It's probably not all that well-known outside writing circles, but Amazon recently changed the way it's going to pay authors for books enrolled in its Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Instead of paying every author the same for their books - after 10% of said book is read - they're going to pay authors by the number of pages read. Seems reasonable to me - if a little harder to work with in my spreadsheets.
So, if you 'borrow' Accidental Death (on sale today for non-KU people, btw), and you read the whole thing, I get page x-amount for each of the 520 pages Amazon has calculated my book to be. If you only read halfway through, I still get paid for 260 pages. Only read 10 pages? I feel sick to my stomach that I wasted your time but get paid for those 10 pages.
I think this all came about because some people were getting their panties in a wad because the big book they wrote was getting the same amount of fundage as the measly novella someone else wrote. :shrug: Conversely, the novella writers are now getting the proverbial wedgie because they probably won't be making what they used to on the shorter books while the behemoth doorstops will be raking in the dough. And the short story writers are probably having a cow write about now.
Don't even get me started about the people who are complaining about readers who don't finish their books, and how now they aren't going to get paid. :eyeroll: If I write a book people don't want to finish reading, I failed somewhere. That's on me. It would make me really sad, but it won't break me.
For me, personally? It's not a big deal. I write full-size books, and it seems like people are reading them all the way to the end. Plus, the only book I have in the KU program right now is Accidental Death. Besides, whatever the dollar amount, I figure KU sales are still sales. Those are sales I might not have gotten otherwise. Therefore, I'm happy with whatever monies float my way. You don't see me kvetching about the 61 cents I get when one of my paperbacks sells through 'Expanded Distribution' at Createspace. It sucks that it's so small, but hey, someone found my book, paid for it, and they're reading it. YAY! (Do I still want to kick some of those other distribution channels in the gnads for pilfering away my profits? Well, kinda, but them's the breaks. A sale is a sale, after all.)
A couple of the positives for me so far is that
1) The first day of this program - July 1st - I got to watch someone read my book is what I would guess is real time. When I woke up, it showed someone had read 70 pages. Mid-afternoon, it showed that certain someone had read as far as 252. Early evening, they'd read to 483. And I was all SQUEE! I know it may not sound exciting, but it was for me. Actually, it could have been more than one someone - several people all reading at the same time - but for me, it was one person and they were tearing through the book in one day. (Which is kinda what my first reviewer said in her review. And that makes me inordinately happy.) by the next morning, they'd read another 34 pages - which I assume is to THE END without reading the About the Author. Works for me.
2) My book, which my Word program shows as being like 282 pages and is 372 pages for the print copy, is weighing in at 520 pages for the purposes of getting paid by Amazon. More pages = more money, so yay.
A negative aspect of this is that it kinda screws up my accounting in terms of books sold. I dealt with it buy creating a simple formula - pages read divided by total pages - to give me an idea of 'whole book'.
Having said all that, though, I'm probably going to discontinue Accidental Death from the KU program in August. My decision was made long before the news of this change. I want to open the distribution up to a wider audience. True, I haven't really seen much from my expanded channels of Dying Embers through Draft2Digital yet, but I think people still need time to find me at B&N and Apple and Kobo. Additionally, I plan on launching Wish in One Hand across the board and see how that goes. If sales are strong, I'll stay out of KU. On the other hand, if I think I'm losing KU readers that aren't being replaced by other readers, then I'll come back. Simple as that. The idea is to get as many people to buy and read my books as possible.
Still, if this change ends up really increasing my sales dollars, then I might just have to think about staying in the KU. Time will tell.
Are you a Kindle Unlimited subscriber? Do you subscribe to another service - like Scribd or Oyster? How's that working out for you? If you're an author, what are your thoughts on the process? (And no negative stuff or Amazon bashing, please. No one needs that kind of negativity - especially not right before a holiday weekend.)