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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Kindle Singles Pro: a New Guide to This Lesser-Known Outlet for Kindle Authors

Kindle Singles Pro is a new guide for Kindle authors that has just been launched on the Warrior Forum.

I haven't seen the Kindle Singles opportunity discussed much till now, so I thought I'd buy a copy to check it out.

Before I give my review, I should perhaps clarify that Kindle Singles are short titles, typically between 5,000 and 30,000 words. Amazon say: "We're looking for compelling ideas expressed at their natural length--writing that doesn't easily fall into the conventional space limitations of magazines or print books."

You can't just self-publish a Kindle Single. Before any title is accepted for the program, it has to be assessed by Amazon's editors. But if your book is accepted, the advantages are considerable. To start with, you get the full 70% royalties rate, even if your book is priced below the usual $2.99 threshold. And even more important, Kindle Singles are heavily promoted by Amazon themselves, through emails, recommendations, and direct to Kindle devices. Kindle Singles also get noticed in the wider world - both online and offline - and can help considerably in building your author platform.

Kindle Singles Pro is a guide that aims to show authors what sort of books have the best chance of being accepted as a Kindle Single, and how to maximize your chances of being accepted. It's by Paul Coleman, a  successful Kindle Singles author and founder of promotional website BookPumper (more on this in due course). In the video below, Paul explains more about the Kindle Singles opportunity.

As ever, if you are receiving this post by email or RSS, you may need to visit my blog to watch the video.

The main Kindle Singles Pro guide takes the form of a well-written 22-page PDF. This discusses the Kindle Singles program in detail, and explains the types of book that (based on Paul's experience and research) stand the best chance of being accepted. A wide range of books, including fiction, may be suitable, but Paul particularly recommends creating a "rant". You'll need to read the guide to discover exactly what he means by this, but it is basically an opinionated essay that sits on the cusp of politically correct and politically incorrect. If you have strong and controversial views on a certain issue, you may well have the basis of a saleable Kindle Single.

The manual covers a range of techniques you can use to boost the chances of your book being accepted on the program. Obviously, writing a compelling book is the most important, but Paul also talks about the value of generating advance interest in your book, and how to write its Amazon description. There are actually some great tips here for all Kindle e-books, not just Singles.

Getting advance reviews and publicity is also covered, as is what to do if your application is rejected initially (yes, it's possible to reapply). There are good tips on pricing, as well as thought-provoking advice on the best way to leverage your sucess with Kindle Singles to help promote your other Kindle titles.

Having read Kindle Singles Pro, I think the approach recommended will work best if you are the sort of person who has strong opinions on certain subjects and enjoys expressing them in writing. To be honest I'm not sure if I'm ideally suited, since as I get older I find that on many issues I see both sides of the argument! Possibly the method will work best for young (or old) firebrands with views and causes they are passionate about promoting. Still, there is no reason why anyone couldn't come up with a suitable topic, so long as they have at least one subject they feel strongly about.

I should say that as well as the main KSP manual, you also get a number of bonuses. Curiously, many of these are not advertised on the sales page at all. I won't go through them all, but two that look particularly valuable (and have been sold separately in the past) are Kindle Revolutions and Kindle Simple System. These both cover the basics of devising and creating Kindle e-books.

Kindle Revolutions has more detailed information about formatting and publishing your e-book, while Kindle Simple System, as the name suggests, sets out a system for researching niche e-book topics and publishing them on Kindle. More experienced Kindle authors may have seen some of this information before, but it's still well worth a read.

Finally, Paul is offering anyone who buys Kindle Singles Pro via this launch offer a free promotional package on his BookPumper website. The normal price he charges for this service is $97. As well as having your title publicized on the site (once it's available from Amazon), this also includes being featured on BookPumper's official Facebook page and their Twitter account. This will quickly put your book in front of thousands of potential buyers.

Overall, I think Kindle Singles Pro is a good-value guide that should help anyone hoping to crack the potentially lucrative Kindle Singles market, and the free promo package is a great bonus. As with all Warrior Special Offers, this one could be withdrawn at any time, so I recommend investing in a copy now if this is an opportunity that interests you.

If you have any comments or questions about Kindle Singles Pro, of course, please feel free to post them below.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, not long after I posted this review, the launch offer closed. Please accept my apologies for any disappointment. As I said above, WSOs can be withdrawn at any time, but this one vanished even sooner than I anticipated!

It's not all bad, though. You can still get Kindle Singles Pro, and much more besides, by joining Paul Coleman's ePub Heroes forum. This costs $19.72 a month, but if you just wanted KSP you could join the forum, download it (and anything else that takes your fancy), and then cancel, all for a lot less than the standalone price. I will try to review ePub Heroes sometime soon.

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Anonymous Justin said...

Very informative, Nick. You brought up fiction -- I am wondering if you think Kindle Singles is a good venue for short story writers?

9:29 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Good question. I submitted a short story a few months ago, but it was turned down :-(

From reading Paul's guide, fiction certainly can work as a Kindle Single, but it must be relevant to modern issues and concerns. So a short story based around global warming (to take a random example) might work, but a heroic fantasy with no obvious relevance to current day issues probably wouldn't.

Kindle Singles Pro has some other useful tips on writing fiction for Kindle Singles, but it wouldn't really be fair to reveal them all here.

2:25 PM  
Anonymous My 100 foot yacht said...

What's your opinion on the "politically correct" / "politically incorrect" line that these "rants" have to tread? On the one hand, it's good to have a space to say what you're thinking and people will be approaching it knowing what to expect, hopefully, but on the other, could be an excuse for people to rant viciously without consideration?

4:59 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Personally, I don't much like the term rant, and I doubt that Amazon would accept a vicious verbal attack such as you describe.

What they want, it seems to me, is controversial, "edgy" books, but they must also be rational and well argued.

This is really where the balancing act between politically correct and incorrect comes in. You might want to set out an unpopular, non-politically correct point of view (about race relations, for example), but you would need to present it in a logical, well-reasoned manner.

That's my interpretation anyway!

11:03 AM  

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