Thursday, August 17, 2017

Kindle Unlimited Revisited

I won't say I'm a popular author, though I do have fans. The money I make from this isn't "changing your life" money. It helps pay bills and supplements my income, but that's about it. What does this have to do with Kindle Unlimited? Well, this is still a job and money is still money.

For those who don't know, the Kindle Unlimited program (hereafter called KU) is an Amazon program which allows authors to enlist, and then they pay the authors a certain fraction of a cent per page read. In theory, it sounds great. In practice, not so much. If you're popular and you have a lot of stuff, people who are enrolled in the program read your stuff and you'll get paid a fair amount. If you're not, the pay really comes off as a pittance. I think the current rate is like 0.42 cents per page read. That's not "42", but 0.42, by the way. Not even a cent a page.

The old KU program paid a dollar amount for every time your book was read over 10%. I think it averaged out to about $1.30ish or so, which is not the amount of a sale (a $2.99 book nets the author $2.07 in royalties), but it wasn't, you know, ten cents for a short story. Predictably, there was an explosion of short stories, especially in erotica. When the KU program changed, many erotica writers moved to long form romance. Not all, but a fair few. Authors go where the money is.

I left some of my works in KU, notably the Delilah Devilshot series and the Villainess series, and pulled the others out, slowly. Taking one of my shorts, for example, which is about 6K or so in length, a complete read through is like twenty-five cents, if that, but we'll call it twenty-five cents. In order to make the same amount as a sale, eight people would have to borrow and read it. I just don't think it's worth it anymore, not even for my longer form works. I would rather have more people be able to buy it, than a select few able to read it. I'll still get sales here and there--I do on almost everything now and again, almost just as often as page reads for my older books.

However, the initial boost provided by the borrows/page reads is undeniably useful. Each time someone borrows a book in the KU program, they get a bump in rankings, which increases visibility. So, because of that, I'm going to put my new stuff in KU for the minimum three months, then pull them out and go wide, offering them on a variety of platforms. It's the best compromise I can think of. Whether it's successful or not... who knows? And I don't care (that much). Yes, I'd love to be successful, but more, I'd like to be paid fairly for the work I do. If people like my stuff, they'll buy it. If they buy it and don't like it, there's always the return policy.

Friday, August 4, 2017

To Patreon or Not to Patreon

Lately, I've been noticing more and more indie authors going to Patreon as well as publishing through Amazon or D2D or Smashwords (or all three). What Patreon is, for those who don't know, is a place for artists to post exclusive content for people who support them per month. The donations can be low as a dollar, or high as... well, whatever the artist puts it at.

The content creator can do anything, really, so long as people are willing to support them. It looks like it could potentially be a nice secondary source of revenue, but I'm a little afraid to try it. The first, as Bryce succinctly put it, was "What if you do it and no one supports you?" Not only would that be embarrassing, it would also be depressing. My main concern though is putting out enough "exclusive" content that it would be worthwhile. I think a couple people would support me. Maybe not much? Maybe not more than one or two? But if they did, I'd want to make sure that extra couple bucks is worth it. I mean, every two to three dollars would be like a book being sold for me (after Amazon takes their cut), so I should put out a short story worth every month, right? Problem is that sometimes I can't even just in publishing!

There are other benefits that I could list, such as early sneak peeks, early release access (or Advanced Reader Copies (ARC)) to new stuff, exclusive releases, and so on, as well as perhaps gifting people with copies of books I've already written. Doing a quick look at some other Patreon pages, I think I have a lot to offer. It would be another platform to open up, and I can give away some really great things. One thing I also thought about was that I could move the blog over to there. Hardly anyone reads this anyway, and it's mostly a place for my thoughts. Some authors offer a chance to immortalize people in prose. I have a wide variety of works. Like I said, I think I can offer a lot!

It's something to think about. I think I'll probably give it a shot. I need a place to consolidate things. I'm terrible at doing mailing lists because I think I'm annoying people, and just posting on Facebook is sort of like shooting in the dark. It's definitely something to consider.