I’m Going Wide. Again.

I have made a decision.

Last year, I enrolled most of my books in KU. It made sense at the time—my income from non-‘Zon outlets was okay but nothing to write home about, and I saw a five-fold spike in my book income when I went with KU. Plus I was getting exposed to a much larger reader group, which could only be a good thing.

Since September, however, my KU reads have been dropping steadily. Worse, various goings-on at Amazon have reduced the payout for KU page read, and it does not look like things are going to improve any time soon, if ever. You can read Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s excellent analysis of the Amazon situation for a more in-depth explanation, but the short version is: Amazon’s new CEO doesn’t care about books or readers, so KU payments are getting jacked around and the program is no longer worth it for a lot of authors.

I am one of them. I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise, but I do this job (and it is a job) for money. To quote Preeti Chhibber:

“The thing is that writing is actually work. We romanticize it, and it is a wonderful thing to get to do professionally, but it is work that makes a lot of money for a lot of people — just not the people who actually do the work.”

She was referring to the WGA strike but her words can be applied to indie authors as well. Much of our income is tied to big companies like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, et al because they have the ability to put our books in front of far more readers than we could reach on our own. And they have made a pretty penny on our work.

But when Amazon’s new CEO decides that books aren’t important, that attitude starts impacting KU payouts. And when an indie author is only making pennies a day on KU reads, there’s no reason to keep our books in KU anymore (in case you didn’t know, having a book in KU means that it can’t be available anywhere because it has to be exclusive to Amazon).

This is not me being greedy, by the way. I know that a lot of people think writers are rich, but we’re not. Most writers don’t actually make a living wage and the millionaire outliers are just that, outliers. The rest of us have to have day jobs, additional income streams, or an employed spouse to cover the bills.

Thing is, I would like my employed spouse to be able to retire someday, and the only way to do that is if I’m making enough money with my books to support us, since I love writing and will continue to write until I drop dead over my keyboard. This means I need to put my books where they have the best potential to be purchased by readers. And right now staying in KU, much as I hate disappointing readers who pay for it, is costing me that potential income.

Long story short, I’ve turned off all of my KU automatic renewals. Once books finish their current KU cycle I will be uploading them to Smashwords/D2D and going wide. I’m letting you know this so that if you want to read one of my books while it’s still in KU, you can. Here’s the schedule  of when each book finishes its current KU cycle. I’ll be uploading them to Smashwords/D2D that day and they should be available on B&N, Kobo, Apple, Google Play, and other platforms a few days later:

  • All books in the Hidden Empire series: 5/18/23
  • All books in the Two Thrones and Olympic Cove series: 5/20/23
  • Stealing Dmitri: 5/20/23
  • Trickster: 6/21/23
  • A Theory of Crystal: 6/21/23
  • Crystal Shard: 6/24/23
  • Behind the Iron Cross: 7/3/23

One bright side—I have authorized my books to be available in Kobo Plus, which is pretty much the same thing as Kindle Unlimited except that my books don’t have to be exclusive to Kobo. And I suspect a lot of indie authors who are tired of the KU rollercoaster will be doing the same thing. If Amazon decides to shut down KU at some point, you should be able to sign up for Kobo Plus and find many of your favorite authors there.

In conclusion, I would like to thank everyone who’s read my books in KU over the past year. I appreciate your patronage so very much and I’m sorry if this puts a crimp in your future reading plans. Hopefully Kobo Plus turns out to be as successful as KU was for the first few years and will provide you with as much reading material as you desire.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to start reformatting a lot of books.

About Nicola Cameron

Nicola Cameron has had some interesting adventures in her life -- ask her sometime about dressing up as Tietania, Queen of the Bondage Fairies. When not writing, she wrangles cats, makes dolls of dubious and questionable identity, and thanks almighty Cthulhu that she doesn’t have to work for a major telecommunications company any more (because there’s BDSM, and then there’s just plain torture...).

Posted on May 4, 2023, in Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, Kobo, Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on I’m Going Wide. Again..

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: