Kindle Unlimited Changes

As a short story writer with a number of stories in Kindle Unlimited I was intrigued to read this from Amazon, today.

…we’re pleased to announce that beginning on July 1, the KDP Select Global Fund will be paid out based on the number of pages KU and KOLL customers read.

As with our current approach, we’ll continue to offer a global fund for each month. Under this new model, the amount an author earns will be determined by their share of total pages read rather than their share of total qualified borrows. …

In the coming days we’ll share more details about this change. In the meantime, for further information (such as how we measure pages read) you can read more here: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A156OS90J7RDN

The background to this is that currently a 10,000 word short story earns the same “borrow” amount in Kindle Unlimited as does a 100,000 word novel; about $1.35. This was a nifty earner that my short stories won me, but I was waiting for Amazon to change things, and in a couple of weeks they will. The likely calculation is that I’ll lose a dollar on every borrow of a short story, or maybe a bit more. But that’s fair. 10,000 words is so not the same as 100,000. Full length novel writers should be happy…

Ahem. There is an elephant in the room. At the moment, all “borrows” are paid by Amazon when a reader reads 10% of the book. Now, payment will be per page read. So if readers just … stop … reading your book, then that’s where your payment sticks.

Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s playground. They get to observe reader and author behaviour and how to manipulate it. With this change to how borrows are paid, Amazon has done something significant. Now, for an author in Kindle Unlimited, getting our books into readers’ hands is NOT enough. We must get them to READ those books. Mountainous To Be Read piles earn us nothing in borrows.

Of course, by definition, a lending library encourages readers to read their ten (in Kindle Unlimited’s system) current borrows so that they can return them and get out another ten. But they could also return them unread. Ouch.

I’m intrigued by what this change may mean. With Kindle Unlimited, Amazon has pushed the moment they pay authors further down the line. From the traditional moment of sale, instituting Kindle Unlimited changed that to 10% of the book read, and now it’s by pages read (which can be a drawn out process because as readers we’re all so busy). Of course, no author has to put their books in Kindle Unlimited, and many (most) haven’t. But is it a straw in the wind?

New Release: Summer Kiss

I’m excited to share my newest Texas Kiss with you. Summer Kiss is live! and for this weekend only, it’s also FREE! So grab it now on Amazon (or Amazon UK, Amazon Canada, or Amazon Australia).

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Freedom! For the last eleven years, schoolteacher Tessa Fraser has been raising her much younger brother with the help of their grandmother. Now her brother is eighteen, headed for college, and Tessa is finally free to indulge her adventurous spirit. Only, Sheriff Caleb Gascoyne has other ideas.

Fishing at midnight, Caleb never thought he’d catch the woman of his dreams, but Tessa is sweet, funny and sparkling with the joys of summer. She’s a world away from his old life when he served his country on secret missions overseas. But she wants freedom, and he’s just settled back into Gascoyne Junction.

Tessa knows Caleb is used to far more sophisticated women than her. She’s spent her whole life in the Texas Hill Country, while he’s travelled the world. Never has she regretted her lack of sophistication so much as when confronted by an honorable, old-fashioned cowboy-sheriff who just won’t be tempted into a midnight kiss.

For fans of first kisses and gorgeous Texas cowboys.

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New Release: No Rescue

My final Coast-to-Coast romance novella is out today! No Rescue is hot and the setting is even hotter! Sydney Harbour.

sydney harbour, sydney romance,

She went to Sydney to hide, instead she was found by love.

Recovering from a tragic hostage situation, Miri Blair escapes to Sydney, and the anonymity of a friend’s apartment. She will go back into the world – just not yet.

Then, one day, she finds herself acting out a Romeo-and-Juliet balcony style scene with Sergeant Tad Robertson of the Water Police, who dares her to risk living again. With the harbour as a backdrop, Tad and Miri find romance by the sea, but Tad has a dangerous job and Miri has been through trauma. Will she have the strength to move away from her past and towards a future with Tad?

Buy links

 

“First Kiss” is out & FREE!

kindle unlimited, sweet western romance,

My new sweet Western romance, First Kiss, is out! Whew. This was a wonderful story to write, but sometimes I think that the closer a story is to my heart, the more nervous I am about it. To celebrate its release, First Kiss is free for the weekend (20-22 March). I hope you enjoy it!

If you paint a man’s horse pink, be prepared to face the consequences!

Alissa McLeod wants Craig Murchison’s attention. She wants him to see her as a woman, and not as his best friend’s little sister. But when Craig ignores her prettiest dresses, her shy flirtation and her award-winning chocolate raspberry cake, then there’s only one thing for it—she’s going to have to turn this Texas cowboy’s world upside down until he realises the one thing he needs is right in front of him: her.

For fans of first kisses, sparkling romance, ex-soldier heroes, and shy women who find the courage to risk everything for the men they love.

“First Kiss” is a short story, a 45 minute read.

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Release Day! Ran From Him

australian contemporary romance, kindle unlimited, perth romance,My new contemporary romance, Ran From Him, releases, today. Only 99c for a great category romance with a very special setting: my hometown of Perth, Western Australia.

Six years ago Cate Trapani fled emotional blackmail and a forced marriage with tycoon Daniel Garren. But now she’s back, determined to save her brother from a similar fate: his happiness sacrificed on the altar of their father’s business interests and her ex-fiancé Daniel Garren’s ambition. But Daniel isn’t the villain she remembers, and she’s not the awkward, innocent girl she used to be. This time, she’ll fight for what she wants. But so will Daniel—and what he wants is Cate.

Heat rating: sensual.

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And because I’m super-excited about the release of Ran From Him, I’m celebrating by putting my collection of paranormal romantic suspense FREE for five days. So grab Dare, now!

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Short Stories and Kindle Unlimited

short stories on kindle unlimited, short stories, kindle unlimited,

Are we living through the renaissance of short stories? I’m hearing people talking about the short stories they’re reading now on Kindle Unlimited (KU). This thrills me, both as a fan of short stories and as an author.

Now, some people might argue that in fact the surge of short stories onto KU is a result of Amazon’s policies that make it profitable for authors to list short stories on KU, but not so much novels. And so, subscribers to KU are being forced to read shorter works for lack of other content.

But there are heaps of novels on KU so I think that subscribers are actually rediscovering the magic of short stories. They’ve always been available in magazines and ezines and in anthologies, but now short stories are standing alone. It’s kind of like music. Instead of having to buy the album, you can just pick the song you want.

Which leads me to the point of this post, the praise of short stories.

I have seven points in favour of short stories:

  1. They respect how time poor we are — adventure, romance, intrigue, whatever, all in a stolen hour.
  2. Every word has to work. Like poetry, there’s no hiding behind volume. The reader is after quality not quantity.
  3. Quirky ideas that can rock a short story, but would never have sustained a novel, can be loosed on the world.
  4. Taste test. An author’s style is so clear in a short story. Reference point 2. There’s nowhere to hide.
  5. By freeing us from a long commitment (a full length novel) we’re liberated to step outside our reading comfort zones and try new things. In fact, we’re given extra reading time in which to try new things. Variety is the spice of life and all that.
  6. Short stories are closer to the natural length of a spoken story. They’re a medium of close communication between author and reader.
  7. Don’t underestimate the power of completing something. Short stories give you that — a complete experience in the time available to you.

And if you’re looking for something short and awesome, try my new Steampunk story, The Icarus Plot.

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Kindle Unlimited – Some More Thoughts

Kindle Unlimited, Kindle Unlimited discoverability, discoverability, Kindle Unlimited Short Stories, KU borrows, reaching readers on Kindle Unlimited,My first thought remains – I want it, now! When will Kindle Unlimited (KU) be available in Australia?

My second thought is me getting over my reader tantrum and putting on my author hat – how the heck do I get readers to find my stories in the huge jumble that is KU?

Discoverability is a major issue whether you’re lending your books in KU or selling them anywhere. With Amazon, though, I’m tempted to think that the primary selling tool is its algorithms. If you can kickstart those in your book’s favour, you’ll sell — until the next amazing new release kicks you down the mountain. Books are releasing like an avalanche at the moment, so the issue isn’t just the discoverability of a new release, it’s the ongoing discoverability of your backlist.

So, what can you do?

1. Pay bribes – which is my cynical way of saying, you’re competing for attention with a lot of authors (me included) who are paying for advertising. This varies from $1 or $2 to $100s at sites that promote free and discounted ebooks, at Goodreads, Facebook (and with FB’s changes kicking in from January 1, you’ll probably need to pay them something now and then to have any hope of any of your posts being seen there), review sites and magazines, and anywhere else you can think of.

2. Engage with social media — really wring the most you can out of your social media time to get the word out. Some people develop street teams (where amazingly generous people volunteer to help you get the word out).

3. Write what readers want – Oh yeah! Now, now, don’t respond with an eye roll. Amazon’s algorithms throw up lists that pretty much tell you what readers currently want. There’s lots of data available. My theory is that the more you search it out and absorb it, the stronger and more accurate your gut instinct will be. Instincts need to be fed.

4. Define your brand — what do you promise readers? Deliver it.

By now, you may be thinking that I’m being very brief, perhaps even glib. Maybe I am. The thing is, all of these elements of publishing strategies are pretty much well known. The magic is in getting the balance between them right. Where do you put your energy? What do you gamble months of writing time on?

Discoverability is about meeting the market. If you write what people want, and communicate with them where they live (online), your books will be “discovered”. Amazon’s algorithms are like most things in life — success is rewarded. Amazon (which wants to sell a heck of a lot more than books) rewards you with greater visibility if you’re drawing in customers to its site.

Which brings me to a final point. If you think your readers aren’t primarily subscribed to KU or interested in being Amazon customers, then maybe KU isn’t for you. The exclusivity clause that locks your KU books into Amazon is a significant issue.

So that’s my thoughts on KU as I wrap up 2014 and plan my publishing schedule for 2015 — more on that soon!

Edited to add: I was just reading this article by Brian Heater in Mashable, KU: Worth $10 a Month, Needs More Books. Very interesting couple of points. First the lack of content as mentioned in the article’s title. Second that KU subscribers can’t just search within KU. Intriguing. Could Amazon be wanting authors to have books both in KU and outside it? Might a couple of sites pop up guiding readers to books within KU – although how could this be made to pay? Author advertising?

Hmm. New iOS Kindle app opens up buffet of Kindle Unlimited books – seems like Amazon is addressing these issues of accessing KU & finding books within it.

Related posts:

Book predictions for 2015

Kindle Unlimited for short stories

paranormal romance, demons, magic, romance,Demon Hunter is my latest KU release, a paranormal romance novella. Also available for 99c if you’re not subscribed to KU.