As many of you who read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s blog or attended 20Booksto50K™ 2022 may know, there’s been a lot of talk between indie authors about Kindle Unlimited, how it may be going away at some point (hence the creation of Kindle Vella which is 100% supported by readers purchasing tokens), and how that will impact authors who have been exclusive to Amazon.
Now, I’m not all that worried about this because I have Smashwords/D2D and Google Play accounts and can shift back to wide in a couple of days if I need to. Hell, I was wide until last July when I decided to try putting the bulk of my titles in KU and my income jumped five-fold.
That being said, it did occur to me that I might want to start looking at ways to sell ebooks directly without having to rely on Amazon, especially since they have a rule that if you price a title over $9.99 (as you might wish to do with, say, a box set) you can only collect 35% royalties on it. As I have hopes of publishing three box sets this year, that’s going to cause some complications which will require me to pull the titles out of KU so that I can sell the box sets wide (there’s a way around the ‘Zon’s restriction if you split the set into duologies but that’s a topic for another day).
So I checked all my titles in KU and when they were due to drop out. The bulk of these were going to drop out in late February so I unchecked the “automatically renew in KU” box to guarantee that none of them would accidentally be renewed. This was on January 13th.
On January 14th my KU reads dropped like a fucking rock.
In fact, the only sales I made were two title sales (the spike on 1/19) and KU reads from Shadow of the Swan, which happened to be the one title that I didn’t uncheck the auto-renew checkbox. Needless to say I freaked out. Clearly the ‘Zon took KU titles that weren’t signed up for automatic renewal out of whatever promotion its algorithm uses.
So I went back in and re-checked the auto renewal box for all the titles and waited. I know from experience that it can take them a week to apply changes so I tried not to punch walls and scream at the sky while my publishing income circled the drain.
And I was right to do that. Much to my relief I started seeing KU reads for other books than Swan today. I have left all of the Esposito County Shifters books out of KU, however, since that’s going to be my first box set once Shifter Woods: Claw is published and Shifter Woods: Growl ages out of KU in February. So if you were looking forward to reading Claw on KU, sorry.
That being said, I am going to prep D2D and Google Play editions of all my titles for the inevitable point where Amazon cancels KU, and as I finish the Olympic Cove and Paladins of Crystal series I’m going to take those titles out of KU so that I can publish them wide, as well. I also need to get the Shopify store up and running to sell signed print copies and find a good way to sell ebooks once they’re out of KU. Must think on that some more.