Author Topic: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?  (Read 866 times)  

Offline TonyP118

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Hi all, this is my first post here, so please be gentle in case I'm posting in the wrong place or make any other faux pas.

My question is in the subject - I can't, for the life of me, figure out why Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Select doesn't make it a priority to give authors more of a platform to serialize their content. It has spawned entire other websites, like Serial Box, which I'm not a very big fan of the work there, but the premise, packaging, and vision make a lot of monetary/story sense given the climate of bingeing television shows. It seems fairly obvious to attempt something similar with Kindle Unlimited's Netflix-like model for readers.

For authors, it would give us the opportunity to push out on a regular schedule and to actually MAKE a schedule that we could post for a particular series right on Amazon. I could be wrong, but I'm fairly certain Amazon frowns upon doing anything other than having pre-orders available, and I'm not even certain you're allowed to link to the pre-order from the sales page of another book even when they're in the same series.

It all just seems like a no-brainer, but it's not really facilitated in any way by Amazon helping the author to create a hub for a particular series. I feel like doing so would allow self-published authors to work more like writers of tv episodes, which is what Serial Box does, and it would keep readers on K.U. more engaged (and paying) from week-to-week/month-to-month. Basically the same strategy television uses that was once used a lot more often in narrative fiction.

For instance if an author were to release something weekly in 8 parts or episodes, each part being roughly 60-90 pages, thus leveraging the KU model by keeping readers engaged and page reads going, is there even a way to let your audience know this is your intention? I know it's not allowed in the product description... what about the Introduction of the first episode? Where do they draw the line with this sort of thing, and is it really only allowed on your personal platform?

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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #1 on: July 07, 2020, 03:35:42 pm »
    Because readers prefer longer works. That's the simple answer.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline IndieEuroAuthor

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #2 on: July 07, 2020, 04:13:58 pm »
    Because readers prefer longer works. That's the simple answer.

    Thanks Amanda for saying this. We have had enough of serials during KU1.

    Offline C. Gold

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #3 on: July 07, 2020, 05:41:48 pm »
    Most serials I've read are terrible. They are short on plot and character development, lack any kind of an ending, and feel like a money grab to those not in KU who would have to buy each installment for 99c. It becomes a complete ripoff when you're talking a 10 episode series to get something that's regular novel sized but costs over $10. I've seen numerous terrible reviews for serials because people feel they are a rip off. Throwing more authors into writing these will make things worse, not better.

    There's no separation between selling a physical product for a discrete price and having it also in KU. So people are always going to give serialized fiction the side eye and think it's too much cost for too little content.

    Are KU subscribers even the right audience for serials? I don't know about other KU subs, but I pay the monthly fee to try and reduce my monthly book costs. Heavy readers, I'm guessing, probably want more substantial content than serials judging from all the ginormous compilations you can borrow. Think of KU subs as Netflix series binge watchers. Netflix knows this which is why they like to release the entire season at once.

    Indies can't do magazine subs probably for the same reason Amazon hasn't pursued serialized fiction in a way that would be cool to consume: quality control would be a nightmare and there's probably low demand (no profit).

    Offline Nick G

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #4 on: July 07, 2020, 05:59:17 pm »
    Most serials I've read are terrible. They are short on plot and character development, lack any kind of an ending, and feel like a money grab to those not in KU who would have to buy each installment for 99c.

    Also at the 35% royalty rate you could be getting nearly the same $3 in that scenario by selling a novel for $3.99, your page reads wouldn't be paid any differently, and your readers would be putting that extra $6 toward other books or in their own pocket instead of Amazon's. More than $3 if you priced at $4.99.

    Offline vagabond.voyager

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #5 on: July 07, 2020, 06:25:14 pm »


    My question is in the subject - I can't, for the life of me, figure out why Kindle Unlimited/Kindle Select doesn't make it a priority to give authors more of a platform to serialize their content.
    Because Amazon exists to make money and they are very experienced regarding what sells and what doesn't. Few people like serials.

    Offline jaxonreed

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #6 on: July 07, 2020, 07:47:15 pm »
    In my opinion, the audience is different for the typical KU reader and the typical serial reader.

    Look at the most successful serials out there, taking The Wandering Inn as a prime example. It's been out about 3 years, with regular chapters added weekly. It's on the author's website and Royal Road: https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/10073/the-wandering-inn

    Millions of people read this ongoing serial for free. If they want early access, they support the author on Patreon. You can make some quick estimations on how much she earns monthly there by looking at her current subscriber count: https://www.patreon.com/user?u=4240617

    A small fraction of her readers support her on Patreon, but she has millions of readers.

    The KU subscriber is a different person, preferring books with a beginning, middle and ending then moving on to the next one. They also tend to stick with KU since they have invested a monthly fee in the format.

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    Offline Clay

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #7 on: July 07, 2020, 09:33:08 pm »
    There are lots of serials in KU. Most serials don't sell well though. The better serials are usually bunched together into larger volumes, since those sell better.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #8 on: July 08, 2020, 12:20:23 am »
    is there even a way to let your audience know this is your intention? I know it's not allowed in the product description... what about the Introduction of the first episode? Where do they draw the line with this sort of thing, and is it really only allowed on your personal platform?
    Yes, put it at the end of the first book and a link to your mailing list to invite them to have notice of future episodes. With serials it is always best, I think, to have more than one book finished before you publish the first.


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    Offline TSDwrites

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #9 on: July 08, 2020, 10:56:54 am »
    Amazon tried Serial Publishing but discontinued it.

    Offline Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #10 on: July 09, 2020, 09:41:19 am »
    A few years ago, I published one of my books a chapter at a time.  It was fun but with the 99c minimum price it gets expensive for any readers not in KU. 

    Now, I publish fairytales a chapter at a time on my website.  Lots of fun to write, free for the readers, and when the stories are finished I publish them.  Even though they're free as I write them, these are some of my best sellers.

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    Offline David VanDyke

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    Re: Why doesn't Kindle Unlimited highlight serialized content more?
    « Reply #11 on: July 10, 2020, 03:27:59 pm »
    Because readers prefer longer works. That's the simple answer.

    Bingo.

    Why don't the new TV content makers of series make 15-minute episodes? Why have they gone to lengthening episodes from the old TV standard of 42 minutes of content for an "hour" episode? Seems like 75 minutes or so has become very common. Because that's what people tend to like and want, it seems.

    Amazon is all about giving customers what they want. It makes no sense to push or highlight a format that has little inherent popularity. If people wanted it, it would naturally become popular, as KDP supports formats of all lengths.

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