What does the new launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire and cheaper versions of the regular Kindle mean for eBook authors?
Well, there’s good news and bad news.
The good news is that it’s very likely that as of this Christmas the Kindle (in all it’s versions) is about to go mainstream in a major way. The Kindle may very well be THE stocking stuffer for this fall, with some people predicting up to 5 million Kindle Fires alone being sold in the next two months. That’s just the Fire, and the regular Kindle will probably also sell like hotcakes.
So the very good news for writers who have eBooks on the market is that there’s going to be a flood of readers looking for content over the six months or so following Christmas. I say six months because that’s a reasonable guess of the time casual users will keep playing with their new toy. After that something else may well come along, and it won’t be so shiny and new anymore, so it’s very likely that surge in readers will drop.
Still, lots more people in the system buying books. Yay!
So, what’s the bad news?
The bad news is that in those six months while the number of readers is slowly dropping, the number of writers entering the Kindle marketplace will surge beyond belief.
Think about it- once everyone hears how many people are hopping on the Kindle bandwagon, and at the same time how much money is being made by Kindle authors, everyone and their Aunt Petunia will be rushing to produce content for the Kindle. Why shouldn’t they? It’s free to put stuff up, and the only barrier to putting stuff on the Kindle is figuring out the submission process.
So the end result of this is that starting in March at the latest (and probably February) the Kindle Marketplace is going to be flooded with incredible amounts of crap. This is going to make the “good” stuff even more difficult to find, and make it much harder for writers to find an audience who appreciates their stuff. To paraphrase Cory Doctorow- the greatest enemy of a good Kindle author is obscurity, and suddenly everyone who doesn’t have a big promotion machine behind them is about to get even more obscure.
While this might turn out to be a boon for traditional publishers, this is going to destroy the self-publishing market, and most of the smaller eBook Indy presses, and anyone who hasn’t built up a following before March is going to have a much harder slog in trying to find people to read their stuff.
On top of that, we may even see Amazon trying to fight the flood by charging people to register to put up their works on the Kindle, or they may start requiring minimum sales to remain in the catalog. Neither of which will be good for Indy writers.
So, if you’re an author with a book in the ready right now I’d be trying to get my product on the Kindle ASAP, because this may well be the last chance to get your foot in the door before it slams shut! I know I am!