Indie authors expected that Kindle Unlimited would damage ebook sales, and many are disgruntled because it seems that it has.
For some writers, things are bad. A New York Times technology article reports:
“Six months ago people were quitting their day job, convinced they could make a career out of writing,” said Bob Mayer, an e-book consultant and publisher who has written 50 books. “Now people are having to go back to that job or are scraping to get by. That’s how quickly things have changed.”
The article also points out that authors have taken the hint from Kindle Unlimited, and are writing shorter materials to suit. From the same article: “Serial novels and short stories are increasing.”
Should You Be Writing Short Fiction?
Consider this. If you write a novel of 70,000 words, you can write ten short stories of 7,000 words in the same stretch of time. Or three novellas of 10,000 words. Your payment for KU “reads” (ten per cent of the ebook) will be the same either way. So your choice is to write one ebook, and get paid just over a dollar for a borrow and read, or spend the same amount of time and energy on shorter fiction. With luck, you’ll make more money, because you’ll get more borrows.
A couple of my students have gone all-in writing shorter fiction. Another couple are expanding short stories into novellas, and six authors are writing and publishing two short stories a week.
That said, just as many of my students are pressing on with novels. One said: “I want to build a career out of fiction. So I’m not giving Amazon an exclusive.” Several of these long-form fiction students are making more money from other ebook retailers than they made at Amazon, so Select has never enticed them, because it means giving Amazon exclusivity.
Write What You Write: Keep Writing, and Promoting
In Blogging Your Ebooks: Visibility Sells, I said:
“Every author is different, and needs a different strategy. We’ll use Mavis as an example, so you can see what’s involved in developing a strategy to gain visibily, attract the readers who want to buy your ebooks, and make sales.”
It’s too early to believe that Kindle Unlimited has damaged ebook sales, and will continue to do so. Bob Mayer believes that the “glut of content” means lower sales.
Maybe so. Honestly, I don’t care. As I’ve always said, you need to market your books. If you market you can write short fiction, or long fiction. Write whatever you want to write, and develop your marketing skills. The days when you could put your head down, and write, and leave it to Amazon’s algorithms to market your books have long gone.
Going forward, authors who take a head-in-the-sand approach to marketing leave their fate up to Amazon. You don’t need to do that. Believe in yourself. MARKET. If you’re a student of mine, you’re encouraged to market. Even the most shy of my students gets the marketing bug eventually, and starts looking on marketing as fun. It is.
Take control. Get visible. In 2015, authors need to believe in themselves enough to market their books. Kindle Unlimited can be a boon to your career, if you take it as the marketing opportunity that it is.
Not Sure How to Market Your Books? Get Coaching
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