Kindle Unlimited for Authors

For everyone bored by my obsession with Kindle Unlimited (KU) and Amazon’s algorithms, skip this post.

Since starting my self-publishing journey late in October 2014, my learning curve has been massive. It’s meant I’ve written less than I’d have liked, but you can’t research, strategise and test strategies, and write at the same time — unless you can clone yourself, and if you can, please tell me how in the comments!

In starting my self-publishing journey, I revised and published works I’d written previously, but never found a suitable publisher to work with on. Then I finished projects I’d abandoned for the same reason — no publisher would be likely to take a risk on them. Then, finally, I wrote specifically for KU.

The project written specifically for KUย is my latest release, Kiss Me, Quick. It’s interesting for a few reasons.Valentine's Day romance, kindle unlimited, Western Romance, Texas romance, cowboy hero romance,

Firstly, Kiss Me, Quick is a short story (32 pages, or as Amazon says, a 45 minute read). My theory, as I’ve blogged earlier, is that KU will support a renaissance for short stories. Interestingly, Jane from Dear Author, says something similar in her predictions, although she thinks the short stories will be linked. Serials, in fact.

Secondly, I went with targeting an audience, and I did this by focussing on keywords. What would readers be looking for on Amazon when they found this story? which is a different way of asking, how will they find this story? So I went with Valentine’s Day, sweet romance and first kisses. You’ll see I wasn’t subtle: Title, subtitle and blurb all support those keywords. Oh, and cowboys! And I sorted this stuff out before I wrote the story. In fact, I wrote to these objectives.

Valentine's Day romance, Kindle Unlimited,Without any paid advertising, but with Facebook and Twitter posts (not to mention BookLikes and Google Plus activity) I launched with three days of free downloads and gained over a thousand potential new readers. I also suspect, but can’t guarantee, that these free downloads register as “verified purchases” on Amazon when people leave reviews of Kiss Me, Quick there. I used teasers, like the ones scattered through this post, on most of my promo. Images are important for engagement on the internet.

So far, barely ten days after Kiss Me, Quick‘s release, it’s distinctly out-performing my other self-published books.

The lesson, to me, is obvious. Write to specific objectives that include keywords, the readers you’re trying to reach (readers ofย sweet romance short reads) and the means by which you’ll reach them (KU). Nothing new. Except that each time you think about these things, you become a little bit smarter at implementing them.

This doesn’t mean that I think KU is magic or that I intend to publish all my stories there or exclusive to Amazon. But it has been a brilliant way to intensively study how to self-publish — and a lot of those lessons (most of them) apply to traditional publishing.

Has anyone else published with KU? What’s your experience been?



10 Replies to “Kindle Unlimited for Authors”

  1. I have the two latest releases in my Bellham Romance Series in KU. I planned to leave them in for only the first 90-day enrollment period, but they are doing so well with the KU borrows – last month 77% of my Amazon US income was through KU – that I am letting them ride, and plan to enroll upcoming releases in KU, too. Thanks for the generous share of info, Jenny. Appreciate it!

  2. You’ve hit the nail on the head. KU is a boon for short story writers who will make far more money using it and won’t leave readers feeling cheated. For those who write 80,000+ word novels it’s a disaster. Many are pulling their work from Kindle Select because of it.

    As for downloads, any book downloaded free counts as 1/10th of a sale but a KU download counts as a full sale once 10% has been read. For your 32 page one that means 3.2 pages. Even total rubbish (I’ve not suggesting your’s is like that) will usually be read that much.

  3. Wow, that’s wonderful, Jenny. I had a short story in KU but took it out a couple of weeks ago rather than renewing. It didn’t do much at all. I think if I ventured into KU again, I’d do more what you did, but tailor it even further by doing a serial. Four parts put out in rapid succession. At least that’s the plan. I need to finish the never-ending story that is my current WIP first!

  4. Great post, Jenny!
    With the popularity of short stories on the rise, this targeted style of writing is the way to go.
    As for cloning, I’m no help!