Monday, December 12, 2011

ADVENTURES OF AN E-BOOK BOOKIE 33: "Amazon KDP Select: A Borrower or a Lender Be?" is at it again.

Trying to expand their digital dominance with KDP Select.

What is it?

In a nutshell:

When you make any of your titles exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, those with US rights will automatically be included in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library and can earn a share of a monthly fund. The monthly fund for December 2011 is $500,000 and will total at least $6 million in 2012. If you haven't checked it out already, the Kindle Owners' Lending Library is a collection of books that eligible US Amazon Prime members can borrow for free once a month with no due dates.
You'll also now have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to promote your KDP Select-enrolled titles for FREE for up to 5 days every 90 days.
How your share of the monthly fund is calculated:
Your share of the monthly fund is based on your enrolled titles' share of the total number of borrows across all participating KDP titles in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library. For example, if total borrows of all participating KDP titles are 100,000 in December and your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn $7,500 in additional royalties from KDP Select in December. Enrolled titles will remain available for sale to any customer in the Kindle Store and you will continue to earn your regular royalties on those sales.
What this means to you:
KDP Select gives you access to a whole new source of royalties and readers- you not only benefit from a new way of making money, but you also get the chance to reach even more readers by getting your book in front of a growing number of US Amazon Prime customers: readers and future fans of your books that you may have not had a chance to reach before! Additionally, the ability to offer your book for free will help expand your worldwide reader base.

(Read the entire email from Amazon at:


What a deal and all I have to do is give up all alternate methods of sales and marketing for 90 days minimum (automatically renewed unless I opt out).

I might be able to garner a few additional shekels, dinar, yen, Euros, and dollars but I do not like the not-so-veiled move to put other ebook purveyors out of business.

But business is business and God Bless the American Way (especially during the two week spending orgy prior to the alleged birth of a swaddled-and-suckling-yet-somehow-all-powerful-deity).

Here’s what I’m gonna do.

Before I formatted and uploaded my big jokebooks and novels to Smashwords and Kindle I created a “Practice File” of jokes entitled, A Terribly Filthy Little Jokebook. I took chapters from previously published jokebooks, standardized the font and margins, checked for duplicate jokes, dicked around with the formatting and uploaded it to Smashwords/Kindle.

I didn’t know what formatting for an ebook consisted of and I wanted a Mulligan to warmup with. I uploaded A Terribly Filthy Little Jokebook to Smashwords/Kindle and now, as another experiment, I’m going to enroll the book as an exclusive KDP Select file and see what the hell happens with this new opportunity.

I’ll report any and all results in this blog.

I’m going to sign up for KDP Select right now...

I’m back.

It’s simple: You go to your KDP dashboard, select the proper title. If you have more than one title be certain you only select the title you want and click “Enroll”.

But to make it official I have to Unpublish the book from Smashwords (and my website, blog, etc. What Kindle Select desires is to be king-of-the-fucking-hill. Apparently—if action speaks louder than words—nothing else will suffice...)

So now I’m back from Smashwords.



(I love Smashwords. They let you do what you want: they offer ISBNs, autonomy, flexibility, coupons...but I digress.)

I must repeat that I’m doing this as an experiment with a single book I cobbled together to use as an “Electronically Uploaded Guinea Pig.” If you have a Kindle please borrow A Terribly Filthy Little Jokebook for free at:

But think twice before you enroll your little darlings. Smashwords’ Mark Coker points out:

But there's a catch. Actually, multiple catches, which are outlined in their Terms and Conditions:

  1. For the time your book is enrolled in the program, you cannot distribute or sell your book anywhere else. Not Apple, not Barnes & Noble, not Smashwords, not Kobo, not Sony, not even your own personal blog or web site. Your title must be 100% exclusive to Amazon.
  2. If you violate their exclusivity terms at any point during the three-month enrollment period, or you unpublish your book to remove it from the program so you can distribute your book elsewhere, you risk forfeited earnings, delayed payments, a lein on future earnings, or you may get kicked out of the Kindle Direct Publishing program altogether.
  3. Your enrollment, and thus your liability to Amazon, automatically renews every three months if you neglect to opt out.

(Read it all at:

Amazon makes it so easy to put all your eggs in one basket. But remember, as Tom Waits sings, The large print giveth and the small print taketh away.

God Bless America, Consumerism, and!!!


A man says to his doctor, “I just don’t have any energy, doc. I’m tired all the time.”

“What you need to do,” says the doctor, “is walk over to that window and open it.”

The man does.

“Drop your pants and wave your junk around. Lift up your dick so your balls catch some fresh air.”

The man does.

“Now turn around and spread your butt cheeks. Wide.”

The man Does.


The man does and says, “Will this make me feel better?”

“Don’t know, don’t care,” says the doctor. “It’s just that I hate that fucking lawyer who works across the breezeway.”

Friday, December 2, 2011

Adventures of an e-Book Bookie, 31: "THIS STUFF WE WRITE!"

I cleaned my office this week.

I found four copies of Beowulf, a dusty and almost empty bottle of Christian Brothers Brandy, and this article which was written for Runner’s World’s “Finish Line”: personal essays published on RW’s last page. It protruded from a copy of Galloway’s Book on Running and was accompanied by a signed rejection slip (returned in an SASE—remember those?) dated March 20, 1989:



Rob Loughran

Running has always been an integral part of my life: a mildly successful (but highly enjoyable) high school career, then 10Ks in college, and the occasional marathon. Like most recreational runners I have years of running journals, bad knees, and enough race day t-shirts to clothe a Third World nation.

But I never realized how important running was to me until after my wife died.

She died following a three year battle with cancer. Even though you are prepared for the death of a spouse, the reality doesn’t hit you until the dirt hits the coffin.

Then it hits you.

Old friends look at you with sad eyes. Fellow workers trip over their tongues trying to talk about safe subjects. Clergy you’ve never seen before (or since) call with condolences. Even your children look at you strangely: but that’s probably because they now have to eat my cooking.

During the time immediately after my wife’s death the only thing that was stable and safe to me was my daily run. My legs burned the same on the hills. My heart beat in my ears during interval work. My lungs still pulled in the cold morning air. Sweat is salty as tears.

Looking back I see that running enabled me to deal with a difficult situation more effectively than support groups, uncontrolled weeping, or alcohol.

I tried all three.

But I took to running long slow distances. Every Wednesday I routinely ran a slow, easy 24-28 miler.

I work weekends and my Wednesday is most people’s Sunday. The kids were in school. I had the whole day (until 3:00 PM) to myself. I would slip off into the morning fog and run to town—eight miles away. Once in town I would run two or three miles on Casa Grande’s track then jog cross-town to Petaluma High for another eight to twelve laps. I’d stop at gas stations and the library for water. I’d pit-stop at my cousin’s or my parents’ for a Seven-Up.

Then eight miles back home.

I got into real good shape, the best shape of my life. I started thinking about taking a weekend off, paying the registration fee, and running another “real” marathon. I thought about adding some fast mile intervals for speed work. I considered a new PR 2:30? Maybe?

Then I did the only sensible thing and ran my Wednesdays without my Casio.

PRs had nothing to do with this phase of my running life. I loved my weekly runs. They were quietly important and essential to me. They sustained me, emotionally and physically, for the entire week. The exertion was sublime and the accomplishment—every week—was a thrill but the most important thing was that these runs afforded me a socially acceptable reason to be alone.

I craved solitude.

I needed to be completely alone and unfettered for X number of hours a week. In retrospect it wasn’t the miles run but the time alone that was crucial.

To view these long slow ambling runs as the means to a 2:30 marathon was sacrilege. They were important in and of themselves. They were real and alive.

Unfortunately we often see ourselves, not as we are, but as others view us. At work (and by family) I was viewed as a creature deserving sympathy: “Poor Rob,” they’d say, “five kids, no wife, up to his eyeballs in debt.”


I am single with five kids and a stack of bills but I will never be deserving of pity. When I am alone and running I am the person I know I am: Quirky but solid. Kind of funny.

Running has allowed me to weather a tremendous storm. It’s maintained my self-esteem after my world came tumbling down. It has always been a part of my life. But during these last few years it has saved my life.

* * *

MENDING HEART, BAD KNEES was never published; never had—as an unsolicited submission from an unknown writer/runner—any chance of publication. But reading it 20+ years later I’m kind of proud of the fledging writer who typed and proofed and retyped and sent it away (with an SASE, of course).

This stuff we write.

It doesn’t matter if the stuff is published. In the end it matters only that it’s written.


A man walks into a bar and orders a double.

“Troubles at home?” asks the bartender.

“Yes,” says the man, “I think, my wife is dead.”

“You think your wife is dead?”

“Yeah. The sex is the same but the dishes are piling up.”

Go buy a copy of Rob’s new middle-grade novel The Smartest Kid in Petaluma at:

Link(Or a copy of Tantric Zoo: A Bud Warhol Mystery)

(Or a copy of A Man Walks Into a Bar...)

(Or a copy of Teenaged Pussies From Outer Space: A Love Story)