Getting a book published on Amazon

In my last post I told you how I was waiting for Smashwords to vet my free ebook ready for their shipping it out to retailers. The idea of the free novel was that it was a tryout in all sorts of ways. It is the first book I had tried to publish myself. I have so much to learn. You can read all you like about ebook formatting and marketting (there seems to be a mini industry in advice out there) but in the end the only way to really learn is to try it for yourself.

I am conscious, of course I am, that I am an unknown, that my chances of selling many copies are low, that publishing is only the first step on a very long road. So one reason for the free book was to get some people to download it and hopefully read it. The free book is part (nearly half) of a longer novel. I could simply have published the latter and allowed the readers to sample 50%. But I wanted more control. I also wanted to publish the free ebook myself and distribute it through channels not serviced by Smashwords. More of those some other time.

Then almost on a whim I decided I would see how easy it would be to release a book through Amazon. Amazon is easily the biggest player in the ebook world, a whale among minnows, and in the British market virtually the only player in town. I couldn’t release the free book through Amazon, so loaded up the full novel. I expected problems. I had had to create the original myself rather than have Smashwords do it and vet it for me. I created the book using a free software programme called Calibre, filled in the form, clicked the button and to my amazement within hours the book was available for sale on Amazon’s site.

Here’s the link  The book is called Girl in the Glass and is priced at £1.03. I forgot that there is 3% VAT on ebooks – don’t ask me why. It’s $1.63 in the US. I will be looking hard at pricing over the next few months. It all feels very strange.


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