Should you self-publish on Kindle?


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Oh, you wanted more than that? *Sigh*. Alright.

Before Amazon Kindle, writers didn’t have much choice if they wanted to get their fiction published. They relied on publishers to approve of their writing and raise it up to the market – provided that there was a perceived market for the books they wrote. Getting work in front of readers comes down to a publisher’s opinion – and only a tiny, tiny fraction of submitted manuscripts are published at the end of this process.

I’m not saying that’s either good or bad. It’s one business model, and that’s how it works. But now there’s an alternative business model too.

Kindle enables anyone to become a published writer. It enables people like me – content writers who’ve dabbled in fiction on the side – and so I like Kindle very much. And yes, it has flooded the market with millions of books of all styles, qualities and sub-genres. In what world is that a bad thing? The good writing still sells, and rises to the top. And it’s so cheap that book addicts are now reading more than ever.

Side note: the best way to write and publish good books is to write and publish bad books first. It’s the same for all of us. If there’s any way around that, then every author ever would love to know it. At least with self-publishing, we can practise our trade with a worldwide paying market, and improve.

Crucially, Amazon blows the free market for books wide open. And, fittingly, it’s a jungle out there.

Understand that the free market is carnivorous, and it’s fair. It doesn’t care about our feelings, or what friends and family think of our writing, or how good we think we are. When you self-publish, the free market will tell you where your books rank, and what they’re truly worth. The market will tell you in the form of good customer reviews, and brutal customer reviews, and in the amount of royalties that writing makes.

It’s the scary, thrilling dimension where your writing really tightens up and improves, and finds its audience. (If you like to do things like eat food and pay bills, anyway.)

It isn’t just down to one publisher and their opinion to decide if you should be published, and if there really are readers out there who may enjoy what you write. Self-publish and you can skip straight to the free market, and take some punches, and work out for yourself where your writing needs to improve – and whether there’s a market for your books.

You also get to call yourself an indie author, which is very cool indeed.

This way, you can also make an informed decision on whether you’d like to sign with a major publisher or not in the future. But there’s nothing to lose in self-publishing your books first. If opportunity does come knocking, you can always sign over the rights to your works later, if you prefer. But personally, I think I’d prefer to keep the rights to my books. Many Kindle authors do the same.

Again, nothing in this is either good or bad. They’re different ways to get published. But at least with Kindle, we have the option to throw our books to the ravenous, wonderful and gloriously savage free market. That place will tell you, quickly and without a doubt, where your writing can and should improve. And whether there’s really any demand for the frilly poems and self-hating screeds that we’re all capable of… instead of meaty, accessible prose that entertains.

You’ll learn fast, with bruised ego but growing dreams, where the demand sits for you to supply. Self-publishing your work will teach you, no-holds-barred, to become a better writer.

If I can’t spend every day honing my writing to better entertain my readers, then I may as well not write. Self-publishing is giving me valuable insight, and it’s helping me to grow as a professional writer. It’s insight I’d never get from a stack of rejection letters, or leaving finished manuscripts to fade and coffee-stain around the house.

So yep. Kindle. Free market. Recommend it. That’s ma thing. (Hope this helps.) *Thumbs up*.


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