Amazon has come out with many new tools and programs for authors and publishers the last few years. There are now whisperings of a new program that merges the benefits of traditional publishing, crowdsourcing and the social abilities of the Internet. This program is so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet, but many are referring to it as “Amazon Crowdsourcing” and other, similar titles.
What is It?
The truth is that no one really knows what this crowdsourcing program is because Amazon has been very tight-lipped about the whole thing. While they have spilled a few beans, there is still a lot to wonder about. The main premise is this: authors will be allowed to upload a new book or cover. The book cannot be published, so it has to be a fresh piece of work.
A few days after being uploaded, a few pages will be available to readers so that they can see what the book is about and to get a sense of whether they would like it or not. These readers are then able to vote on their favorite books.So, what happens to these books? Those that are gaining the most votes will be reviewed by a team of professional publishers for the reward of being published.
There is also an incentive for readers and voters. If you vote on a book that is published, then you will receive a free copy just before the book is published.
As stated above, this program really merges traditional publishing and the Internet’s abilities. It uses the Internet by exposing many people to your book and allowing them to vote on it. The program takes from traditional publishing by offering you all of the benefits of going through a publishing house. Books that are selected will receive a $1,500 advance and 50% of all royalties. However, the terms are very relaxed when compared to a traditional publisher.
For example, you can revert the rights back to you for any unpublished language or format (let’s say a Korean audiobook of your novel) after two years. Speaking of formats, your book will be published as an ebook, print book and audiobook. If your book doesn’t gain $5,000 in royalties within five years, then you can request to have the rights transferred back to you.
Amazon or Kindle?
Since Amazon’s Kindle program is a published giant for indie authors, you might expect this program to be an extension of Kindle, or even part of Amazon itself. While this might change when the program is officially released, the program is currently a standalone entity. It doesn’t belong to Kindle, even though the program involves ebook publishing.
While this might make it harder for Amazon to send readers to the website for voting, it also allows them to market the website to a specific demographic. It also makes sense because ebook publishing is only part of the equation. But, until the program is actually released and running, it’s hard to tell if this is a good or bad decision on Amazon’s part.
Joining the Fray
Perhaps the major question is whether or not you should join the program when it’s released. The truth is that there really isn’t any downside to participating. The only drawback, and it’s a small one, is that the book you upload has to be an unpublished piece. You can always make the best of it by putting your book up first to see if it will gain any votes, and then upload it to Kindle if you don’t have any luck.
Taking advantage of the first few days might work in your favor since there won’t be as much competition, so consider making a book that people will find interesting. Who knows, you might get a publishing deal through Amazon that can launch your career as a professional author.
Amazon is always trying to grow and satisfy its long list of customers. This new program allows them to look for talent while giving authors the ability to get published in various formats. The barrier of entry sounds lower than regular publishing, and you’ll even gain a good advance as well.
You’ve probably heard of the Young Adult genre, but the New Adult genre has been incredibly popular the last few years. It’s been touched by certain books like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray (which, like it or not, were financial successes), and it’s all the rage on Kindle. If you’d like to publish in this genre, here are a few highlights of what’s included.
What is New Adult?
New Adult features characters that are slightly older, and many of the stories have teens that are transitioning into adulthood. It touches on the problems of going from youth to post-adolescence, but there’s one other thing that it really features: sex.
This genre often has fairly explicit sex scenes, and it’s one of the defining aspects of New Adult. It’s not to the point of being gratuitous, but the majority of these books offers a few scenes to keep readers hooked. The focus is still on character and plot, and it looks at what it means to grow up.
This means that most of the characters aren’t “true” adults (as we commonly see in real life). They still have scraps of childhood in them and they tend to slack, play video games and don’t have “grown-up” jobs. You’ve probably seen various stories like this, but now it’s become its own genre.
In many ways, this is basically the same as the existing genre “contemporary romance fiction.” However, that’s just a subset of the romance genre, and tends to gravitate more towards strict romance and love. New Adult features the problems of growing up more often, even though many of the stories are romantic. It’s like comparing horror romance to a romantic horror.
At the same time, this genre is slow to expand outside the world of self-publishing. Many publishing houses have been unwilling to adopt new genres, citing their popularity as a flash in the pan that will fizzle out in a few months. The truth is that New Adult is starting to gain some shelf space, though it’s often in corners and away from the major sellers. However, since 2012, some publishing houses are starting to produce and market this genre.
While the offline world has been cold to New Adult, the online world is brimming with sales and opportunity. Here’s how to get yourself a spot in this new genre.
Demographic and Buying Behaviors
As you can probably guess, the primary demographic is New Adult is women. Most of these readers are 18 to 25 years old, and their age works perfectly with the growth of this genre and its primary marketplace. These are readers who are more accepting of technology. Many of them have tablets and smartphones that they use to read novels on a daily basis.
These readers are looking for books that show them that most adults don’t have it together, while at the same time satisfying some fantasies. The readers are often the same as the protagonists, being either in high school or college and going through similar situations of trying to figure out their life and where they are going.
It’s hard to say if this genre is just a fad or not, but it’s become a growing force on Kindle and other online outlets.
New Adult is a subset of Young Adult that features what young adults are really going through and has more sex than your average story. Just remember to focus on relatability and plot while targeting younger female readers are that buying digital books.
The Fire Phone is Amazon’s newest device on the market. Unlike most other Amazon devices that were only meant for ebooks or as e-readers with tablet capabilities, the Fire Phone is a full phone made with premium hardware.
While the specs are great and it challenges both the Android and iPhone market, let’s look specifically at one of its most interesting, and controversial, features: Firefly. Many are saying that this feature has the ability to destroy retail stores, but it might be what’s needed to significantly increase ebook sales.
What is Firefly?
What is the Firefly feature? This is a unique feature that allows the phone to check nearly any product for its Amazon comparison. Imagine going into a store and trying on a pair of pants. You’ll find the best pair in the store, but you’ll find the best price with the phone. That’s because Firefly allows you to scan the barcode and see if it’s cheaper on Amazon (which it will be 99% of the time).
Now, there have been many barcode scanners, but Firefly goes a few steps further than your conventional comparison shopping app. First of all, it tells you the price on Amazon, not anywhere else. Also, it can do more than scan barcodes. Let’s say you see an awesome movie scene, but you don’t know what movie it’s from. Firefly can find out for you. Don’t know the name of that song? Firefly can find it for you.
It’s the ultimate comparison shopping and media discovery app because not only does it bring people directly into Amazon, but they can quickly find new products and buy new things that they wouldn’t have before. This turns interest quickly from “want it” to “got it” because products are now just a click away, and they don’t even need to worry about shipping times if it’s a song or movie.
As you probably noticed above, Firefly isn’t made specifically for books. Yes, consumers can go into bookstores and scan books for cheaper prices, but this won’t specifically help them find new books. So, how does this help authors? More Amazon customers can easily translate into new Kindle readers. Books are typically significantly cheaper on Amazon, and it’s easy to find new books through their website.
As people come to Amazon more and more, there is a good chance that a fair percentage of them will check out the Kindle listings, which can lead to better sales. This is especially true for people looking for media because they’re already interested in being entertained, so it’s just a small jump to the Kindle store to see what’s available. Not only that, but the Fire Phone comes with all the Kindle bells and whistles, which is expected to prompt people to at least try the Kindle store.
While the Fire Phone has the potential to make ebook sales explode, it’s still just potential. Yes, it will probably lead to much bigger sales for Amazon when it comes to movies, music and overall products, but nothing guarantees more ebook sales. It’s likely that authors will see more traffic, but the actual number of new sales is too hard to decipher at the moment since the Fire Phone is still very new. Many authors are rooting for the Fire Phone and its potential, but you’ll have to wait to see if there are any real benefits for authors.
There’s also the problem of usability. Some reviewers are saying that Firefly is an interesting feature, but not really a useful one. There are already barcode scanners, and it’s hard to say how many new people will flock to Amazon if they already know that Amazon offers low prices. However, the feature is built with the intention of building the Amazon fan base, and Amazon has usually been good when it comes to growing its expansive list of customers.
The Fire Phone Firefly feature really might be the death knell for brick-and-mortar stores because it makes every storefront a potential Amazon storefront since customers can try out new products before buying them on Amazon for cheaper. But, does this mean that it will benefit authors? With Kindle Unlimited and the likelihood of new customers trying out Kindle books, there is a high possibility that ebook sales will increase, but it’s hard to say if the effect will be long-term, or if it will even be significant for authors. At the same time, getting ready to do some heavy marketing to pull away from the pack might be your best bet for getting these new Amazon customers.