My young adult fantasy novel, Sevara: Dawn of Hope, is doing better on Kindle Unlimited than it is on the Kindle store. There’s a ton of blog posts about Kindle Unlimited, and many blogs have stated that they were removing their books from KU, while on many forums I’ve seen people say they were doing well. Here’s my experience. I priced my book at $3.99 because I wanted the %70 royalty over mass sales. I didn’t want to have a $0.99 cent eBook out there, it just didn’t seem like the way I wanted to market my book, seeing as the paperback sells for $12.99. I had one or two sales. But I’ve had more than a thousand pages read on Kindle Unlimited in the same time period. Here’s why.
Anyone with Amazon can enroll in Kindle Unlimited for $9.99 a month, and read as many books they want. Unlimited books for $9.99, kind of like Netflix for books. Even if Sevara was $100 to buy on the Kindle store, it would still be free to read on Kindle Unlimited. That’s good for the readers. But what about for the writers?
In the past iteration of Kindle Unlimited, authors got paid per book checked out. So if someone checked out my 100,000 word young adult dystopian fantasy epic coming of age strong female lead orphan story, I’d get $1.34. If if someone checked out my 2,000 word fantasy short story, I’d also get $1.34. Authors gamed the system and made lots of short stories. They’d cut their books into chapters. It was a golden period for some authors.
Now, you get paid for pages read. So when someone reads ALL of my novel, I get closer to $2.50. It’s a long book. If someone reads half, I get about $1.34. That may not be good for some authors. It’s really good for me. Why? Because my book is a page turner. Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. There’s tons of twists and turns. People say they can’t put it down. So if your book is compelling, you’ll make more money. That’s all there is to it. If you book doesn’t drive people to read the next chapter, it will suffer under KU but may do well on the regular Kindle store based on good reviews and word of mouth.
That’s it! KU is now like episodes on Netflix. If you watch an episode of a TV show on Netflix, you just hit that ‘watch next episode’ button and you can enjoy the next episode for free. No risk. So you have to make good entertainment to keep the audience. But that’s the same with any series of franchise. Keep people involved, and they will want more.