Self Publishing Science Fiction On Kindle

Earlier this year I set out to write a Science Fiction epic that I'd been thinking about for years. But a funny thing happened when I got around 20,000 words into it - another book interrupted. It was the last thing I expected to happen, to be working four or five hours a day on a book and be unable to resist the idea of an unrelated book intruding to the point that I had to stop what I was doing and write it.

I think the driving force was that the interrupting book, also science fiction, is a satire. In fact, it's a double satire, turning the standard zombie narrative on its head while holding the economic policies of the Federal Reserve bank up to ridicule. I ended up titling the book, "Zombie Master: You Can't Fight The Fed." It's available on Amazon Kindle for $0.99

I wish that Amazon would let me make the book permanently free, because I gave away nearly 2,000 copies during the five free promotional days Amazon allows authors who join the Select program. To make the book permanently free, I would have to get it into Barnes&Noble or Apple for free and hope that Amazon price matches. The easiest way to do this is to sign up with one of the services that publish your eBook through multiple platforms, but I've always had a bit of a knee-jerk reaction to using middlemen, and for just the one title, I'm not super enthusiastic to go through the process of setting up with Apple myself. I'm not even sure I could sign their contract.

So for the time being, I'll see how the book does at $0.99, and if I get enough positive feedback to write a sequel, I'll push to keep the first one free. Of course, Amazon might come up with a permanently free program by then. I think the reason they don't do it now is to avoid having people flood their catalog with promotional spam.

May KOLL Share Drops For Amazon Select Self Publishers

The May 2012 payout to self publishers participating in the Select program for the Kindle Owners Lending Library dropped from $2.48 per borrow in April to $$2.26 in May. I wasn't particularly surprised since the number of eBooks borrowed during the month rose unexpectedly, after falling steadily since the program was introduced.

I don't know if this means that Amazon sold a whole bunch of new Kindles and Kindle Fires in April, perhaps Mother's Day presents, or if it's a natural rhythm nobody has spotted yet since the select program only began in December of last year.

As I wrote in my current self publishing blog this week, the next month will be a real test for Select as the Harry Potter books are added to KOLL. But no point repeating myself.

Issues Unique To Writing Science Fiction

I've been struggling with some elements of a science fiction novel I'm writing, and I thought I would talk about it on this old blog, rather than on my current self publishing blog.

One of the most annoying features of science fiction is when the author does an information dump to get readers up to speed on the facts and rules of the universe. The way that good authors have always avoided that is to allow the worlds to reveal themselves, and when explanations are needed, to let the characters explain them.

But I've run into an annoying problem with units of measure. My universe does not have any ties to modern humanity, at least not for several hundred years, which means no metric system and no British measurements. I'm perfectly happy using light years or light seconds in space, but I don't want to describe a distance as being ten kilometers or ten miles, or a height being 6' 6" or two meters. The people have no way of knowing these measurement units exist and they certainly wouldn't have developed them independently.

I'm currently trying to decide between an arbitrary system that will require full explanation at some point and a system evolved from some physical characteristics, such as cubits and feet once were. But it bothers me that I can't think of any popular science fiction books that have done this. Perhaps that's because many of them are set in the far future and simply adopt the metric system, or maybe I just haven't noticed.