Episode 191 – Kindle’s 10th Anniversary, Going Wide, and From Indie to Trad and Back

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Question of the Week: What do you think has been the biggest innovation in publishing since the Kindle device went live in 2007 and why?

What’s been the biggest game changer in publishing since the Kindle was released 10 years ago? Jim and Bryan start out with a thank you to their patrons A Dragon Among Eagles: A Novel of the Roman Empire, Blogging for Authors, and The Ten-Year Turnaround: Transform Your Personal Finances and Achieve Financial Freedom. This week’s tips include how authors can save tons of money by avoiding these unnecessary publishing expenses, making the transition from KU to wide a bit easier, and increasing engagement on Facebook with hints from Andrea Vahl. News includes how Anna Todd is returning to her indie roots with her next series, the latest PEW survey suggests keeping tabs on the reading habits of millennials when publishing, an inspiring interview with Mark Stay and Mark Desvaux about their Bestseller Experiment, speculation on what is triggering recent Amazon rank strips, and the 10th anniversary of the Kindle. Question of the Week: What do you think has been the biggest innovation in publishing since the Kindle device went live in 2007 and why?
What You’ll Learn:
  • What publishing services authors should avoid at all costs
  • What steps one author took in her move from KU to wide distribution
  • When authors should boost Facebook posts and when to use ads
  • Why one Wattpad author went traditional then returned to her indie lifestyle
  • What are Millennials’ reading habits and what it means for authors
  • How two men achieved the bestseller rank and what they did to get there
  • What some authors speculate is triggering Amazon rank stripping
  • Why Kindle Store was more important to Amazon’s growth than the device

get show updates

  • Matthew Staggs

    .1% of 1.5 billion = 1.5 million

    • Bryan

      Thanks, Matthew!

  • Jim, King of Segues. Now, however, I have the image of Jim wearing a crown and cape and riding around on a segway stuck in my head.

    • Bryan

      He DOES do that!

  • Joey Boisvert

    Ummm, the biggest innovation since kindle in 2007? That’s easy enough… it’s the Sell More Books Show… obviously!

    • Bryan

      Aw shucks. Thanks, Joey :).

  • Ged Cusack

    Create Space and other print on demand services have allowed Indie authors to publish their works, without having a garage full of paperbacks that they need to ship themselves.
    This has made it so much cheaper for authors to enter the physical book market.

    • Bryan

      Great answer, Ged. POD has been huge for authors.

  • Lisa Thomas

    Just a comment about establishing a readership on Wattpad. As those readers get older, they start to have their own money to pay for books. So even though they are used to free stories, they are obviously readers who will turn into buyers.

    • I think of Wattpad more as a testing ground for stories, not a way to get buyers, but you’re right about the long game aspect. Some super fans might some day have money to buy your books or tell friends who do.

  • David Mark Brown

    As frustrating as these two things can be for indies at times, I think the biggest innovations have been KDP and Facebook ads. Discoverability is still the biggest problem we face. KDP and Facebook ads (now Amazon ads) provide tools to reach the right readers. Still very challenging and labor intensive, but amazing tools nonetheless.

    I can’t wait for y’all to break the next big disruptive app in the marketplace! I’ve been listening to Sell More Books Show for a couple years now, and I’ve found y’all talking about the same things I’ve been stewing over and tinkering with on several occasions. I totally agree that co-writing and mobile/streaming fiction are going to be the big trends of 2018. I’m doing my best to make sure the next big disruptive app is Fictionite, my co-writing platform that publishes streaming fiction straight to readers’ devices. When we get there (sometime in 2018), I want y’all to break the story. Thanks for keeping the news stories coming.

    • Bryan

      Thanks, David! We can’t wait to break the story either :).

  • A nerd decided to sell books online and has become the richest person in the world. In the last ten years, his company has made it possible for self-publishing authors to build their own businesses.

    • Bryan

      Nerds for the win!

  • QOTW – The new Kindle Oasis finally lets me read in my bubble bath.

    • Laura Martone

      Thanks for the image, Roland (and congrats on winning the commenting lottery last week)!

      • After a hard day of writing space opera, sometimes a guy just wants to light a few candles, sprinkle some bath salts, sip some white zin, and just feel pretty.

        • Bryan

          Ain’t THAT the truth.

  • I believe that One-click has been the biggest boost to ebooks online. I remember when they didn’t have One-click for anything, and you still had to add ebooks to your cart and checkout. I’m sure they lost people in that checkout process. One-click now most likely leads to a lot more ebook sales (and a lot of other stuff as well. Amazon is making a killing on it, for sure.)

    • Bryan

      Yes they are! Thanks, Steph :).

  • Mediapig71

    Kindle Unlimited provides a powerful new revenue stream for indie authors, and as far as I know, also brought along the idea of Amazon exclusivity, which has a huge impact (both good and bad) on new authors.

    Runner up: FB ads for authors. Although their effectiveness may have decreased, with a little bit of luck and skill (and some cash to burn), they can still be a game changer.

  • Social media advertising (not necessarily just FB). The ability to reach a massive audience that is already interested in a product you’re bringing to market is akin to being able to put out a commercial on ye olde network TV back in the day.

  • Franki Kidd

    I love Bryan’s response to Jim’s math question, “I can’t compute math so fast”.
    Neither can I Bryan.

    Happy 10th anniversary Kindle. The way I see it doesn’t get any better than Kindle. I have several other devices to read books on, but Kindle (and I don’t even own the latest version), is still my favorite.

    • Bryan

      Glad you relate!

      • Franki Kidd

        To which I stated it doesn’t get any better than Amazon Kindle tablet. I’m still a fan of the tablet (just purchased another one after last one went belly up after a good long run).

        HOWEVER – With the last Kindle tablet the ads didn’t bother me. But with this device there’s a Mickey Mouse video or some other Christmas cartoon, or some other item that you have NO interest in starring at you nonstop. Even if it was an item I was interested in the nonstop advertising “SPECIAL OFFERS” is annoying.

        (I like Christmas and all but I don’t like the nonstop ads on the Kindle).

        THE KICKER – When you buy a Kindle table. (any version) you also purchase unbeknownst if you aren’t paying attention the “SPECIAL OFFERS”, which are nonstop ads on the lock screen, based on your browsing history, or special deals.

        To stop the ads you have to pay a $15 unsubscribe fee. I paid it, but did so begrudingly because didn’t know when you purchase a tablet you also purchase “special offer”. Buyers beware, the tablet works for me for a simple device to read, but other than that Bah! Hum bug

  • I think the indie publishing community has been the biggest innovator in the last 10 years. In that short time we have tested and proven methods, such as advertising and mailing lists. We have uncovered successful business models based on the business landscape, such as using Amazon’s algorithms in our favor by releasing books that maximize exposure. We’ve established a tight-knit, selfless community. We’ve created our own conferences, branded our own blogs, broadcast our own podcasts and freely shared our knowledge with others.

    The Kindle is only a piece of tech The indie community made it a success and helped create a new paradigm in publishing that hadn’t changed in over a hundred years.

    We are the greatest innovation in the last decade. Period.

    • Bryan

      Great answer, Pete!

  • Laura Martone

    I agree with most of the other commenters here – besides the invention/prevalence of the Kindle, I concur that KU, social media advertising, and print-on-demand have all helped to make indie publishing a viable industry. But Pete’s right: the indie community is the greatest innovation, and we just keep on evolving!