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Interview with Harvey Chute, Founder of KBoards.com

By on Dec 23, 2014 in Interviews

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If you’re an author who wants to publish your own ebook, the Internet is full of great places where you can learn how to do so. However, one resource that stands out from the rest is KBoards.com. It’s a forum dedicated to anything related to Amazon Kindle, including discussions, advice, and tips on writing, formatting, publishing, marketing and selling ebooks on Amazon’s platform. Over the years, KBoards.com has evolved, and is now a comprehensive platform providing support to anyone new or already involved in ebook publishing. The forum, the biggest of its kind in the world, was founded by a man named Harvey Chute and we interviewed him to find out more.

Welcome to eBooks India, Harvey! We’re absolutely delighted and thrilled to have us with you. Can you please tell us a bit about your background and professional experience?

Thank you for having me! I was born in Canada and studied Computing Science in Vancouver. I worked in various locations in Canada and the United States, as a software programmer and project manager, before settling in the northwest corner of Washington State.

Can you please tell us about your experience in publishing and how you got into this industry?

Since childhood I have loved to read. My parents were both schoolteachers and our house was full of wonderful books which I devoured and re-read often. I think from that I developed an appreciation for the power of language, and I put a lot of time and energy into my creative writing. My mother has a small drawer full of my early attempts at short stories and poetry.

I really knew nothing about publishing before I founded KBoards. Much of what I know now has come from the community that has sprung up there.

You’re also an author and have had nonfiction and fiction works published. What types of books have you written?

I have had one novel published, a historical mystery based in 1860s British Columbia. Stone and Silt tells the story of a half-native girl who tries to clear her father of murder charges.

I’ve also written or co-written five technical guides in the For Dummies series from Wiley Publishing, including most of their Kindle for Dummies and Kindle Fire for Dummies books.

You are of course the founder of the KBoards forum. When did you start your forum, and why did you create it?

I enjoy technology and electronic gadgets. When Amazon released Kindle in late 2007, I created an online discussion board for it. It started slowly, but as Kindle grew, it attracted readers and authors at a rapid pace. The site now has 80,000 members, and over 2.5 million posts.

I’ve enjoyed running the forum, and it has developed a very active community of readers and authors. We have an exceptionally strong team of moderators, and the forum has an overall tone of helpfulness, encouragement, and useful advice. We go out of our way to be welcoming to newcomers. The positive tone of the forum is what has attracted many of our members.

I developed special features for the forums, like an Amazon link-maker, clickable book cover tools, author signature tools, searchable listings of KBoards books and authors, and a Yellow Pages directory of services. I don’t program in my day job anymore, so it’s fun for me to design and develop software for the site.

With many discussions about books, writing, and publishing, the forum has neatly brought together my passion for both reading and technology.

What do you feel makes KBoards unique?

I would suggest three things:

1. To my delight, KBoards has become the largest, most active Kindle discussion board on the web. It generally ranks among the top 10,000 websites in the U.S., and our international membership has grown to about 40% of our traffic.

2. I am frequently told by our members that the courteous tone of our community makes KBoards stand out among other discussion boards.

3. Because of our high activity levels, KBoards is a great place for getting current information quickly. Sometimes authors will post research questions on the site, and the responses from other members usually come within minutes. The ebook business is changing rapidly, as new business models emerge (like subscriptions) and new promotional outlets come and go. The latest insights and results are readily found in the KBoards Writers’ Café. KBoards has become a useful part of the toolkit for many authors.

What are some of the hot topics that seem to always be discussed within the KBoards Forum?

Well, any changes that Amazon makes always results in lively discussions – anything that affects ranking algorithms, also-bought lists, and certainly sales models like KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited.

Many authors also report their results after promotions, so that our members have a feel for which promo sites are working best for particular genres.

Success stories are also popular, where authors post about reaching new milestones in their writing or in their selling. Those are appealing whether they’re from a bestseller, or from a new author who’s just sold his 100th book or received his 100th review.

Strong forums like KBoards usually have some power-users or members who are most active. Does anyone come to mind, and what do you like most about them?

We have some readers who have been active on KBoards for years, and I really value their participation. I won’t name them – don’t want to forget someone! Their posts with book recommendations and covering all manner of topics are enjoyable to me.

The community is fortunate in that we have many active members. In fact, we have over 500 members who have each made over 1,000 posts.

If you could ask your forum members one thing and get an answer from them all, what question would you ask?

I love hearing anecdotes about people who have found friendships, learned from others, discovered great books, found that perfect editor or cover designer, or picked up valuable advice through their participation on KBoards. So my question would probably be “How has being a part of this community helped you?”

For someone new to the KBoards community, how do they get the most out of it?

My advice would be: browse through the discussions for a little while to get a feel for the place. Then register and make a post in our Introductions and Welcome area. We welcome newcomers.

I would add that, if you’re an author, don’t try to sell your book. Let your forum signature do that for you, while you engage in real conversations in the boards.

How can people find out more about you and about KBoards?

Come on over to KBoards at http://kboards.com! And thank you once again for inviting me for this interview.

Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.
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