Fame Is Rot; Daughters Are the Thing
J.M. Barrie said that. The guy who wrote Peter Pan. Which has absolutely nothing to do with this post, but it showed up when I was looking for a clever title.
What this post is about is the fact that my short story “Daughters”—which you previously could have gotten for free only by signing up for my mailing list—can now be procured from Smashwords at that same price. You’ll have to have a Smashwords account, but that seems a paltry price to pay for such an excellent tale.
You can also buy “Daughters” at Amazon. Yes, buy. For 99 cents. And therein lies a tale.
My intention was to put the story up on Amazon for free. I figured maybe someone would read it, realize what a wonderful writer I am, and buy something else I’ve got up there, thus helping my ridiculous Amazon sales. But when I got to the part where you put in the price, I found that 99¢ is the minimum. So I assigned it that price and went off to search the Interwebs to find out how the hundreds and hundreds of free reads I see on Amazon got that way.
(You can lower the price to free for five days out of every 90, or some fool thing like that. But that wasn’t what I wanted. The story’s less than 5000 words and I don’t expect anyone to pay a buck for it. Though it’s totally worth it.)
What I discovered is that you have to jump through hoops to drop the price to zero. The short version: you upload to SmashWords as a free book. You futz around until they get it listed at Barnes & Noble as a free book. Then you get a couple of friends to ask Amazon to price match. Which Amazon may or may not do.
This all took at least an hour yesterday. An hour when I could have been writing. Feh. (Though in all likelihood, I would have spent the hour screwing around in the garden or watching the next episode of Sense8.)
So what have we learned? Nothing, really. But we’ve reinforced the fact that, with all the changes in publishing since The Cactus Club Killings came out in 1999, it still falls upon the author to get their books seen. And that rankles as much today as it did back in the twentieth century.
P.S. The price-matching thing worked and you can get the story for free on Amazon too.