KDP news

NFL Players Support Amway Boycott; KDP Newsletter; Freedom to Marry; Republicans for Gay Marriage

Two NFL players, Chris Kluwe and Brendon Ayanbadejo recently joined others in signing a boycott that’s been growing slowly in popularity against Amway. They did this at the GLAAD awards last Saturday night with the founder of the righstequalrights.com campaign for equality, Fred Karger. For those who don’t know, the DeVos family, and Doug DeVos who owns Amway, are allegedly the largest contributors to the National Organization for Marriage and they’ve given a half million dollars to NOM. NOM is that large group of conservatives that believe marriage is between one man and one woman and they’ve been fighting equality and same sex marriage since the issue began.

From my inbox:

Both professional football players have been strong and vocal supporters of full marriage equality, fighting against NOM which ran and funded the unsuccessful anti-gay marriage campaigns that were on the Minnesota and Maryland ballots last November. These two outspoken heroes played huge roles in their respective state victories along with marriage equality victories in Washington State and Maine.

I think this is highly significant because anything LGBT related to any professional sport has always been so painfully ignored, pushed aside, diminished, and in some cases even laughed at. For these two guys to come out in support shows there are two sides to every story, and the quest for equality keeps moving forward all the time.

And, more important, even though Doug DeVos and his family, along with every other member of NOM, have the right to their own beliefs, we don’t have to support them financially or buy their products. I have no idea about how the Amway Boycott is going, or if boycotts in general even work, but if enough people who are LGBT, and enough people who have loved ones and friends who are LGBT, stop buying Amway products completely it’s going to have to make a huge difference. And that’s because people who are LGBT are everywhere now.

KDP Newsletter

I’m not posting the entire Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter because a good deal gets into KDP select and I talk about that all the time anyway, but I like to point out interesting things from each newsletter that some might not know.

Your KDP account preferences can be set to receive royalty payments electronically across all marketplaces in US dollars, British pounds or Euros. In order to be paid by Direct Deposit, your bank account will need to be located in the US, UK, or in Europe.

It’s always been an issue for Canadian publishers and European publishers to send checks to me, and I have a PayPal account but don’t like using it to get paid, for various reasons. I also just signed a contract with Riverdaleave.com books for a new series called “Fangsters” and I noticed in their contract they now have a section where authors can sign up for direct deposit, too. It’s a nice feature and it saves paper. I think we’ll be seeing more of this in the future.

KDP will also be at booth V555 at the London Book Fair, for those who are lucky enough to go there this year, on April 15-17. And they’ll be at BEA and uPublishU, May 30-June 1.

Freedom to Marry

In the most recent e-mail from Freedom to Marry, they talk about upcoming events with the Supreme Court. I know a lot of people are not on this e-mail list and it’s one of the things I think is important to pass along to everyone. I know my European readers find these things as interesting as I find their LGBT news. And I look forward to what they share with me.

We all can feel the momentum for marriage – and that’s exactly what Freedom to Marry intended. Even before the Supreme Court announced it would hear two marriage cases this year, we mapped out a plan and got to work to do everything we could to maximize our chances of winning. We want to be sure to continue making the same strong case for the freedom to marry in the court of public opinion as our advocates will be making in the court of law.

Now, in just 7 days, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear challenges to Prop 8 and the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. On March 26-27, we ask the Court to reject marriage discrimination at both the state and federal levels.

The Court is expected to announce its decisions in June, and we need to keep using every precious day maximizing our chances of winning by creating the climate around the Court – that momentum we all are feeling. The drumbeat of stories and voices speaking up for the freedom to marry isn’t just coming out of nowhere; it’s the work Freedom to Marry is spearheading.

Can you chip in to support Freedom to Marry’s work to end marriage discrimination?

http://freedomtomarry.org/Donate2013

Perhaps the biggest single thing we can do to maximize our chances of prevailing in the Supreme Court is to keep winning more states. Freedom to Marry staff is on the ground embedded in campaigns in Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, and Rhode Island, the states we hope to win by June. And we are fueling those campaigns, ensuring they have the resources needed to make the case to the state lawmakers who will vote and send a message to the Supreme Court.

Freedom to Marry’s ability to give these campaigns what they need depends on your support.

Please make a donation today: http://freedomtomarry.org/Donate2013

We have the momentum. We built it. Help us keep it going now, when we need it felt the most.

Evan Wolfson
President, Freedom to Marry


Last week I posted about a busload of faithful Catholics from right here in Bucks County, PA who will be traveling to Washington for ten bucks a pop later this month, with the intention of blocking same sex marriage. The event is being sponsored by the Philadelphia Archdiocese, the same diocese that covered up all the child abuse sex scandals we’re still hearing about (I’m part of that diocese and I hear it all the time). This makes it even more important to support organizations like Freedom to Marry. What always interests me with things like this is they expect me to feel shame for being gay, and yet they show now signs of shame at all when it comes to what they did to all those innocent kids who were abused.

Sen. Rob Portman Supports Gay Marriage After Son Comes Out

I received this e-mail earlier this week from a friend and wanted to post about it because of the impact I think it has with regard to politics in general. Rob Portman is a Republican from Ohio, and now he’s supporting gay marriage, too. I’ve posted about how so many Republicans are now coming out, so to speak, in support of gay marriage and it’s making a lot of people think twice about their own political beliefs. I don’t like to get into anything political, but I do like to balance my posts for the many, many LGBT readers who are more conservative fiscally and still believe in equal rights and same sex marriage.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) has reversed his stance on same-sex marriage two years after learning that his son is gay, several Ohio news outlets, including the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer, reported Friday.

In an interview with Ohio reporters in his Senate office, Portman said that his son, Will, came out to the senator and his wife in February 2011.

“It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that’s of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have — to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years,” Portman said.

Kindle Direct Publishing News: KDP Now in India

I’ll post what I think is the most important from the KDP newsletter for those who are interested in self-publishing, those might try it someday, and for those who have really self-published without their literary agent’s e-publishing services backing them.

KDP is Now Available in the Kindle Store for India!

We’re excited to announce Kindle Direct Publishing has launched in India!

If you have distribution rights in India for books you’ve published through Kindle Direct Publishing, they are now available in the Kindle store for India (sold to customers in India on Amazon.com). New features for authors and publishers in India include the ability to set prices specific for India, as well as receive royalty payments in INR. For the full press release on India click here.

Marketing Tidbit of the Month

If you are about to use your free promotion days, offered as part of KDP Select, make sure you actively announce these days in advance so you can make the most out of this valuable promotional benefit. You can announce this to your readers through your social media presence, like Facebook, Twitter, blog, email list, etc.

KDP will be at the Frankfurt Book Fair

The biggest book and media fair in the world is just around the corner. We’re referring to the Frankfurt Book Fair (Oct 10-14) of course. Every year this event attracts about 7,500 exhibitors from over 110 countries. KDP will have a joint booth there with CreateSpace and will give a session on ‘Indie Publishing with Amazon’. See here for a full list of events planned during the fair. As always, we love to meet our KDP authors and publishers in person so make sure to come by our booth at Hall 8, F914.

As we had mentioned before, we’ll be attending more events in the U.S. and around the world, so stay tuned for more announcements.

New KDP Author Story Featured on the Amazon Homepage

Another one of our KDP authors, Theresa Ragan, has been featured on the Amazon.com homepage as of 8/21. In the story, Theresa shares her struggles trying to publish her work over a period of 19 years, and how she finally reached readers by deciding to publish using KDP. In case Theresa’s story is no longer live on the Amazon homepage, you can also read it below.

Overnight Success, 20 Years in the Making

As a mom who worked full-time while raising four kids, romance author Theresa Ragan knows about struggle. But when it came time to publish her first novel, Theresa didn’t expect a battle that would threaten her commitment to writing. Return of the Rose took Theresa five years to complete, and though she received good feedback from the publishing community, no one wanted to publish the book. With her next two books, it was the same story. One prominent editor even asked her to add 20,000 words to one of her manuscripts and resubmit it. Theresa did. Then she never heard from him again.

“I was crushed by that. I truly thought my time had come, but then… nothing. I knew rejection was part of the deal of becoming a published author, but I had no idea it would be that hard. All I wanted was to get my work in front of readers. After over 100 rejections, there were days I thought about quitting altogether.

“It felt unfair, somehow. It was like my success wasn’t being based on my writing abilities but was instead decided by two dozen people in New York. I knew I deserved better, and that readers deserved to read my books!”

That’s when Theresa discovered a way to take success into her own hands. She learned that any author could publish their books on Kindle by using Amazon’s independent self-service publishing platform. “In 2011, my youngest child was going off to college, and it was time for me to get back to work, so I decided to give it a shot. With nothing to lose, I published two of my romantic time travel novels electronically and print-on-demand through Amazon. I hoped to sell maybe ten books. I was stunned when I sold thousands. For the first time, my stories were being read, and after nearly two decades of working hard to get published, I felt like an overnight success!

“In a little over a year, I have sold nearly 250,000 books for the Kindle. Four of my books even made the Top 100 Kindle Best Sellers List. I have been approached by agents, foreign sales people, and two movie producers, and have received mentions in the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, and PC Magazine, and was recently interviewed by USA Today.

“I am so excited that writers have the opportunity to get their work in front of readers without jumping through insurmountable hoops. The publishing world is changing fast, and I plan to enjoy every minute of the ride.”

Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter…


Since I’ve been getting the Kindle Direct Publishing Newsletter I’ve been sharing a few interesting things from it here on the blog. Now that I have two titles out with KDP, I’m interested in learning more in all regards. From what I hear, so are a lot of other authors.

I’m sure this letter from Jeff Bezos will hit home for many aspiring writers. As a sidenote, I didn’t read the book that is discussed below and I’m not endorsing it or promoting it. I’m just passing on facts from the newsletter itself.

In case you didn’t see the letter from Jeff Bezos we featured on the Amazon.com homepage this week, it was dedicated to KDP and highlighted a great blog post from KDP author Jessica Park (Flat-Out Love). Below is the text version. Enjoy!

Dear Customers,

“Did I cry over some of these rejections? Absolutely. Did I feel inadequate, untalented, hurt? Yes. Did I doubt my ability to craft a story that readers could fall in love with? You bet.”

That’s Jessica Park, who hit road block after road block trying to get her book Flat-Out Love in front of readers. You can read her incredible blog post on IndieReader (also picked up by HuffPost) detailing her perseverance and how she finally succeeded by doing it herself with Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s heartwarming and tells a powerful story about what KDP makes possible.

Kindle Direct Publishing empowers serious authors to reach readers, build a following, make a living, and to do it on their own terms. Readers get lower prices, authors get higher royalties, and we all get a more diverse book culture (no expert gatekeepers saying “sorry but that will never work”). KDP is already meaningful–22 of our top 100 best-selling Kindle books so far this year are KDP books–and more great stories are being published every day. You can find Flat-Out Love here. Thanks for being a customer.

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

News from BEA about KDP:

We had a jam-packed week of events at Book Expo America (BEA). This year’s attendance allowed us to connect with current KDP authors and many authors who were considering using KDP to publish their books.

Our presence began with a booth at the uPublishuU event on June 5th, prior to the start of the main show, which included a session featuring KDP authors and Amazon Author & Publisher Relations Director, Jon Fine. During BEA, which ran from June 5th – June 8th, we had the opportunity to meet and answer the questions of many authors and publishers. Additionally we hosted several sessions at our booth focusing on KDP and Amazon’s other independent publishing entities: CreateSpace for print and ACX for audiobooks. The sessions drew large crowds of interested people who were able to ask us questions and engage in Q&A with KDP authors Barbara Freethy, Theresa Ragan, and Tina Folsom. Barbara, Theresa, and Tina shared their stories of why they decided to publish independently through KDP and what success they’ve experienced since. In addition, two of our authors, James Altucher (I Was Blind But Now I See) and Theresa Ragan (Abducted and Return of the Rose) signed copies of their CreateSpace books for their fans and visitors. We heartily enjoyed meeting all the wonderful KDP authors who were in attendance at BEA and look forward to sharing more of your stories with our author community

We’ll be attending more events in the U.S. and around the world, so stay tuned for more announcements. If you’d rather connect with us in Europe, keep in mind that we will also be attending the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

Kindle Direct Publishing News…BEA

For those who don’t know, Kindle Direct Publishing is the self-publishing/indie program with Amazon, where you can publish your own e-book and price it yourself. I’m still learning about all this, and I post as I go along. So far, my experiences with “Chase of a Lifetime” have been positive. I know many authors worry about promotion and marketing when it comes to the KDP program…or any kind of self-publishing program. I will post about this eventually, with thoughts based on my own personal experiences. In short, right now, what I can tell you is this: unless you’ve sold your book to a large publisher who is willing to invest a great deal of money in a book tour and promotion/marketing, no one, and no small publisher with a limited budget, is going to promote your book better than you. In fact the few times I’ve had books promoted by one small publisher in particular, I wasn’t happy with the results and I had to wonder if the public relations people they hired knew what they were doing. It looked good. It sounded okay. But it was so painfully amateur I wanted to cringe.

KDP Select News:

KDP Select-enrolled authors continue to benefit from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. During the month of April they earned $2.48 each time their books were borrowed.

“We are very happy to see independent authors expanding their reach while making more money in the process through KDP Select. Established authors as well as debut writers continue to earn significant royalties from their participation in the lending library,” said Atif Rafiq, General Manager of Kindle Direct Publishing.

I’m part of this program with “Chase of a Lifetime.” I’ve had good results. I also like that fact that there is a lending program. I know many readers who read e-books nowadays like getting e-book bargains. I like it myself as a reader.

KDP at BEA and other upcoming events:

For those of you who will be in the NYC area, KDP will be at Book Expo America June 4-7, 2012 at booth number 4170. Just as we did at the London Book Fair, we will be hosting several sessions on KDP, CreateSpace, and Audible.com, focusing on a full array of Amazon’s independent publishing options. Session details to follow on our Help page’s announcement section before the expo.

We’ll be attending more events in the U.S. and internationally, so stay tuned for more announcements. If you’d rather connect with us in Europe, keep in mind that we will also be attending the Frankfurt Book Fair in October.

I won’t be at BEA this year, but for those in the NY area within driving distance it can be an interesting event. Last time I did go I met a lot of people I’d come to know through online experiences. But please remember, these days none of these events are mandatory for authors. Especially authors who are focused on digital publishing. This stands to reason: if you’re focused on digital publishing you should be working to promote your books online in as many places as you can. Those little readings in back door clubs with cute names in New York City are fun things to do, but they aren’t going to sell many books. These are things a lot of people in publishing do for their social lives. And I happen to believe it’s important to keep my social life very different from my professional life. And I’ve never suffered from burn out because of this. In other words, I know when to take a break and do something else.

And here’s something from another author in the KDP program. It’s an interesting piece, especially the part about the agent and the query process.

During my decades of writing nonfiction, I earned a living and won awards for investigative articles, magazine editing, and true-crime books. While I had always dreamed of writing fiction, getting traditionally published was becoming increasingly difficult. Previously, I had wasted many months with a New York agent developing a “sure thing” book proposal for a traditional publisher, only to be rejected at the last minute. I was unwilling to waste more years of my life riding the “query-go-round.”

But in 2010, financial circumstances for my wife and me took an ominous turn. Now past age sixty and in the midst of the recession, we found our income options severely limited. “Write a Novel” was still at the top of my Bucket List when I read about self-publishing via KDP ebooks. I knew at that point I had nothing to lose by trying, and everything to gain. It was my one shot at a lifelong dream—and perhaps our only chance at financial salvation.

I finished writing my debut novel, HUNTER: A Thriller, at 11 p.m. on June 4, 2011—just one hour before my 62nd birthday. By June 21, it was edited, proofread, formatted, wrapped in an eye-catching cover, and available on Kindle. It began to sell immediately. I recovered my initial expenses within the first month. By November 26, it had sold 4,000 copies and had accumulated scores of “5-star” reviews from Amazon readers.

But that was just the beginning. The next day, the Kindle editors spotlighted it as an “Editors’ Pick” for the following week. Overnight, HUNTER—a genre-bending blend of spy mystery, vigilante crime thriller, and romantic suspense—skyrocketed up the bestseller lists, selling thousands of copies per day. By December 3, it reached #4 on the Kindle Bestseller List, zooming past the latest blockbusters by Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, and Suzanne Collins.

For my wife and me, this has been an incredible ride. Our financial requirements are met for this entire year, allowing me to write sequels in the Dylan Hunter thriller series. There’s even been Hollywood interest. In short, within months KDP has completely changed our lives, enabling this aging nonfiction writer to launch a brand-new career as a best-selling novelist. I can’t say enough on behalf of Amazon and the many tools that they make available to independent authors. Without reservation, I urge fellow writers to investigate and seize the opportunities that KDP offers. As I’ve happily discovered, there is zero downside risk—and the potential is virtually unlimited.

– Robert Bidinotto

The reason I’m posting these things now here on the blog is that I’ve seen a lot of changes in publishing in the past five years. And I’m not seeing a lot of information being passed on to authors from so-called publishing professionals. What I am seeing is either dead silence, or what appears to be a hidden agenda to keep authors from knowing these things. My goal here is not to comment on which direction is better or worse. It’s to show authors that there are other options. And to let them know that when they read publishing blogs nowadays they aren’t getting ALL the information they should be getting. They all seem to have an agenda nowadays. I don’t.

And you want to know what the biggest red flag of all is when it comes to publishing blogs? If the web site or blog focuses more in query letters than it does anything else. Yes, queries are still important. Yes, you should learn how to write them for a multitude of reasons. But that’s not the way publishing blogs should be completely focused now. They should be focused on all the opportunities out there for authors, not just the dead end query route that leaves you both mentally and physically exhausted in the end.