Monday musings: Amazon cancels the Kindle World program

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Kindle Worlds cancelled Many readers have heard that Amazon has canceled the Kindle Worlds program. Since May, Amazon has not been accepting new Kindle World titles, and all the books in all Kindle Worlds will no longer be available for sale after July 15. And then, all rights revert back to the authors of the books—except for some.

Wait—what’s a Kindle World again?

Kindle Worlds are—or were—managed, policed fan fiction. Amazon selected successful series where readers wanted more titles than the author could write in a timely way. The program allowed other authors to write short works based on the situations, settings and characters of those bestselling series. For instance, I wrote four books based on the characters and setting of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime series.

This program benefitted everyone involved. Readers got more stories in the series they loved. The original authors of those series got more connections to their audiences, and a shared of the sales of the new books. And the authors who wrote in other writers’ series got exposure to new audiences, as well as established audiences for the books they wrote in the Kindle Worlds.

It was a win-win-win-win situation. The fourth win is for Amazon, which got 15% of every sale.

Goodbye, new audiences

Half Moon Girls: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellaThis affects a number of BestSelling Reads authors. Both Toby Neal and former member Emily Kimelman have prominent Kindle Worlds based on their bestselling series, Lei Crime and Sydney Rye respectively. And several members have published Kindle Worlds titles:

  • Toby Neal and Emily Kimelman themselves both published books in each other’s Kindle World. Toby published Rough Road, bringing her Lei Texeira into Emily’s Sydney Rye world, and Emily published Warrior Dog about Toby’s Keiki the Rottweiler. Toby also wrote a book in Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World.
  • DelSheree Gladden wrote The Catalyst, bringing her Eliza Carlisle from The Instigator into the Sydney Rye Kindle World
  • J.L. Oakley has published four books in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Saddle Road, Coconut Island, Volcano House and Hilina Pali.
  • Corinne O’Flynn wrote a trilogy in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Half Moon Girls, Tell the Truth and Pay the Price.
  • Caleb Pirtle III puVolcano House: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellablished Lovely Night to Die in the Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World.
  • Scott Bury published in three Kindle World he was invited to: Jet: Stealth in Russell Blake’s JET Kindle World; The Wife Line and The Three-Way in the Sydney Rye Kindle World; and four books in the Lei Crime Kindle World: Torn Roots, Palm Trees & Snowflakes, Dead Man Lying and Echoes.

But wait! There’s more!

With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds program, the rights for all the content of the books revert back to the authors of the individual titles. But there’s a complication. The works in the Kindle Worlds were based on the books published by bestselling authors. Which means the rights to their characters, situations, stories, and other elements revert to them.Lovely Night to Die: : A Special Forces: Operation Alpha Kindle World novella

This causes some issues between the original authors and those who wrote Kindle World novellas. While the authors of the individual Kindle World books now have the rights to what they created, the original authors of the series at the core of the Kindle Worlds retain the rights to their characters and other elements.

Which raises a conflict: where exactly is the line between the respective authors’ rights in a (former) Kindle Word novella?

Why they dunnit

The concept of Kindle Worlds appeared to be a sure thing. Take existing, successful series and release new books for proven audiences. Minimal risk, more sales.

So apparently the sales were not good enough to sustain the program. The complications around copyright were probably also discouraging. Maybe that’s why Amazon never let Kindle World books be purchased beyond its U.S.-based .com site. And never allowed any formats other than .mobi-format for Kindles.

Dead Man Lying: A Lei Crime Kindle World novellaThat’s right: no paperbacks, no audiobooks. Readers in Canada, the U.K. or anywhere outside the U.S.—or, more precisely, anyone who had an Amazon account that did not end in .com—could not buy any of my Kindle World books.

The literary world evolves

With the cancellation of the Kindle Worlds, some authors actually have new opportunities. Those who republish their books, meeting the requirements of copyright, can bring these words to global audiences in any format they wish. For many, it’s an opportunity to open up new worlds to new audiences.

What it means overall is that the world of the written word continues to evolve. And for readers, that’s all good.

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Thursday teaser: #excerpts from Mist-Chi-Mas

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This week’s excerpt comes from tale set in the Pacific Northwest of 1860

By J.L. Oakley

Troubles with San Juan Town

Breed stood on the porch of Krill’s Mercantile and checked the double doors. Behind him, lantern light from a dozen shacks groped its way through the thickening mist. A tinny piano played a throbbing tune. Voices and laughter sounded disembodied. The only light on the porch was a candle lantern on the store’s post.

“They’re locked.”

“Use this.” Collie Henderson handed him a picklock out of a leather case. Breed had to squint to see it. The sun had long since gone down, leaving the summer twilight to spread its shadows over the collection of twenty ill-formed buildings and tents that made up San Juan Town. Yet the reason he was here was urgent—the rescue of the twelve-year-old daughter of a Makah friend. He thanked the spirits for the mist softly drifting off Griffin Bay onto the main lane.

Breed jiggled the lock. “When’s the last time Billy Po saw her?”

“About a half-hour ago,” Sikhs said. He stood at the dark edge of the building holding a shotgun.

“Krill was talking about taking her out of the root cellar,” Collie said. Wanted to bring her up into one of the rooms.” Collie’s voice was taut with anger. “Shh—”

Two buildings down, a door opened and a couple of soldiers stumbled out onto the candlelit porch. One bumped into a post before weaving down the steps into the lane. They’ll be in trouble for sure, Breed thought as he pressed up against the shuttered store. Pickett had to expand the boundaries of the military post to within a few feet of San Juan Town just to keep the soldiers in line.

One of the soldiers, his corporal’s stripe nearly erased by the dying light, bent over in the middle of the street and retched. The stink mixed with the other smells of the settlement: wood pile litter, broken whiskey bottles, and barrels reeking of spoiled food and brackish water. Breed fought back the urge to retch too. They had so little time. Since he had learned of the girl’s kidnapping, Breed had been on the lookout for her for the past two days.

Krill’s place was more than a store selling civilian and soldier’s needs. Behind the Chinese glass bead curtains next to the counter, there were several rooms that stretched back to the lagoon. Krill’s boarders.

“Get on, Liam. Sarg’s goin’ to give us piss.”

“I’m pissed. A shiny dollar for that swill.” The soldier spit a final time, keeping his hand on his belly.

The two soldiers staggered off, this time off toward the high grassy hill leading back to the army post. Breed waited until they were out of range then went back to the lock on the store’s double doors. The street was deserted now, everyone seemingly indoors, staying warm from the unexpected change in the weather.

He was about to jiggle the lock when a woman screamed. Both men swung around, Collie pulling out his sword from his scabbard on his back. But then the woman’s voice changed into a squeal of pleasure and laughter. Breed almost missed the cry from the store on the other side of its doors.

“Jonas.” Collie rammed his shoulder against one of the doors.

“I heard it.” Breed signaled Sikhs to go around to the back. He gave the pick lock one more turn and they spilled into the store. Inside, the store was dark, the floor to ceiling shelves behind a thick counter displaying tins and wooden boxes like plaques in a mausoleum, but down the hall there was candle light.

A muffled cry and then someone spit out, “You little heathen.”

“There!” Breed leaped over the counter and raced down the hall, kicking in the nearest door. Collie came behind him, slashing the bead curtain with his sword into smithereens. The little beads bounced and rolled down the floor into the room where a naked man and woman were stacked up against the headboard in a state of disarray and shock. Breed was gone and into the next room before the couple gave alarm.

About Mist-Chi-Mas

In Mist-chi-mas, everyone is bound to something.

Jeannie Naughton never intended to run away from her troubles, but in 1860, a woman’s reputation is everything. A scandal not of her own making forces her to flee England for an island in the Pacific Northwest, a territory jointly occupied by British and American military forces. At English Camp, Jeannie meets American Jonas Breed. Breed was once a captive and slave — a mistchimas — of the Haida, and still retains close ties to the Coast Salish Indians.

But the inhabitants of the island mistrust Breed for his friendship with the tribes. When one of Breed’s friends is murdered, he is quickly accused of a gruesome retaliation. Jeannie knows he’s innocent, and plans to go away with him, legitimizing their passionate affair with a marriage. But when she receives word that Breed has been killed in a fight, Jeannie’s world falls apart. Although she carries Jonas Breed’s child, she feels she has no choice but to accept a proposal from another man.

Twenty years later, Jeannie finds reason to believe that Breed may still be alive. She must embark on a journey to uncover the truth, unaware that she is stirring up an old and dangerous struggle for power and revenge…

Did you like this week’s excerpt? Get the book on Amazon.

Or win a free e-copy

J.L. Oakley will give away a free e-book copy of Mist-Chi-Mas to someone who can identify the company of adventurers who controlled the fur trade in the Pacific Northwest, and other large regions of North America, in the 1860s.

J.L. Oakley

She writes award-winning historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II. Her books have been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, 2015 WILLA Silver Award and the 2016 Goethe Grand Prise.

In addition to historical fiction, J.L. has also written four mystery novellas set in the Hawaiian Islands, part of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Her most recent historical novel, Mist-chi-mas: A Novel Of Captivity, launched in September 2017.

 Get to know more about Janet on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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Monday musings: J.L. Oakley’s writing year ahead

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By J.L. Oakley

Aloha! Klahowya! God dag!! BestSelling Reads wants to know what my literary plans are for the coming year. I am a writer of historical fiction and mystery novellas set in Hawaii. I just launched my latest Lei Crime Kindle World novella, Hilina Pali—which has history in it—so first, I have to clear out all the research off my desk and put things away. Then I can get back to my WIP, The Quisling Factor, set in postwar Norway. It’s the sequel to The Jossing Affair.

I went to Norway last September to talk to experts on the Resistance and the war crime trials of a true monster, Henry Oliver Rinnan. I plan to concentrate on Quisling Factor for the year, but I’m easily distracted. Here’s why.

An exhibit of a German soldier and regalia from the World War II occupation of Norway at the Trondheim Resistance museum in Norway.

My first novel, Tree Soldier, is set in the Pacific northwest at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in 1935. The CCCs, one of the great programs of the Great Depression, has become more than a topic I researched for the novel. I was selected as a Washington Humanities speaker on the topic and spent two years going around Washington State talking about CCCs. This spring I will be again fully concentrating on the CCC history, as a year-long effort to get a CCC worker statue for Mount Baker National Forest has been approved. On April 28, I’ll be giving a talk along with a fellow historian at an indie bookstore about the statue project, but I’ve already been out in the classroom talking about the CCCs.

The Glacier Ranger Station in Glacier, WA, built by the CCCs in 1939.

This past Thursday, I did a poetry project with 4th graders. The CCC boys published poetry in their camp newspaper, The Bulldozer. Some of it is quite good. I’m making the connection between their poems published in 1934–35 with poetry kids can write in the classroom today.

On June 16th, the statue will be dedicated. From now to then, I’ll be writing text for a wayside sign that will go by the statue. I’m also in charge of organizing the party in conjunction with the National Forest District.

CCC worker statue

Other plans for 2018? April 12-15th, I’ll be at a writer’s retreat in the mountains and at the end of that month, I’ll be attending the Chanticleer Author Conference. (It’s a great conference on marketing. My latest novel, Mist-chi-mas is shortlisted in two prize categories) I’ll be doing a book club visit between that and a book talk at the library in May.

Early June takes me to a book to film conference in Spokane, WA. I pitched The Jossing Affair to this conference, Connecting Writers with Hollywood, last year. I hoping to be signed sometime in the near future.

Summer will be lazy, but in the fall, I plan to attend the CCC Legacy conference in Portland, Oregon. Projects on Mount Hood will be highlighted. I’ve always wanted to see that mountain.

 

Janet Oakley

I write every day, no matter what form. If I’m lucky, I’ll have Quisling Factor done in the next twelve months. Or not. Writing life is good!

writes award-winning historical fiction that spans the mid-19th century to WW II. Her books have been recognized with a 2013 Bellingham Mayor’s Arts Award, the 2013 Chanticleer Grand Prize, the 2014 First Place Chaucer Award, 2015 WILLA Silver Award and the 2016 Goethe Grand Prise.

When not writing, Janet demonstrates 19th century folkways, including churning some pretty mean butter.

In addition to historical fiction, J.L. has also written four mystery novellas set in the Hawaiian Islands, part of Toby Neal’s Lei Crime Kindle World. Her most recent historical novel, Mist-chi-mas: A Novel Of Captivity, launched in September 2017.

 Get to know more about Janet on her:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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Feed your need for great reads: New books from your favourite Bestselling authors

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Your favorite BestSelling authors have been working hard to feed your hunger for great new books in every genre. Here are some of the latest releases over just the past two months to feed your need for great reading.

Non-fiction

Barb Drozdowich has updated her Complete Mailing List Toolkit for 2018, with a free video course on using MailChimp and Mailerlite. This bundle of four books provides strategies for list building and step-by-step guidelines for creating content that turns readers into lifelong fans.

Available from

Mystery, thriller and suspense

Toby Neal’s sixth Paradise Crime book, Wired Justice, hit the stands two days ago. Sophia Ang, her lovable dog Ginger and her dynamic partner Jake Dunn plunge into a new investigation to find a missing young woman—the latest in a string of disappearances.

Toby has also re-published the previous five Paradise Crime books with all new covers.

Available from

J.L. Oakley‘s Hilina Pali, her third Lei Crime Kindle World novella, brings back Auntie Bee Watanabe and her niece, ace crime reporter Wendy Watanabee. Auntie Bee receives mysterious clues pointing to an old injustice. Bee and Wendy team up with a local historian in a race against time to prevent another tragedy from happening at Hilina Pali.

Available from

Cozy mystery

In DelSheree Gladden’s third Eliza Carlisle Mystery, Instigator, Eliza finds herself in a series of embarrassing, injurious and rat-filled situations, and a murder investigation.

Available from

Fantasy

In A New Goddess, Autumn Birt ends the epic fantasy Games of Fire series with a struggle for power over the elements of magic, and over life and death on Earth.

Available from

Poetry

D.G. TorrensAbyss is a collection of thought-provoking poetry and prose. The words are like sutures, healing from the inside-out. Abyss takes the reader on a journey through loss, grief and rejection to healing.

Available on Amazon.

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Announcing a new #BestSelling member: J.L. Oakley

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BestSelling Reads is thrilled to announce another new member: the award-winning, bestselling author of historical fiction, J.L. Oakley.

Janet wrote her first historical fiction in the fifth grade and has not stopped since. She contributes to a number of journals and literary publications, and is the author of seven works of historical fiction:

She also published an essay about a city that lost its water supply three days before Christmas, The Christmas Well.

Janet’s writing has won a number of awards:

When she’s not writing, Janet demonstrates 19th-century folkways in schools and at San Juan Island National Park in Washington State.

“I consider myself very fortunate to have been invited to this stellar group of best selling and active writers from across the world,” she says.

Get to know more about J.L. Oakley and her books at:

And follow her on Twitter @JlOakley13.

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