I have just put several of the Senses Novels back into the Kindle Unlimited program. For those of you that may be new to KU, it is a subscription program on Amazon that allows you to download and read as many books as you want for about $10.00 a month. If you are a voracious reader, that can be a big savings. Even if you only read two books a month, it can save you money over the cost of buying some of the books on Amazon. But, what does it mean for the author?
Amazon is not very kind to the independent author when it comes to what is known as ‘the Select Program,’ i.e., Kindle Unlimited. First, the books that go into the program must be exclusive to Amazon, they cannot be sold anywhere else. Second, the amount that each author receives is based on a pooled amount of money, supposedly from the subscriptions that have been collected for the month. Third, the author isn’t paid for someone downloading the book, they are paid based on the number of pages read and the actual page count is not the same as the what Amazon calls their Kindle Unlimited Edition Normalized Page Count (NPC.)
For example, Synesthesia, the fourth book in the series shows a print length of 321 pages, but NPC shows 531 pages. That is a difference of 210 pages! Finally, authors are not paid in the month that the book is read, they are not paid until 60 days later for that month. They are also not paid if someone just ‘flips’ through the book, there are ‘bots’ that check how long someone spends per page.
So, if you have downloaded any of the Senses Novels from Kindle Unlimited but haven’t read them, I wasn’t paid for them. You actually have to go through them page-by-page, spending a few seconds on each page for the system to agree that, yes, this person is reading the book and these pages count.
For those of you who may be curious, the average amount that the authors in the Select program have been being paid is between $.003 and $.005 per page depending on the size of the fund. If we use an average amount, that means that for a 220-page book, if all of the pages are read, the author would get $0.88.
Trying to make a living strictly as an author is much harder than most people believe.