My experience experimenting with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing by selling a blog post as an eBook.
After writing a fairly extensive blog post, I decided to experiment and convert the post to an eBook and sell it through Amazon.com’s Kindle Direct Publishing program.
The Amazon.com Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program is awesome, and the fact that I could have an eBook published to Amazon.com and available for purchase in as little as an hour is pretty amazing! The hardest part was the cover, to be honest! I took the HTML that WordPress outputs by default (which in itself is pretty clean, thank goodness) and easily converted it to a .mobi file by using the software that Amazon makes available. Then I threw together a pretty lame cover and was on my way!
I edited the original blog post, added a little box about showing your love for the post by purchasing the ebook version, and did my usual round of social blasting the links.
That first weekend I got a tweet from @MongoDB which was awesome! When I first tweeted the blog post and ebook combo it went somewhat viral (as far as my personal experience goes) and it got retweeted and shared a lot and that was a really good feeling.
The blog post itself still gets a shitload of traffic and my monthly visitors continues an upward trend since the post and book launched.
The ebook received a handful of really positive reviews on Amazon.com which was awesome. I also got some shout-outs at work from people that saw the activity on twitter which was nice!
When I first started using the KDP program, I found that the reporting components were seriously lacking. Just the other day they released a slightly revamped dashboard with some nice analytics. The reporting is still a little confusing for the most part though.
Here are some numbers for the sales of the book so far (as far as I can reasonably tell anyway). Note that these numbers are only for Amazon.com (US) sales as, like I said, the reporting in KDP is kind of hard to make sense out of so its still a lot of manual work to try to come up with any real stats:
units @ $32
units @ $46
Considering I’m only selling the book for $1.99, I’ve already made over $400 a decent amount and it doesn’t look like the sales are going to slow anytime soon as they continue to pick up each month! I haven’t done any additional promotion at all for the post or book since that first weekend.
I could have sold the book for more, I could have taken the blog post down and sold the book exclusively through Amazon (and made 70% instead of %30), but I didn’t. Instead, I made it a point to mention whenever possible that the book could be read for free on my blog instead of buying it from Amazon – and that the ebook really was just a convenience factor and a simple way to show your appreciation.
All in all it has been a very rewarding experience and I highly recommend it as a great way to get into publishing if you’re at all interested. What started out as a simple blog post exploded into a whole lot more. I’ve learned so much during the process, interacted with a lot of people, and helped many more along the way!