The Kindle Storyteller Award 2019 is a literary prize recognising outstanding writing. It is open to writers publishing in English in any genre, who publish their work through Kindle Direct Publishing between 1st May and 31 August 2019. Readers play a significant role in selecting the winner, helped by a panel of judges including various book industry experts.

Perhaps if I was aware of this contest last year, I would have finished editing the three novels I have sitting in my drawer.

Fortunately, I’m 65% through the first major edit of my YA novel and should have it done within the next week.

Unfortunately, I’ve barely scratched the surface of the 3rd edit of my crime novel, and it requires annihilating 30,000 words.

I’ve got a third manuscript sitting at the bottom of the drawer and it’s been calling to me in recent days. I thought it wouldn’t see the light of day for years to come, but maybe I was wrong. It’s the first novel I wrote and I wrote it for myself. I don’t think it’s most people’s cup of tea, seeing as it’s more like a bad acid trip than a plot-driven novel. It’s a little fucked-up.

At least for the first two, rather than shop around my YA novel and re-shop my P.I. caper, maybe I’ll send them to the Storyteller instead.

That’s right, The Masq short story is three for three days on Amazon. The campaign runs from Sunday to Tuesday.

Specifically: Sunday, April 21, 2019, 12:00 AM PDT to Tuesday, April 23, 2019, 11:59 PM PDT.

It’s three-month stint in Kindle Unlimited will have run its course in May and I will not be re-enrolling it the program.

Instead, I will be putting the story up on other platforms, such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, 24 Symbols, etc. (I’m still on the fence regarding Smashwords).

However, I’m not abandoning the Kindle Unlimited, and my upcoming novella The Humid will be available through Kindle Unlimited. It releases April 14 and is available for pre-order on Amazon. (The ebook can be pre-ordered, the paperback version cannot.)

When it comes to indie publishing, every article, interview, podcast, video, and conversation imparts the same piece of advice.

Start. A. Mailing. List.

Sigh.

Seeing as I’m neither a fan of business nor marketing, I have been putting this off. Of course, I figured I didn’t really have anything to offer people.

However, deciding to hone my short fiction skills means that my catalogue will be expanding more than if I continued to focus solely on novels (two of which still require a hundred hours of editing).

Still, I won’t send out a lot of emails. I’ve subscribed to many email lists, and I’ve unsubscribed from even more. (Wait, that doesn’t make sense.) The point is, I know how annoying they can be when done wrong, and I don’t want to bother anyone.

As things currently stand, I plan to only send an email when:

  1. A new story/book comes out
  2. There are Advance Reader Copies available
  3. I have a free book promotion

If you would like to join Russell Cordner Readers, please use this form to register.

In a follow up to yesterday’s post about using Prolific Works to give away free Advance Reader Copies (ARC), I am also trying out some other avenues.

There are 20 copies available on Booksprout, and you can grab one here.

The Humid

Jack just wants to raise his children in a safe environment, while being able to afford to give them a comfortable life. With the promise of low crime, safe streets, and a hefty pay increase, he accepts a job in Tokyo and they leave Chicago behind. 

He’s read about the uncomfortable summers in the sprawling city, but they’re no strangers to the heat. Lake Michigan dishes out its fair share of humidity.

Shortly after their arrival, the first day of summer is a record-breaker, and the temperature continues to climb. When the power grid collapses, Jack’s family is trapped in the sweltering foreign metropolis, and escape seems all but impossible.

(WARNING: this story contains strong language and graphic situations that may not be suitable for all readers.)

As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve decided to start selling stories on Amazon.

Amazon has an interesting system in place. They’ll pay 70% if you price your book between $2.99 and $9.99, but everything priced outside those parameters will only reel in 35%.

Looking at other short fiction pricing on the site, and as my first story is only 7,400 words, I’ve priced it at $1.99.

I’ve also enrolled it in KDP Select, which means anyone with Kindle Unlimited can read it for free. (They offer a 30-day free trial when signing up.)

The first story is The Masq and what follows is the blurb I wrote for it. Did I compare myself to three of the greatest speculative storytellers in history? No, of course not. I simply mentioned them out of respect.

“How many photos are you in?” Francis Tipple asks his audience.

“Suddenly you’re a meme. Famous overnight, for all the wrong reasons, and you are forever digitally enshrined on the internet.”

A brilliant young engineer, Tipple has invented a groundbreaking new device. A pair of glasses with the power to block a person’s face from registering on the sensor of any camera in the world. He is offering something his generation has never known.

Anonymity.

The success of his product will not only change his life, it will change the world.

This 7,400 word short story follows in the vein of Mary Shelley, Ray Bradbury, and Neal Stephenson, where new technology takes man to questionable new frontiers.

 

As I work on slicing and dicing 30,000 words from one novel, edit the first draft another novel, consider changing tense in my very first novel, and continue writing and submitting short stories to an ever-expanding list of periodicals, I figured why not dip my toe in the Amazon?

After all, it might be a nice change from the sea of rejections.

Using a complex calculus of variables, expressions, and operators,* I have devised a system in which to work Amazon into my submission process.

I plan to put up a few short stories and one novella over the next couple months.

Using short stories is also a good way to put pseudonym conundrum to the test.

First up is a 7,400 word speculative fiction story called The Masq.

 

* math terms I quickly looked up