Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kindle. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

IWSG: August 2014 Ask PZM

Welcome to the first Wednesday of the month, Insecure Writer's Support Group day. IWSG is the brainchild of our noble leader Alex J. Cavanaugh, who understands our need for fellowship.

If this sounds like a group for you, check out IWSG's webpage for instructions.

It's a simple process:

"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post."

Our Twitter Hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's co-hosts for today are (besides me) Sarah Foster, Lily Eva, and Rhonda Albom!  
Please stop by and thank them for their time.  

THANKS, Ladies!

Our FaceBook Page... Fun Friday and Saturday News and Promo have been replaced by Friday News and Promo. Also, we have a surprise for the IWSG anniversary Sept 3. 
Hope you'll come celebrate with us! 

Ask PZM: 

Q: What do you think of Amazon’s new monthly subscription service Kindle Unlimited?

I first learned of this new subscription service from an email to authors explaining that all ebooks enrolled in KDP Select with U.S. rights are automatically included in Kindle Unlimited. Then I went to the home page of to watch the very brief video about this new service being offered for $9.99 a month with a free 30-day trial.

Next I contrasted Kindle Unlimited with Amazon Prime, for which members pay an annual fee for various privileges, including borrowing one ebook a month for free via the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library (KOLL). KDP Select ebooks are automatically included in KOLL.

In both programs KDP Select authors get paid for the borrows, except for KU there is no fund payment unless the person reads more than 10% of the book. (If a reader gets 10% into a book a second time, there is no additional payment.)

This is different from the payout that KDP Select authors get when their books are downloaded as part of KOLL. In the case of a book being borrowed via KOLL, the author gets paid for the download regardless of whether any of the book is read.

At the moment the borrows for both these options for KDP Select authors are shown on the KDP author dashboard in one column marked “KU/KOLL Units.” (I personally would like to see these numbers separated into two columns.)

Now here is my opinion of why KU can be very good for indie published authors:

When Prime members can only get one ebook a month for free, indie author ebooks that normally are priced less than ebooks from major publishers probably cannot compete.  Why?  Because, if it were me, I'd choose a more expensive ebook for my one monthly free borrow.
Yet if I have a KU subscription and can read as many books for free a month as I want, I am probably more likely to download less expensive ebooks too.

And this means that indie published authors have more opportunities for their books to be tried for free.

In others words, if KU is hugely successful (and I expect it will be – think Netflix for books), this will give indie authors a larger audience who can try our books.  Why offer our books for free via KDP Select’s free promotion days when our books can be offered for free through KU – and a book via KU if 10% of the book is read provides income for us!

Of course, if your ebook price is closer to $9.99 and you get 70% royalties on that, you would presumably make more on each ebook than whatever Amazon pays per borrow (varies each month).  But how many indie authors have a large audience paying close to $9.99 an ebook?

All in all, I think this new opportunity could be good for indie authors whose books are on KDP Select.  And for KDP Select authors not in the U.S., I expect this program to be rolled out to other Amazon country sites in the near future.

Q: Are you personally trying out any new promotional opportunities for authors?

At the moment I am participating in a marketing consulting project for a new internet service designed to drive conversions (click-throughs) after telling a marketer’s “story.”  This free web application could be very useful for authors to promote their books.

The service’s site is and the first version of this free service has recently been released with a strong focus on mobile consumers.

Here is how Slipp works:

You sign up for a free account and then you can create a Slipp – a slide show of pictures and text optimized for smartphones that can promote your books with a click-through link on the last screen (called the “exit card”). 

In addition to the cover card, you have up to 11 cards to tell your story with, as of this writing, a headline, photo and text of up to 140 characters on each card.

You can create new content or repurpose existing content.  For photos you can use the creation screen to pull in photos from Google (photos are automatically suggested when you enter your headline on a card) or you can upload your own photos.

Once you are done creating a Slipp, you can share the Slipp link on social media and on your author website, etc.

Right now the only type of action is a link click-through.  But the company has indicated that many other options will soon be available.  These will include a click to sign up for an email list or a click to add an event to an online calendar (could be good for book signing events).

The user interface for creating Slipps still has some rough points.  For example, the place to insert a link is hidden in the “Post” screen.  Also, the option for automatic numbering (great for lists) needs to be selected before creating a Slipp.  This can’t be changed once you’ve started.

When I made my first two Slipps, I did not immediately understand that the numbered Slipp was for lists, which is why one of my Slipps below has numbers on the cards.  And as I was away from access to my own photos when I created these two Slipps very quickly on a borrowed laptop, I did need to later substitute some of the photos. 

And while I created these very quickly on a borrowed laptop, as I was away from access to my own photos I did later substitute some of the photos. Plus you will note that I did not use all available 11 cards for either of my first two Slipps.

While I used the link in each Slipp exit card to connect with the featured book’s page on the free site Wattpad (in earlier Ask PZM columns I have talked about Wattpad), I could have used the link in each Slipp exit card to send to a book’s page on Amazon or elsewhere.

Here are the links to my first two Slipps:

Invitation to try creating Slipps for your own books:

For those of you with your own books or writing projects on sites such as Wattpad, do try creating a Slipp for each of your books. Then share the Slipp links on your social media accounts.

And if you try creating Slipps right now and have questions or feedback, email me at – I look forward to hearing from you.

Tweet #1   How to Create Slipps for your book. (please click to tweet)

Tweet #2   How the new Kindle Unlimited subscription works. (please click to tweet)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a fiction and nonfiction author who blogs on book-related topics at

If you have a question you'd like to ask Phyllis for her ASK PZM: September, email it to cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca and I'll pass it along. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

IWSG: Ask PZM - April 2014

Before we jump into Ask PZM...

Just want to let you know I'm over at IWSG today doing my part for the A-Z Challenge (my post: B is for Books). Also, today is Wednesday and that means it's time for Insecure Writer's Support Group, compliments of our very own fierce and noble Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh. If you think this group sounds like a good place for you and you'd like to join, click here.

It's a simple process: 

"Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time. Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post."

Our Twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Alex's awesome co-hosts for today are Hart Johnson, Chemist Ken, Candilynn Fite, Terri Rochenski, Clare Dugmore, and Lilica Blake! Please stop by and thank them for their generous time and effort. 

Please help us spread the word about the Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website. And if you don't already know we have a IWSG Facebook site too. 

IWSG Facebook Guidelines:

1. Since the focus of IWSG is support, the Facebook page should reflect this ideal.

2. You are encouraged to support your fellow IWSG'ers who share their writerly-related experiences, which include accomplishments/disappointments/challenges, with the rest of the group. Keep in mind that writers are at different points of their respective writerly journeys. Some lurk for a long time, before finding the courage to share with the rest of the group. Since the IWSG is all about community, a word of encouragement or advice may be just what somebody needs. Or even just a smiley face/thumbs up...

3. News & Promotional Saturday is your opportunity to add a link. The IWSG administrators reserve the right to remove promotional links, especially if they are posted haphazardly.


ASK PZM - April 2014

Q: How do I create shortened URLs for my books on Amazon?

Until recently you needed to go to a URL shortener service to reduce those very long Amazon book URLs (the web address on your browser at the top of a book’s page on Amazon). I used because this shortener service automatically has an abbreviation for Amazon — such as this link for my cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE —

Amazon has now realized its long book URLs do not look well on social media and is offering an easy alternative. The newest shortcut is using your ebook’s ASIN number or your print book’s 10-digit ISBN number along with like this: — ebook of CAST THE FIRST STONE — paperback of CAST THE FIRST STONE

You just create your own shortened URLs with this system without having to go to a URL shortener service.

Q: Could you explain what Amazon’s Kindle Worlds is?

Here is how Amazon describes its Kindle Worlds:

“New stories inspired by books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games people love.

“Welcome to Kindle Worlds, a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games. With Kindle Worlds, you can write new stories based on featured Worlds, engage an audience of readers, and earn royalties.

“Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Warner Bros. Television Group’s Alloy Entertainment for Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and The Vampire Diaries; Valiant Entertainment for Archer; Armstrong, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, and X-O Manowar; Hugh Howey’s Silo Saga; Barry Eisler’s John Rain novels; Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series; and The Foreworld Saga by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Eric Bear, Joseph Brassey, Nicole Galland, and Cooper Moo. Licenses for more Worlds are on the way.”

In March I had the privilege of hearing Philip Patrick, publisher of Kindle Worlds and Amazon Publishing’s Director of Business Development, speak about his vision of this innovative program on Amazon, which launched in June of 2013. (He was the speaker at an event of the meetup group Hollywood 2.0: The Future of Storytelling.)

As Patrick explained, he sees Kindle Worlds as offering access to writers – giving writers opportunities to showcase their writing ability to fans of existing worlds. And, by extension, fans have the opportunity to read more about their favorite worlds.

Of course, writers must follow the rules that each world on Kindle Worlds has – rules set as part of the Amazon licensing agreement with the copyright holder. For example, in the case of the world of Veronica Mars, only a specific time period (high school and college) for her adventures can be written about on Kindle Worlds.

If you are a fan of one of the worlds and you would like to try writing fan fiction, Kindle Worlds could be a good place for you. The authors of published fan fiction get royalties plus publicity exposure. This might be a way to attract attention for your other writing projects.

You can check out the current Kindle Worlds at – with more expected soon – along with a video of the January 2014 Kindle Worlds Authors Webinar. And you can follow Kindle Worlds on Twitter at

And remember, if you want a public platform where you can showcase your own non-fan fiction writing (although not get paid for it), consider Wattpad. Just remember to click “Advanced” under OPTIONS and choose “All Rights Reserved.” While this doesn’t necessarily protect your work from being stolen by someone, it is important to do.

In terms of utilizing Wattpad, you have to decide on your own level of comfort with putting your work out there. I’m personally writing two projects on Wattpad – Cold War memoir TALES OF AN AMERICAN OCCUPYING GERMANY at and dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE at

TWEET #1 - How to create shortened URLs on Amazon (click to tweet)

TWEET #2 - Understanding Kindle Worlds (click to tweet)

TWEET #3 - Creating a public platform on Wattpad (click to tweet)

Phyllis Zimbler Miller on Twitter is at and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at and her nonfiction books at

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at