Six Things Writers Want Readers to Know About Amazon

Are there more than six things? Possibly, but these were the six I thought I’d share.

1. When you read my books on Kindle Unlimited, I get paid.

Kindle Unlimited is a business decision. I’ve had readers thank me for putting books in KU, as if the implication is that I do it as a kindness, or an act of charity. But no, the very cold reality of it is that I wouldn’t put books in KU if that wasn’t the best option for me. I have enough (wonderful, fabulous!) readers in the program that it’s worth it to me, even though I am restricted from selling that ebook on any other platform, and I make less from a Kindle Unlimited read than I do from an ebook sale. The number of KU readers makes up for that. So really, grateful readers should be thanking each other… it’s because you actually read the books that I can keep enrolling them.

ETA: To clarify, I very specifically get paid for the PAGES you read. If someone reads a few pages, I get paid for those pages and no more. If you download the book and don’t read it, I don’t get paid. Amazon has ways of knowing if you skip to the end, and only credits me for those pages that you actually look at.

2. I can’t sell ebooks that are in Kindle Unlimited anywhere but Amazon.

I’m sorry if you aren’t a fan of Amazon, and I understand your frustration, but if my books are enrolled in KU, I cannot sell them on other platforms. See above about KU being a business decision.

3. I only get paid for one read-through.

If you pick it up again to re-read, I don’t get anything for that. Do I love that you enjoyed the book enough to read it again? Oh yes, that makes my day! But it doesn’t put anything in my pocket. One thing you can do is see if the series you’re looking to re-read was released in a different format, or a collection. For example, I get paid once if you read a book from my series. But I get paid again if you read the box set of the series! Everyone wins!

4. Your Kindle Unlimited borrow helps my rank.

Rank on Amazon is a tricky thing. It’s based on book sales… and also on Kindle Unlimited borrows, but not on actual page-reads. Even if you don’t read it for a little while after that, downloading my book on launch day gives a boost to my visibility on Amazon. That’s awesome!

5. I’m not pricing my books at $2.99 to be a jerk.

Amazon pays royalties on their ebook sales, and they DOUBLE their royalty rate at the $2.99 price. I have to sell – literally – SIX times as many books at $0.99 as I do at $2.99 for the same amount of pocket change. I do try to put my books on sale periodically. Sometimes I just lower the price and take the hit, but Kindle Unlimited also allows a Kindle Countdown that keeps the book in the same royalty bracket (%) and lets me lower the price temporarily. Unfortunately, the Kindle Countdowns are only available in the US and the UK, and I have pricing restrictions for a period of time on either side. I have to decide the best way to get my readers deals and I try to mix it up so everyone gets what they need. Watch your favorite authors to take advantage of their deals.

6. I love to know about errors… but!

If you find typos, I love to know about them. I hire an editor for every book, but even then, little errors slip through. I correct these every time I find them and future versions of the book will be better. However! Reporting the errors through the Kindle interface to Amazon gets me in trouble.

Yesterday, I woke up to a report of seven typos and one stylistic choice (it was slang) and Amazon slapped a big ‘Quality Issues’ flag on my book that implied that my book was riddled with problems. This was a box set of three books, so we’re looking at less than three typos per novel. I fixed them immediately, but Amazon had to approve my changes, which takes time, and my book was up there looking unprofessional for a full day. If I had been out of town or otherwise not able to make changes immediately, it might have been that way for some time, which is bad for sales! So, please always contact the author directly with this kind of catch!

You can export your notes in Kindle and email them directly to the author – I list contact information in the back of my books and I know many other authors do as well.

Tip! When you highlight the error, highlight a bit of the sentence around it – the working file for many authors doesn’t have the same location numbers as your Kindle and it’s super easy to search a document for a long phrase, but far less helpful to try to search for ‘its’.

And that’s today’s entry in The Care and Feeding of Your Favorite Authors.