Day 24 – Kindle Unlimited

Why aren’t my books in Kindle Unlimited?

There are a couple of reasons, but the most important, at least to me, is that I don’t like my income being tied to one company. Amazon requires an author’s novel to be sold exclusively in their store to be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited.  I’m not a huge fan of exclusivity, though it can be financially rewarding.

Amazon occasionally makes sweeping changes that can crush an author’s business. They slashed the royalty rates at Audible (owned by Amazon, in case you didn’t know) a few years ago, for instance. I could make have made up to 90% on the sale of an audiobook before. Now? 40%.


They tinker with the payouts on Kindle Unlimited a lot. The amount they pay authors varies every month. If they wanted to, they could make another massive change at any moment that could destroy me.

So I like to spread my work around to other markets. It gives me a safety net. Amazon already has me by the balls with my audiobooks and paperbacks (more on that later), so I’m trying to protect my ebooks as best I can.

Another reason I distribute my books to Apple, Google, Kobo, B&N, and everywhere else that accepts me, is that I don’t want to abandon my readers. I’ve built up a decent audience in some of those stores and I don’t want to deny them the ability to read my new stuff. Google is my second biggest market. I want to keep publishing with them. My books have thousands of reviews there alone.

Could I make more money if I was in KU? Maybe. It’s hard to say, because I do so well in other places. One thing I can say for certain is that it would be a whole lot easier to publish new work. Every single time I want to change something in a book, I have to upload it to half a dozen places. It’s a pain in the ass. Want to change a price? Have fun with that.

There are ways around it, such as using distributors like Draft2Digital. They’re great. I use them to get into stores without their own publishing portal. Highly recommended. I mostly avoid Smashwords because they have stupid policies and an interface that makes me want to drive off a bridge. I probably won’t publish my new work through them. Both places take a cut of the royalties though, so that’s something to be considered.

Does any of this mean I would advise an author to stay away from Kindle Unlimited? Hell no. It might make sense for someone else. There is definitely money to be made there. It sure makes a ton of sense for power readers. They can act like a fat guy at the buffet and go to town.

None of this should be viewed as a slight against Amazon. That company literally changed my life. Without them, I wouldn’t be an author. Full stop. I’m not hating on them, just making decisions that are best for me.

If I could put my books in KU without being exclusive, I would.

But here we are.

Today was a slow one on the editing front. I only got through 3941 words in Decayed (about 10 pages). Normally, I take a week off after I finish the first draft before hopping into the second. I didn’t do that this time. It isn’t working that great, but I’m grinding through it. Gonna finish this damn thing next week, no matter what.

See ya tomorrow.