Six Things I Learned Writing for Kindle Worlds

The following is a guest post from author C.B. Matson, who has survived former incarnations that include mining geologist, commercial fisherman, civil engineer, mess-hall cook, surveyor, and international port consultant. He lived much of his life in Colorado, California and Virginia, but he has also spent considerable time in Moscow, Bogota, Nagasaki and Dakar. When he is not writing, he enjoys walking, tinkering, and "... simply messing about in boats." C.B. Matson and his wife live on the water in Hampton Roads, Virginia.
 

Six Things I Learned Writing for Kindle Worlds
 
Let’s face it, the one thing that most fledgling authors need is for someone to “pu’leeze buy my book!” It’s tough starting out; Amazon is the new slush-pile and wow, is it piled. Getting seen in that maelstrom of new releases, old favorites, and established authors becomes harder with every passing day. So I come to you with a Modest Proposal; consider Kindle Worlds as your starting venue. I understand, KW is often deemed fan-fic and Real Authors don’t stoop to fan-fic. But consider these six points:

KW derivative works are sanctioned by the Originating Authors.
As a contributor to the series, you get paid for every sale. Not only that, but your work is listed under your own name and you get reviews, sales stats, and an author page on Amazon. That’s pretty real.
 
Your work gets promoted by Amazon.
When readers search for the work by the Originating Author, your stuff is likely to pop up under: “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.” So if the series you’re writing under is at all active, your book gets eyeballs. Which brings up the next point…
 
Choose an active series to write.
This is important; books, like films or music have a life cycle. Certainly stay with the genre and style you love to write, but pick a KW series that’s fresh and active. Look for Originating Authors who are willing to interact with their KW contributors.
 
Be sure you understand the Amazon KW publishing agreement.
Also very important; there are certain things you can and cannot do in Kindle Worlds. Your rights to your work are more limited than with Kindle Direct Publishing, you must understand them. That’s the price of those eyeballs.
 
Start with shorts and novellas.
KW is one place where readers look for shorter works. They want to see if they love your stuff before diving into something more challenging. And with shorts, you can create several works and get them out there in the time it takes to write and edit one long novel.
 
Treat your KW creations with the same level of care you give all of your writing.
The big takeaway here is edit, edit, edit… nobody’s gonna do it for you. Your readers will judge your work based on the quality of presentation as well as the story itself.
 
Starting out, I’ll admit that I did not understand any of the above, and made a whole lotta mistakes in the process. That said, I’ve got about 350,000 words on KW in two massive novels, with another 140,000 word work-in-progress. Just blew item number five right out the back window. However, I’ve gotten everything I wanted from the Kindle Worlds journey and would readily do it (somewhat differently) again. Oh, bonus thing about KW: Established and published authors also write for Kindle Worlds. Check it out, many of the contributing authors are published best-sellers themselves and have established their own readership. Now is that really fan-fic?

 
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Visit C.B. Matson's blog, Allochthonous Tribe for a compendium of odds and ends, or his web page, CBMatson.com for story synopses and upcoming releases. He’s active on Twitter as @cbmatson, and he mods a fledgling Goodreads Group: Kindle Worlds. You can also contact him at write@cbmatson.com.

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