Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | August 21, 2011

Kindle Singles Thoughts?

I’m planning to publish several short, linked works as a series on Kindle Singles. I’ve been looking at the offerings on Amazon’s website and they seem to range from very short to novella length.

Some of the reviewers complain about a forty-page Kindle Single. Others accept the fact that a Single will be a short piece of work the reader may finish in one sitting. Charging $.99 for a single seems to bother no one. Coffee costs more than that, especially at Starbucks.

Writers, I’d like to get your input in the form of comments on this blog. I’ll send Twitter readers to read the comments as well, so give your comments some thought.

Thanks in advance.

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Responses

  1. I think that what they offer seems fair, since they are, after all, Kindle Singles. While it would be assumed that Kindle Singles would tailor to full-length novels and such, I think what they’re going for are shorter pieces in which to introduce people to new and already known authors. This gives Amazon a chance to work with authors so that they can showcase their work and offer it to a larger audience.

    • Thanks for the input. I’ll be hoping for more.

  2. I’m a HUGE Jack Reacher fan and just downloaded and read Lee Child’s 40-page Reacher-biographical short story Second Son. Amazon charged $1.99 for it and I’m completely satisfied with what I received for 2 bucks.

    I have a list of 20 or so authors who I admire and enjoy at a level that pre-ordering and then purchasing their newest hot-off-the-presses novels has become my habit. To pay a buck or two for an interim micro-dose of these authors’ talents is well worth it for me. 

    I seriously considered charging 99¢ for my short stories on http://www.talesofmybrother.com, but opted to go the gratis route instead simply because I wish to build a fan base. Perhaps some day my 5,000 word missives will be worth that buck. Not yet, though.

    Glenn

    • Me, too. Read it this morning. It was a Single that someone complained about because it was short. I thought it was excellent, but then, I’m a Reacher fan, too.

    • Read it this AM. Completely enjoyed it, but it was one of those someone complained about because it was short.

  3. I think in the description, reiterate that it is a single, so many words, approximately so many pages. $0.99 for that up front description so they can’t say they didn’t know it would be short should cover you, but you’ll always have people that complain.

    • Good point. Although ebooks don’t have “pages” as such, readers should be aware of the approximate length. Thanks

  4. I see nothing wrong with the “singles” approach, provided that: 1) The length of the offering is made clear to the buyer; and 2) The author can produce a “single” product that appeals to readers. I don’t think it is a format I could make use of for myself. But if it works for others….go for it!

    • Agree. Most of the complaints I’ve seen were because those who bought the single were unhappy with the short length.

  5. Here is the criteria from their site. They should publicize that more so people know they can get a story of 5,000 words. You also get 70% royalty even if under $2.99 which is nice. I would definitely submit my next work to them but it is 40,000+ words. Oh well.

    Kindle Singles Criteria

    • Length: 5,000 to 30,000 words
    • List price: $0.99 to $4.99
    • Original work, not previously published in other formats or publications
    • Self-contained work, not chapters excerpted from a longer work
    • Not published on any public website in its entirety
    • We are currently not accepting how-to manuals, public domain works, reference books, travel guides, or children’s books.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=amb_link_355410882_1?ie=UTF8&docId=1000700491&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=right-10&pf_rd_r=1CV2SK9GD3EV9Z4WS5DZ&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_p=1310263082&pf_rd_i=2486013011

  6. I have purchased some ‘singles’ and enjoyed. I did know they were just that and it certainly is cheaper that buying a print magazine to read one article or story. I can see where some would be coming to think that a .99 kindle download would be a full length novel as so many great books now are being sold at that price. I say, just make sure the length is as advertized.

    • Hi. I think that, as long as there’s full disclosure, a reader won’t feel robbed of his/her $.99.

  7. I like the idea of singles for a buck. To me it ushers into the 21st Century e-reader world a craft revival of the lost dime novels and magazine short stories. It’s win-win – authors can publish and sell in this venue, and readers can once again enjoy them, especially serials.

    • Phil, I’m guessing that there’ll be a number of singles. I plan to offer complete stories, linked in a series.

  8. I have a bunch of .99 cent short stories. Whats the difference between those and a “Kindle Single?”

    • Don’t know that there is a difference. Some of the Singles are actually short stories. Some are really novellas.

  9. I think it’s just the Amazon name for a short story.

    Marketing . . .

    • Thanks, it’s a great place to put short stories and collections of poetry. People who spend countless hours on their art should have a marketplace.

  10. I think .99 is a great price for short stories, novellas and introductory novels for newer authors. I sell my short story, THE RUMBLIN, for .99 and often give it away so readers can taste of what I’m cookin’. That’s what I think, Thomas. Hope that helps.

    Incidentally, you can always get a free copy of my short suspense for free at The Writing Bomb
    http://www.thewritingbomb.blogspot.com

    • Thanks, Jeff. You’re right. The Singles are a terrific place for readers to get samples of a writer’s craft without a long commitment of time or a large commitment of money. Thanks.

  11. I think it’s a good idea. Short writing, whether it be a short story or a novella, etc. is an art form. I feel that short writing is much more difficult than a full-length manuscript.

    The price is good, and it’s like a sampler of the writer’s work.

    I would buy it. And, I will.

    • I agree, it’s like an appetizer in some respects. You have a point about length, too. It may be harder for a writer to complete a satisfying short story than a much longer manuscript.

  12. In the past few weeks, I have read several Kindle singles. Price was set at either 99 cents or free. I found the stories of high quality and I would recommend them to others.

    Do I find a negative side to Kindle singles? Yes. If it is not clear to me that it is a short short, the sudden awareness that I’m reaching the end is frustrating. If I am aware of the length, and then the story proves exceptional, again the fast read frustrates me.

    But how many authors are submitting singles as a forerunner to their novels?

    If I want to read a sample of an author’s work to get a feel for their writing style before committing to a purchase, Amazon and Smashwords, etc. have made that a convenient option. I don’t have the ability or inclination to read every novel written by every author, even if their entire back list is offered for 99 cents each. What that means (to me) is that if I read a short story/novella by an author, chances are I won’t then read their novel any time in the near future as I will move on to another author in my TBR list. (Even Stephen King, James Lee Burke, and Henning Mankell have to wait their turn.)

    • Thanks for a clear, reasoned comment. Your comment regarding the shock a reader may feel when the run out of story earlier than expected.
      Most comments have spoken to the need to clearly state the length of the piece. Samples are great, but if one can read a self-contained story
      before buying a book, then he/she will have a better idea about how the author handles the beginning, middle and end.

  13. Seems an interesting idea. Definitely worth looking into.

    • I’m looking into it for a series of novellas.

  14. wondering if you’ve checked out echook ? have a look – it might just be what you’re looking for… regards


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