Taking my Writing Wide (Or, Bye Amazon Kindle Unlimited)

Amazon is Capricious.

There’s been a lot of hubbub in the indie author community of late, almost all of it related to Amazon’s treatment of authors. Namely; Review stripping, Kindle Unlimited page reads stripping, account suspensions, and more. All with no recourse for those affected. Any email from Amazon will likely include horrible news, with zero you can do to challenge the outcome. Of course, it’s their right to do as they choose, and really they care about the “customer”, not the supplier.

Stripped of page reads because of bots? Too bad for you.

Half your reviews removed? That’s too bad.

Amazon loves bots and machine learning, except their systems, suck. They can’t identify accounts using bots, only the results of bot usage, so they punish those people. They can’t spot fake reviews, so they just take a machete to reviews, figuring they’ll cut out the fake and if there are some legit ones in the mix, who cares?

There’s movement within the community to try to get Amazon to listen. I’m hoping they succeed and back their efforts fully. I think Amazon could do a lot to be a better partner to those it uses to make money. Sadly (and not something I didn’t know going in) Amazon cares first about customers, then about Amazon. That’s it. Suppliers, which is what writers are, are there to serve the machine. Don’t like, it, they’ll find others.

And I get that, as a customer, I appreciate it. However there has to be a middle ground, and at least at the moment, Amazon doesn’t seem interested in finding it.

So Until then.

Until then, I’m taking my writing and trying my luck going ‘wide’ as they say. Space Rogues won’t be out of Kindle Unlimited until June 2nd, so until then, it’s available for pre-order on Google Play, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. Space Rogues 2 will also be available on those platforms, and is also right now, available for pre-order. Space Rogues 2 will be available a week after Space Rogues.

 

I’m kind of excited about going wide. The main reason for staying exclusive to Amazon was Kindle Unlimited which was more than 3/4 of my usual monthly income. Except when it wasn’t. I’d noticed over the last two months my page reads were lower and lower, including a few days last week where my reads were sub 50 pages. Sales and Page Reads have plummeted. Of course, I have no idea why, and Amazon certainly isn’t going to explain. I could hope things change, or I can take my fate into my own hands.

Until now I’ve resisted going wide because of the income potential from KU. It’s the common experience that it takes time (if it ever happens) for wide sales to replace Kindle Unlimited income. Now, however, I’m less convinced of that. Besides the downward trend, I’m seeing with Space Rogues, the general behavior of Amazon towards indies has become troubling. It hasn’t (that I know of) impacted me, but that seems more random chance than anything else.

My original intent was to stay with Amazon, exclusivity and all until I had a few books out. Build an audience and a readership before setting off on my own (If I ever did) I like Amazon, for the most part, I subscribe to Kindle Unlimited despite my dislike of its payment structure. I buy a ton of things from Amazon. But I’ve hit a point where I just don’t know how much value there is.

 

 

So, That said, if you’re not a Kindle user and have been wanting to read the Space Rogues series, you can go pre-order each book right now. I’d certainly love it if you did and if you shared the word :)

By John Wilker

I'm a science fiction writer and conference organizer. In 2017 I published my first book, 'Space Rogues', a fun Sci-Fi adventure with a fun cast of characters. I'm also the co-founder of 360|Conferences, a conference and event logistics consulting company.

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