Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited

If you are enrolled in Amazon's KDP Select program and have concerns about Kindle Unlimited, I have a few thoughts I'd like to share with you. I now have nine books in the Project series and am working on number ten. Until very recently, all my  books were in the KDPS program. Then along came Kindle Unlimited.

KU cut the income from my books by half, almost overnight. Half is a pretty big hit, which meant I needed to make a few business decisions. Remember:

Writing is a Business

How was I going to regain income lost with the introduction of KU?

·         I could pull all the books out of KDP Select as the contracts expired and begin posting on other platforms.
·         I could raise the price.
·         I could do both.
·         I could do nothing and hope for the best. (not a good option!)

KDP Select has enabled me to earn a living writing. The promotional advantages are the strongest feature and I didn't want to lose those. Placing books on other platforms meant a long delay for results. It would eventually produce income but take time for readers to discover my work. I decided to try a hybrid approach, while still keeping everything on Amazon for the time being.

I raised the price of all the books except White Jade by a dollar, making them $4.99. White Jade is the first in the series and will remain at $0.99. I didn't really want to raise prices because I want the books to be accessible to as many people as possible and a buck is a buck. I figured a dollar less made it easier for people to purchase and gave readers a break. To my surprise, sales actually increased after the change. The price increase has had no negative effect. Of course, I don't know why sales increased or if the price had anything to do with that, but it's an odd coincidence.

Second, the latest books in the series, Eye of Shiva and Black Rose are not enrolled and not available for free to KU subscribers.

Third, all except the first three books will go out of Select as the dates for renewal pass.

My thinking is that KU subscribers will discover the first three, like the series enough to continue and buy the rest. In that way all of the first three books serve as loss leaders, although they still provide some income. I encourage new readers and I protect the full royalty payments for the later books.

I'm hedging on placing the books on other platforms, because once I do, it becomes a real hassle to clear the decks for putting them back into KDP Select. I'm taking a wait and see attitude. I want to see what happens over the next couple of months to the royalty payments.

This strategy can only work because I have more than one or two books out there. If I had only one or two, I'm not sure what I would do. KU may be a very good thing for some, because the author gets paid and people can discover the books. Discovery is everything, and Amazon has around 60-70% of the market. Whatever best supports discovery is worth doing. On the other hand, KU makes the book(s) look cheap. The price shows up as FREE and free books aren't always good books.

What's your stratgey?


  1. Your KU strategy seems spot on. I'm curious -- how has it worked out for you?

  2. Hi Anon...It has worked out well. I have no books in KU, as it is a program that does not work if you have a series going, as I do. Best for someone with one or two books who wants to increase his.her reader base, but the royalty structure is miserly. It's a tradeoff for exposure. The program worked better back when it began, some years ago. Not so much, now. I think best thing now is to start on all platforms and find ways to promote via price breaks, etc, which you can easily do. Amazon matches price. Use Draft2Digital to publish. They are easu to use for price changes and fast repsonse, as well as formatting.
    Hope this helps.

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