Posts Tagged ‘KDP’

Amazon recently invited us to write about our lives as independent, or indie, authors. To be fair, they extended the invitation to all indie authors whose work is self-published via KDP, or Kindle Direct Publishing, and via CreateSpace, Amazon’s print publishing arm. However, vain as we are, we prefer to consider it an exclusive invitation.

Like most indie authors, we need little excuse to talk about our work, or ourselves for that matter, so here goes.

We are Lance and James Morcan, a New Zealand father-and-son writing team. Lance resides in New Zealand while James is based in Sydney, Australia. Together, we’ve co-authored and self-published more than 20 novels and non-fiction books – all under the banner of our publishing company Sterling Gate Books and all exclusive to Amazon.

 

Lance Morcan    James Morcan     

Lance and James…the Morcan writing team.

 

We are also screenwriters and have put several adaptations of our novels into development as feature films with our production company Morcan Motion Pictures. These include our international thrillers Silent Fear and The Ninth Orphan, and our historical adventures Fiji, White Spirit and Into the Americas.

Our other novels comprise The Orphan Factory, The Orphan Uprising and World Odyssey. Screenplay adaptations of these are also planned.

Our journeys as indie authors began over a decade ago when we co-wrote our first novels, The Ninth Orphan and Fiji. After receiving countless rejections from London and New York publishers, we decided to put our destiny into our own hands and form our own publishing company. That was in 2011, and it was a smart move. We recommend this course of action to all authors who may be struggling to get noticed.

We spent months researching the best online publishing platform for our work. After considering all the options, we arrived at the resounding conclusion there was, and is, only one platform worth considering – and that’s Amazon.

Why? Well, check out Amazon’s global market share for starters. Its book marketing platform is unrivaled. They’ve cornered the self-publishing market.

Not convinced? Compare Amazon and its DIY print business CreateSpace with other major players such as Lulu, Smashwords, AuthorHouse and Blurb. There’s no comparison.

And then there’s Amazon’s KDP Select (KDPS), which, in a nutshell, requires exclusivity of authors for their eBooks. We opted to commit to KDPS. It’s a decision we’ve never regretted.

The global reach, higher royalties, Kindle Countdown Deals, free promotions and commissions for book borrows (through Kindle Unlimited) were what most attracted us. However, the full benefits of enrolling with KDPS are too many to list here. If you’re interested, Google “benefits of KDP Select” and scan some of the 1,000 plus entries.

Our first experience with a Kindle book set the pattern for us. Following a seven-day freebie, or free promotion, our thriller The Ninth Orphan achieved the #1 ranking, albeit briefly, in the Spy genre on Amazon.com and Amazon UK during the period December 2011 to January 2012. Not bad for first-time, unknown authors from Down Under!

 

The Ninth Orphan (The Orphan Trilogy Book 1) 

A former #1 bestseller.

 

Writing and brainstorming ideas some 1300 miles apart, separated as we are by the Tasman Sea, aka the Ditch, does present its problems even in this modern era. Unreliable Skype connections, mislaid emails and occasionally faulty WattsApp telephone conferences aside, we get by.

And then there’s the inevitable creative differences. These are accentuated no doubt by the father-son relationship and by the generation gap. However, we view these differences as strengths rather than weaknesses. We are our own toughest critics; we keep each other honest as writers, which helps maintain high standards, and we collectively understand what readers from our respective generations are looking for. That’s the theory anyway. It seems to work!

It seems to work for other father-son writing teams, too. Just last month, bestselling author Stephen King and son Owen King released Sleeping Beauties in what’s described as a “spectacular father/son collaboration.” This supernatural thriller, incidentally, is selling as a Kindle ebook, hardcover and paperback on, you guessed it, Amazon.

                                                                                           

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Another father-son collaboration.

 

Our non-fiction books include The Orphan Conspiracies, which highlights and expands on the 29 conspiracy theories covered in our international thriller series The Orphan Trilogy.

Perhaps our most controversial book is also our latest non-fiction book, Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories: Two Non-Jews Affirm the Historicity of the Nazi Genocide. It’s controversial because it has attracted the ire of Holocaust deniers and so-called revisionists, and has even prompted the publication of books whose sole aim is to denigrate our book.

 

DEBUNKING HOLOCAUST DENIAL THEORIES: Two Non-Jews Affirm the Historicity of the Nazi Genocide                                                                      Book ridicules the deniers.

 

With a foreword by Holocaust survivor Hetty E. Verolme (author of The Children’s House of Belsen), Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories was written in close consultation with Holocaust survivors and World War Two historians. Its message, we believe, is important because the spectre of anti-Semitism is rearing its ugly head again.

We have published seven books so far in our Underground Knowledge Series – the most popular being Genius Intelligence, Underground Bases and The Catcher in the Rye Enigma.

The above-mentioned series gave rise to the Underground Knowledge discussion group on Goodreads.com. Designed to encourage debates about important and underreported issues of our era, it’s one of the fastest-growing groups on that Amazon-owned site. The group’s link is https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/142309-underground-knowledge—a-discussion-group  

In addition, we have secured 24 foreign rights agreements for the translation of our books into Arabic, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Afrikaans, Norwegian and Dutch with more contracts pending. These are available across a wide number of retailers internationally, including Amazon.

Our current focus is on our new release crime-thriller Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes), which was launched as a paperback on Amazon just a week ago. The Kindle eBook version is available via Amazon Pre-orders and will be auto-delivered to buyers’ Kindles on October 31st.

 

Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes)

In Silent Fear, Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world. When more deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives. 

The Amazon link for Silent Fear is: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B075HRYTVC/   

 

Dedicated to the many millions of deaf people around the world, Silent Fear was inspired by the murders of several deaf students at Gallaudet University, one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions for the deaf, in Washington, D.C.

A decade in the making, it was written under the guidance of leading deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson whose commentary on the unique aspects of deaf culture the story covers appears at the end of the book. Together, the Morcans and Macpherson are developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear.

A film trailer promoting the book and planned film can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8bv1vbQxYo

We have also set up Silent World, a new Goodreads discussion group, to promote the book at https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/237556-silent-world-a-discussion-group

A final word for any new or would-be authors out there who may feel daunted at the prospect of having to find a home for their book after having shed blood, sweat and tears, over months or possibly years, and who are wondering what the hell to do next. Do your due diligence, of course, and don’t take our word for it, but we recommend the following course of action based on our personal experience.

Take control of your destiny and self-publish. If literary agents and publishing company editors don’t recognise your literary gem or masterpiece, that doesn’t automatically mean readers won’t resonate with it. However, readers won’t be able to respond or resonate if your manuscript remains hidden.

Consider Amazon as your first choice publishing platform, take the bull by the horns and become a KDP Select author. It worked for us!

Lance & James Morcan

 

Author profiles for Lance and James: https://www.amazon.com/Lance-Morcan/e/B005ET3ZUO/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_2https://www.amazon.com/James-Morcan/e/B005EPOU48/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

 

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Amazon has advised its authors it will be welcoming submissions for English-language books in Romance, Mystery & Thriller, and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres under its new publishing program. The news follows last week’s announcement that the publishing pace-setter plans to launch a crowd-sourced publishing program that will see participating authors receive US$1500 plus 50% royalties on net eBook revenues.

Dollar Books  shelves

It appears at this early stage the program is only available to authors resident in the U.S. – or, more exactly,  to authors “with a valid U.S. bank account and U.S. social security number or tax identification number”. Even so, it will no doubt appeal to those many thousands (tens of thousands?) of authors who are eligible…

And if Amazon’s recent expansion of its territories, book-lending arrangements, Kindle ereader sales and the like is anything to go on, it’s very likely the new publishing program will be expanded beyond the U.S. before long.

Regardless, here’s the letter (unabridged) we’ve just received from Amazon, explaining its progam in more detail:

Dear Author,

Thanks for subscribing to receive updates on Amazon’s new publishing program! We’re excited to announce that we’ll be opening for submissions in a couple weeks.

We’ll be welcoming submissions for English-language books in Romance, Mystery & Thriller, and Science Fiction & Fantasy genres. Any adult with a valid U.S. bank account and U.S. social security number or tax identification number is eligible.

It only takes 15 minutes to complete a submission. Here are the things that you should prepare to successfully submit your book:

  • Complete, never-before-published manuscript & book cover image – We’re looking for 50,000 words or more in Word format and a book cover image that reflects the essence and uniqueness of your book. Make sure your work is ready for others to read. Only the first pages will be posted to the website (approx. 3,000 words).
  • Book one-liner – A very short pitch (no longer than 45 characters) for your book that will be used on the homepage and throughout the website. Think of examples like “Space opera meets the Middle Ages” or “How far will one woman go to save her family?”
  • Book description- Help readers understand the content and quality of your book. Keep the description to 500 characters or less.
  • Your bio & picture – Give readers a chance to learn more about you. You will also have a chance to answer relevant questions regarding your book and personal story in a short Q&A section.

We’ll also ask you to review and accept our submission and publishing agreement that grants us a 45-day exclusivity period to post your excerpt and tally nominations. If chosen for publication, you will receive a $1,500 advance, 5-year renewable term, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions, and Amazon-featured marketing. If not, you automatically get all your rights back at the end of the 45-day exclusivity period.

We’ll send you an email as soon as we’re open for submissions.

 

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It appears Amazon has stolen the march on competitors by announcing plans to launch a crowd-sourced publishing program that will see participating authors receive US$1500 plus 50% royalties on net eBook revenues.

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The revolutionary publishing progam comes hot on the heels of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) initiative, which offers KU subscribers unlimited eBook borrows and which is predicted to further change the publishing landscape – and change it dramatically – if it hasn’t already.

While crowd-sourcing may not be new (feature films have been crowdsource-funded with much hoopla and fanfare) it’s a fairly new phenomenon in the publishing game. Certainly, other publishers have tried it – two others if our sources are correct – but there’s no doubt Amazon’s crowd-source funding will be highly visible. And, if our experience with the publishing giant is anything to go by, it will be highly successful.

The Digital Reader had the best summary of the new program we could find. Quoting Amazon’s PR department, it reports, “Authors will be asked to submit their complete, never-before-published book and cover. After a few days, we will post the first pages of each book on a new website for readers to preview and nominate their favorites. Books with the most nominations will be reviewed by our team for potential publication.”

According to the columnist, Amazon’s contract terms for authors are as follows:

Guaranteed advance & competitive royalties: You will receive a guaranteed $1,500 advance and 50% royalties on net eBook revenue.

Focused formats: We acquire worldwide publication rights for eBook and audio formats in all languages. You retain all other rights, including print.

5-year renewable terms, $5,000 in royalties: If your book doesn’t earn $5,000 in royalties during your initial 5-year contract term, and any 5-year renewal term after that, you can choose to stop publishing with us.

Easy reversions: After two years, your rights in any format or language that remains unpublished, or all rights for any book that earns less than $500 in total royalties in the preceding 12-month period, can be reverted upon request – no questions asked.

Early downloads & reviews: One week prior to release date, everyone who nominated your book will receive a free, early copy to help build momentum and customer reviews.

Featured Amazon marketing: Your book will be enrolled into the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, Kindle Unlimited as well as be eligible for targeted email campaigns and promotions.

To read The Digital Reader’s full report go to: http://the-digital-reader.com/2014/09/22/amazon-publishing-crowd-source-next-books-now-recruiting-kdp-authors/#.VCCBKBYXPCY

The KDP discussion forum on Amazon’s planned initiative makes for interesting reading also. Here’s the link to it: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=207604&start=0&tstart=0

 

Happy reading! Lance & James

 

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Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing team has advised authors participating in its new Kindle Unlimited (KU) ebook borrowing initiative it is adding a bonus of US$2.7 million in August – and that’s on top of the regular base fund amount of US$2 million. Apparently the bonus has been prompted by a “significant early trial response from customers” to KU.

The top 10 most-read KDP Select authors will each receive US$25,000.

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Healthy bonus in store for Kindle Unlimited authors.

Here’s the balance of KDP’s announcement (unabridged):

To further highlight the KDP Select (KDPS) books and authors that are most popular with customers, we are introducing a new element to the program: “KDP Select All-Stars”. Based on what KDPS titles are being read the most during the month, we will identify each All-Star author and title on each applicable KDPS title’s detail page. In addition, KDP Select All-Stars will earn financial bonuses paid separately from the $2.7M bonus. Anyone with titles in KDPS — even a debut author with a single title — can qualify if their work becomes a customer favorite.

For August, we will pay out All-Star bonuses to the top 100 most-read authors and, separately, the top 100 most-read titles. We will calculate ‘most-read’ by combining books sold plus qualified borrows from KU and the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL) during the month. Calculations only include sales and qualified borrows for titles enrolled in KDPS. Recipients will be contacted in the next few days.

The top 100 most-read KDPS authors will each be awarded the following amounts:
• Authors 1 through 10 will receive $25,000
• Authors 11 through 20 will receive $10,000
• Authors 21 through 30 will receive $5,000
• Authors 31 through 50 will receive $2,500
• Authors 51 through 100 will receive $1,000

Authors of the top 100 KDPS titles will each earn the following amounts:
• Titles 1 through 10 will receive $2,500
• Titles 11 through 50 will receive $1,000
• Titles 51 through 100 will receive $500

Denoting All-Stars on detail pages is a new element of KDP Select and we expect our approach to this will evolve over time. We hope it adds a little fun and adventure to the program!

Finally, many authors outside the US derive most of their qualified borrows from KOLL and have not been able to benefit from the growth of KU. This has meaningfully altered their ability to compete within the wider pool of KDPS loans. To adjust for this, we are adding an additional bonus of $80,000 to be paid out on all KOLL loans outside of the US.

★★★★★ INVITATION: We’d love to hear from our followers, fellow authors, publishers/indie publishers and readers what you think about Kindle Unlimited. Let us know if you feel as positive about Amazon’s latest initiative as we do…and if not why not. Thanks!

Lance & James

 

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