Join the thousands of literature and fiction authors on KDP. Here are some of their stories:
"I put one of my children out into the world, and the birthing process was made so easy by KDP."
Patti Davis, author of Till Human Voices Wake Us
We all have personal milestones. One of mine will always be March 18, 2013 - the day (actually evening) when I uploaded my novel, Till Human Voices Wake Us, to Kindle Direct Publishing. I was taking the step to send it out into the world. I had finally taken control of my writing career.
Yes, I do have a writing career - it's spanned decades. Eight published books, more than a few having something to do with my very famous family, the Reagans. Hey, we're an interesting family. What writer could resist? But I've always had other stories to tell - stories that had nothing to do with me or my family. Every writer has stories that have nothing to do with them. They're the ones that bloom from a single moment, from a dream that doesn't vanish at dawn. From something you read or see. They're the stories that find you, that ask you to simply grab on, aim for the stars, and explore the filmy side of the moon.
Till Human Voices Wake Us was one of those stories. About twelve years ago I heard strangers talking about two sisters-in-law who fell in love and divorced their husbands. I began this novel then, foolishly believing a publisher would let me break out of the box they had put me in: Reagan daughter writing about her family, either fictionally or truthfully. Well, I was a fool. I got rave reviews from publishers for the book, but none bought it. We don't know what to do with it, they said to my then-agent, who said to me, "If you were unknown they'd snap it up in a second." Great. What do I do with that?
I wrote two other novels, a YAF ghost story called The Blue Hour and another novel about a friendship between two young girls - one black, one white. No one bought those either. I finally realized no publisher was going to buy my fiction. I started reading up on KDP; I became a student of self-published authors and finally thought, Why not? I was so afraid I'd die with these unread novels on my computer; my dying wish being, please publish them posthumously. Ugh!
So I did it. I put one of my children out into the world, and the birthing process was made so easy by KDP. Believe me, I'm not the most tech savvy person. I have my two other novels ready to go, and - more than anything - I have an excitement about my career that I don't think I ever had before.
As writers, we do write for ourselves, because we need to - because it's a burning desire inside us and we can't not write - but we also want to be recognized for our work, for our passion, for the journey of our imaginations. We all deserve the chance to step out into the world, where we will either succeed or fail. But at least people will have a chance to read what we've worked so hard to create.
"The sales through KDP were far better than I expected - I even got into the top 50!"
Blake Crouch, author of Wayward Pines
I first started writing seriously during freshman year of college. I was very much drawn to the mystery & thrillers genre, and wrote "Desert Places" for my first book. I sold it to St Martin's Press and continued writing to this day. I come up with more characters and stories than I have time to write, so it is an ongoing process to figure out which one is right, the smart book to pursue, etc. I also do a lot of work with JA Konrath. We try to tie our series together - my characters appear in his books, his in mine. It's basically a shared universe, kind of like in comics.
My decision to pursue self-publishing was related to Joe as well. Though I'd been publishing with St. Martin's, a lot of decisions were out of my hands. Meanwhile, Joe was starting to have real success with KDP and encouraged me to put a book up through KDP. I published some short stories, sold a couple hundred copies in the first couple months, and decided to publish other works. Finally, last October, things really started taking off for me with two, three, four thousand copies a month. The sales through KDP were far better than I expected - I even got into the top 50! Of course, there are some challenges with independent publishing, but having control over each part of the publishing process makes up for the extra work. I control the cover art, product description, and the price. I feel this has contributed to my success as an author.
"I'd love to take credit for an effective marketing campaign, but Amazon's unique and unparalleled system of recommending books and categorizing similar titles gets all of the credit."
Steven Konkoly, author of Event Horizon
My story doesn't start 20 years ago with a shelved and forgotten manuscript or a rocky career as a traditionally published author. The saga began at age 39, when I uploaded my first written work onto KDP and pressed "Save and Publish." Unknown to me, eBooks were about to explode and take me with. Less than three years later, with five novels self-published through KDP, and a sixth on the way, I quit a lucrative, 12 year sales career with a Fortune 100 pharmaceutical company - to pursue full time writing. I haven't looked back, thanks in no small part to KDP and the benefits associated with the KDP Select program.
How did I get from there to here? One book at a time. This isn't an overnight success story. My first novel, The Jakarta Pandemic, sold a whopping 30 copies in November 2010. I pushed that monthly number into the 40's by the end of December, by sheepishly spreading the word to my "exhaustive" list of a few hundred contacts. Not exactly an explosive start. In January 2011, that number shot into the hundreds with no effort on my part, reaching 2,000 units per month in March. I'd love to take credit for an effective marketing campaign, but Amazon's unique and unparalleled system of recommending books and categorizing similar titles gets all of the credit.
When KDP offered the KDP Select program in late 2011, I didn't hesitate to enroll The Jakarta Pandemic and a recently launched title in my new Black Flagged series. With earnings from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library added in, these books were more profitable than ever. The success of this no-brainer decision continued throughout the year. I'm not sure why it took me another nine months to quit my job.
Not bad for a self-published writer who has never attended a writer's conference or taken a single course on the "craft." My "training" as a writer consists of reading Stephen King's On Writing (several times), joining a supportive writer's group and reading thousands of novels. Hardly a resume you might expect from a full time thriller writer making a comfortable living on 813,000 published words.
As much as I'd like to think my self-publishing story is unique, I know it isn't. Nearly every Indie author has built the bulk of their readership base using KDP, along with innovative programs like KDP Select and Kindle Countdown Deals - still the most robust marketing tools in the industry. I look forward to what KDP brings authors in the near future.