I am a biology professor, so the writing I do is mainly technical, non-fiction, and teaching related.
Ichthyology, together with marine biology, invertebrate zoology, and limnology (freshwater biology) are courses I teach regularly. When I started teaching ichthyology there was no laboratory manual out there that matched what I wanted my ichthyology students to do in lab, so I started pulling together materials and generating lab exercises on my own. This went on for a number of years. Then I decided that I was tired of using this set of exercises that looked and felt mismatched and hodgepodge. I needed to standardize them, giving them the same look, feel, and focus. My opportunity to do this appeared when I was granted a sabbatical for the Fall 2013 semester.
I pulled out my materials and stared writing and re-writing, doing dissections, taking LOTS of photographs, and producing ink line drawings. I ended up with 12 laboratory exercises by the time I was done. Perfect.
My original intent was to generate a lab manual I could distribute free of charge to students in my class. And I'll still do that. At the same time I thought, why not publish this lab manual as a Kindle book? After all, the reason I wrote the thing in the first place is that there were no manuals out there that supported what I wanted my students to do. Maybe, just maybe, it'll help someone else who's looking for materials to support their lab.
As a Kindle newbie, I found that the learning curve for Kindle publishing, though real, is not insurmountable. It's not hard at all, assuming you know how to use MS Word. I had to go back into my original document, do some re-formatting and develop a book cover. I did all of that in a day. The entire process was quite interesting.
Frankly, I don't know if anyone will buy this lab manual, but at $7.50/copy it's extremely cheap as laboratory manuals go. Biology laboratory manuals published by traditional textbook companies tend to retail for anywhere between $30-$100.
Science textbook prices have gone through the roof! This is another reason I wrote and then decided to publish my manual as a Kindle book. I'm also looking into making it available as a hardcopy book via Createspace for about $15.00/copy.
I have to admit that it gives me a bit of a thrill to see something I wrote at Amazon.com.