Saturday, 15 August 2015

An Experiment- How to take advantage of the new Amazon KDP Unlimited Program

With the recent changes to Amazon's payout scheme for Kindle Unlimited authors, many are left scratching their heads as to whether the changes help them or hurt them. The answer is, of course: It depends.

Mostly, it depends on the length of your books, as now the amount you get paid from the fund is directly tied to the number of pages read each month through the KDP Unlimited program. Personally, I think this is an extremely POSITIVE change. Why? Because now a longer book that took significantly more effort to write, edit, and publish gets paid more for each reader. A short 40-page novella might grab around $0.23 per read (example calculations shown below), while a 500-page full-length novel could grab $2.90 per read, assuming each reader finishes the entire book. The bottom line is that this is a much more fair system. Previously, most books downloaded through KDP Unlimited were receiving an equal royalty per download (generally between $1.30 and $1.40), as long as the reader made it through at least ten percent of the book. Now everything has CHANGED.

To figure out how to best take advantage of the new KDP Unlimited program, I did an experiment for one of my books:

THE EXPERIMENT:
-I enrolled my longest book, Brew, in KDP Unlimited, as well as the two sequels, Boil and Burn
-Page lengths for each book (note: this is Amazon's Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count or KENPC): Brew- 611; Boil- 518; Burn- 469
-I set the regular price of Brew at $2.99 and the sequels at $4.99
-I did a FREE promotion of Brew on BookBub, which cost a little over $100

THE RESULTS:

SUCCESS!

-Brew had 36,000 free downloads over the five day promotion (not surprising, BookBub is THE BEST place to go to promote your book)
-In the five days of the promotion, pages read of each book in the series through Kindle Unlimited were as follows:
    -Brew- 31,000 (also, every day since it's had MORE than 6,000 pages read)
    -Boil- 28,000
    -Burn- 14,000
-Additionally, I sold HUNDREDS of copies of the sequels at full price ($4.99) during and after the promotion.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IN DOLLARS?
The price you get paid per page read depends on the total fund provided by Amazon for the month, divided by the total number of pages read through the KDP Unlimited program. As an example, we'll use June 2015's per-page royalty, which was about $0.0057.

So in five days I earned the following royalties just from Kindle Unlimited for this particular series:
Brew- 31,000 x .0057 = $177
Boil- 28,000 x .0057 = $160
Burn- 14,000 x .0057 = $80
TOTAL = $417

This was a hugely successful promotion for me, especially considering the after-promo KDP Unlimited numbers have also been fantastic. I definitely plan to do additional similar promotions with my other lengthy series in order to take advantage of the KDP Unlimited program.

MY TAKEAWAYS:
-Long books are GREAT candidates for enrollment in KDP Unlimited
-Series are especially effective, as you give readers the chance to read your entire series for "free", while accumulating a significant number of pages read, for which you get paid royalties
-As always, well-edited quality books will have the most success, as they will keep your readers turning the pages!
-BookBub promotions (and other price promotions) are a great way to draw attention to your KDP Unlimited series. Something really cool that I didn't expect was that many of those that downloaded Brew on the first day of my promotion (when it was FREE), actually downloaded it through KDP Unlimited, which meant I was getting paid rather than just giving away books like I'd usually be doing. How awesome is that?!

LET'S DISCUSS!
I'd love to hear your opinions/experiences, so please comment below. Let's start a discussion! And as always, feel free to send me an e-mail if you have specific questions or just want to bounce some ideas off of me :)

CONSIDERATIONS: this promotional technique seems to work well as of the time of this experiment (August 2015), but of course would need to be reevaluated as the KDP Unlimited program changes, as well as the size of the fund and payout per page.

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