My issues with Amazon and the KDP platform, and how I am trying to solve it.

Two years ago, I underwent an experiment. I had always wanted to write a book, but I had always lacked the courage to do so. Until the last few months of my bachelors degree, when I decided to write about my experiences of coming out and mental health challenges through my university experience.

When looking at places I wanted my book to be, there were only a few options that I had to chose from. The dream of seeing my book on Amazon was really far fetched at the time. The thoughts of ‘oh Brandon come on, you don’t even have a publisher, let alone get your book on Amazon’. That was until I found KDP.

If you don’t know what it is, KDP means Kindle Direct Publishing platform, and it allows you to submit books in Kindle format, and the feature that really enticed me, was the fact you could sell pretty good quality paperback books without having to invest in stock. I was grabbed right away, and on the 20th May, 2019, my first book ‘Through my Rose Tinted Glasses’ hit the platform and my journey as a small writer begun.

As I wrote more and delve deeper into the world of writing, I joined different writing groups, did some networking and realised a lot of people were using the same platform as me. However, something that differed was the less than positive view that others had, in direct contrast to my amazement. They were fed up of many different functions of the platform, from waiting times for queries, account limitations when the slightest things go wrong, instability and just plain disdain. Of course, there were many who liked it also, but it seemed like a general consensus of negativity towards the platform.

It surprised me, but as the time went by and the books debuted, I too found the pain points as others had also warned me about.

It was just after my second book launch, and I was preparing to launch another book, but this time it was a small story collection. Since my first book, I started writing more short stories, and the latest at the time, named Exploited, became quite the hit for me. So, I decided to put them all together for Kindle, as they were only available on my website at the time. But, a few days before release, but before the final deadline for the final manuscript, I decided to pull the release, as I wanted to add a few more stories to it before releasing it. I am a huge fan of pre-ordering, and all my books, except The Enigma (Book Three, will explain later), have had a pre-order period. However, when it did come to releasing my third book, the pre-order button wasn’t working.

I thought, well, that is odd but maybe it was just a software bug as it does happen. The next day I tried again, no luck, the day after, no luck. This time, I saw something odd on my bookshelf (the main page on KDP). The pulled short story collection was still there, but it had big fat red letters ‘pre order cancelled’. Thats odd, I deleted it I thought. No, I had apparently canceled it, and because I canceled it I could not set up another pre-order for guess what…a year! A whole year! I thought this was very unjust as it said nowhere when cancelling that this would happen so I contacted KDP. I waited and waited, yet no reply. It was happening, all the bad things that all the writing groups had spoken about. The unjust rules, the long reply times and the antiquated platform producing many delays and bugs.

So, you may be asking, why am I still there? If the world of KDP is as bad as many others are saying, then why is the most popular way of self publishing? The reason is, it’s the only platform. Sure, there are other smaller platforms but they either ask for too much up front, ask for minimum orders or just aren’t as expansive as Amazon.

That is why I went on a mission to make my own.

Brandon’s Books 1.1 Promo Image

For many years I have dreamed of making an app, originally just so I could showcase my work on there for the world to see, however as time has gone by, I have opened up that dream to include all the small writers out there who feel they don’t get seen by the amazon and other algorithms. A platform that isn’t bloated and full of ads, slow, or simply unusable. Brandon’s Books is my idea for the solution.

The app in itself, is small. But the potential, and the trajectory I have planned for the future is huge. The app already has writers wanting to be included on it which has really filled my heart immensely! In the process of making the app, it has really cemented my view of the self publishing world, and that many others really do share the same aches and pains as I.

The app is ad free, simple, offline, and free for a limited time. When the price of 99p comes into effect, the money will be evenly distributed between the writers on the app. As the number of writers rises, so may the price, but for now that is the small fee for something quite extraordinary. I designed the app to be inclusive, no books take precedence over another. As the app builds and grows, it will become the true platform I want to make, with search, spotlights and more, really showcasing what smaller writers have to offer in this ever saturated world.

So, if you want to check it out yourself, you can pre order before May 20th, or if you are reading this in the future, then the app is already here, and you can simply download it!

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