I must admit to smiling when hubby pulled together the statistic that 69% of my sales (not income, physical books sold) is from Amazon. But then, I am a child at heart…
Anyway, back to the real world of this post. I've had a couple of really hard weeks thinking on this and have spent a long time discussing with other authors about the effect that Kindle Unlimited is having on sales. I thought I'd get all my thoughts off my chest so I can stop worrying.
First off I would say I am not an expert on this, and I am sure there are people out there much more fluent than I am discussing KU. This is just my thought process and as such it may be quite scary… ROFL
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So, the nitty gritty of it is that 69% of my physical book sales are from Amazon.
The full run down looks something like this:
(physical book sales analysis, Jan – April 2015)
Amazon (all territories) – 68.72%
All Romance – 8.89%
Smashwords Direct – 0.18%
Apple – 4.39%
B&N – 6.23%
Kobo – 3.43%
Oyster – 2.52%
Scribd – 5.65%
So. A couple of things from this data.
- Amazon is my biggest market, with the split mostly being US/UK then Germany
- Amazon US : Amazon UK = the ratio is 4 US Books sold vs 1 UK book sold – so the US market is my biggest Amazon market
- Places like KU where you can borrow etc (Oyster and Scribd) already account for just over 8% of my book sales.
- None of the Amazon sales include any of the four old books I put out on KU, so there is no KU skewing of the data.
I'm following with interest the storm surrounding KU and would note the following:
- At the moment 15 out of the top 20 Gay books at Amazon US are Kindle Unlimited books.
- At the moment 8 out of the top 10 Gay on Amazon US are KU books
** Of course, this changes hourly, but a couple of my author friends have been tracking and this seems to be a pretty sound summing up of the situation over the last couple of months.
How has KU challenged my sales?
- I'm not sure it has yet.
- Max & The Prince went top 5 but the Bodyguard series does well, so I was really happy to see that. It's an established series and people know what to look for when it comes out.
- Summer House went top twenty, but not for long. It's book 1 in a series. It didn't go top ten, but then I never expect my books to go top ten, it's just nice when they pop in there for a few days.
- Retrograde, which is the first in a series of related books went top 40 for a little while.
Why is it important to go top 100 on Amazon?
- Because you get noticed, and you could get sales from people *browsing*.
- Remember, 69% of my sales come from Amazon, ROFL. If I don't get noticed, will the 69% start to fade away?
- What about authors who cuurently get to 40 on Amazon, and who will now be 60, or 70.
- What about authors who currently get into the 100, but now won't at all?
What will happen now?
- Will the top twenty be totally KU thus meaning anyone who doesn't do KU will never get noticed by readers?
- Possibly readers could start to think, I need to check page 2 on Amazon to see where the non KU authors are? Do the readers do this already?
- If you don't get top 100 at all, because of KU, will your book ever get seen?
- What happens when there are so many authors tied to KU that Amazon can drop their percentage on royalties and we'll all have no comeback?
- Will everyone go to KU first which means ultimately I will have no choice but to do the same?
What about publishers?
- KU must play havoc on publishers income as well. Finding a non KU book in the top 20 is as rare as rocking horse shit.
- Will publishers feel they have to go the KU route?
So why don't I put my new books out with KU at the moment?
- You are tied for three months, and in those three months my books wouldn't be available in any other format than Mobi for Kindle.
- Yes, anyone can have a kindle reader on their dedicated Kindle, or have a phone app, or a PC app, but not everyone wants to read via Kindle.
- Did I mention 69% of my sales are Amazon… what about the other 31% of loyal readers? I'm not a new writer, I've been doing this five years or more now and I have a wonderful, and established, reader base and I feel loyalty to them.
- Some of the percentage at ARe etc will be getting Mobi files but refuse to deal with Amazon.
- I learnt my lesson with Silver Publishing about putting all my eggs in one basket. And putting everything onto KU at the moment is certainly all eggs in one basket
- KU is a way of a reader *trying* MM, or *trying* an MM author they hadn't before. I get that, still, see the points above…
- Should I create a new series and put it on KU? Explain to all my readers why I am doing it? Maybe the Billionaires Club?
- My worry is KU will become THE place to sell which leaves Amazon with a stranglehold on the market.
What do you think?
- Would you feel really let down if an author you follow puts a book out on KU?
- Do you refuse to go to Amazon? Or do you prefer Amazon?
- Are you an author? What are you looking to do with this KU issue?