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Join the thousands of non-fiction book authors on KDP. Here are some of their stories:
"I took a chance on staying independent because my story is so near and dear to my heart. Selling all of the rights to it would be like selling my own child and I could never do that to my child."
Sarah Burleton, author of Why Me?
It seems like it took my entire life to write the recounting of my abusive childhood in "Why Me?" Every time I tried to write it down I didn't know how to start, and more importantly, I didn't know how the world would react. Would they mock me and say that I got what I deserved? Or would I be criticized for putting my "dirty laundry" out for the world to see? But, at the urging of my husband, who believed that getting my story out onto paper could help me heal, I decided to write it without even thinking about publishing it. So I finally wrote my story. I wrote it all.
I wrote about how when I shut my eyes I could still see Mom's eyes, how I could still smell her breath in my face, how much time I spent in our barn and how Mom made me brush my teeth with Comet. I wrote about what I still felt, what still gave me nightmares and what was still making me sad in my adult life.
The writing process was extremely therapeutic. I realized that I had been feeling guilty my entire adult life for nothing. I had done nothing wrong to deserve what I got from Mom. It made me wonder how many children and adults were also suffering or walking around with the same guilt I had harbored for years. I decided that I wanted to try to get my book published to help other abuse victims.
However, I was discouraged when I started looking for traditional publishers to see the hoops you had to jump through just to get someone to look at your manuscript. Most of the publishers I found wouldn't even read a manuscript without agent representation, so I began to give up on the idea of ever publishing my book. Then one day through a random online search, I stumbled upon Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing program and found the world of self-publishing. I uploaded my book in September 2010 and was approached by a major publisher on December 1st of 2011 for potential print distribution. I was shocked and honored to be contacted by one of the "giants" in the publishing industry, however I turned them down! I wasn't looking for mass-market appeal; I was looking for a way to get my book into the hands of people who NEEDED my story.
Since then "Why Me" reached #8 on the New York Times best seller list in January of 2012. I'll never forget pulling up that webpage and seeing my little book, "Why Me?", listed among the giants in the publishing industry.
I took a chance on staying independent because my story is so near and dear to my heart. Selling all of the rights to it would be like selling my own child and I could never do that to my child.
"In my opinion, an author can't go wrong publishing through Amazon KDP."
Dreama Denver, author of Gilligan's Dreams: The Other Side of the Island
Though I always loved writing and believed there was a book inside me just waiting to be written, that book didn't become a reality until I was well into adulthood. "Gilligan's Dreams", the story of my 30 year marriage to "Gilligan's Island" star Bob Denver, was a result of living through the highs and lows of life; it was the result of meeting life's challenges head on and surviving; but more than anything, my book was the result of losing the love of my life after 30 years of marriage, believing in every part of me that there was no way I could possibly go on without him, only to find I was made of much stronger stuff than I realized. Not only could I survive my loss, but I could honor my husband's memory by living my life to the fullest, by using our experiences to inspire others and by doing everything within my power to make this world a better place; at least my little part of it. So, I was in my fifties before I felt I had something vital to say and a voice with which to say it.
On the surface, becoming a writer sounds like a fairly easy thing to do, doesn't it? First, have a story to tell, whether fictional or autobiographical, put pen to paper, or in this electronic age, fingers to keyboard, and go for it. I mean, seriously, how hard could it be to tell my story? After all, it was MY story, a story no one else was privy to, a story no one else could tell. Those were my thoughts, but the reality was very different. I had always heard that, in the case of memoirs, the author had to relive his/her experiences, so I was well aware, or so I thought, that I would have to go back to places that would fill me with joy as well as places that would fill me with despair. What I didn't truly understand was the extent to which I'd have to relive the good and not-so-good times in my life. Getting really quiet with yourself in order to go back to a specific time in your life is one thing, but to delve deep enough to taste it, smell it, hear it and feel it was a struggle that sent me to my knees, literally, on more than one occasion.
The key word here is INDEPENDENT. With a very personal story to tell, I wanted to be in charge of how it was presented to the public. Laying your soul bare for public consumption is daunting, scary, overwhelming. The thought of a publisher editing my words or deciding which parts of my story were relevant or irrelevant didn’t appeal to me on any level, so I sought the guidance of one of my dearest friends, a man I consider a mentor and whose advice I trust, New York Times bestselling author Homer Hickam. His recommendation was Amazon KDP. I ran with it and have never looked back. My book is mine, exactly the way I wrote it, exactly the way I wanted Bob's fans to read it. In my opinion, independent publishing is the only way to go!
I love everything about Amazon KDP. I've never asked a question that wasn't answered promptly and cheerfully. Emails are returned in a timely manner. Editing, publishing, updating and adding photos are all accomplished at my convenience with the click of a mouse. Being able to check on the number of books sold, royalties, readers' reviews anytime, day or night, again, with the click of a mouse is such a convenience. Publishing on demand is another wonderful feature of Amazon. Whether you order one book or a thousand books, your order arrives on the specified date, if not sooner. In my opinion, an author can't go wrong publishing through Amazon KDP.
"Self-publishing, for me, is freedom and discovery."
Stephan Talty, author of Operation Cowboy: The Secret American Mission to Save the World's Most Beautiful Horses in the Last Days of World War II
I'd wanted to be a writer since I was in fourth grade at St. John the Evangelist School in Buffalo. It was another fifteen years before I published my first piece - in a small magazine - while working at Doubleday Books, my first job out of college. (Jackie O worked down the hall, which impressed my parents to no end.) But what I wanted to do was write what I loved most: narrative nonfiction books.
I did a lot of things before I had that chance: I worked in a fish and chips shop. I was a proofreader at a large and wealthy New York law firm, scrutinizing the last wishes of Park Avenue socialites. I was a fast and largely dependable bike messenger, a horrible waiter and a few other things.
Eventually, I did start writing nonfiction books, but I found there were ideas I discovered that wouldn't fit into a traditional format: moments or characters or incidents from history that were fascinating and important in themselves but couldn't sustain a 300-page hardcover. There was simply nowhere for these ideas to land.
What Kindle did for me was to enable me to write these stories. It allowed me to find readers for them, readers who loved and responded to strangely illuminating events from our collective past that might have gone undiscovered otherwise. And, most importantly, I could choose the narratives I wanted, the ones I thought were waiting to be told.
Self-publishing, for me, is freedom and discovery.