I've given this a fair bit of thought, now and then, over the past year and more. KU (that's an abbreviation, obviously...) hasn't helped me at all, but in the interest of fair play, some people are quite happy with it. This blog post is about how it worked for me - a long-term project, and one that I'm content enough to draw a line under at the end of this year.
Was it worth it? Short answer - no.
You get to put your books on 'Countdown Deals' and 'Free Promotions'.
I've done both of these. Even with Book Bub promotions neither tool has resulted in a longer term boost. And, the money I've made from various promotions hasn't nearly covered the shortfall since KU's inception. For me, .99p/c promotions don't do much apart from shift a few more books for less money. I'd make roughly the same selling fewer books at $2.99. Free promotions are great for downloads...does anybody read them, or is it just the excitement of getting something free? I think it's more the latter than the former.
Not if you're not selling the books, is it?
Earn 70% Royalties for Japan, Mexico...!
I've made about 100 Yen in Japan in a year. I'm not going to miss it, as much as I love Japan, Japan isn't buying my beer.
Reach a new audience!
My books are available in all those places anyway.
It's a resounded 'meh' on the benefits of KU.
I'm not planning on rolling out the books on another platform. I could, I guess (the price of KU is exclusivity with Amazon), but I just spent about a year and a half on reissues and formatting and covers...I don't want to spend another year doing that. They'll stay where they are, but in December I'm not renewing with KU, because...
People (other writers - they are people, too, yes they are) have been worrying an awful lot lately that the KU payout - which is supposed to pay writers per pages read - is wrong. I can barely count to seven using the fingers on one hand, so I'm not going to attempt mathsing in public, but last month's US royalties were around $100 (a pittance compared to some, yes, more than others, yes, but I'm giving a figure so you can see the difference). This month's earnings, from the US, is around $1. That's $1.
Is it going to hurt me, coming out of KU? Probably not. Will it help? Probably not.
Why bother being in or out, then?
The main reason is that I just don't like it. I like Hugh Jackman. I don't like Sean Penn. I like spaghetti, but fusilli gets on my nerves. I like humanity but most people, I can take 'em or leave 'em.
In the interests of disclosure, here's my historical horror ranking in the US. You'll see a drop in ranking around July 2014 (when KU began), a small resurgence around December 2015, when the program began to settle down. For most of 2016 it's averaging out someplace in the top 1000 (which really isn't a big deal, at all - if it was in all books, great - in horror, a small genre, it's a drop in the ocean). But, looking at this, small genre or not, here's the thing: Up until KU, Amazon royalties with fewer books were regularly and reliably around a hundred, per month. After KU, around ten pounds a month, for a year...
I already work for far below the minimum wage (not crying - my choice, and I'm good with more time and less money)...now?
Look at the chart again. The middle is lower. The two ends, close enough, around the top thousand rank. The first is before KU. The second is after. During the later period, I'm earning around one tenth of what I did in the first period with ten times more books.
I'm going to maths...hang on. Ten times less, ten times more...does that mean I'm earning 100 times less?
There's a reason I don't maths.
It was never about the money, but you know...coffee, cigarettes, beer...I can't work without 'em.
There are plenty of reasons I don't like Kindle Unlimited, and reasons I never liked it. I don't particularly like free promotions, or cheap promotions. I don't like capitalism as such, either. I don't like the whole trying, and trying, and trying to sell all the time. That's always been my problem. It depends on growth, and growth cannot be endless. There's always entropy, and we're saturated already. Everyone's trying to sell something to everyone, and when that doesn't work we give them freebies until they're so full up they just don't want anymore. There are people with thousands of books on a Kindle which will never be read. Someone like me spent a month or more writing a novel and that novel now has no value at all - I'm not talking financial value, but worth.
I think this saturation, this drive to make everything in the world a business, isn't just killing art, but our reason to create at all, our will to create, and as a result originality suffers. If a book does well, there will be a thousand knock-offs of that book...because everyone wants their piece of the pie.
Well, I'm stuffed, and I'd rather eat one really good pie than lots of shit pies.
Love you. x
Novel and Novella Excerpts
- Ghost Voices
- Red Ice Run (with Ryan C. Thomas)
- Field of Heroes
- ALT REICH
- Pig (With Edward Lorn)
- The Mulrones #1: A Scarecrow to Watch over Her
- The Mulrones #2: Death by a Mother's Hand
- The Mulrones #3: Flesh and Coin
- The Mulrones #4: Deadlift
- The Love of the Dead
- The Dead Boy
- A Home by the Sea
- A Stranger's Grave
- The Walls of Madness
- The Lies of Angels
- Unit 731
- Cold Fire
- Masters of Blood and Bone
- Left to Darkness
- BLOOD DRUGS TEA
- Spiggot, Too
- Days of Christmas
- The Cold Inside
- Dark Words
- Dead in the Trunk
- Angels in Black and White
- Line of Kings #1: The Outlaw King
- Line of Kings #2: The Thief King
- Line of Kings #3: The Queen of Thieves
- The Line of Kings Boxed Set Edition
- Rythe Awakes
- The Tides of Rythe
- Rythe Falls
- Beneath Rythe
- The Rythe Quadrilogy Boxed Set Edition
- The Complete Sun Destroyers Saga (Septology)
- FREE READ! Zombies' Guide to Taking Drugs Successfully
- FREE READ! Zombies' Guide to Keeping your Broken Body Ticking
- FREE READ! Zombies' Guide to Fixing and Making Stuff
- FREE READ! Zombies' Guide to Cooking like Normal People
- FREE READ! Zombies' Guide to Coping with Small Humans
- The Warrior Soul