Tick. Tick. BOOOOOM!!!
There. Do you feel better now? We're nearing the end of DAY TWO of Amazon's new royalty pay out system for the books borrowed through their Kindle Unlimited program. How many of you have been on your computers wailing, gnashing your teeth and sending out furious hashtag filled tweets across the Internet?
Has the world come to an end for you?
Sorry, but all this craziness is over the top. The program just started up yesterday and there are authors lamenting they'll have to find some other way to get money since their income will be drastically cut.
All based on less than 48 hours of figures. (Click HERE to read a great blog post by Hugh Howey)
Now some want to throw in the towel since they may have to wait an entire month or maybe two to determine if the program will continue to pay them what they've been used to receiving while they've been faithful Amazon exclusive authors. Oh wait, maybe those were some of the hundreds of authors who busted up their novels into ten page pamphlets so that they would get paid the full royalty as soon as the reader opened their files on their Kindle?
If you were one of those authors who deliberately released those shorts, then you have no one but yourself to blame for Amazon's change up. You should NOT have been receiving the same royalty as someone who published a 100 or 200 page novel. You cheated the system and ended up causing Amazon to lose more money than they were already bleeding through their publishing side of their company.
Another group to blame are authors and their publishers who abused the system by having others repeatedly borrow books, scroll through 10% or a more for good measure, then return the book only to turn around in a day or two and borrow the book again. Now the author/publisher is getting double or more of the royalty intended for the "book". Tell me where that practice was ever fair?
With all the barely there "books" in the system, how could Amazon sustain the program as it was? How could authors who take the time to develop beautifully written novellas and novels get a break and be noticed in the sea of crap?
My friend and fellow author Zoey Derrick posted about this very thing within the last hour. Here's the LINK to her post. She'd made the choice to become exclusive to Amazon only a month ago and has decided to give it the full 90 days to see how it works for her and her readers. I think she made a wise decision. Two days of numbers won't give her a good idea of how things pan out. I applaud her for staying in there. She is one of the authors who write FULL length books with fabulous characters and stories that grab you and never let go. She may very well be one of the success stories with this new system because readers will WANT to complete the entire book and Zoey will be paid accordingly.
I gave Amazon exclusivity a go with one of the anthologies and it was not good for me. My readers kept asking when it would be out on Kobo, iTunes, BN and All Romance/Omnilit. I had built up a following there and didn't want to disappoint them. Once my 90 days was up, I pulled it out of Kindle Select and never looked back. That was the best decision for me and all of my pen names.
Subscription services on the surface look great for the consumer. You pay a flat monthly fee and you're able to borrow as many books as you can read. Amazon only let you "check out" ten at a time but once you finished reading any of them, you could send them back and fill those slots again. Well, companies offering these services grossly underestimated the voracious appetites of romance and erotica readers.
This is why there will be more restructuring...
Scribd just dropped a huge chunk of romance and erotica books from their listings. They couldn't continue to pay the authors the full royalty for books borrowed out of what they were taking in from the subscribers. Unfortunately, instead of reworking and renegotiating the rates, Scribd dropped a shit ton of books angering their distribution partners, authors and readers all in one swoop.
Oyster hasn't listed any of my adult books. At first I thought it was yet another site snubbing the hot stuff, but no. It's all about money.
Just like with Amazon.
Lesson through all of this is you must treat your writing and publishing as a business. You have to do what's right for you, your brand, and your work. If keeping exclusive to Amazon is what you want...do it but stop bitching. There will be ups and downs. Either ride it out, or get the hell out of dodge. Amazon isn't the only vendor out there. If you spread out, PROMOTE those other sites! don't assume readers will just stumble over your work and you'll take off. It takes work—a hell of a lot of hours of it to get your books in front of readers. If this is what you want to do for a living, then get off your ass and DO IT!
Until next time,
~The Fat Chick
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