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Tag Archives: Kindle

Come Deviate With Me

I did this thing last week.  Published what I call a long short story for the Kindle. Yes, it is only available as an e-book on the one platform. The story, at 16,000 words, isn’t really long enough for a paperback, but I may come back to that idea at some point.

Deviation Cover_Amazon

I wrote this story a few years ago as an experiment. It’s pretty much all dialogue with a very small amount of context and description thrown in where I felt it was necessary.

So, what is Deviation.  Well … Johnny and Mickey are brothers, hanging out on a Friday night. Johnny just wants to have fun, get laid, and do it all over again next week. Mickey’s ready for something more. He’s a bit of a deeper thinker. And while they sit in a diner, ogling the waitress, Johnny gets a text from their father. Their mom has been arrested.

What follows is a weekend of discovery of family secrets. Of digging a little deeper.

It’s got one review (thank you, BG):

A very interesting short story told almost entirely in dialogue. The banter between the two main characters is sharp and flows nicely. The dark subject matter may not be to everyone’s taste (lots of adult language and situations, if that sort of thing bothers you), but it’s certainly an innovative concept.

So, give it a try. It’s only .99 for chrissakes. But be forewarned. Mickey and Johnny are foul-mouthed and have sex on their minds. This isn’t for everybody and certainly is a break from what I typically write.

The good news is that deciding to do this has motivated me to move forward on other things. Northville Five & Dime needs some attention. I’ve been proofing the first part this week and refreshing my memory of the story. I’ll finish that this weekend and then will move on to part two, which I wrote about two-thirds of before giving up on it some time ago. Once I have that written, I’m going to work on polishing both parts and seeing what I can do with them while writing the third and concluding part. Wish me luck. Northville is more in line with my traditional writing and I think has the potential for finding an audience.


Something’s Wrong Here

A friend has recommended Harlan Coben to me a couple of times.  As I neared the end of the current book I’m reading (more on that later), I decided to get the Coben book she most recently recommended — The Stranger.  I went to Amazon.  Searched for the book.  Got the details.  Hmmm … that’s interesting.  The cost of a paperback version of the book is cheaper than the Kindle version.  And because I’m a Prime member, I get free shipping.  How does this possibly make any sense at all?

Kindle Countdown … Or Not

Shortly after Weed Therapy was supposed to begin in the Kindle Countdown promotion, I checked the dedicated Countdown page.  The book wasn’t listed there.  I sent KDP an email.  I checked again at four hours.  The book wasn’t there.  I sent another email.  I checked again at eight hours.  The book wasn’t there.  I sent another email.  Then I went out for the evening and didn’t check again.

This morning I got the following email from KDP:

I understand you have concerns about a Kindle Countdown Deals promotion that did not run on time. I’ve checked your account and it appears that network latency delayed the start of your promotion.

Network latencies can occur while processing and sending data through communications systems, such as websites, due to things like traffic volume.

Further, I made some research and see that the Kindle Count Down programs for your title, “Weed Therapy,” is in progress now. You may verify the same here:

We appreciate your understanding. Thanks for using Amazon KDP.


Did I solve your problem?
Personally, I think this is their way of saying, we simply cannot move fast enough to get this done.  Never mind that I enrolled the book several days before November 2.  With those 48 or 72 hours, wouldn’t have been able to write the one extra line of code, or embed the one extra link that would have had it ready to go the morning of November 2?  Never mind that since yesterday morning, the number of books on the dedicated page has grown from 79 to almost 800.  Somehow Amazon doesn’t have enough IT staff on hand to write that one line of code, embed that one link, slip the switch … on any more than 700 books in a twenty-four hour period.  Amazing.
Here was my reply…
No, you didn’t solve my problem.  That’s great that the “deal” shows up on the Amazon page for my book, but for me the entire point of the promotion is that the book would also be featured on the Countdown Deal page.  As of the writing of this email, 24 hours after the promotion “started,” the book still is not listed on the Countdown Deal page.  As far as I’m concerned the promotion doesn’t actually start until the book is on that page.  What I’d like to have KDP do is re-adjust the promotion so that the promotion actually begins when the book is featured on the Countdown Deal dedicated page.  Otherwise the promotion is pointless.  Feel free to move the book as high up on the list as possible once it actually makes it to that page.
I’m pretty certain I’m not going to get what I’m asking for.

Hallelujah, Pass the Butter

Thanks to Vince Dickinson, author of Fugue in C Minor and other works, I have officially crossed the rubicon.  A tenth review of Weed Therapy on Amazon.  He’s posted it on his website as well.   (P.S.  If you haven’t already, you really should give Vince’s novel a try.  I gave it four stars on Amazon because it got to that point where I couldn’t put it down.)

What I find remarkable about the reviews for Weed Therapy is the quality and depth of those reviews.  With Bridgeport, many of the reviews are nothing more than one liners.  I’m not complaining about those.  Believe me, I’m not complaining.  But, what impresses me about the WT reviews is that the story seems to have struck a chord with the readers (at least those posting reviews) to go beyond the simple one-liner.  The reviewers are writing about how the story relates to their own lives and experiences.  I truly believe that there are things in the story that virtually every adult can relate to and that’s what I need to address to come up with a way to market the book.

I have posted about my criticisms of Amazon and failed promotional efforts.  A few months ago, Amazon started a new promotional effort called Kindle Matchbook — where if you had purchased the paperback, you could get a discounted e-book version of the same book.  Which seemed pretty meaningless considering we’re already all at .99 per e-book.

Today, they announced a new promotional effort.  (Today, at least for me, since today was the first time I saw it.)  It’s called Kindle Countdown, or something like that.  Take your regularly priced e-book and discount it for a few days.  Amazon will provide a “countdown clock” showing the length of the discount and, here’s the piece I’m interested in seeing, feature your book on their Kindle Countdown page.  This is the type of thing they need to do more of.  Find ways to feature self-published authors.  I signed up.  Weed Therapy, which has been at $4.99 for the past few weeks, will be at $1.99 on November 2 for two days, moving to $2.99 for two days, and then to $3.99 for another two days, before settling back at $4.99.  Another piece of this … while their normal royalty for authors is 70% for anything above $2.99 and 35% for anything below $2.99, they will pay the 70% royalty rate for the lower prices during this type of promotion.

Again, I signed up.

And, now that I have ten reviews on Amazon, with an overall rating well above four stars, as soon as that promotion is over, I’m heading over to EReaderNewsToday.

Fingers crossed and pass the butter.

Self Publishing 2.0

As I announced yesterday, Bridgeport has been featured on EReaderNewsToday for the second time.  After two days, this produced another 300 Kindle downloads.  This translates into $100 in earnings with 25% of that going to EReaderNewsToday.  I shouldn’t quibble with that.  It’s 300 more readers and a few dollars in my pocket that wouldn’t have been there otherwise.  The problem is that I do quibble with it.  As I’ve written about before, I have a problem with us self-publishers being forced to .99 or free as the only route to getting readers.  And, then, based on Amazon’s royalty rates, Amazon gets $2 for every $1 I get out of the revenue.

Understand, I realize that just being able to put a book up on the Amazon platform is a huge deal.  Without that, there’s no way I’d have people purchasing my book and I wouldn’t have made the small amount of money I’ve made this year doing this.  But, with the rare exceptions, Amazon does absolutely nothing to help self-publishers — other than putting our book out there with the millions of other books that float around on the internet.  We truly are like needles in the haystack.  I’m not sure it’s good enough any more.  If I have no option but to price my book at .99 and the “publisher” is going to do nothing to help promote my book, why is my take only one third of the revenue.

Tell me why this wouldn’t work.

I can email you a PDF document to your Kindle email address.  That document will then be readable on your Kindle.  Why not sell directly to readers?  Pay on PayPal, send me the email address.  Document sent.  I get the $1 instead of Amazon getting 2/3 of it.

Here are a few drawbacks.

Those emailed documents don’t always look as nice as what you get from Kindle Direct Publishing or other e-publishers.  There seem to be formatting glitches.  I’m testing this now to confirm this is the case.  Plus to be able to attach an attractive cover to the text I’d probably have to upgrade to the more advanced version of Adobe or Microsoft Publisher.  This could also be done for anybody is willing to just read the book on their laptop or other device.  Just email the PDF document and you’ve got it.

I also realize that I … shock of shocks … don’t have the platform that Amazon can provide.  There are not millions of people flocking here.  As a result, I could have to spend a whole lot more time on marketing and expanding my reach on the interwebs.  I think one of the ways to address this is to basically turn myself into small e-press and making this service available to other self-publishers.  I don’t know about that yet, however.  The other reality is that I would probably still publish through KDP simply to get the access Amazon provides.  This would basically be for people who know me, people who read my blog, the expanding universe of readers who come here — it would be a way for all of you to support me (and possibly others among us) directly rather than giving Amazon ever more.

The thing is I don’t necessarily want to stop at e-books if I went this route.  I’d want to be able to offer paperback versions this way as well.  So … I dream.

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