Amazon just announced that the payout for Kindle Unlimited rentals (KU’s) is only $1.33 each for October. This compares to $1.52 for September, $1.54 for August and $1.81 for July, the month the program started.
As a result of this drastic drop in payout, I’ve received a number of emails from authors I know about whether staying in Select and KU is worth it at this point. The following is an email I sent to my friend George Hudson, author of Sol Shall Rise. It pretty much lays out my thinking on KU and Amazon as a whole at this time.
“Yeah, George, KU is a problem right now, but it’s larger than that. Overall, Amazon is underperforming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room and we need to always be on it. But looking at a combination of much lower payouts for KU, along with the declining number of rentals/borrows, I don’t see the harm right now in pursuing other venues to sell our books.
Currently (as of the 14th) I’ve had 325 KU/KOLL’s worth $432.25 in revenue…based on $1.33 per, and if the current trend in payouts continues, this number may drop, too. So the question becomes can I get more than $432.25 in sales from Smashwords, Apple, B&N and Kobo in a fourteen day period? (To be honest, I never have, and I have been on the others sites twice before but couldn’t find any traction there. But that was then and this is now.)
But with Amazon’s overall sales decline, I think it might be wise to try the other outlets again, and this time give it enough time to take hold. A lot of people in my writer’s group are reporting declining sales on Amazon, yet not so much on the other sites. In fact, some are reporting even a slight increase in sales, especially at Apple. So the falloff at the other sites is non-existent, while Amazon’s is prominent and in your face.
Just looking at my own numbers, this has been the reality of KU:
July (12 days of the program) = 1,029 KU’s at $1.81 each, worth $1,862.49
August = 3,539 KU’s at $1.54 worth, $6,450.06 (including $1,000 bonus for being #94 on the KU All-Star list)
September = 2,585 KU’s at $1.52, worth $3,939.20
October = 1,341 KU’s at $1.33, worth $1,783.53
November = projected 696 KU’s at an estimated $1.33, worth $925.68 (will probably be lower than $1.33)
So from a full month maximum of $6,450.06 all the way down to $925.68 in just 4.5 months is pretty drastic. This tells me Amazon is not getting a lot of new members to sign up, and most of their existing members have already rented my books.
But even with the drop off in KU revenue, this wouldn’t be so bad as a supplement to normal Amazon sales. Yet with the overall drop in normal sales as well, this is where the concern comes in. On the whole it may not be a bad idea to start building a presence on the other sites. Dropping out of Select right now would affect me to the tune of about $1,000 per month (unfortunately, probably less if the payouts keep dropping). So my goal would be to make up that loss of revenue by diversifying my distribution.
I’m in Select until the end of December and through January for most of my books, so I will have the benefit of the holiday sales to see what happens before having to make a final decision. And even then, once out of Select you can always opt-in immediately, and then only for 90-days at a time. However, it’s such a hassle adding your inventory to the other sites and then having to pull it if you’re jumping in and out of Select. And you can never establish a presence on the other sites by doing it this way.
If Amazon’s overall regular sales weren’t declining, I wouldn’t even be considering this move, but there’s something going on at Amazon that ‘s changing the dynamic. I’ll tough it out through the holidays and let you know how it goes.”
This story is somewhat different from my Human Chronicles books, yet also very similar, if that makes any sense? It’s still a space opera adventure dealing with Human interaction with alien civilizations and empires. Yet this story revolves around the activities of a hot-shot real estate broker working on the planet Sylox, the capital of the Galactic Union. Of course, Jason is much more than just a money-grubbing opportunist. He’s also a former Army Ranger with a set of deadly skills which come in handy in the second part of the book.
Essentially The Enclaves of Sylox is a mystery, however, it’s more of a ‘who’s behind it’ rather than a ‘who dun it’ type of mystery. There’s layer upon layer of conspiracy involving a quasi-religious artifact, whose theft is about to trigger a galactic war. The Earth has also become ensnared in this conspiracy, placing her squarely in the sights of two vindictive alien species bent on our destruction. Now all Jason King has to do is recover the artifact, capture the thief, prevent a galaxy-wide war from starting and save the Earth from annihilation. And do all this between his real estate closings. Oh, and there’s also a super-hot woman right in the thick of things, too, just to make it interesting. Plus chases through star systems, and shoot-outs, and fist-fights — you know, all the normal stuff I like to put in my books.
The other noticeable feature about this new book is the humor. A lot of my readers really enjoy the street-wise, genuinely-Human type of humor throughout The Human Chronicles books. In The Enclaves of Sylox, I took off the restraints. It’s much more prevalent in this new book/series, yet it’s observational humor, not slapstick. After all, Humans do have a funny way of looking at aliens, and we’re not afraid to express our opinions. But let’s face it, most aliens are basically pretty goofy. Right?
Just remember, my loyal readers: This is NOT another Adam Cain book. That’s actually coming in December! This is a Jason King book. And although you will find some subtle — as well as not so subtle — references and tie-ins to my other series, this one is a story unto itself. After all, how many space opera heroes have you seen who are real estate brokers? I’d hazard a guess that Jason King is the first.
The Enclaves of Sylox on Amazon.com … now available!
And also remember: I write fun and light sci-fi adventures. I’m not trying to provide any major social commentary or predict a dire future for mankind as a result of the poor decisions we’ve made in the past. In fact, I’m a pretty big fan of Humanity. That’s why in my books it’s the Humans who out in the galaxy kicking-ass and taking names, and not some obscure mold spore enslaving the entire race. After all, let’s get real. We ARE bad-asses!
A Galaxy to Conquer is done and available for purchase on Amazon.com.
This is the exciting final book in The Human Chronicles Saga and involves a massive climax bringing all the major forces in the galaxy together for one decisive battle. And as always, Adam Cain and a team are right in the thick of things, affecting the outcome and influencing the course of galactic politics and power for generations to come.
I want to stress to all my fans that although this will end the sequential part of the series, I do intend to produce one or two books per year with more adventures of Adam Cain and the super-humans. He is such an integral part of my life by now that I can’t go for very long without looking in to see what he’s up to.
In addition, I’ll be producing another series of adventures right after this one and will be letting you in on a little sneak peek when the time is right. But for now, be looking for A Galaxy to Conquer, the final book in The Human Chronicles Saga
T.R. (Tom) Harris is the author The Human Chronicles Saga series of books, an exciting tale of space adventure which was one of the bestselling science fiction series on Amazon in 2012.
Broken into two parts, Part One of the series consists of five books: The Fringe Worlds, Alien Assassin, The War of Pawns, The Tactics of Revenge and The Legend of Earth.
Part Two has begun with Cain’s Crusaders.
The second book of Part Two, The Apex Predator, is scheduled to be released in the winter of 2013.
What sets The Human Chronicles apart from other science fiction books on the market is the unique aspect of the storyline — namely that HUMANS are the Supermen in the galaxy.
As the hero of the series — ex-Navy SEAL Adam Cain — ventures further into the galaxy and jumps from one adventure to the next, he finds that he’s stronger, faster and more coordinated than just about every alien he encounters. And the fact that he’s been abducted from Earth has put Adam in a very bad mood. Now imagine Superman with a bad attitude, and you have some idea what Adam Cain can do to an unsuspecting universe. As the tagline for the series goes … Adam Cain is an Alien with an Attitude … and throughout his adventures, he makes the aliens pay for putting him in such a bad mood.
Definitely not for the faint-at-heart or the squeamish, The Human Chronicles Saga is a gritty look at the tougher side of Humanity. We are the dominate killers on our own planet — and out in space we’re just as deadly. Political correctness has no place in The Human Chronicles – even though a down-to-earth sense of humor does. This series will have you laughing and fist-pumping all the way through — and often crying out, “I can’t believe he just did that!”
Check out the entire series. It’s definitely a different take on the whole Aliens vs Humans theme. GO HUMANS!