Home > Writing > Did Amazon Do Something Right?

Did Amazon Do Something Right?

I was chatting via email to another writer the other day who was asking for some tips on getting his first book out there. The man was an English Lit professor and here he’s asking me for help with words. I found that ironic. But I shared what few tips I have. It boils down to writing a lot, accepting criticism, writing some more, making sure you find decent editors, and then doing some more writing.

I also touched on the reviewing process (part of the criticism speech) and how bad reviews can sink a book. I mentioned how Amazon is trying hard to eliminate bogus reviews, although they take some good ones along the way. I went on to talk about how my Vitalis series, when I sold them as novellas for $.99 a pop, were butchered by a couple of people that slammed them  in reviews because I was allegedly trying to abuse Amazon’s system and being greedy. Nevermind that the price for buying the Omnibus is the same as it was for buying all seven novella length stories.

I had a possible epiphany while writing that. I took my novellas off sale after the abuse I received for them. Prior to the hateful reviews they were ranked in the top 20 and top 10 in their categories (sci-fi). Was it possible the bad reviews were actually bogus reviews written by other writers? In some cases I even had identical reviews on multiple books from the same person! It got me wondering, with Amazon’s push to eliminate bogus reviews would my novellas possibly stand a chance of being popular again?

With that thought in mind, I’m going to re-release my Vitalis novellas. Book 1, New Beginnings, will remain free. The rest will be $.99. Here are the links if you’d like to check them out – or at least try the first one (it’s free!).

Vitalis books:

Episode 1: New Beginnings

Episode 2: The colony

Episode 3: Parasites

Episode 4: Screamer

Episode 5: Squatter’s Rights

Episode 6: Evolution

Episode 7: Matriarch

or the Vitalis Omnibus (parts 1 – 7)

Vitalis: Resurrection, the novel length sequel

To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.

  1. January 27, 2013 at 18:14

    Good luck. I will be interested to hear the results.

    • January 27, 2013 at 20:37

      Ha! You and me both! Not to worry, I’ll share my results (or lack of).

  2. January 29, 2013 at 04:41

    Amazon’s estimate is 91 pages for the first, which would make it about novella length, and customers were complaining about paying 99c for each when they were about the same length?

    I guess those readers have never tripped over Dean Wesley Smith’s suggested pricing for indies: $2.99 for a short story of 4k-8k words. $3.99 for 8k-30k words, and up from there. 🙂

    • January 29, 2013 at 05:38

      That’s exactly my thoughts. I’ve seen other writers charge $2.99 for shorter stories (or more), yet they had no bad reviews (at least not based on length). Thus my confusion! 1 day in so far and no blatant hate mail that I’m aware of. Then again, no major sales on them either. Fortunately, writing is a long distance game and I’ve learned to persevere!

  3. January 29, 2013 at 13:02

    I’ve sold 7500 shorts for up to $3.25 with no complaints. In fact, I didn’t receive so much as a comment on price vs. length until last year–and only one then.

    • January 29, 2013 at 16:38

      Now that’s what I expect. You’re reaffirming my belief that a couple of special people, to protect their anonymity we’ll call them douche bags, took shots at my stories because they ranked highly and threatened the other individuals’ books.

  4. January 29, 2013 at 18:52

    I wrote a post today, because of yours. Okay if I link it to yours? (I have a tendency to curse sometimes, LOL)


    • January 29, 2013 at 19:42

      Absolutely! Love your post, by the way. It’s going to make me write another one too.

  5. January 29, 2013 at 20:42

    Done, and thanks! =)

    • February 2, 2013 at 21:20

      Got a little something with some love sent your way coming up this week. I think I scheduled it for Monday morning. 🙂

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