Kindle Authors UK is a group of UK authors collaborating to publish new and out of print titles for the Kindle, whilst seamlessly combining their marketing activities. BookMachine interviewed one of the founder members, Katherine Roberts.This post is part of BookMachine’s #kindleweek. Join the debate on Twitter.
Kindle Authors UK, a great domain name. Who are you trying to attract to your site?
We hope that UK readers will bookmark us as a place to find good value quality e-books by homegrown authors, and that authors curious about this new format might be interested in following our e-adventures.
Why did you decide to collaborate with other authors?
A friend of mine Susan Price was republishing one of her backlist books for Kindle around the same time I was, so we discussed the possibility of some kind of joint publicity along the lines of the co-operative poster campaign I had set up with the Scattered Authors’ Society a few years previously…
What have been the benefits so far of publishing together?
We are not strictly publishing together. The blog is for co-operative publicity, so authors come to us once they have independently published their e-books and got them up for sale on amazon.co.uk. The route they take to achieve this is up to the individual author. For example, some authors might also decide to make an e-pub version of their book or a POD paperback to maximise sales across all platforms. Other e-books are exclusively available from amazon (amazon offer a 70% royalty rate in return).
Why should we buy your books for our Kindles above those of other authors?
If you buy a book from Kindle Authors UK, you can be confident it has been written by an author who has worked with professional publishers and knows the difference between an unedited manuscript and a properly edited and proof-read book. Some of our titles are reissues of books that have already benefited from a professional editor and proof reader.
Another big advantage of buying from us direct is that by publishing independently we are able to keep our prices lower than those of traditional publishers or agency lists.
Would you be open to publisher involvement with this project, or are you focussed on staying independent?
The site only promotes independently published e-books for Kindle, but many of our members also work with publishers on other projects. For example, I am currently working on a four-book children’s fantasy series, which will be published next year in print as well as e-book format. Those books will be promoted by the publisher in the usual way, so they will not be listed on Kindle Authors UK. But at the same time I will have my independently published backlist available as e-books for my fans.
But again, publisher involvement depends very much on the individual author. One of our members is fiercely independent and a small publisher in his own right. Another is a best-selling ghost writer whose mainstream books are published under other names.
How has your experience of working together differed from your previous experiences so far?
As a children’s author, I belong to the Scattered Authors’ Society who run the Awfully Big Blog Adventure. I am also one of the History Girls . Other members belong to different kinds of groups. Every group has its own energy, but whatever group of authors I am involved with, I find a generosity of spirit and willingness to co-operate that often surprises people who do not write themselves.
Do you think this is the future of publishing for all authors?
There are two things to look at here: e-books and independent publishing
Independent: It’s not for everyone. Self publishing is hard work, and requires a whole different set of skills from writing a book. E-books have made the process easier, that’s all. Now you can upload a manuscript straight to amazon, they will convert it into an e-book, and within 2 or 3 days it can be for sale worldwide. You have neatly side-stepped the whole printing and distribution step, and done away with some of the upfront cost and hassle. But you still have to take on – or hire out – all the usual things such as cover design, editing, proof reading, etc. And the big one, promotion… which is where Kindle Authors UK comes in.
E-books: I do think e-books will be an important part of the future of publishing – if not for all authors, at least for the type of book that does not get piled up at the front of bookstores or stocked in supermarkets. I read somewhere recently that e-readers are as momentous as the invention of the printing press and will shake up the entire publishing industry. (In fact, I think they are already doing quite a bit of shaking!) But unlike the printing press, which gave authors and publishers an amazing tool for putting their words into readers’ hands, the e-reader has given readers an amazing tool for getting hold of an author’s words without having to resort to such things as printed pages.