Thursday, June 18, 2015

Amazon Changes the Rules Again

So, if you're a part of a writing community which publishes on KDP, I'm sure you already know about the big controversy. If not, let me sum up real quick. Amazon has changed how Kindle Unlimited (hereafter KU) pays authors for their work. Instead of waiting for a borrower to read 10% of their book and then getting a set amount (which does change from month to month), Amazon will now pay authors a price per page. Some have said it might be as much as ten cents a page which is blatantly ridiculous, others have said it will be down to half a cent a page, which is just as ridiculous. We don't know what the price will be yet, but erotica short authors are up in arms over it, and freaking out.

Now, this affects my livelihood as well, so obviously I'm concerned about it. Considering my "books" average about 10-11K a book (some are shorter, some are longer), we'll go with an estimate of 35 pages per one of my books. If it's 1 cent a page, then I'd be getting 35 cents per borrow, which is not really... awesome. If it's 10 cents a page, then it's 3.50$ per borrow. Obviously, it's not going to be that... that's way too much money. I think Amazon is going to start it off somewhere in the middle, and do what they did before... go down slowly in payout. It happened already with how KU works now. It was $2 a borrow (MAN I wish I would have started earlier!) and has stabilized around 1.30-1.40$ per borrow. Yet they're losing money. So many authors have put in books in KU, especially erotica writers, and with unlimited borrows, people are reading a lot more and getting their bang for their buck, which turned out good for writers. More they borrow, more writers earn. Yet the income for their KU program stayed about the same, if increased slightly.

Going to a page per read metric doesn't bother me too much. It's pushing closer to a getting paid per word deal that submitting to magazines and suchlike was like back in the day. I actually have complete confidence in that what people borrow of mine they read to the finish. This is mostly because MOST of my sexy bits tend to end up at the end of the book, OR there's a story there to carry them along. I'm not saying my work is high writing, but the way I've tied it together seems to carry readers from story to story with my JKC. Most of the Dominating books have a scenario in the beginning, leads to the sexy part at the end. What bothers me is that it's not... set down how much they are going to pay per page, how many words per page there are, and if formatting makes a difference or not. If I HAVE to, I'll go to 1.5 space formatting to fluff it a little, but that would kill part of my soul. I don't do that. I use a 12 size Times Roman font with single spacing, no double spacing between paragraphs... I use indents. Hence, my words per page is probably higher than a lot of erotica writers who do use such tricks to pad out their page count. I read one book where it was literally a paragraph (and not a long one) per page. That. Was. Annoying.

I understand why they're doing this, and it's Amazon playbox. If I don't like it, I can take my shit and leave. I'm considering that. They're offering 90 days after this goes into place to pull your shit out of KU, and depending on how it's done, I may. My plan originally was to pull stuff out of Amazon and sell on other forums anyway. This may just hasten it. I don't know yet. However, if they pay at least 3-5 cents a page, I'll probably stick to my original plan. 35 pages * 3 cents = 1.05. 35 pages * 5 cents = 1.75. I can live with those numbers. The sales will still be there too. But since I tend to writer LONGER stuff, it doesn't hurt me as much as those who churn out a billion 3,000 to 4,000 stories. Yeah, I've some shorter stuff, but I didn't work as long on them, so it makes sense to me that I should get paid less.

People have freaked out that this means the end of bundles, and I'm like.. this means MORE bundles. Bundles always have been and always will be free money to erotica writers. You're getting paid twice for work you already did. However, it'll mean more trash bundles too. I vow to my readers I will never ever trash bundle. I might slip in a bundle of stories from various series together, like a sampling, at one point, and I WILL bundle Dirk stories together and Debbie stories together from the JKC so that if my gay/bisexual readers want to find just Dirk stories they can, and hetero readers want to just read Debbie's they can... but that's it for my "trash bundling". Otherwise, stories will be bundled how I've been doing them. Every 5 for a JKC, 10 into a mega (haven't reached there yet tho), every 3 for Dominating, and every 3 for my shorter series. Rock, I haven't decided yet, but depending on the length of the next Rock, it may be every 2 or 3. If he continues to make me write 25K+ in a story, that's a lot of words, lemme tell ya. Two of them would be novel length then (novel length being over 50K), which would make sense to bundle them in a two pack. Just have to wait until I finish the next one.

The other thing is that it means more immediate payment up front, though the returns for each book will vary. People sometimes read stuff all in one sitting, and sometimes they don't. Assuming someone borrows a book and starts reading it right away, you'll get your cash right away (well, in 60 days, but that's the payment schedule). If they put it down and continue reading the next day, you'll get the next bit. It's more continual. That may mean a smoother graph, more consistent money throughout the month. Authors such as Selena Kitt have given us what information she has, which is really appreciated, and has offered authors to "come to the dark side"... which I already have an Excitica account, heh. My first book that is not attached to a bundle has finally come free of KU, so it was going to go up onto the different platforms out there, starting tonight when I get my conversions done. How will these other platforms perform? I have no idea. That's why I'm experimenting. I don't like being at Amazon's mercy, but they're a company and they want to make money. I get that. It's just that... so do I.

What does all this mean? It means keep your head down and keep writing until July or August until we get some numbers for sure, and then you can cry the sky is falling. For now, it's business as usual.


  1. I'm with you and glad to see some level-headed thinking on the subject. Not only am I not worried, I'm hopeful, but I'm not doing what most erotica writers are doing. :)

    1. With the job change and my stupid basement and cursing the rain every time it falls, I'm already crying that the sky is falling, just for a completely different reason. XD

      It's just not worth getting worked up over it right now. And no, you're not! You're writing novella length stuff, so.... you're in a peculiarly different boat than most erotica writers. As I tend to write longer stuff too (though not as long, but I put out more) I don't think it'll hurt me that bad either. We just have to wait and see!