Saturday, December 26, 2015

Readers aren't Trained Monkeys AND future plans for this circus!

Kindle Unlimited, how sexy you look in that gaudy red topcoat. So now, Mr. Ringmaster, shall we dance?

*Note: I apologize to the monkeys.

Now, before the defenders freak out, I want to make one thing clear. I have NO ISSUE with the authors that choose to go exclusive with Amazon. The Kindle Unlimited program has some appeal, more so with the increased exposure. Some authors literally HAVE to go all in just to keep their morgage paid.

And I'm not just saying that. 

If you're interested, there's an interesting post by co-founder of Smashwords, Mark Coker, about his predictions for 2016.

There's a lot of interesting information in there, but more for authors than for readers.

What stuck with me that may interest readers--because it interested me AS a reader--is this:

"Amazon is training Kindle customers to view even 99 cent ebooks as too expensive when other books can be read for what feels like free. Amazon’s success with Kindle Unlimited, which now offers over 1 million books almost exclusively supplied by indie authors is going to gut the market for single copy sales at Amazon. It'll be death by a thousand small cuts."

This is frightening for authors, but I'm not sure what's worse. The idea that the monopoly will be won simply because authors are struggling not to drown in an ever changing market and Amazon seems to hold all the life-rafts, or that many authors will simply give up.

Why should that bother anyone? Well, the shift in the novel world that began with the surge of indies brought all of us some of our favorite new authors. Many of those voices will be lost.

They are being told the work they do has no real value.

But not by the readers. Not yet.

Granted, there's the odd reader that will approach an author and ask why their books aren't cheaper. When the next special will be. When their books will be in KU so they can be accessed for free with the subscription. I've heard this from MANY authors. I've experienced it myself. It's not fun.

However, for the most part, passionate readers are willing to pay for the books they want to read. Some, like me, will buy those books for kobo, and kindle (I had the first version of kobo and it drove me insane!) and then buy the same book in print. The very idea of not having these books to read again and again? Nope. Not even going there.

My precious....

Now, to be clear, I have a few books in Kindle Unlimited because it's a smart business move. These books were gathering dust in their little corners, so I offered them up like sacrificial lambs, all dramatic and all, choking back my sobs as I laid them on the alter...

They were like toys no one was playing with. So I put them in a daycare and now they're getting some love. 

And, while they're being played with, maybe some readers will see that I've got other toys. Toys they want to play with.

Maybe it's not a great analogy. I don't know. What I do know is I have some material available for KU subscribers, but I won't have all my books there. I have a book that's been free for a very long time. All little tastes that I hope will connect me with those who might enjoy my books.

The very things I look for when I'm shopping around for books.

Amazon has made it harder to find authors that aren't exclusively with them, but I still believe readers who love great books will find them.

I don't have KU and I'm not interested in getting it, but what I do know about it is this. No matter how many books it has, it's missing some of my favorites. And it won't have some of the future books I'm eagerly anticipating.

And it won't have all of mine.

My new series, Winter's Wrath, won't be on special. I'm hoping to release at least two books in the series this year. I'll be releasing the next Cobras book. At full price. The last Deadly Captive book? Also at the price I think it's worth.

No more, no less.

I've paid almost 10$ for ebooks from authors I absolutely adore. Most who are with pubs and have no control over the price. I used to buy hardcover books I needed to have the day they released because OMG, I had been waiting a year and a few more months for the paperback? HELL NO!!!

As a reader, I'm a bit of a nut. A proud nut, but I get that not all readers can, or will, spend that kind of money.

Indie authors have helped make books more affordable, but there's a push in the direction of devaluing the stories they've put so much work into, and many are digging in their heels. As they should.

One day, they might invent a robot that can write books. And they might write interesting stories that people will buy. Which will be another hit on authors, but to me, it's no different than the indie model which means anyone can publish a book.

I've seen books that are clearly out there with little effort, written because someone believed they could make a quick buck. A sample will make that obvious real fast.

And I've fallen in love with books that I stumbled over by catching a Facebook post with a teaser, or a catchy line on twitter. But most often from other readers who spread the word.

Readers have ALWAYS had the power when it comes to sharing the passion for reading. They can't be trained to lose that passion.

Connecting might be harder, but we'll keep finding ways to spread the word. One of the things I hope to do is have more guest posts here. I already share recommendations in my newsletter, and I will continue to do so.

I also welcome my readers to let me know about books they can't stop thinking about! I want to read those books and I want to join you in telling everyone about them!

We don't need a publisher, or a vender, to give us a platform.

We will build our own.

1 comment:

  1. I know I'm the exception to the rule because the shear volume of books I read (about 50 books a month), I have KU and will buy books pretty much regardless of the cost from an author I love to read. I have KU because buying about 50 books a month is BEYOND expensive, but I enjoy it for the variety it gives me and the money it saves me. I always have a warning though for friends who ask me about KU - it's not worth it unless you read a ton of books in a month. It's worth the money to buy books from authors you enjoy, and to buy books you will want to read. It you read one book a month, isn't your enjoyment worth $10? People spend more than that on a movie, why not on a book?