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How Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing is empowering 'authorpreneurs' in India

In recent times, the nation has witnessed how online self-publishing platforms have not just opened the arena for new authors, but also connected them with readers; helping them to reach a global audience through a single medium. For supporting such budding talent across the nation, Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) has come up with the fifth edition of its flagship event, Pen to Publish Contest. With this contest, Amazon invites writers to submit original or previously unpublished entries in English, Hindi, and Tamil languages. Submissions opened from July10, 2022 and will remain open till October 10, 2022.

In conversation with Adgully, Vaishali Aggarwal, Head, Amazon KDP - India, speaks at length about the Amazon Pen to Publish contest and its vision, as well as how Amazon KDP has been helping budding authors in recent times in their journey to being established writers.

What is the Amazon Pen to Publish contest all about and what are its plans for the 5th edition?

The KDP Pen to Publish contest is a gateway for aspiring authors to follow their literary dreams. It is a flagship event by Amazon KDP, wherein Amazon invites budding and established authors to self-publish their original work with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and get a chance to win cash prizes. The entries are judged by a jury panel across genres in English, Hindi and Tamil languages. With this contest, Amazon KDP aims at recognizing literary excellence among self-published authors.

The previous editions of KDP Pen to Publish contest surpassed expectations and have set the bar high for the editions to come in the following years. The contest empowers and provides a platform to writers from all walks of life through self-publishing, helping them become ‘authorpreneurs’.

This year we will recognise top 10 entries in each language and award them with cash prizes leading to a total of 30 winners. The winning entry will receive a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, the first runners up will be awarded Rs 50,000 and second runners up will win a cash prize of Rs 30,000. The other seven participants from the top 10 will be granted an amount of Rs 10,000 each. With an eminent panel of judges, including renowned authors like Sudeep Nagarkar, Sudha Nair, Satya Vyas, N Chokkan and Vijay Kakwani, the contest encourages enthusiastic writers to turn their passion for writing into a career by self-publishing their work.

What kind of traction have previous editions of this contest gained?

The 4th edition of Amazon KDP Pen to Publish contest saw thousands of entries across English, Hindi and Tamil languages in key genres, including Romance, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction and Fantasy. These entries were submitted from authors from different walks of life such as corporate professionals, doctors and homemakers; it marked the growing popularity of the contest over the years. The contest’s 4th edition had played an integral part in realising the winner’s dream and proving them with an opportunity to reach out to an expansive audience. Winning the contest boosted the confidence of the budding writers and allowed them to establish themselves as published authors.

How has Amazon KDP helped budding authors in recent times?

Amazon KDP is committed to supporting independent authors by helping them find readers and grow their revenue. Many authors have been able to earn a livelihood, become financially independent or even support their families during tough times, through their earnings as self-published authors. Amazon KDP enables authors to self-publish and distribute their books to millions of readers around the world. Everything here is extremely transparent, and the authors have a knowledge of audience feedback and how exactly they are selling and how much they are going to earn. With all these advantages, Amazon KDP successfully boosts the confidence of authors throughout their writing journey.

“For me it’s been a liberating and life-changing experience, as Amazon KDP has enabled me to work as full-time author from the beginning and helped me earn livelihood and become financially independent after I left my full-time job as a medical practitioner,” says Alisha Kay, author of ‘The Maharaja’s Fake Fiancee’ and a few thriller novels.

How is the new breed of writers taking on self-publishing platforms?

Earlier on, writers would consider themselves successful authors after publishing hard copies of their work, a tangible product that was purchased at stores and displayed by avid fans in cupboards and shelves as a memorable keepsake.

In recent times, self-publishing services have made it relatively easier for budding authors to establish themselves. The publishing landscape has now become more accessible for budding authors with the introduction of self-publishing services like Amazon KDP that provides them with an easy, quick, transparent, and investment-free way to reach millions of readers instantly.

“The publishing space has revolutionised and has become more democratic with the advent of online self-publishing. If you have belief in your manuscript, you don’t need to go through gatekeepers like an agent or a traditional publisher anymore. For example, with platforms like KDP, your story gets digitally distributed across the globe without any cost, you get royalties of up to 70% on sales, you are free to edit your manuscript/ covers, etc., whenever you wish to and all of this happens almost instantly from the comfort of your home with a PC and an Internet connection at hand. Self-publishing has given birth to ‘authorpreneurs’, who are earning a decent money purely through the sales of their eBooks. Besides, there have even been many instances, wherein a successfully self-published book has later been noticed and acquired by traditional publishers after a lucrative payment to the author. Liberalisation has only helped artists and the art, and self-publishing brings that to writers,” says Vijay Kakwani, Author of ‘Who Killed The Kaneez’ with Amazon KDP.

How has this flagship event helped budding authors in their journey to being an established writer?

Our flagship event has transformed lives of many authors by providing them commercial success and global attention. KDP Pen to Publish Contest allows authors to maintain their inherent ethos as a writer, which is to connect to readers, to entertain and inspire them, and to open their minds to a whole new world of possibilities. By participating in the contest, not only do these writers become published authors, but also benefit immensely with the visibility that their eBooks secure among our readers. The cash awards and mentorship by established authors is an added advantage which fuels the journey as a full-time writer to some of these writers.

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