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With the odd disappearance of her parents, Gussie Gibson has lived her entire life with her granny on a peaceful pecan orchard, owned by the meanest man in all of Georgia—Mr. J.P. Combs. Granny teaches Gussie many valuable life lessons as a black woman growing up in the still-segregated south. Mr. Combs is an evil underhanded banker who takes liberties beyond his privilege. When Granny dies, Combs informs Gussie she owes him back rent—but he wants much more than money for payment—and more than Gussie can live with.
After defending herself against his sexual advances, Gussie flees to escape certain vigilante justice when she meets a charming, handsome stranger, Sam Johnson, who is just returning from World War II.
Gussie and Sam’s friendship is short-lived when Mr. Combs hunts her down and drags her back to Green Ridge, driven by his craving for revenge and a grudge too deep to comprehend. Gussie fights to return to Sam and his lo...

Author Topic: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2  (Read 4361 times)  

Offline Indiecognito

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Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« on: July 04, 2015, 10:30:23 AM »
I've had 240,000 pages read since July 1st.

That's not bad. It's actually a mind-blowing number. And at .006 a page, that plus sales on Amazon add up to over $2000.00 in the last few days.

I'm in a weird position: I could probably do okay in KU2. Maybe not as well as before, but fine. A year ago I'd have been thrilled with $2000.00 in a month, let alone a week, and I try not to lose track of that.

But in May I made $18,000.00 in KU1. And I simply don't see the potential to make that again under the new program--not my books. I don't write long enough or publish frequently enough. If I go wide, however, I have the option of putting new works in KU while using other tactics at other vendors. And that's my new plan.

The last few days have been constant stress, decision-making, weighing options. And this is the only plan that makes sense to me now. In the short term it will cost me money. But I can afford a couple of months of decline because I've been incredibly lucky (and yes, I still say that luck plays a massive role in self-publishing).

I've seen posts where people wanted to hear from those making more money in KU2. I'm not one of them, but i'm not suffering, either. I write fast enough to publish once a month, and I have a voracious readership who go through my books like crazy. I can't get as much published as some, because believe it or not, this isn't my only job. But I'd like it to be. And until there's some kind of stability to it, it would be insane of me to give up all other sources of income---just as it's a little crazy that I've made Amazon my sole source of writer income for so long.

Everyone needs to make their own decision. I'm throwing out what I've decided and why, and welcome you to share your decision-making process. I appreciate that there's a broad community out there of driven people who just want to make it work, whatever "it" is.

Offline Caddy

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2015, 10:38:07 AM »
Thanks for sharing. Good luck with your new strategy.  I hope it works well for you.

As for me, I'm not nearly as successful as you, but I'm finally making a normal, modest living at this. I was never in KU with novels. I did put serialized m/m romance in under a pen name and made some money off those...but even before KU2 came I realized I loved the guys I had created so deeply I wanted to turn their stories into full length novels so they'd be coming out of KU. I pulled the first set of 6. The second set of six is staying in KU for now simply because I can't expand them until the other 6 have been turned into 3 full length novels, as the stories intertwine. I don't want the serialized stories wide as I really don't care to have a lot of people reading them anymore before they become novels. :)

I might write more serialized m/m romance for KU2, but right now I'm thinking not. I can't write it fast enough to make KU2 work well, not if I want to write novels until 2 names. We'll see.

Anyway, that's my plan. Please let us know how your new plan works out for you. The great thing about being indie is you, me, and any other indie can change their mind and switch strategy quickly and easily. Don't you love that freedom?  :)
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Offline Mike McIntyre

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2015, 10:39:33 AM »
If I go wide, however, I have the option of putting new works in KU while using other tactics at other vendors. And that's my new plan.


Can you expand on this point, please? When you gain traction on other platforms, won't your readers there resent that they can't immediately buy your latest books? Also, how does visibility gained in KU migrate to other platforms when you take newer releases out and go wide with the rest of your books?

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Offline Indiecognito

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2015, 10:40:18 AM »
Thanks for sharing. Good luck with your new strategy.  I hope it works well for you.

As for me, I'm not nearly as successful as you, but I'm finally making a normal, modest living at this. I was never in KU with novels. I did put serialized m/m romance in under a pen name and made some money off those...but even before KU2 came I realized I loved the guys I had created so deeply I wanted to turn their stories into full length novels so they'd be coming out of KU. I pulled the first set of 6. The seconde set of six is staying in KU for now simply because I can't expand them until the other 6 have been turned into 3 full length novels, as the stories intertwine. I don't want the serialized stories wide as I really don't care to have a lot of people reading them anymore before they become novels. :)

I might write more serialized m/m romance for KU2, but right now I'm thinking not. I can't write it fast enough to make KU2 work well, not if I want to write novels until 2 names. We'll see.

Anyway, that's my plan. Please let us know how your new plan works out for you. The great thing about being indie is you, me, and any other indie can change their mind and switch strategy quickly and easily. Don't you love that freedom?  :)

I think you're probably wise to leave some in KU. :) That's a bit of my safety plan as well. I won't pull everything out at once. But as books come out I will be uploading them elsewhere, permafreeing first in series and promoting the living heck out of them to try and get back on track.

I wish you luck and will keep you guys updated!

Offline Indiecognito

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2015, 10:43:50 AM »
Can you expand on this point, please? When you gain traction on other platforms, won't your readers there resent that they can't immediately buy your latest books? Also, how does visibility gained in KU migrate to other platforms when you take newer releases out and go wide with the rest of your books?

My intention is to do as follows:

I have a series of, say, 5 books. I'll put them up elsewhere, but the newest book will go into KU for its 90 days before wide release. I'm not currently concerned about resentment, if only because I don't yet have the readers on the other platforms. But if I sell so well that my strategy needs to shift, I will happily forego KU in favour of the prompt releases. :)

I'm not talking about the 90 days for visibility so much as for money. My new releases get massive borrows, but the 90 day cliff is a real thing. I have a series that I started nearly a year ago that still makes me a couple of thousand a month, but I do think that going wide, it'll find a new life and audience. I don't want to be stuck in a system that's unpredictable from month to month. I'm too much of a type-A personality to let someone else control me quite that much.

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2015, 10:44:18 AM »
I think you're probably wise to leave some in KU. :) That's a bit of my safety plan as well. I won't pull everything out at once. But as books come out I will be uploading them elsewhere, permafreeing first in series and promoting the living heck out of them to try and get back on track.

I wish you luck and will keep you guys updated!

Yup. I will perma-free, too, once each series is complete, on the first one. Won't even bother to promote much until the series is done and first book is free. I've found it works best of me to just keep writing and not worry about fooling around much with the books until the series is done.

God, talk about type A. I know it's sometimes to my disadvantage, but I hate any type of control. It's probably cost me money, but I'm much happier being completely unfettered.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 10:46:19 AM by Caddy »
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Offline Mike McIntyre

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2015, 10:46:28 AM »
My intention is to do as follows:

I have a series of, say, 5 books. I'll put them up elsewhere, but the newest book will go into KU for its 90 days before wide release. I'm not currently concerned about resentment, if only because I don't yet have the readers on the other platforms. But if I sell so well that my strategy needs to shift, I will happily forego KU in favour of the prompt releases. :)

I'm not talking about the 90 days for visibility so much as for money. My new releases get massive borrows, but the 90 day cliff is a real thing. I have a series that I started nearly a year ago that still makes me a couple of thousand a month, but I do think that going wide, it'll find a new life and audience. I don't want to be stuck in a system that's unpredictable from month to month. I'm too much of a type-A personality to let someone else control me quite that much.

Thank you. That makes sense. Good luck!

Mike McIntyre

Offline joyceharmon

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2015, 10:48:27 AM »
Indie, I'm afraid I don't understand your math. What is your trend line? If you have 2K earned after 3 days and a bit, wouldn't that be 20K at the end of 30 days? It sounds to me like you would wind up making at least the same amount of money under the new system as the old. Can you go wide and made up that income on other platforms? And if so - HOW?

I was wide with all my books until a few months ago, and was selling almost nothing other than on Amazon. Bringing my Regencies into Select gave me a real boost. When the new system started, I was panicked and depressed by the first day's page reads, but every day has seen an increase - a substantial increase. (Though I'm nowhere near your numbers.) Today's page reads are already up to yesterday's total, and yesterday's total was well over the day before, which was well over the day before. So until the numbers level out and find a steady state, I don't think I can take the last few days' worth of numbers and calculate what my monthly total is likely to be.

As for going wide, I might try that a few books from now, but my experience up to now doesn't encourage me to be believe there's much extra income for me out there.

Offline Monique

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2015, 10:48:41 AM »
You are doing well and should do well exclusively or in wide distribution. I am surprised at the speed of your decision though. What if the payout is 1c per page? What if it's actually higher? What if the reporting is borked? There are still so many unknowns. You, of course, know your business best and your instincts count for a lot, but what would be the harm in waiting a little while?

eta: Is that 18k from borrows only and your 2k estimate for 3 days from both combined? I'm also confused by your math.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2015, 10:52:29 AM by Monique »

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Offline Indiecognito

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2015, 10:54:30 AM »
You are doing well and should do well exclusively or in wide distribution. I am surprised at the speed of your decision though. What if the payout is 1c per page? What if it's actually higher? What if the reporting is borked? There are still so many unknowns. You, of course, know your business best and your instincts count for a lot, but what would be the harm in waiting a little while?

The decision is easy for me either way and it comes down to this: if it's 1 cent the first month I'll attribute it to Amazon trying to keep writers in, but no part of me will feel confident in its remaining there. It's that confidence that I want. I want stability, and I feel that going wide will be better in the long run. I can write more books and put them in if I feel it's wise, but meanwhile I don't like supporting the changing payouts. They don't sit well with me, somehow.

But I'm not pulling everything out right now. I thought about it, but I won't. I'll hang in til a bunch of my books come out, which happens to coincide with August 15. That way I can take advantage of the first month's data to help. But I don't imagine what could keep me all in at this point.

Offline Indiecognito

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2015, 10:56:23 AM »
Indie, I'm afraid I don't understand your math. What is your trend line? If you have 2K earned after 3 days and a bit, wouldn't that be 20K at the end of 30 days? It sounds to me like you would wind up making at least the same amount of money under the new system as the old. Can you go wide and made up that income on other platforms? And if so - HOW?

I was wide with all my books until a few months ago, and was selling almost nothing other than on Amazon. Bringing my Regencies into Select gave me a real boost. When the new system started, I was panicked and depressed by the first day's page reads, but every day has seen an increase - a substantial increase. (Though I'm nowhere near your numbers.) Today's page reads are already up to yesterday's total, and yesterday's total was well over the day before, which was well over the day before. So until the numbers level out and find a steady state, I don't think I can take the last few days' worth of numbers and calculate what my monthly total is likely to be.

As for going wide, I might try that a few books from now, but my experience up to now doesn't encourage me to be believe there's much extra income for me out there.

Joyce, most of my borrows come from a lovely fresh new release. In a few days they'll dwindle (day one, 85K pages read. Day 3, 54K and going down daily). I know my trends, unfortunately. I know that the first couple of days were thanks to that fresh new release smell. :)

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2015, 10:56:54 AM »
I do think going wide is wise in the long-term. I'm not a fan of subscription models, esp. not those that require exclusivity. Throw in the "you never know what you'll earn per read/borrow" and it's unsettling to say the least. I understand why people stay in KU. I hope they understand why I wish it into the cornfield. :)


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Offline Indiecognito

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2015, 10:58:18 AM »
I do think going wide is wise in the long-term. I'm not a fan of subscription models, esp. not those that require exclusivity. Throw in the "you never know what you'll earn per read/borrow" and it's unsettling to say the least. I understand why people stay in KU. I hope they understand why I wish it into the cornfield. :)

I think that more and more people are getting that.  :D

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2015, 11:17:13 AM »
Traction on the other retailers really does take time so it's good you are preparing for that eventuality. Give yourself three - six months minimum and make sure you purchase some paid ads on places that advertise your genre. If you can snag a Bookbub, all the better. There are a lot of Apple and B&N readers who use Bookbub. Are you going to do a permafree first in series? They do better outside of Amazon than on Amazon for some reason in terms of sell-through to the rest of the series in my experience. I was surprised at how much better.

Have you watched Mark Dawson's free video course on Facebook advertising? If you have higher priced items such as boxed sets with a good number of reviews, you have a good chance of making a good return on investment. I've made serious bank after watching his video course and applying his principles. It's great for Amazon readers and a bit more difficult to reach readers on other platforms but we're all working on it. Mark did a LOT of work figuring out the best approach and some of the students have had seriously great results. He has a paid course but it is not currently open to new students. Also, building your mailing list is important if you aren't already doing so. He has a strategy for that as well that some students have seen amazing results. That's my next project.

It's great that you can do this while still having an outside job so any temporary decrease in visibility on Amazon and the time it takes to gain traction on other sales channels will be weathered better than if you have no plan or too high expectations. It takes work.

I did it when this was my sole source of income and I was supporting two teens so it was a bit of a hair-raising time for me. Luckily, the permafree first in series and paid ads and Bookbub really worked for me. Plus Apple promoted my one series as part of its "first free in series" promo and that gave me a big boost. I think Apple could be a game changer and hope they continue their work to improve their ability to sell books.

Good luck! Of course I think you are making the right choice, but time will tell. You can always go back into KU, so that's a comfort.

Offline AgnesWebb

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2015, 11:19:36 AM »
Sounds like you've made some solid observations about the new model and how it will affect your business. Wishing you the best of luck going wide!

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2015, 02:25:30 PM »
I'm going wide, too, with everything.  Some of my stuff is doing as well now as it did before, but I'm taking it out too.

Putting all your eggs in one basket (offering Amazon exclusive rights to your works, for example) is generally a very risky strategy.  With KU 1.0 the benefits were large enough to outweigh the risks.  With KU 2.0, they don't seem to be.

I'd thought about waiting until mid-August before making my decision, so that I could have solid numbers to work with.  But now I've decided that the numbers they've offered, and the numbers they haven't offered, is in itself something to consider.

In the middle of June, when they first announced the proposed change in the KU payment system, they used an example with 100 million pages.  At the end of June they told us that the actual number of pages read was nearly 20 times greater!  They must have known, by the time they sent out that first email, that their number of pages was wildly inaccurate.  The fact that they gave us such a misleading number in the example seems very significant to me.

Amazon's been tightfisted with info since the start (remember all the speculation over how many Kindles were selling? and Amazon refused to offer a number).  If Amazon isn't going to be reasonably forthcoming with the data they have, how am I supposed to feel comfortable giving them exclusive rights to my work?

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2015, 03:10:12 PM »
While you're going wide, I've been struggling with whether or not to go all-in with KU. See, the one problem that I have with other platforms - that I've always had - is how to stay up on them. Unfortunately, I haven't found that paid ads, with the exception of BB, work for them. I've been promoted by Apple's internal team a few times, and have made some major money there, but that cannot be counted on, of course. I just don't know how to reach readers on these other platforms on a consistent basis. And my sales on all other platforms show that.

IMHO, the only way to keep things up on other platforms is to get regular BB ads. Good luck with that. Well, maybe not you - you probably can get BB ads. But I cannot. I've tried 8 ways to Sunday, but they've only taken one of my books. So....things have been falling every single month for me, across the board. By a lot. Except Google Play - for some odd reason, that one's been pretty consistent and not affected by ads, even BB.

So, that's my personal dilemma. I KNOW that ads work on Amazon. Any ads - Freebooksy, My Romance Reads, BookSends, etc. I run these ads and they don't move the needle over at Apple, Nook, etc., but on Amazon, I'll get thousands of downloads.

I NEVER would have considered going exclusive with Amazon before KU. Ever. And, to be honest, I wouldn't have done it under KU 1.0. But this new KU....I'm tempted. Seriously tempted.

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2015, 03:35:36 PM »
Off topic: I like your new covers, Annie.

I currently sell just north of nothing, but I have two super commercial series coming out in the next 6-9 months (assuming I don't quit writing because of stress), and I can't see how I'll gain traction on other retailers. My current series is not commercial, but it still sells way more on Amazon and I can move 10x the downloads. Even with much better sell through on other retailers, promos help Amazon sales most.

One series is an 80k serial that I'll spin off if I get good sales. The other is a four book series where each can standalone. Both NA romance.

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2015, 03:42:34 PM »
Off topic: I like your new covers, Annie.



Aw, thanks! I hope that this will be the last cover re-design for me for awhile, because it gets expensive. Thanks for the nice compliment and for noticing!

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2015, 03:59:02 PM »
See, my hesitation with going wide is this: I look at royalty statements from when I was with the publisher and 98% of earnings came from Amazon and now a massive percentage of my earnings come from borrows. So, I'm staying until the numbers come out. Also running a sale/advertising in the middle of the month.
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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2015, 12:33:23 AM »
1) This: The decision is easy for me either way and it comes down to this: if it's 1 cent the first month I'll attribute it to Amazon trying to keep writers in, but no part of me will feel confident in its remaining there. It's that confidence that I want. I want stability, and I feel that going wide will be better in the long run. I can write more books and put them in if I feel it's wise, but meanwhile I don't like supporting the changing payouts. They don't sit well with me, somehow.


2) The first 6 to 9 months Amazon is going to pay extra to keep writers in.

This again:  if it's 1 cent the first month I'll attribute it to Amazon trying to keep writers in

3) At some point of time Amazon hopes KU will be so big that authors will have to keep their books in, or at least keep some of their books in.

So they initial rate you're getting now isn't the rate you'll get always.
Plus - in the future there'll be absolutely no point of reference (borrows are gone) so you'll just have Page Reads.

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2015, 12:52:50 AM »
Not being in KU, I can stand back a bit and frown at the graphs I'm seeing without worry. One thing I think I would be upset about if I were in KU, and that's the way I wouldn't be able to tell if ALL of my page reads are of one book. I mean, how are you guys going to figure out that series x or book x needs some promo love? Is there a way to do that yet?

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2015, 01:12:53 AM »
Not being in KU, I can stand back a bit and frown at the graphs I'm seeing without worry. One thing I think I would be upset about if I were in KU, and that's the way I wouldn't be able to tell if ALL of my page reads are of one book. I mean, how are you guys going to figure out that series x or book x needs some promo love? Is there a way to do that yet?
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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2015, 01:18:15 AM »
The MTD breaks down individual book pages read.

Thank goodness for that. So not a graph, but real pages per book per month? A little bit of spreadsheet math, and you guys can make your own graphs to figure out books borrowed then?

Offline ufwriter

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Re: Why I'm going wide after my first few days of KU2
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2015, 01:20:32 AM »
Not being in KU, I can stand back a bit and frown at the graphs I'm seeing without worry. One thing I think I would be upset about if I were in KU, and that's the way I wouldn't be able to tell if ALL of my page reads are of one book. I mean, how are you guys going to figure out that series x or book x needs some promo love? Is there a way to do that yet?

The dropdown to view the graph by title and marketplace works for the KENP pages read as well.