Saturday, March 19, 2016

Update on My Experience with Kindle Unlimited

Back in July, I wrote a BLOG ARTICLE about the new algorithms for Kindle Unlimited,  with pages read, and what my experience was with it to date.

Here we are, about eight months later, and I thought it was about time for me to check back in.

I have to say, that I'm a little surprised myself, after reading back over my own words. Feel free to follow the above link to my original article, where I describe the program in detail. Rather than reiterate everything here, I'm going to paste in the short version of what KENP is, from my original blog:

What is it?

The Kindle Edition Normalized Pages, is a new way of measuring pages read in the Kindle Unlimited Program. The Kindle Unlimited Program is offered through Amazon to readers. For $10 a month, they gain unlimited access to over 800,000 books and audible books. I think it's a great program, and for avid readers, it is certainly worth the money. How does a book become part of the program? By being offered exclusively through Amazon, or the KDP (Kindle Direct Program). This is where it gets a little more complicated.

That's it in a nutshell. So instead of being paid a flat rate once someone reads the first 10% of your book, you get paid a variable amount per page read. (I believe this past month was .049 per page) Again, read my original blog to get the low-down on the changes last summer, and what the concerns for us authors were. (and still are)

Even with the amount paid per pages read going down a bit since this was implemented, I am still very happy with it, and the choice I made to put all of my books into it. The general consensus that I have read from other indie authors, is that they make as much (or more) from pages read, as they do from sales. That's big. The flip-side, is that successful authors (I consider making enough to live off sales as over a couple thousand a month) have also seen a general decline in sales, because of (they believe) the program. SO...I think the big question, is does the KENP program make up for the decline?

Here is a current graph from my KDP page, showing pages read for this month:

This has been a slow month for me, too. I have to come clean on the fact that my numbers might be skewed, because I have had a couple of BookBub ads run in the past six months. Sales have a MAJOR impact on the pages read. I can't emphasize that enough. If you have a big sale, you will likely make MORE (eventually) off the pages read, than you do sales. But you have to be patient. It takes a few days to a week or more before you really see the uptick.

However, even with this being a slow month, compare that to my first graph I shared this past summer:

I now measure my numbers (pages read) in the thousands, vs hundreds. I've made around 50$ this month so far in the KENP program, which is about even with my profit from sales. I have seven full-length novels out and a short story. Not an incredible amount of works, but I'm certainly not a newbie. But let's be real. Those of you reading this. If you are an indie author and have been published for less than two or three years, chances are your numbers aren't any better than this, or you might even dream of the day that they reflect this. Just a year ago, I made less than fifty in a month. Not long before that, I made about ten dollars a month. Even with a completed trilogy, I averaged about one download a week...and there's a good chance it was one that I GAVE AWAY.

This is a tough, and sometimes seemingly impossible market. It's very easy to get beat down, and it's stuff like Kindle Unlimited, KENP, and going exclusive to Amazon that rob us of our sleep. What is the right choice?

I think the answer is a bit different for all of us. For me, I have a MG mystery series and a YA scifi trilogy. I have found these to be tough markets to break out in. Especially the YA market, which I am still drowning in. My middle grade books are the ones that were accepted by BookBub, and that are doing the best as a result of that. Aside from having decent writing/editing, I think the cover is perhaps the biggest issue. If you don't have a unique, professional cover yet...make this your priority. Seriously. You HAVE to. Look at my Amazon author page. While I like all of my covers, I think you will agree that the kids books are the best, and most unique. This is in part because I took my own custom photos of the girls and my designer worked the images into the covers.

Make it a priority.

My bottom line on KENP is that for me, it is a GOOD thing. A very good thing. However, I think that a whole lot of it has to do with the genre, length and number of books that you have. If you are already in the KDP program, why not try it? I really don't think you have a whole lot to lose, unless you are already incredibly successful and selling hundreds of copies a month. Most likely, you are like me. You are excited to have more than one sale a DAY, and 50-100 dollars a month in KENP would be a huge step forward for you.

So why not? Just do it, and see what happens. You can always pull your books out of it if things don't work to your advantage.


  1. I think it's a great program, and for avid readers, it is certainly worth the money. How does a book become part of the program? Consumerism Inc.

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