KDP, SEO, DRM – Acronyms for Indie Authors & Self-Publishers

KDP, SEO, DRM – Acronyms for Indie Authors & Self-Publishers

Marcia Forbes PhD

KDP, SEO, DRM – Acronyms for Indie Authors & Self-Publishers

It’s not as easy as they say! Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted. Apart from numerous acronyms to learn, such as the ones in the title of this blog, it’s definitely not a ‘click and go’ situation. The self-publisher should try to understand what he/she is getting into. This means reading the fine prints. There’s a great deal of that, especially from Amazon, the leading eBook self-publishing platform, with its Kindle Direct Publishing – KDP.

Over the past months I’ve been pouring over ‘fine prints’ online via a variety of devices - desktop, iPad and Blackberry. Every opportunity to read is rewarding as I begin to understand something of this constantly evolving lifeline to authors – ePublishing. Many writers with entrepreneurial zest are taking to digital publishing and doing it themselves – charting a new frontier of self-publishers. In my head I see as extension to my company’s brand – moving beyond Phase 3 Productions to make space for Phase 3 Publications.

eReaders abound! There are Nooks from Barnes and Noble, America’s largest chain of bookstores; iPads from Apple and which can accommodate Kindle apps (but there’s a catch), Kobo out of Canada and many, many more. The catch with the Kindle app for iPad is that it does not allow you to access the Kindle Select and its Lending Library. That, it seems, can only be done via a Kindle. Amazon does work hard to protect its profits.

The Kindle Lending Library which is available via Kindle Select (an option available from KDP for promoting your book and exposing it to potentially more readers) is a relatively new feature from Amazon. But beware of Greeks bearing gifts and take the time to read! The jury is out as to whether lending your eBook may compromise its revenues even though you may get money from the library. Additionally Kindle Select binds you to Amazon and its Kindle exclusively for 90 days.

Amazon’s Royalty Options
Opting for the sweet-sounding 70% royalty from sale of your eBook via Kindle is available to those who price at between $2.99 and $9.99. The fine-prints tell you that VAT and other taxes are deducted and it seems there may even be other costs. I will need to read more. In any event though, the 70% deal automatically opts you into the Kindle Lending Library. I also need to read more about the library but at first blush it doesn’t sound as revenue-compromising as I first feared.

With plans to upload STREAMING: #Social Media, Mobile Lifestyles to Kindle in a matter of days, I may just go for the $9.99 and the pull of getting almost 70% of that. The maths seems better via that route than the 35% option. Especially since this book has a volume 2, getting more ‘eyes’ via library lending may work better for me in the long run.

Digital Rights Management
But what of digital rights management (DRM)? Going that route helps to protect your ebook from piracy but some say it’s a more myth than reality since once the book goes online it’s open season for copyright infringements. Coming from the TV production world, I know what it is like to have your content pirated. Years ago in Toronto I hunted down pirated copies of a comedy series, CLAFY, we produced at Phase 3.

Sure enough bootleg copies were being proudly displayed in stores with not a cent to the producers. Yet, even with that, the joy and sense of accomplishment of having produced that series is something I still savour. Life goes beyond dollars and cents and at that time, almost a quarter century ago, the CLAFY series was quite an accomplishment.

Search Engine Optimization
My final acronym, SEO - search engine optimization - is a big, boring but potentially beautiful topic if you get to understand it since it can be used to advantage in your blogs and for your books. I will write more about SEO another time. For now I encourage all self-publishers to learn the acronyms, begin to peruse the fine prints and to do this before you click ‘submit’.