Some Pretty Big Changes Coming Up
Several weeks ago, I sent this to my reader’s list:
Among the writing community I have a bit of a reputation for championing “wide” publishing.
Let me explain that.
As a reader, I’m sure you’re familiar with Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service that Amazon provides which, for a low monthly fee, you get to read as many books as you want, if they’re enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program.
Not all books and authors are part of Kindle Unlimited.
As an author, to be part of the KU program, I must be exclusive to Amazon. In other words, I can’t offer my book for sale anywhere else, including Kobo, Apple, Google, B&N, etc. None of them.
I can’t even give away my books on my site, or put more than 10% of the book up as an excerpt.
Amazon strenuously administer the exclusivity and punish authors who break the rules by removing their buy buttons on Amazon, or closing their author accounts.
There are other rules and conditions that Amazon insist upon. In return, an author is given 0.0044 dollars per page read by a reader. (It actually fluctuates from month to month, but that’s about the average).
For quite a few years, now, I have publically spoken against author participation in KU, because the compensation for a whole book read isn’t close to what an author earns elsewhere. And I truly believe that forcing authors to be exclusive on Amazon will have serious long term effects that will impact both readers and writers.
Which is all well and good in theory.
I have been a “wide” author (as opposed to KU authors) for many years. In those years, there has been a major shift in publishing. When I last surveyed the KU system, 55% of romance authors had some books enrolled in KU.
Now, 93% of romance authors have all their books in KU.
The list of big-name authors in KU is growing every day, too.
Which still doesn’t sound bad, except that Amazon suppresses the ranks and sales of non-KU books, and inflates the ranks and sales of KU titles. That’s why the vast majority of romance titles in the top 100 are KU books. And all my books are pushed down the ranks and don’t show up in searches.
It’s pretty hard to compete with that reality.
There is only so much advertising one can do to compensate.
Last month was a pretty bad month in sales terms. The other bookstores are not selling enough of my titles to make staying out of KU worth it…I suspect, because so many romance readers subscribe to KU so they can get their romance fix each day at a reasonable price. I mean, why wouldn’t you?? As a reader, I completely understand how convenient KU is. I just object to it from an author’s perspective.
Only, I’m going to have to go into KU.
Staying out of the program because of a principal won’t pay my bills. It won’t give me access to all the readers who might like my books. Not anymore. Publishing has changed that much in just a few years.
I’m hoping that KU reads of my book will more than makeup for the dwindling sales I’ve been experiencing elsewhere (because all the readers are going over to KU). I’m hoping this works, for this will allow me to continue writing in the long term.
However, I also don’t want to inconvenience those of you who do buy their books elsewhere.
In the future, when I release a new book, and if that book is going to go into KU, I will first release it everywhere–going “wide”–for a month. Then I will pull it down from the other bookstores and put the title into KU.
And yes, I will let you know in advance if that is what I intend to do with a new title.
Fast forward to today.
The experiment with the first six books of the Scandalous Scions series was successful–scarily successful. I hit the top 100 in Historical Romance, and sales have increased. (I actually thought sales would decrease, because the Kindle Unlimited page reads would eat into the period this does not appear to be the case. Which is counterintuitive, but there you go.)
Page reads are increasing steadily each day, too.
November will be my best month in quite a long time, revenue-wise (which lets me continue writing–something that was in doubt for a while).
I was going to wait until January to make a decision based on the results of the experiment, but the results are so staggeringly remarkable, that there doesn’t seem to be much point in waiting.
My plan going forward is to switch a couple of series each week over to Kindle Unlimited.
If you will not, or cannot, buy your books from Amazon, don’t worry. I will be giving plenty of warning before bringing a series over to Kindle Unlimited. I will also be offering a discount for those series, before they are gone.
If you are a Kindle Unlimited Subscriber:
Then all you need to do is wait until the series you’re interested in is in Kindle Unlimited, then you can enjoy the stories as part of your subscription.
I will be sending out emails to announce when series are in Kindle Unlimited, so you don’t even have to remember to look.
If you would like to browse the series that I have available, click here.
Then there are the new releases
Going forward, all new releases (which I have one of every four weeks) will be first launched wide. In other words, you will be able to buy your copy at your favourite bookseller, for the first week or two after the launch. Then the book will be taken down from the booksellers, and put into Kindle Unlimited. There will be plenty of notifications and reminders each time this happens.
For email subscribers;
If you are subscribed to my email list, you will have already received an email that outlines all of this, and gives you the opportunity to tell yourself, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber. Then, you will not miss out on any announcements about books being brought over to Kindle Unlimited.
The process starts at the end of this week. If you would like to receive all the notifications and reminders, subscribe to my email list. Each email that goes out will have a link at the bottom where you can tag yourself is a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
Questions, concerns, just ask!
If any of this is confusing to use, or raises concern for you, please contact me by email and let me know what you’re thinking. This is a scary process for me. Most people find great change unsettling, but I am trying to set things up so that the transition is as smooth and easy as possible for my readers. However, it’s always possible that I’ve overlooked something. Please let me know! You can leave a message for me on the contact page.
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