by Jodie Renner, Editor & Author,

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I’ve published two books myself on Amazon in the past year, as e-books, and also published them both in trade paperback on CreateSpace. Here are some of the many points I discussed in my talk on the subject to the London Writers Society on July 18, 2013. Look for my article, “Promoting and Marketing Your E-Book,” to appear here soon.


– Freedom – You’re in control. You control the whole process from start to finish and retain the rights to your book.

– It’s fast. You don’t have to wait around for agents to respond. You upload the book and it’s ready to sell in 12 hours or less. You can start earning money right away while you write the next one!

– More and more people are buying e-books. You can take a Kindle or other e-reader anywhere, with more than a thousand books inside it! And e-books are quick and easy to purchase from wherever you are – with one-click buying, the book appears on your Kindle within seconds.

– Amazon sells more books than all the other publishers combined.

– It’s free to publish on Amazon (and CreateSpace).

– You get 70% of the list price of your book (if it’s priced between $2.99 and $9.99; otherwise 35%), as opposed to 10-15% from publishers – IF you can get a publisher to accept your book!

– You don’t need to write a whole book. You can publish a short story or article and sell it for $0.99 (you get 35% if it’s under $2.99)

– You get to control the pricing, so you can raise or lower the price of your e-book whenever you want, to boost sales.

– It’s easy to upload your book to Amazon and you can revise it as frequently as you want and just keep replacing the one that’s there with a better version.

– You can check your sales stats daily (or hourly) and watch them rise. You can also view stats graphs over time (and geographically) to see what’s working and what isn’t to promote sales.

– You receive your royalty payments every month (one month’s delay), as opposed to annually or quarterly or whatever.

– Amazon helps promote your book, through your book’s Amazon page, emails they send out mentioning it, and their feature, “Customers who bought this item also bought…”

Writing a Killer Thriller_May '13


– You’re in charge of quality control! So you need to guard against publishing it prematurely. Make sure it’s polished and ready! The competition is fierce out there, and reviewers can be very critical if you publish a book full of typos or otherwise hasty or amateurish writing.

– Although publishing it is free, you’ll still need to pay for editing, a cover design, and probably formatting. And you may decide to hire someone to promote it. You should have a budget of at least $1,000 to spend on all this.

– You’ll need to do most of your own marketing and promoting (although Amazon does a lot, too), or hire a publicist. But traditional publishers now expect their authors to do a lot of their own promoting, too. Mid-list published authors basically are expected to do all or most of their own promoting, including paying for it.


1. Write with wild abandon.

2. Revise. See my articles “Revising, Editing, and Polishing Your Novel,” “How to Save a Bundle on Editing Costs,” and “How to Slash Your Word Count by 20-50% – and tighten up your story without losing any of the good stuff!”

3. Run it past a critique group or “beta” (volunteer) readers (smart people who read in your genre – don’t need to be writers themselves).

4. Revise again, based on feedback you’ve received from your critique group or beta readers (using your own judgment on what advice to accept and what to ignore, of course).

5. Find a reputable freelance editor who specializes in fiction (if that’s what you write) and reads your genre.

6. Revise, based on the editor’s suggestions.

7. Hire a formatter (or do it yourself if you know a lot about formatting). See my article, “Basic Formatting of Your Manuscript (Formatting 101)”.

8. Hire someone to design an eye-catching, professional looking book cover. Be sure the title and author can be read at the small size posted on Amazon. Google “book cover designers”.

9. Publish on, KDP

– Decide on two categories, add a great book description, think of 7 keyword phrases (search words), and write an interesting author bio, with links and a photo.

10. In the meantime, you’ll have already been building up a social network and platform:

– Facebook, Twitter, maybe Google +, author website, blog, guest blog posts for others

– Writers’ groups and organizations, Goodreads – lists, giveaways

I suggest, as a minimum, a Facebook page and either a website or a blog. If you don’t have time to blog regularly, create an author website instead.

11. Start actively promoting your book – but don’t be annoying.

12. Start writing the next one. Or publish a short story based on characters from your book and price it at $0.99.

Good luck with all this! I look forward to seeing your book on sale!

Jodie Renner, a freelance fiction editor specializing in thrillers and other fast-paced fiction, as well as YA and historical fiction, has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing a Killer Thriller, available in e-book and trade paperback on Amazon, and Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power, available for e-readers or in trade paperback. And you don’t need a Kindle to read e-books – you can read them on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. For more info and helpful links, email Jodie at j.renner.editing(at)hotmail(dot)com.

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  1. Jodie Renner says:

    Thanks for posting this, Pat. As I glance over it, I see there are lots of details I could have added, like cost estimates for each step. I’ll be glad to respond to any questions here in the comments.

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