Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Kindle Publishing: How You Can Get Started

Kindle Publishing For Self-Starters

In this post, I'm going to discuss some of the process that you need to getting your own stuff out into the world with Kindle Publishing.

There's a NY Times article I read recently quotes a small Michigan Publisher that claims over 81% of Americans say they have a book in them.  

Most of us will never write one, much less publish it.

But don't let the doubts or "experts" get you down.

Do You Have A Book In You?  

eBooks Through Kindle Publishing

You probably do.

If you've ever thought to yourself, "If only so and so knew this, it'd be..." or maybe you have a special knowledge and experience in something unique, or perhaps you have tips on how to improve something, than you DO have a book in you.

Even if you've just daydreamed what it'd be like to be a princess or king in some faraway fantasy (except, of course, if you really are a king or princess) than yes you do have a book to write.

With Kindle Publishing, fulfilling your dream of writing a book and seeing it published is a lot easier than you think.

You just need to get started.

With ebooks, getting your stuff out into the world is no longer isolated to just a chosen few.

But there are a few things you need to know before you try use Amazon's Kindle Publishing to self-publish.

Do You Leap, Or Do You Look Before You Leap?

Are you someone who is the first to try something?  The first one to try out a new restaurant?

Perhaps you wake up every day, energetic and need to burn off some energy.

Or are you someone who likes to plan out every activity, every task in meticulous detail.  Perhaps you like to watch others, make mental notes about what works and what doesn't for them.

Well, I'm a little of both.  I like to take risks, but I also like to learn something in great detail before I jump.  I wouldn't go skydiving without first learning how to pack my parachute, and then personally pack it.

Actually, I probably wouldn't go skydiving.  Anyone that knows me also knows how much I "like" flying.

Whether you're someone who likes the challenge of learning on the go, or someone interested in all the details and enjoys watching sausage be made, then let me share with you some of the finer points of my process with writing and publishing my short stories through Amazon's KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

5 Basic Strategies For Getting Your Words Published Through Amazon's KDP Program

Straight from the horse's mouth of Amazon themselves, here some basic tips for kindle publishing that I'll be following (and wanted to share with you here):

  1. Create Compelling Content:  Obviously writing something that readers would be interested in is a priority.  For non-fiction do some research (more on that type of research later) and find a problem that hasn't been addressed yet.  Or if it's something really competitive, find a way to spin information in your own way and make it interesting.  Tell a story that offers the problem for the audience and show them some tools to help solve that hurdle. 
  2. Editing Means Reducing - Wash, Rinse and Repeat: Stephen King wrote in his book "On Writing" that the edit process should reduce the overall length of your writing by 10%.  So cut out an unnecessary section or passive terms. 
  3. Create An Awesome Cover: Don't settle for trying to create a book cover for yourself.  People DO judge a book by its cover, so make it sleek, professional and polished. 
  4. Tease Your Potential Reader And Describe Your Book To Improve Its Desirability: Book details offer an insight, a "sneak-peek" into your book, helps the reader get an idea of what its all about, and why they may want it. Do this well and advertising becomes much, much easier.
  5. Promote Your Book:  Use ads, promote on social media including Facebook and Twitter to get the message out about your book launch. 

These are some of the finer points that will be the editing and marketing side of the process.  

These other suggestions I'll be exploring soon, and share how I develop my strategy as I get closer to launch.
If you ever have had a dream of writing your own book and worried that getting it published was one thing holding you back, it's much easier to launch your book than you think.  Especially with how popular the format of ebooks has become, it's simple.  

The traditional barriers that would have kept you from getting your thoughts, your words, your ideas out to the world are no longer that powerful of blocks.

There's a lot more that goes into the process and I'll be writing on that shortly, but don't let that discourage you.

You DO have a book in you and self-publishing through Kindle Publishing makes getting your words out into the world. 

You just need to get started writing.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kindle Publishing Journey - Are You A Chicken Or A Pig? How To Increase Productivity By Making Bacon

Kindle Publishing Tips: Increase Productivity By Making Yourself Accountable 

This week, the process of my Kindle Publishing journey is about finishing.

Everyone has ideas, some are great, others aren't so much. 

The difference between what separates writers from authors is finishing and the difference between great and not so great can only be achieved after you finish. 

And the best way to finish something?  You have to start. 

You have to stay disciplined.  

Have a schedule of your time and stay dedicated to certain tasks during those times of the day and week.  

You can read about how to compartmentalize your writing and improve your productivity in this post (Get Off Your Ass And Write).

Part of the trick to staying on task is telling others what you plan to do.  Commit to the idea, take the necessary steps and follow through.  Then let your group challenge you some more.  

That step-by-step process is one great way to define productivity and improve your output. 

Everyone Needs A Tribe

Athletes train with a team.  It's how they push and challenge themselves to get better.

Especially in those moments when they want to stop, quit and walk away.  

But they make an agreement with each other.  If they need support, they have each other.

When they need a challenge, they're going through the struggle of training together.

It's what gets them out of bed in the early morning when they're sore, tired and unmotivated.

It's what gets them to run that extra sprint or lift that extra rep. 

That's one of the reasons why Boot Camps, as a form of after hours training, are so popular right now. 

People come together, agree to meet at the same time every day, and support and challenge each other. 

This commitment is one that is NOT to be broken.

That's what accountability is about, not letting those who count and depend upon you, down.

Currently there are two short stories in the pipe-line with a non-fiction concept in development.  The goal is to finish the stories this week and begin the writing phase of the non-fiction ebook.  

The ebook is dedicated to the step-by-step process I'll take to Kindle Direct Publishing of the stories I've written.

This is me, telling you, what my goals are for the week.

In order to accomplish them I needed to shout it loud here.  

My hope is that by telling you my goals, I'll have to put up or shut up.

Credibility is a hard thing to gain, and very easy to lose.  It's a form of trust between us. 

So that makes you, my imaginary audience, my group for the week.  I have to maintain the trust you've shown by reading this blog to stay on task.  

Are You A Chicken Or A Pig? 

In Johnny B. Truant's post at Sterling and Stone - What Defines You, he writes about the idea that as story tellers we need to be engaged with our own stories.

Even though it takes discipline to finish, and the topic of this post is all about finishing, the BEST way to finish something is to become committed and engaged with it. 

Writing should not be like sitting in a dentist chair, numb from novocaine and getting drilled.

You may be engaged, but you're not committed to the process.  

I've heard it said a different way - a coach asked his team about their commitment to the team with the following metaphor about the animals involved in their breakfasts:

If you had eggs and bacon for breakfast, what separates the chicken from the pig?

The chicken is dedicated, the pig is invested. 

So, you're my tribe.

And I'm a pig. 

Join me in the process and become bacon as well. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Why Writers Should Think More Like Athletes To Meet Your Kindle Publishing Goal

Life Won't Help You With Your Kindle Publishing Goals

So Stop Waiting For It To Help

The greatest challenge to this adventure as a writer is just sitting down and producing.

I'm sure you understand.

Life has a way of throwing obstacles, hurdles and challenges at us.  This is a test for each of us.

One we MUST overcome.

It's true that the greater the challenge, the greater the importance to finish.

And that's true whether your challenge is to write kindle books, traditional books or other forms of self-publishing.

Why Writers Should Play Like A Champion

Think like an athlete.

They train hours upon hours.

They break down every muscle group, they grind to the point of fatigue and beyond.

They work to reach a level of failure.

They regroup, and strive for failure again.

But they know, that no matter how much they fail, they'll get back up and try again.


They have a passion to improve.

They understand that while failure can break them down, muscle tissue needs to tear in order to strengthen itself.

So they run an extra mile.  Or swim another set.  They lift another repetition at the end of a set.

With the knowledge that the process is bringing them one step closer to mastery.

The Challenge Is In Ourselves

We all have the same number of days in a week, and the same number of hours in a day.

The challange then is how we use our resources, our strengths, in those hours.

Are you willing to set aside the time necessary for what you want?  Or are you looking for reasons, for excuses, as to why you haven't done what you wanted to achieve?

Like an athlete, who schedules a time everyday to train, you must be disciplined at setting aside a block of time for what you want to achieve.

Writers Are Poor With Time Management Skills

Time management is a skill.

Like shooting a basketball or hitting a golf ball.  It must be honed daily, or the skills weaken.

So the challenge is setting aside some time everyday and working on your craft.  It doesn't have to be a big block of time.

If your goal is to write kindle books or some other type of book, time management skills are critical.

Stephen King has talked about how as an unknown writer, he would use his lunch break to work on his novel.

That novel became "Carrie".

Time Management And The Pomodoro Technique

Start small and build your creative stamina up over time.

Short, focused bursts of creativity with a managed time break is a good tip to help you achieve your goals.

This time management technique is known as the Pomodoro Technique.

Detailed in the early 90's the Pomodoro Technique is a strategy of beaking down a set of tasks into intervals of 20-25 minutes with a 5+ minute break from that activity.

You can apply this tactic in the early morning, late afternoon, or at night.  You can work in smaller increments, if necessary.

The task of writing can be difficult.

The challenge then is sitting down and writing.

Edit later.  But sit down and write.

If your goal of writing kindle books or other traditional publishing mediums is really important to you, you need to just write.

If time management is an issue, ask your self what 20 minutes you have free.

What can you, like Stephen King, do while on your lunch hour? How about before going to bed at night?

What time do you have to allow you to move one step closer than you started.

Marathon runners know not to look at how far they have to run, they focus their energy on putting one foot in front of the other.

Before long, they can't see the starting line but know they're that much closer to finish.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Just Write Then Publish With Kindle Publishing

Just Get Started With Amazon Kindle Publishing

Nike had it right.  In the late - 80's and through the 90's they had an iconic advertising slogan, which was "Just Do It".

And how does that apply to writing?

Too often we like to think about writing.  Without actually writing.

We daydream about the story lines, characters, the action.

We imagine the way it will be received, and let's be honest, sell.

But we don't write a word.

Some of the reasons we think about what holds us back are things like "if only I had more time". Or "once I get X, then I'll be able to write."

The truth is, there are plenty of hours in the day.

Stephen King spoke about how he'd find time in his day, before heading to work, during his lunch hour, and after his work day, to write, edit and eventually publish.

The novel he was working on?


If you were to follow the logical conclusion of their ad slogan, you'd be writing in ebook formats and using Amazon Kindle Publishing every day.

We're All Busy, Find A Way To Do What Matters 

Look, real life will intrude as it wants.  Doesn't matter who you are, or where you are in your life.

If that's what is getting in your way, they are, in the end, simple excuses for not writing.

It's the fear.  Fear of failing, of the anonymity that the process of writing requires.

The solitude of sitting behind a monitor, or a tablet.

They are, again, just excuses.

You Know What Your Passion Is, You Just Need To Believe In It

Currently I'm reading The Art Of Work by Jeff Goins.

It's an incredible resource about why, and how, we should try to live the life we are meant to as writers, creators, people.

If you'd like to get a copy, check out my affiliate link or go to Amazon directly.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Kindle Direct Publishing: Conquer Your Fears And Just Get Started

My Journey With Self-Publishing Through Kindle Direct Publishing Is Like Riding A Bike 

To accomplish something, the first thing to do is get started.

Getting started is the hardest part.

We don't like to fall, it hurts and stings.  It can be embarrassing.

And nobody likes being embarrassed.

But falling is how we learn.

Most of us don't remember learning to ride a bike.

We don't remember the training wheels coming off. We may remember a specific crash or accident, but we don't remember the countless times it surely happened.

We can see that process in action in our lives even today.

We've all see kids trying to learn how to ride a bike and have often see them fall over.

It's painful to watch them, but eventually they learn how to balance without falling over.

In a recent post, we discussed why I took my ebook down from Kindle Direct Publishing ( You can see it here: Why I Deleted My Ebook From Kindle Publishing)

As I wrote, the reason why was because the ebook was getting zero traction on its own and I needed to rethink the process.

I needed to add some more content - so I've been editing a couple other stories.

Obviously there should be a marketing idea in place - so I've been researching what other indie writers have attempted with their platform with Kindle Direct Publishing.

In A Nutshell, My Marketing Plan Is Simple

I plan on creating a number of avenues to funnel traffic to the books.

The plan includes using some additional stories as other vehicles to drive traffic to the collection of short stories.

The idea is to take think of the book like a hub with spokes.

On its own, a spoke is weak, it will break easily, and can't support a tire.

With a hundred spokes, each centering to the hub, the tire is supported and can easily support the weight.

So each of these kindle ebooks will be a spoke, centered around a hub.

How To Get Ideas For Content - Take Off The Training Wheels

A great resource guide, aside from Write Publish Repeat that we discussed in an earlier post. ( See it here: My Journey Into eBook Publishing)

But another great writer in the field of self-publishing is Steve Scott.  While a non-fiction writer, Steve Scott offers many different tactics and ways to get an ebook up and running as soon as possible.  

A great ebook to start with is his ebook on developing great ideas for content generation. If interested you can check it out on Amazon through my affiliate link.

By using my link, you'll get some great suggestions, tips and know-how from one of the best of the best in the Kindle Direct Publishing field.

I'll get a small commission from Amazon for your purchase, but it won't cost you a dime extra.

Check it out here: How to Discover Best-Selling Nonfiction eBook Ideas - The Bulletproof Strategy

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Kindle Publishing And My Future Plans

Why I Took My eBook Down From Amazon Kindle Publishing 

Yesterday launched the first post about my efforts to write and publish a series of eBooks on Amazon's Kindle platform.

Yesterday also marked the day I took my collection of short stories OFF the Kindle Publishing marketplace.


When I uploaded the eBook, it was akin to me being drunk in a bar, blindfolded and spun around, then given a dart to throw at the board.  Maybe I hit something other than the huge biker that was sitting between me and the target.  Maybe I hit my friend.  Maybe if I'm really, really fortunate I hit the target - doubtful - but hey, people have to win the Powerball Lottery sometimes.

I surreptitiously uploaded a file that had a standard cover from Amazon and waited.  And waited.  In the month and a half since, it saw ZERO traction.  If not for me checking my reports, I'm not sure anyone even looked at the collection.

I didn't promote it.

I didn't advertise or have a website to drive traffic toward it.

It was uploaded to Kindle, sat there, and that was that.

So I took it down.

Now I have a plan.

What I'm Focusing My Energy On Right Now

Currently I'm working on two new short stories and a couple edits of previous stories that were stillborn, hoping to breathe new life into them.

Soon the first eBook will be uploaded again, with a couple tweaks, edits and additional content.

And then I'll upload another collection of short stories.

I'll promote them both.  Maybe buy some ads.  That part hasn't been decided yet.

The key, the absolute foundation, is for me to move forward with the stories intelligently.  To make a plan and stick to it.

And then wash, rinse, repeat the process. This is a great strategy that Johnny B. Truant, Sean Platt and David Wright talk about in Write, Publish and Repeat.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Journey Into Kindle Publishing

Here's A Little Story About A Man And His Plan

Welcome!  Inspired by people like Sean Platt, David Wright, Johnny B. Truant and others, I'm going to document my journey of trying to get words out into the world.  

In 2015 I'm launching a series of collections of short stories on Kindle publishing.  Some are old, some are new, but they'll all have one thing in common - observations of our world.  

I plan on listing how I go about publishing, the types of responses I get, how I drive traffic to the stories and if those tactics, strategies and plans are effective.  

Stay tuned for weekly updates, stories and ideas that I'll be pitching.  Some will be about the actual facet of story telling, some will be about the marketing around those stories, and all of them will be about the journey.  

Right now, I'm working on a collection of older short stories and plan on having them in the Kindle store shortly.  When I release them, I'll be sure to include the update here!

Have you any stories you'd like to see written, published and marketed?  Have you done something already? 

Leave suggestions on story ideas, or how to market them, as a comment!