Several months ago, I promised that the Brian McDone Mystery books would forever be available across all platforms. I don’t like bringing up old promises, especially on the rare occasion I break them. But I feel I owe it to everyone to explain why the Brian McDone books are now available at Amazon. Exclusively.
In case you aren’t aware, Amazon released an ebook subscription service back in 2014 called Kindle Unlimited. For $9.99/£7.99, readers could access millions of books at no extra charge. Initially, there was scepticism amongst the ranks of authors, mostly due to the price of entry: exclusivity.
Back in 2014, I threw my books into Kindle Unlimited as a test run. All of them except for Dead Days. I had mixed results. Mostly, not that great. I accepted that Kindle Unlimited’s old payout system — a flat rate of $1.30ish for all books, whether short fiction or longer epics — didn’t really benefit the kind of fiction I wrote. I packed it in, put all books wide again, and pushed forward free of Amazon exclusivity.
That was the old system.
The new system is much, much fairer to long form authors. I cannot proclaim it is “fairer” to everyone because I know some short fiction authors are upset about the changes, and I’m not here to upset anyone. I’ll simply state the facts: Kindle Unlimited now pays out based on pages read. So 600 page books earn more than 300 page books. 300 page books earn more than 150 page books. 150 page books earn more than 20 page shorts. As opposed to just a flat $1.30 for every book.
Now Amazon pay authors roughly $0.0058 per page read. Doesn’t seem much. But if you add it up, writers of longer fiction end up making more through the new system than the old one. You can see why shorter fiction writers aren’t happy with the changes. But I can only speak as a long-form author and say this: the new system is fairer for novelists.
I heard a lot of initial backlash amongst some circles about the potential for “padding”. How 150 page books may suddenly become 1500 page books simply to make more money.
This simply doesn’t add up, logically. Bear in mind, Amazon pays based on pages read. What do you do if you notice some clear padding? You put the book down. What do you do if you get bored? You put the book down.
The new system rewards engaging fiction. Both short form and long form. And I commend Amazon for that.
There’s been a lot of bad press surrounding Amazon’s working conditions over the last few days. I can’t speak for the people working directly for Amazon, but I can say, as a freelancer using Amazon’s services, the company have made it possible for me to make a living doing something I love. I thank them for that.
In case you haven’t already noticed, I’ve been gradually putting my works back into Kindle Unlimited. The new system has put the Infection Z series into the top 20,000 overall for the last few months, and I’ve been a mainstay on the overall Horror Top 100 popularity list over at Amazon.com for a good while now. Amazon’s platform–also boughts, a wonderful recommendation engine, KU–have given me a platform.
My job? Write good books.
And that sums up my thoughts on the new KU. Instead of encouraging manipulation, instead of spearheading the end of fiction, Kindle Unlimited promotes authors who do one thing, and do it well: write engaging stories.
My job is to write engaging stories. My job is to constantly improve my craft. And right now, the best place to showcase my work is via Amazon and particularly, Kindle Unlimited.
I love my Kindle. I never thought I would, but I do. It’s economical. It’s efficient. It’s changed my reading habits completely.
And I love Kindle Unlimited. I love unlimited access to books I would never have read beforehand. I love it as a reader, and I love it as an author.
So I have to put my money where my mouth is and show Kindle my utmost support.
There’s always talk about what Amazon may one day do. Lowering royalties, pulling the rug from under indies’ feet, eating us alive, etc. But I stopped thinking about the “maybe one day…” a year or so ago. Since then, I’ve started earning a living doing what I love.
Amazon, right now, in my opinion, offers the best reading and publishing experience. Barnes & Noble’s storefront is still heavily biased towards the big published books. Its author hub is slow and freezes a lot. Kobo is good, and I hope it goes places. Google Play has also been good to me, but I’ve heard some horror stories from other authors. Apple is getting there.
But right now, Amazon has it right. As a reader, it offers the best, most seamless experience, whether reading on the Kindle itself, or via a phone in awkward situations. Instead of promoting the books with the biggest advertising budget, it tailors recommendations to the individual. A human touch.
As a writer, it offers me a clean system, fantastic promotional opportunities, and a fair living.
In light of this, I’m adding my Brian McDone books to Kindle Unlimited. Dying Eyes is still available everywhere for free, but the following books are now Amazon exclusive. It’s a test. A three month test. We’ll see how it goes.
As for Dead Days – my only series still available outside of Kindle – I can’t promise it won’t be a Kindle exclusive in future. I’m sorry. I hate going back on my word. But right now, Amazon is offering readers the best experience, and I have to stay privy to that; to what the majority of my readers demand.
But for now, Dead Days stays wide.
I’d really recommend checking out Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. It is, in my reader opinion, the best reading experience on the market right now. I haven’t been paid to say this. I’m not obliged to say it. I’m just being honest.
I can’t foresee what may happen in three months time. But I will of course keep you updated.
What can you do if you’re already reading via another store/device?
Well, first off, Amazon has a Kindle app available for practically every device (http://bit.ly/1URqMWT). That’s probably the simplest way. So really, exclusivity isn’t to the Kindle. It’s to the Kindle app. You can use any device you desire.
Option two: anyone using a computer can get an ebook file onto their device of choice, whether it’s Nook, Kobo, etc. I make sure my works are DRM free, so you are totally entitled to buy one of my books on Amazon, then throw it into a program like Calibre (http://bit.ly/1PkLBpM) and convert it to an EPUB/format of your choice. A quick Google of “how to convert a mobi to an ePub” has all the answers you need, and probably more.
If you’re still struggling with any of those technicalities, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Things change quickly in publishing. Right now, Amazon provides the finest reading experience for readers, and the best publishing service for authors. Give Kindle Unlimited a spin. Check out all the stories on offer.
Or grill me in the comments. Your call.
Have a wonderful evening.
PS: all of my books are available at Amazon. Click here to check them out..