It was a huge mistake.
I didn’t really know that at the time a few days later I put the second book of this western series in, Colter’s Hell.
Boy, that didn’t help me much either.
So what the hell happened to make me say this?
Amazon exclusivity happened, that’s what.
I found out the hard way that KU 2.0 cuts my sales in half. To substitute for my lost sales royalties I’m given a paltry amount of Pages Read income.
Let’s discuss how I came to this conclusion.
For this experiment I put Colter’s Winter and Colter’s Hell into KU 2.0, which allows readers to read the book if they’re a member of Amazon Prime.
For this I get “Pages Read” on my Amazon KDP author dashboard that shows sales.
Lots of authors like KU 2.0, and I have to say, I can see why.
The KU 2.0 Pages Read features has made me quite a bit of extra money, a lot more than their borrow program under KU 1.0 did.
For instance, here’s a look at my total pages read for 2015…which is only a few months as the program didn’t start until late-summer or so.
So as you can see, I had a total of 63,150 pages read and that brought me $310.70.
The reason that dollar amount might seem so low to you is that authors only get $.004 per page read.
Despite that, it adds up.
The main reason I got all those pages read was because I put the Colter books into KU.
Here’s a look at their Pages Read performance over the three months I had them in KU 2.0:
If we take those books out, my KU 2.0 payout for the year drops substantially, to $68.45.
Wow, talk about a change!
So why, pray tell, did I take those Colter books out of KU if they’re the main moneymakers in that department?
Because those pages read killed my sales.
Here, take a look at this graph of the sales for Colter’s Winter for 2015:
I released the book in April and it started to pick up steam. By August it was selling 50 copies a month or more.
Then in September I put it in KU and those sales dropped by half.
Right off the cliff there, and that was not fun to watch. Nor was it fun to watch the slow slog at that plateau for the next three months.
Remember, for each sale I was getting $2.69 in royalties.
Since the book is 194 pages for the Kindle, if someone read the whole thing via KU 2.0’s Pages Read, I’d get $0.77 in royalties.
So that’s almost $2 less for that book.
Now, what about ranking?
We all know that pages read boosts you up in the rankings. Right now I see a lot of “Kindle Unlimited” in the Top 100 of my genres, not so many “Look Inside.”
That’s a clear indication that more and more books are in KU 2.0, getting a lot of pages read, but probably not as many sales.
And we know that books will be making a lot less in royalties for their authors in KU 2.0 than if they were wide with all retailers.
So these are things to think about.
I thought about them and decided to take my books out, to put them back in wider distribution.
Right away I got a couple sales on D2D, but nothing to write home about.
Mainly, though, I’m getting that higher sales revenue that I want, less of that Pages Read revenue that I don’t really want.
A good thing to remember, however, is that these Colter books are in the Western genre and in the Horror sub-category specifically.
It’s a lot easier to rank there than, say, historical fiction.
Those are some charts I made up a few months back and they give you a good idea of what you need in order to rank.
With Pages Read, however, those ranking mechanisms may have changed a bit, or at least become skewed.
I mean, I’m not sure how many pages read it takes to bump you up a page (20 ranks) on the charts, for instance.
If you have a Book 1 of a series, this is probably going to be the new permafree.
The main drawback, however, is that you make a lot less income…unless you’re getting tons of Pages Read and getting high on your genre chart.
I did not achieve those things.
Maybe you are. Maybe other authors are as well.
I feel that most authors are achieving lackluster results with KU 2.0, however, and seeing their income fall as their pages read takes the place of sales.
That’s my opinion.
I saw that with one of my books big time. Now that book is out of the program.
In December, it’s first full month out, it got 29 sales.
That’s a far cry from the 50 it had before it went into KU.
I feel that I hurt myself, like giving a book away for free for too long, something that ensures much of your target audience has received it and will probably never pay for it.
Again, this is my opinion. This is what I think from having my book in the program and seeing sales fall.
So I took the books out. Instead of complaining I took ‘em out and went wide and now I’ll see what happens.
You know I’ll be tracking results so stop in 3 months from now and see what’s changed.
Until then, don’t be afraid to put your own thoughts on and experiences with KU 2.0 in the comments. Thanks!