Kindle Unlimited: Global Expansion and Impact

Ruth Nestvold:

Amount paid for pages read with Kindle Unlimited goes down by another 5%. It will be interesting to see where this ends.

Originally posted on chrismcmullen:

Image from ShutterStock. Image from ShutterStock.


Amazon’s payment for Kindle Unlimited KENP pages read has dipped a hair below $0.005 per page.

There is a downward trend for KENP pages read, although is a reason behind the most recent dip, and, as we shall see, there may be good signs to offset this trend.

  • July, 2015: $0.0058
  • August, 2015: $0.0051 (11% drop)
  • September, 2015: $0.0051 (1% drop)
  • October, 2015: $0.0048 (5% drop)

It started in July at $0.0058, likely to match the projections forecast when Amazon shared their pages read data for June.

It dropped 11% from July to August, likely because there were changes in the readership and/or reading habits when the Kindle Unlimited changes were implemented, and perhaps also Amazon was adjusting KENP settings and measurements.

We saw nice stability from August to September. When we finally see some long-term stability, that will be nice. I think we’ll…

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Changes for #WIPpet Wednesday, and a brief update

For Nanowrimo, I have temporarily set aside the second and third books of The Glassmakers Trilogy and turned to a prequel to The Pendragon Chronicles, Ygerna. Just for fun and inspiration, before starting it, I slapped together a cover:


I wasn’t actually intending to use it for publication, but now I find that I’m liking it better than I expected. What do you guys think? Can I use it? If so, what changes would you still suggest? (I definitely don’t want to keep the corset, frex, since that doesn’t really fit in 5th Century Britain. *g*)

On to the first excerpt! I’m going to make it easy on myself and begin at the beginning with the first 11 paragraphs for the 11th day of the 11th month:

Weddings can be anything from dazzling to excruciating, but more often than not, they are at least memorable. By the look of the guests arriving at Dyn Tagell, this wedding was shaping up to be particularly dazzling.
Ygerna’s little brother Geraint tugged her hand. “I can’t see!” he complained.
She chuckled and took pity on him, lifting him up and settling him next to her on the stone wall. He was big for a five-year-old, and it took some effort. Soon, she would no longer be able to carry him around at all.
“Will the High King be coming to the wedding?” he asked.
“I don’t know.” She wiped sweat from her brow with the back of her hand. It was unseasonably warm for May on the coast of Dumnonia. But perhaps the sunshine would reconcile Argante to having her wedding here in this coastal fortress rather than the capital city of Isca. There had been many tearful arguments on that count between her and their parents, but their father Erbin had been adamant — with Pict and Erainn pirates haunting the western coast of Britain, he could not afford to be away from his strategic summer stronghold during the raiding season.
“King Vortigern is very busy,” she added.
“So is Papa,” Geraint protested.
“True enough.” Resting one arm on the stone balustrade, Ygerna peered down at the newly arrived guests. From their vantage point above the land bridge, they could see the parties crossing to the promontory singly and in pairs — given how narrow the passage was, little more was possible. Sunlight glinted off the jewelry of the richly dressed men and women, but from this distance, she couldn’t recognize any faces.
She pointed. “Look, there’s the Pendragon banner. But I can’t tell if the High King is of the party.”
Geraint leaned forward, and Ygerna wrapped a protective arm around his waist to make sure he wouldn’t tumble down the side of the cliff.
“Do you think one is Uthyr, leader of battles?” he asked.

Here, BTW, is the book description I put up on the Nano site: “When young Ygerna first meets Uthyr, Pendragon of Britain, she is dazzled by the handsome and famous warrior. But when Uthyr interprets admiration as consent and takes her by force, Ygerna’s hero worship turns to hatred.
“And she will do anything to get revenge on the man who got her with child and ruined her life.”

As you can tell, it’s a rather radical reinterpretation of the Uthur and Igraine story, but I never bought that one in the first place, so I’m making it my own. :)

As many of you know by now, K. L. Schwengel is stepping down from the post as Head Wippeteer and handing the reins over to Emily Witt. Huge thanks to Kathi for keeping it going for so long. It’s been a grand time. :) But it’s not over! The rules will still be the same: post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link to the Linky. I do hope this change won’t mean the beginning of the end for our little blogging community, so do keep playing, everyone!

Update: I’m a bit behind on Ygerna in Nano terms, but the site tells me that my daily average is 1200 words, so I’m quite happy with that. I still have about another 5 pages to translate on the Viking novel, after which I can hopefully make up for lost ground. But my marketing efforts have largely come to a halt, and my sales are suffering accordingly. I don’t seem to be able to do all three effectively at the the same time, translating, marketing and writing. One of them always seems to suffer. So that is something I still need to work on.

Riding down Golden Lane for #WIPpet Wednesday

Mea culpa! It’s been a while since I participated in a Round of Words or WIPpet Wednesday! The thing is, I just haven’t had the time to make the rounds of other bloggers, and if I can’t do that, I feel bad about posting.

So why have I been so busy? Well, I’m still not done with the translation, but it’s close now! I’ve also been doing a lot of experimenting with marketing, to try to lift my books out of obscurity. It’s working, kind of, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Finally, I’ve been prepping a novel idea for Nanowrimo, and I plan to dive in with lots of extra energy once the translation is finished — only a matter of days! In the meantime, I’ve managed to get a few pages done a day so I don’t fall too far behind. You can find me on the Nanowrimo site here. On Nano, I’m Specficrider if you want to be buddies!

On to WIPpet Wednesday. Weeks ago in Facets of Glass, we left Gaetano arriving in Prague and trying to find his way around. By now, he has found the Goldmakers’ Street (Golden Lane in real life). My math today for 11/4 is 1+1+4 = 6 paragraphs:

He found the Friedrich glass shop between two “Alchymista,” one selling gold and one selling potions. He wondered which of the two did better business. While bigger than most of the other houses on the street, the glassmaker’s establishment was much more modest than the Fenice Glassworks where Chiara Dragoni had once been a maestra glassmaker of Murano. Gaetano asked himself what made her flee from such wealth to such simple circumstances.
He dismounted, tied the reins of his mare to a post, and pushed open the door. A tinkling bell alerted someone in the back rooms of the shop of his arrival, and an older man with thinning hair hurried in in, wiping his hands on his apron. He said something in Czech or German, and Gaetano shook his head. “Do you speak Italian?” he asked in that language.
“Only a little bit,” the man said in strongly accented Italian. “I will get someone to help you.”
Gaetano nodded his thanks. “Grazie.”
The old man disappeared through the doorway. Soon the curtain twitched again, and a young woman appeared, smiling pleasantly — at least until she saw him.
Chiara Dragoni — lost in the lagoon of Venice, and found again in a small glass shop in Prague.

Golden Lane, Prague
Golden Lane (Goldmakers’ Street) in Prague

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts.

52 authors you can try for FREE!

Fifty-two books by fifty-two authors. All are the first in a series, all are free. Click the image or the link below to check them out!

Please note: not all of these books are free outside of the U.S. Many of them have been made free through price-matching on Amazon, and the author does not have control over this. My book, for example, Yseult: Two Women, has not been price-matched outside of the US, whereas my Pendragon short story “Gawain and Ragnell” has. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Another one bites the dust: The Midlist

Last week, I posted about the results of my most recent 99c sales. Among the sites I listed as worth planning a promo around was “The Midlist.”

Well, not anymore. They have been so successful collecting addresses from readers, they have sold their list to Bookperk, an email subscription service exclusively for HarperCollins authors. Here’s the text of the email I got just a day after that blog post:

Dear Midlist Authors,

Thank you for helping us to grow a thriving community of readers on The Midlist. We know the hard work that goes into creating a story that connects with your audience, and we’re excited to continue investing in your success.

For a little over a year, we’ve built a mailing list of avid readers on The Midlist. At the same time, we have also partnered with the daily reader email Bookperk to help them build up their reader community. Our two reader communities have a lot in common, and we’ve now agreed to extend our partnership by merging The Midlist into Bookperk.

So, what does this mean for you as The Midlist author? It means we can focus 100% on developing our flagship product, instaFreebie, the best audience development tool in the industry. We believe the future of publishing is in the author brand, and the best way to build audience for authors is to share content.

Additionally, as a big thank you to our authors, you will receive three months use on the instaFreebie product, free of charge, when they sign up to a new premium account. We’ll be sending The Midlist authors a redemption code in a follow-up email very soon.

We’re grateful for the chance to support you as an author every day. Please feel free to reach out directly to me with any questions or feedback at I’ll individually respond to every email.

Jason Freeman

And what is instaFreebie, you might ask yourself? Why it is a special promotional opportunity where you can spend $20 a month to give your books away! Doesn’t that sound just grand? You can read all about it here.

Another one bites the dust
Of course, this doesn’t have anything to do with A Song of Ice and Fire, but I just love this too much. :)

Needless to say, I will be purging “The Midlist” from my various blog posts about where to promote your books. I can give my books away for free quite well myself, thank you. And when it comes right down to it, with the exception of my permafree books, I’ve been trying to move away from free as a promotional gimmick. I don’t intend to offer any of my complete novels free again unless I get another BookBub ad.

So, who else feels like Atlas pushing that boulder uphill when trying to get the word out about their books? Sigh.

For Halloween, get “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” free! (At most retailers)

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the occasion, I made my Halloween short story “Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife” free through Draft2Digital. Since it’s no longer in KDP Select, I couldn’t make it free through Amazon this year without a lot of hassle, but I’ve made it free there before, so I hope the Amazon folks won’t feel too left out.

Misty and the Magic Pumpkin Knife

Misty Mankin hated Halloween. She hated ghosts and princesses and black and orange. Especially orange. She hated frozen pumpkin pie, the most common kind in Rolynka, Alaska. She hated witches and masks and what qualified as seasonal office parties near the Arctic Circle. She hated all the interruptions of her evening accompanied by screaming and giggling and variations from innocent to profane on the three words “trick or treat.”
She particularly hated the pumpkin knife — and the fact that it contained the ghost of her mother…






Page Foundry

And 99c on Amazon.

Have a wonderful Samhain, everyone!

Summary of ad results for 99c sales


When I did my 99c Countdown Deal of Yseult two months ago, I promised to do a summary post after this round of promos was over. Last week, the third week-long promo ended, and now I have put together my results to share with you, along with some conclusions about running a 99c sale. I did not apply for a Bookbub ad for any of these promos, since part of my motivation in testing ad sites like this is to find alternatives to Bookbub. I have had Bookbub ads before, and I know that they are effective, but they are very difficult to get, not to mention very expensive.

Without further ado, here are the numbers for the three promos I did in the last two months:


Yseult, Aug. 30 – Sept. 4 (total spent: $98)

Aug. 30 – Nothing – 2 sales
Aug. 31 – Book Barbarian ($8) – 27 sales (29 total)
Booklovers Heaven (Free) – (Free)
Sept 1 – Blog and Facebook – 11 (40 total)
Sept 2 – Books Butterfly ($50) – 45 US + 6 UK (85 total) + 6 UK
Sept 3 – Nothing – 1 (86 total) + 6 UK
Sept. 4 – Bargain Booksy ($40)- 30 US + 1 UK (116 total) + 7 UK

Summary: I did not quite break even on the ads, but Yseult stayed in a couple of top 100 lists for the rest of the month and continued selling. But the big advantage of the increased visibility was in pages read: over 11,000 for the month of September. In August, when I didn’t do any ads, it was 2500.

Chameleon in a Mirror

Chameleon in a Mirror, Oct 4-10 (total spent: $48)

Oct. 4 – Nothing – 1 sale
Oct. 5 – Ereader News Today ($20) – 27 sales (28 total)
Oct. 6 – Book Goodies ($5) – 11 sales (39 total) + 1 UK
EbookStage (free)
Oct. 7 – Posted to long list of FB pages (free) – 4 sales (43 total)
Oct. 8 – Choosy Bookworm ($18) – 6 sales (49 total)
Oct. 9 – Sweetfreebooks ($5) – 6 sales (55 total)
Booklover’s Heaven (free)
Oct. 10 – More FB pages (free) – 8 sales (63 total) + 1 UK

Summary: I got closer to breaking even on this Countdown Deal, ending up only $3 shy of earning out. But I have subsequently had only a handful of sales and 3500 pages read. CIAM dropped out of its top 100 lists much quicker. Part of the problem may also be, however, that I need to get it into a couple more niche categories somehow.

Shadow of Stone

Shadow of Stone, Oct 15-22 (total spent: $22.99)

Oct. 15 – None – 1 sale
Oct. 16 – BookGoodies ($5) – 2 sales (3 total) + 2 UK
BookHippoUK (free)
Oct. 17 – The Midlist (free) – 42 sales (45 total + 3 UK)
Oct. 18 – ContentMo ($1.99) – 11 sales (56 total + 3 UK)
Reading Deals (free)
Oct. 19 – Facebook sites, etc. – 5 sales (61 total + 3 UK)
Oct. 20 – Book Barbarian ($8) – 17 sales (78 total + 3 UK)
Oct. 21 – BettyBookFreak ($8) – 2 sales (80 total + 3 UK)

The ROI on this sale was pretty fantastic, mostly because SoS managed to get approved for a free Midlist ad. I scheduled the promo accordingly and booked the other ads around The Midlist listing. Still early days yet, though, to say what the long term effect will be, although it already seems to be dropping in rank faster than Yseult did after its promo.

Here are some other ad results for 99c sales I’ve had in previous months, with the disclaimer that the oldest are from last December and could be quite different now:

Shadow of Stone:
12/16/14 – Fussy Librarian ($14) – 8 sales
12/17/14 – BKnights ($5.50) – 4 sales

Chameleon in a Mirror:
2/24/15 – BKnights ($10.50) – 8 sales
6/2/15 – ManyBooks ($20.00) – 28 sales

Island of Glass

Island of Glass:
6/30/15 – Robin Reads ($10) – 13 sales

As you can see from this list, most advertising sites don’t earn out. On the other hand, getting your book to a high enough ranking that it will stay in a couple of top 100 lists for a while is worth paying more for your ads than you earn. Nonetheless, several of these sites were very disappointing to me in terms of ROI, and I do not intend to use them again unless I start hearing rave reports on places like Kboards. The biggest disappoints for me were Choosy Bookworm and BettyBookFreak, which I had both heard good things about. Perhaps those sites are better for mysteries or romances than they are for fantasy, but I for one won’t be going back for a while.

Another thing to take into consideration is that as soon as they start getting a better reputation, may advertising sites raise their prices so much that they no longer become a good deal. I was quite pleased with the results of my Book Barbarian ads — at $8. But they have since raised their prices to $25. 17 sales for $8 looks very different than 17 sales for $25.

Sites I will definitely be using again (unless they raise their prices too much) are The Midlist,* ManyBooks, ENT, ContentMo, BooksButterfly and Robin Reads. I would also like to try and get a slot with Ereader IQ and Pixel of Ink eventually, to see how well they do. POI used to be what BookBub is now, and while it is no longer the star for promotion, I’ve been hearing good things about it.

Finally, I would like to point out that if you can scratch the money together, it’s much more worthwhile to throw as many effective ads as possible at a promo. Given the results of the above Countdown Deals, I’m suspecting you need a bump of at least 100 sales to create any kind of lasting effect in terms of visibility for your book.

In conclusion, I highly recommend checking out Nicholas Rossi’s list here — and participating in his survey when you do paid advertising. We indie authors have no other recourse than information when trying to make it in this incredibly competitive business. If we share our results, we’re in a much better position to judge which sites might be useful, and which will just be a money sink.

Good luck!

* The Midlist has sold their mailing list to HarperCollins and is no longer promoting indies. You can read more about it here.

Related posts:

Where to promote a 99c eBook sale

Alexa rankings for eBook ad sites

Putting things in perspective — via Russell Blake

A hugely successful indie author, Russell Blake, summarizes the ways it just ain’t easy here:

I especially appreciated this:

That’s different than I thought when I started out. I kind of hoped that the old canard that you wrote a great novel, sold it to NY, and then sat back and got rich, was true. That you only needed to produce a little work over the years, and could devote lots of time to thinking great thoughts, traveling the world, observing, etc.

Maybe for a few of the very top earners who’ve been doing this for decades and can command seven and eight figure advances. Of which there are fewer than 100, by my estimation. But for the rest, and certainly for the self-published, it’s a job, just like showing up to work at Pixar or Disney and creating content is a job. If you don’t put in the time, your slot goes to someone else, and the world keeps turning, only without you getting paid as a writer.

Even for those who are already successful, being an indie writer is not a ticket to success. But it is a ticket to a job that can be successful if you keep putting in the work.

Luck and success to all!

5 Ways to Promote Your Free Book 1 Series Starter – via Lindsay Buroker

I’ve mentioned before on this site that permafree can be a good method of getting eyes on your books, even if it is no longer as effective as it used to be. This week, Lindsay Buroker has some great suggestions on how to push those free books, despite Amazon’s attempts to hide them:

5 Ways to Promote Your Free Book 1 Series Starter

Highly recommended!

And once you have read that, you might want to check out my list of places where you can advertise permafree books.

Luck and skill to all. :)

Final ad testing experiment: 99c sale of Shadow of Stone

Shadow of Stone

I’ve been sick with a major head cold recently, which is one of the main reasons why I haven’t posted to this blog in over a week. I’m feeling a bit better today, which coincides with the first day of final round of testing ads for 99c sales of ebooks, this time for Shadow of Stone, Book II of The Pendragon Chronicles. Here’s the lineup for the next week:

Oct. 15 – None
Oct. 16 – BookGoodies ($5)
Oct. 17 – The Midlist (free)
Oct. 18 – ContentMo ($1.99)
Oct. 19 –
Oct. 20 – Book Barbarian ($8)
Oct. 21 – BettyBookFreak ($8)

Applied for free ads: Ebooklister, Read Freely, Read Cheaply, Reading Deals. I have not heard back from any of these however, so I don’t know if the book will get picked up by any of them.

I also have the results for the ads I ran for the Chameleon in a Mirror sale from Oct. 4-10 (total spent: $48)

Oct. 4 – Nothing – 1 sale
Oct. 5 – Ereader News Today ($20) – 27 sales (28 total)
Oct. 6 – Book Goodies ($5) – 11 sales (39 total) + 1 UK
EbookStage (free)
Oct. 7 – Posted to long list of FB pages (free) – 4 sales (43 total)
Oct. 8 – Choosy Bookworm ($18) – 6 sales (49 total)
Oct. 9 – Sweetfreebooks ($5) – 6 sales (55 total)
Booklover’s Heaven (free)
Awesomegang (free) – Apparently didn’t post after all
Oct. 10 – More FB pages (free) – 8 sales (63 total) + 1 UK

I broke even on the cost of the ads, and have since had a few sales and several thousand pages read. These ads were much less effective than those for Yseult last month. On the other hand, for that campaign, I spent almost $100, and it gave the book the boost it needed to get high in several top 100 lists — the visibility necessary to create a long tail for a sale.

When the sale on Shadow of Stone is over, I will put together a summary post of all my results, as well as some of the conclusions I’ve come to. Ads for ebooks are getting more and more expensive, while their effectiveness is dropping. To my way of thinking, the best way to combat that trend is to share our knowledge, so that writers won’t be tempted to put as much money in advertising that doesn’t work.


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