Amazon’s Kindle in Motion

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If you haven’t heard of Kindle in Motion (KiM) yet, it’s the newest bit of technology introduced by Amazon. KiM includes art, animation, and/or video to assist in the storytelling of a book. In the select novels that have been incorporated into KiM, the art and animation have been used for the fairy tale and classical retellings while video (using actors) are used more for the contemporary books. KiM is compatible with most devices (phones, tablets, and eReaders) and there is an option to turn off the “motion.”

To grasp an idea of what Amazon has invested in, I chose to read one of the titles- The Protectors by Alison Stine. This book, based on magic realism, includes all forms of interaction incorporated with Kindle in Motion (art, animation and video). I purchased the book for my iPhone but downloaded the book onto an iPad to compare the two reading platforms. Between these two devices, the only difference was the size of the screen. With the phone edition, some of the lettering had been squeezed into the format to the slightest extent. For the tablet format, everything was spaced evenly and the quality of the motion content was better.

As a consumer, the best part about KiM is there isn’t an additional charge to activate the motion in the book. If the technology isn’t your cup of tea, switch it off and return to the basic reading format. Depending on which is purchased, there are countless images that are incorporated into the novel. In Stine’s book, the graffiti aspect of the plot is assisted with the images, adding to the aesthetic.

 

If you want to create more stimulation and interaction with your readers, an author may want to consider expanding into KiM. It’s new technology, making it appealing to readers, even some who may not enjoy reading altogether. The downfall about this new interactive technology is the fact that it is so new. With nearly a year under their belt and very few original titles incorporated, it may take some time before it becomes popular. One of the better aspects of “motion” is the “full-bleed” format. This allows for there not to be forced margins.

So, how does this all relate to you as an author? It can potentially make your book more aesthetically appealing to readers, perhaps bringing some new readers to you simply for the fact that they want to give KiM a try. It might also gain you some extra revenue from people who don’t normally read books or from people who have trouble reading. Having a visual element might make the whole reading experience easier for people who struggle with it or don’t enjoy it. It is also nice to see that the animation and video improvise the storytelling. If done right, all these elements complement each other nicely and make for a whole different experience than we are typically used to, which can be refreshing. Although both a pro and a con, KiM allows authors to utilize their own vision when picking the images they wish to portray to their readers. KiM is another tool that an author can use to effectively communicate with their readers.  At the same time, this can potentially limit the readers own imagination which is one of the best things about reading.

KiM could be a complete game changer for non-readers or a nice change of pace for avid readers. But, it’s definitely not for everyone and I can understand why someone wouldn’t like it. It has a long way to go before it becomes main stream, but I am glad I gave it a try.

Write on.

Going ‘Free’

I always encourage authors to be open to all marketing techniques and ideas. One easy, and perhaps surprisingly effective, marketing technique is making your book free for a period of time- especially early on in its publication. Understandably, this suggestions freaks authors out initially. They worked so hard to finish their masterpiece, why would they give it away for free? Going free gives you customers. It encourages people to take a chance on your book who maybe wouldn’t of done so otherwise. It also gives you the opportunity for free feedback. What did those customers have to say about your book? Did they review it? Did they recommend it to other fellow readers? There’s a lot of priceless information going free can give you, so don’t shy away from it.

Below are some of my amazing clients who have gone free, at least for the time being. Take a look at how it is working out for them and perhaps pick up some new reading material- you won’t be disappointed.

J.S. Wellington ~ ROBERT BUTTRESS AND THE INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT LIFE

Wellington has been writing for a while, but is a newly published authors. There’s still many tweaks and a professional editor required before Wellington can reach full potential, but I am very excited about this series. It’s a quick, emotional read that really makes you think about the value of life and happiness. It’s a great weekend or beach read and I love how it sets up perfectly for more books to follow.

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S.L. Morgan ~ THE LEGACY OF THE KEY

I absolutely love the world in which Morgan has created. Her imagination and imagery descriptions are captivating. Her books have been more than successful thus far, going free and all.

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J.L. Bryan ~ ELLIE JORDAN, GHOST TRAPPER

I really admire Bryan’s ability to develop his characters. Ellie is an extremely likable and relatable character, making it very easy to fall in love with her. The series success is largely due to the fact that reader just want to keep learning more about her and follow her onto her next adventure.

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M.L. Bullock ~ SEVEN SISTERS

Bullock’s ability to build suspense that truly draws in the reader is admirable. She actively knows how to keep moving the story forward, in a natural way. I never wanted to stop reading.

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Michael Chatfield ~ THE RECRUITMENT

Chatfield is another author who really knows how to capture the world he has created. His imagination truly runs wild and trust me, it’s a fun ride.

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Go free and write on.

How Do You Value Your Work?

Amazon is at it again, changing the literary/publishing market with another “innovative” idea. Beginning July 1st, Amazon will pay Kindle Unlimited lending library royalties based on qualified borrows to a per page read system.

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The way it will work is: “The author of a 100 page book that was borrowed and read completely 100 times would earn $1,000 ($10 million multiplied by 10,000 pages for this author divided by 100,000,000 total pages).” A recent article in THE GUARDIAN by Samantha Shannon gave some further insight into this change over.

On the surface, the biggest problem with this change over is that longer books will have more value. The reality is that a longer book does not always mean higher quality or enjoyment. Therefore, some authors may feel it is in their best interest financially to have “fuller” books for pure profit reasons, not to enhance the story.

Shannon further revealed the real problem with this change over, that this may just be a precursor to things to come. If this trial program is successful, Amazon may have a pay per page option for all purchased books, which would drastically devalue the creative process. Shannon pointed out all the ingredients that go into publishing a book. Each layer (editor, publicist, agent, graphic designer, etc.) all contribute to the book’s success and they get paid in full for their contribution- whether they hate or love the book, whether readers hate or love the book. What about the author? The one person, who without them, the book would have never come into existence? Why are they the only one losing money that is rightfully theirs? Shannon also explains that unless there is an objective problem with the book, you should not be able to only pay for a portion of it. Take a bite of a perfectly good piece of cake at your local coffee shop and perhaps you then decide you aren’t in the mood for the cake anymore, or you are fuller than you had originally thought, do you only get to pay for that one bite? I don’t think so.

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I understand why Amazon creates the programs that they do. They are in the business to make money and stay profitable. Publishing is a quickly changing industry and you need to way finds to stay on top of it, or your customers will take their money elsewhere- I get that. Without Amazon’s self-publishing programs, many authors would still be struggling to share their work with the world. Amazon creates a lot of opportunity, but we must be weary. There is no reason that authors should not get what they deserve for the work they successfully completed. Amazon is not your local library and should stop acting like one. Amazon should start catering to their clients needs and let their clients cater to their consumer’s needs. Without happy clients, there will be no consumers. Write On.

The Colors of Success

Sometimes it is impossible to tell with any precision how the public will react to a book, even for someone working in the publishing industry. It’s not unheard of for a book to be successful for reasons no one even previously thought of. Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised with how well some books do, while other times I am disappointed with some books performances that had all the qualities to do well. What works for one book, won’t necessarily work for the next. At a certain point, people get tired of the same thing, the same story line, the same plot, or the same genre over and over again. This is when it becomes difficult to predict. Life is about variety and change, and so is publishing. People are always searching for the next “big thing.” This requires chances to be taken and gut feelings to be trusted. Sometimes the best we can do is make educated predictions based off of market and social media trends. Maybe it will stick, maybe it won’t. Maybe it will stick next time. Maybe it will take five more times.

Right now, two of the bestselling books on Amazon are coloring books… geared towards adults! Of all the amazing content out there in the abyss that is Amazon, coloring books? I was a little surprised to see that. My initial thought was who has time to color? I have a list of literary books I want to read that just keeps getting longer and longer, why would I pick up a coloring book? As I thought more and more about it over the weekend, a coloring book topping the charts of Amazon actually made me really happy.

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Think for a moment about the purpose of a book. The rudimentary purpose of a book is to transport the reader into a different world. To remove them from their chaotic life, even just for a brief moment, and put them into the book’s world. Well, this is exactly what coloring books do too. They give the readers/artists a mental break from their own life. It’s a mindless activity meant to relax and calm the soul, where your biggest problem is what color to make that flower in the corner. They also give the reader/artist a chance to be creative, to take something and make it their own. They can make their world any color, shade, or texture they want- wherever they please. You can also color outside of the lines, if you wish, by adding elements of your own design- adding on to the content that is already there. You are the captain of this literary adventure, not the author.

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Don’t be afraid to take chances with your writing and think outside the lines that are already there. No one ever knows for sure what is going to sell from one published work to another. Success always requires the biggest risks.

Who knows, maybe a Mad Libs book will top the Amazon charts next. Write on.