3 Key Points from the folks at Amazon (2014 RWA Nationals) - Jo-Ann Carson

3 Key Points from the folks at Amazon (2014 RWA Nationals)

My eyes popped listening to Amazon’s presentation about Kindle Direct Publishing and Create Space at the 2014 RWA Nationals. Here are the three key points I took away:

One – The Success of Indie Publishing

  • one third of the top 100 books on Amazon in the U.S. are Indie published (i.e., self-published)
  • 50% … in Germany
  • 40 % … in France
  • when e-books were introduced into the market readers didn’t stop buying books – they started buying 4 times as many

Two – The Rise of the Hybrid Author

  • It’s not a Traditional OR Indie publishing question any longer. It’s all about the AND 
  • more and more authors are finding success with the hybrid model, publishing some of their work with traditional publishers and some on their own
  • Daniel Slater from Amazon explained self publishing democratizes the process of getting stories to readers and that benefits both writers and readers
  • resulting in greater access, diversity, reach and opportunity (not to mention 70% royalty)
  • the writer gets to control copyright, distribution, price and positioning
  • Amazon offers a growing number of ways to increase sales (Countdown Deals, Lending Library, KDP Select…)

Three –  Print on Demand Made Easy

  • Create Space the print on demand section of Amazon works hard to make the process easy for the writer
  • offers free global reach and industry leading royalty
  • 24/7 support
  • editing options, layout design, cover design, illustrations and marketing are all up to the writer and support is provided by Amazon
  • solid profit margin (e.g., example given: list price $13.00, Amazon’s share (@40%) $5.20, Author’s share (@60%) $7.80.
  • this part of the session was presented by David Symonds the General Manager of Create Space for the last 8 years.


Of course I’ve been aware of the rise in Indie Publishing, but the stats blew my mind. Things are changing faster than I think anyone expected. As a beginning author trying to decide how best to send out her stories,  it’s a bit like trying to stand on shifting sand. But the good news they keep telling us is that we are being given more and more opportunities.
Why doesn’t it feel that way?

What do you think?

0 Replies to “3 Key Points from the folks at Amazon (2014 RWA Nationals)”

  1. Love this, Jo-Ann! This is just a reminder of the options and possibilities to all writers, no matter what their goals, aspirations, experience, or lifestyle/time allowances (says me who is a mother of teens, who also works outside the home, who also is working on her writing career while juggling it all 🙂 ) Love this – thank you so much! Lisa

    1. Hi Lisa
      Glad you liked this. I really admire how hard you work at your writing career on top of your busy life as a working Mom. It’s no wonder you are so successful. (Of course talent and your awesome positive attitude have something to do with it too.) In my glum, will I ever get-the-hang-of-this moments, I think, What would Lisa do? Get writing of course. And so I do.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Best Wishes

  2. I think choice always muddies the water. Traditionally you sent your manuscripts out and hoped a publisher, SOMEWHERE, would love your baby and give you the equivalent of Willy Wonka’s golden ticket. As many of us found, it wasn’t always that easy.
    And then along came Amazon. More choices, more competition, more… I think that’s good but even the crystal ball gazers and soothsayers are having a hard time with this. So as a writer I think you try and craft the best story you can, enjoy the process and figure, somewhere out there, are readers who will enjoy your work!

    1. Hi Pat
      Missed you at the meeting. Love, love love your Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket comment. That’s exactly what I’ve been waiting for, along with a pat on the head. How stupid is that?
      I like your straight forward plan.
      Thanks for stopping by and adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes

  3. Super that you chose that particular workshop as I was elsewhere in the building. Yes, the stats are staggering. Having books on Amazon is one thing – then, the next challenge is the ‘marketing piece’ and trying for that illusive ‘discoverability component’.
    Right now, I feel like I’m a minnow swimming with sharks. However, at this point, soldiering onwards appears to be the best option for me.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hi Jodie
      Anyone who knows you, knows you are no minnow in this world. I trust time will sort out the species.
      I understand your concern about the discoverability piece, as I have yet to jump off the cliff worrying about just that.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  4. I can confirm the benefits of working with Createspace.
    As you know I’ve put all my eggs in the self publishing basket and I’ve never looked back. Yes, marketing is a chore when you’re not good at it, but the rewards are incredibly satisfying. I could have spent the last three years crafting query letters, hoping some publisher might like to take me on. Instead I’ve sold thousands of books and acquired a very loyal readership. A good review from a reader warms the cockles of a writer’s heart. Readers know what they like.
    In addition, the community of independent writers is very supportive and I’ve formed important relationships with many fellow authors.
    I like the control and the rewards and have no plans to be anything other than an indie.

    1. Hi Anna
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
      Your phenomenal success has been awe inspiring and I love following it. I caution myself, however, to not compare myself to you. Anna Markland is one hell of a good writer. It’s no wonder that she found an avid readership.
      Will I? One doesn’t know, of course, unless one tries. I think I’m almost ready to join the Indie-gang, but I want to finish the trilogy I’m writing first. I heard in two workshops that it’s best to launch 5 books in a series simultaneously. Phew…it’s a lot of work.
      Anyway, thank you for adding to the conversation.
      Best Wishes

  5. Great blog… that was a workshop I wanted to attend but I had other commitments… and I’m bad, I’ve yet to plug in the stick and listen to any of the presentations.
    I jumped off the edge and into the indie pool nearly two years ago, with no clue what I was doing but I’m muddling along okay and learning constantly!
    Marketing is everything. There are thousands, YES, thousands of new books uploaded to Amazon every day so making sure readers can find your book is the most important game in town.

    1. Kathryn
      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting.
      As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a nervous Nellie ready to jump but really wishing she didn’t have too. It helps a lot to hear how people I respect in the business, like you, navigate the new waters.
      I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine and I hope that our paths cross again soon.
      Best Wishes

  6. Hey, Jo-Ann. Again another one of your super summaries of a workshop. I get where you are about wanting that someone else to pin the star on your chest and say, yep, “She’s a sheriff!” I did, too, and was fortunate to find a small Canadian press to publish me. But even those folks who get published by someone, don’t necessarily have good books or have many followers.
    You are wise to finish your third book. When readers read you, they’re gonna want the next one fast. If you can bring them out every 3-6 months to begin with that seems to be the key to building loyalty.
    I’ve read all 3 of Kathryn’s books and now I’m frustrated with the long dry spell! LOL I’m as bad as a regular reader, and I know what she’s going through. Jerrie Alexander is “pestered” often by her fans saying, “When is that next book coming out. Can’t wait to read X’s story.” And that’s what we all hope happens.
    But, sweetie, you can’t get to that place without the books getting out there in the first place. When you’ve got the 3 books ready, if you haven’t heard from any of those nibbles, jump in the water. You’ll do just fine.
    I’m bringing out my first book, VERMONT ESCAPE in print next month. Scary even to do that, but I gotta have print books for some folks and MIU won’t do it. So it’s me or nothing. 🙂 I’ll share your excellent post.

    1. Hi Marsha
      I know you’re running around having a wonderful family vacation. It’s so nice of you to take the time to stop by and add to the conversation. But then you are that nice.
      I’m excited to hear you’ll be making print versions of your first book. It will look cool on your bookshelf, as well as mine (let me know when I can order one). The first time you hold a hard copy of your book in your hands will be an incredible moment, I’m sure.
      Yup, there are a lot of things about this writing business that scare me, but life is about taking chances. I’m going to poke away at my options as I finish my trilogy, which reminds me, I should get back to writing.
      I can’t thank you enough for all your kind words and support.
      Best Wishes

  7. Jo-Ann, the reason it doesn’t feel like there are more opportunities is because it’s all still really hard work. Being an indie author isn’t easy. The playing field is far from level (still!!) and marketing is a marathon race, not a sprint. There are still those who don’t take indie authors seriously (and some of those should know better!), so the opportunities are a two-edged sword. I’m not trying to discourage anyone, just injecting reality into the ballyhoo. I am an indie author with six books out. I’m very glad I took this route but, after the amazing ease of the publishing process, it is difficult, occasionally discouraging and not a road to instant success.

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