This is a different review and interview – very exciting game-changing news!
Did you hear Amazon’s big news September 3’14?: “Amazon today announced KDP Kids, designed to help children’s book authors prepare, publish and promote both illustrated and chapter books in Kindle Stores worldwide. Children’s book authors can use Amazon’s new Kindle Kids’ Book Creator tool to easily create illustrated children’s books that take advantage of Kindle features like text pop-ups. Once the book is ready, authors can upload it to KDP in just a few simple steps, and use KDP’s category, age and grade range filters to help millions of Amazon customers choose the right books for their kids. Authors can earn royalties of up to 70%, while keeping their rights and maintaining control of their content. Authors can also choose to enroll their books in KDP Select for additional royalty opportunities like Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and access to marketing tools like Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Book Promotions. Get started today at kdp.amazon.com/kids.” But first READ ON!
KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing, and if you would love to attempt it but feel you aren’t tech savvy enough to manage it, or if you just want a good tutorial to help you, there is help I am excited to tell you about! The editors of Children’s Book Insider, the industry’s largest publication for children’s writers, immediately set about creating a course that would explain the software and demystify the entire process, from finding illustrations through publishing and marketing illustrated Kindle children’s books. They’ve called it Kindle Kids Mastery. With no further delay, here’s the information you need, thanks to Jon of Children’s Book Insider. (applause) And please forgive my formatting of this Q & A which may not work out the way I want it to.
What is Kindle Kids Mastery?
A comprehensive online course that teaches authors how to create an illustrated children’s book in Amazon’s new Kids Book Creator software, format, convert it and publish it to Amazon’s Kindle store. The course also covers, in detail, how to find illustrations and offers expert advice for marketing a Kindle eBook.
How is it delivered?
The course is entirely online and includes videos and downloadable PDF transcripts. Buyers get lifetime access, and access to Updates which are being added regularly to the site.
How much does it cost?
After October 15, 2014, the price will be $197. Until then, the introductory price of $127 is in effect. There are no additional costs – everything is included.
What does the course include?
There are nine modules that cover:
* 5 Things You MUST Do Before Creating Your Kindle eBook
* Finding Illustrations and Creating Your eBook Cover (videos cover everything from finding a professional illustrator through using low-cost design services and adapting stock images)
* Creating Your eBook Using Kindle Kids Book Creator Software (a series of videos that allow you to watch over Laura’s shoulder as she creates eBooks in the software. Everything is broken down in the simplest terms, and we explain every major aspect of the software.)
* Uploading to Amazon and Creating Your Author’s Page (Videos that include some very important things, such as how to create a strong description and how to maximize your author page.)
* ONE-ON-ONE SESSIONS: Kindle Marketing Advice From the Pros (three in-depth interviews – on video with full transcripts – with authors who are masters at Kindle marketing. You’ll learn how to get reviews, how to draw readers to you and how to start building a fan base today. Experts include Amy Harrop, Deb Drum, Katie Davis and Beau Blackwell)
* A full eBook on how to adapt your own photographs or stock images and turn them into unique illustrations. We’re on record as saying that hiring a professional illustrator is always the first and best choice, but if your budget doesn’t allow that right now, we’ll show you how to create really cool pieces of art from existing images.
Plus there are cheat sheets, a checklist and more.
Who created Kindle Kids Mastery?
The course was personally created by Laura Backes and Jon Bard, editors of Children’s Book Insider for the past 25 years.
QUESTIONS ABOUT KINDLE KIDS’ BOOK CREATOR SOFTWARE:
What, exactly, does this new software allow me to do?
Kindle Kids Book creator is a standalone piece of software that you download on to your computer. It takes you step by step through the creation of an illustrated children’s eBook. You can create in landscape mode (to mimic traditional picture book layouts) or portrait mode (for easy readers, middle grade and YA novels).
Authors can create text pop-ups, so even readers using small screens can easily view text. The software outputs your eBook in .mobi file format, ready to be uploaded to Amazon.
What’s the big deal?
The real breakthrough here is the ability to create heavily illustrated children’s books. And the ability to do it landscape mode, which is traditional for picture books. If you’re creating a young adult novel or other book that doesn’t require much in the way of illustrations, you’re probably better off not using the software and uploading your formatted novel directly to Amazon. But, if you’re creating picture books, illustrated easy readers or illustrated chapter books, this is a major step forward.
What does it cost?
The software is free, and uploading to Amazon is free. Amazon makes money on each sale of your eBook, not on the eBook creation process.
Is it truly something an author with no technical ability can use?
From our testing, we’d say yes. It’s intuitive and nicely designed. There are a few things that true tech newbies may find a bit confusing at first, but they’re easily overcome.
Does this software work on a Mac? (Also: Does this software work on Windows XP?)
According to the official download page, the Windows version works on Windows 7 and 8,so it won’t run on XP. The Mac version runs on OSX version 10.7 and above.
Is anyone making money selling Kindle children’s books on Amazon?
One of the folks we interviewed for Kindle Kids Mastery is a children’s author who is exclusively creating Kindle eBooks. He told us that — just from being part of the Kindle Unlimited plan (Amazon’s Netflix-like subscription service) he’s getting between $1.80-$2.00every time someone downloads and reads one of his books. And that’s on top of his direct sales. So clearly authors — particularly those who have built a promotional platform (blog,social media, mailing list, etc.) and aren’t shy about advocating for their books — are seeing real benefits.
Illustrations are so important. “Any cheap thing will do” probably won’t in the long run, as you’re going to be competing with the very best in illustration.
This is certainly true, but I’ll hearken back to the answer to the question just above this one. The ability to self-publish creates the opportunity for authors to create different types of books with different purposes. If you’re creating a lyrical picture book with text that you’ve slaved over for months, you should absolutely do everything you can to employ the services of a world-class illustrator. But, if you’re putting together something less “meaty” that’s designed to sell as an eBook for $2.99 and provide a child a bit of fun, sharing royalties or paying a big work-for-hire bill may not fit into your budget. In that case, looking for inexpensive alternatives is perfectly reasonable.
The bottom line? If your dreams of self-publishing are being held back by a lack of artistic talent and/or lack of budget to hire a top artist, you shouldn’t just throw in the towel. There are ways to get good quality artwork that can fit your needs. But I’ll certainly agree with your main point — illustrations are extremely important and a talented illustrator can work real magic on a book. In an ideal situation, I would certainly advocate for hiring a professional.
The ability to self-publish easily is flooding the market with amateurish books. Without gatekeepers (editors) to sift the bad from the good, how can any of us get the attention of readers?
You’re certainly right about the amount of truly bad books being published. But that’s a natural outgrowth of the democratization of the publishing process. The same thing happened to music a decade ago — when anyone with a computer and microphone could record a song and release it online, music fans suddenly found themselves engulfed in a sea of bad music. But they adapted — review blogs, curated lists and recommendation-based services like Pandora helped separate the wheat from the chaff.
We’re still in the very early stages of publishing’s digital revolution. I have no doubt at all that similar outlets will arise in our world to help make sense of the chaos.
But here’s the key — and its a big one: In order to rise above the masses, your work must be excellent. Craft is more important than ever. The path to success right now is by getting word of mouth: parent to parent, teen to teen. Bad books don’t get talked about. Good books do.
Don’t publish crap just because Amazon is making it easy. Work your craft.
Doesn’t that sound exciting?! (Thank you Laura and Jon!) Because this is the first and only course specifically about this, Kindle Kids Mastery is
the immediate answer for all writers to take advantage of this
opportunity. I’ve been in communication with Jon of Children’s Book Insider (who supplied me with the above info) after I learned of their exciting course, read all the info, listened to an interview with Laura of CBI, became fully convinced and purchased the course! I’d been inspired to consider preparing one of my children’s book manuscripts for converting to an eBook. I know, shocking, since I was one who was so slow and hesitant in even reading eBooks. I love real paper books, but it seems that sometimes the better way to go is electronically, although once a book is an eBook it doesn’t mean it can’t later become a paper book as well. Many do.
Now is your chance to do something about this great price cut before it’s gone. To learn more and get Laura’s “Kindle Kids Mastery” course at the $70 off introductory price, go HERE to Kindle Kids Mastery now! There you’ll find a full table of contents and a video tour.
The $70 discount expires midnight, October 15, 2014! Please don’t put it off and miss this great deal like I tend to do. (But not this time!) And remember: all buyers get lifetime access with free updates!
When you get a book ready to publish with the help of this course, let me know how you liked it.
You can find Kindle Kids’ Book Creator and Kindle Kids Mastery course listed on my Writers Helps page.
Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings! 🙂