Time to read: 8 minutes
There has been a lot going on in the past couple of weeks, and now that I’m done with my trilogy (!) I can poke my head out of my writing cave and weigh in! Most of it’s been happening over at Amazon, but when aren’t they making huge waves over little changes that leave all of us authors rolling around on the floor in a temper tantrum?
The first big thing was they raised the price of Kindle Unlimited. It used to be $9.99 a month and they raised it to $11.99 USD. I’m not sure why that gave every author I know a heart attack. Two dollars is nothing, especially since in the email they sent all their subscribers, they said their catalogue has grown to over four million titles.
Since the launch of Kindle Unlimited in 2014, we have grown our eBook catalog from 600,000 titles to over 4 million titles today, introduced digital magazine subscriptions, and improved selection quality across genres. Kindle Unlimited members have unparalleled access to read as much as they want from a rich catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, magazines and comics. We continue to invest in making Kindle Unlimited even more valuable for members.Taken from my Amazon Email
Guys, readers aren’t going to care. As a reader who uses KU, I don’t care. Have you priced ebooks lately? Anyone? These days your KU subscription fee will pay for two, mmmaaaayyybbbbeeee three ebooks, if they’re priced low enough. Everyone’s prices are rising, and KU for a reader is still a great deal. If you’ve been considering pulling your books out of Kindle Select because of this small price change, I would tell you to take a step back and breathe. You all are going to make a major business decision over two dollars a month? (And I’m especially staring at the people who are paying Musk $11.00/month to tweet.) I hope not. But if you are going to go wide, publish with Kobo directly and enroll your books in Kobo Plus. They don’t require the exclusivity Kindle Select does, and if you’re considering signing up as a reader to save money, understand that their catalogue isn’t nearly as large.
Evaluate for yourself if keeping your books enrolled in Kindle Select is the right thing for you and your business. Don’t blindly follow what people are doing on Twitter and in your author groups. A lot of the reaction is due to the fact that AMAZON made this change. Authors love to hate Amazon, always accusing them of undercutting and cheating us. They added value and upped their prices–like any company does. Like Canva is going to do with all their new toys. I’m waiting for the email to come from them too. It’s what happens.
Another nasty surprise we woke up to is Kindle Direct Publishing raising their printing costs. This caused a lot of anger and resentment too, but someone I trust analyzed how much that means for indie authors, and the fact is, KDP upped printing costs by .15 a paperback. You need to take a look at your business and decide if freaking out over .15 is a wise business decision. I don’t sell many paperbacks. It’s not where my focus is. I market to KU subscribers. Any time I run an FB ad or mention my book on Twitter or anywhere else, I say it’s available in Kindle Unlimited. That is where my readers are. That might not be true for everyone. Authors who write poetry, kids books, and middle grade focus on paperbacks, and if you’re buying author copies in bulk, you can always print through IngramSpark. I think again, people are angry because this is Amazon, but you have to take a look at the industry as a whole. For some reason, I follow a lot of agents, and when they are telling querying writers to adhere to a certain word count because printing is expensive and it’s easier for them to sell shorter books, then it’s an industry problem, not an Amazon problem. Amazon is part of the publishing business, and the publishing industry is global. We are caught in the middle of the pandemic aftermath, and it seems a lot of people forget that. Are you upset about fifteen cents? I’ll give you the quarter I found between my couch cushions.
IngramSpark is dropping their publishing and revision fees this month. That was actually a very nice surprise, and I will be taking advantage of it as I haven’t put my trilogy on IS yet. (I abhor busywork and adjusting the KDP cover template to the IS template is a boring pain the butt.)
I wondered how they were going to recoup that loss, and they too, are going to be charging more. I can’t remember where I got this screenshot, but I shared with my friend Sami-Jo when we were talking about IS dropping their fees:
So while the free title set up and the free revisions are a good thing, they are going to make up that loss, and it will fall to us. I’ve never paid a fee; I’ve belonged to a group like IBPA or ALLi who includes codes as member benefits, or just waited until they had a promotion and used their promo days (a good time was always in December for their NaNoWriMo promo.) Amazon isn’t doing anything everyone else isn’t doing, so please breathe and conduct your book business accordingly.
So much talk about AI I’m going to scream. I’m never going to use AI to write my books. I’ve played with Chat-GPT and while it’s fun to chat with Al and bounce ideas off him from time to time, the last thing I’m going to do is give him a prompt and copy and paste it into a book that has my name on it that i’m going to sell. If other authors want to do that, that’s their choice, name, and reputation. My books come from my heart, and I pour a lot of blood, sweat, tears, and wine into my fiction. (Not so much the wine anymore. I’ve stopped drinking hoping to drop a few pounds this summer.) I enjoy writing. I love creating characters and putting them through a lot of crap before giving them their HEAs. Why would I outsource that? I get not everyone feels the same, and that’s fine, but I have started to include a disclosure on the copyright page of my books, and I did it with my newest release Faking Forever, which was out last week.
My copyright page is absurdly long because I give credit to everyone living and dead who in any way shape or form helped me with my books. Just kidding, but I add all the contributors for my stock images and chapter headers with DepositPhotos plus I give credit to my son and ex-fiancé for helping me with the imprint logo. And maybe one day I’ll update that too so I don’t have his name in my books anymore. Anyway, maybe no one reads copyright pages, but I like knowing that I’ve added it. I’m not going to write my books using it, but I can look at both sides and understand that there can be a place for it. Authors are going to have to do what they’ve always had to do: write good books and find a readership. I don’t think AI is going to disrupt this any more than COVID did when everyone was staying home and writing and publishing books because they didn’t have anything better to do. Publish good books, publish consistently, buy promos and invest in an ad platform. Start a newsletter and reach out to your readers. Let them get to know you as a person, and they’ll respond and connect with that.
Probably more went on, but this is going to be it for me this week, as far as commentary goes, anyway. While I “take a break” I’m going to re-edit The Years Between Us and reformat it using one of the newer styles that came with a Vellum upgrade. Depending on how I feel after that I would like to tackle my small town series and give them a facelift (especially covers because not being able to run Amazon ads is especially annoying), but I also want to stay on track with my rockstar trilogy to have that ready to rapid release by the end of August. There is always something to do!
I hope you all have a fantastic week!