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Kindle Unlimited I’m Sorry For All The Bad Things I’ve Said

by | Oct 24, 2018 | General, Writing Craft, Writing Exercise, Writing This Novel | 8 comments

By Larry Archer

While I’ve understood the appeal of Kindle Unlimited (KU), up until now I’ve rejected it for a couple of reasons. First is narrow versus wide. With KU, you cannot publish your story anywhere but at Amazon. I think you can do print versions, but most of that stays with Amazon.

Going wide, you can publish at all the other sites such as SmashWords, Apple, Kobo, B&N, and others, in addition to Amazon. Another drawback to wide is that you can’t publish in ePub or other formats that are native to Windows, Mac, most tablets and phones.

Certainly, nowadays there are apps which allow you to read Kindle books on other types of devices besides a Kindle. But to me, it is aggravating that Amazon restricts you in an effort to keep you corralled into the Kindle World.

Publishing on Amazon and allowing your smut to be in the Kindle Unlimited section, allows people who cough up $10 a month to read all they can stomach. For an avid reader like myself, I like KU except the nonconformist side resents being told I can’t publish a story anywhere except on Amazon.

Amazon pays about one-half cent per page for every page someone reads of your masterpiece. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but when there are millions of people out there, it adds up.

I decided what the hell, I’ll try it again and published my latest story, House Party, both narrow and in Kindle Unlimited. This 85,000-word novel is my biggest yet, and I have to admit that I was a little hesitant about committing for the next 90-days before I could go wide.

I was floored when in the three weeks since release it has sold 31 copies, and almost 18,000 page reads, which translates into 74 complete story reads of the 243-page novel. This one story in three weeks has earned basically one and a half times my normal Amazon income for a typical month!

That’s all the bragging I’m going to do, and I apologize for it but what I’m trying to say is consider using Kindle Unlimited to see if it helps your book sales.

Normally I don’t pay a lot of attention to my Amazon sales as I’m too lazy to read all the reports but using Book Report (GetBookReport.com) makes it so easy to see your best selling stories and how much money you are making. Book Report also breaks out your sales per day, week, month, etc. so it’s a lot easier to see if you’re doing any good.

I’d had always read that Amazon has a 30-day cliff and will start throwing your story under the bus in a month. Since I’ve been using Book Report since May or June, I’ve confirmed to myself that is true.

If you release a story, it will bump your author’s rank for about a month, then you’ll see your rank start to fall. Publish a new book, and it’ll immediately jump up for another month.

So, the old saying “Publish or Perish,” is definitely a truism with Amazon. This does not seem to be true with SmashWords. From what I can see, SmashWords only goes by best sells or most popular, without considering age.

I have two books in SmashWords Men’s Erotica Best Sellers that are in the top 60, and one of the stories was published in 2014 and is ranked higher than a story published this year.

While certainly, you can argue that one story is better than the other, but the bottom line is that a story published four years ago is ranked about the same as a story published in the last few months.

This tells me that when you publish at SmashWords, your story doesn’t get forgotten in a month and continues to be ranked on its merits, without being penalized for age.

Up until recently, I’ve always made more money at SmashWords than I have with Amazon but the last couple of months have been just the opposite.

The thing I really like at SmashWords is that they automatically push out to Apple and others such as Kobo and B&N. My sales through SmashWords are typically split four ways between SmashWords, Apple, Kobo, and B&N.

Sales and marketing are the things I hate to do. I’d druther pound away at my keyboard than try to figure out how to market a story but I’m becoming convinced that I need to pay attention to things like sales figures, advertising, etc.

I’m not naive enough to think I’ll ever quit my day job and write smut but I am covering expenses and being able to buy a nice laptop every year or two.

That’s all for this month folks. Go out and VOTE on November 8th. Until next month, if it’s the 24th, it’s time for smut from the dirty mind of Larry Archer. LarryArcher.blog

About the Author Larry Archer

Larry Archer is an author of explicit erotica stories, primarily stroke material but with a plot (I'd like to think). I write about swingers, girl-on-girl, cuckold/Hotwife couples, strip clubs, some BDSM, and everything bareback in a light-hearted humorous style. I've been writing smut for a little over five years and think I have a decent aptitude for it. Wifey and I are in "The Lifestyle" and use our adventures as a basis for a lot of the stories I have written. My motto is "Erotica from the dirty mind of Larry Archer," which pretty much says it all. I enjoy writing dirty smut stories, which are full of people doing things to each other that are probably against the law somewhere. My audience also includes a lot of women, which has always surprised me as I consider my porn more for guys. But it seems that a lot of women like stories about consensual no strings attached (NSA) sex, which are always HEA. My erotica is basically written in a realistic escapism style, which allows you to fantasize about scenes, which most people will never experience. While somewhat extreme at times, the storyline is never so far-fetched that you can't imagine it actually happening, especially with people we know. A lot of my stories revolve around a swinger couple, who owns a strip club in Vegas and sound suspiciously like us! While the choice to write ourselves into our stories, was probably a poor decision at the time, I initially started out writing about our life experiences and our alter egos, Foxy and Larry, took on a life of their own. I typically write Novellas or stories in the 20 to 60,000-word category. My writing style is like that of Stephen King, where I turn the characters lose between my ears and just write down what they do, as the story plays out in my mind. I'm just a scribe who stands in the background and copies everything down that the perverts say and do while trying not to get anything splashed on my keyboard. Probably different from a lot of writers, I do not have an English or Literature background. My training is in engineering and computer programming, which if you know engineers you realize that we struggle with proper English. But I'd like to think that my stories are reasonably well put together and readable. I've published 20 stories to date, which have all been typically 4-5 star rated. I self-publish and do all my own covers, so I'm a one-stop shop, with nobody to blame but myself. I publish on Amazon, SmashWords, Excessica, Apple, B&N, Kobo, Excitica, as well as a number of others. Visit me at LarryArcher.blog to contact me or learn more about my stories here LarryArcher.blog/stories.

8 Comments

  1. I’ve always had the same attitude toward KU as you describe. Unfortunately, there may be costs to being contrarian….

    I just hate to reward Amazon for its sleazy treatment of indie authors.

    Anyway, I’m glad your latest is doing so well!

  2. While on one side I can understand why Amazon prioritizes newer content over the older material, it still pisses me off that you have a limited time frame to stake your claim. SmashWords will allow you to search for Newest as well as Highest Ranked.

  3. Hi Larry. Good insights and an interesting point of view from a wide self publisher. I’m the opposite – just the one wide and all the rest with KU. The thing about KU is that each download counts the same as a sale for ranking, so enrolling new releases gives you that all-important ratings boost that pushes you up the search results and leads to more cash sales.

    The tricky bit comes when you want to go wide because those KU downloads are still trickling in and giving you that bit extra visibility. For some books it might be the difference between an ongoing stream of sales and becoming essentially invisible. Dropping out means you lose not only the KU revenue, but also a portion of your sales, and you have to weigh that up against potential gains from other channels. Not an easy choice since you may be signing your book’s death warrant for Amazon.

    • Belinda,

      Exactly and up until now, I’ve gone primarily wide as I hate to miss out on SmashWords, Apple, and Nook. Almost half of my SmashWords sales are from Apple. My only potential solution is to write more and put every other book in KU. Up until the last few months my Amazon sales have been about half of SmashWords but that has now flipped and last month my Amazon sales doubled my SmashWords sales. I don’t know if Zon is telling me to stay narrow but my author’s rank has been under 1000 since my last story came out almost a month ago. My new Range Rover is getting closer and closer. LOL

  4. Well, I’m back to being mad at Amazon! They just ranked one of my most popular stories, Nina the Fallen Ballerina, as Adult for some reason? The story has been out for almost a year and is now “Adult!” I try to be careful and not cross the line with them but WTF?

    They did this a while back with “Seduced by the Dark Side” which had a cover image that I loved. The girl was wearing a wife beater t-shirt tied up under her boobs and didn’t show anything except a hint of nipple through the t-shirt. It had been selling as Safe for a long time and then suddenly was ranked Adult. I had to change the cover to get the ranking back and the new image (similar) is not nearly as appealing.

    • I looked at that book. Hard to say why. The cover looks okay. The title’s fine. It can only be the blurb.

      You know, it MIGHT be the drug simile in the blurb. Otherwise, maybe just couch the blurb in even vaguer terms.

      • “Drug Similie” I guess I never thought about it that way. What’s weird is that the story has been on sale for almost a year. I updated the tag words is all I did. Thanks for the heads up and I’ll go back and rewrite the blurb.

      • I’m going to have to pull out all the hatpins I’d stuck in my Amazon doll as they saw the error of their ways and restored my masterpiece to its rightful place among the other smut on Kindle.

        I’ve got two others in the dungeon and I’ve tried multiple times to get them a pardon but to no avail.

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