22 Dec 2021

Self-publishing on Kindle or Engaging a publisher 

Self-publishing on Kindle or Engaging a publisher 

First-time novelists have a huge decision to make when it comes to choosing a platform or publishing house for their work. Considering the brand worth of Amazon, many choose to use its self-publishing arm, the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), to get their book out in the world. It seems sensible to have one’s book be represented on such a major marketplace.

And yet, it may not be as attractive as it sounds. There are certain terms and conditions that could turn out to be quite problematic in the long-run.

Here are a few points you should consider when thinking of choosing between Kindle Direct Publishing and a publishing house. 

There is a lot of competition:

Since many people come up with the same idea—to publish a book using KDP—the space gets quite crowded. And it becomes difficult to stand out in a sea of newly released novels and novellas. 

On the other hand, with a publishing house, though there is a lot of variety, the list of books on offer is still quite short when compared to KDP. And, therefore, it’s easier for people to focus on each individual book, take time and then order whatever they want. On KDP, the vast choice of books often makes people indecisive since they can’t make up their minds about what they want.

You can’t sell your book on another platform:

Working with KDP might seem like an easy way out since your book will directly go on the e-shelves and be ready to order from any corner of the world. But the downside to this is that you won’t be able to entertain any other bookselling site for your novel. That includes retailers, bookshops as well. 

Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions before you sign on to KDP.

If you’ve previously sold your book on another retailer’s site, you will have to remove it: 

The term of exclusivity means that if you had sold your e-book elsewhere, you will have to remove those links once you sign on to the KDP programme. It can become quite tedious to arrange such a thing, and can lead to delays in getting your book out there.

When you work with a publishing company, of course, you don’t have to worry about such things. The firm takes care of distributing the book, and puts your book on display in various online and physical retailers, including Amazon. 

Your book could be removed for not following an algorithm:

There is a strict guideline that needs to be followed when one puts their book up for sale through KDP. An algorithm will ensure that all books are structured the same way—that content follows chapters, and that the bibliography is right at the end. 

It seems like a minor issue, and perhaps not an issue at all, but authors who have spent months and years crafting their stories often have a very fixed idea about how they want their book to be presented, and the algorithm messes with that. Of course, such a problem will not arise with a publishing house, whose team will listen carefully to how you want your book to be crafted. 

With KDP, you’ll have to work on the editing, marketing, and cover design on your own:

Perhaps the main point that may make you decide between KDP and a self-publishing company is that with the former, you’ll have to do all the hard work. You’ll have to create a cover, edit the book, market it, and send it for reviews. (Or you could enlist freelancers to do all that for you.) Whatever it be, KDP will only help you with providing a platform for your book, and nothing else.

But if you sign with a publishing company, of course, they will help you every step of the way and you’ll feel reassured and supported on your journey to become a published writer. 

There is no human connect with KDP:

Unless there is an issue that needs to be solved, you’d hardly ever have any interaction with another human being when working on KDP. But with a publishing house, of course, every step of the way, you’d be interacting with experts in the field—those who can help you with your book while allaying your fears at the same time. 

For first-time authors, especially, a good support system is needed. It’s not enough to have the book be displayed on a large marketplace; the author also needs someone to guide them through design, editing, and marketing.

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