or, Honey, do you have enough kindling to turn the campfire into a controlled inferno? I hope the Girl Scouts (Caribbean chapter) taught you know to make a fire by rubbing two recalcitrant sticks together because I’m out of matches and the flamethrower I bought on sale last year is still in the shop—it’s so hard to get qualified technicians these days.


The following is a letter I set to myself yesterday. I do this from time to time as a public service to my multiple selves—there’s nothing strange in that, Sybil did it all the time. Besides, communication is the key to understanding. I say this when I’m in an aphoristic mood or when I need extra time to procure the rent check (sometimes clever imitations will do).

Dear Sir,
I just learned a few things about Kindle and want to share the knowledge with you (because that’s the kind of person I am).

I was interested in estimating how much filthy lucre money an independent author might be making given the Amazon rank of the book.

Here are two examples–from these results you can extrapolate the earnings of any book (except for books on ornithology, which seem to follow their own imprescriptible path).

Amazon Best Sellers Rank #35,000 Paid in Kindle Store. This means the book earns around $100-$200 per month.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank # 2,000 Paid in Kindle Store. This Mean the book earns approximately $1,000- $2,000 per month.

But my main purpose is to tell you about a particular strategy, one which may seem counter intuitive to a greenhorn–it’s where you offer a book on Kindle for free. Here is the little kernel of knowledge that makes such a strategy tick (while concomitantly mixing up metaphors): Within that book you offer something else for free: for example, the names and addresses of former KGB agents. But, in order for your readers to get this incredible gift, they must surrender their email address to you (this works far better than asking for blood samples; I have gone down this road and am none the wiser—it’s sad to say but many laboratories charge exorbitant fees and do shoddy work). And this, Sybil, is how you build an email list. Thereinafter, say once a week, you email these fine folks with other useful content. You may, for instance, casually divulge state secrets, tell in graphic detail about a purulent boil on your left shoulder, or pontificate about the merits of your newest manifesto and how it will, in time, revolutionize your hemisphere ( set yourself reasonable targets: the whole world is simply a bridge too far). And don’t be afraid to revisit communism, as it does have some nice points.

The next executive decision you want to take is that of writing several books (or pamphlets if you can’t be bothered to write with dedication) all in the same genre. This could be Stalin fanfiction, or vampiric moneylender romance (a subset of vampiric cyberpunk), sycophantic slipstream, and the list goes on and on. Once you unmask the penetralia of genre, the writing world opens up to you.

I hope you found some of these ideas useful and, as always, thank you for your time.



  1. Dear Prospero,

    You might think I don’t know what’s aflame in that photo above, but I was once a Campfire Girl and my own proclivity to pyromania when it comes to Cynthia’s poems tells me that among those ashes is burnt literature….the kind written on paper of course, the kind that makes a sudden pretty flame but collapses quickly in smoke and ash for lack of something nourishing to grab onto.
    But would a kindle make a better kindling? Longer lasting, richer? Oh— the irony of nomenclature—no! And the stench of burning plastic and metal could ruin anyone’s romantic fireside illusions.

    Multipersonally speaking, we don’t want a longer e-mail list. We don’t read or publish on Kindle here. And if we want to use the internet,
    ( rather than our poems or the twigs in our back yard ) to start a decent fire and warm our tootsies and our hearts, we’ll order a load of fatwood from L.L. Bean.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sybil,

      Please let go of those sticks. You are a petty pyromaniac (sometimes) and need help. Using my Kindle as kindling is naughty. But you will get a chance to reflect on all this while at Westgate Correctional. I personally like the feel, and touch, and smell of paper. There’s nothing like it. But when we have felled the last tree–and I hear there are plans afoot to achieve this very goal–there will be Kindle.

      Other times you are a mercenary, fighting someone else’s opalescent war. Oh, Sybil–how I love thee…and thine Janus-faced ways.

      Off to L.L. Bean,
      Prospero (I think)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Prospero (I hope)
    I am sure I detect the remains of a square frame in the fire and, after my recent experience of tossing whatever at kindle (although I am positive some of my blood went with – which will thoroughly confuse any lab!), a fire seems an appropriate residential setting. I do like the idea of a Stalinesque booklet. Maybe set on Mars… mmm… When Sybil is next available, I would appreciate her input.
    Best regards
    Um… Oh yes… Rob

    Liked by 1 person

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