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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The #KindleUnlimited Conundrum (again)

And here we are, March already. The year is whizzing past (no complaint from me just yet as we speed into spring and say goodbye to the cold weather and shorter days). And as we go into March, those titles I had in Kindle Unlimited are coming back out (in fact, one already is as of 20th February).
A Superhero Romance Novella
Goodreads | Amazon inc KU

Print edition:
Amazon | CreateSpace | B&N
The Book Depository
A YA Zombie Novella
Goodreads | Available from...
Amazon inc. KU
                                                                                             
I have had such mixed feelings over KU, and mixed experiences. Last June I blogged about why I was taking my short stories out of it for good. Shortly after I put two of my novellas previously with Breathless Press into KU because they just weren't selling. Out of the two, one is regularly borrowed but not in significant numbers. It also doesn't seem to have got my work any more visible.

So this year I decided I was going to take my remaining titles out of KU, though initially so that I could put them all back in together in March to tie in with my next release - hot space opera short Quickshot - which I'd decided to start off as an Amazon exclusive. I wanted everything scheduled to be on the same time scale for KU. But then Amazon made more changes. Every month the payment fund for KU pages read has been going down. And last month they changed the page count for Kindle books, mostly cutting them. So now not only do I get less per page read, but according to Amazon I now have less pages in those books. It sucks.

I've never liked the whole exclusivity thing, which is why I've kept some titles wide. I know Amazon punishes those NOT exclusive by making their titles less visible. But when the terms for KU are constantly paying less and less for borrows, I no longer see any benefit in it. Quickshot is going Amazon exclusive for its launch as an experiment, but it'll go wide when the 90 days are up. My series books will always go wide. While Amazon accounts for about 90% of my sales and going wide will mean them making me less visible, I refuse to be paid less and less for my books. I'm not anti-Amazon, but I can see where this is heading, and I'm not playing any more.

Even though being exclusively self published means I now earn more per month than with a publisher, it's still not a basic wage. For those curious, I currently get about $40 a month (instead of per quarter, which was the most I ever earned with a publisher). That's not even a living wage, just a dollar a day. Certainly not a good return on the hours I put into each book, or the edits and cover art that's done for them! So I am job hunting later this year with the hope of being back to work in 2017. If working six hours a day, five days a week during term time isn't paying me a basic wage, then it's time to leave. Writing will go back to being a hobby as and when I can fit it in. I think I came into publishing about a decade too late.

This is not a call for sympathy or a rant. Just reality. Maybe I'm not doing enough to promote myself, but I've done what I can and it hasn't worked out. I love writing and I'd like to keep publishing, but I need to be contributing to my household and family, and writing ain't doing it. I'm proud of what I've achieved, so I have no regrets there. I just wish it was making me a decent wage.

So Quickshot will release Amazon exclusive at the end of this month, and stay there for 90 days to buy and to borrow. Then it'll go wide. My last scheduled release for this year will be Reunion in May, which will go wide right from the start. After that, the third book for Keir will release in 2017. I can't promise anything else...

A Space Opera Short Story
Goodreads | Webpage
Amazon inc KU 

Status Update

This is how I currently feel with my revisions and editing.


via GIPHY

Reunion is still in revision. I came down with a sore throat and earache at the end of last week, courtesy of the germs my little monsters bring home from school, and it's made me even less enthusiastic about working at the moment. I hope to finish this week though.
I have opened and begun edits on the June project, but only a handful of corrections at the moment, just as a break from Reunion. It's not top priority at the moment.
I also rewrote the ending to my Rebecca finalist Revived...for the third time. Or is it the fourth? I've lost track. I'm hoping I might be able to release it later this year, depending on finances and my editor's work schedule.

Chook Update
Our four new girls now all have names! From left to right we have Pitch, Fizzgig, Spaghetti, and Effie.

Ping Pong
Congrats to Laurie on becoming a full time author at last! Enjoy!

Pippa Jay signing off...

6 comments:

  1. There's also just chance and luck in sales numbers. You can do everything right and the sales won't happen.
    Thanks for making your books available at other retailers. I am always afraid of Amazon pulling another 1984, and I feel uncomfortable about the "leasing" model of buying ebooks. I'll buy some books on Amazon but like to buy a more open format when I can.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lee. Oh, there's always chance. I still have no idea why a book does well one month and then dies, or I get a burst of sales at a certain retailer. Although I *am* starting to see a pattern over the year.
      I prefer to be at multiple retailers than exclusive any way. You never know, Amazon *could* suddenly crash/go out of business. I never take anything for granted... I prefer to buy my books, tbh. If I want to borrow one, I'll go to the library. I don't like the idea of ebooks disappearing off my reader because I've forgotten the expiry date. I even download all my Kindle books to my computer so if Zon ever deletes my library/locks me out of my account I still have them.

      Delete
  2. I think I commented before about writing, being retired, but old. Still, I don't have to worry about the money so writing for me is a hobby. So is photography.

    I think you've made the right call. There's time for you yet. Just don't let anyone convince you of all those negative things, like you can't do it, you're not good enough and all that. And you never know. You've heard all those stories about people who are sure they can't have children, and the moment they give up trying - BINGO!

    That might happen to your writing career, too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Pippa I totally relate to your writing woes, though I'm sort of the reverse situation. Having worked all these years, I didn't have a lot of time to promote my books or educate myself about promotion. Now I have a huge learning curve ahead of me. You have the advantage of already knowing (and understanding) the ins and outs, so you'll probably do very well at juggling both a day job and being an author.

    I think being ill is probably behind your editing woes. Once you feel better all thrusters should be firing again.

    And thanks for the wishes on my transition to full-time author. I'm still feeling like I'm just on leave and will report back soon. Eventually the lifestyle change will sink in. LOL

    I like your fluffy white chook. Effie? She looks like a feather duster. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, my knowledge mostly extends to what hasn't worked so far. :P
      A few weeks from now you'll stop feeling like you're on leave because being a full time author is still a job. I know I wake up on a Monday thinking 'back to work I go..."
      Isn't she cute?! Eldest named her after the character in Hunger Games. Fizzgig is the same but her dark color means she doesn't show up so well in the photo.

      Delete

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