Yee Haw!! And decisions, decisions….

All About Romance posted a Desert Isle Keeper review for Without Words today, and there have been some very complimentary comments in their forum threads, some I suspect by followers here, although I can’t always tell when you use different screen names :-). The book has had a super launch, with nice review averages on Amazon and Goodreads and great reviews on other blog sites too, such as Romantic Historical Reviews. The Maldivian Book Reviewer’s glowing review had me blushing.

Once again, thanks all, for the purchases and borrows, for the reviews, for the word of mouth recommendations.

Now as to that decisions thing…. Amazon’s new Kindle Unlimited program has changed the indie landscape in the last months. I put Rachel’s Eyes into the program early on just because I had never published it through major distributors other than Amazon, and it was easy to do as an experiment. (To be in the KU program, a book has to be exclusive to Amazon.) To my surprise, that four-year-old, too-short short story started selling better than it has since it was new and in addition has had as many borrows as sales ever since it’s been in KU.

That made me go hmm, but what made me put Without Words in KU was my own reaction to the program as a reader. I’ve been trying all sorts of books I never would have tried if it meant searching out and buying some unknown indie author. Yes, I always downloaded samples and read them before trying a new author, but I found samples often fooled me in that a book would fall apart long after that first 10%. Downloading the whole book and either continuing to read or zapping it without consequence seems so superior.

The big negative of the KU program, at least in my opinion, is that the book has to be exclusive to Amazon, making it more difficult for non-Kindle readers. I hate cutting off anyone with a Nook or Kobo, but I really have very few non-Amazon sales and the problem seems to be less every day with Kindle apps for every device under the sun floating around. The really determined could download the Kindle version and convert to epub for their Nook or Kobo, but I realize that’s the techie solution.

The pluses to the KU program as I see them are: (a) Rachels’ Eyes was revitalized by KU; (b) Words has had the best first two months of any of my books since Sing My Name considering sales alone, and it has had as many borrows as sales; (c) as a reader, KU is making me more adventuresome in trying books by other indies.

So I have pulled Sing My Name from distribution to sellers other than Amazon and am going to try it in the KU program and see what happens. Depending on what happens with Sing, I’m going to think about each of the other older books one by one and try to make reasonable decisions for each.

~ Ellen

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6 Responses to Yee Haw!! And decisions, decisions….

  1. Anonymous says:

    Keep up the beautiful writing Ellen. Your books are always an autobuy for me.

  2. Barbara Wadman says:

    If this means exposing more readers to your great books perhaps this is what you should do. My only request to you is to please keep writing. I wait eagerly for a new publication from you as, to me, the books you write are simply beautiful. I like the way you build the story so it feels as though I really know the people. The romance is lovely, not merely sexual positions. In your books people really care about one another. So much better. I am already waiting for the next book even though Words was a recent buy. The short sequel to Sing My Name was wonderful. I felt it really gave a good ending to the story. Maybe that should be in KU.

  3. McD says:

    I’d be very interested to see any differences in sales/loans with Sing My Name…please keep up informed, Ellen.

  4. Thanks, ladies. Barbara, I’m glad you reminded me about the Afterword to Sing My Name. After some thought, I’m simply including it in the book when submitting it for KU. I also updated the cover a little and fixed a couple of typos I found.

    McD, needless to say, I’m pretty curious myself, although it’s really hard to decide what’s what. There are some pretty passionate arguments pro and con on the indie author forums. It’s probably one more thing each of us has to decide for herself. Books aren’t widgets. What works for one author doesn’t for another, and even what works for one book doesn’t work for another.

    Some are absolutely sure that borrows will cannibalize sales, and since borrows pay much less than sales, they are violently against the program. Others think it may give their books increased visibility to new readers. All I’m sure of so far is that as a reader it makes me more willing to experiment and try new authors, and so far for my own couple of entries, I don’t believe borrows are taking away from sales. They seem to be in addition to.

    A couple of months isn’t long enough to really draw conclusions, and you can bet Amazon will modify the program as time passes. For starters, right now they pay the same for a borrow of a short story like Rachel’s Eyes and for a really long novel like Sing (so long as the borrower reads at least 10%, which means only a couple of pages for the short story, but a couple of chapters for the long novel). Already people are putting up short stuff with no redeeming features just in hopes of fooling enough people to make a few bucks. If I were Amazon, that’s the first thing I’d fix.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

    ~ Ellen

  5. Gypsy says:

    I just read the beautiful review of Without Words in the AAR December newsletter. Congratulations!!! It is heartwarming to see the romance world acknowledge your contributions. It made me happy to know many more readers will now enjoy your work. I am happy for them and delighted for you.

  6. Emily says:

    I love Kindle Unlimited, it really is a great way to find new authors. Though I would by your books without reading it first anyways.

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