Tag Archives: indie

Why Write a Trilogy When You Can Write One Novel?

I saw a question in a fiction writing group on Facebook asking why authors decide to write a trilogy from the beginning, rather than just writing a single book. Why not start off with a book, and try fit it all in? I have some answers.

First of all, the story may be too large to fit in a single book. It may be a single story, but split into three. Why not just put it in one book? I don’t think many people want to buy a 1,500 page novel. That’s why. They’re more likely to try out the 500 page first book, like it, then buy the other two.

That leads us to the second reason. People like to read series or trilogies. Not everyone, but there are many people who love to read them. I’m one of them. And it also makes economic sense for the author. Incredibly long books may be hard to sell, but shorter ones tend to be more attractive. And that means if people buy and like the first book, they will likely buy the other two. That’s tripling the income!

And finally, a series may involve related, completely self-contained stories that simply cannot be written as a single book. This is what my first trilogy is like. They’re separate stories, but they all lead into each other with a final conclusion. I also have a fantasy series of four books planned that has three parallel stories that lead into a final book. In a single book, it would be a complete mess.

Those are my reasons for writing trilogies or series. Standalone books have their own advantages, too. There are many I’ve read, and they work perfectly fine. They end at the end of the book. There is no continuation.

What do you think? As a writer and a reader, do you prefer standalone books or trilogies and series? Let me know in the comments below.

Changes Coming to Amazon’s Kindle

Publishing to Amazon’s Kindle has been easy for anyone to do, and has flooded the market with self-published eBooks. They range from professionally well-done to amateurishly horrible. Amazon wants to solve the problem of substandard eBooks.

eNovel Authors at Work posted a great article about the changes and what they mean to the average indie author. To get yourself familiar with what’s happening, I suggest you read it. It may make life easier for you.

The changes come into effect in February and will affect indie authors, small publishers, online publishers, and boutique publishers. This does not affect traditional publishers who concentrate on print books. When there are errors in the book, such as spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, formatting issues, and just plain poor quality, the book will be flagged and taken offline. The author is then notified and asked to fix the problems before it can be published again. Even one complaint by a reader can result in a book being pulled. Thankfully, fixing the issues is easy, especially if it’s just a spelling or grammar mistake. In fact, Amazon will tell you exactly where the errors are. Sometimes, they’ll be foreign words. Fair enough, those don’t need to be changed. Before publishing, you can even use Kindle’s online proofer to find the mistakes. If there are no problems, publish away!

My worries are probably minor, but what if a book is constantly being tagged as poor quality because of technobabble, magic words, or unique names that the author has made up? I’d hope that wouldn’t be an issue.

On the positive side, this will force authors to make sure their books are good quality. It may discourage the lazy or unmotivated authors from publishing substandard books. They may try anyway, and get frustrated. I could see the number of books published this year decreasing because they’re prevented from publishing their error-riddled novels.

As always, I’m a wait and see kind of person. I’m interesting in seeing how this goes. What do you think? Do you agree with the new rules? Or do you have any worries? Let me know in the comments.

Prediction for How Much Kindle Unlimited Downloads Will Pay in July, 2014

Here’s a followup on a previous reblog I did about Kindle Unlimited. This time, an estimate of the actual pay that authors will receive. It’s quite comprehensive, and well-worth the read. Thanks for the information, Chris!

chrismcmullen

Unlimited Books

What Will Kindle Unlimited Pay?

We won’t find out for sure until a couple of weeks into July.

In the meantime, the best we can do is make predictions based on what limited data we do have.

When July, 2014 began, the KDP Select Global Fund was $1.2 million. This was to be distributed among Amazon Prime borrows of KDP Select books in the US and UK.

Prior to the introduction of Kindle Unlimited, Amazon typically paid approximately $2 per Amazon Prime borrow.

Kindle Unlimited was introduced a little over halfway through the month of July. $800,000 was added to the KDP Select Global Fund, bringing the total fund to $2 million.

A big factor will be that customers can download several Kindle e-books through Kindle Unlimited, whereas Amazon Prime customers can only borrow one book per month.

Thus, the total number of downloads/borrows can be expected to be much…

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Short Stories and Kindle Unlimited

I’m sure many of you have already heard about Kindle Unlimited.  For $9.99 a month, you can download an unlimited number of eBooks to your Kindle every month.  But what does this mean for indie authors?

Kindle Unlimited for Indie Authors

Well, it seems that there’s a pool, and self-published authors receive a share of that monthly pool, and from what I’ve read, it’s around $1 or $2 per book downloaded, as long as the reader read more than 10% of the book.  It is not based on the price of your book.  For authors of more expensive books, this would seem like a big disadvantage.  If your book is only 99 cents, then it may be advantageous to use this system.  However, if you want your book to be a part of Kindle Unlimited, it must be a part of KDP Select, which means you can only publish through Amazon.

I’ve read some accounts of how this is affecting sales rankings, since the number of titles on this new system are limited in number.  Titles that aren’t doing well normally may benefit from an increase in their ranking, which could encourage regular sales.  Titles that are already selling well would see an increase, too.  But we can’t be too optimistic yet.  It may also be bad for indie authors.  They may get paid less in the end.  We have to wait and see.

Now, imagine if you have a collection of short stories for sale.  It would be far more profitable in KU if you split them up and have them all available for downloading individually.  You’d get a better share of the money, and may make quite a bit more.  This could be good for short story authors.

So, this leads me to another thought.  I am thinking about some short stories I’d like to write.  I’d sell them for 99 cents each, and if I entered KDP Select for these titles, I may make significantly more income from them.  Correct me if I’m wrong, please.  I’ve read a lot of conflicting information about this, unfortunately.  There’s a lively discussion on Hugh Howey’s website here.

Short Stories

The short story idea I have is science fiction, and all about the solar system.  The stories take place on different worlds, and are both standalone and linked in some way.  Now, my thoughts have been about the kind of story they are.  One one hand, I could write them as serious hard sci-fi with quite a bit of suspense.  On the other hand, I could write them for young readers and make them more fun and educational.  I’m a strong proponent for science education for children, and I’d like them to find science interesting and fun.  This is one way to help kids find an interest in space and astronomy.

What do you think?  More adult stories or children’s stories?  Or maybe even both?  Leave me a comment, please.

Give Some Indie Author Love

Indie authors have a bit of a tough time selling books.  They don’t have the resources publishers have to advertise and get books into bookstores.  They do have the internet, social media, and online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, though.

I think one way readers can help is to review their books. I’ve always got an indie novel going in my Kindle app.  I’m currently reading The Sword and the Dragon by M. R. Mathias.  So far, I’m enjoying it.

Other recent indie authors I’ve read and featured on this blog include S. R. Ford, Ashley Setzer, J. Thorn, and Jason Halstead.  I encourage you to check them all out, so I’ve linked their names to their Goodreads pages so you can see what they’ve written.  Also, here are their official websites:  S. R. Ford, Ashley Setzer, J. Thorn, and Jason Halstead.  I encourage you to check out their websites and Goodreads profile and buy their books!

Now, what I’d like you to do is leave a comment.  Do you have a favourite indie author you think needs more love?  Then post a link to their website and/or Goodreads page.  Are you an indie author?  Feel free to promote yourself, as well!  I’ll make a post in the coming week with your suggestions. So please post!

Christmas Blog Present 10: Indie Epics

And now for a much newer review blog.

indieepics

#10 Indie Epics

Run by Evelyn Basham, Indie Epics is a review blog that focuses on independently published fantasy and science fiction.  I discovered this blog on Critique Circle, and thought it was great to see a blog focusing on indie books, partly because I’m writing my own.

She focuses on several aspects as she reviews books, including plot, characters, world building (or setting), theme, and grammar/style.  These all receive a letter grade from A to D and an overall average grade.  She also comments on the covers, though doesn’t include it in the overall grade.

I’ll be watching this blog for sure.  Her latest review is of Immortal Reborn – Arianna’s Choice.

Reading Indie Books

People question why anyone would want to read an indie book, also known as self-publishing.  With the new age of e-publishing and Amazon making it extremely easy for anyone to publish a book, completely bypassing the traditional publisher, it makes people wonder if the quality is even good.  I would say that they’re right to question the quality.  I often do, too. However, I want to support indie authors.  There are some surprisingly good books that usually go completely unnoticed.

I have already reviewed an indie book on here, and am currently reading two others. The ones that I’m reading are completely different.  One is in print, the other is an ebook.

The print book I’m reading is Hi! My Name is Loco and I am a Racist. It’s written by Baye McNeil, also known as Loco in the world of Japan blogs. I’ve been reading his blog for quite some time, and so I bought an autographed hard copy of his book earlier this year.  I’m reading it slower than I should.  I read it at home, where my daughter often doesn’t let me read anything.  However, what I’ve read so far is very good.  Baye is a very talented writer and author. One of these days, I think I’ll have to make it to a tweet-up that he’s attending.

The other book I’m reading is Voidhawk by Jason Halstead.  I’m reading it on my iPhone with the Kindle app.  This book is an interested one.  It has a unique premise, high fantasy involving elves, dwarves, mages, battles on wooden ships, pirates and more, but all of it is in space.  It’s not high tech.  In fact, it seems completely magical.  This is actually the first indie novel I’ve read, and I’m enjoying it so far.  It’s got a sense of humour to it, so I can’t completely take it seriously.  There are editing issues, such as typos and formatting problems, but it doesn’t detract from my reading experience.  It’s not an amazing book, but it is a fun read so far.  Also, this book is available for free!  You have nothing to lose by trying it.  You may like it. Unfortunately, I’ve been taking my time with this book.  I’ve been reading paper books during my free time on the train and my lunch break at work, while Voidhawk has been what I read when I have to stand on the train.  Bad excuse, but I hope to devote more time to it. When I finish it, I’ll be writing a review.

I have downloaded many other books to my phone, though I haven’t read them yet.  I will review all of them as I finish them.  It’ll be interesting to see how good or bad some of these books are, but I want to give them all a try.

On a somewhat related topic, ebooks are a great way to read classics for free.  As they are no longer copyrighted and in the public domain, they are available for free in ebook format.  Many you can even read on your computer.  But as far as Shakespeare is concerned, I’d prefer to have a paper copy with good explanatory notes.  I’m not so sure if electronic forms of Shakespearean plays have that.

Are you reading indie books?  Please leave a comment and tell me why you do or don’t read indie books.