Kindle Publishing: The Algorithm Trilogy

Category: BooksTechnology

Write novel, check.  Edit novel, check.  Edit novel again, check.  Edit novel a third time, check.  Continue editing, check.  Somewhere between the editing and the continued editing, I had to find the time to prepare the book for publishing.  I decided to go with Kindle publishing for a number of reasons.  I have been on board with the Kindle devices from the first generation.  You know, the device that was shaped like a doorstop, had a removable battery that was prone to removing itself, and the page buttons placed precariously near where a normal user would place their hands.  If you have no clue what I am talking about, you were probably smart enough to be a second generation adopter, and I envy you.

Why Amazon?  The obvious reason is that Amazon dominates the eBook market.  Amazon has an absurd marketshare of not just eReaders, but also number of eBooks sold.  Beyond that, I have also followed Amazon’s publishing strategy closely over the last five years.  Personally, I agree with the Amazon business strategy.  There are two main topics that most people take issue with.

First, the book format on Kindle is proprietary, instead of using the widely accepted and open ePub format.  How does the file format affect 99% of all consumers?  It doesn’t.  Which is why this is a moot point.  The proprietary format is Amazon’s way to force users to buy books from their online store instead of getting their eBooks from other sources.  It is still possible to use other eBook formats, they just have to be converted.  The majority of consumers will find this too time consuming and would pay the premium for convenience.  I am a firm believer that ease-of-use and user experience deserves a monetary premium.  If it didn’t, the iPad would have been extinct within the first year.

The second issue that many people have with the Kindle has to do with royalties, pricing, and treatment of publishers.  To simplify a complex problem, Amazon has instituted policies that drive down book prices, such as the famous $9.99 price point.  The publishing industry claims that the price point that Amazon is trying to reach is unsustainable.  To be honest, the publishing industry is correct, the prices that Amazon wants to reach cannot support publishers, editors, agents, cover designers, promoters, and the rest of the entourage.  This is not an accident.  It is Amazon’s intent to remove everyone but themselves and the writers from the equation, because it is a lot easier to split the money two way.  Personally, I think that old way of publishing won’t die anytime soon, but a lot of the business will transform to match the new technology.  Instead of publishers and agents being the gatekeepers to the community, books will be offered up via self publishing, and the user rating system will tell the public what is worth reading and what isn’t.  The better the internet becomes at delivering relevant content from originator to user, the more we will see the middle men industries decline.  If we extrapolate that idea to the extreme, you can see how easy it was to even brand the government as a “middle man” between citizens and their laws and taxes, which could be replaced by the “Algorithm of Mass Opinion” like in the Algorithm Trilogy.

Without going into too much more detail, I feel the need to answer one more question that is fairly obvious at this point. Why did I choose to self publish instead of trying the traditional route.  In full disclosure, I did send the book to a major Sci-Fi publisher, and received a very heartfelt formula rejection letter that I fully intend on framing and hanging on the wall.  I didn’t think I would be lucky enough to get picked up on my first try.  I actually just submitted the book to follow through with the entire book writing process.  I could continue to submit to publishers but decided against it for a few reasons.  My main goal is just to get published, by any means.  Finding a publisher or an agent that fits into my unique genre is incredibly tough, and finding one that accepts open submissions is nearly impossible.  And, lastly, after reading horror stories of extremely talented writers being rejected dozens of times by publishers, I realized that my chances of getting struck by lightning are looking much better than being chosen by a publisher.