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okydok

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Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 6:01 PM
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Without exposure you'll go nowhere and amazon has seen to it none of their programs work any more. Use to be I'd get 10 to 20 k frees on one day. Now I get less than a hundred and the value of those are nothing on their ranking program. Let's face it folks, we've been abandoned by the very people we have supported all these years. It's sad what has happened to the company we built with our facebook pages and tweets and paid promos. This is the way they thank us.
jm14

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 21, 2017 7:17 PM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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okydok wrote:
Without exposure you'll go nowhere and amazon has seen to it none of their programs work any more. Use to be I'd get 10 to 20 k frees on one day. Now I get less than a hundred and the value of those are nothing on their ranking program. Let's face it folks, we've been abandoned by the very people we have supported all these years. It's sad what has happened to the company we built with our facebook pages and tweets and paid promos. This is the way they thank us.

All *conditioned things are rising up and falling away. Understanding this deeply brings the greatest happiness, which is peace.

~Buddhist

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*Conditioned things = things born out of circumstances, conditions, which is basically everything: from a mountain to a human life to a single breath.
Notjohn

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 22, 2017 3:24 AM   in response to: jm14 in response to: jm14
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Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Joe

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 22, 2017 6:46 AM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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okydok wrote:
Without exposure you'll go nowhere and amazon has seen to it none of their programs work any more. Use to be I'd get 10 to 20 k frees on one day. Now I get less than a hundred and the value of those are nothing on their ranking program. Let's face it folks, we've been abandoned by the very people we have supported all these years. It's sad what has happened to the company we built with our facebook pages and tweets and paid promos. This is the way they thank us.

Amazon is not only not the only place to sell books (though for many it's the easiest/best), and they aren't the only place to advertise with.

Diminishing returns on free books has been happening for, what, the past five or six years now? Might as well get used to it, because everybody is doing free in one way or another. The fact that free downloads don't count for much, if anything, once returning to paid has been in place for, gosh, probably about those same five or six years. Where have you been?

We didn't build Amazon. Amazon owes us nothing, outside of the contract we sign. They aren't our publishers, they're a sales point. Stop expecting someone else to grow your business. They aren't waiting for you, they're too busy doing their own thing.

Frankly, if people are this discouraged about self-publishing, they should find something else to occupy their time. I hear bridge is fun. Or water skiing. Maybe try being a professional poker player. Nobody will help you win in that, either.
Christina

Posts: 16
Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 22, 2017 12:13 PM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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Reading books is on the decline. Especially indies and fiction. Unless it's some heavily marketed book like 50 Shades of Grey, Twilight, Eat, Love, Pray or some fad diet book like Wheat Belly, the general public just doesn't read books anymore. They would rather spend their leisure time on social media, watching YouTube, Netflix, TV, etc. If they read at all, it's Buzzfeed, Gawker, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook. Breitbart if they are a Republican. And blogging is on the way out anyways. People don't have attention spans anymore. They want fast. They want micro-blogging (Tumblr). Don't expect to be able to quit your day job to be a full time published author on Amazon. If you are a good writer, maybe you can get a bunch of gigs as a writer for news sites and blogs if you are lucky. Writing is an oversaturated market. This is why writing is not my main profession. I had to go find another hustle in order to make a livable income and save money. All these people on Fiverr doing $5 gigs or the Mechanical Turk/Beer Money micro-gigs are wasting their precious time unless it's just a side gig they really enjoy doing. If I start offering my services on Fiverr (typically writers charge $5/500 words for customized short stories), you have to come to me with a project request that I am inspired to write and you have to allow me to retain copyright and publishing rights on all my work. Or else no deal. I make good money from my main profession. I don't have to take on a project that doesn't excite me. I don't have to sign my rights away.

After publishing my novella, my first published work, I received $38.80 in royalties across just over 9 days. That's $4.31 per day. Basically a couple sales per day. I'm definitely not going to quit my day job on that kind of income. I'm self-employed running my own business doing what I love and business is good so I don't need to make much money on writing fiction. This is just a side hobby for me. I went into this with low expectations. And I came out pleasantly surprised by the sales. It is truly rewarding when I see that people are willing to pay for my work. 19 were willing to pay for my work. I can't believe it. Even if it's just $2.99, Amazon's recommended price for novellas in my genre. I think I got lucky because I offer a unique take on a popular genre. There's way too much vampire/werewolf/shapeshifter alpha male billionaire cookie cutter bullshit on the shelves (no offense).

Personally I don't think it's a good idea to give your work away for free. Do not engage in a race to the bottom. Unfortunately it seems like my target audience is used to consuming works of my genre for free. And they are used to getting something for nothing. I've advertised my book on social media in circles where amateur writers and readers lurk and post. And my advertising got downvoted. If my book sucks or my free sample sucks, I want them to let me know what they think so I can improve. But I have the sneaking suspicion that I got downvoted not because of the quality of the book but because these readers are used to not paying for the short stories in my genre that they consume. So it's not a stretch to think they have no intention to pay $2.99 for novellas in my genre. Even if it costs less than a latte. If you are too broke to be spending money on lattes, I can understand not wanting to buy books. If you seriously don't have $3 in discretionary income, if you do all of your shopping at the grocery store, you can't afford to pay for entertainment beyond the super cheap stuff like Netflix and make your own coffee at home, then sure don't pay for books. But if you buy lattes instead of making your own coffee and frequently eat out or order take out or you go buy $13 movie tickets or $60 video games or whatever, there's no excuse. If you enjoy reading a book, pay for it.

Pro-Tip: I opted to not go with Kindle Select (Kindle exclusivity) and Kindle Unlimited. Because apparently you only get about 0.6 cents per page read. And I haven't sold any copies in the 35% royalty countries anyways yet. So no point in moving to Select to get 70% in Japan, India, Brazil, Mexico, etc. Assuming only one read-through of my novella, that's $0.36 in royalties for Kindle Unlimited. Meanwhile I get $2.07 in royalties from every sale. Unless you're selling a tome or readers go through your pages multiple times, don't even bother with Kindle Unlimited. It may be consumer friendly but it is definitely not writer friendly. My novella costs less than a latte. If people are not willing to sacrifice a latte for a book they enjoy, they have serious financial issues or they are cheap. The bottom line is that the consumer wants the best price they can get. And since writers are so eager to race to the bottom, customers expect free or dirt cheap.

It is shocking to me how undervalued books are by the free market compared to the absolute bullshit that people routinely spend money on. If you want to make money, you're in the wrong business, open a diner selling $19 artisanal avocado toast to hipster millennial kids instead. I just spend like $8 on 2 pints of Ben and Jerry's last night. I know it's premium ice cream but holy shit. Ordering 6 piece chicken tenders with honey mustard dipping sauce takeout will run you $7.65 here. I laugh at people who tell me that $2.99 is too expensive for a novella when it seems that just about everything these days is absurdly expensive. I need to learn how to prepare my own fried chicken to save money! lol
Notjohn

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 23, 2017 4:15 AM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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I received $38.80 in royalties across just over 9 days. That's $4.31 per day.

You did very well!

Personally I don't think it's a good idea to give your work away for free

Indeed. Kindle Select blew up the ebook market, I'm sure to Amazon's benefit (I buy my TOOTHPASTE from Amazon now! and a few years ago I had to order a farmer-sized mailbox -- from Amazon, of course -- because the mail carrier kept leaving those boxes on top of the old one).

Selectt brought in a million would-be authors who realized that someone might "buy" their books if they made them free for five days. Soon there came the freebie websites that listed the freebie-of-the-day, and readers discovered that if they just paid $100 for a Kindle or downloaded a Kindle app, they never again had to pay anything for a book.

I opted to not go with Kindle Select (Kindle exclusivity) and Kindle Unlimited. Because apparently you only get about 0.6 cents per page read.

Now much less! Something like 0.46 cents, and it will keep going down until the authors quitting Select exceed the new ones joining.

Like you, I stay out of Select because I want my books available on the nation's largest bookstore chain (and on Apple). But mostly because I see that Select is a suicide pact for authors. When Amazon is the last store standing, all royalties will be back to 35 percent, which is where it started in 2007. It was Apple that brought us the 70 percent option -- and got a federal anti-trust suit for its pains!

shocking to me how undervalued books are by the free market compared to the absolute bullshit that people routinely spend money on

Every December I fly to Aspen for a ski week. Everything is cheaper before Christmas. Even so, at the Sun Deck on Ajax, a cup of coffee is $3.50.

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
Christina

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Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 23, 2017 7:37 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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You did very well!
I had a feeling that I did. Just had my 21st sale (in 10 days). The indie eBook market is completely flooded. And there are a shortage of paying readers. You have to stand out just to get noticed. My audience can find a plethora of free work on literotica.com or shared on reddit. They are not used to paying. So getting them to pay even $2.99 for a novella is a tough sell. Personally I would rather just buy an eBook for $3 and read on my Kindle or Kindle app than read something from literotica on my desktop or tablet's browser. e-Ink and even the Kindle app is much easier on the eyes. The indie game/app scene is also suffering through similar problems. I wanted to be an indie game/app developer since high school and I gave up on that dream because that market is not only heavily saturated as well but the amount of labour involved to complete that kind of project is intense. A novella is a much more manageable project.

I will say that you can't give up on your dreams. I have no regrets in terms of not taking writing or game development more seriously though. I don't think these were my main callings. I see writing as just a fun side hobby. If I felt like game/app development was my main calling, I would at least put in some effort to get something published on Google Play or Steam. When I tried to write a novel before, I felt like I really had to force myself to continue writing. A novella was a nice project to get my feet wet. Writing a novel was in my bucket list. I wanted to be able to tell people, "I am a published novelist!" and take my book off my bookshelf and show it to them. But I really don't think that I have the creative staying power to write and organize a 50,000 word manuscript. After awhile, organizing a piece of prose beyond a certain length starts to really feel like work and it's no longer fun anymore. There also isn't much money to be made for indie novelists. A 200 page indie novel won't go for much more than $2.99 anyways with the way the market is now.

Selectt brought in a million would-be authors who realized that someone might "buy" their books if they made them free for five days. Soon there came the freebie websites that listed the freebie-of-the-day, and readers discovered that if they just paid $100 for a Kindle or downloaded a Kindle app, they never again had to pay anything for a book.
Yea, I imagine that a lot of people who own a Kindle just get the free books. Because they figure that there isn't much discernible difference between the free and paid books. Personally if I see a book that seems interesting and I enjoy the free sample, I will make a $3 impulse purchase without thinking twice. $3 fits within the realm of non-committal impulse purchase. I paid over $5 at the time for a 250 page non-fiction indie book that seemed interesting and I figured it would be something I really enjoyed. I liked the sample. So I bought it. I couldn't believe it was only like $5.46 or something so well-written and well-researched like that and 250 pages long. If I see a book that I want, I buy it. Unless it's ridiculously expensive. But I'm not the average reader. The average reader would rather spend their discretionary income elsewhere and do something else with their free time rather than read books. And then just get the free eBooks because they are "good enough". Funny thing is, a lot of these "free" eBooks end up sitting on their Kindle for five days unread or barely read anyways.

Now much less! Something like 0.46 cents, and it will keep going down until the authors quitting Select exceed the new ones joining.
Jeez 0.46 cents per page. Someone would have to read my novella 7.5 times for me to make the same amount of money as a sale. Or I would have to write a 450 page novel with one read through in order to make the same royalties as a $2.99 sale.

Like you, I stay out of Select because I want my books available on the nation's largest bookstore chain (and on Apple). But mostly because I see that Select is a suicide pact for authors. When Amazon is the last store standing, all royalties will be back to 35 percent, which is where it started in 2007. It was Apple that brought us the 70 percent option -- and got a federal anti-trust suit for its pains!
I can't believe the royalties used to be 35%. That's insane. 70% is an established industry standard. Apple, Google and Steam (Valve) pay 70% to app developers. Uber and Fiverr give 80% to independent contractors. And even at only 20% commission, people say that Uber and Fiverr are exploiting independent contractors. I wonder what they'd say about the 30% commission that Amazon, Apple, Google and Valve charge. I have plans to publish on Kobo soon. Kobo is a major player in the Canadian market. Maybe Barnes & Noble's e-Book service as well. And probably CreateSpace for the paperback version. And hopefully self-publish on my website. I use Amazon's DRM on Kindle to prevent unauthorized distribution and make outright plagiarism more difficult. But for self-publishing on your own website, I've been told that ponying up for Adobe's DRM is not worthwhile. Because the odds of your indie book ending up on Pirate Bay or some other site is next to nil.

Good luck! -- NJ
Thanks :)
Joe

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 4:56 AM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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The payout for KU is around .0045 cents. People keep leaving out those extra zeroes, and even to the math-challenged, it makes a difference. So, expect roughly a tad less than a half a penny per page. That's right. One half of a penny, more or less. Usually lots less, especially in many countries, like India, where I think is comes out to like .0001 cent.

If you get any sales at all, consider yourself lucky. Most books sell nothing. Anyone who comes into writing expecting to sit back and make easy money is a fool. A modicum of research would show that it's not easy at all. It takes hard work and often more years than you can bear to make money at this, and even then it's not quit your day job money.
Ward Rogers

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 8:04 AM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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Actually, more people are reading than ever, mostly due to e-books. Perhaps you've not been paying attention to Amazon's sales figures? However, people are more selective about they read, the reason why most KDP books register double -digit (or lower) sales and not higher. KU subscribers might be more willing to take a chance, if only because they pay the same rate whether a book is brilliant or rubbish. Before you discount the KU folk, bear in mind there are more KU subscribers than total Nook readers. Many writers make 50% or more of their income from KU, something that might be difficult to recover by "going wide" to the companies that sell to 17% of e-book readers.
Christina

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 1:59 PM   in response to: Ward Rogers in response to: Ward Rogers
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Assuming .46 cents per page, I would have to get 7.5x more eyeballs than I am getting now and assume that every person who reads my eBook reads every page. And once you start offering something for free as an experiment, people are going to expect to always get it for free. So I hesitate to join Select and Kindle Unlimited.

Not only are customers selective about the eBooks they pay for, they are selective about the eBooks they read. Time is a finite resource. Just because something is free, doesn't mean people are going to watch it. I have a Netflix subscription and it becomes a chore trying to decide what to watch whenever I turn it on. I find myself wasting a lot of time browsing through Netflix's catalogue trying to find something to watch.

But when I see a movie rental on Vimeo or Google Play for $3.99-4.99 that seems interesting that isn't available on Netflix, I'll rent it. It's just $5, whatever. I'm not going to force myself to watch GirlBoss on Netflix just because it's free if I'd rather spend my leisure time doing something else. I've watched so much stuff on Netflix that I've pretty much ran out of things to watch on there. This is primarily why I'm not a Kindle Unlimited subscriber anymore. As soon as I read everything that looks interesting on Kindle Unlimited, then what? Then I cancel my subscription and then I can't even re-read stuff because I don't own it. And when I'm subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, I feel compelled to read books available to KU because I'm paying a subscription. And then I feel guilty if I buy an eBook not available on KU that I really want to read instead. I find that a lot of the eBooks that I want to read are actually not available on Kindle Unlimited. Because authors are smart and realize that KU doesn't offer much of a value proposition for them.

I don't believe for a second that people are reading more than ever just based on my interactions with millennials these days. I myself am a millennial technically, skewing older. Millennials don't read much beyond Reddit or Buzzfeed. Amazon is much more than just books these days. Millennials get turned off when they see more than 140 characters of text. A bunch of people will buy Steve Jobs' biography or 50 Shades of Grey and then have it sit on their coffee table and never read it.

I also do blogging on the side as a side gig. Blogging is also dying. People want short click bait articles. A lot of these blogs today appeal to the lowest common denominator. These people are not reading novels. I can guarantee you this. I flirted with the idea of being a writer, a blogger, etc. for years. However, I saw the writing on the wall. This is generation Twitter and Tumblr. But luckily I found something else I'm passionate about that actually pays the bills. If Amazon's book sales do in fact show a resurgence of book revenue, who are these people buying books? Because they seem like a dying breed to me.

If it's really 0.0046 cents (you mean $0.0046 right?), that's 100x worse. It can't be that bad right?
Ward Rogers

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 2:37 PM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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You're absolutely correct. With poor sales and few readers, you're wasting your time with KU. OTOH, while I can never know how many books are borrowed, the page counts I receive would be impossible without dozens of readers reading every day. Customers may not buy books every day, but avid readers read every day ... I know people who read 8 - 10 books per week. As to your personal observations about readers, that speaks more to your friends than society in general; mine tend to be a bit older and better educated, but my granddaughter, who also is a little north of millennial, reports that she doesn't know anyone doesn't read e-books, even if it's just on their mobiles.
Christina

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 3:19 PM   in response to: Ward Rogers in response to: Ward Rogers
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I'm an 80s baby. Even when I talk with people around my age who do read (mostly women), some of whom own a Kobo or a Kindle (Kobo is very popular in Canada), they usually buy heavily marketed books published by major publishers. Not indies. I definitely notice a decline in reading among my generation in general though. Especially men. Men my age just don't read. And once you get into the 90s babies, they really don't read. Millennials don't have the patience to absorb text. They can't get through a long YouTube video. They play with their phone while watching Netflix. They want stimulation overload. Even myself I find that I was a lot more easily amused as a child before the internet. Compared to now where there are a bunch of things going on competing for your attention and there are endless options.
beachgardener

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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 3:22 PM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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Christina wrote:
Assuming .46 cents per page, I would have to get 7.5x more eyeballs than I am getting now and assume that every person who reads my eBook reads every page. And once you start offering something for free as an experiment, people are going to expect to always get it for free. So I hesitate to join Select and Kindle Unlimited.

Not only are customers selective about the eBooks they pay for, they are selective about the eBooks they read. Time is a finite resource. Just because something is free, doesn't mean people are going to watch it. I have a Netflix subscription and it becomes a chore trying to decide what to watch whenever I turn it on. I find myself wasting a lot of time browsing through Netflix's catalogue trying to find something to watch.

But when I see a movie rental on Vimeo or Google Play for $3.99-4.99 that seems interesting that isn't available on Netflix, I'll rent it. It's just $5, whatever. I'm not going to force myself to watch GirlBoss on Netflix just because it's free if I'd rather spend my leisure time doing something else. I've watched so much stuff on Netflix that I've pretty much ran out of things to watch on there. This is primarily why I'm not a Kindle Unlimited subscriber anymore. As soon as I read everything that looks interesting on Kindle Unlimited, then what? Then I cancel my subscription and then I can't even re-read stuff because I don't own it. And when I'm subscribed to Kindle Unlimited, I feel compelled to read books available to KU because I'm paying a subscription. And then I feel guilty if I buy an eBook not available on KU that I really want to read instead. I find that a lot of the eBooks that I want to read are actually not available on Kindle Unlimited. Because authors are smart and realize that KU doesn't offer much of a value proposition for them.

I don't believe for a second that people are reading more than ever just based on my interactions with millennials these days. I myself am a millennial technically, skewing older. Millennials don't read much beyond Reddit or Buzzfeed. Amazon is much more than just books these days. Millennials get turned off when they see more than 140 characters of text. A bunch of people will buy Steve Jobs' biography or 50 Shades of Grey and then have it sit on their coffee table and never read it.

I also do blogging on the side as a side gig. Blogging is also dying. People want short click bait articles. A lot of these blogs today appeal to the lowest common denominator. These people are not reading novels. I can guarantee you this. I flirted with the idea of being a writer, a blogger, etc. for years. However, I saw the writing on the wall. This is generation Twitter and Tumblr. But luckily I found something else I'm passionate about that actually pays the bills. If Amazon's book sales do in fact show a resurgence of book revenue, who are these people buying books? Because they seem like a dying breed to me.

If it's really 0.0046 cents (you mean $0.0046 right?), that's 100x worse. It can't be that bad right?


Christina, It is my opinion that the smart authors are all in KU, because they know that there are voracious readers out there who can not afford to buy as many books as they would like to read. When I put my books in KU my sales did not decline, books buyers are still book buyers, book borrowers are book borrowers and KU gives them a wider selection than the local Library. Your math is still off, that aside, you do not have to do KU if you do not want to. No problem. That leaves more readers for those of us who find that market profitable. You might consider that the world's population is growing as are the percentages of the population educated enough to enjoy a read. You seem to have a bit of a negative take on writing and marketing - I prefer I think I can to I think I can't -I am inclined to believe that there is a whole lot of "up" left out there if you work for it. B
Christina

Posts: 16
Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 3:38 PM   in response to: beachgardener in response to: beachgardener
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Is my math really off?

$0.0046 x 60 = $0.276 royalties
$2.07 / $0.276 = 7.5

Unless it really is 0.0046 CENTS. Then it's 750x

I get 7.5x the royalties from a purchase compared to a KU read through.

Just because something is free doesn't mean that someone is more than 7.5 times more likely to read it to completion. Money is a finite resource but so is time. For how many people is $3 of discretionary spending a problem? I see people buying coffee every single day instead of getting a coffee maker or drinking instant coffee. I see people buying lunch at work every day instead of paper bagging it. I see people who tell me they are broke ordering pizza delivery instead of cooking and buying $2-3 energy drinks instead of getting instant coffee. I don't buy that excuse. If you don't want to pay $3 for a book, then you don't value books very much in your life. And you're probably not going to be much of a customer are you? There's no point in even chasing that audience. I'm self-employed (doing something other than writing) and 9 times out of 10 I end up wasting my time on the customers who ask me, "what's the best rate you can do?"

I'm a Netflix subscriber and what are the odds that I'm going to purchase a movie or TV episode after watching it on that platform? 0%.

Also by signing up with Kindle Unlimited, I have to sign up with Kindle Select. Which means that I have to lock my audience into one ecosystem (Amazon). Amazon having a monopoly on the eBook publishing industry is bad for business.
beachgardener

Posts: 372
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Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 4:04 PM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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Christina wrote:
Is my math really off?

I'm a Netflix subscriber and what are the odds that I'm going to purchase a movie or TV episode after watching it on that platform? 0%.

Also by signing up with Kindle Unlimited, I have to sign up with Kindle Select. Which means that I have to lock my audience into one ecosystem (Amazon). Amazon having a monopoly on the eBook publishing industry is bad for business.


You make my point - I am not a Netflix subscriber because I am a buyer of films. And while you may have signed your books up to KU they are only available on KU to those Amazon customers who subscribe to borrow books. A great many people are not subscribers to KU - me for one as I am a buyer of books as well - there is room in the world for everyone, the buyers and the borrowers, and they both exist in great number. I feel that our personal success is not limited by any Amazon platform but by our own industry and talent. B
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