5 Reasons You Should Kindle-ize Nonfiction


“Today is the best time to be an author, especially of non-fiction.”

Ebooks for Writers Webinar March 15!

Ebooks are the current gold standard of publishing…at least for the next 60 seconds or so, LOL! This presentation is designed for all levels of writing and publishing experience, for writers, authors and bloggers who want to learn the ins and outs of DIY “indie” publishing. You’ll get a step-by-step how-to process that covers:

  • Pros & Cons of Ebook Publishing compared to “Tradititional”
  • Options Available from DIY platforms to for-hire services
  • Kinds of costs involved
  • What you can (and should) do yourself
  • What you should hire professionals to do
  • Resources for helpful self publishing software, editorial assistance and cover design help
  • Practical step-by-step how-to “Kindle-ize” your manuscript
  • Formatting tips for illustrations, covers, sidebars and table of contents
  • Promotional must-knows including DO’s and DON’TS!
  • Includes valuable links to further information, available as a down-load/handout at the end of the class.

March 15 from 2-3:30 New York Time, attend in your jammies or listen to the recording later. *s* Use the GO INDIE code for $10 off!


In the time before, I had a high-powered agent. Together we published more than a dozen non-fiction pet care titles with New York publishers, from Ballantine and Penguin/Putnam to Rodale Press.

In the time before, a book on “new century pet care” slated to publish in late 1999 was delayed until late 2001. The information was no longer “breaking news” and also had been eclipsed by world events when the Towers came down.

In the time before, my agent trusted me to know my subject and my audience, and editors offered contracts based on credentials, expertise and track record. But pet books meant to be revised and updated and live 9 lives instead were dropped, and my editor declined a project she loved when Marketing complained I wasn’t a veterinarian. That same marketing team tried (and failed, God bless my agent!) to replace my name on a book cover with the “veterinary adviser” who had not written a word of the text. I hadn’t changed—publishing changed.

Self-Publishing and Non-Fiction

After feeling sorry for myself for far too long, I embraced the time after. Thank goodness my agent got my out-of-print book rights reverted, and that launched my indie career. Today, I’m proud to be a hybrid author, choosing the best path for each title. My backlist has been updated and released on all Ebook platforms as well as print (and some in audio). And I’ve published original titles, too.

Fiction gets a lot of attention in the DIY publishing world, but with the new tablets and expanding technology that makes photos and illustrations (and maybe audio???) do-able for interactive books, nonfiction is poised to take off. My sales are increasing. And yours could, too.


Some pet care books by Amy ShojaiTiming for Publication. Every author must polish, edit and best prepare their work to be professional quality. And while some fiction has timeliness factors, such as a Christmas themed work requiring holiday publishing dates, non-fiction more often demands specific scheduling for best effect. Tying a non-fiction book’s publication to a calendar event that is important to that work can impact marketability. With indie publishing, the author has control and can plan the book release and promotions for the ideal time. My “cutting edge” book lost the traction it might have garnered had its coverage of cloned pets coincided with in-the-news hand-waving publicity, for example. Anniversaries of historical events can be tied to non-fiction books on these subjects.

 Updates/Revisions. Yes, any indie author can update book’s digital file quickly to orrect a typo or improve an edit. Non-fiction authors benefit even more from the ability to revise and release updated versions of informational and prescriptive works. Several of my non-fiction pet care books offer prescriptive medical and behavioral advice, and as veterinary medicine constantly evolves, they require updates. These can be done easily and quickly, while books published traditionally cannot be revised until/unless a set number of sales demands a new edition. Having books with outdated information can hurt the non-fiction author’s reputation and platform, so self-published non-fiction has great advantages.

Three of Amy Shojai's cat booksPlatform and Reputation. Niche non-fiction sales have dropped or gone away entirely in traditional publishing. That makes sense, because the book must sell enough to “feed” the agent, the editor and the publishing house staff and expenses. For the self-published author who has the reputation, expertise and audience, niche non-fiction books sell steadily and well and can be a renewable resource. They also increase the author’s expertise, offer credentials for speaking engagements and endorsements, and can lead to many other opportunities. Non-fiction is much easier to market—every TV and radio show wants to speak to an “expert” on the subject. In particular BLOGGERS can leverage their expertise, publish collections of blog posts and have a click-able immediate “impulse buy” from their online venue.

 Pricing. All self-published authors have the ability to price books as they see fit, and change that price as needed. Non-fiction books can be priced higher than fiction, and generally sell better at a higher price point. I price my e-book non-fiction at $5.99 each, a deep discount compared to trade paperback but still much higher than many fiction books.

 Control. This for me is the biggest advantage of all, and covers everything else. The non-fiction author knows what appeals to his or her audience, and has the ability to choose the cover of the book, timing of the release, pricing, revisions and more to best leverage the book’s launch.

Today my non-fiction expertise also colors my fiction work, so I’m able to leverage the existing non-fiction audience to build on for the dog-viewpoint thrillers. Indie authors of fiction shouldn’t overlook the advantages of non-fiction publishing, and bloggers are in a unique position of having ready-made content and audience hungry for your work. It’s value-added to your publishing toolkit.

Get all the details of how to DIY in Ebooks for Writers Webinar, Saturday March 15 from 2-3:30 New York Time.  Attend in your jammies or listen to the recording later. *s* Use the GO INDIE code for $10 off!  (please share!)

Portions of this post was originally published on the ALLi site here. 

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