This entry originally appeared on NEHW member Mark Edward Hall’s website.
The Pros of Publishing Short Stories on Amazon
by Mark Edward Hall
I get asked a lot, mostly by newbies, how I can make money by publishing .99 cent Ebooks on Amazon. First, my .99 cent books are all short stories. I make .35 on a short story that would otherwise be lost in my computer forever. I have twelve of my shorts out there now with more to come and it actually amounts to a tidy bit of extra income each quarter. Most all of my shorts have been previously published, so anything I make on them now is a bonus and welcome extra income. By the way, I also publish these same stories on Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.
All my novel-length works are 2.99 or above. On Amazon you receive 70% of anything priced above 2.99. On a 2.99 Ebook I receive 2.05. Not too bad when you consider that the stuff I have with a publisher (three books to be exact) only nets me 17.5% of list. The publisher likes to word it as 40% of net, which doesn’t sound too bad when you sign the contract, but in reality it figures to just about 17.5% of the purchase price.
I’m not here to trumpet the virtues of independent publishing over legacy publishing, although I might do that in a future post. Writers have to make up their own minds about what’s best for them. I only know what works best for me. I have two new novels coming early next year and I can tell you this, they will both be independent books. I hire my own editor, commission the cover art from some very good artists, and I’m pretty good at doing the formatting. (Better than my publisher actually) So when you take into consideration the profit difference between doing it yourself and putting it in the hands of a publisher it seems like a no-brainer to me. I wish I’d thought that way years ago.
By the way, I also offer some of those same .99 cent short stories as a collection entitled, Servants of Darkness, for $2.99. Readers who want to sample my work can buy a .99 cent short and if they like what they read they can buy an entire collection for 2.99. In this digital age I think writers are nuts if they don’t use every opportunity available to them.
Also, I am in the process of offering all of those same short stories on my website for free. Yes, you heard me right, FREE! If someone wants to save the .99 cent kindle fee and doesn’t mind reading on the computer, they can read my short stories without paying anything. Maybe I’m nuts but I believe it’s the right thing to do.
But to answer the original question: How can you make money by publishing .99 cent Ebooks on Amazon? Just ask John Locke. If you’re a writer and you haven’t yet heard of John Locke, then you’ve been living under a rock. John Locke writes the Donovan Creed book series and he prices all his novel-length books at .99 cents. He sold a million of them in five months and they’re selling at the rate of one every seventeen seconds.
In summary I think the future is very bright for those writers who have the courage to be creative.
Mark Edward Hall has worked at a variety of professions including hunting and fishing guide, owner of a recording studio, singer/songwriter in a multitude of rock n’ roll bands. He has also worked in the aerospace industry on a variety of projects including the space shuttle and the Viking Project, the first Mars lander, of which the project manager was one of his idols: Carl Sagan. He went to grammar school in Durham, Maine with Stephen King, and in the 1990s decided to get serious with his own desire to write fiction. His first short story, Bug Shot was published in 1995. His critically acclaimed supernatural thriller, The Lost Village was published in 2003. Since then he has published five books and more than fifty short stories. His new novel, a thriller entitled Apocalypse Island is due out in early 2012.