My Book On Kindle At Last!

My book, Cherry Blossoms, Sushi and Takarazuka, Seven Years in Japan, is now on Kindle – only a year or so later than it’s paperback publication.

How could I be so remiss you may ask?  

Please take this little tale of woe as a word of warning for all you techno innocents (like me) out there. It all boils down to Smashwords and Amazon themselves. Not that either has done anything wrong I hasten to add, but for authors caught out, it’s become a bit of a disaster. At least it was for me.

I published my book independently (I love that phrase Indie author and I’m proud to be one) in the summer of 2011. Now fifteen months later, finally, it’s got its little nose peeking up through the zillions of books now available on Kindle.

It all started when a dear author I met last year started a little business helping other authors to publish on line. He would do all the techie bits for free in exchange for a modest percentage of sales. I was hooked instantly for I knew I couldn’t do it, didn’t want to do it. I decided to put my book on Smashwords and from there, I was assured, it would be automatically transferred to Amazon’s Kindle very soon.


What none of us knew was that Smashwords and Kindle would not be able to agree terms. But not to worry, they would do so very soon.

Double Ha!

Fifteen months later they had still not agreed terms, and my book was still not published on Kindle.

Treble Ha!

It was like a one of those frustrating anxiety dreams where you almost get what you want but it slides effortlessly out of your reach every time and you are powerless to control it. I’d been reaching out for fifteen months when two angels came along unexpectedly (as do all angels). Their names are Annie and her husband Kevin, who live in France. I’ve never met them, but I did meet Annie’s sister once and I did her a favour. Incredibly, Kevin (whose a techie) offered to convert my book into Kindle format – for free – as a favour (it’s amazing how those favours go round).

He did a marvellous job and the manuscript was accepted by Kindle with no problems. Although I had a few problems registering the book, mostly to do with the American IRS (do we really need to register with them and pay 30% tax on each sale sold in America? I’m still puzzling this one out.) I had another problem with bank details and international numbers, and Amazon’s refusal to move me on to the next page, so I called out my computer repair person, the redoubtable Amanda. When you’re in great distress with your hair torn out and surrounding you on the floor, she arrives on her motor bike, black leathers fitting her like a skin, long blonde hair flying behind her from under her helmet. She surveys the scene and gets to work. Fingers and brain moving like pistons – there are no viruses that she fears, no technical problem she cannot solve (at least in my experience), and before long I was published.

So for anyone unable to pay the £9.99 the paperback costs (it’s got 24 full colour plates, which of course, almost doubled the cost of printing), you can now download it for the modest sum of £1.94 (inc. VAT, but without the pictures!)

Postscript: You know those buses that never come, and then two arrive together? This week, my book is finally on sale in Japan (nothing happens quickly there). The dear Junkudo bookshop in Osaka has a display of my books on sale at this very moment. Hurray! Everything comes to those who wait.