Since Amazon now bases KU payouts on page reads, shorter books are not so much the way to go unless you make the adjust many savvy short-book-writing authors have gone. Their books are still short, but they are combining those books into sets. I like this idea, especially since I believe when an author has said all he/she has to say in a story, it's better to end that story than to bog it down with excessive words. Let's talk. Share your thoughts on this.
Amazon’s unleashing of Kindle Unlimited (KU) has some indie authors, whose books are enrolled in KDP Select/KU, thinking that publishing shorter novels might be the only way they’ll earn what their books are worth. There are at least two reasons they’ve come to this conclusion. The first is Amazon’s two-tier payment system. Word has it that while traditionally published authors and certain best-selling indie authors will be paid full-price when subscribers borrow their books, the majority of indie authors will be paid an unknown amount from the KDP Select Global Fund set aside each month by Amazon.
Since the pool has been averaging payouts between $1.80 and $2.00, novels normally selling above $2.00 will experience a loss in revenue. Add to this fact, the requirement that subscribers to Kindle Unlimited Books must read over 10% of a book for an author to be paid anything at all, and it’s easy to see why some indies are considering breaking up their longer books into shorter ones or just writing short novels. Their reasoning: with fewer pages to traverse in order to cover over 10%, there’s an increased chance that subscribers will consume at least that much. In addition, a novel in KU that is divided into three parts, with each part earning a potential $2.00, will hopefully minimize royalty loss.
Whether this is a sound strategy or not, if you plan to experiment with it, there are some important details to keep in mind; the foremost of which is that not all the people you want to read your books are going to be KU subscribers. A second important fact is that most readers—for our purposes, non-KU folks—do not like short novels that those readers feel should just be one large book. So you need to ensure that your efforts to create books that theoretically will give you the upper hand in Kindle Unlimited don’t destroy your relationship with readers who are not subscribers.
I suggest if you’re breaking up your three- or four-hundred page book into three smaller books that you name them accordingly: part one, part two, and part three. At the same time, you’ll want to have a separate e-book containing all three books at a price less costly than buying the individual books. This bundle would not be in Kindle Unlimited, and readers who are not subscribers wouldn’t feel forced to purchase three smaller books to read your complete story. I’ve come across several authors already implementing this strategy.
For the most part, KU subscribers won’t have a reason to care that the book is divided into three parts since they’re not paying for the individual installments. Still, they need to know that the plot is spread out over several books and that they can purchase all three books in a single bundle. Be sure to include that information in the book descriptions and to create a page in the e-books that tells readers that the story has been divided up.
This knowledge is also needed by non-subscribers who, unaware of the bundle, might end up purchasing the three separate books. You might think: Well, that’s great for me. Maybe so, until purchasers learn that they could have bought all three books for the lesser price. And yes, they will blame you for the fact that they didn’t see that bundle advertised under “Frequently bought together” or on your author’s page.
Another point to keep in mind: if Part One has a cliffhanger, then you need to state that right from the beginning: this is a three-part book, and this first part has a cliffhanger. Why do you need to state it? Because some subscribers might download the first part and then not have access to downloading the second book when they are hanging off that cliff with your characters. Needless to say, their ire won’t bode well for positive reviews.
Include comments about cliffhangers and the fact that your story is covered over three small books, both in the description’s section on the book’s page and at the beginning of each e-book. You might not think it’s necessary to put the information in both places, but it is.
I recently came across a book that I was interested in reading. Since I check all the star ratings from 5 to 1, I noticed that readers kept giving the book 1-star reviews and saying the author didn’t let them know that there were creatures of the night in the book. When I read the book description, the first line plainly stated that fact. However, the preview of the kindle book made no mention of it. I can’t say I blame the people for not reading the book description; anymore, you find everything in that designated area except a description of the book! Nevertheless, from this example and no doubt from some of your own personal experience, you can see the importance of keeping readers informed through every opportunity available to you.
Feel free to share your comments below. However, I must ask you to stay on topic. There is much debate about whether or not authors should participate in Kindle Unlimited. However, that debate is not the focus of this article. If you have questions or suggestions relative to what is discussed here or ways to make Kindle Unlimited work better for authors who are participating in it, then please share them.