The results are in…


A couple of weeks ago, a dear friend told my wife about her new Kindle. She’d been doing some reading of free stories and books on Amazon’s Kindle store. She said there’s a huge selection up there of free stuff and a good amount of it climbs to the top ranking spots.

Who doesn’t like free stuff after all?

But more interestingly, she also saw a lot of comments from readers stating they LOVED the writer’s work and couldn’t WAIT for their next project to be released. When it was they would SO login and buy it.

That prompted my dear, sweet friend – who thinks WAY too highly of my writing – to suggest perhaps I should put some of my work online with the Amazon Kindle store and give it away for free. This would build a following, and she was sure (bless her heart!) I’d have a HUGE following. All of whom would POUNCE at the first chance to buy a novel when I published it for pay.

I talked about all this and asked for your input here, remember?

Anyway, I looked into it and found some interesting things for those of you who wondered. It’s beyond the jump, so those who don’t care don’t have to go.

Still here? Okay, then I’ll assume you’re interested in what I found.

First, the Amazon Kindle store requires an account to do much of anything. You can use your Amazon account though (naturally), so no big deal there. That’s the good news.

More good news is, there’s no cost to do this. You have to publish in the DTP (Digital Text Platform) native to Kindle, but that’s all right. Apparently there’s an editor you can use to do that, and the DTP even accepts Microsoft Word’s HTML translation, so you can change the document to HTML right in Word and upload it. (I’m sure additional format tweaking will be required, but hey, it’s not as back as having to do the full markup, right?)

Kindle hates PDF though, so don’t bother.

Now, there’s no cost for any of this. However … the catch(es) came quickly therein.

First, there’s no provision for uploading short stories. Files have to be of a certain size, and a great many of the platform authors stated on the forum the best way is to assemble a collection of short stories to publish.

Authors outside of a publishing house, which all have contracts with Amazon for Kindle productions btw, do not get to set the price of their work at free (anymore? that wasn’t clear). The price point’s bottom is now ninety-nine cents. So anything an individual author wants to offer in the Kindle store will be at least that much. Amazon also has a set of rules regarding pricing and what those price points must be. Along with the minimum, there’s a full-blown scale to follow, and it seems based on file size.

So much for that.

If you’re curious, though, the free items in the Kindle store are being given away by the publishing houses themselves. There are a number of reasons for doing this and all of them are marketing related, generating interest in either the book, the author, the series, etc. But for an unpublished, unagented author, the free option isn’t available.

I did read several people who said they used both Amazon’s Kindle store and Smashwords, Lulu and a variety of other digital publishing platforms. The Kindle store is berated for its clumsy editor and restrictive format requirements but also generated almost a hundred dollars every few months for one user. Nothing else even came close to that revenue output, and so he felt the DTP was the best of them. (Hard to argue with cold hard cash, ain’t it?)

Long story short, I won’t be doing this. Not because I don’t have stories to sell, but because this can be considered self-publishing, and if the work you’ve self-published is a flop, that’s going to be reflected on you as a writer impact how willing a publisher is to take you on. Stupid? Yes. True? Oh yes.

Anyway, until the Kindle store lets me put up short pieces and give them away, I’ll just leave ‘em on my blog. I don’t think any of them are worth charging for, and I don’t think anyone would pay for them even if they were. Why would they? There’s plenty of good fiction out here for free. That’s how FanFiction.net got its notoriety, right?

There you go; I learned a lot, and if this helps you in any way, I’m glad.

Thanks for sticking through the read and I’ll see you soon!

-JDT-

All original content copyright 2010 DarcKnyt
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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6 thoughts on “The results are in…

  1. I was at a bookstore yesterday. Okay, not a real bookstore. Real bookstores are hard to find these days. I was at one of those “bookstores” that is also a Starbucks, toys and knick-knack store. Here in Canada, the store is called either Chapters or Indigo (one chain, two names). It is very much like a store I saw in NYC called Barnes & Noble.

    At the store, I saw a big poster advertising something that looked a bit like a Kindle but it had a different name. It’s called the Kobo eReader.

    I’ll have to check that out. There’s also the Sony eReader, Barnes and Noble makes one (you may have seen that one), and there are a few others out there. The iPad too now, of course. So there’s a few now. Interesting, I told my wife about seven years ago when she came up with this it would never catch on because PDAs can do the same thing. *Sigh*

    I have no information about this product. I don’t really care to know anything about it. But then I read this post and thought maybe you’d want to know something about it. Maybe you already know about it. What do I know?
    Anyhoo… I got nothing of value to comment on this post.

    You’re fine, I appreciate the time you take to read and comment. 🙂

    • You should check out Smashwords. It’s free, and you can set the price at whatever you want, including free, or have your readers set a price if they want. Also, you can download books from there in multiple formats including Kindle. So you still get the convenience factor, plus flexibility. I know that sounds like a commercial, but I swear I don’t work for them. 🙂 Why not give it a go?

      Hehe. Well, many of the Amazon authors also published on Smashwords; they said while it was easier to work with the editor, the results (in money) were dismal. Amazon generated income at least, and there’s a commission structure change coming which will afford authors 70% of the take (!!). So for what it’s worth, that’s what the comparison yields. I’m not really doing this just to have something published, but to generate a following, and Smashwords isn’t he place for that to happen apparently.

  2. Have you considered adding a paypal account to your fiction blog? That way if people liked your stuff, they could donate to a starving artist. I’ve seen this on other blogs, but I don’t know if wordpress allows it.

    I don’t either and have NO idea how to do that. I guess I’ll have to look into it. 🙂

    • I also looked at the self publishing aspect on Amazon. It seems you pay as books are ordered rather than one big up front payment for a load of books you then have to promote and sell on your own. This might also be something to look into.

      Yes, it’s POD (Print On Demand). But I wasn’t looking at their self-publishing thing, I was looking strictly at the Kindle store and publishing in there. It’s a nice way to build a following if you can 1) write good stuff you don’t mind giving away, and 2) have the leverage of the publisher to allow you to give stuff away there. I’m lacking at least one of those two, though I’ll leave it to the reader of the blog to determine which. 🙂

  3. Hey, if you figure out how to get that paypal button on your wordpress blog, let me know. I followed the paypal instructions and got nowhere. I’d like the button for my art since I have managed to sell a few pieces online.

    Hm. I’ll be sure to let everyone know, but if PayPal’s instructions don’t work the only other place I can think to look would be WordPress.com’s support forums. Since my lovely wife is the guru of research and digging, I’ll let her do it.

    Building a following seems like… I don’t know… just as hard as getting an agent in the first place. Good luck. And I want to know your steps along the way. Please.

    I will. But so far no luck; and I just don’t have money to spend in my current situation.

    Happy weekend.

    You too!

  4. Well at least you looked into it to see if it were beneficial to you or not. Better to have found out, then wonder later.

    Darn tootin’. 🙂 Hope you have a terrific weekend.

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