Surprising Results

Edith north of Boston, almost ready for Christmas! And wishing you all a warm, safe, happy, and wicked cozy holiday. 

Some of you have seen over on Facebook that I’ve completed my short story project. Over the years I’ve had nine short stories published in juried anthologies or magazines, seven of them crime stories, three by Level Best Books. I decided to reissue them as self-published ebooks for ninety-nine cents, just in case anyone is looking for other works by the famous <snort> author Edith Maxwell.

It’s not that hard. I use my friend Kaye George’s ebook The Road to Self-Publishing, and I commission inexpensive covers from Lyn Stanzione at Stanzalone Design. I publish the stories, one at a time, through Smashwords, which assigns a free ISBN and distributes it to places like Barnes &Noble and iBooks as well as selling the story through Smashwords itself. And I publish for Kindle through Kindle Direct Publishing. As long as you follow the guidelines exactly and have clean formatting, they come through nicely.

AllCoversTo my great surprise, several of these ebooks have shot to nearly the top of a couple of Amazon best-selling lists! “A Fire in Carriagetown,” “Just Desserts for Johnny,” and “An Idea for Murder” have all been in the top twenty in a Kindle Short Reads niche. Here’s where “Just Desserts for Johnny” was on Saturday (and it’s been lurking there for a week or more):

“The Importance of Blood”  was number twenty on Hot New Releases in the Mystery, Thriller, and Suspense category on Saturday, and “The Stonecutter” was number ninety-eight in Kindle Short Reads in Romance. There are 30 minute read lists, too.

Cool, huh? I’m delighted. And there are much bigger-name authors than me on those pages, including Nevada Barr, Margaret Maron, LL Bartlett, and “Death by Potato Salad,” a short story by my friend Jess Lourey. But what’s surprising is that when I look at the sales for any of my stories, they are not astronomical by any means. Amazon must have one of its mystical algorithms working that likes my story! Believe, me, I’m not complaining. And am standing by for when the sales numbers shoot into the stratosphere.

Short descriptions and buy links for my stories are on the Short Fiction area of my web page. Just in case, you know, you still need to stock up somebody’s new e-reader for Christmas<wink>.

Readers: Do you know anything about Amazon algorithms? What’s your favorite e-reader? Do you have experience self-publishing anything?

22 Thoughts

  1. I’ve also self-published some stories that were published elsewhere. Sold enough to buy a latte at Starbucks. How did you get into Kindle Short Reads?

  2. Thanks for sharing! I’ve been thinking about doing something similar with my stories, and I’m now convinced. I look forward to reading more of your work!

  3. Congrats, Edith!

    As to their algorithm, it’s a mystery like the way they rank the top reviewers. I just love how they keep sub-dividing the categories so they can have as many top sellers as possible. Did you know that WAITING IS NOT EASY, the latest Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems is the #1 selling picture book with elephants in it at Amazon? Isn’t that amazing?!

    Sorry, but things like that make me laugh.

    You are keeping some great company on the lists you are on. Keep it up.

  4. I’m so happy my little booklet is still useful. It’s been quite a while since I updated it. They look great and I’m thrilled you’re having success with them!

  5. Congrats, Edith. I’ve had a free short story up for almost six months on all the various e-book retail sites–my free sample of my writing, sort of like that green chile guacamole sample I tasted in Whole Foods that made me buy a whole lot more of it. Short stories are a great way for readers to discover you, or take care of their cravings while they wait for your next full length book.

  6. Good article and information, Edith. I put a few of my short stories up on Kindle Direct and STEAMROLLER was in the top ten of it’s niche for a while. The sales, however, never echoed the top ten placement. I am looking forward to reading from the link about algorithms one of your readers posted. Everyone I’ve talked to seems to find it a total mystery! Hmm, “Murder by Algorithm?” the new short story by Edith Maxwell . . .

  7. Hi. Thanks to your blog I am going to publish some short stories on Kindle, but I am just getting started. Thank you so much for all the information!

    Elizabeth Kelley

Comments are closed.