Boom! Amazon Shoots The “Easy Money Authors”!

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited

I’ve been writing about Kindle Unlimited since not long after its launch in July 2014. Wow, it’s been almost a year! How time flies! :-)

When Amazon launched the Kindle Unlimited program, they rewarded ALL authors with the same amount per “qualified borrow”.

The only requirement to unlock the money was that your book had to be read past 10%. Of course, short books flooded the market.

Writing a 1,000-page thriller earned you precisely nothing if someone borrowed it and only got to page 50. Even if the reader got past 10%, your payment per borrow was the same as someone who only wrote a 20-page book!

There was a massive amount of anger from people who had written “full length” novels at the time the program was rolled out, and it seems that Amazon has finally listened.

From July 1st, Amazon will now pay each author a percentage of the prize fund based on the total number of pages customers read.

Let’s look at an example, assuming that all the books are read completely, a “qualified borrow” is worth a dollar, the total prize fund is worth $10 million, and there were
100 million total pages read in the month (the example Amazon use in their email and at their website).

[note: this is an illustration only. I’ve used rounded numbers for simplicity and they are not supposed to be accurate. The important point is the relative change in income for the two authors before and after the change is implemented ]

Author A: “Easy Money Author“: Books are 20 pages long.

Before: 500 downloads = 500 qualified borrows.
Payout = $500.

After: 500 downloads = 10,000 pages read.
Payout = (10,000 / 100 million) * $10 million = $1,000

Author B: “Crime Novel Author“: Books are 1,000 pages long.

Before: 500 downloads = 500 qualified borrows.
Payout = $500.

After: 500 downloads, = 500,000 pages read.
Payout = (500,000 / 100 million) * $10 million = $50,000


Instead of both authors being rewarded equally for the 500 downloads, “Crime Novel Author” is now earning 50 TIMES that of “Easy Money Author” due to the difference in book length!

The “Easy Money Author” has doubled their income in this example, but that’s due to the number of total pages read being 100 million. If the number were doubled, to 200 million, both authors would lose half the payout, so the “Easy Money Author” would be back to $500, and the “Crime Novel Author” would be at $25,000 but the important thing is that relatively, the “Crime Novel Author” would still be getting 50 times more for the same downloads!

Can this system still be “gamed”? Perhaps, but not as easily. It won’t be possible to download a 20-page book by an author, “read” it past page 2 to trigger the payout and
move on to the next one.

Of course, some people are unhappy. They say that books can’t be valued by length and that long books can be just as bad as short books. However, this news has generally been very well received as it’s hoped it will put an end to the so-called “scamphlets”, a truncation of “scam” and “pamphlets” and a description of the short books placed on Kindle simply to earn a “qualified borrow”.


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The Traffic Matrix Video Walkthrough

I’ve done a video walkthrough of Rob Cornish’s product, “The Traffic Matrix“. Lots of people want to see a behind-the-scenes video walkthrough before they buy a product, but most affiliate marketers refuse to do them. I’m not sure why. Perhaps, in most cases, the product doesn’t live up to the over-enthusiastic endorsements, and a video walkthrough would give the game away. :-)

Anyway, Rob’s product is top-notch, and he gave me permission to make a walkthrough of what you get when you buy it, so here it is…

Click here for "Traffic Matrix"!


The Traffic Matrix, product walkthrough review

The Traffic Matrix, product walkthrough review

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Kindle Profit Calculator Software

K Profit Calc

K Profit Calc

I’ve created some free software for you. It lets you calculate your potential monthly income as a member of Amazon’s Kindle Digital Publisher program.

As a KDP author, your income from sales depends on the number of books you have available, the price of the books, and the number of sales per month each book makes. In addition, you earn money from borrows based on how many borrows you have, and how much each one is worth.

With my “K Profit Calc” software you can change the different variables and see how it affects your monthly income!

Click here to download the software. It’s a signed installer which you double-click to install the software on a Windows machine. No opt-in required! :-)

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment, or sharing this post!



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Kindle Unlimited Doubles Authors’ Royalties Says Amazon

Kindle Unlimited

Kindle Unlimited

Amazon increased the KDP Select global fund pool for December from the base $3 million to $7.25 million which compares to $6.5 million in November and $5.5 million in October.

The payout per borrow in December was $1.43, up from November’s $1.40 and October’s low of $1.33. Dividing the payout per borrow by the total pool gives a headline number of over 5 million paid borrows in December 2014, up from 4.6 million in November and 4.1 million in October!

Amazon also announced that total royalties paid to KDP Select authors for the five months since Kindle Unlimited was introduced were “more than double” that of the same five months of the previous year.

Unfortunately, we don’t know the overall growth of the Kindle ebook market. Did the market double in size between the five months of 2013 and 2014? If so, we’d expect authors to be earning double without the introduction of Kindle Unlimited. If the market trebled in size, but author’s earnings only doubled, KU would’ve had a sizeable negative effect. We have to know the change in market size to make sense of whether KU had a positive or negative effect.

While it is undoubtedly good news that KDP Select royalties are more than double what they were for the same period in 2013, I’m not sure to what degree the introduction of KU can be credited with the increase. When Amazon says, “we wanted to share some initial results from the first few months of Kindle Unlimited“, they are deliberately trying to associate the introduction of KU with the increase in year-on-year sales, when many other factors may be involved.

Another claim is that, “During the 5 full months since KU launch (August to December 2014), royalties to KDPS authors from a la carte sales have grown faster than a la carte sales on KDP overall or Kindle overall.” One simple way to achieve that would be to give KU titles prominence in the Kindle marketplace. As KU books are available for purchase or borrow, you would expect sales to increase compared to non-KDPS titles if the visibility of KDPS titles were boosted. Does Amazon boost the prominence of KDPS titles? I have no idea.

Regarding the claim, “Total earnings on titles priced $2.99 or greater are growing faster than the overall average. The same is true for titles 150+ pages in length.” I don’t know how to explain this. It seems to flatly contradict the introduction of a flat-rate monthly fee for unlimited titles. A paid borrow nets the author $1.43, whereas a $2.99 sale paying 70% nets the author $2.09 (assuming negligible delivery costs). The only way a $2.99+ title can be making more since the introduction of KU is if the amount of borrows more than compensates for any fall in sales.

Perhaps the number of borrows is compensating for any fall in sales. However, such information contradicts many claims from authors that sales have fallen and the difference has not been made up through KU borrows. In one famous example, HM Ward withdrew her 60 books from KDP Select as a result of her income falling by 75% in the two months after the introduction of KU, as described on the KU Boards forum. Note that the reported revenue fall included “All Star” bonuses for both months for being one of the highest sellers on Kindle!

Are there niche-specific effects of Kindle Unlimited? Perhaps some niches are more likely to have sales cannibalised into borrows and other niches aren’t. Perhaps the niche KM Ward is in suffered more than other niches. Perhaps the introduction of the All Stars program was specifically meant to counter the effect. We don’t know this information.

The final claim is that, “Renewal Rates – Authors have chosen to renew their titles in KDP Select at rates in excess of 95% in each month of 2014.” I would simply use apathy to explain this. You have to actively opt out of KDP Select. As most titles and most authors will be selling very few books they have little incentive to leave. The introduction of the All Stars program shows that Amazon is concerned about the top sellers leaving and is incentivising them to stay in KDP Select.

Overall the news from Amazon seems good, but we really don’t have the full picture. Amazon have said,

“We’ve gotten lots of great feedback in the past weeks and months, including a bunch of ideas on how to further improve the structure of the program and make it work better for authors and readers alike. Like everything we do, we’re looking hard at all your feedback and we expect to keep tweaking and improving the program in the future. “

… which implies that they know everything in the garden isn’t rosy and are looking to make improvements.

What do you think? Was the introduction of KU a good thing or a bad thing for authors? Is Amazon simply using KU as a “loss leader” to get people to buy and use Kindles? After all, there’s an advert every time you turn on your Kindle, and people on Kindle buy and consume content other than ebooks which all helps Amazon’s growth. Are Amazon just reacting to Scribd’s subscription model? Leave a comment below with your thoughts…

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CrowdSearch SEO Review

Crowd Source SEO

Crowd Source SEO

I mentioned CrowdSearch SEO to my email list and they loved it, so I thought I’d do a review here at the blog to describe what CrowdSearch is, what it does and how it can help you rank at the top of Google, get more traffic, leads and make more money.

If you’d like a video explanation, here’s how CrowdSearch introduce themselves and their product… Continue reading

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