Random Thoughts

Short Stories on Kindle

I bought my wife a Kindle Fire for Christmas and as a result ended up with her old Kindle.  While the majority of my reading will still be of physical books, I’ve been impressed with the Kindle’s convenience.  As such, I’ve been looking into uses for it beyond reading a normal novel, specifically the availability of short stories on it.

Unfortunately, it is a good news and bad news scenario.  The good news is that there seems to be a growing amount of short fiction on the Kindle, a ton of it actually.  For those serious writers out there, the bad news is that there also seems to be a large amount of free fiction as well, both short fiction and novel length.

With the increasingly prevalent impact that technology is having on the publishing industry, I’ve often wondered what impact it would eventually have on those writers who earn their living through their craft.  I have to believe that the increasing amount of material made available by hobby writers, many times for free or as good as free, is hurting that side of the industry.  If nothing else, the pure saturation of material will likely become overwhelming.

From what I’ve seen on various blogs and magazines, it’s a very hotly debated question – should someone offer their material for free so that they get exposure and readership?  I’m a strong supporter of the writing community, from the closet writer without a finished story to his name to those admired few who have the talent and fortitude to make a living at it, be it modest or extraordinary.  However, it scares me to see the results when I do a search for ‘short stories’ in the Kindle Store and then narrow it down to Fantasy Kindle ebooks.  Eleven of the twelve items displayed on the first screen are all free.

That question may never have a final answer just because each person’s scenario is different.  Some people do need to use the opportunity and impact of a free short story as a lead-in for their additional work.

However, the question I haven’t seen posed anywhere though is – How much is the hobby writer adversely impacting those writers who use the Amazon fees to pay their bills?

I’d love to hear thoughts and comments on this.

About The Mad Hatter

A little random, oftentimes heady, totally looking for purpose. I'm moved by topics across the board, sometimes focusing on reading classic literature or more recent philosophy; sometimes given to less productive impulses. In order to stay active, I've also just joined the Yahoo Contributor Network.


7 thoughts on “Short Stories on Kindle

  1. The Amazon model encourages free or virtually free, unless one is established. It is tough for me to ponder, too. Sure, I get to keep 70% of my revenue, but 70% of 99 cents will take a while to add up.

    Posted by Andra Watkins | January 25, 2012, 11:44 pm
    • But I bet it still feels uplifting when you see that someone has paid to read your work; even if it is 99 cents. I actually didn’t realize it was possible to set up a blog subscription on there. While it wouldn’t suit my blog because mine is just a hobby with little thought behind many of the posts, it fits yours perfectly. Thanks for the comment

      Posted by The Mad Hatter | January 26, 2012, 7:07 am
    • Hi Nick. Hi Andra. You both probably know more about this than I do, but I noticed you said 70% of $ .99. I am wondering how that is done, because I just published my first publication on Kindle Direct and it was a short story for $ .99, only the website told me that if my price was below $ 2.99 I will only be getting 35%. That’s what I went with; the $ .99 option. I am not looking to GIVE my stuff away, but I am building a series and once I have 15 or 20 short stories out there, even though they’re only .99 each, it’s more money than I’m likely to get by selling the whole collection as one book for 5.99 or whatever and getting 70% of it. For one thing there are more titles and more opportunities for someone to see them. Not only that, but since they are all under the same series name they all refer to all the others. If people like the one they read they are more likely to go buy the others. This is the type of logic that was going on in my head when I made that decision, anyway.
      I wanted to ask your advice on something, and you don’t need to feel obligated to answer it here in the comments section of this blog if you don’t feel like it. An email or whatever you feel like doing is fine.
      As I said, I am a beginning self publisher and I wonder if you might have any recommendations for me. I’ve begun writing my own blog about my struggles and successes through the process, and I have bedeviled all of my social network contacts with posts about my first publication. I’m reading all that I can about how to more effectively use keywords and categories to get more traffic and I am working on better cover designs for future publications I already have in the works. What else should I do to empower myself for eventual success?

      Posted by rogerdengle | January 26, 2012, 6:11 pm
  2. Hopefully Andra will be able to help with the Amazon program differences. I did find this link to their pricing page but that’s as far as I’ve looked. There does appear to be several differences between the two.


    As for your approach, I do see the benefit of having several short stories available and then cross-promoting. Best of luck on your journey. It’ll take years for me to have that much material ready to go.

    Posted by The Mad Hatter | January 26, 2012, 7:45 pm
  3. Hey There. I found your blog the usage of msn. That is a really well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and come back to read extra of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

    Posted by vps | May 27, 2013, 1:51 am


  1. Pingback: Valerie Sirr - January 26, 2012

  2. Pingback: A Good Word About Kindle Direct « misadventuresinlamosquitia - January 26, 2012

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