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What I've Learned About Kindle Ebooks

Discussion in 'Making Money' started by crefugee, May 30, 2012.

  1. crefugee

    crefugee Newbie

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    A few months ago, I decided to try my hand at Kindle ebooks after reading how some regular Joes had made a killing with short stories and other fiction. I am a writer by profession, mostly doing print journalism. I wanted to find something that would allow me to write once and sell many times. I read up on what some people here at BHW had done with the Kindle, took some notes, and gave it a try.

    It's been almost 3 months since I created my first Kindle-only book, and it has remained in the "top 100 paid" titles ranking for its category for the US, UK, and Germany. The book itself is in English and is more of a how-to for those wanted to get involved with the mobile tech business (my specialty).

    Since I took so many notes from here, I owe BHW some thanks for my modest success. My own notes below will hopefully help aspiring Kindle authors avoid the mistakes I've noticed within Kindle publishing, and actually make some money from it.


    1. Kindle books should be no less than 50 pages but no more than 100 pages long. Anything less, and the buyer will (rightly) assume that the book is of low quality, written by an amateur, and not worth buying. Any longer and you probably have enough material to turn into 2 books. Provide a quality product that is a value to the Kindle customer, but not too much value.
    2. Reasonable price for Kindle books of this length are around the $5 mark. Less and it looks like the type of book spam I talked about above. More and it will not sell in the numbers you want, unless you are a known author with a "brand name".
    3. Use care with the formatting. Learn how to properly format a Kindle book before releasing it. I've seen many negative reviews based purely on the fact that the book had terrible formatting.
    4. Write about topics that appeal to people's desires. I have 2 books on the Kindle. The first I talked about above and is a success. It shows people how to get started in something with a tangible benefit (i.e. making money). My second book is well written and has valuable information, but has sold 0 copies. It's topic is more of a self-help guide, and people are only likely to buy it when they find themselves in the exact situation it was written for. On the Kindle, you can write the next "War and Peace", but it will likely go unread unless they know you as the author. On the other hand, any Joe can write a book about "the secrets of making online money" and as long as it doesn't look like complete spam trash, people may give it a try, if properly priced.
    5. Sign-up for Amazon's KDP program. You can only publish your book for the Kindle under the terms of this program, but in return you get 70% royalties. Anyway, where else are you realistically going to publish your book? Google? Apple? They will give you 1% of the total potential that Amazon can offer for sales.
    6. Use the KDP free promotion period to give your book away for free. A few hundred copies given away for free gets people talking about your book. Buzz creates sales. If it turns out you get a bunch of negative reviews, then your book likely wasn't ready for sale, and it is better to know now, rather than be elated by sales early, only to be disappointed by huge returns later.

    Obviously, a lot of the above applies to non-fiction. I have not tried my hand at the fiction side yet, but that is my next plan for the Kindle. I'll be sure to update the info with anything new I learn along the way.
     
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  2. MafiaBoss

    MafiaBoss Elite Member

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    appreciated.i tried to write a book nearly done 20 pages it's about money making but really dont have the time to complete it and publish it on kindle due to other projects and work.but i will try to publish it and see how it goes.thanks for the tips :)
     
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  3. poweronics

    poweronics Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    That was a great effort to share your beneficial thoughts regarding kindle books. It is really a good guideline for beginners.
    Keep it up.
     
  4. Vibrance

    Vibrance Junior Member

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    While I dont use kindle, I have thanked your post as the valuable contribution to the forum is appreciated
     
  5. bakana1

    bakana1 Newbie

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    just wondered what your book was? be interested to read it or view it. ;)
     
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  6. crefugee

    crefugee Newbie

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    There was a PM question about formatting for Kindle, and the following is what I use. The results look very good on Kindle readers and also devices like the iPad:

    Search Google for Amazon topic: A17W8UM0MMSQX6

    Basically Amazon recommends:


    • No page numbers since type in Kindle is fluid based on font size and orientation
    • Manual page break at end of each chapter


    1. A major pet peeve of Kindle users are books that do not include a table of contents. Include a table of contents using word, but do not use page numbers. This will convert the TOC to hyperlinks that go to each chapter heading in Kindle. I agree that not having a TOC sucks for the reader. It makes it impossible to jump to different parts of the book.
    2. There are a few contradictions on Amazon's site. One page says to export as filtered HTML to submit to Amazon, and another page says go right with the Word .doc format. No need to do the mobi format any longer. I did the Word .doc format, and from checking the end result on a Kindle device and Kindle for iPad, it looks pretty sweet.
    3. Cover size recommendations on Amazon are weird. On one page Amazon recommends using a cover size ratio of 1.6. Given my rudimentary math skills, I think that would mean 1000 pixels tall by 600 pixels wide. With that orientation, it looks unusually tall and narrow.
    4. Another contradiction was max pixel size for the cover. The latest version on Amazon says for best results submit longest side at 2500 pixels. A different part of the site says something much smaller. I ended up going with 1875 x 2500 in a format that looked equally good in gray scale or color. When I checked on a few devices, this resolution looked very good.
     
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  7. Mises

    Mises Junior Member

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    I've always thought of trying this out one day and this makes me want to do it sooner than later. Thanks for sharing, some great info here!
     
  8. kurti

    kurti Registered Member

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    i am writing in the non-fiction section for amazon germany. don't forget to make small series with up to 5 ebooks from 1 niche and create a master collection from all these 5 books and sell this with the sentence "take 5 and pay only 3" or so. do not forget to link to each book inside your ebook series at the end of your content. this boosts your sales immediatly.

    hope this helps too

    greetings kurti
     
  9. ilikeblackhat

    ilikeblackhat Newbie

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    Useful suggestions, thank you share
     
  10. jiipodd

    jiipodd Registered Member

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    Having done the same thing, I completely agree with the OP. Good tips.

    One issue that I've had is that for whatever reason I don't get reviews. I have used the free promotion too during which the ebook was downloaded more than 200 times. Still 0 reviews.

    I would also say, that the cover image matters. Check how other books in your niche looks like and design your cover to look different. Like if you have several of the covers on the same page, which one sticks to your eye first? Try to make your ebook that one.
     
  11. Catt Mutts

    Catt Mutts Junior Member

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    What?
    Can you have multiple amazon accounts? If you suck at your first publishing and pick up bad reviews, can you open the new account and start over?
     
  12. nottelling2012

    nottelling2012 Newbie

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    No need for multiple accounts due to crappy content so long as said content falls within Kindle guidelines. I'm operating three separate "pen names" covering three different niches from the one Kindle account. Put a different author name on each niche and the reader won't know that the female author penning that hot erotica is the same writer as that strident historian writing about Hitler's folly on the Eastern Front.

    If you feel that your content sucks so badly that it's damaging your kindle income, then unpublish, revise the book under a different pen name with a different title and reupload. Make sure the title is different or your old title will keep popping up in search results.

    Don't publish PLR or the Kindle gods will smite you. The only shortcut with Kindle is to outsource your writing.
     
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  13. crefugee

    crefugee Newbie

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    Totally agree. The book cover is your main marketing tool when it comes to search results on Amazon. Make it interesting and professional. It may be the only chance you get to interest people in your book.

    I noticed also that many free books don't get reviewed. My assumption is that people download it free, so don't feel very invested in it. Once they are paying money for it though, if they love it or hate it, they are more likely to voice their opinions. Honestly, when I shop Amazon, I am only motivated to write a review if I totally love something or absolutely hate it. Anything in the 3 star range, and I figure it's not worth my time to write a review.

     
  14. crefugee

    crefugee Newbie

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    I do this too. For the fiction I am trying my hand at now, I'm not using my real name. Anything controversial, I'd also avoid using my real name. Since I write for magazines and some other news outlets, attaching my name to anything too controversial could be a career killer. Create several pen names and personas for each genre you are targeting.

     
  15. IMMASTERGUY

    IMMASTERGUY Newbie

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    Great tips and information thanks so much!!
     
  16. Sako94

    Sako94 Junior Member

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    i really like this, might get into it soon, thank you!
     
  17. johnny_wadd

    johnny_wadd Registered Member

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    This is great info. Thanks all above, but how do you go about creating a cover for your ebook?
     
  18. Supernaruto

    Supernaruto Newbie

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    Hi, I'm writing my first kindle book and found your information very helpful. So far I've written 16 chapters (approximately 8000 words). You said that Kindle books should be no less than 50 pages but no more than 100 pages long. I'm wondering how many words will that be? How many words are in your Kindle?

    Thanks a lot.
     
  19. blognetworkservices

    blognetworkservices Regular Member

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    My website contain Kindle ebooks details only and i am getting money from that...Its good one...Nice post