"Connect" takes off
October 12, 2011 7:07 AM   Subscribe

A science fiction story that I have uploaded as a free kindle download to Amazon has has somehow taken off (it's at #619 in the free kindle store and is rising fast). How do I best capitalize on this?
posted by thatwhichfalls to Writing & Language (8 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Write another one, quick, and charge for it!
posted by dawkins_7 at 7:20 AM on October 12, 2011 [12 favorites]

Try to have an increased web presence (a website, a blog, a public-facing facebook page for you as a writer, maybe even twitter) and have them easy to find from your author page.

Then write more. Write lots more. Charge for some of it. If people like two or three of your stories then it follows that some of them might be prepared to pay for a longer one.

But be aware that I say "some of them" for a reason. It's difficult if not impossible to predict with any accuracy how many of the people who download your work for free will convert into paying customers, but it won't be nearly as many. A good way of looking at it is this: The latter group will always be a small percentage of the former group, so your best bet is to expand the former group as much as possible. Hence the increased web presence and having a body of work available.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:21 AM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Get people to review it and post on Amazon.
Get your local paper to do a article on you and your rise to fame.
and take all of the advice above.
posted by JXBeach at 7:33 AM on October 12, 2011

Yay, congratulations!

And yes, what Famous Monster said -- write more, and get it up for sale as soon as possible. Create an author page on amazon, and consider adding a page to the end of "Connect" (and then reup the file in the kindle store) with links to your other stories, so as readers finish "Connect" they are given a very easy, very impulse-y, "If you liked this, try my other stories, which are not free but reasonably priced!"
posted by inging at 7:35 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Try and connect with your readers directly and maintain a direct relationship with them, via facebook and google plus.

It doesn't take as many fans as you would think to make decent money from creative stuff. A few thousand might be enough.
posted by empath at 7:51 AM on October 12, 2011

IMO, write more storis, but don't charge for your stories until people are throwing money at you. It's better to have a larger following than the pittance you're going to get from trying to sell your stuff early on. If anything, start a blog and throw some ads up or something.
posted by empath at 7:52 AM on October 12, 2011

Basically, use this story as a business card that gives you street cred as a serious writer. Congratulations, you are now an AUTHOR. But this one story is not going to retroactively earn you money; it's just a ticket to more work, which will in turn be a ticket to eventual paid work.
So, the story has a website, right? linked to/from the Kindle store, talk to an illustrator about making you a "cover image", include factoids about the writing (backstory, process, footnotes), reviews of the work. Basically this is both an advertizement for the story and its fan page. And maybe you could offer the story here in non-Kindle format, with or without a "donations" paypal button.
And you have a website, right? linked to/from the story page, the Kindle store, etc... good web design, links to a couple of other writing samples, bio of you, etc...
And you have an "author's portfolio" right? A resume/CV kind of thing? Say an editor at a publisher read your story, and wanted to talk to you about writing something for them - are you ready? This story is a great success to go on that resume.
Are you into science fiction writing in general or is it just the one story? Do you like science fiction conventions? Do you know the people who run your local con? Maybe you could talk to them (send them your resume, see above) about speaking on some panels, which would in turn stimulate your fan base.
Because you have a fan base, and a subscriber email list, right? Or you can stay in touch on social networking sites, but you have to create yourself a public face; this can't be the same Facebook that your drinking buddies hang out on unless you're a real master of privacy settings. Not that you'll have much news to send out until you have a new story ready, but then you'll have a big audience to download your next work.
Because you're writing a new story, right? That's the whole point, that you want to write more... because if you're asking how you can take the one and only decent story you'll ever write and turn it into cash, well, that's pretty much not going to happen.

"But none of this is getting me paid, and I'm spending money on web design and illustration and travel expenses and stuff!!" you say... Sorry, that's just the way it goes. You weren't getting paid before this story got successful, and that's not going to change immediately. The more people read this story, the more people will read your next story, tell their friends, get your name spread around, etc. When you talk to a publisher about writing something bigger, with a real contract and an advance, this is the stuff that makes you look like a good prospect, not a risky amateur. Or if you decide not to try to woo a publisher, then you can start charging very low prices for the later work, or putting out a chapter a month free or download it all today for $1.99, or whatever business plan you come up with, but that business plan has to be a long-term thing, not a one successful e-book and now you'll be in hardback on the NYT bestseller list.

disclaimer: I am not a writer, or in the publishing industry; I only deal with webcomics - but there are striking similarities between webcomics and e-books.
posted by aimedwander at 8:20 AM on October 12, 2011

[folks, OP is not anon, feel free to follow up with them directly if you need to.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:18 PM on October 12, 2011

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