Time For Authors To RevoltIn a recent post I wrote on one of my other blogs, I looked at the latest KDP SelectExclusive Opportunity‘ that Amazon are offering in exchange for exclusivity. Pay-per-click advertising, which when analysed, hardly looks like a very good deal at all for self published authors. But then again, none of the offerings by KDP Select have turned out to be such a good deal for authors in the long run.

However, of all the so called benefits of KDP Select, the one that has done the most damage to author earnings has been Kindle Unlimited. The damage of this ‘innovation‘ has been recorded on countless blogs by authors who have suffered from the effect of, as Amazon says, ‘Unlimited Reading’. A huge loss of earnings.

So I was very glad to read a comment by an author about how he is fighting the Amazon juggernaut. The answer is surprisingly simple. It is to give penny pinching readers, who have now been trained by Amazon to pay next to nothing for ebooks on their Kindles, exactly what they want. Cheap, cheap, cheap reading.

My Take Away Vampire
On Amazon

Let me explain the logic of this. If an author lists an full length ebook of say 90,000 words at between $2.99 and say $4.99, and a Kindle Unlimited reader reads more than 10% of the ebook, the author gets paid about $1.40. A long way from the listed price. So why not move the goalposts a little?

Giving away the months of hard work spent writing a full length for $1.40 is ridiculous, so his idea is to give Kindle Unlimited readers a lot, lot less, and gain a lot more. The idea is to write a short story of say 10,000 words, (or less) and list it at $0.99. Then, enrol the short story in KDP Select and in the process, offer it on Kindle Unlimited. If he’s lucky, miserable, penny pinching readers, who pay their $9.99 per month to have access to Amazon’s promise of absolutely unlimited reading, will download the short story, read 10%, or 1,000 words, and the author gets paid $1.40. Brilliant! Turn $0.99 and a lot less work into $1.40!

Yes, it is time for authors to revolt and say enough is enough. You want cheap, you get cheap! Amazon has encouraged ebook buyers to expect to pay less and less for ebooks on their Kindles. So it is very much high time for authors to say that if that’s the case, then readers should get a lot, lot less for their money. I mean, stuff you dear reader, but a cup of coffee hasn’t got any cheaper in the last few years.

I’m sorry, but as an author, I am not going to work my butt off for readers for nothing. So, for a return of $1.40 per potential read dear readers, get ready to expect very, very little in return from now on. Authors do need to eat, just like you.

It is high time for authors to revolt!

*** Update *** 

Since writing this article, Amazon have changed to a ‘pay-per-page’ model of payment for ebooks under their Kindle Unlimited subscription service. However, after seeing the effect of ‘pay-per-page’ on my royalties, which was remarkably unchanged, I’ll stick with the theory that short is good. In a world that is losing its attention span, short is definitely better.

Time For Authors To Revolt
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6 thoughts on “Time For Authors To Revolt

  • 11/02/2015 at 4:54 am

    Another option would be to sell our full-length books one chapter at a time, like tracks on an album. If it works for our fellow artists, the musicians, why not for us?

  • 11/02/2015 at 2:26 pm

    I was just going to mention the chapter by chapter option – the only problem with that, as I see it, is that it might be tough for first or second time authors to generate enough readers to follow the whole book. Now, if we could get some really popular authors to buy into this….

    • 11/02/2015 at 2:35 pm

      I’m not sure selling chapters would work, Noelle, as they are really too short. However, selling episodes might be worth thinking about. Perhaps a full length three book series could be edited to form a twenty episode series of around 15,000 words per episode. What do you think?

  • 13/02/2015 at 11:38 am

    You have certainly got a point! I take a lot of time on my books, put in a lot of research, and visit every location, pay for the best services I can afford to make them the best possible quality. I dont sell many and feel like I fight hard for every sale. 70% of 2.99 is not a lot. I wondered if Kindle Unlimited would help an unknown like me, maybe encourage readers to take a risk on my work, but it hasnt. The problem among 6 million books is visibility, plain and simple. KU is great for readers but not authors, particularly when every sale counts. Your idea is a good one. It may see the sudden output of a plethora of short stories. I think I would in future only submit short stories to KU and maximise my novels potential sales on a greater selection of retailers.

    • 13/02/2015 at 11:55 am

      I had two of my books listed with KDP Select to test KU, Ali, but withdrew them as soon as the 90 day period finished. Both books were listed at $4.99, and all KU achieved was to kill my sales, and then in return I got a pittance for a few KU reads. I don’t plan on publishing a new title this year, but I may set to work on chopping up all of my books into 10,000 word episodes and then fill KU with my pitiful offerings. Hardly a fair or reasonable thing to do on my part, and I won’t do it of course, but it seems that KDP are firmly set on the path of cheapening the written word.

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