Tag Archives: Kindle Unlimited

THE INN price increase…

The Inn Cover 4 Today is the last day that THE INN will be priced at $0.99.  In case you aren't aware, THE INN is a 37000 word horror novella.  The description from its Amazon blurb:
BAND TRIP TO PERIL... The Jackson High School Band and student director Kimberly Bouton are making their biennial journey to a music festival in the deep South for fun and educational opportunities. Kim expects to deal with hormonal teenagers, a severe lack of sleep, and long boring bus rides, but the roadside inn where the band stays on their visit hides a sinister secret – and it translates to unimagined horrors for students and teachers alike... Check into THE INN, where the guests are the entertainment...
Tomorrow it will go up to $1.99.  So if you see this today and you were thinking that you might want to grab it, procrastinate no longer! My 25000 word novella THE CAVE will remain priced at $0.99, as will all of my short fiction and short fiction collections. ****

About THE INN…

My book THE INN now has 4 reviews (three of which have text), all 5-star ratings.  J. Michael Major, author of ONE MAN'S CASTLE, had this to say about it:
Talk about the band trip from hell! Young and beautiful student teacher Kimberly Bouton rides along with the high school band from Minnesota to Alabama. But one of the stops along the way is an inn where creepy things have started to occur. Miss Bouton and other band members wake up sore and with headaches. Is someone at the inn abusing the women in their sleep? Dyson cleverly weaves a great tale with events in the news that quickly escalate out of control. Filled with twists and turns, you won't want to put this one down!
(Check out his book, for a good serial killer book that focuses on some interesting issues!) Another reader identified as "Anne" posted this about the book:
Really enjoyed this short but scary read. Extremely well-written -- and difficult to put down. The characters were compelling, and the suspense was thrilling. A perfect story for a night by the fire.
It was nice to hear that a reader thought it was extremely well-written. I try... And finally, Steven M. Moore, author of too many books to count, including his latest, FAMILY AFFAIRS, wrote this about it on his blog:
Scott Dyson, author (Deadlock Press, 2015).  Is this the longest story I’ve read by Mr. Dyson?  It’s a novella, and there’s a lot of horror, mystery, suspense, and thrills in these few pages.  I loved it, and It’s not a genre I often read (the horror part).  No zombies, vampires, or werewolves (thank God!), just one seemingly ordinary human being doing horrible things to other human beings.  Some scenes reminded me of Hayton’s novel Breathe and Release reviewed here and that real life atrocity with the three girls in Ohio. The band director, his student teacher (a woman not much older than the students), and the band are on a road trip.  They plan to perform and then spend a day at a nearby amusement park, crashing two nights in the inn.  I can’t say much more without writing spoilers, but I will send out a warning: if you were a member of a high school band, any nostalgia might fly out the window as your read this.  Or, some readers might say, “This is a lot more exciting than our band trips were.”  Mr. Dyson’s writing is fresh and original.  Fans of the genre will enjoy this one. (Rating?  How would you rate the TV show Dexter?)
So there are three very positive reviews of THE INN.  Thanks to those reviewers for taking the time to read and review it! Here's another from Mit Sandru, author of the VLAD vampire series and TIME HOLE, among others:
This is another fine novel written by Scott Dyson. While reading I had to remind myself that I wasn't reading a Stephen King or Dean Koontz horror novel, but and equally well written book by Scott.
I love it! I've been compared to King and Koontz! Two of the best ever, in my opinion! I thought I'd toss some stuff up here about the background of writing THE INN.  I flew through it; the story seemed to write itself.  I went back and added in the material about St. Louis and the store where my main character purchases the flute pendant after the first draft was completed.  I tried to give a little more depth to the parent-chaperones, who were barely mentioned in the first draft.  And I fleshed out a few of the students a bit more in the narrative, making them more than just names that passed by in the story. The idea to write it came after I finished a book called TEXT MESSAGE by William Malmborg.  In that book, Malmborg describes a college student who loses her younger sister at the mall, and then begins receiving text messages from her sister's phone telling her to do embarrassing things (mostly of a sexual nature) or bad things will happen to the sister.  When the girl refuses, the bad guy (girl?) texts a photo of the sister with a finger cut off.  So the girl follows instructions to the letter, and...well, it goes on from there. I thought, after reading it, that I could probably write something similar, and started thinking about storylines.  I thought of a motel or an inn (instead of a school or a mall) where bad things happen, and then I flashed back to a recurring concern I have when I'm in a motel room -- that somehow they have surveillance cameras in the rooms.  I mean, how would you know unless you start tearing the room apart? It so happened that band trips came to mind, and I combined the two things -- a band trip to a motel with something of that nature in some of the rooms.  I recalled certain things about my own band trips as a high school student, and about more current band trips and how they are organized, and out came the story. It ended up being something around 37,000 words, give or take.  After about six months of polishing, getting input from my beta reader, and repolishing, I finally came up with an idea for the cover.  I searched out images that would fit what I was picturing, and I think what I came up with is pretty close to my original idea. It hasn't sold well...two copies in October and eleven copies in September, at least at Amazon.com (not sure about the other Amazons in the UK or other countries), but it's been getting some KU page reads -- over a thousand last month and over five hundred so far this month.  My shorter novella THE CAVE (about 25,000 words) has been read in KU a few times as well, although it has only sold one copy in two months. So that's the long story behind THE INN.  I'm currently working on a long version of ODD MAN OUT, and am polishing a couple of other things that are done. Looking forward to getting some more things out.  Till then, try one of my other books!  They're still all only $0.99, which is a huge bargain.  (THE INN is going to go up to $1.99 soon...) Oh, and do yourself a service and read FAMILY AFFAIRS, TIME HOLE, and ONE MAN'S CASTLE.  All three are excellent books! *****  

Kindle Unlimited – how’s that workin’ for you?

I really don't know yet.  I enrolled all my books in KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited about a month ago -- maybe it's two months, I don't know.  But I did notice that, after day after day after day of zero pages read for Kindle, my novella THE CAVE (see it over there to your right?) all of a sudden had 318 pages read over the course of a couple of days.  And my short story DEAD OR ALIVE (it's not over there on the right, but it is part of THE STRIKER FILES, which is) had 50 pages read. I looked, and THE CAVE has a KENPC (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count) of 166, as opposed to its stated length of 88 pages.  DEAD OR ALIVE has a KENPC of 56. Now, that doesn't sound like much, but basically it's two full reads of the novella and one full read of the short story.  For me, that's fine.  Those sales would have earned me 35% of $0.99, which is little over a buck.  The KU reads paid me more than that; a bit less than two bucks. (Yeah, that's the sort of life-changing money I'm earning right now from my writing.  🙂  ) Couple that with a few purchases of THE CAVE, one of DIE 6, and one of my non-fiction DOING DISNEY quasi-guidebook, I'll have done okay.  Maybe I'll sell a couple of copies of my new one, THE INN, when it comes out.  Crossing fingers.  (Watch this space for announcements.) The way I see it, the more people who grab my stories and read them, the better chance I have of actually getting noticed. And that's the state of the state right now. *****

Going all-in on KDP Select…

Yesterday I was reading blog entries on The Passive Voice, on Joe Konrath's blog and some Hugh Howey thoughts, and I thought, "Wow!  Why am I not in KDP Select?" So why wasn't I? I put my short stories in KDP Select when I wanted to give some of them away several months ago.  But I never put my longer collections and my novella into it.  My reasoning was that I was going to move to publish the works with other platforms, like B&N, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords.  I was thinking that maybe Draft2Digital was the way to go, but I wasn't sure. I never did any of that.  Honestly, I can't see myself putting in the work to do so at this time.  Maybe if I was seeing income worth talking about, I could justify putting in the time.  But right now, I can't. So, I placed everything into KDP Select.  My novella, THE CAVE, costs $0.99 to buy, but can be borrowed in Kindle Unlimited or through Prime.  My short story collections, DIE 6, 14 DARK WINDOWS, and THE STRIKER FILES, are all currently priced at $0.99, and all can be borrowed via KU or through Prime.  And my four short stories (all of which are found in 14 DARK WINDOWS as well), are also priced at $0.99, and all are part of KU and Prime. Here's what one reviewer said about my short story ODD MAN OUT:
A pair of creepy tales, well written if on the short side. Worth a read, especially via Kindle Unlimited. I'll be checking out the collection that includes these.   EC, Amazon review.
Another review about the same says:
The book is two short word pictures of atmospheric horror. They both nicely evoke a feeling of creepy dread, and in the case of the House At the Bend In the Road, mystery. Worth a read!  Scott R. Turner, Amazon review.
(ODD MAN OUT is available as a standalone short story or as part of the collection 14 DARK WINDOWS.) Anyway, there it is.  I'm all in on KDP Select for now.  Grab 'em or borrow them.  They're not pricey.  I think they're good reads, but of course I would think that, since I wrote them.  But a few others think the same.  Don't let others do your thinking for you; check them out yourself... *****

Subscription services for ebooks – some thoughts

When I started practicing dentistry almost 30 years ago, I became involved in a reimbursement plan called “Capitation.” It was “insurance” where families or individuals paid a set fee every month, then the company took a percentage of that fee and passed the rest on to me. Their advertising to patients stated that they ‘covered’ 100% of every dental procedure known to man. When I first started with them, I was actually getting checks for a little more than what I would have billed for services on capitation patients that month. But very soon that corrected itself and I was getting less than what I would have billed, by about 20%. Then another provider quit and I got a large influx of new patients. I started making more money, but very soon I was doing way more work than I was getting paid for. It got to the point where I was getting only 40-50% of the work I was doing. So I quit. The future of bookselling, says Joe Konrath among others, is in subscription services.  No one says that books will not still be purchased, but what Joe says, if I'm understanding him correctly, is that for many readers, especially avid readers, there will be a significant economic incentive to borrow books via a service like Scribd or Amazon's Kindle Unlimited rather than purchasing the titles. I can certainly see how he comes up with that view.  It's exactly what happened with my capitation participation.  As the subscribers to the plan figured out that they could get an unlimited amount of dentistry done for one set monthly fee, and perhaps just as importantly, that there was a new young dentist out there who would do the dentistry they needed (and do a good job of it), they flocked in to use their "insurance."  Very few of them understood what they were paying for.  As far as they knew, they were paying an insurance premium and I was getting paid by the insurance company for work done as I did it.  (That IS the situation with fee-for-service insurance, which is capped at one to two thousand dollars per year but pays me for the services I perform on patients.)  Capitation was a great plan for the patients – as long as there was a provider willing to do dentistry for the amount of money he was receiving. So, there are three distinct entities involved in systems like this.  One is the reader.  She is analogous to the patient in my capitation situation.  She wants stories to read, and a subscription service would seem to give them to her.  How many stories she reads in a month?  It's limited only by her speed of reading and the time she has available for reading. The second is the author.  She would be analogous to the provider, who, in my case, is the dentist.  She produces stories for the reader to read.  How many stories can the author provide?  Well, again, it depends on the speed of the author (ie, how fast she can write) and the amount of time she has to actually write stories.  It's limited by both of those two things, just as in a dental practice.  In my case, I was limited by the number of appointments I had available for everyone, not just the capitation patients.  I was also limited by how long I took to perform a specific procedure.  Root canals took longer than fillings and cleanings.  Dentures took more appointments.  I was also limited by my own costs.  I suppose an author is limited by the costs of editing, proofreading, cover, formatting, etc etc.  In other words, in both situations there would seem to be a floor as to reimbursement.  Reimbursement needs to cover the costs of doing business. The third is the "Company."  In my case the company was one that provided capitation-style "insurance" to various employers so they could provide reasonably priced dental plans to their employees.  In an author's case, the companies are Scribd and Oyster and Amazon.  The company has to balance the amount of money coming in with the amount of money going out in such a way that it covers its cost of administering the plan (in the dental example) or delivering, storing and providing some promotion for the ebooks in the lending service (Scribd, Oyster and Amazon).  Oh, and it needs to make a little profit.  (Costs would include the salaries of everyone involved in the process of acting as the middleman.) In the case of Scribd, it seems that they were paying authors for borrows as if the books were purchased.  Voracious readers were reading a LOT, apparently, and Scribd was responsible for paying the authors as if those readers were purchasing every book.  (Almost sounds like a fee-for-service dental plan.)  Authors were paid per unit read, full price for the book.  Readers were paying a flat fee (something like $8.99 a month?) to access as many books as they wanted to. In Amazon's Kindle Unlimited, Amazon collects a flat fee ($9.99 a month) from subscribers, and allows them to borrow ten books simultaneously.  It then takes their subscription fees and puts them into a pool (minus whatever costs they feel they need to withhold to cover their operating costs and whatever profit they want to make), and from that pool it reimburses the authors whose books were borrowed.  (I think I understand this correctly.)  Amazon was paying authors if a reader read 10% of their book, which was great for short stories (my own shorts were in there, but I think I only had one or two Kindle borrows), not quite as good for authors of novels and such.  Now they have switched it so that writers will be paid by the actual pages read of their works.  I take this to mean that if someone writes a ten page short story and a reader finishes it, that writer is paid the same as an author who writes a 300 page novel and a reader only reads the first ten pages of it.  (Seems relatively fair on the face of it.) So, if everything is golden, why did Scribd remove a bunch of romance novels from their service?  Apparently they did this because romance readers are reading them right into the poor house.  They're reimbursing every author full price for the books borrowed.  If a reader is paying $8.99 for a month's subscription, it's easy math to see that they can read three books priced at $2.99 before the company starts taking it on the chin.  Not just no profit, but real financial losses. I think this is illustrative of the pitfalls of this sort of model.  Because when you look at Scribd's options, you see that there aren't too many.  First, they could raise subscription fees.  Mark Coker suggested that perhaps there should be a tiered plan, with a basic level that allows a certain number of borrows per month, and maybe an unlimited plan for more money that allows as many borrows as the reader can read.  Any increase in costs up front to the reader will likely lead to less subscribers.  For some it would be a good deal at a much higher fee, but for others it would perhaps tip the scales in the other direction. Second, they could pay authors less.  This is sort of what Amazon's KU does.  There is a fixed pool of money, funded (I assume) in large part by subscription fees.  The pool is divided by the total number of pages read by subscribers, and the authors are paid by pages read.  In general, this model will reimburse authors by some amount that is probably less than the amount they would receive had all the borrowed books been purchased by readers.  I can't say this with 100% certainty, but the math seems to make sense, especially if we're talking about books that are reimbursed at 70%.  (At 35%, the math tips in the other direction.  All of my books are currently priced at $0.99, so I don't make much per purchase.)  But they run the risk of having authors pull their books out of the program if they aren't making enough money for their efforts. Third, the company could simply take losses and hope that the subscription dollars grow as more people subscribe, and hope that not all of them are voracious readers who consume many more books than they are realistically paying for.  They run the risk of losing money and putting themselves right out of business, unless they're a company like Amazon. In my capitation case, the company who administered the plan had very little, if any, risk.  Their biggest concern was in getting a provider who would adequately care for their subscribers.  I know that one of the problems when I was doing it was that when I got that influx of patients due to another provider dropping out of the system, I found that they all needed a bunch of dental work.  The other dentist wasn't doing much of anything.  Cleanings, a few fillings, and not much more.  He was coasting – sitting back, collecting checks and not doing the work because he wasn't treatment planning it.  Many of them needed crowns and partial dentures, and I was doing them, one after another.  I had to ration out the care, because I simply couldn't afford to do it all in one month.  I wasn't being paid for it.  Also, I had to ration out chair time.  I couldn't allow more than a certain number of patients with that plan per week, because I had other, paying patients who I needed to work on in order to keep the business running at that time.  The theory was that once I got a patient or a family completed, they would not need much work in the future, and I could collect their capitation fee without providing much value in the way of services.  In practice, many of the patients dropped the coverage once they got their crowns and partials, and there was no way to force them to continue to pay for it. Some of this has implications for subscription services, some of it is unique to dentistry.  The thing with ebooks is that there are tons of providers (authors) and hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of books out there.  It isn't a single author being forced to write stories for the masses for virtually nothing.  But in another sense, that just means that the pot (the subscriber fees) has to be divided in a lot more parts before being distributed to the providers. There is a delicate balance here that is going to be very difficult for a company to negotiate successfully.  Amazon is experimenting with the way they reimburse authors, and they have the size and the ability to spend money in an attempt to figure out a way to do this right, to find that perfect balancing spot. There's more to be said on this issue, but this has gone on long enough today.  If anyone reads this and has any thoughts, please jot them down in the comments!  Thanks! *****

Sales report

All I can really say is, it's a good thing I'm a dentist!  Haven't sold a book or had a short story bought since October 23rd. I counted, and I have eleven titles out there.  They range in length from the very short (14 pages) SOLE OCCUPANT, which is in Kindle Select and KU, and costs $0.99, to my six-story collection DIE 6, which has 123 pages and is priced at $2.99.  Also there is THE STRIKER FILES 3-in-1 COLLECTION, 93 pages also priced at $2.99, and my non-fiction title (under my real name) DOING DISNEY, which is again priced at $2.99 and contains 101 pages of information about visiting the Florida resorts.  14 DARK WINDOWS is a fourteen-story collection of short "flash" fiction, 63 pages, and is once again priced at $2.99. What could I do?  Perhaps a full collection of ALL of my short stories, would come in at something around 250 pages (maybe a bit more), and price it at $4.99?  I have five stories in the very early stages of readiness for publication, all need rewriting and editing, but none are ready to go tomorrow. Anyway, I know I don't do much to promote the stories.  The only people who have bought them are people who know me through Facebook, for the most part, or knew me from my days at Delphi Internet Service when I helped run the Book and Candle Pub.  I submitted a story to the anthology QUANTUM ZOO with low expectations, but it was one of the twelve that was selected for inclusion, and I'd hoped that perhaps someone would read my story there and decide to check out at least one or two of my other stories, but the problem is that very few of the stories I've written and published would excite the QUANTUM ZOO target audience.  So perhaps my efforts for that collection are wasted. Who knows?  For me, a good story is a good story.  I've bought several of my co-authors' stories but I don't know if it is working in reverse.  Oh well.  I don't really NEED the income.  I can just keep writing, and when they're ready, publishing, and if they catch on, great.  If not, so be it. As the saying goes, it was worth a try. *****

KDP Select and KU

I have never placed any of my works in either of these programs up until now.  But as of today, all of my short stories are enrolled in both of them for the next 90 days.  This means that Amazon Prime members can download any of my short stories as their "borrows" for a particular month, and Kindle Unlimited subscribers can borrow my stories and read them as part of their monthly subscription fee. The stories are as follows:
  • Sole Occupant (and The Only Solution)
  • Odd Man Out (and The House at the Bend in the Road)
  • Jack'o'lantern (and The Moment and Sarah's Puppy)
  • The Gateway (and America's Pastime and Hot Spot)
  • Dead or Alive
  • Night Family
  • Rick's Rules
If you have either of those services, and want to give my short stories a try, well, here's your chance to do so for free.  I will take advantage of KDP Select's program where I can make my short stories free for a couple of days and will post here and on FB when I do so.  Thanks! *****