Kindleboards: The Best Resource Around


For many indie authors (and Kindle aficionados), this post will fall into the “water is wet” category of late-breaking news, but I’ve found it’s foolish to make assumptions about what others know and don’t, especially when it comes to the rapidly-changing face of digital publishing and the internet.

The Best Resource Out There
Kindleboards (www.kindleboards.com) is a site that has to be at the top of every digital self-publisher’s bookmarks list. It is a supremely helpful site that, in digital publishing terms, has been around since the Stone Age (about 3 years) providing a forum space for budding digital authors, Kindle book lovers, and geek and gadget people in general.

The forum section boasts around 55,000 registered users and several thousand are online at any one time. A subset of those are writers (detailed below), but many more thousands are readers interested in one thing: digital books.

Writers’ Café
From an indie writer’s perspective, the Writers’ Café (www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html) sub-forum on the site is a post-graduate course on everything it takes to format, design, publish, and promote a digital publication. If you can think of a question as it applies to digital publishing, you’ll most likely get an answer…and usually one based on experience and not guesswork. The Writers’ Café represents the toil, experiments, and successes of hundreds if not thousands of writers. Many of today’s more popular digital writers (Amanda Hocking, David Dalglish, Deborah Geary, and many others) got their start in and often frequent the Café.

In just my first few weeks lurking and then contributing to the WC, I learned how to “go free” with my titles for promotional purposes, the smartest way to participate in a Librarything Giveaway, how best to use Goodreads, and how to use KDP Select to its best advantage. I’ve used the forum to test book covers, blog ideas, and to share insights.

Etiquette
Like every other internet forum in existence, etiquette plays a critical role in how much you get out of Kindleboards. There are a couple of particular hot button issues you should be aware of if you don’t want to ostracize yourself.

Self-promotion
Not surprisingly, Kindleboards users–being locked-in on the digital world–are bright people, savvy to the ways of the internet. The writers, especially, are attuned to how the internet can be used to promote and sell books; if there’s a way to game a system and promote a title, they’ve thought of it. So, as you can imagine, no one appreciates writers–especially new members of the forum–promoting outside the rules laid down by the moderators.

Keep this in mind:

  • The Book Bazaar sub-forum is the only area where self-promotion is allowed, and even then it is limited to one “mention” per week.
  • “Ghost” posts where one puts a thinly veiled topic up in order to shout about a book is not appreciated and easily seen through by most forum users.
  • All authors are allowed to use their forum signature to put clickable book covers as a passive self-promotion, but the size of the signature (140px high X 800px wide) is strongly patrolled.
  • “Fire and forget” posts are especially scorned, i.e., posting once or twice with a link to one’s books, then never showing up again.

All these rules are discussed in the Forum Decorum section: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,36.0.html

Courtesy
The moderators of the board and many users of the board will point out–forcefully–that KB is meant for courteous transactions between members. Trolling, flaming, baiting, bad language, and outright rudeness are often reported and can be grounds for banning. Conversely, celebrating others’ successes and triumphs is encouraged and expected.

Quid Pro Quo

It’s generally understood that the Writers’ Café is a place for learning and exchanging ideas. You will learn more in a week reading Kindleboards threads than a month simply browsing the internet. So, conversely, if you have news or an item of interest, the assumption is that you will share it after verifying it to the best of your abilities. Don’t be shy about putting something out there.

Awareness
Some members of KB have been around the block multiple times and it doesn’t always show in their online profile. The person with a measly “32 posts” next to their username might be a veteran traditional writer, publisher, editor, or agent. I’ve seen both old-timers and newbies on the forum make the mistake of equating “time on KB” to “time in the world”, often to their embarrassment. Use your head when replying or adding to a conversation and avoid being prescriptive or condescending; there’s a decent chance you’re conversing with someone who may know as much or more than you about a topic.

The Future
I’ve only just started exploring the greater KB beyond the Writers’ Café and I’m excited about the connections I might make with readers. True promotion, I’ve been told, is in forging relationships, not shoving links to my books in people’s faces. I don’t know what the percentage of readers is on KB, but even if it’s a 70/30 split between readers/writers (which I think is high), that means there are almost 40,000 readers waiting to get involved in a conversation.

This is going to be fun.

Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

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Posted in Helpful Software & Sites, Tips for eAuthors
7 comments on “Kindleboards: The Best Resource Around
  1. CJ Parmenter says:

    Thanks Matthew, this is just the right information at just the right time. I’m slowly building my platform as my first WIP nears its completion, and I’ve been meaning for some time to locate and explore the Kindle Boards. As a newcomer to the indie publishing world, all of this information was new to me and 100% pertinent. I’m now following your blog via RSS, and plan to stop back by as often as I can.

    • Matthew Iden says:

      CJ – I’m so glad you found this useful. As you can probably tell, I find KB an immensely helpful site, one where you can get information, support, a shot in the arm, humor…you name it. It’s a real writers’ hangout.

      A piece of advice: Make sure you trawl past posts. If there’s one weak point (most forums suffer from this) of KB, it’s that some questions have been asked and answered many times. No need to reinvent the wheel on things like “how does Select work?” or “how do I get a book review?”. Great place to get book cover and synopsis opinions…just start a topic and ask.

      Give me a shout if you have any questions about KB and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Good post. I tried out Kindleboards a year ago. Betsy the Quilter crapped all over my head, which wasn’t pleasant. For a while I found it daunting and so I ignored it. I honestly don’t know how to use the thing, but if it’s all it’s cracked up to be then I had better learn how.

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Hi Louis – Thanks for stopping by. Betsy and the other moderators on KB have a zero tolerance policy for the normal gamut of snark and flaming that pollutes other forums, so they can come down hard on anything they perceive as outside the KB boundaries, which may explain why you felt the wrath.

      Most of my forum experience comes from video game forums and the like where you can get your head ripped off, so I had some real sensitivity adjustments to make when I began posting to KB. It makes sense: almost every person in the Writers Cafe is using their real name (since their books/brand are hanging out there) and there are real-world consequences for being a jerk or being harassed by one. Plus everyone is pretty thin-skinned, too, since all of us creative types are touchy about our works of art. :)

      Give it another shot, or at least lurk a bit. I think you’ll find it helpful.

  3. [...] Self-publishing Websites Kindleboards.com (Writers Café) Self-pub and online writers hangout. Archived threads are indispensable guide. http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.25.html (see also my summary of KB at http://matthew-iden.com/2012/03/07/kindleboards-the-best-resource-around/) [...]

  4. [...] Just check the top of the page. If you want more info about Kindleboards and its uses, I wrote a post about it a few months [...]

  5. […] Finally, the Kindleboards are a useful resource for answering any questions you might have when it comes to making and promoting your ebook. I found a great article breaking down the do’s and don’ts of using the site here: Kindleboards- The Best Resource Around. […]

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