Harvey Baker has published four novels, but prior to the era of self-publishing, he had given up on his aspirations of becoming a novelist despite years of creative writing classes. “When I wrote novels about Vietnam and tried to get them published back in the 70s, I was told numerous times that Americans didn’t want to read stories about Vietnam…I also wrote several police novels, but publishers wouldn’t get back to you…or they would say you need to have an agent. Then an agent would say you need to be published etc., etc. So I gave up on writing novels.”
As retirement coincided with the rise of Amazon self-publishing, Baker found that it was time to dust off his first book and give it a second try.
After graduating from Lansing High School in 1965, Baker joined the Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam in 1966 as a Marine Scout Dog Handler.
“A scout dog handler walks point; the first man in the patrol, everyone else is in back of them. I served two tours in Vietnam with my dog Rommel, and that is where I draw my story lines from,” Baker says of his fictional series about a Blackfeet Indian, Two Feathers and his dog who shares the same name as Baker’s scout dog. The “Spirit Warrior” books are popular with historians and veterans across the globe, but it’s Baker’s experience with kindle self-publishing that he has found so rewarding that he encourages other writers to try this path.
Baker has outlined the following tips for authors who would like to publish through Amazon:
- Have your own book cover: Amazon will provide a generic one, but you should anticipate working with someone to design a more appropriate cover.
- Do a title search: The original title of Baker’s first book was already the title of several books on the site, make sure that your title is unique enough to not get lost in the pool of books.
- Be fair about the pricing of your book: It costs the author nothing to publish an ebook, but Amazon will keep a percentage of each book sale. Set prices that are reasonable for readers to pay in conjunction with the percentage you will receive. Baker suggests looking at the prices for other books being sold in the same genre, and by other authors who don’t have “household name” status.
- Be prepared to wait: Amazon cuts the first royalty check after 100 books have been sold. Amazon does provide sales insights that allow you as the author to track daily, weekly, monthly sales data.
Baker encourages those who have a story to tell to make sure that the content gets out there, saying, “Self publishing in print is costly, and trying to get a publisher to publish your book is very frustrating, so Amazon is an alternative way of telling your story. If your story is good, people will find it.”
Baker is currently working on his fifth book, all of Baker’s previously published books are available on Amazon.