Thursday, February 19, 2009

Post Your Book on the Kindle, but Make Sure You Promote It

By Anthony S. Policastro

If you have written a book, you can now post it on Amazon's Kindle eBook reader for free. A simple four-step process is all it takes and within 12 to 72 hours your book will be on the Kindle right next to James Patterson, John Grisham, and other literary luminaries.

Amazon's Digital Text Platform allows anyone to post a book if you have never published before with or without an ISBN number. Amazon will assign your book its own tracking number called an ASIN number.

The best part of listing your book with the Kindle is that you are free to set your own price and Amazon will give you 35 percent of your sale price even if they discount the price on their site. I listed my thriller, Dark End of the Spectrum, for $5.99 and Amazon discounted it to $4.79. Amazon will still pay me 35 percent of the $5.99.

The other great feature is that your book can be found globally on Just put in your name or title in the search field and your book will come up just as if you searched for Nicholas Sparks or War and Peace.

While Amazon has not released the number of Kindle owners, another advantage to listing is that people who purchased the $359 Kindle are avid readers so you have a devoted, captive audience. But don't get excited yet, the hard part is promoting your book.

With more than 240,000 titles on the Kindle and growing every hour, your book might as well be a grain of sand on the California coast. The Kindle does not list new releases as a separate category and ranks books by their sales on Kindle. When you go to the book list the current best sellers come up first. I listed my book in the suspense and thrillers category and soon learned my title was among 2,420 listed there. The other disadvantage is that you cannot go to the last page of the listing on the Kindle nor can you see titles listed by publication date.

You can search Kindle books on by category, price, publication date, customer reviews and bestsellers, but you will not find your book easily. I searched my title by category and publication date – the most common search metrics among readers looking for a new book and found the dates out of sequence and a large number of advanced releases in front of my publication date.

The other search method is by the search tags you assign your book, but this too is daunting since the search will pull up thousands of titles with the same tags. The best thing to do is put your name in as a search tag. This will filter out just your books.

Despite these drawbacks, it is better to list your book on the Kindle format. I've had some sales with little or not promotion. So get the word out.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Is the Kindle 2 Infringing on Writers' Rights?

By Anthony S. Policastro

Sometimes you just want to smack someone on the side of the head and say, “What sa madda wit you!”

This is how I feel about the Authors Guild claim that Amazon’s new Kindle 2 text to voice feature is infringing on writer’s audio book rights. (See the Wired blog by David Kravets.)

"Until this issue is worked out, Amazon may be undermining your audio market as it exploits your e-books," the guild told its members in a memo, according to Kavets.

Amazon responded with, "these are not audiobooks. Text to speech is simply software that runs on devices and reads content," according to a report in the Publishers Lunch newsletter.

Now would anybody in their right mind pay extra to hear a book read to them by a scratchy, robot-like synthesized voice as is the case with the new text to voice feature on the Kindle 2? NOT.

Audio books are rich, professionally created productions with great sounding voices, all the right intonations, flourishes of music and sound effects, and the ability to play them on any CD or MP3 player. These productions are well worth the money and the full protection of the US copyright laws.

The Authors Guild is acting like the greedy music industry executives who went to Gestapo-like tactics to prevent people from downloading free music by suing kids.

If the Authors Guild takes this issue further and some ill-informed judge rules in their favor, it will hurt writers mostly because their ebooks will cost more. And if anyone remembers marketing 101, the higher price will decrease sales and it will be a lose-lose situation for everyone.