Some readers ask why Patricia McLinn books are not in Kindle Unlimited – here are my reasons:
Amazon requires exclusivity — what that means to readers.
In order to make my books available in the Kindle Unlimited umbrella, I would have to take them away from every reader who reads through or shops on iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, GooglePlay, Tolina, and a whole lot of other places around the world.
I’m not going to do that to those loyal readers.
Amazon requires exclusivity — what that means to me.
I am inherently against giving any vendor enduring exclusive rights to my books. I’m not going to let any entity have control of my works and livelihood.
I wrote these books. I built this business. I’m holding on to control.
More specifically, Amazon has displayed increasing unreliability technically and in customer support when the technical goes kerflooey. My books have not been available for sale when they should be, have been the wrong prices, have not displayed reviews correctly … and that’s just in the past six weeks.
Each of those issues has been bad for the readers. They have also cost me income, gobs of time that should have gone to writing, and a whole lot of frustration in trying to get them fixed.
And with each mess (if I counted correctly, it’s up to 10 in 2018), I back away even farther from the tiniest possibility that I would ever trust my books to Amazon exclusively.
There are a few big-name authors Amazon does not require exclusivity of, but I’m not one of them. ?
The Kindle Unlimited ecosystem is not supportive of how I write.
For a number of technical reasons, Amazon in general and KU in particular reward publishing a whole lot of books extremely quickly. Some people can still write good books in those circumstances. I’m not one of them.
I’m not the slowest writer around, but I’m not producing a new 45,000-word book every three weeks, either. Most of my books are longer than that (many significantly longer), they tend to twist and turn, and they take me longer. C’est la vie.
The Kindle Unlimited ecosystem spawns spam scum.
I’ve written before about the Kindle Unlimited scammers hurting readers. There are certainly legitimate authors and books in KU, though from my observation, the percentage is dropping rapidly. But the legit authors/books are like a drop of bleach in a bucket of filthy water — if you submerge a cloth in that bucket don’t expect it to come out clean.
I just don’t want to be in that world. Don’t want my books there, don’t want to rub shoulders with those people stuffing, scamming, and otherwise proliferating contamination, don’t want to be associated with the whole sorry mess.
Blame my mom for the oft-repeated “You’re known by the company you keep.”
The Kindle Unlimited system of payment is rotten for authors.
Authors are compensated by “page reads.” Not only is this easily manipulated by scum (see above), but authors don’t know until after the end of a month how much Amazon has decided to pay per page read. It’s always a fraction of a penny, but how small a fraction? No knowing until Amazon announces it after the month’s over.
If I were willing to be utterly powerless over my career and income, as well as having the proceeds of my books support a business’s infrastructure, I’d have stayed in traditional publishing.
Amazon changes the rules of KU without warning and unilaterally.
Before Kindle Unlimited started in July 2014, Amazon representatives asked me many times to put books into their “Select” program. I declined. They kept asking. Finally, feeling it wasn’t fair to criticize something when I hadn’t experienced it, I agreed to put my two lowest-selling books in for the six months then required.
Ten days after I did that, Amazon announced KU and put all books in Select into that system. I had no warning, no recourse, no choice.
The representative who had persuaded me to join Select was quite clear he had known this was coming, but had not told me. However, he said he would halve the have-to-stay-in period. I said don’t bother, because ~I~ don’t renege on agreements. Those books came out of KU the first day they could under the agreement.
(One Patricia McLinn title has been in KU since that time because it was required as part of the Kindle Worlds program. That book is going to be re-worked and re-issued – outside of Kindle Unlimited.)
Recently, Amazon has taken to arbitrarily cutting authors’ page reads – simply not paying them for the number of recorded page reads – by saying there is “suspicious” behavior. These legit authors can trace their increases in page reads to specific legitimate promotions.
Yet at the same time Amazon can’t – or won’t — curb rampant abuses of scammers. In fact, Amazon/KU rewards those scammers with monthly bonuses in the tens of thousands of dollars. (See No. 4 — The Kindle Unlimited Ecosystem spawns spam scum. — again, because even as I write this it gives me such an ewwww feeling I want to take another shower.)
Amazon favors KU books.
I know, I know, that’s usually the argument for putting books into Kindle Unlimitd, because KU books are heavily favored by Amazon’s algorithms determining “bestseller lists” (why I put that in quotes) and popularity lists and searches. Have you noticed these days that if you do a search in Kindle books you get a lot of what-the-heck-does-that-have-to-do-with-what-I-asked-for results? Run down that list of non-responsive results and see how many of them are Kindle Unlimited. Uh-huh.
So, yes, I’m fighting The Man by not being in Kindle Unlimited. Such is my nature <wg>.
This favoring of KU books in a far less than aboveboard and transparent manner irks the heck out of me and I won’t participate. So there. (Tongue stuck out. LOL.)
KU is a subscription service.
I’m not a fan of subscription services, either as a consumer or an author. As a consumer it’s possibly a vagary of my independent approach that I will pay for what I want and don’t want to pay for what I don’t want.
As an author, it’s the result of watching musicians being paid such tiny amounts for their songs (sound similar to the fractions of a cent per page read in KU?) that they must go out on the road to give concerts to make a living.
There is no comparable way for authors to make a living. Would you pay top dollar for tickets to listen to authors read their works? I ddin’t think so, But even if you would, I can’t think of much worse than doing that to make my living.
Kalli Requires Treats.
Some of the readers who ask about Kindle Unlimited say they can’t afford to pay for my individual books. I’m sure that’s true for some.
The unfortunate fact is that each of us needs to have income in order to supply our needs, much less wants. For me that comes down to needing to sell my books in order to buy dog food, vet visits, aging-pooch meds, and treats. Lots and lots of treats.
To keep writing I need to earn a living from my writing and to make choices I believe are most likely to let me continue making a living.
Bottom line: I believe Kindle Unlimited does not offer secure support for Kalli’s ongoing need for treats.
For those readers who cannot afford to buy my books individually, even at their less-than-a-latte price, I do offer discounts sporadically (be sure to sign up for my newsletter for word about these.)
I also offer boxed sets that are discounted below buying the books individually.
And I support all of us using libraries. Ask your library to get my books. Most libraries appreciate recommendations. Just supply the titles you’re interested in from my printable booklist. If your library requires an ISBN, you can find that on the book page for most retailers, or email assistant@PatriciaMcLinn.com
P.S. Amazon and Pre-Orders
Books that I offer on pre-order, are offered at all the retailers eventually. But they are usually up at Amazon last. That’s because of the differences in rules between Amazon and the other retailers.
All the other retailers are flexible about pre-order dates. Allowing them to be adjusted according to the realities of life.
Amazon is not. Once an author sets a pre-order date, if the book is late, the author goes into “pre-order jail” for a full year.
When I had to have endometrial surgery a couple years ago I was grateful that I had not yet put my next book up on pre-order with Amazon. I was able to change the date on iBooks and Kobo with ease and without being punished for it.
Even moving a pre-order date up is not readily done on Amazon. I tried that once and apparently nearly brought the entire Amazon system to a standstill. <wg>
All the other stores also allow authors to schedule a pre-order a year ahead. Amazon is 90 days. There is a way to go longer at Amazon, but it requires giving up information and control, neither of which I’m willing to skip. Traditionally published authors and some others reportedly can have longer pre-orders without those drawbacks.
I have my fingers crossed for the Cold Open pre-order coming in August, because Amazon requires a “dummy file” be uploaded to start the pre-order. A swath of authors have recently reported that even though they uploaded the complete and correct file in good time, Amazon has shipped out the dummy file to the readers. Oy!
I can confirm your report that the Zon doesn’t always replace the dummy file in s timely manner. I have bought one. The author was disappointed at the number of fb comments expressing surprise at the uncharacteristically poor editing – usually you’d struggle to find one typo – and was then mortified to discover that the book, a set of four short stories from four authors, was released with the dummy file for her portion.
Apologies ensued, a fix was eventually made, (albeit grudgingly it seems) but the big river never sent me an advice of an update.
Her readers have indicated that they’d be happy to purchase elsewhere, if she chooses to swap retailers.
I buy there because it’s convenient, but am happy to shop elsewhere if a writer elects to use a more customer-friendly retailer.
Sigh. Sorry you have the experience to confirm that, Jenni. It just shouldn’t be that hard. Right?
None of my books are in KU, either, for all the reasons you’ve stated so well. As authors, we have to be flexible in our writing and our marketing. Our books have to be available to everyone, worldwide. Limiting ourselves to one bookseller makes no $en$e. Besides, I have a dog AND a cat, so double those treat bills!
Flexible — absolutely, Fran. And room to maneuver. … Oy, double the treats!
I have absolutely no interest in joining KU even though I love reading my Kindle. I purchase books when I can and since I seldom leave my home, I seldom go to the library. I have won giveaways from GoodReads and belong to a book group that sends books every month. Plus, I have friends who either know I love to read or share my love of reading and we exchange books. My house overflows with books but a lot of those are signed by the authors and I won’t trade those for anything! So thank you, Amazon, I’ll buy when I can but KU? NO WAY!!!
I had two authors whose books I used to buy from Kobo go over to KU, so I would not purchase any more of their books on principle as I absolutely do not do Amazon for ebooks. Interestingly, one of those has suddenly reappeared on Kobo so perhaps KU wasn’t as successful for them as they thought it would be?
I agree with all your points. I started out with Kobo and have remained loyal to them, to the point that I happily pay the $10 annual fee to be a super member, which earns me extra points with each purchase and usually a discount on each book. I’m also suspicious of subscription services and prefer to choose what I pay for. If I want a book I can’t immediately afford, I put it on my wishlist. Otherwise, I pay for what I want. I applaud your decision to stay out of KU!
There are only a handful of authors, like yourself, who will put books on other sites for those of us who will not deal with Amazon, and we really appreciate it. I’ve had a bad experience with Amazon and will never get merchandise or books from them again. I get books from Kobo and thank you so much for using that site so I and many others can enjoy your books.
I agree that Amazon has become (maybe always was) a tyrant. I get a lot of freebie books because I don’t have a lot of “book cash” on hand and I love reading. One thing each author asks for is a review of their book and I gladly give each book I read and honest one, when I can. I have gotten notices that since I don’t spend an unspecified amount of money at Amazon, I cannot use their site to give a review! Can you believe that? What has one to do with the other? I am seriously considering not ever using Amazon for anything ever again. I don’t like dictators in government nor in my private life (i.e. reading) for any reason. I’m doing some research on the other sites you mentioned. There are a lot of sites out there that give freebies for people like me, older and on a small fixed income. Thank you for listening.
I’ve stopped using Amazon for books; their policy of “no reviews unless you spend an unspecified amount or at least purchase KU” makes it impossible to offer a review on their exclusive sales sites. I never read a freebie without offering a review. Reading Kobo, Nook, and Adobe editions works for me and those formats often have freebies or very inexpensive volumes available. My last purchase was less than one dollar to preorder a 23-novel collection of first-in-series books. Authors contributing to collections such as that absolutely deserve honest reviews, especially when they are independent authors.