No sooner do I start publishing again when Amazon sends everyone an email talking about changes to the KDP Select program. For those of you who are readers, not Amazon publishers, KDP Select is the program authors can join (exclusively, meaning no publishing of those particular books outside the Amazon ecosphere) that gives us some benefits, like running free temporary discounts, and also shoves the books into the Kindle Unlimited program that readers can subscribe to and read books in the program for free without purchasing them. While the royalty payments for the program were less than the royalty for sales, there was enough “borrows” in the program to make up the difference for the loss of sales at other venues.
Now the royalty payment will not be based on a flat rate for all books, but will be on number of pages read. I’ve been expecting this for a while, it never made sense they would pay the same rate for a 20 page erotic book as they would a 500 page novel. But, the crux of the matter is how MUCH per page they will pay. Most people have gotten used to a $1.40 (thereabouts) payment per borrow, which would imply about 7 cents per page (assuming a person reads every page, which is no guarantee) for a 20 page book. I sincerely doubt Amazon will pay that much per page, though, and the final amount will be closer to 1 cent per page or less. They might start off high in the first couple of months to keep writers in the program and enticed, but eventually it will decline, just as the original program started at over $2 per borrow and gradually settled around the $1.40 mark.
Which leaves me to decide: stay in Amazon, with its single publishing ease of use; or go wide again and hit other markets, with reduced reads but higher royalties. I’m leaning towards the latter, partially because I think I’ll make up the difference in sales on other venues, and partially because I believe we indie authors need to start breaking the attempts by Amazon to corner the entire e-publishing market. Just as we need to do more to support the small, local, independent book shops over B&N and other big chains, so too should we support Kobo and Smashwords and other vendors online.
And I think it pushes me to move away from the shorter fair and work more diligently on longer books, like the fantasy world erotica I’ve been developing. 10,000 words and three chapters in, and it’s coming along nicely. :)