If you pay attention to the indie writer scene, it would be hard to miss the community's reaction this week to an announcement from Amazon. In the past, Amazon compensated writers for the borrowing of their books according to how many books were borrowed, as long as a reader made it at least 10% of the way through the book.
This financial incentive encouraged writers to make books available for borrowing through Kindle Unlimited (KU, which is Amazon's Netflix-style subscription service for avid readers) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL). This week, Amazon announced a radical revision to the compensation structure, where writers will be paid according to how many pages are read, regardless of percentage.
At first glance that might not sound like a big change, especially if you're looking at it only as a reader, but this is actually a fundamental revision: Nowhere else are books paid for by the page. This change takes effect on the first of July, just over two weeks after it was announced. Readers presumably won't see any difference, but writers with e-books exclusive to the Kindle, via KDP Select, will see a big change. There have been positive, neutral, negative, and wait-and-see responses from other writers. Read on for my analysis.
I'm happy to have an abysmal word count. Yes, that might sound a bit odd or self-defeating, but really it's all a matter of context. If this was November and I was in the middle of NaNoWriMo I would be unhappy with my daily average word count over the past week. But this is May, and—in what has been a difficult year for me so far—I've been doing almost no writing at all lately. When I look back over the past week, though, I can see that I made progress every single day in a long-delayed fantasy work-in-progress. It might have been just a couple hundred words, or going back and fixing a large continuity error, but it's progress. Slow progress is better than no progress; so, without any sarcasm, I can say that I really am pleased by my recent work on that novel.
As my first post to this blog after an unintended hiatus, I should probably explain my unannounced absence and then provide some solid content to make up for it. But, I'm not going to do that. I don't think too many people would be interested in the why, and right now I don't feel that I have compelling content to share. What I will share, fairly briefly, are some current thoughts on my strategies regarding my books and my attempts to build an audience for them. If that sounds dull, check back next week and hopefully I'll be back on schedule with something you'll find more interesting!
With most of the pre-publishing work now behind me for Extra Credit: Loyalty!, I can put some thought into the lessons I've learned (or had reinforced) along the way. The first draft of the story dates back to November of 2012, and it's been a slow and often-delayed journey getting it to the point where I can finally release it. Rather than worry about all the things that writers typically worry about when their books head out the door to the general public, I'll distract myself with some analysis. For now. I'm sure the worry will come in later! Read on if you'd like to learn from my most-recent publishing venture.
You could buy a Kindle, but why do that when you could win one instead? I've had a brand new, unopened Kindle sitting on my desk, waiting for me to give it away as a prize. A prize, for what? For joining me in my book launch party for Extra Credit: Loyalty! Speaking of which, you can pre-order this new novel for the low introductory price of 99 cents—or get a copy for free if you donate a Tweet or Facebook/Tumblr post by joining my Thunderclap. But let's talk more about prizes!