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Thinking of Publishing Your Own $0.99 Kindle Book? 101

An anonymous reader writes "There's been a lot of talk recently about $0.99 Kindle eBooks, after publishers were accused of spamming the market with low-quality titles. Author Keir Thomas published two $0.99 computing books in March and has some figures for those who might want to have a go, as part of his Adventures in Publishing series of blog postings. Thomas says he loves the democratic nature of the Kindle Direct Publishing system, and points out one of his self-published books tops Amazon's Linux charts, besting titles by all the major publishers."
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Thinking of Publishing Your Own $0.99 Kindle Book?

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  • by Oxford_Comma_Lover ( 1679530 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:23PM (#36546462)

    Did he just criticize the idea of a ten dollar listing fee as a barrier to entry for reducing spam?

    No way. Maybe for a booklet you'd want it to be less, but if you put one *thousandth* of the amount of time and effort into a book that any decent author does, five or ten bucks for the book listing is much less than that. A listing fee is not, realistically, a barrier to entry.

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:30PM (#36546552)

    Sure if you ignore the fact that these spammers also game the system so their content rises above everyone else.

  • by raving griff ( 1157645 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:32PM (#36546566)

    And how are books with worthy content noticed within the sea of crap? Barring advertising (which in this case comes directly out of the author's pocket), the only way I can see a book standing out based entirely on its contents merit is in a niche field, like the Ubuntu books in the example, where there are few enough books that ones of high quality rise to the top quickly as there is little competition.

    However, in any more general areas / genres (for example, literary fiction), the sea of crap is so large that worthy content takes much longer to recognize. A lower initial momentum means lower ratings and a much lower chance to succeed in the market as a whole.

    The only way to guarantee worthy work to rise above the crap is to guarantee each book a test audience--allowing it to launch with several Amazon reviews and be seeded according to an aggregate measure of quality. Otherwise, whether or not worthy content is noticed is pure luck made less likely the more crowded the market becomes.

  • by webdog314 ( 960286 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:50PM (#36546790)

    Bullshit. There are people "publishing" 50-100 "books" a day that are utter garbage. And I don't mean that it's bad writing, I mean that it's rip off recycled crap. There's so much junk flooding the market that it makes actual works indistinguishable from everything else. The only way these works get found out is if someone actually pays for it and reads it, and then bothers to comment. Even a $1 entry fee would do wonders to limit this. The WHOLE POINT of Amazon is it's ability to find products and see reviews before you buy. If you can no longer do that, then why not take your legitimate work and use the rest of the free web for self advertizing, serve the file yourself, and keep 100% of the profits?

    Content doesn't rise to the top because it's "worthy", it rises to the top because it has positive reviews. Whether those reviews came from adoring fans or solid marketing is almost irrelevant.

  • by sir_eccles ( 1235902 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @04:52PM (#36546822)

    Self editing. Applies equally to ebooks and old fashioned paper ones.

  • by Man Eating Duck ( 534479 ) on Thursday June 23, 2011 @07:02PM (#36548534)

    Self editing. Applies equally to ebooks and old fashioned paper ones.

    Bravo. I'm a voracious reader, I prefer reading on E-ink, and I've read quite a few self-published stories for free or very cheap ($4). Some are very good stories, some are weaker, but without exception so far all are marred by poor flow, sentences that not quite work and even grammatical and spelling errors. A good copy-editor could work wonders, an editor who is involved in the shaping of the book is even better. It takes a good author to write a compelling story or a good non-fiction book, but to end up with a good final result you need professionals somewhere down the line.

    This doesn't mean that self-publishing is inherently bad, if you write a good story you can rise above the rest by spending something like $1500 to have a professional copy-edit your book. If you're serious about your writing this is not a huge investment, especially if you compare it to the time you put into writing your story. And no, your friend who got an A+ in $language is almost certainly *not* a good substitute.

    I love to see a lot of promising fresh writers being able to publish their work without needing a publishing contract, but even an ace racing driver can't win without his team of mechanics and support crew. Something similar goes for writers (-1, car analogy).

    Disclaimer: I've worked at an academic publishing company since 1999 and have participated in publishing hundreds of works. I *know* how important a good editor, proof-reader and copy-editor are for getting a good result. A good percentage of our authors don't understand why they need it until they see the finished book :)

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