It’s five years this month since I published my first novel, Aoife’s Chariot. We almost immediately went on holiday to France that August, and I recall spending that break on tenterhooks, waiting for those first crucial reviews to filter through.
The book did very well and I was spurred on to pen the sequel over the following months. Thinking back to that time, it never occurred to me not to choose the Amazon Direct Publishing option to bring my books to market, and the Createspace service for the paperbacks. I suppose because I had some knowledge of the value of online business models, this approach seemed like a no-brainer.
Since 2013, I have published twenty titles; encompassing two crime series and a couple of standalone novels. My books have sold in their hundreds of thousands all over the world. The KDP experience has allowed me to make a good living from being a novelist, something that I’m aware is by no means a given. And I haven’t needed to inflate my prices in order to achieve this success. In fact, quite the opposite.
But perhaps even more notable than the financial benefits, what publishing with KDP has allowed me to do, is to write at a pace that is natural to me. Without a doubt, if I had applied to a big publisher, I would not have written the number of books I have. Due to the time it takes for a traditional publisher to review and suggest edits, let alone produce the final printable product, it takes an average of 9-12 months to get a draft to market. By those timings, I would have only published a quarter of the books that I have.
This would be a case of quality over quantity, I suspect you may suggest. I strongly disagree. My editors do an exceptional job, but they work only for me. I’m not one manuscript amongst dozens waiting for scrutiny. The design process is now largely digital and takes hours rather than months to perfect. There is no need in this day and age for the production process to take so long. Only KDP (and perhaps the new breed of digital publishers) appear to have utilised new tech to bring books to the market more speedily.
I love the moment when a book is released to the world. This end-goal is what motivates me to push on with a novel, even when the writing process can feel like hard-work. If I felt that end point was so far protracted, there is no doubt I would lose my creative mojo to a certain extent.
For me, the ideas for a new book push themselves forward in my mind and the process of plot to page can be a fast, almost compulsive one. For this reason, the efficiency and autonomy that KDP provides has been perfect for my style of novel-writing. I think that readers appreciate the speed with which the next instalment of their favourite series are delivered too.
For this fifth anniversary of my writing and publishing journey, it’s worth remembering what lies at the heart of the process; the generous readers who have shown me so much support and taken a chance on a new author, and the KDP service that has given me the opportunity to do the job I love and make a success of it.