Attractions - Joshua Edward SmithI wrote a short story. I didn’t mean to, really. But it suddenly appeared in my head, and if I didn’t write it down I would have had to listen to it like a song on loop forever. So I wrote it down, and then I read it, and I really liked it. So I decided to turn it into a tiny little book. It’s just 12 pages, but there’s a category on Kindle called “15 Minute Reads” (actually, as it turns out, they classified mine as a “30 Minute Reads” because 15 minutes only goes up to 11 pages).

The whole 15 Minute Reads thing is a bit of a mystery. There are best-selling 5-page books that cost $10. It makes no sense. My best guess is that those books get all their reads for free on Kindle Unlimited, so it doesn’t matter what price they claim. And maybe having a super high price makes the KU borrow seem like more of a “deal,” and encourages sales. I have no idea. But I decided to just price my book as low as Amazon would let me.

So if you go to, you can pick up my short story for about a buck. And if you time it well, you can pick it up for free because I plan on using those five free days Amazon lets me have per quarter. The first one is going on right now. So if you managed to read this post on Friday, May 20, 2016 when I posted it, you should jump over to that link and grab the free book.

At the end of the short story, I put in the first scene of Entropy. The hope is that someone reads Attractions, likes it, and decides to try the first scene of Entropy. And then they have to buy the whole novel, because what happens next? This is particularly aimed at KU readers, because I suspect they are the people who will mostly read short books like this. And grabbing the novel won’t cost them anything, so the price barrier doesn’t exist.

It’ll be next to impossible for me to test this theory. But I will suspend my Twitter Ads for Entropy while I run these Attractions free days, and I’ll see if there are any signs of people buying.

I decided to go with KDP Select for this. It is required in order to be eligible for KU, and I really wanted that. The down side is that I can’t make it simply free. There are a series of painful contortions you can go through to make a book free on Amazon, but you aren’t allowed to do those if you are Select. I’ll see whether the KU thing works, and if it doesn’t, maybe I’ll opt out in 90 days when they let me and try the “perma-free” thing.

Anyway, I encourage you to go read my short story, because I think it’s really good. And the reviews have been over-the-top great.


4 thoughts on “Attractions

  1. That’s fantastic. And a great idea to put your first scene of Entropy in at the end. I didn’t know Amazon had a 15-min/30-min read section. I write short stories all the time-going to have to look into this! Thanks so much for the post.

    • Thanks! Putting the first chapter of book 2 at the end of book 1 is pretty standard practice these days. So I was really just riffing on that idea. I only put in the first scene (not the whole first chapter) because I thought the scene ending was a better cliffhanger. So far I haven’t seen any sell-through, but I’ll keep tracking it.

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