Kindle Singles and Kindle Serials

I’ve been meaning to write a post about these two opportunities for some time now. Because it believe them to be valid option for most writers. But then again, some people think Amazon’s the devil or something, so I wasn’t sure how people would react.

Basically Kindle Serials are serialized stories. When you buy a Kindle Serial, you receive all existing episodes, followed by the next installments. It’s a pretty cool idea which tries to capitalize on a very old idea. Sean Platt and David Wright, the authors of Yesterday’s Gone are writing such a serial, Z 2134.

The cool thing about Kindle Serials is that anyone can submit a previously unpublished story. You just send an email to kindleserials@amazon.com, telling them about your book (so you need a pitch), and why do you think it would work as serialized fiction. The also need to know how many episodes you reckon it will take to tell the story, and an estimated final word count. You also have too include a minimum of two episodes in Word format.

They don’t say how long those episodes should be, but they do state that they should be of a satisfactory length… I guess it means they should be long enough to hook the reader, but not long enough to bore him to death.

You also have to include a one page synopsis of your book and a one page bio. And you’re set. You don’t even have to have a completed manuscript… just an idea and two completed episodes.

Kindle Singles, on the other hand, is a great option for any self-published book or even a previously unpublished manuscript, with a total word count of 30.000 words. They accept fiction, poetry, essays, memoirs, and a bunch of other stuff. I’m not going to detail the submission process here (you can read it on Amazon.com).

Instead I’m going to say that they offer a 70% royalty rate as long as you price your book below or at $4.99. Yes, even if you price it below $2.99, you still get a 70% royalty rate. And then there’s that other part… about Amazon promoting your book. All Kindle Singles get showcased here. And I suppose they get promoted through various other methods, but the thing is that they really do boost sales.

These are two of the alternatives to plain old self-publishing. I believe they’re not as complicated or restrictive as trying out the traditional route, while still requiring someone else to consider your stuff “good.” Or commercial, or something.

Anyone tried submitting to one of these two outlets?

***

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43 comments on “Kindle Singles and Kindle Serials

  1. win says:

    Reblogged this on I WIN.

  2. Dave Higgins says:

    Thank you for sharing this; I might well take advantage.

    I will sound a note of caution about starting to publish a serial before it is complete. I am currently publishing a serial and have discovered how much opportunity to go back and make the plot behave I have lost compared to the usual drafting process; while I can write new exciting sub-plots as I go along, I am constrained in later chapters by published events. Overall I feel it would be a more comfortable experience for planners rather than pantsers.

  3. Never fear to write what you believe – it's really all we have as writers.

  4. redpeffer says:

    Thanks Cristian, I had never heard of this option before. I'm always open to new ideas, whether it involves the devil or not!

  5. chrissyg22 says:

    thank you Cristian! very useful info.

  6. Marcia says:

    I have been seriously considering an ebook as the way to go when I finish my novel. Since 30,000 words seems shorter than most novels, I'm guessing that Kindle Singles are designed for short stories or novellas? I can't see any reason why new writers, especially, shouldn't take advantage of this type of venue for publishing. It seems to me it would give a budding author a chance to test the market, without a great deal of hassle. And ebooks are fast becoming a really acceptable alternative to print.

    From my own experience, I have almost as many books on my Kindle as I do in my library, though I will never give up print books entirely. But the convenience factor, speed of access, and reduced prices are big draws for me.

    I'll be very interested in seeing what others have to say about Singles and Serials, too. Great post!

  7. So loving this. I have written one book in editing stage with the editors and currently finishing a second which will be an E-book, this article is sure a timely one for me. Please, Cristian how can I produce an E-book by myself? Any computer software to do that? Pleaseeeeeeee

  8. vanbraman says:

    Made me think of Charles Dickens. Most of his books were first published as serials. To me, this is a great opportunity that has been lost over the ages. Could you imagine the following a serial by a well known author could have? I think the closest we have come to this in the recent past is the Stephen King – Green Mile series.

  9. terriedominguez says:

    Thanks for this information Christian! I might look more into the singles one day. Need to get the courage up to give it a shot. :)

  10. M. L. Doyle says:

    I'm noticing that lots of traditionally published authors are writing singles so there must be something to them. Steven King, Dean Koontz, Amy Tan all of singles out there. I'm working on a series of singles (not a seriel) that I plan to publish next year. The plan is to release them one a month then publish them again as an omnibus. It will be interesting to see if the single sales help boost sales of other work.

  11. LondonS says:

    I absolutely love this idea! Great for us NaNoWriMo participants! :-) Wonder if they're offering this on Amazon UK… will have to check!

  12. Thanks Cristian, This is great information! You have just opened a new amazon to me.

  13. Thank you for this exceptionally useful information

  14. Jennwith2ns says:

    I JUST learned about (modern-day) serials last week. I think it's awesome and will certainly check it out further.

  15. alittlelifeinphotogr says:

    i´m amazed when reading something like a very long dickens or balzac to realize it came out in serial form. a very interesting notion. what´s that old saying, necessity is the mother of invention? i would think that would help parent a novel right quick.

  16. meridabill says:

    Gracias, mi amigo.

  17. I had to laugh when I read what you wrote about people thinking Amazon is the devil. And I cannot say that I don't have similar feelings, they are a huge company that sells nearly anything, and is comprable to Walmart (which I am currently, proudly boycotting).

    But on to the subject of self-publication. It's great to know there's options out there, and while I'm still trying for the traditional route of publication, it's comforting to know I should still be able to get my stories out there on my own. Thanks for the info.

  18. hakesplace says:

    Reblogged this on Welcome to Hakes' Virtual Cafe and commented:
    Today's Winner for "Writing" Category! If you have not already, please do visit his blog as it is one of the most informative in addition to the wonderful books written and available for purchase. Click on over there, and please help our fellow blogger with his cause, which will benefit many artists, hopefully not only young but old also. ;)

  19. reikiheidi says:

    Thanks for sharing, really useful to know.

  20. tanya grove says:

    I am one of those people who tried to avoid Amazon because of their whole evil empire vibe, but I've scaled back my boycott—I won't buy books from them, but I suppose that doesn't mean I couldn't sell them…Thanks for presenting the options, Christian.

  21. Sherri says:

    I did not know about the serials aspect. I'll have to look into that. I have been toying with the idea of a single however, the reason being to try to build a readership for my other novels. Thanks for the info!

  22. notmyyearoff says:

    Ooh I like the 70% royalty thing!

  23. aleanansidhe says:

    Nice. Thanks for posting.

  24. Piscis says:

    It's interesting to see (non-graphical) serialized fiction making a comeback. It's such a different experience to write like that, forsaking the ability to go back and change things but gaining the momentum of metered exposure.

    I hadn't heard of the singles. Sounds like a neat route to go for not-quite-so-short stories. I am intrigued.

  25. David Ramos says:

    I'm looking into publishing on the Kindle next month. It looks like a straight forward way to get started, especially for new authors like myself. Guess I'll let you know how it works out!

  26. kingmidget says:

    I looked into Kindle Singles and it's pretty clear to me that they only accept authors into that program who are already established. I wish it weren't so, but they don't make it available to just anybody.

  27. kingmidget says:

    I forgot to add … the serialized program is something I would be very interested in. I've tried to figure out how to make an idea work like that using a blog or some other web program. It could be a very interesting way to try to monetize my work.

  28. M.C. James says:

    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Amber Dane says:

    Knew about the serials,appreciate the share on the singles.Thanks!

  30. Thanks for the info. I'm like a sponge, trying to absorb as much as I can. Tell me. If I have a full length book, would it be advantageous to put out a Kindle Single first or simultaneously?

    And your covers are interesting. Who designed them?

  31. Abraham says:

    Hi

    You can read Cristian's existing posts about self-publishing, and/or visit smashwords.com

  32. Q. says:

    That's pretty good to know, Christian. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Rose Chimera says:

    Thanks for the information here about serials. I think Amazon is "da bomb" by the way. lol I have seen these serials but was unsure what they were. I know now thanks to this blog.

  34. Yoshiko says:

    Hmm. Haven't yet. I am still considering whether to do it.

  35. This is the first I've heard of it; a friend sent me the link for this one.

    Interesting concept; something I'll have to give some thought to. Thanks, Cristian!

  36. grafixp2012 says:

    First I don't believe you should be concerned about how people will react. Plus there's nothing better than stirring the pot a bit is there? I'm not a big e-reader fan although I think it has something to do with my age (still love those physical books) but I have accepted them as my book hit Amazon/Kindle before anything else. The serial thing is, I think, worth consideration or at least further exploration. Thank you.

    Mike

  37. My older brother published his first book as a Kindle single on Amazon.com. There were no costs to get it published, outside of the time and effort he put put in to format it, and as Christian said, he gets 70% of every book sold. It seems like a great option, especially for a guy like my bro whose material is not exactly "commercial."

  38. Thank you for the ideas. I've thinking of trying this, but didn't know about the serials.

  39. beccakinla says:

    I've written a serial before, as well, and you DO have to be a planner. But writing the whole thing ahead of time isn't necessary. Each chapter should be loosely outlined from the beginning, the plot arc planned out, but while you need to be prepared to turn each episode in on-time, it's not necessary to have the whole serial completed before securing the job/submitting.

    Outlining and doing lots of background work in advance will help save you from being stuck someplace you don't want to be 15 episodes in.

  40. jlee5879 says:

    This is great to know about. Thank you.

  41. Am getting ready to publish my first book soon, so will give Kindle Singles a try! Thanks for the valuable information.

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