The other day I discussed what Hugh Howey thought of the new Kindle Unlimited. Here’s a similar post from J.A. Konrath. Konrath reports that his Kindle Unlimited earnings went from $5,700 in June to $11,600 in July, while his Kindle digital sales went from $9,300 to $10,550.
Konrath discusses his conclusions at some length. He kicks himself for not “[writing] 100 short stories and [making] a fortune” under the old Kindle Unlimited system. But he is happy that under the new system, writers get paid the same amount per word whether they write a short story or a novel—whereas when he was writing for paid markets, he got 7 cents per word for shorts and 50 cents per word for novels. He’s also glad that Amazon is now rewarding writers for writing well enough to pull people all the way through the story, rather than just enough to hook them for 10%.
His feeling is that under the new system, short story reads will go down, as many of the old-style short stories weren’t really meant to be read all the way through—just to hit 10% and scoop your royalty.
I also believe a lot of readers didn’t know they were borrowing a short story in the first place. A good cover, and a good blurb, made them download it without knowing the length. Why should they care about length when everything is all inclusive? Readers borrowing a lot of your shorts doesn’t prove that readers prefer shorts. But if I’m wrong, and readers truly do prefer shorts over novels, then they’ll be downloading more shorts than novels, and novel-length works shouldn’t effect your bottom line much. After all, a novel may have more pages, but your readers will be downloading more shorts than novels to make up for that because they can read them quicker.
Konrath sees the new KU rules as effectively Amazon incentivizing authors to do better with a carrot, rather than a stick. Writers are going to have to improve themselves under the new system, because they can’t coast by on 10%.
I have to admit, trying to bang out a few short stories is starting to look pretty tempting.