leveled the playing field for authors by making the process of publishing eBooks as simple as a few mouse clicks and a couple of file uploads.

Before the recent self-publishing revolution began, the difficult part was getting your book in the hands of readers to begin with. However, that’s the exact same challenge that independent authors face when publishing for the Kindle as well. It turns out that making your book available is much easier than getting people to actually buy it or be interested in reading it!

This low entry bar also creates a new challenge for debut Kindle authors – since anyone and everyone can now publish whatever they want, that’s exactly what is happening. The result? A fair amount of low quality eBooks and a highly competitive environment for unknown authors.

Learning to Stand Out in the Crowd

So how do you stand out in such a crowded and popular new marketplace that is open to anyone? What does it take to attract the type of author publicity that helps build a brand and sell more eBooks?

Here are a few eBook marketing ideas that have proven effective for many debut authors using Kindle to publish:

  1. Write and distribute a press release after you’ve launched your eBook. If you are not familiar with press release writing, outsource it and consider paying for distribution. Include quotes, contact information and hook in readers with a strong headline. Remember, you have a tiny window of time to capture the interest of readers who are likely skimming headlines and you must find a clever way to set your story apart from all the others. The main idea of a press release for your book is to generate curiosity and get people excited about the story you have to tell.
  2. Encourage book reviews. This is probably the most obvious way to promote books or anything else, for that matter. It’s probably the first one that comes to mind as well. Alas, it is also going to be the hardest form of promotion to land as a debut author. Don’t let that get you down though. Reach out to book review bloggers, fans from social media or anyone else who might be willing to share their thoughts on Amazon or elsewhere on the web!
  3. Start living and breathing social media life into your author platform. Just remember that you are not limited to Twitter and Facebook. Find the communities centered around readers and books. GoodReads is a great example and it offers tons of innovative ways to share and promote your writing. Get started by setting up an author profile and adding your eBooks. Next, experiment with groups, quotes and book giveaway contests. There isn’t a better online community for finding passionate readers.

These fundamental tips should give new authors a viable starting point. As with any type of marketing, your ultimate goal should be to determine who your target audience is and find out the best ways in which to engage them and turn them into loyal readers.


AshlyLorenzana is a freelance writer, published author and passionate blogger who lives in the Portland, OR area. Her interests include social media, online marketing and digital publishing. You can follow her on Twitter @ashlorenzana


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Desperate Times Hits the World of Self-Publishing – Part I

For writers, the publishing world has drastically changed over the past one hundred years. At the top of the century, writers received fame and notoriety for their writing skills. Their skills combined with a bit of their own personal successes and tragedies, often rocketed them to the top of the short lists.

However, once the internet made its place in our lives, the publishing world was quickly brought to its knees. Hardcopy publishing companies of the smaller variety began to topple like dominos. Only the toughest survived and once through the fight found themselves with a new variety of beasts with which to contend. Self-publishing companies and eBook publishers have changed the entire geography of what it means to be a writer these days. I recently found one incredible digital author that agrees.

The Future of Literature

I came across a book with an interesting description not long ago. Desperate Times, by Nick Antinozzi proved to me once again why the future of literature lay in digital print. Nick’s story isn’t even my usual preference, but hooked by the storyline provided, I dove on in. Proof positive that a good description will get you somewhere.

Devoid of elegant prose or wordy fluff, the story quickly progressed into one I simply could not put down. Once I was nearing the finish line on the book, I began to wonder. Who wrote this book? Is this person formally educated? Where did he get his inspiration? Why isn’t this a movie?

So in my usual manner, I hunted Nick down, via Social Media of course. I located him fairly quickly by looking up the books name on Facebook. A Desperate Times fan page, complete with the book’s cover, was quickly located. I left a comment and twiddled my thumbs a bit, knowing how some of my previous responses for questions and interviews have been received. Nick quickly responded and there we began.

When did you start writing?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. By the time I was in my mid-thirties, I had read thousands of books and armed with my trusty Starwriter, I thought I’d take a stab at writing a novel. I had no idea what I was doing, but many months later I had some 300 pages that certainly looked like a manuscript.

Like a lot of first-time writers, I thought I had just written the next Grapes of Wrath. I picked up the latest copy of Writer’s Digest and I began mailing query letters and hard copies to New York. Some weeks later, I received my first rejection letter along with my manuscript in the self-addressed, stamped envelope that I had provided on the off chance that my contact had gone out of business or moved. The manuscripts came back unopened, but the letters were kind and explained that lots of people had word processors and that there was no room at the inn.

Undaunted, I repackaged my manuscripts, wrote a fresh batch of query letters and I tried again. The postage was killing me. Still, I was sure that if someone would simply read my manuscript, they would want to represent it. One day I got the letter that every writer dreams of. An agency wrote to tell me that they saw great promise in my work and instructed me to send my novel to an editing company that specialized in work like mine. Furthermore, the editing company acted as book scouts for the major players in New York and even Hollywood. The edit would be expensive, but it was necessary.

I said I never went to college, that doesn’t mean I didn’t pay for it. They should have addressed the letter: Dear Sap.

I would later learn that the agency was receiving kickbacks from the editing company. I was crushed and years would pass before I began writing again. I had learned a valuable lesson and it had cost me dearly. I began reading books about writing as finally dawned upon me that I still had much to learn.

When did you first publish?

I continued to write short stories, now writing on my trusty Compaq 386. I had made the jump to digital and I had no idea how much it would someday change my life. I now had access to what seemed like an unlimited amount of information. Years passed and I continued to write and research.

A good friend asked me why I wasn’t publishing my stories on a website. Although I knew nothing of creating websites, but he patiently guided me through the process and suddenly, I was a published writer. I began churning out short stories and I began posting them on my website with just a five-minute edit. They weren’t perfect, but I was living my dream and people began to find me and the stories that I had written.

That was when I decided to take another crack at writing a novel and Desperate Times was born.

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