“Strength in Numbers” OUT of Kindle Unlimited…rest to follow soon!

Yeah, I’m done. I think it’ll be sometime in June before ALL my titles are out, but, given that I’m no longer relying on book income for the majority of my $, I’m feeling good about my Last Farewell to this program. It’s about all the Kindlefuckery that’s happened so far, but, more than that, it’s about what comes next… Which is to say, who the hell knows, but It Won’t Be Good.

Let’s see. So far we’ve had a Gold Strike with KU 1.0, which in February 2015 netted me $20k in one month @$1.50 or so a borrow and convinced me to quit my job.

Ahh, but…scammers took advantage of this, ruining it for everyone, because under KU 1.0, a 10% completion rate = 100% payment. So, the market was flooded with 10 page books, so when you opened it, Amazon instantly gave that “author” $1.50 for the 10% read. That then gradually sucked money out of the pot and drove down the $ per borrow the rest of us got.

So…the problem with that system was…Amazon’s shitty metrics, system design, and achingly slow response time to scams and games.

So, to fix it, came KU 2.0 in June, with two weeks’ notice. Legit authors had no time to adjust or prepare for the sudden collapse of their income. Now the fixed pot would be split up over “pages read.” Authors like Hugh Howey declared a “golden age” for good writers, because it meant good books would be fully read and real authors would be compensated.

WRONG. Instead what it means was…you guessed it! Scammers created 10,000 page “books” with links to contests or TOCs at the end, so that suddenly their .005 or so payment-per-page meant… a royalty of $50 per “borrow.” And the rest of us saw our pay-per-page mysteriously plummet, until some of the scammers proudly revealed their $60,000 a month royalties on these bullshit titles. Hey presto, nobody noticed that a 600 million pages read jump in January that accounted for $2.5 million of the pot might have been, you know, a Great Train Robbery.

And…the problem with that system was…Amazon’s shitty metrics, system design, and achingly slow response time to scams and games. Amazon simply didn’t know how many pages were read; it just counted the “last page read” and that = total pages read.

And all the financial and manpower resources in the KDP program? They were all delegated to making sure no dick or titty ends up on an ebook cover, rather than using it to see when a 10,000 page book was a crock of shit.

What’s Amazon done so far to fix it? Limit books to “only” 3000 pages (a mere $15 per borrow for MM Paranormal Romances well padded with South Beach Diet shit). Leave it to readers and writers to call out scam books. That’s it.

So. The problem isn’t even scammers…it’s Amazon. It’s their inability to design and maintain a compensation system that isn’t gameable, their slow internal response to the problem, oddly matched with their abrupt and sudden announcements that your World Is Turned Upside Down again with no notice.

We all know Amazon’s not shitty at programming. They’re shitty at designing systems that accommodate for and can be adjusted for human factors on the fly. Like ripoff artists.

So, all I can think is that, whatever they do next, the great creative minds of Scamistan will find the hole in that, too. Because clearly their minds are more creative (and clearly better compensated). And Amazon needs six months of PowerPoints and Key Players CC’d and Committee Reports before it can change anything.

And so…that’s it. Kindle Unlimited is now a Harvard Business Review case study in corporate failure.

And I can’t stand the stress. I can’t stand committing all my books for 90 days at a time to a program that can and does change with 1 days’ notice, as it did last November for international compensation.

It’s not worth it, literally and figuratively.

So, get ’em while they can, KU readers, before they are gone forever.

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