Episode # 82 – Amazon Imprints, Kindle Unlimited, and Kindle Serials

In Uncategorized by Julius S9 Comments

robertocovernewAmazon imprints (the trad publishing arms of Amazon) often come onto that radar of successful self-published authors. In this episode I talk (for the first time) to an author who has had years of experience working with an Amazon imprint (47North). We also talk about the various programs that Amazon has experimented with, from Kindle Serials, to Kindle Unlimited.


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Links:

The Scourge

Amazon Profile

Website

Mentions:

Adam Haviaras – Another author, who connected me with Roberto.

Kindle Serials – How Roberto got his start.

47North – The Amazon imprint that Roberto got his start with.

Westmarch Publishing – The author collaborative made up of previous Amazon imprint authors!

Kindle World’s – Roberto wrote in Neal Stephenson’s Kindle world.

Show notes:

Traditional to Hybrid

Roberto started writing with an Amazon imprint (47North) who picked him up for his Kindle Serial in 2011. When he was picked up, a lot of authors were getting deals with imprints, but he says that it seems that they have pulled back a bit in the last few years. As Amazon pursued the serial program less, Roberto found that they weren’t going to pick up his third book, but he didn’t mind self-publishing it, they had established him, and built him a reader base, and now he could cash in on the 70% rate.

Although Roberto isn’t doing the serial program anymore, he would still strongly recommend getting involved with it if possible. The deadlines, the feedback, the building of a readership, were all huge benefits to him.

Something that is regularly wondered about by authors considering working with an Amazon imprint is how much promotion they are going to do for you. They don’t give any specifics in the contracts, but they are Amazon, so have an enormous power to sell your books. Roberto says that he was pleased with the amount of promotion that working with 47North got him.

Kindle Unlimited

The Amazon program where readers can pay a monthly fee and read an unlimited number of books (that are opted into the program). Authors are given a royalty payment on each book, but it is significantly less than what they would get if there book was $2.99 or above. The rate has been going down for several months, and has caused quite a stir in the indie world. For the first two books that are with 47North, he doesn’t lose out with Unlimited because he has a guaranteed rate per book, the third book which he self-published gets 70%, but is suffering from Unlimited.

Kickstarter

Roberto had built an audience thanks to Amazon, and when they didn’t want to pick him up for the third book, he realized that he could use this loyal audience to help him pay for the things that Amazon were paying for previously. He started a Kickstarter campaign and raised his target of $2,500.

Publishing Collaborative

At the same time that Roberto’s third book was not picked up, the same thing was happening to a lot of other authors that he was connected to. They were connected via Facebook and decided to start a publishing collaborative, where they would barter each others skills. Roberto is a graphic artist, so he was able to offer cover design. This collaborative is called Westmarch Publishing.

ACTION STEPS:

  • Roberto writes during the downtime on his flights. No distractions. What time do you have where there is nothing else to do? Can you utilize this time better?
  • Set some deadlines. Roberto found himself far more productive (and producing better writing) when on a strict series of deadlines. Set yourself multiple goals, not just one end point of “finish book,” write them on a calendar, and get to it. You don’t need to have someone else holding you to these, but if you lack a bit of self-discipline, this sure can help!
  • Look into the Amazon Serials program. Highly recommended by Roberto.

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Leave a comment below or get in touch with Simon by email at simon@rockingselfpublishing.com

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Julius SEpisode # 82 – Amazon Imprints, Kindle Unlimited, and Kindle Serials
  • Roberto and Simon,

    Great episode and great interview!

    My coauthor – who’s now my wife – and I had a long distance relationship between the US and Bulgaria for about four years. Solidarity, my brother!

    Roland

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Roland! Four years, wow. Congrats.

  • mtr amg

    Chuck Wendig published his Blighborn series with 47North and he always calls them the 800lb gorilla in the room; you may not like it, it might scare you, but you’ve got to pay it respect.

    An author co-op sounds like a great idea. Lucky you made all those connections before the storm hit.

    I write fanfiction and I often tried to post a chapter every day and at the same time. I know exactly what you mean about serial fans; they encourage you to write, you don’t want to let them down because you know they are waiting, and they can point out issues, too. Great training because you have to have it plotted out well.
    I had not heard of Amazon short stories before. I will definitely look that up.

    Simon, did you see google/blogger is selling urls? http://buzz.blogger.com/2015/01/custom-domains-for-your-blog-made-easy_13.html

    • SimonRSP

      Haha, yes, well put indeed.

      Hmm, I had thought Blogger had been doing custom URLs for a while, but maybe that was WordPress.com (easy to confuse). $12 a year is steep, Internet.bs does them for a few bucks less, but it might be a headache to port it over to your Blogger blog. Thanks for the share though.

    • I think it’s an excellent motivator to know that your audience is waiting for your next installment. It keeps your butt in the chair to keep writing! 🙂

  • Fantastic interview… tons of great take-aways. Really like his “desperation Writing” thing with the Serials… lol… Puts things in perspective. It’s like a super-tight art deadline: Throw the paint and deal with it! 😀

    • SimonRSP

      Thanks Ingrid. Agreed, deadlines really make things get done 🙂

  • Long distance relations are difficult. I wish you all the best in making things work, Roberto.

    It’s been a few months, and I’m not sure what the state of KU is now, but last I heard, it seemed to be a lot of negative impact for authors in terms of royalties when it comes to longer books. Moreover, readers have often commented that they can’t find many books they want to read on KU, so they end up cancelling their subscription.

    Authors have been putting up more shorter works likes novellas and serials in order to keep up with demand and the constant churning of content that Amazon seems to encourage. Unfortunately, many readers prefer longer works, so it’s a double-edged sword. I’ve seen many authors adapt and make this work, however, so YMMV.

  • Lon

    Not Twilighy Zone, Outer Limits. Yes minor quibble. And I am going to try and launch a serial soon. But I think if I control it, I have a better chance than if Amazon were to even attempt to try and do it through their imprint.