Need Help!! I am lost in Amazon Publishing Jungle!

19 replies
It's been a while. Working on my first eBook. It's a non-fiction. Not sure if this is important to say. Honestly thought that writing is the toughest and most important part. I'm on the edge. I'm thinking about deleting the whole thing. Why? Because I ended up with a list of mission impossible problems. If you can help with any of these points, I would be extremely grateful.


Copyright problem #1


My eBook is dead without a pro cover. OK, I get it. I can't afford the work of art, but I can afford a decent professional freelance designer or something. It's the first thing potential readers check. It makes sense. I checked some stock images (hope this is the right term). It's insane. Fifty dollars for a picture or two. Plus designer's work. To top it all, one of my friends come up with a "brilliant" idea. I should buy some toys, to be precise a target and arrows for kids. Print some fake dollar bills and make the photos myself using my smartphone. My eBook's point is like you will hit the target (read: make money) as a freelancer with these steps blah blah. This photo of arrows hitting the dollar bills should be the center of my eBook's cover. Seriously? I heard that even if I "adjust" some picture I find online, I can still get in trouble. Is this true? Imagine a cover with a photo I made with my smartphone. It's going to look as if kids made it.


Copyright problem #2


I need to make a couple of screenshots of me using some software solutions on my laptop and smartphone. I haven't been lazy. I wrote a few emails to the software owners. Like I would like to do this and that because it's essential for my eBook. Got two positive replies. The guys were OK with that. Only requirement not to say that I'm associated directly with them in any way. OK, I'm fine with that. Waiting for the third guy. I have cried my eyes out reading about the so-called "fair use." I just want to make my point. Yet, I can't wait for the third answer forever. I will publish this way or another. What if they ask of me to remove these screenshots? I remember checking out a website about a problem I had with my Linux. This guy was using some copyright note or something. Like the screenshots you see on my computer include pictures of games and software solutions of this and that company. I'm using only to you know what. Maybe I should do something like that. Write a line or two about each of these screenshots.


Amazon plays the tough guy problem #3


I did my homework. I can't remember how many forums and websites I have checked about Amazon self-publishing. The more I read, the more disturbed I become. The latest news is that Amazon won't have mercy on low-quality and problematic eBooks. OK, I get it. Everybody wants to be an author these days, including myself. I can fix this. I will hire a pro freelancer proofreader. I will hire a freelancer to format my eBook properly, although I saw some Amazon tools. Maybe, I can do it myself. Now, the most problematic part. If readers report me because of mistakes or something else related to my eBook, then Amazon can make my eBook to become unavailable. There's a fair warning a courtesy of Amazon, of course. Yet, do I have any guarantees that my competitors (I know how this ridiculous may sound) or my haters won't intentionally sabotage my eBook. Is some Amazon pro reader going to read my eBook in the first place to see for him or herself, or this is an automated heartless process, you can't do a thing about?


Amazon is (NOT) my best friend problem #4


I heard that Amazon is going to "push" your eBook, if it is a good one. I want to believe, but I'm not Fox Mulder. I also read that Amazon strongly suggest to publish an eBook that's not free. The more you ask for it in terms of price, the better for you it goes. The minimum price is $2.99, and I'm thinking about $3.99. Regarding the royalties you can expect something like 70%. To tell you the truth I didn't go deep with this one, because I have so many problems to worry about that the price is currently the least of my worries. A publisher can take care of all of these problems, but I will get peanuts at the end. Right?


The ethical problem #5


If I'm not mistaken, there is a one month period, if you accept this Amazon's "indecent proposal," to make your eBook available for free. Why not? This is supposed to be a great way to get some positive reviews. So, I'm thinking. Is this an ethical thing to do? I want to inform all of my friends, colleagues, family, even clients to review or buy my eBook. Is it OK to ask for this "friendly favor?" I'm not going to mess up with fake accounts, addresses, or something like that. Only real people from all over the world I got in contact with working as a freelancer. It is just like I say, hey there's my eBook on Amazon, why don't you check it out? It is not like I'm asking them to pay hundreds of dollars. Still, is this an ethical thing to do?


LinkedIn doesn't cooperate problem #6


Do you remember that great line from the Martian? "It's space, it doesn't cooperate." There are some great LinkedIn groups. I mean thousands of freelancers who should be my potential readers in theory. Guess what? I am still on the waiting list to join. There's no way they're going to let me in. Why? I gave no warning signs. Do I have to pay LinkedIn to advertise? Oh, I can only imagine how "affordable" that may be. Here's another ethical problem. I thought about posting projects and contests on Freelancer.com and Upwork. Like design my website for my eBook logo or create a tag line for it. No, I'm not going to hire people to write reviews. That's totally unethical and dangerous. But, posting regular projects and paying with my own real money, can be a legit way to attract attention. Right or wrong?


I need a marketing hero problem #7


Should I hire a professional marketer and just get over with it? He or she will turn my average eBook into a timeless bestseller. Oh dear, I can only imagine the costs. I hope to turn my eBook into a decently successful and sustainable "company," rather than to throw the money out of the window just to satisfy my vanity.


Read other eBooks about self-publishing problem #8


That was an unavoidable part of my research process. I did that. And please don't say something like, but you haven't found the right one. The ones I checked were like, believe in yourself and be patient. Then I reminded myself of a guy who wrote the 4-Hour Working Week or something like that. Tim Ferriss, I think. Yet, I also clearly remember that he went through the "traditional" publishing channels, and not through the Amazon self-publishing machinery. Maybe, this is the sign that I should choose the other publishing alternative.


Where to find readers problem #9


Have to mention the Martian one more time, although this is a fiction book. At the beginning, this book was a series of more or less related blogs. This guy who wrote it didn't have to publish an eBook, but his readers literally made him to do it. The next thing you know, there was a publishing agent knocking at this door. Finally, they made a great movie based on this book. My social media power: zero! If I had an impressive follow-up on social media, I wouldn't even bother to mess with Amazon, would I? One of these "mind-blowing" eBooks about self-publishing suggested that I should first find the readers for my eBook and then write the eBook itself. I tried that already on LinkedIn. Remember? Facebook. Twitter. How? How?


Till death do us part #10


You sign with the Amazon and you are gone for the rest of the world and other publishers. True or false? For how long?


I have 99 problems, but let's see if I can solve these ten first. Should I write a letter to the WF support, asking them can I promote my eBook one day, here? Do I have to pay for it? You know what, it seems to me that self-publishing is an expensive sport. You pay for it with both your time and money. There has to be a warrior who can provide solution for some of these problems I have. I hope and I thank him or her in advance.
#amazon #ebook #ebook business tips #i’m #jungle #lost #publishing #self-publishing
  • Profile picture of the author agmccall
    First. When you post it is preferable just to use the default font and format.

    Second from reading your post it seems you already have major problems with amazon, so why not just go another route. Amazon is a great format but your concern seems to be that they do not want to publish crap and you do not like that.. Why?

    al
    Signature
    The Flu? Not worthy of a mention here???
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880528].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Al,

      If an eBook is no good, there it's no good on all platforms, and for all publishers and readers. There's no trick in the world that can change this fact.

      But if some eBook is decently good, and it fails because the author didn't know or apply some of legit "tricks" to improve his chances, then I call it a shame. That's not fair.

      Let the readers be the judges. But let's all compete fairly. That's all I am saying.

      P.S.
      This was a longer post. Had no other choice than to type it in the doc first. Here you have it. You got annoyed by the font. Now imagine the whole eBook in the inappropriate format.

      Cheers!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880540].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author MValmont
    I highly recommend you to invest in a good step-by-step coaching program for kindle publishing, because these issues are pretty much all non sense when you know what to do.
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880551].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Neshaword, you're "whatiffing" the project to death. Most of your worries won't happen, and your other concerns can be taken a step at a time. You should be grateful that there's never been a better time for independent authors to publish to a potential global audience so cost-effectively. But that isn't to say there aren't several obstacles to get over first.

    On the bright side, the chances are that hardly anyone will get to see your book anyway, so you shouldn't waste too much time overthinking it. However, if you're smart, you'll learn plenty from the experience and find future projects that much less daunting.

    Good luck!
    Signature
    TOP TIP: To browse the forum like a Pro, select "View Classic" from the drop-down menu under your user name.

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880562].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Nike Just Do It. It makes sense. If I have to sacrifice one book to learn how to sell others that follow, I could call that a fair deal. Thx.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880565].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author aizaku
    as for problem number one let me nip that in the bud for you..

    You can design an amazing cover for free with Canva..

    *you can use pixabay for images, download the ones you want and upload them to your Canva project

    For your 3D cover just use this simple and free tool:
    https://online.boxshot.com/shapes/

    trust me, if I can do it you can do it..

    every resource is free

    best of luck,
    Ike Paz
    Signature
    >> 2018 Money Making Method Video Guides [NO OPTIN] <<
    80% Of These Proven Guides Are Free... ]
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880576].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Can't believe it. On my phone at the moment, but I will definitely give it a try. If it works for me, then I will owe you one. Cheers.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880591].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author gingerninjas
      Agreed - I paid a freelancer $20 and got a great cover for a client's ebook - better still creating it via Canva is super easy too. Either way, an investment of a few bucks shouldn't break the bank if you are creating an eBook.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10883417].message }}
      • Profile picture of the author neshaword
        Originally Posted by gingerninjas View Post

        Agreed - I paid a freelancer $20 and got a great cover for a client's ebook - better still creating it via Canva is super easy too. Either way, an investment of a few bucks shouldn't break the bank if you are creating an eBook.
        Hi GN,

        Good to see you again. Of course, I am eager to do some investing on my own. You need to give something, to get something in return. I may even have more than one version of my cover ready. I definitely not gonna ruin my chances for $20 or $50.

        On the other hand, if I need to spend $100 to earn $120, or to invest $1,000, then I'm gonna use this eBook only to show off, lol.

        Let the market be the judge. I really mean it. If it's really a good one, something will happen. If not, will have a nice reference for my clients. Either way it would be a win-win. Yet one win is more appreciated than the other, lol.

        Cheers,
        N
        {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10883976].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    Hi Nesha,

    Sounds like you have some REALLY wacky energy around Amazon LOL!

    You can do in a different direction - Selz, etc - but really, Amazon is a fabulous platform for self-publishing eBooks and getting 'em into many hands. Shouldn't be hard though.

    Pay someone to design a cover. Or use Canva. People will buy if the title works for them. Don't worry about the cover.

    Really though, and just sharing this because I want you to kill it on Amazon: you have some deep, deep mindset work to do, around selling, creating and succeeding. Consider meditating daily, EFT tapping and affirmations. Because when the problems with 1 platform run this deep, and in such numbers, you have some big time mental clearing to do.

    All the best!

    Ryan
    Signature
    Ryan Biddulph inspires you to be a successful blogger with his courses, 100 plus eBooks, audio books and blog at Blogging From Paradise
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880623].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Thx R. Appreciated. The second time I hear aboit this cover thing Canva. So, it is a huge relief for a nightmare called the good looking cover.

      Also have perfectly nothing to hide. Regarldless of the outcome will share my experiences with other warriors. Also realized have to do something about the positive mindset. These dark clouds will get me nowhere, that's for sure.

      How I published my first eBook, failed, but I still feel great about it. Doesn't sound like a bad title for the next bestseller, does it, lol.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880808].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author quadagon
    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post


    Copyright problem #1


    My eBook is dead without a pro cover. OK, I get it. I can’t afford the work of art, but I can afford a decent professional freelance designer or something. It’s the first thing potential readers check. It makes sense. I checked some stock images (hope this is the right term). It’s insane. Fifty dollars for a picture or two. Plus designer’s work. To top it all, one of my friends come up with a “brilliant” idea. I should buy some toys, to be precise a target and arrows for kids. Print some fake dollar bills and make the photos myself using my smartphone. My eBook’s point is like you will hit the target (read: make money) as a freelancer with these steps blah blah. This photo of arrows hitting the dollar bills should be the center of my eBook’s cover. Seriously? I heard that even if I “adjust” some picture I find online, I can still get in trouble. Is this true? Imagine a cover with a photo I made with my smartphone. It’s going to look as if kids made it.
    Remember when your mother taught you to not judge a book by its cover - sadly its a lie we all do, especially on Kindle. Stock book covers and homemade ones stand out like a sore thumb so sadly you are going to have to invest in your book cover.

    As it sounds like things are tight you can get decent book covers designed on the cheap. As already mentioned look an canva but also try fiverr.

    I'd advise you have a look at the kindle store and see what the other books in your market look like. Are their certain themes, colours and images that are used. Which book covers do you like?

    I'd then put in a specific request to your book cover creater tell them you want a book cover that looks like book x but using this colour and this font and this image. Search on this forum for threads about royalty free images.

    Ideally you should get several book covers made and then test them on social media and via small run ppc campaigns to see what coverts.


    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    Amazon plays the tough guy problem #3


    Yet, do I have any guarantees that my competitors (I know how this ridiculous may sound) or my haters won’t intentionally sabotage my eBook.
    No you have no guarantees at all but it is exceptionally rare that this happens. If it does happen then you can report reviews and mobilise your friends and family into an up and down rate campaign.


    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    Amazon is (NOT) my best friend problem #4


    I heard that Amazon is going to “push” your eBook, if it is a good one. I want to believe, but I’m not Fox Mulder. I also read that Amazon strongly suggest to publish an eBook that’s not free. The more you ask for it in terms of price, the better for you it goes. The minimum price is $2.99, and I’m thinking about $3.99. Regarding the royalties you can expect something like 70%. To tell you the truth I didn’t go deep with this one, because I have so many problems to worry about that the price is currently the least of my worries. A publisher can take care of all of these problems, but I will get peanuts at the end. Right?
    I'd say this is a half truth, essentially Amazon helps those who help themself. If you book is selling well then Amazon does get behind you book but if you are sitting on 3 sales aftr 6 months then they wont push your book.

    With regards to pricing what research have you done? Check the kindle store and see what the top price, bottom price and mean price is in your market.

    People often talk about the 2.99 price mark as that is where the commission structure changes - this doesn't necessarily mean its the best price to sell at. There is some evidence to show that prices are on the increase and in some genres a price of over $4 works better.

    If you are in this market you could be leaving money on the table and hurting sales.

    As a quick exercise draw a large + on a sheet of paper at the top write high quality at the bottom low quality. On the left low price and the right high price. Now go through the kindle best seller list in your market and mark where you think each book belongs. Use the look inside feature to help you.

    Now decide where your book fits into this market. Is it high quality and high price, low price and high quality.



    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    The ethical problem #5


    If I’m not mistaken, there is a one month period, if you accept this Amazon’s “indecent proposal,” to make your eBook available for free. Why not? This is supposed to be a great way to get some positive reviews. So, I’m thinking. Is this an ethical thing to do? I want to inform all of my friends, colleagues, family, even clients to review or buy my eBook. Is it OK to ask for this “friendly favor?” I’m not going to mess up with fake accounts, addresses, or something like that. Only real people from all over the world I got in contact with working as a freelancer. It is just like I say, hey there’s my eBook on Amazon, why don’t you check it out? It is not like I’m asking them to pay hundreds of dollars. Still, is this an ethical thing to do?
    You need to do some more research on this, its called kdp select.

    To answer part of your question though, yes its commonplace to get your friends and family to write reviews of your book. Just be aware that Amazon will probably remove reviews from people with the same ip.

    This is also a lot harder than it first appears as everyone has busy lives so don't get disheartened when you don't have a million reviews at the end of day one. There are things you can do to help get reviews and not just from friends and family.

    After you've done some research come back and check the forum and ask more questions.



    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    I need a marketing hero problem #7


    Should I hire a professional marketer and just get over with it? He or she will turn my average eBook into a timeless bestseller. Oh dear, I can only imagine the costs. I hope to turn my eBook into a decently successful and sustainable “company,” rather than to throw the money out of the window just to satisfy my vanity.
    It's certainly an option for you but so is taking a bit time and learning and putting a plan together yourself. Just remember no real publisher can guarantee you sales. If you are looking at backend sales then maybe quality is more important than quantity. Whats the purpose of the book?


    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    Where to find readers problem #9


    Have to mention the Martian one more time, although this is a fiction book. At the beginning, this book was a series of more or less related blogs. This guy who wrote it didn’t have to publish an eBook, but his readers literally made him to do it. The next thing you know, there was a publishing agent knocking at this door. Finally, they made a great movie based on this book. My social media power: zero! If I had an impressive follow-up on social media, I wouldn’t even bother to mess with Amazon, would I? One of these “mind-blowing” eBooks about self-publishing suggested that I should first find the readers for my eBook and then write the eBook itself. I tried that already on LinkedIn. Remember? Facebook. Twitter. How? How?
    Its a little more in depth than this but essentially amazon is your friend. Go to you your genre and find the best seller list. Write down the name of every author and their book title.

    Then head over to google and social media. On social media find them and you'll also find their audience and what hashtags etc the community are using.

    You'll also want to google search [author name]+interview, review, podcast, video, rebuttal,criticism, etc to find website with similar interests and places where you can get publicity when you launch your book.


    Originally Posted by neshaword View Post

    Till death do us part #10


    You sign with the Amazon and you are gone for the rest of the world and other publishers. True or false? For how long?
    Again (and not meaning to be rude) do the research this information is easy to find.
    Signature
    I've got 99 problems but a niche ain't one
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880668].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      You actually invested a lot of time in addressing my points individually and I'm very grateful for that. Just realized that just write and everything will take care of itself attitude will get me nowhere.

      At the end of the long and potentially unsuccessful publishing day I will probably end up with 10K to 15K of useful words I can use for a website and blog. So, it is not like all of this work will be for nothing.

      Your last point. Really no problem. I am aware that most of my "problems" are just common sense. But you know how it goes. It has something to do with the forest and the trees. I am not blind but I cant see the whole situation from this position. I made a promise and I am gonna keep it. No matter what happens will let all the guys know my situation with the ebook. At least we will have an interesting thread for newbie authors like me.

      Cheers!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10880827].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author amazedebook
    Banned
    [DELETED]
    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10881551].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Well my friend, I'm not sure if it's allowed to promote yourself the way you just did, but I actually checked your website. If this is all true the work is amazing. So, all I have to do is get you the picture you'll process the right way. We will definitely get in touch as soon as I obtain the right picture. Thx.
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10881595].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author matteomatt
    I hope you haven't spent a ton of money on a cover yet before reading this. These guys covered it well but I want to reiterate. I spent 5$ on an e-book cover set on fiverr for one of my small projects. it actually turned out decent, and I barely had to do any adjusting. For 5$ you can't beat that.

    Im not saying you have to go that route, but surely if you are willing to spend even more such as say 20$ it would turn out even better. GIMP is an awesome image editing tool as well, but cover designers are better.

    You asked alot of questions, some of which have been answered well. I will cover areas I might be able to help in. First, the commissions are very simple, if you select the 70% Royalty option you will get 70% in your commissions.

    There are ways to do 30 day 1$ or such off promotions, but I have not done that yet. It seems that e-books priced in the lower dollar range sell better, but big name novels still sell for quite a bit.

    I chose to do Kindle Select, which means people have a better chance of finding it on Amazon.

    You seem to be very concerned with the marketing standpoint, which is for good reason. Some of these books will sell on their own, but it might not be a large amount unless it somehow gets alot of exposure.

    You could hire another marketer, im not sure how much it would cost but it would be difficult to quantify something like that. My suggestion is based on me having a bit of marketing knowledge already, but I would say start working on it yourself.

    This forum is about internet marketing after all. If you choose KDP Select status, you are not allowed to sell your book anywhere else. That doesn't mean you can't put a link to your book on a landing page, or embed the amazon button on your website.

    It might not be easy, but building up social media accounts, learning to build a webpage, and all of that is not too diffcult. I can understand if you are not able to do any creation or marketing yourself, but part of learning how to succeed in this field is learning how to do it yourself.

    In the end, the more of this you are able to learn to do yourself, the better. It is easy to create low priced e-books if you are able to do it without investing much money. Still, how you pull it off is up to you, I enjoy the creation so I do most of it myself.

    Even I have to sometimes hire out a cover artist, because I suck at that. I will be using the tools they mentioned
    Signature

    If you would like some basic tutorials and useful info, please visit my site at www.dontsuckatmarketing.com

    {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10883491].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author neshaword
      Even if I had more money to spend, I wouldn't do it. I am not so desperate to get published - successfully I mean. Vanity is not my favorite sin, lol. Regarding options, I am thinking only about Amazon. Really, I don't have the nerves to run around. I have seen too many movies, if it's an interesting ebook, it will work. If not, an interesting experience and a good reference.

      There's no way I am going to spend the money I earn writing just to prove I am an "author." You can always launch a blog and deal with your creative desires in a costless way. But I need to try it myself. To see how it feels to have published with your name on it. At the same time, I will see how many trusted friends I have, lol. Someone has to buy it to prove he or she loves me, lol.

      Cheers,
      N
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[10883983].message }}

Trending Topics