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 bit.ly because this shortener service automatically has an abbreviation for Amazon — such as this bit.ly link for my cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE — http://amzn.to/SLYBJY

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 www.amzn.com like this:

www.amzn.com/B00A29SS6C — ebook of CAST THE FIRST STONE

www.amzn.com/1490535489 — 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 https://kindleworlds.amazon.com/ – 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 https://twitter.com/kindleworlds

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 http://budurl.com/TAintro and dystopian thriller THE MOTHER SIEGE at http://budurl.com/MSintro


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 http://twitter.com/ZimblerMiller and she is the author of fiction and nonfiction books on Amazon. Her fiction books on Amazon can be found at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller and her nonfiction books at www.amazon.com/author/phylliszmiller

She is also a digital marketer who blogs on book topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and you can download a free copy of her YA short story PINKY SWEAR at http://www.phylliszimblermiller.com/keep-in-touch/

62 comments :

  1. Good to know how to shorten those urls.
    I'd heard about Kindle Worlds before. Those who write fanfiction should really enjoy it.
    And thanks for the great post at the IWSG today!

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    1. thanks for always taking time to visit my blog, Alex. You're the best! Hope your parents are feeling better.

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  2. I don't read FacFic but I know people who do. So, there is an audience for it. I can see the benefits of using this sort of writing as an exercise to improve your craft. The "world" already exists. The characters and their personalities exist, with some room to maneuver. But, you don't have to create a lot of the Big Stuff that clogs people us when trying to write a story. Instead you can work on other aspects of the writing until you have it conquered.

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    1. I don't read FanFic either, nor do I know much about it. Best check it out, eh. Thanks, Robin.

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  3. Oh that Kindle Worlds sounds interesting. And a great way to introduce ourselves to new readers. Must check it out.

    I do use the url shortener on Amazon, which is a bonus.

    Never been into Wattpad. I don't 'get it.' If I ever get chance, I have promised myself to investigate further.

    shahwharton.com

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    1. Shah, I'll ask Phyllis to answer that very question in a future post. What is Wattpad. I'm not sure either. Thanks for visiting.

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  4. I have never read any FanFic, but I think the Kindle Worlds is a great idea. I think the people who write and read FanFic are probably the ultimate fans, and what author wouldn't want to encourage that? Especially if it revolves around a "world" the author is no longer writing in.
    It's amazing, when you think about it, the opportunities that e-books have provided us, both as readers and writers. FanFic on this level would never have been possible 30 years ago! Very cool.

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    1. Ah, good point, Amelia. I, too, am grateful for living in these times. Wouldn't want it any other way.

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  5. Whew! That was a boatload of information! I have heard people are leery of short links on twitter because they can't see where they're headed. I keep debating hopping into Wattpad full time, but just haven't gotten there yet. I think it's probably worth it, but what can I sacrifice to get there?

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    1. Good question, Crystal. I'm going to leave that for Phyllis' expertise. Meanwhile, I ordered my copy of Moonless! I'm very excited to read it.

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  6. Never knew that about amazon and the asin link, looks better that way. I put some blog posts together in a bunch on wattpad, but that was as far as i've gone with it so far

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    1. Glad you stopped by, Pat. Hope this is helpful in the future.

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  7. Kindle World?? You just blew my mind. I don't think I can grasp all that - could be that I just need another coffee...

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    1. LOL. Yes, Terri, you're right. Coffee fixes everything.

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  8. Great tips! I use the shortened URL - so helpful. I still don't understand Kindle World, but I rarely understand anything Amazon does. Good luck on Wattpad! :)

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  9. Thanks for the info, especially the new service Amazon provides. I'm not quite ready to use it yet, but I'm bookmarking this post for later.

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  10. Interesting to know how to shorten the URLS. I'm about to head over to IWSG website.

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  11. I love that tip about using your ASIN with the Amazon.com. Will do that. I've already touched base at IWSG.

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  12. Thanks Phyllis and Joylene. I don't read fanfic. I wish I had the inclination to explore things like Kindle World and Wattpad, but I honestly don't. (I recall Phyllis mentioned the latter in your January 'Ask PZM' post, and had a link to a post she'd done on it. That might be of interest to Shah.) I think there are a zillion things on the internet that provide marketing help. We just have to decide our priorities and where we're going to put our energy to its best use.

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  13. GREAT information, thank you! So much to think about and with so much already on the table, maybe I'll just walk away, but bookmark the page! Is it an opportunity - or not?!

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    1. There is so much connected to our craft, Yolanda. Bookmarking is good.

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  14. Kindle has so much to offer. I keep learning new things about it, everywhere I turn. I end up shortening my posts, more than my links these days. Guess I could go back to using a shortening service though.

    MJ, A to Z Challenge Co-Host
    Writing Tips
    Effectively Human
    Lots of Crochet Stitches

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    1. I'm thinking the same thing, MJ. I'm going to start shortening my posts as well as my urls. Thanks for stopping by.

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  15. Thanks so much, Joylene, hoping to return to 'normal'.

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  16. What fantastic tips! Thank you. :)

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  17. Hey human, Joylene,

    It's like a wild moose chase trying to keep up with all of this. I come here and find you are over there. Yep, that "IWSG" aka "I Was Seeking Gary." Let's continue to humour my poor human. He's deluded, eh.

    Time to create a shortened growl, sorry, url.

    Penny, the pawsitive host of the Alphabark Challenge, 2014!

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    1. Loved your take on the A-Z challenge, Penny. Very innovative.

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  18. Hi Joylene and Phyllis ... Amazon is doing loads - will they or Google rule the world?! I like the idea of shortening books' links that does make sense ..

    I'll be back to read the rest properly ... cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. Thanks so much, Hilary. Cheers to you too.

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  19. That's interesting they put restrictions on the fanfiction.

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    1. Doesn't it make you wonder who "they" are? Thanks, Diane!

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  20. These are seriously helpful answers to some good questions. Thanks for this!!

    Sarah Allen
    (From Sarah, With Joy)

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  21. Wow, good info - thanks so much! This will come in handy. Bookmarking your posts might become a habit. :) Have a great weekend!

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  22. Well done, Amazon! Looks more 21st-century. :)

    I love VERONICA MARS, and am a little bit gutted it's not going to show in my city here in Australia. Also *annoyed*, but mostly gutted.

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    1. Me, too, Trisha. VM was awesome show. Never failed to surprise me.

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  23. Every day I learn a little bit more about the writing world we inhabit. Thanks!

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  24. That whole selling fan fiction thing is so strange to me. I LOVE fan fiction as a training ground. My first three novel-length works were Harry Potter. But I think I'd never PAY for them. It pulls them out of where I think they fit on the writing growth curve. Great info, though. Stuff gets easier and more convenient, all the while getting more complicated.... or something.

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    1. I remember back when I realized other writers were writing Star Trek stories. I couldn't see how they could and stay true. I was wrong. I guess I better read some fanfiction. Thanks Hart.

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  25. Kindle Worlds? What is that? There's always something new... too much for my "old" brain to take in...! LOL
    I'd like to spend an entire week here at your place, just going through Phyllis's stuff at my leisure. Just in case you notice someone stalking your blog... LOL

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    1. You stalk any ole time you like, Michelle. You're always welcome.

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  26. So first of all, I can't believe I'm not already following you - we're, like, practically neighbours - you in B.C., me in Alberta (I do think your scenery is better but we get less rain). Well I've fixed that problem now, Joylene. Thanks for dropping by my blog - I look forward to many more of your posts.

    Phyliis - thanks for all the scoop on Kindle. I didn't know most of that stuff. Thanks!!

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    1. Happy to have you join my site, Cathy. Yes, we're practically related. LOL. I work with a writer's group from Alberta never Calgary. Great bunch of talented folk. They'll be at the WWC in August.

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  27. I always learning so much from Phyllis' posts. Thanks so much.

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  28. This is the first time I've seen Kindle Words and that's really cool with the URL shortening.

    I've seen Wattpad links around, but haven't had a chance to look around the website.

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    1. I haven't either, Medeia. But I'm thinking I should take a closer look. Works for Phyllis. Thanks for dropping by.

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  29. Thanks for the info on URL shortening and a great informative post.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Kelly. Have a great day.

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  30. Hi Joylene, thanks for letting us know about the shortened URL. I used to always wonder how I would be able to fit in the long links when I was adding the Amazon links for books on my blog. I wasn't very familiar with Kindle Worlds, so thanks for the info on that.

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    1. You're most welcome, Rachna. Thank you for visiting my blog.

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  31. Very interesting stuff! I love shortened URLs. :D

    I hope you had a great weekend!

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  32. I didn't realise Amazon was offering those cool urls. Great to know!

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Thank you for visiting my blog. Please come in and sit for while. We will talk about writing. We will share our dreams. Then I will serve tea and cookies. Home made and Gluten Free.