I've had an email from someone asking me to blog about my experience of self-publishing on Kindle - the pros, the cons, and is it cost-effective. So - here goes.
I must begin by saying that this is only my experience. There are thousands of us uploading, downloading, groaning into our cocoa trying to make the bloody technology work and then realising we forgot to press the save button ... We all have different stories to tell.
The decision to self-publish was easy: I won a place on a mentoring scheme, as a result of which Over the Hill was lashed into shape. It was my mentor who told me that, ten years ago, I would have found a publisher. But not now - I'm neither young nor famous. But this was good enough to see the light of day and so I should do it myself. So I did - there are some early blogposts of the general angst but I made it.
And don't regret it. I've made mistakes, learned along the way, but have generally enjoyed myself. Putting the second book on Kindle was an easier decision: it's too short to be a print book but was such fun to write it made sense to give Over the Hill a follow-up.
But - there has to be a 'but' - is it cost-effective? It's not going to make me rich. In fact, if I cost the time it took the write, then paying the copy editor, then the time formatting and uploading, then it's a crazy way to spend my time if I want to make money. Amazon, of course, makes money. Cheap books (less than $3.50, I think) earn me only 35% - so that's 35p for a book costing £1; that's how many books to pay for one cup of coffee? And how many cups of coffee are needed to write one book? Pricier books earn 70%, but you still have to sell them in the hundreds or more to make serious money. Mine are niche books - they are never going to sell in huge numbers. (Well, would they if I spent hours marketing? I'll never know - that's the bit I'm truly rubbish at).
So, why do it? I'm lucky - and I know it. I have enough to live on and so am not dependent on my writing to pay the grocery bill. I can do it because it's fun, because I love it when people send emails saying they've enjoyed the book, or asking more about my travels - and yes, emails that prompted this post. And because I love the writing - I can make myself laugh. (I am already working out how to write a trip to the physio where I must ask her to get my knees strong enough to manage squat toilets ...)
That's how it was for me. How was it for you?