Mastodon The Writing Desk: What being a finalist in the Amazon UK Kindle Storyteller Award means to me

8 July 2017

What being a finalist in the Amazon UK Kindle Storyteller Award means to me

Amazon KDP changed my life, as over the past five years I’ve finally enjoyed the success I once dreamed of. In truth, I never dreamed of having a series of books about the early Tudors selling in thirteen countries. I used to write for magazines and always thought it would be great to have a novel published.

I had a great novel idea, inspired by one of my favourite books as a child, Alice in Wonderland. I would take the most famous chess game ever played, between Donald Byrne and Bobby Fischer in New York City, and ‘bring it to life’. The whole of medieval Wales was the ‘chessboard’ with two kings and queens, four great castles, bishops and knights. Each of the sixteen ‘pawns’ would have a backstory and the narrative would be driven by every move of the original game of chess.

The result was my first novel, Queen Sacrifice – and there wasn’t a publisher or agent who wanted to read it. Then I decided to publish my book on Amazon KDP and the rest is literally history. I wrote and published another two novels, learning my craft and building a readership. I continued querying agents and publishers, then my first offer came in. I celebrated until I read the small print. In return for one tenth of the royalties I receive from Amazon, they would take control of every step of the process.

The thing is, I like having control of every step, from deciding the keywords to cover design. I turned the offer down and became an ‘indie’ author. I’ve never looked back – and have since turned down other offers of traditional publishing. I mastered the art of CreateSpace publishing, then worked out how to produce audiobook editions at no cost in partnership with ACX.

My big break came when I realised there were no novels about Owen Tudor, the young Welsh servant man who married a queen and founded the Tudor dynasty. I was born in Pembroke, birthplace of Owen’s grandson Henry Tudor, and realised Henry could be born in the first book of a Tudor trilogy, come of age in the second and become King of England in the third.

OWEN reached #1 in several Amazon categories in the UK, US and Australia. The second book of the Tudor Trilogy, JASPER did the same and the success boosted sales of my other books. After publishing the third book of the trilogy I had a call from Darren Hardy, UK Manager for Kindle Direct Publishing. HENRY had been selected as one of six finalists in the Amazon Kindle Storyteller Awards and Darren asked what it meant to me to be shortlisted.

I’ve thought about the answer to that question since Darren’s call. I used to hesitate to say I was a ‘writer’ before I could earn a living from it. I only felt able to say I was an ‘author’ after I left my job to write full time. Now, whatever the result of the awards, I can call myself a ‘storyteller’. It’s the storytelling which makes a successful novel and although many writers become authors, not all become storytellers. I’d like to say thank you to everyone on the team at Amazon and to all my readers around the world who’ve made this possible.

Tony Riches

Click HERE For details of all the authors shorlisted
for the Amazon UK Kindle Storyteller Award 2017 


  1. I'm SO pleased to hear of this success, Tony. You deserve lots of recognition for what you've accomplished. And I'm also very pleased to call you one of my writer friends. Best wishes for continued success ... Mary


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