I’ve been hesitating to write this post, because I know some people will come out swinging and saying I’m doing it all wrong or something.
That’s fine. This is just my experience.
The first thing I want to say is that programs like Kindle Unlimited — or even publishing platforms. I knew mystery writers making big money on Barnes and Noble, while for sf/f they paid pennies — when they stop working, it might be for a genre, a sub-genre, a novel or even a particular author.
I decided to talk about it, finally, because it might be useful to some of you who are puzzled.
I’ll point I have a friend in space opera and friends in romance and erotica who are quite happy with their kindle unlimited royalties.
Me? I noticed something going…. odd about two years ago. But we were locked down, and I was super depressed, and then I was moving, and it wasn’t till I released Odd Magics (really putting out cleaned up and also hard cover edition probably in two weeks or so) that it came into focus, and I went back over records.
So, when I switched over to Kindle Unlimited back when, I found that I made about half my income from reads, and half from sales.
This made perfect sense, since reads per page totaled about half the price of the book, and I was getting about the same number of people reading/buying.
Now, back then I made about $5k or so per book reissue, so, 2.5k was nice. While B & N, Kobo, etc. paid me pennies. Maybe $140 per book?
No brainer. I took it off all the other platforms and went exclusive and into KU.
Only…. either the shifters reissues, or Rhodes, or even Odd Magics, even though I still get the same proportions of reads to buys, the reads only pay me about 1/100th of what I get from sales, because …. well, I don’t know. I assume the price per page has gone down. (It’s always been fairly opaque.) Or maybe I’m really getting fewer reads, and miscalculating?
At any rate, Kindle Unlimited has now become what the “also rans” used to be. You know, I might make $140 a year. Is that worth giving them exclusive, and upsetting fans who buy in other formats, and not being orderable by bookstores, etc?
Um…. let me think about it. No. No, it’s not.
Is it worth the time it will take me to put everything out again on all the other stores, including new covers, etc?
Well, you know…. all the covers are due for a refresh, pretty much (successful authors do that, every so often) and there are other things I want to do, including integrating shorts-in-series as part of the series.
So — again, for me, at this time, in this place, and in the genres I write in (Mostly sf/f and mystery) — it is worth the time and effort, starting next week, or so, to start removing a series at a time from KU, recovering and re-releasing, and going wide.
I’m not saying everyone should be doing this, okay? I’m just going “If you’ve noted your royalties look funky, that’s not just you.”
The other thing I’ve noticed is that though I’m a KU subscriber, I’ve started spending money on books, because — unless I’m spectacularly unlucky — anything but say fanfic (austen) or romance (and even that depends on the type) that is on KU just…. is blah. Most of it isn’t bad, it just doesn’t hold me. To get interesting stuff, I end up paying.
Divided between quitting KU (we have a discounted rate subscription) and just paying for all books, or staying in for fanfic jags. (I’ll probably be leaving my fanfic on the program. Even though there too the quality of KU seems to be down.)
Look, it’s not as bad as the 99c novels used to be, but it’s not…. far off. Which means tiredness sets in after browsing a while.
And eh, going wide has the added value of bolstering the competition, which Amazon badly needs.
Yes, I know some of my fans are in strained financial circumstances. To compensate, I shall run sales, as usual (when I’ve remembered. The last few years were heck, okay?) between my birthday (mid November) and the end of the year.
I’m also exploring selling books in conjunction with my newsletter, but more on that later.
Anyway, this is just “What I’m seeing and what I’m doing.” Your mileage may vary. But…. something is wrong in the kingdom of the zon, and things aren’t as they were.