When Oprah speaks, people listen. On Friday, she talked about her favorite new toy: Amazon Kindle. Of course she gave them away to the audience, downloaded her favorite books to get them started, and hosted the man who made Kindle possible.
Everything I hear about Kindle seems to be a one-way street. This $359 gadget will replace books. I know I won't be able to afford one until the price comes way down. I'm the type who loses cell phones and digital cameras. I like the feel of pages and yes, I dog-ear pages when I can't find a bookmark.
What I'm not hearing is what is most important to me as a writer. For the first time I can conceptualize, execute and publish my work any way I choose. I don't have to pay anyone and Amazon assures me I will get a good share of the profits.
I have an instruction phobia. I was prepared to be circumvented by Kindle's step-by-step guidelines. However, I'd volunteered to do a speech on alternative publishing options at the Erle Stanley Gardner Festival in two weeks. I had to figure out this new form of publishing.
I ran into a few problems, I overlooked a button I was suppose to click and I jumped the gun on the title and now I don't know how to remove it. What I accomplished gives me hope. I took seven of my flash fiction mysteries and I'm formatting them by putting them in one document with colored titles in bloody fonts to separate the stories. I'm saving the download into HTML as recommended. I'll be previewing it to see how it looks on Kindle. I think I'll charge about $1.75 for the download. I will look into getting a separate bank account for the money that flows from sales.
What if it doesn't sell? I'm out nothing but my time. All of my work has been published before and I have my rights back. Those stories aren't making me money collected on a flash drive. I've also done a bit of detective work to find ways to let Kindle owners know I exist.
My mind is going into overdrive with ideas of other projects I want to tackle: a collection of longer stories, a version of my Guerrilla Writers workbook, my Caribbean poetry, and my novel FOOLS RUSH IN. I'm trying to talk Kathleen into serializing her vampire novel.
Kindle can be a two-way street. I wonder how long it will take novice writers to figure this out.