Join the thousands of mystery, thriller and suspense authors on KDP. Here are some of their stories:
"Your only judge is your readership. And that's the way it should be."
Keith Houghton, author of Killing Hope
I was banging on publishers' doors for 30 years before Kindle Direct Publishing opened theirs. Like most aspiring authors, I thought of self-publishing as a cottage industry, mostly tainted by mothballs. My feet were planted firmly in the traditional agent-to-publisher route, mapped out with dead-ends and rejection slips. Naively, I believed if my writing was good enough then it would sell. What I didn't gamble on were the odds being stacked against me. To get an agent, open a publisher's door, so many things--all beyond my control--had to line up just right. The key was finding an agent who believed in my work. It took three decades and dozens of hopeful letters to get a foot in the door, and even then, it closed at the final step.
I believe everything happens for a reason. I broke with convention and looked into KDP. The Kindle was the new kid on the block. It offered a means for unknowns like me to get my work in front of readers, fast. But I didn't know what to expect. Amazon was in the throes of giving self-publishing a facelift--revolutionizing reading in the same way the jukebox popularized music. It was exciting but daunting. What if it didn't work out? What if it was a flash in the pan? People don't believe me when I say I'm shy. The thought of exposing my work to public scrutiny was scary. Worse than that, the fear of not selling a single book was a reality check.
I bit the bullet and launched my first crime thriller Killing Hope through KDP in November 2011. As it turned out, it was the best career decision I ever made.
Within two months, Killing Hope had hit the Top 20 in the U.S. Kindle Store and reached the #1 spot in its categories internationally. Sales were exceeding all my expectations. Better yet, I was getting plenty of reader feedback and using it to shape my future books.
And I was kicking myself for not taking the plunge sooner! I have ditched my day job and now write full-time. KDP's versatility means I can edit my books, update their stats, and choose pricing promotions on my own schedule. KDP Select is like having my very own publicist working full-time behind-the-scenes, free of charge. Enrolling in KDP Select opened new doors for me and my books. Not only can I schedule zero-price book promotions to help boost sales, my books also attract great royalties on borrows through the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. For writers like me, it is a win-win all-round. Running regular KDP Select giveaway events on my Gabe Quinn thrillers gave them unparalleled exposure, resulting in a quarter of a million downloads worldwide, 100,000 of which were actually paid sales.
I am in complete control of my writing career. What's more, I get the kind of royalty rate unseen in the rest of the publishing world. But perhaps the best thing in KDP's favor for me is the absence of literary snobbery. Anyone with a story can publish it and have people on the other side of the planet reading it the next day.
Your only judge is your readership. And that's the way it should be.
I've been a writer all my life but never thought about making a career of it until a few years ago. I worked 3 jobs to put myself through medical school, but after 17 years of medicine, I sold my first book to a NYC publisher and decided to quit medicine. When I was in medical school I wrote science fiction and fantasy novels, but during my pediatric internship, one of my fellow interns was murdered and I switched to writing thrillers and suspense. It was my way of coping with the trauma. For my characters, I like to highlight ordinary people who are able to find the courage to make a difference in the world.
As I developed a following of readers, they kept asking for new books faster than I could release them through traditional publishing. I had heard of Joe Konrath, so I began releasing books through KDP. After two months I decided to donate the proceeds to Doctors Without Borders for a month after the Haiti earthquake, which led to an increase in sales. I then hired a copy editor and cover artist to help publish more books through KDP. Now I have eight books on KDP and the readers seem to be really enjoying them. Blind Faith climbed to #4 on the USA TODAY bestseller list and it debuted at #2 on the New York Times combined print/e-book bestseller list! The success has been very empowering--and I couldn't have done it without Kindle. For the first time in centuries authors are able to make a living and really connect with our readers.
"It can take so many months to work with agents and publishers, so you are better off just going direct with self-publishing."
Michael Prescott, author of Stealing Faces
Since 2009, I started focusing on independently publishing eBooks as I had already been published in print for several years. To start with, I wanted to bring back the old books that were mostly out of print. One book, "Rip Tide", had never been published. I was going to bring it out on Print on Demand with CreateSpace, and at the time publishing to Kindle through KDP was an afterthought. But of course the Kindle version sold much better. It took a while for my books to build up in the bestseller lists, but they took off recently.
My introduction to Kindle Direct Publishing was through a friend who had found success on KDP. I did some research based on my friend's advice, after which I updated the price for my books and promoted them on the Kindle discussion boards. The combination of these drove the sales. Iâve also been starting to interact more with readers through my Facebook and Twitter pages, my author website, and directly via email as well. When I launch new books on Kindle, I send out a newsletter announcement to my fans. When authors write to me for suggestions, I tell them to focus on eBooks without wasting time to get published in the beginning. It can take so many months to work with agents and publishers, so you are better off just going direct with self-publishing. Find the right price point for your books, promote it, and hopefully it does well and you get contacted about traditional publishing deals if you are interested.