And the journey to get there was a quest indeed …
According to Amazon and Kindle Direct Publishing, ”Publishing takes less than 5 minutes.” I’m afraid this is a tiny fib. It’s true in a way, but here’s how it’s not:
First you have to complete your IRS Interview. Do everything you can to figure out how your Swedish information corresponds to the information the IRS wants. Have some anxiety about accounting for income from outside the EU the next time you do your taxes. Hope a little that no one buys the book so you won’t have to worry about it.
Fill in your bank account information. Take a break until the next morning so you can call your bank to ask where you find your ”IBAN number” and ”BIC code”.
Now it’s time to upload your book and its metadata. OK, this I know how to do! I have the title, the description – ”On the night the dragons burned Port Vert to the ground …” et cetera. Oh look, you can add other contributors, so I’ll give the credit they deserve to my amazing cover artist Myra Sjöberg and my amazing editor Anna Vintersvärd! A maximum of seven keywords, sure, I can do that, especially as they can even be multiple word keywords! ”Pansexual polyamorous pirate smut fantasy”, ”HBTQ”, ”Queer pirates”, ”Pirate fantasy”, ”Pirate smut”, ”Smut with consent” – that’s even just six, but I think they say it all, great!
The next step is when you realise you don’t have a cover image that’s high-resolution enough. Email your editor: help! Since your amazing editor is a superhero, she swoops in and finds a high-res cover image and sends it over. It gets accepted by Amazon. Another success!
Then there’s the thing with DRM. Enable or do not enable? Amazon: ”You will NOT be able to change this once you’ve chosen.” (Blue. No! Yellow!) Google stuff, ask editor, dither, wonder, worry, choose.
Now THIS is where it takes five minutes: Upload your text file. Preview how it will look on a Kindle. Worry about font. Assume readers can manipulate font in their Kindle. Click Save and continue.
Ask editor: ”Parts of the world or everywhere?” Editor answers: ”Everywhere!!!” Click Save and Publish! Hey presto, in five minutes. Or thereabouts.
”Your book will go live on Amazon within 12 to 24 hours. Usually.”
Wait. Sleep, breakfast, play with cat.
Realise that hey wait, ”HBTQ” is the Swedish initialism, in English it should be ”LGBTQ”. Aha, I’m not allowed to make changes while Amazon is reviewing my book. No sweat, I’ll just do that tomorrow.
Receive email: ”Your book is available in the Kindle Store!” Do a little dance. Conjure a little dragon mirage to fly around spreading rainbow sprinkles making everyone happy. Hurry in to change the key word before you shout it from the rooftops. Change that one key word.
”We are reviewing your changes. This will take 12 to 72 hours.”
Wait. Work. Wait. Work.
While waiting, look again at the preliminary Amazon page and realise: Hey, wouldn’t it be nice if that line just beneath the title of the book actually said ”Harriet Dumont (author)”? Harriet, did you perchance assume that the person running the account would automatically be listed as author? This is not the case. Instead it now looks as if Anna has edited a collection of Myra’s illustrations, which would be awesome, but which is unfortunately not the case.
Also while waiting, get anxious about Amazon saying the list price is $6.24, when you’ve put $4.99. It’s the right price on Amazon UK, so what’s strange? What, I ask? Whaat, I wonder? An hour or two and some maths later: Ah. It’s the VAT if I, in Sweden, were to buy it from Amazon US. Calm down. Have some tea.
[waiting] [waiting] Then! ”Updates being published.” Oh! [Refreshing page] [Refreshing page] ”Updates being published.” [Refreshing page] &c &c. And then! Once more, dear friends, my updated book is available in the Kindle store – and thus available for me to edit! And so I edit again and put to print that Harriet Dumont is the author of pansexual polyamorous pirate smut fantasy novel The Incorrigible. Setting the worlds right. Cutting the moorings with an axe, hoisting the sails, steering into the wind and heading out to sea!
”It may take X hours” etcetera. And then, the final time (I hope), in the middle of the afternoon: ”Your book is available in the Kindle Store!” The Incorrigible pirates are ready to conquer the world!
In the immortal words of Monty Python’s Flying Circus: That was never five minutes just now.