Reader A.L. asks concerning FROSTBORN: THE DARK WARDEN:
I recently got a Kindle Unlimited account, considering my recent spending on books it was a good idea! Will The Dark Warden be available through it?
That is a good question, which has both a short answer and a longer answer.
Short answer: Definitely not now, but maybe in the future, depending on what happens over the next year.
Now for the MUCH LONGER answer. Brace yourselves for math!
Kindle Unlimited is sort of Amazon’s “Netflix for ebooks”. The idea is that you pay $7.99 a month subscription fee (or £7.99 in the UK), and then you can read an unlimited number of Kindle Unlimited ebooks per month. This is a good deal for readers, especially the kind of power readers who can get through multiple books a day. Authors with books in Kindle Unlimited get paid if more than 25% of their book is read, and then their payment comes out of a “pool” – typically $2.5 million dollars – that is divided out based on the number of borrows per month. Usually this comes out to between $1 to $2 per borrow, and Amazon also pays out bounties to the top 100 Kindle Unlimited writers per month.
For a writer, though, the big downside of Kindle Unlimited is that the book has to be available ONLY on Amazon – no Barnes & Noble, no iBooks, no Google Play, no Kobo. For me personally, this would be a major disadvantage. In August of 2014, 42% of the books I sold were through Amazon US, 29% through Amazon UK, 0.7% through Amazon Germany, 1% on through Amazon Australia, 1% through Amazon Canada, 11% through Apple iBooks, 9% through Barnes & Noble, 2.5%through Google Play, and 1.5% through Kobo. So about 74% of my sales were on the Amazon websites, and 26% were on Amazon’s competitors.
So if I put FROSTBORN: THE DARK WARDEN in Kindle Unlimited, I would hypothetically lose about 26% of the book’s potential sales, and I’m not willing to do that. Barnes & Noble’s Nook platform has kind of stagnated over the last year, alas, but I’ve been seeing growth on iBooks, Kobo, and Google Play, which I would like to see continue.
It might not continue, though. If I get to a point where, say, 90% of my book sales are on Amazon, it will definitely be time to start experimenting with Kindle Unlimited.
That said, I might try to move my short stories onto Kindle Unlimited. In the last few years, I’ve written something like sixteen FROSTBORN, THE GHOSTS, and DEMONSOULED short stories that I’ve given away as a free bonus with my new-release newsletter announcing a new book. (Subscribe now!) But after the short stories are out and the free copies downloaded, the short stories just sort of sit there and don’t sell very many copies, and they especially don’t sell very many copies on non-Amazon sites. What I might do long-term is give away a new short story with each new book, and then after a month, move the short story over to Kindle Unlimited. Kindle Unlimited items can also do short free bursts and temporary price promotions. So the goal would be to pull fresh readers into FROSTBORN, THE GHOSTS, and DEMONSOULED, since each short story would have a link to the first book in the series at the end. And if it doesn’t work out, I would move the short stories off Kindle Unlimited and back to the other sites.
The big advantage of self-publishing ebooks is that you can make decisions based on actual data, rather than a gut feeling or how the editor’s morning doughnut happened to affect his mood that particular day.