As the publication of my first novel draws near, I thought I would have a look at Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. I’ve read a lot of news articles and blogs concerning the pros and cons of Kindle Unlimited, so I thought I would summarise my findings in order to help other new indie authors decide whether or not it’s in their best interests to use it. Is it a blessing, or is it simply something that’s a decent marketing tool for established authors?
On Amazon’s help pages it states: If you have a book enrolled in KDP Select, it will automatically be enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. It will also remain enrolled in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which is currently available to Amazon Prime customers in the U.S., UK, Germany, France, and Japan.
Wow! All that exposure looks good enough to eat. But how does it digest? At first glance, it seems that more readers will get access to your books and you will still get royalties. Win-win. Sign me up, quick! But hold on a minute. Here’s something to consider before you sign your book away! Although the exposure may well be useful, your earnings might be considerably lower than the normal royalty rates of 35% and 70% (dependent on the price you set your book at).
Because once a reader has read 10% or more of your book, you will receive a share of the KDP Select Global Fund. This fund is affected by how many authors decide to enroll in Kindle Unlimited – the more authors, the smaller the share of the fund is. It’s a bit like winning the lottery, and then realising that a million others have also bought a winning ticket. Amazon monitor the fund and announce each month how much is available. The number of times readers read more than 10% of your books also affects how much of the fund you receive. On the plus side though, both bought and borrowed books are included, so if your book does prove popular, you will get a bigger share, even if the number of authors enrolling increases.
After reading the help pages in depth, and what other authors have had to say about it, I don’t see how Kindle Unlimited can be of any benefit to new indie authors. It just doesn’t seem to be a viable option for new indie authors who are selling and marketing their first, or even second or third book. If you are not well known, there is less chance of being seen, bought or borrowed among the many established authors using Kindle Unlimited.
Not looking very good for someone like me, then, is it? Not when I consider the small amount of exposure I might get from signing up against the unreliability of earning from the Select Fund.It seems to me that it would be better to write a quality book, have it professionally edited and then try to sell it at a reasonable price.
What do you think? Any new Indie authors out there who have used Kindle Unlimited to good effect? Am I right or wrong to dismiss it?
As always, I would love to hear from you.
All the best