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Writers: Blog publishing or Kindle publishing?

  1. Hey writers!
    With the popularity of the kindle (& etc.), some web authors are moving their stories off their blogs/websites and into the kindle store. I'm considering this.

    It's not a matter of putting my stuff online and killing my career–that ship sailed a while ago. It's a matter of (me & readers) liking Amazon enough. A couple problems:

    1) For some reason saying "I self-published something on kindle" gets a much more negative response in literary circles than "I have some stuff up on my blog."

    2) When you "publish" something, people assume you want to make money. I give my stuff away for free, you'd think that'd tip them off, but it usually doesn't. And it is, apparently difficult to price a kindle book at "free." I read about how others had issues with Amazon and pricing. Anyone have any insight? Because I would feel like a real jacka$$ charging even $0.99 for things that I post for free. And even if I decided some time in the future to charge for some of my work, it sounds like a lot of people have problems with Amazon pricing their book, and I don't know if I want to deal with that.

    But then there's the fact that it's now more convenient to download a story/book/episode/post from the kindle store and read it whenever. And isn't is best to do what is most convenient for the readers?

    So what to do? Anyone have any experience with this?

    The blog I need help with is cheapassfiction.com.

  2. I'm self published on Kindle. As far as I know, there is no way to publish on Amazon and make it free unless Amazon decides to make it free to try and generate interest. I put free stuff on my blog for free and provide links from my published material to the blog and from the blog to my published material. If it is posted on my blog, I'll never take it down and publish it with an associated charge. I agree, it would be a jacka$$ move. Instead I try to use the free content to generate some interest and give readers a taste of my writing and help them decide whether or not they want to spend .99 on more of my material.

    As far as the disdain for self-publishing on Kindle, I've found that this tends to stem from snobs and people who are to scared to try it and don't want to admit that to themselves. In the end, writing is about delivering your message/content to the readers. Go with what works best.

  3. Apparently, a few writers have had some success making their book free because Amazon prices things competitively. So they put their work up elsewhere for free, then write to Amazon, who might "undercut" the price, which in that case means making it $0.00. If they feel like it. Apparently this works for some people, but it isn't consistent.

    I am actually finding more and more web fiction authors who sell ebooks and POD books of the things they have for free on their sites. It's for the convenience and maybe a little pocket change. So I hope the snobbery towards this kind of writer is changing, at least among online readers.

    The disdain of snobs will probably never lessen.

    Yeah, I'm trying to ignore it. It is hard though. To be honest, I think the snobbery is mostly among writers not readers. Readers will read something if it's good and chuck it if it's bad, they don't really care who published it. But then again, I dread going to writing conferences and getting the disapproving looks from the "real" writers.

    I know I shouldn't care.

  4. I have just "published" some of the short fiction from my blog for 99 cents on kindle. I have not yet removed them from my blog, and my first question is whether I need to legally. Does anyone know?

    The way I see it is that the kindle is simply a new venue and format. If the kindle user wants to save the buck, they are more than welcome to look at my blog. I have just "published" the stories and have no sales. I've had no real readers of the stories on the blog for a year or so. I am a marketing genius--eh?

    My real purpose of going kindle was for a full length novel I hope to publish soon. I would not have placed the full novel on the blog, anyway. A few chapters have been here to stir interest. The book publishing world is difficult and changing. Finding an agent and a publisher is extremely difficult. Vanity publishers and PODs are mostly a con game on writers, leaving the marketing on them. The kindle and similar products create a bypass in the game, but marketing is still tough. I hope the few stories I "publish" will build a readership for future work.

    Aside, to the comment about snobbery, I have some history with writing, but little publishing. Believe me, many writers are snobs. Many are not. There are snobs in every part of our society about everything in it. The snobs that really injure the business of writing are the ones who control the business--not the writing. Agents will not seriously look at anyone when they do not see a profit. Publishers will not seriously look at anyone not represented by an agent. There are some exceptions to this, but those are exceptions and few. Writers do not write as a hobby--they want a little profit too, just as artists want to sell their paintings, and farmers want to sell their corn.

    I should re-phrase that a little. Many hobby-writers are great authors. Their day-jobs earn them a livelihood, and their writing is a means of expression. Many writers, though, do not have that great day job. They want the thing they do best to be worth something to a user, and their sales benefit writer and reader. Isn't that everyone's dream? Snobby writers may put down these silly kindle books. But, snobby agents and snobby publishers can put down these silly kindle writers. Without publishing, those silly writers can't find effective jobs teaching, since those snobby college deans won't look at the job applicants.

    I'm not sure where I'm going with this, so I'll close

  5. You might be interested in the story of Romi, a wordpress.com blogger whose real humour can be found both on her blog and The Book of Awful - a parody of the Book of Awesome - which she has published on Kindle. If you don't have a Kindle you can download a program to read books on a PC or Mac.

    I'd say it's worth the - what? two bucks and a quarter they're asking? Bad coffee at Starbucks costs more than that.

  6. Thanks Ian!

    Some additional context:

    -I had an agent for a year and a half, had my book shopped around to publishers, but no editor “fell in love with it.” Too bad for me, right?

    Wrong.

    -Those two years where no book readers had access to my work (mid-2009-mid-2011) didn’t have to be my fate forever. The gatekeeping process has crumbled, and that’s where Amazon Kindle, iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, and Sony Reader outlets comes in. The book I wrote this year, “The Book of Awful” is available at all those outlets; it’s a chance for me to let readers decide, and so far it’s been worth it. I’d say about 20% of the book was featured on the blog at some point or another; it was a great testing ground which eventually led to the inspiration for writing the full book.

    -I’ve also now re-written a lot of blog posts from 2009, packaged them up as two sets of small memoirs, and am waiting for them to go free on Amazon (at 99 cents now, but I’m not advertising that price as I want it to go free). You can however make things free immediately on Smashwords, which distributes books to all other e-book retailers. Hopefully my memoirs will go free on Amazon soon (via price match with iBooks), as authors can enjoy thousands of downloads a week when their stuff goes free there. The free stuff is a great way for people to find your writing, like what they see, then maybe consider buying some of your other work that’s for sale.

    -In terms of pricing on Amazon; I have no issues switching the price between $2.99, $.99 and $1.99, and it gets executed within 24 hours. The key is that I never put my work on sale at Smashwords, which would then discount to other e-retailers (i.e. Barnes & Noble); if I always leave it at $2.99 there, I can easily fiddle with the price on Amazon, with no worry of price-match issues.

    -In terms of the snobs (oh the snobs!), I think it comes down to people who are set in their ways and who fear change. I’m sure I’d be upset too, if I had to jump through a million hoops to get published the traditional way, only to find that now anyone can publish within 24 hours. I’m also sure that 95% of the 700,000+ books on Kindle will never achieve mainstream success (but how many big publishers rely on their small list of “bestsellers” for the majority of their profits, whereas the rest of their authors achieve limited success?). And yes, without gatekeepers, a lot of what get’s published is crap; but hey, even WITH gatekeepers, a lot of what gets published is crap. According to who you’re asking. All art is subjective, after all. What you’ll find is that readers are pretty good gatekeepers themselves; they can sample any book on their Kindle for free before deciding to buy it, and if they still buy it and hate it, that’s what reviews are for. And of course being on your own means you have to self-promote (blog tours, review requests etc), but is that much different from the traditional way? I mean after the initial book launch and first six weeks, how much is the publisher doing to advertise your one book? You have to work hard in both scenarios.

    And as some final additional context, re: snobs, this blog of a successful e-published author often talks about the changing world of publishing; it’s really interesting stuff: http://writeitforward.wordpress.com/

    I’d also recommend lurking around in the Kindle Writer’s Cafe for a while, where self-published authors discuss their successes, questions, fears, challenges, results, etc! http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/board,60.0.html ; this thread in particular calls out authors who sold over 1,000 ebooks in just one month: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.php/topic,77952.0.html

    As for me, I have two more books coming out before the end of the year, and it’s a very exciting feeling; even if my audience is small at least I can reach them, and that may have never been possible in the old world. In terms of blogging, I’ve blogged since 2007, so my blogs are now more of an archival playground for ideas I may want to develop in the future---and the future for me is making my work available on Amazon and beyond! :-)

    If you have any other questions and you’re on twitter feel free to contact me there: http://twitter.com/romimoondi

    Wishing you all success, whether in blog, ebook or print format! :-)

    -Romi

  7. Mr. WordPress I’ve just jogged your memory by publishing my manuscript electronically. But can you give me any advice on how to get it published in a paperback or hardcopy? Isn’t it a company called WordPress Book Publishing? What do you think of my tagline? Jog your memory read wordpress.com. http://christophercross.wordpress.com/

  8. Congratulations to those starting and finishing a piece. Not willing to read your piece if it isn't edited by a professional [in the industry] but I welcome you as part of a free, democratic society and wish you all the best.

    Thanks to all the gatekeepers,
    Thanks for all the hoops,
    Thanks for the rejections,
    Thanks for the contracts.

    Proud to be a snob.

  9. Thanks for loads of good information and a well reasoned response Romi

  10. Your welcome countingducks, anytime I'm more than happy to jog your memory...

  11. @christophercross
    Are you suggesting that romi41 is your socket puppet/ Or are you just continuing your pattern of self promoting by spamming forum threads in an effort to get us to click into your blog? http://en.forums.wordpress.com/profile/christophercross

  12. oh, great thread! Thank you all!

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