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Hurrah Finished Book! by Angie Phillip

Hurrah Finished Book! by Angela Phillip

Self-Publishing with Amazon – is it for you?

You’ve finished your book. Hurrah! But how are you going to get it published? Angela Phillip chats to Roger Povey, former literary agent, who talks of his experience and provides a self-publishing how-to guide.

Q Hi, Roger, can you tell us a little of your background and previous publishing experience?

Most of my career has been in management and training and the majority of my writing was reports for boring governmental departments. I worked as a literary agent for a few years and spent my time trying to convince publishers that the writer I represented was worth publishing.

I was successful at times, but faced responses like, “we are not working with this genre at the moment’, or ‘we won’t be looking at that type of genre until late next year’. This was demoralising for me and for the client.

Q2 Why did you decide to self-publish on Amazon?

I decided to choose self-publishing mainly because of my answer above. The only person who would decide if my book was suitable for publishing would be me. As long as I considered it good and that readers might like it, I could publish without the spectre of deadlines over my shoulder.

Q3 Are there any ‘Writer Bewares’ or any specific type of writer that the self-publish route would not suit?

I haven’t come across any ‘Writer Bewares’, Angie, as long as you check everything as you go along it should be fine. The self-publication route with Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) enables almost every literary genre: children’s books, educational books, thrillers, comedies and comics, even the Japanese graphic comic style called Manga.

As long as the legal criteria and openness about content are met there should be no problem. If people want to take the publishing company via Literary Agency route that’s fine, ‘different strokes for different folks’. I prefer Amazon KDP.

Q4 What are the biggest advantages with Amazon self-publishing?

The biggest advantage I have found is the freedom. You are not rushed. You can take your time in preparing the manuscript and the ease of publishing is great. You can make sure it’s right before you upload it. You can do your own editing or get a friend to do it for you or employ a professional editor. You are guided and helped all the time if you need it. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Thank you so much, Roger, for sharing your experience and for the guide you have provided below.                             

Roger Povey

Roger Povey

Roger Povey’s Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon KDP  (Kindle Direct Publishing)  

  1. Getting Started  You will, first, have to register with Amazon KDP and give details of bank accounts and tax status (it is very easy to do this.) Your bank account details enable Amazon to pay royalties by bank transfer to you. You need to give tax details as Amazon is an American company and any books sold through them to the US may incur the paying of tax. It is explained quite clearly during the process.
  2. Begin the Process  You begin, after writing the book, by giving the book a title and subtitle (if any), the name of the author or authors, a description of the book that will appear on your Amazon book page and, add keywords (up to 7) that will help identify your book on Amazon. You are led through the process so I do not have to be very specific here. 
  3. ISBN Number You will be allocated an ISBN number if you do not have one of your own. 
  4. Print Options You decide on paper type, book size etc. 
  5. Uploading Manuscript  You need to, after checking it thoroughly for errors, layout and photos etc., convert it into a PDF and upload it to the site. You can also publish a Kindle version of your book. 
  6. Book Cover You can create your own book cover as long as it meets their criteria or uses the Amazon Cover Creator. The Cover Creator is rather limited but useful if you do not have the necessary skills to produce your own cover. It is explained at the appropriate point. 
  7. Changing Details  You can change almost everything before you submit it for publishing. You may not be aware of it the first time you use it, but you have complete control of most things. 
  8. Book Pricing  Once the book is uploaded, there is the matter of pricing your book. There is NO upfront fee or payment. You are given a minimum price for your book, depending on the page count and this price contains the production costs of each book. You then choose a price you think is best and you will be shown what your royalties will be per copy. 
  9. Distribution  Your book will, after a very short time, appear on priced in sterling and priced in US dollars. I would advise that you opt for Extended Distribution (no charge) which will place your book on all Amazon sites around the world. Europe, Australia and Japan etc.

Don’t forget  If you prefer, you can go through the normal route to publish. You can find a literary agent and convince them to take you on to find a publisher that will also take you on. It’s up to you. What I DO NOT recommend is vanity publishing, where you pay someone to publish your book. You don’t need to do that because there are good alternatives. All you will probably get is a garage full of books.

I hope this is helpful and good luck, happy writing and happy pain-free publishing.

Roger Povey


Hello everybody, there are just one or two things to add to this week’s blog.

Questions & comments please for the next self-publishing post

I plan to run a second self-publishing post in approximately one month’s time (around May 14). The next one will focus on how to sell your Amazon self-published books. Please post any comments or questions and Roger will try to answer them in the next post.

Events this week:

Tuesday 16 April 16: 6.30 – 9.00 pm. Salena Godden and friends at Crowley’s Bar

Wednesday 17 April 17: 6 – 7 pm David Quantick’s book launch All My Colours Printed Matter Bookshop, 185 Queens Road, Hastings, TN34 1RG. Free entry

April 4 – 22: The Town Explores a Book

(apologies for events that I’m sure to have missed – please post in the Facebook Hastings Bookchat group and I’ll try to include as much as I can.)

Hastings Bookchat Facebook group

And last, but definitely not least, the Hastings Bookchat Facebook group has launched. It’s an open group and is there for everyone who is interested in anything to do with writers, writing or books. Please come and join us so that you can post about what you are reading, writing, doing.

Back to my own writing now. I’ve noticed that my Dani girl character who is 13 in the late seventies wears the same nail varnish that nearly every female in current dramas seems to flash around – shiny dark, almost black – Dani’s is called Devil’s Blood varnish. Think I might try some myself.  I’m getting very fond of it.

Thanks for reading. Please post comments.


Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Apr 16, 2019 In: Hastings Bookchat


Please read our comment guidelines before posting on HOT

  1. Angela J.

    Hi Laura – thanks for your comment.

    Independent bookshops will stock self-published books – but only under certain circumstance.

    There are three reasons that independent bookshops might refuse to stock a self-published book. The first is if they don’t think the book will sell (and this applies to traditionally published books, too). The second is because they need the books to be offered on a sale or return basis. The third is because they might not want to buy from Amazon (although people I know who have wanted to buy books locally instead of from Amazon have been offered the opportunity to do so by both The Bookkeeper in St Leonards and Bookbuster in the Queens Road – don’t know about the others).

    If authors offer their books on a sale or return basis and the bookshop in question is happy to stock the book, then it is perfectly acceptable for self-published books to be stocked by independent bookshops. In Hastings and St Leonards, it is common practice. For example, book launches I have attended at The Bookkeeper Bookshop in St Leonards have often showcased self-published books and sold them.

    It is true, however, that the main marketing and supply of self-published books comes through Amazon.

    It is also true that chain bookstores buy their books from wholesalers.

    If a self-published author would like her book to be sold by an independent bookshop, she should first ask the shop in question. If the shop is happy to stock her book, a price has to be agreed so that the shop can make a profit and the number of books agreed that the shop would be willing to hold and for how long. Finally, she needs to buy the books and take them to the bookshop.

    Thanks again for commenting – it is helpful for writers to be aware of all these things before they make a decision on which path to take.

    With best wishes
    (Angela J. Phillip)

    Comment by Angela J. — Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 @ 14:16

  2. Laura Matthews

    There is a “writer beware” abiut self publishing using Amazon, and that’s that no independent bookshop will buy your books because they do not buy from Amazon. Which means you’re losing out on loads of local selling and event opportunities

    Comment by Laura Matthews — Thursday, Jan 30, 2020 @ 11:53

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