Amazon Masterclass: chances offered by self-publishing to journalism

When publishing journalistic work through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), the authors should get inspired by innovative ideas in the community. That is one of the tips how to maximize success in self-publishing suggested by Alessio Santarelli, European director of Kindle Store Content, at the 2015 International Journalism Festival in Perugia. “You should be making the most of the vibrant community of KDP authors,” he said.

One of the highlights to learn from emphasized by Mr Santarelli is a successful book called The Snowden Operation by The Economist’s senior editor Edward Lucas. It was published through Kindle Singles, which is aimed at shorter, non-fiction texts, soon after the Snowden’s revelations. “Simplicity and timing, like in business, are key,” Mr Santarelli said.

Product, price, place and promotion are the four areas that self-publishing authors should pay attention to according to Mr Santarelli. The text should be accurate, because readers’ reviews will reflect a poorly edited piece of journalism. And an attractive and professional cover helps, too.

Mr. Santarelli also recommended an extensive use of metadata. “Your book is going to be lost in hundreds of thousands of books. You’d better give us the keys to make it searchable,” he said. That means filling in the basic categories such as title, author, book description, language, genre, but also information related to search engine optimization such as location, key characters and keywords.

The text published through Amazon can be made available for pre-order 90 days prior to the release.  “Pre-order contributes to sales rate and you can use them to promote the book on social media and other channels,” Mr Santarelli explained.

The price of the book can be adjusted day by day and the author receives up to 70 per cent of it. Features such as countdown deals and offering content for free can be also used for promotion.

Mr. Santarelli concluded that self-publishing is demanding and largely depends on the capability of the author to promote their texts: “It’s key that you build you followership and you get in contact with your readers.”

Helena Kardova