Why?

I’ve talked quite a bit over the last couple of weeks here and on Mad Genius Club about going wide with my work. Part of that has been to give a few reasons why I decided it was the right path for me right now. But there was one major component to that decision I have discussed and I wanted to do so today. Why? Not only why talk about it today but why this component took such a major role in the decision. That component or factor is simple and has the potential to have a huge impact on an author’s bottom line. The Amazon product page, specifically, the purchase button. Check this image of what you see when you land on a page that offers a title that is enrolled in the KDP Select program (KU).

This is what you see if you go to my novella Skeletons in the Closet. I took this using a browser where I wasn’t signed into Amazon. That means it didn’t know I was a KU subscriber. Now take a good look at the right side of the image. The first thing you see is the story is FREE if you belong to KU. Then you get the read for free button. Then, buried down below it is the actual cost of the story and buy button.

It’s a none-too-subtle bit of marketing on Amazon’s part to get folks to subscribe to KU. It is being done by taking away sales by authors. Yes, we get paid per page read–assuming the KU subscriber gets around to reading the book. How many times do they download something out of KU and then see something else that looks appealing and just delete out a title to free up space for it since you are limited to 10 titles at a time through KU?

I have been guilty of that. Others I’ve talked to as well admit to doing the same thing. That made me start wondering if a large number of KU subscribers aren’t looking at books they download through the program much like they do free books. Add them to the TBR pile and get to them when they think about it and, if they need to free up space, the KU books are easy returns because there is no investment in them.

Yes, I know, there is an investment in the monthly fee your pay but you didn’t “buy” the book. So there is no reason to keep it and read it. After all, you can always go back and “borrow” it later–if you remember to.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the KU program. I’ve discovered a number of good authors through it. I have fans who can only afford to keep up with their reading habit because of KU. But as a businesswoman, I have to look at it from my bottom line. Yes, I was making good money through the program but that money was going down compared to overall sales. Many of the “benefits” of KDP Select are now available through other booksellers. Then, as I mentioned yesterday in my MGC post, Amazon is about to undergo a huge change with not only Jeff Bezos stepping down but a new head of Amazon Publishing.

So what am I going to do about those fans who can only afford their reading habits through KU? There are several I know and I know they aren’t stretching the truth about their reliance on the program. Those readers are also consistent reviewers. So I will offer them eARCs. They get the book at no cost. The only thing I will ask in return is an honest review–something I know I can count on them for.

There is another benefit to this as well. Those fans who review a book that they received through Kindle Unlimited are not viewed as “verified purchasers” by Amazon. That means (or at least used to mean) two things. The first is their reviews appear under their names without the added information that they are a “verified purchaser”. That little tag gives the review more weight by Amazon and, unfortunately, by at least some other readers. I would rather have a reviewer say in their first paragraph they received the book as an eARC for review purposes than the way it is now. (Part of that is impressions. An author who sends out review copies and who has reviewers note it seems more “professional” than others in the eyes of a lot of people.)

So there it is. I know there are some people who wonder why I’m going away from KU and who are worried they won’t be able to afford my books now. I can make you this promise. I don’t foresee any single title for the next two years costing more than $4.99 on any platform. I will be putting out calls for early reviewers for each new release going forward. I will post those calls here and on my social media platforms. Those eARCs will be free and all I ask in return are for honest reviews to be posted. There will be more information about this when we get closer to the first eARC release.

For now, I am already seeing an increase in sales across the board on Amazon. My sales wide are slowly picking up–I need to turn my attention to promotion but I want to finish getting this first mad rush of releases out of the way. Better yet, I finally have a handle on Victory from Ashes. Here’s the updated working cover for it.

And since I have an handle on it, I’m going to get a cup of coffee, curl up in my recliner and get to work. Until later!

Featured Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

2 Comments

  1. I never use Kindle Unlimited, but ALWAYS buy the Kindle ebook. I then have to strip out the DRM so I can convert the Mobi file to ePub. Unfortunately, I will continue to do this as I do not patronize either B&N Nook books nor Apple iBooks (even though I only use Apple hardware).

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