Amazon and Kindle definitely revolutionized the way people read, but also how books are published, giving a platform that authors need to start publishing and the independence to share their work.
New writers are always looking for a way to share their stories and have that connection with the readers. So, Wattpad is also a reference when we talk about self-publishing and the start of a career, making it possible to share the stories and have feedback from the public. Like The Kissing Both, originally a Wattpad story that gained popularity and in 2018 became a Netflix movie with Joey King and Jacob Elordi in the main roles.
With the Kindle release, Amazon started the program Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), which came to Brazil in 2014, facilitating independent authors to publish their books and make money with it.
From Wattpad to Amazon
Three authors talked about their experience with self-publishing and when they decided to publish on Amazon, despite the popularity on Wattpad. Aline Próvier shared her experience about when she decided to publish on Amazon, despite the popularity on Wattpad. “In 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, I had the desire to publish on Amazon for a while, but always postponed it. With the pandemic and the shutdown of college classes, I decided to publish my first book. It was a game-changer for me”, she said.
Wattpad is just the beginning of many independent authors’ stories and Amazon makes the dream of making a career out of it come true. For Cristiane Almeida, the moment her stories gained more visibility, she realized that Amazon was her next step: “writing is a love, but to be able to make it something that would bring me some income, it was natural. When you come to see yourself as a writer, it happens”.
As Sabrina Sousa said, after ten years publishing on Wattpad, the twenty-year-old writer wanted to make writing her career. “That’s when I realized I wanted to turn my passion for writing into something more serious”, she remembered.
All three of them talked about the transition through platforms, and how natural it is for an author to want to go to Amazon when they decide to pursue their writing. They said this path gives more maturity to the work and leads to new rewards, like payment. Besides that, the relationship with the reader takes a new step, as said by Cristiane Almeida: “Wattpad is the reader’s first contact with your story, it’s where you get the first feedback. If they like the story you told, automatically, when you take it to Amazon, they’ll want to ‘keep’ that story with them”, which is the whole point of publishing.
Trust the Process
Well, the process before the book is ready to be read is longer and tougher than one can imagine, especially when you are doing it on your own, and each writer has their own process and ways on how to do it.
First, the book has to be written, of course. But, one of the most important steps is proofreading, and each one has a different preference. For Aline Próvier, it is her favorite part: “I like to leave the book ‘resting’ for a while, before I start editing. It’s usually time-consuming, but it’s my favorite part! I love the feeling of rewriting scenes and figuring out how the story can be improved”.
While Sabrina Sousa is more systematic about everything. “As I write, I usually divide the process into three steps: creating the draft, drafting, and reviewing. And after finishing the book, a professional review and beta reader, to officially prepare it for publications she shared. After all that work, put it on the website and deliver it to the world, the website per se being an easy step, really intuitive and with video tutorials that help when needed.
Last but not least, promote the book, all of it is done independently and through social media or book influencers. Próvier affirmed: “Amazon has some measures to help promote the book, but not many, so I plan all the posts and videos for social media. It’s quite tiring but also fun”. All that creates lots of interactions with the public and buzz around the book. For Almeida, that is essential: “I’m not very good at promoting, truth be told. But I have very kind readers who have always helped me in the process”. If you are lucky enough, what works for Sousa is finding “amazing partners to make promoting your book more fun”.
(Reporter’s note: I have seen their socials, and they have so much content about the books, with memes and videos, they know what they’re doing!)
Being on Your Own
As Taylor Swift once said, “you’re on your own now” and the experience of being an independent author is particular to all of them. In Aline Próvier’s words, “I like to say it’s freeing, but it’s also exhausting. I’ve already published through a publisher, and it was considerably calmer, but I didn’t have control over many things. On the other hand, independent publishing allows us to choose every little thing, from the professionals who will work on the story, to the physical details of the book. Even though it’s challenging and the workload is greater, with everything depending on me, I like it”.
Even when the reward is not the best, the work evolving it’s worth it. The royalties by books published on KDP are based on percentage and, in case of being on Kindle Unlimited, by the number of pages read. So, the incoming it’s not something that you can make a life out of easily. “There are still many things to be improved. Financial return is one of them. Authors’ earnings are low and there is instability, values tend to vary over time. Piracy is also a very negative point, the platform does not offer much support in these cases”, but it’s a showcase to her work according to Aline Próvier.
Using Almeida’s words, “writing is a two-way street. On a personal level, it’s being a storyteller, and it’s rewarding to reach people with something so intimate. But professionally, it is a somewhat arduous path, but little by little we see paths being opened”. Finally, for Sousa, “each publication is a different, unique and unpredictable experience. At the end of it all, the most important thing is to be proud of yourself”.
For anyone who wants to self-publish and follow this path with literature, they gave a little insight to study writing, marketing and the literary industry. It’s important to know what you are doing and how to do it right. “For those who want to publish, be sure to do so. Your writing is so valuable, it reaches other people and can make such a big difference. Being it a smile, a cry or an indignation”, advises Cristiane Almeida. Most especially, “write. Write whenever you can, everything that makes you happy”, concludes Próvier.
This article was edited by Giulia Howard.
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