Nimble! Agile! Total Quality Excellence in Challenging Challenges! Here’s the Biz Plan going forward…

OK so I’ve run the numbers on all my titles, and made the decision on which stories stay in Select and which do not.  Fortunately, I went “all in” on most stories on January 1 or so, which means my 90 day renewal on most of them is…July 2, just as Amazon’s new reimbursement program starts!  Huzzah for the shopkeeper, as he’s just in time to take some things off the shelf before they rot on it.

So you’ll need to blow this up but here it is, and I’ll run through my thinking below.

Strategery

So these are all my titles, plus Adam Vance’s only story so far.  I start with the page count Amazon’s giving me now for each title.  I subtract 16 pages for “back matter,” the links to all other titles, to get a firm number of “readable” pages.

From there, I’m using a number that My Guru gave me as a reliable bottom PPP (which I hereby copyright and TM Colbert-style), or Payment Per Page.  This x Readable Pages = the amount (or close enough for forecasting) I can expect to get for a fully-read title if I keep it in Kindle Unlimited/Select.

As my benchmark, I’ve pretty much used the current borrow rate, $1.33 , as the threshold.  If a title is coming out below that, especially way below that, it’s “red” and no longer practical to keep it in Select.  The Kyle stories are my “short shorts,” and you can see the market crashing on those, @ .20 a copy.  Even pricing them at .99 in other stores, I’m still going to see .35 a copy, or nearly 2x as much.

At around .30/.40, the Sam stories are at parity with what I’d make on other sites pricing them at .99.  And even though “Sam and Derek: The Whole Story” is above the threshold, it has to go out.  Because of KU regulations, I can’t list the individual titles elsewhere and keep the bundle in KU.  (Same story for the Kyle bundle.) I can make $2.10 on the bundles at other sites, but only if all the Sams and Kyles are out of KU.  The Colum stories are also at parity with what I’d get at Google Play, AllRomanceEbooks, Nook, etc.

But the *only point* of Select for these stories was that I was making enough in borrowbux to justify excluding them from other sites.  Not any longer.  Parity is actually a loss if I do that.

The green dates are the dates that the stories “age out” of Select, and I’ve unclicked auto-renew on all of those.  The aging is weird on the Kyles, Kyle VI was auto renewed on May 25, so the Kyles aren’t fully out of the system until the end of August.  Which means Amazon’s Witchfinder General can punch me in the wallet if I try and repub the bundle before then.  Fuck!

I’ve left all the novels in Select, even the “novellas” like “A Little Too Broken” and Adam’s “Scarcity.”  They’re taking a hit for sure, but I’m going to wait with crossed fingers on those, to see if the newbux are worth keeping shorter titles in the program.  It makes sense for “Scarcity” to stay regardless, because of Amazon’s massive SF audience in KU.  Adam is a long term investment, so in he stays.

The last columns are my reminders to repost at Draft2Digital (for Nook, Kobo etc…no point in even thinking about the bluenoses at Apple ever taking anything of mine ever, they blocked “A Little Too Broken” for FSM’s sake), Google Play and AllRomanceEbooks.  ARE is the least of my priorities – new books sell big for a month or so, but backlist does shit there.  Google Play is good for $100 a month or so, not great but nothing worth leaving on the table.

The bitch of leaving Amazon-exclusive is back matter management.  When I have a new book out, I need to (or should, I don’t do them all TBH) update all the back matter in each of my 27 titles with fresh links.  Now…multiply those 27 titles by three more channels, each with its unique sets of links.  Fuck fuckity fuck!  Until I’m Emperor of Everything and have a minion, I just can’t deal with that now, so I’m going to leave my back matter “flat,” i.e. no hyperlinks, when I repost.

So!  There’s my busy schedule for July and onward.  All of which sucks away precious writing time and energy, but poverty also sucks away PWTAE because it could lead to reincarceration in a veal pen in Cubiclestan and that would be no don’t even think it.

This is pretty much the death knell of my short works.  I’m going to wrap up Colum’s adventures with one more story and close it out, then bundle it.  Rob and Sol?  Kaput unless the Werewolves turn me into a popular paranormal author and they get new life.

Given the amount of time and energy it takes for me to create *anything,* since I’m the idiot who has to actually research Vikings before writing a Viking story, instead of just saying “he’s a Viking trust me on that now here’s some sex,” well, there’s no longer any point in researching, plotting and executing *anything* that’s less than 50k words.

4 Comments on Nimble! Agile! Total Quality Excellence in Challenging Challenges! Here’s the Biz Plan going forward…

  1. Just WOW! Thanks Brad for being so transparent. It’s incredibly helpful to all of us trying to navigate this new Amazon change. I only have one book but am about to publish the next 2 in the series within weeks. I had been planning to go wide anyway, but I’m more convinced than ever to do that. I just unclicked autorenew on Select for my current title. I’m not clear until August 11. With just one book, and certain algo changes, I’m no longer doing well. I have hope that with other titles in the series and rebranding, my position might improve. At around 100K for that title, I might do okay remaining in Select. For me, it’s the principle of the matter. Yes, Amazon does need to do something to clean up the scammers who are ripping off readers and have been getting paid well to do it. But, in my opinion, the blowback of this change for authors who write excellent but short books is too damaging for me to hold with. I care about the health of the market.

    Some critics complain about the exclusivity aspect of Select. That was not much of a problem for me. There can be great advantages for exclusivity. My issue was the introduction of KU.There’s a lot of carnage and waste at a buffet. A lot of empty calories in proportion to the good stuff served by the establishment. A lot of mindless gorging by the patrons. I refuse to support that model. I do my best to tell the best story I can, and I want the end consumer being the one to choose my book off the menu and pay a fair price for it. If I write a compelling story and do my job of thoughtful marketing, that will happen. Then I’ll get paid at a predictable royalty rate that I can live with.

    While I’d love to be able to quit the day job, I’m in this for the long haul. Yes, I’m grateful to Amazon for opening up the self-publishing landscape in the first place. No, I don’t like some of the recent changes. Authors, yes, you’ll have to tell better stories, grab your readers early, and never let go of their nuts. You better do the same with your book description. With the recent changes to the layout of the product page on the .com site, you have only 5 lines in your description before a prospective reader has to click the dreaded blue Read More drop-down link. Now you have to wow them to convince them to even read your blurb.

    Regards,
    Leya

    • My pleasure! It’s going to be August 15 before we can stop guesstimating, but pulling out of KU isn’t permanent…if it looks good again for the stuff I’m pulling,I can put it back in, if not I did the right thing by redistribution to other sites…

  2. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrg. if you are moving titles, please consider KoBo. I use them a lot. Which means I can buy them again, if I have them already. win win

    • HAHAHAHA KOBO HATES ME. They hate erotica. When there was an article in some UK tabloid a year or so ago about “e-filth in our digital bookstores!!!” Kobo FREAKED and delisted EVERY erotica title, only gradually relisting some of them…
      They suck.

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