Saturday, July 19, 2014

Have You Tried Kindle Unlimited

If you haven't heard about it yet, Amazon shook the Kindle world up a bit yesterday when they started offering a new program Kindle Unlimited. For a $9.99 monthly subscription fee Kindle owners can read all of the books they want for free (as long as they're in the lending library).

Right now Amazon is offering the first month free, so I had to give it a try. By the end of day one, I bumped into one of the program rules - You're limited to borrowing ten books at one time. After that, if you want to pick up a new book, you have to give one back. Fair enough, I guess. From what I understand there are no limits on how long you can borrow a book. And the fact that you can only have ten titles on your Kindle at one time is a good thing for writers because it means if readers want to keep a permanent copy of your book, they still need to buy it.

From what I understand the program works just like KDP. When a reader selects one of your books, you share in the split of KDP funds for that month as long as the reader reads ten percent of your book. To compensate for the increased borrow volume, Amazon added $800,000 to the fund for this month.

It sounds like a great deal for authors. There's no price barrier to try your book if readers are enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. All they need to do is click on the Read for Free button, and your book is sent to their Kindle.

For someone like me who's been moving my books off of Amazon to Smashwords, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, and GooglePlay, this presented quite a dilemma. Sales were just picking up on the other sites, not fantastic, but I was looking at an extra hundred bucks a month from each site. However, after reading about Kindle Unlimited, and considering its sales potential, I decided to move all of my books back to KDP.

If you decide to try it, cancel your books on all of the other sites first, and then re-enroll your books in KDP. This way there's no conflict with your books being posted on other sites. Barnes and Noble removed my books in less than two hours. The rest of the book sites took from eight to twelve hours, so I was still able to have my books available on Kindle Unlimited from day one.

Here's hoping it works out as planned.

Book Review: Tom Robbins: The Kindle Singles Interview

I just finished reading the Kindle Single Interview with Tom Robbins. It's a lot like catching up with an old friend. I started reading Robbin's books over thirty years ago when I picked up a copy of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues.

It was new. It was exciting. It was the seventies. And here was this guy with a crazy writing style all of his own. It was like rediscovering Hunter Thompson, but this time he was writing fiction.

The interview was conducted by Mara Altman, and she does a great job keeping up with Robbins. We learn a lot of things about Robbins, for example, his passion for mayonnaise; his fondness for champagne, for Paris, and especially for the bubbles in carbonated beverages as they crash against his tongue, lips, and gums.

We also learn a lot about Tom Robbins, the Writer. He's old fashioned, choosing to write with pencil and paper, rather than those new-fangled word processors. And, the way he writes would drive all of the writing advice coaches nuts. A good day for Robbins is to churn out one page, or maybe even one paragraph.

Listen to how he does it...

"I try never to leave a sentence until I think it's as good as I can make it. Then when I'm satisfied with that sentence, I go onto the next one."

On planning and outlining...

"Sometimes I start with a title, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. I started with the title. I wrote the title and I turned the page over and I wrote the first sentence and I just went on from there."

On the business of writing...

"A novelist is in the same business that God is in. You're creating a world, universes, the people in them. I think that language is not the frosting it's the cake."

Of course, there's plenty more advice on writing, on LSD, on religion, and on living to be eighty-one.

I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Let's just say for 99 cents its a great MFA course for aspiring novelists, or just a way to catch up with an old friend.

The book is Tom Robbins: The Kindle Singles Interview by Mara Altman.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Update on Babelcube Sales

The results are in!

I'm not getting rich, but all of the books except one are selling. Most of them have sold two to four copies in the last fourteen days. Sales are spread pretty much evenly between Amazon and Apple. Only one sale came from Kobo.

Definitely not up there with sales, but I'm happy to see some sales rolling in. Hopefully, by fall the books will be established and selling more copies.

I would definitely suggest giving Babelcube a try. There's a potential there for picking up some extra cash over the long run.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Writer's Resume

I've been a liar, I've been a cheat, and I've been an asshole. Many times I've been all three in the same day, in the same hour.

It comes with the territory.

I've killed more men than Adolf Hitler, Atilla the Hun, and Cecil B. DeMille combined. I've blown up world after world. I've ravaged young women and assassinated Kings and Presidents.

It's all in a day's work.

And, when I was done, I found myself asking. "What's next?" "What other dastardly deeds must be done?"

Who am I you may ask?

A humble writer. A man of the pen.

I work my magic with paper, pen, and a bit of help from MS Word.