So, when asked the question, “How is your book Memoir of a Roadie the No. 1 biography on Amazon right now? Without a publicist, manager, agent, or even a publisher, how is that possible?” I don’t have to think about the answer. Today, I’m editing my book like crazy because it has become way more popular than I’d ever thought would happen, and trying to work to pay my bills in between.
Listen my friends…. The internet continues to bring us, as artists, opportunity. You no longer need any managers, agents, distributors, publicists, or any other names associated with helping you sell your product. One thing hasn’t changed. No one is going to help you! You, as it’s always been, must help yourself. But the difference now is, it’s easy. The answer is––to plug away. At night, email every website, journalist, fan site, blog, forum, you can find relating to your topic. Most will not get back to you, many have emails that are non-existent, but you know what––someone will. If you get a few…. That means work harder.
Then, you need to share those published articles to EVERYONE you reached out to before. It’s a numbers game. Don’t be shy, and don’t be bashful. There has never been a time where being an artist has been in the palm of your hand. Take your wiener out of your palm and put your CD or book there instead. Before all this though let me give you some tips on how to successfully and speedily put your book on Amazon.
Here are some tricks I learned in the process of uploading my book to Amazon. This will save you LOTS of time. First thing is you MUST download their app. Uploading your book as a Word or .pdf file will look like crap every time. Before you start changing your book on the app, here are some things to know. Don’t worry about formatting your book in Word. When you load it into the Amazon app, you are going to have to redo ALL the formatting again. While you can manipulate photos in Word you cannot in the Amazon app. In the Amazon app you only get four options on how to place your photographs.
Those options are small, medium, large, and full. You cannot flip or manipulate the photos in the app. I found it best to save all the photographs as jpegs first and then drop them into the app, the way I wanted them. You cannot copy and paste in the app. That means any corrections made after you start working on the app have to be changed on both your word document and the app. itself. That obviously means twice the work. So, try hard to lock the final edit of your book in before working on the app. You can only change the name of your book for the first couple days. I think it was a couple days, but if I’m wrong it is a very short period of time either way.
However, you can update everything else about your book whenever you want. It takes a few days for Amazon to upload the file you changed and you cannot manipulate the file while it is processing through Amazon’s team of sleuths looking for your subliminal messages. VERY IMPORTANT––on the top right hand of your app page you will see a button to preview your book, though.
Preview your book in the app and not on the upload page. The upload page is slow but the app is fast. I promise, both preview screens show you the same thing. You must preview your book to upload it FYI. Assuming you don’t have a barcode on your book, be sure to checkmark the box that says you want Amazon to provide one. That will hold up your book release by a few days if you forget to do that.
The only thing I wasn’t able to do myself was the cover. It’s a real nightmare to adjust that to fit Amazon’s wishes. If your cover gets denied you will receive an email from Amazon in 24-48 hours telling you what size you need to make the cover for bleed. I had to have my graphic designer friend do it for me. Remember, if you increase or decrease your page count once published you may then have to change your cover jpg size.
You can pre-sell your book if you want. I probably should have done that, as people were able to buy/download books before I finished my final edit. Still, I’m a roadie so people don’t expect me to be too literate. Once your book is live, start directing people to your Amazon page. Next, start a Goodreads.com page for your book. You will find that the reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads are important for your sales.
Pricing your book: I spent time, not too much, figuring out what I should charge for my book based off of other people’s titles that were similar in content. What I found was when you get to the pricing page for your book, Amazon “suggests” what you should then sell it for. If you don’t select what they want you to, they won’t distribute it worldwide. I selected the cheapest option I could to make my book distribute worldwide, both for digital and paperback releases. I’m looking for more people to read my book than to make more money on fewer sales. It is too expensive to have Amazon make your book with color pages. So, assume you are making black and white pages only. I think the cheapest I could sell my book with color pages was $56; in black and white it is $16.99. My book is not about touring with U2, but Guns ‘N Roses, STP, and Poison. So, my readers can’t afford that $56.
Take this opportunity and share yourself to the world. Amazon may be a big corporate beast, but there is no reason you shouldn’t use that to your advantage. Amazon is like your dragon in the Game of Thrones show. It’s so easy to upload a book now. Have a CD? No problem. Look into Tunecore or CDbaby. Again, …easy. What other time has there been in your life to have no excuses? My next step. I’m recording an audiobook. I’m recording it myself, and uploading it myself, to you guessed it… Amazon. And what am I doing with all my extra free time? Well, I’m writing to Music Connection to post this article!
JOEL MILLER’S book Memoir of a Roadie is an autobiography about being a former roadie for Guns N’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, The Cranberries and Poison. It is available for sale on Amazon.