Exactly three years ago today, I first discovered Kindle Direct Publishing while desperately searching for a new agent to represent my books. A few weeks prior, I parted ways with my then agent, a powerful New Yorker with dozens of big sales under his belt. Leaving the agency was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and the lowest point in my twenty years of continuous writing, but I immediately saw potential in KDP as a way to get my books out into the world. With renewed fanaticism about the future of publishing, I hired an editor and a cover designer and a few weeks later I published my first book, a science fiction novel.
A week went by with absolutely no sales, and then another. My initial dreams of indie publishing as a writer’s savior was diminishing quickly and I was petrified that I might never achieve any level of success. And then one day something magical occurred at Amazon.com. I checked my dashboard and lo and behold someone had purchased my book. It wasn’t a friend or relative, but a total stranger. A total stranger had purchased my book! I can’t describe in words how exhilarating it felt. Like a light bulb had ignited in my head. I realized right then I no longer needed an agent or publisher to unleash my creative children into the world. All I needed was an outlet, and KDP provided one.
With the fury of a newly published author, I spent weeks researching how to market and promote online. Being an introvert I knew I didn’t want to do grassroots sales, i.e. book signings and such so I joined dozens of online writers groups and participated in forums and discussions. I downloaded samples of my book to every major writer’s site. I spent money on advertising promotions (though I wouldn’t recommend that anymore since the market is oversaturated). I joined Facebook, and Twitter, and Linkedin, and Google+, and many more social media sites… and slowly my book started to sell.
With my platform in place, I began publishing my other completed novels, one every three months. I started to see sales of my books increase and with that came more exposure. I was asked to do blog interviews and was a featured author on numerous established websites. I started to receive awards and accolades from strangers. Reviews of my books came in the four and five star range. Sales skyrocketed and a few of my books briefly hit the Amazon bestseller list. Though I wasn’t getting rich from my sales the pride of knowing that strangers loved my stories was reward enough.
Now three years later, sales have quieted a bit as I get ready to release my tenth book. I still have a large platform and a huge base of core readers which I hope will enjoy my latest as much as my previously published books. I have outlines for many more to come. Thanks KDP, it’s been an amazing journey.