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Has KULL Killed My Sales?

I hear this all the time. Let me answer this graphically:

No! As a complete unknown, the ability of readers to try my books at no additional cost has tripled–or more–my sales. I mean, can it really be a coincidence that the start of the KULL program just accidentally happened at the same time as that leap in sales?

 

If you are a well known writer with huge sales numbers, perhaps it’s different. Of course, you’re probably not reading this blog either, but . . .

21 Comments
  1. 23 skidoo

    September 2, 2018
  2. Do you mean “KOLL” (Kindle Owner’s Lending Library)?

    September 2, 2018
    • Kindle Unlimited Lending Library. IIRC, the KOLL is just the “one free borrow a month” that comes with Prime membership. It started earlier and was included in the sales graph. now it’s rolled into the KENP count. Kindle Edition Normalized Pages, which is literally the number of pages read, rather than just the number of books borrowed.

      September 2, 2018
      • Thanks. I saw “KOLL” in the image, and that confused me. Plus it turns out to be hard to search for “Amazon KULL” if you’re not looking for Kull the Conqueror. šŸ™‚

        September 2, 2018
        • It could be worse. It could be Kull searching and eliminating Howard competitors…Kull KILL!

          September 2, 2018
          • Randy Wilde #

            Maybe he’s only eliminating the bad ones.

            Kull cull!

            September 3, 2018
  3. False advertising! I was hoping to find out how some kind of resurgence of interest in Robert E. Howard was killing people’s sales.

    September 2, 2018
    • Christopher M. Chupik #

      I have seen collections of his work in the top 20 on Amazon some days.

      September 2, 2018
  4. And what’s interesting is different reader groups seem to prefer buying vs. renting. My fantasy titles get rented, while the urban fantasy has more buys than page reads. Not certain if that’s just a three-month coincidence or long-term pattern yet.

    September 2, 2018
    • I think that is the key point. It isn’t the same market, for the most part, one side cannibalizing the other. It is two markets with a small overlap.

      September 3, 2018
  5. Christopher M. Chupik #

    Only if they threaten the throne of Valusia.

    September 2, 2018
  6. BTW, I love you guys. Even when you send me off to reread . . . wait a minute! Not single Robert E. Howard out on the shelves? Oh carp. That means they’re in a box somewhere . . .

    September 2, 2018
  7. Of course, the other thing the charts show is that while KULL broke me out of complete anonymousness, it was just out into a limited bubble.I need to break out of this bubble and into a large one (and then a larger one) to keep the sales climbing further.

    Advertising. It’s going to be my next learning experience.

    September 2, 2018
  8. So which brings in more $$$ the KULL borrows or the unit sales? I assume the latter but I have no idea how the two compare

    September 2, 2018
    • It varies. From the start, KULL brought in roughly 1/3rd of my net. Now it’s grown to half. A lot of this may be because I was writing a lot of shorter work while ping ponging between California and Texas as my parents’ health failed. As I get back to writing longer work I wouldn’t be surprised to see the trend reverse.

      September 2, 2018
  9. Max #

    You know, I’ve had nothing but fine success with KULL. The only people I’ve noticed complaining about it cannibalizing sales seem to be either big publishers or folks that write shorter-but-still-costly-in-sum series books that should have been single books to begin with.

    If the balance of cost and length are in harmony, KULL seems to do quite well.

    September 2, 2018
  10. Robin Munn #

    In your case in particular, Pam, I would never have picked up your series had it not been for KULL. A 34-book series (at the time I started it), at $4 each? Total of, let’s see, $156? Nope, that would have pushed my book-buying budget too far into the red, so I wouldn’t have started. But because of KULL, I picked it up and enjoyed it thoroughly once I got past the first few books. (I didn’t enjoy the first couple books all that much, especially book two which got a little depressing at points, but I persisted because I wanted to find out the backstory behind Directorate School, which I accidentally started with but then put aside until I’d read the main series).

    So now my problem is that although you write quite fast, there’s no way you can write as fast as I can read. You come out with another book every few months, and I’m always happy to see them show up in my Amazon recommendations (or get mentioned here)… but then I devour the book in eight hours or less and then it’s back to months waiting for the next one. I don’t say this to complain: I’m glad that you take the time it takes to write a good book, because rushing it out too fast might end up with a plot full of holes (instead of full of dimensional bubbles). I’m also very glad that you manage to be quite fast compared to most tradpub authors*. But as fast as you are, that still leaves me waiting months before my next Wine of the Gods “fix”. Which gives me plenty of time to read other books by, for example, Alma Boykin, and Margaret Ball, and Sarah Hoyt, and Dave Freer… And those are just some of the authors whose books I have checked out of KULL right now. (No, wait, I think I just returned Alma Boykin’s book to check out another one, but I had her latest Familiar book checked out up until just recently).

    Which brings me to the reason why I mentioned the “you can’t possibly write as fast as I can read” point. Tradpub, with their slow-rolling release schedule, doesn’t even know what they’re missing. I’m not the only fast reader who comments at MGC; from what I’ve seen, my reading speed is the norm around here rather than unusual. But tradpub seems to believe in the fixed pie, so that one author’s sales somehow take away from another author’s sales. Whereas thanks to KULL and its fixed price point that I can count on and budget for, I can read Alma Boykin’s books and Margaret Ball’s books and and and… and still have room in my reading time for Pam Uphoff’s books as well.

    * I don’t even mean the one who hasn’t published a single volume since the TV series of his work came out, I’m referring to the ones who continued to work away and bring out a book per year. Which, BTW, I don’t blame them for: they’re tradpub authors, so they don’t get to control the publisher’s schedule for releases. They might have finished all three books of the trilogy in one four-month period, and the books would still have come out one per year.

    September 2, 2018
    • jon spencer #

      You said it better than I could have.

      Pam is one of the authors that when she has a new book out, I will finish what ever I am reading as soon a possible so that I can get the new one on KU.
      Cooking Hot and External Relations have already been read.
      Now I am just waiting for the next.

      September 3, 2018
    • Oh, and BTW, for the KULL readers, if you want a permanent copy, I’ll be giving away a free book a week through the fall. Starting with Outcasts and Gods tomorrow.

      September 4, 2018
  11. Draven #

    c4c

    September 3, 2018
  12. Mike Houst #

    I’ve been reading a heck of a lot more from authors via KULL that I’d never have tried due to the cost of normal ebook, paperback, hardcover. And then reading more of their work, LOTS more. And some of their stuff is even good enough to want in dead tree form. (I like dead tree stories, but my wife insists that I only have one room in the house with floor to ceiling books against the walls.

    September 5, 2018

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