Amazon.com has been drawing a lot of attention to their self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing. Using it, a writer can self-publish their own material quickly onto Amazon's website, making it available to readers around the globe. Amazon has been running front-page endorsements from writers who have reportedly made this work exceptionally well, and who laud Amazon's ability to help them bypass agents and editors, to go direct to readers, and to make a lot of money on their books.
Is it for real? Or are these flukes? Can an average writer really make money this way? I'm going to put it to the test, and if you're up for it, I'd love your help to find the answer. I'll donate the results to charity, and will publish the outcome on this blog for other writers to see in case they're thinking of doing the same thing.
I've been a writer and an editor for years now. While it's not the core of my day job, I've been involved with electronic publishing since the early days of the Internet, having founded and run The Blue Penny Quarterly, one of the early online literary magazines that really worked to make a good spot on the Internet for great writing. I've published a collection of short stories with a good literary small press, and have another one coming out in 2014.
But I'm by no means well-known. And my latest book is a change for me, a contemporary fantasy novel that I've always wanted to write, set in a world I've imagined for the last 20+ years. I've always been a fan of the genre, and read it regularly. Is the book any good? Could it be picked up by a traditional agent and publisher eventually? I think so, and my readers have liked it--but you'll have to judge that for yourself. Fantasy and science fiction are genres that do well electronically, so after several months of good agent responses, but no takers, I thought I'd give the Amazon program a try. But I want to do it in a way that can help other writers too.
This is how I can use your help, if you're up for it...
1. First, if you could link to or share this message along to every writer or reader you know who might be interested in participating, that'd be great. 2. Second, on the weekend of August 11th, 2012, if you're an Amazon customer and own a Kindle, or another device that can run the Kindle app (iPhone, iPad), I'd love it if you could download the book. For free. I'll be scheduling it to be free for the entire weekend, so it won't cost you anything. 3. After that, if you're so inclined, after you've downloaded and read the book, I'd love it if you could leave a review of the book at Amazon. It's ok to be honest--I have a thick skin and can take it.
That's it. Our goal will be to see if we can hit Amazon's list of top free books that weekend, and if we do to see whether that will help generate more reviews and more sales over the course of the next 30 days.
Whether we hit the Amazon top lists or not...
I'll donate all of my royalties from the book for a month to charity. I'll report out here on what I did, and what results I see over the course of the month so other writers can look behind the scenes Additionally, at the end of August, I'll also select one reviewer at random to receive a free Kindle Fire from me, no strings attached
Since "home" is an important theme to several of the characters in my book, I'll be donating to Habitat for Humanity, a US-based charity that builds homes for the underprivileged.
You can see a blurb about the book by following this link or the one at the bottom of this post. I believe I've covered all the basics for a decent self-published book: it's tightly written, professionally edited, the electronic layout is being done by a well-recommended production shop and it's got a professionally designed cover. But like any ebook, it runs the risk of sitting there online, in the darkness of Amazon's server farms.
Will you help? For you, it's a free book, a chance at a free Kindle, and it won't cost you anything, and you'll be helping out not only other writers who might want to try the same thing, but a great charity too.
To start, you can sign up for updates on this blog via RSS, email, or Twitter to the right. This will keep you in touch with all of the results. As soon as the book is available, I'll let you know where to find it on Amazon, and I'll send a reminder when the promotion has started. I'll also keep track of how the book is doing throughout the month.
If you're in--thanks! I can't wait to see how this turns out.