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 Fun Friday and Saturday News and Promo have been replaced by Friday News and Promo.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 Amazon.com 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 slipp.in 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 pzmiller@slipp.in – 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 www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com


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. 

92 comments :

  1. I'm really curious to see how the unlimited plays out over the next couple of months. The first month members have it for free, but like you said, it does open the door for some of us.

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    1. I hope it works and it moves into Canada soon. Thanks TB.

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  2. Interesting. I've been wondering how all of that works.

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    1. So glad you stopped b, T. Have a great day.

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  3. I'm optimistic about Kindle Unlimited for the reasons stated above. I make far more for each borrow than I do on each sale. The question is whether the pay out for borrows will decline as borrowing numbers increase. SLIPP sounds interesting. Thanks for the intro.

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    1. Glad it's working for you, Jeff. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I'll have to check out Slipp. Sadly I'm too slow a reader to benefit from that side of Kindle Unlimited.

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    1. Gee I wonder why you have no time left, Alex. Probably because you work harder than anyone I know.

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  5. SLIPP sounds like it could be a really good promotional tool!
    Phyllis is really ahead of the pack when it comes to social media!

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    1. I know, isn't she awesome! Thanks, Michelle.

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    2. I knew I forgot something.
      Thank you for co-hosting IWSG this month!

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  6. This sounds so interesting. I'm going to check this out.

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    1. Excellent, Susan. Hope to hear what you think of it some day.

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  7. That does sound interesting! I'm not sure I'm sold on Kindle Unlimited yet, because I don't want to pay extra money a month, but it is a good concept!

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    1. We don't have the option here in Canada as yet, so it's interesting to see what others are discovering. Maybe it's something for the near future. Thanks, Krista.

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  8. Without the big five publishers involved in Kindle Unlimited though, it's going to struggle at first. So many have already signed up for Oyster.

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    1. Oyster? Now that's one I didn't know about. Thanks, Diane!

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  9. Depends on how much the pay out if I like Kindle Unlimited or not, but I do like that the dwl's count as verified and up the stats of a book

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    1. That's good to hear, Pat. Thanks for visiting.

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  10. Those Slipps look really cool. I might have to check them out. Thanks for the info!

    Loni

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  11. Kindle Unlimited. Slipp. arggg! Even more tools to work with. Now my insecurities are rising again. How can I keep up with all this stuff? Thanks for the interview.

    And thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month.

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    1. It takes time to grasp all this new stuff, Ken. When you're ready. And thanks yourself.

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  12. Thank you for all of this great info. I've been curious of Kindle Unlimited.

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  13. I'm not so sure about Kindle Unlimited. I really don't read as much (or as fast) as I'd like, so I probably won't try it.

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  14. I took the #kindleunlimited 30 day free trial and downloaded a lot of my friends' books. I want to read all of them, but I couldn't afford to buy all of them. This offer gave a chance to support more writers. I'm not sure I'll stay with the program, but I do see how it could benefit authors.

    Thanks for the SLIPP information. As soon as I have some time, I'll investigate.

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    1. I'm hoping to try it out this winter. Thanks, Cheryl.

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  15. I've heard of this but haven't tried it. Sounds interesting though. Thanks for the information.

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  16. Been reading a lot about KU lately. Would be interesting to see how the numbers play out.

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    1. I agree. I'm waiting for it to cross the border. Thanks, Caffe.

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  17. Thanks SO much for writing about this information. Hadn't heard of Slipp, but had of KU. Hopefully I'll be needing it very soon. Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. And thanks for sharing Patty Griffin's song.

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  18. I'd rather just go to the library. :)
    I know, some books I can't get there.
    But, I'm sure that will change too.
    Informative post.
    Thanks for co-hosting.
    Heather

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    1. Heather, you find some awesome stuff at the library. One of my favourite places.

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  19. I have one book on Kindle Select, but I didn't choose that for the other book. Since I'm not making any sales from Kobo or Nook on the other book, I might as well keep the first book on Kindle Select for another 90 days to see if KU does anything to help with sales.

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  20. Oh my gosh, this is such a great informative post! Thank you so much. You answered some questions for me. I'm stuck in KDP at the moment, didn't cancel it on time, and in turn I'm in KU. I'm curious to see how it affects my sales/royalties if at all.

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    1. Glad to hear you enjoyed the post, SK. Hope your sales rise rise rise.

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  21. What a helpful post! Full of great information! This is my first time hearing of SLIPPS! Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, DMS. Thanks for visiting!

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  22. This is the best explanation I have read for KU, Thank you! As a reader I think I like it and your explanation helped me see it may be a benefit to authors as well.
    Thank you for co-hosting too.
    I am looking forward to looking into Slipps
    http://www.doreenmcgettigan.com

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    1. Thanks for that, Doreen. I'm so glad it was helpful. Let me know how it goes, okay? Happy IWSG.

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  23. Hi PZM! I love how you're always giving great advice and doing your best to help authors - and goodness knows we need all the help we can get. ;)

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  24. Thanks for the information Joylene. It definitely gives me something to think about for the future. SLIPPs sounds interesting. I had not heard of that. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you the Best,
    Juneta at Writer's Gambit

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    1. It's all because of my dear guest, Phyllis Zimbler Miller, Juneta. She's on top of what's happening before it happens. Thanks.

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  25. Hi Joylene, wow, some great information in your post. I'll have to subscribe!
    Thanks :-)

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  26. Great information. I suspect that Amazon is going to become a FORCE in book publishing/sales, whether the Big 5 (it is five now, right?) like it or not. Amazon is a monster.

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    1. Scary thought when one company has that much power. Thanks, Robin. Great post on your blog, btw.

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  27. great interview and thanks so much for hosting ISWG !!!

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  28. Thank you for the breakdown between KLL and KU. That was very helpful!

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    1. Sara, Phyllis still can't comment on this blog, but she's reading everyone's comments. Thanks!

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  29. Very interesting - both topics!

    I don't subscribe to KU, but I did go Select, so my book is available through it and KOLL. It's been a good decision so far.

    Joylene, I came by this morning, but you post wasn't up yet, so now I'm back. ;)

    Thanks for co-hosting!
    IWSG #184 until Alex culls the list again.

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    1. Melissa, I live on the west coast. Even if I post at 6:30 in the morning it's already 9:30 on the east coast. I'm always late. Thanks for coming by.

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  30. Wow so much really useful information here, I am bookmarking this page for later, when I finish my draft and hopefully get it published.

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  31. Wow, you've done a ton of research. I don't even own an e-reader. I think ebooks are great for new, self-pub, and indie authors.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month!
    Play off the Page

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    1. Thanks, Mary! I tried to leave a message on your blog, but it said I was a spammer. I'm not!

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  32. Thanks for the info, and thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. You're very welcome. Have a great weekend.

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  33. Wow! I didn't know all of that about KU. I"m glad I was able to read your post. I also didn't know about slipp. That's really neat--and I love the mobile approach as I handle most of my writing related things from my smartphone, when I can. It's just easier that way.

    Fantastic post--and very easy to understand. Thanks!

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    1. It's so nice to meet you, Sara. Thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoyed the post. Phyllis is my secret weapon. Happy IWSG.

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  34. Thanks for co-hosting and for the thoughtful commentary about KU. I've heard less than positive questions about it from some heavy hitters in self-publishing, authors who normally are big supporters of Amazon. I'm kind of waiting to see what manifests. If it's good for small authors, then I'm for it.

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    1. Makes sense, Kim. I think a lot of writers are doing the same. I'm lucky. I have Phyllis looking at these projects thoroughly and making sense of them for me.

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  35. I got the email about KU, but didn't really think much about it. I heard some people were not happy about it, but whatever, that seems to happen with everything new. Some people just don't like the new thing, but then they try it and it's awesome.

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    1. I think you're right, Patricia. With everything it takes time to iron out the glitches. Thanks for visiting.

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  36. I didn't know all those details, but here's hoping it will help indie authors. Thanks for co-hosting today, Joylene! :)

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Christine. Have a wonderful weekend.

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  37. Great information you've included in this post. I'm definitely saving it. It's been wonderful co-hosting with you this month. Have a great evening! Lily Eva

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    1. Thanks so much, Lily Eva. And thanks for co-hosting.

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  38. Interesting details about Kindle Unlimited, especially payment to the authors.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Lynda. Have a great weekend.

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  39. Thanks for co-hosting this month and for the great advice.

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  40. Thanks for co-hosting this month. You really shined a light on the whole KU thing and I love the idea of Slipps. I'll have to check that out.

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    1. Thanks so much for always visiting my blog, Toinette. You're a darling.

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  41. You offer some good advice and information especially for people who know nothing about these things (like me:)). I like that some of the authors get paid

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    1. Hi Birgit. Thanks for visiting. And OMG your IWSG blog was a hoot!!!

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  42. Thanks for posting this information. I'm with Birgit's comment above: I know NOTHING about these things. Marketing scares the peas out of me and I don't have a final edit to worry about marketing (yet). Thanks for co-hosting the IWSG this month :) ~Jen

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jennifer. I love co-hosting. Never get tired of it.

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  43. Great post! I'm trying Kindle Unlimited at the end of the month. :) This is how I explained it to my readers: http://www.carrieabutler.com/no-kindle-no-problem.html

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    1. Thanks for the link, Carrie. I'll check it out.

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  44. I had heard of Kindle Unlimited but didn't know what it was until this post :)

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    1. Well, then I'm really glad you stopped by. Thanks~!

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  45. Wow. Such great information. I'm trying KU as well, and we'll see how it goes. Going to have to check out that phone app. Very cool.

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  46. Sounds good. Will check this out. Thanks for the info! And thanks for dropping by at my blog!

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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.