Kindle; New Royalty Rules for 'Select Programs'
There are always changes taking place in the publishing industry, sometimes seen as beneficial to the author, sometimes not. There is usually more than one concern or variable taken into account before a procedure or practice is altered. Unless one has inside knowledge of how those variables are weighted and calculated there is little one can say but “how does that affect me as an author?” The example I am alluding to is the Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL) new policy for royalty payments to authors with ebooks enrolled in the above programs. Until now, the royalty calculation was based upon number of books having been read by the readership within the two programs mentioned above. So what variable changed?
The thinking goes, using the book count for assessing popularity could be skewed towards books that readers began reading but never finished. Ergo, the author didn't hold the reader's attention. Thus, begins a new formula for royalty share, based upon the page count of any author by the readers as a whole. Page count is now the standard for royalty payments through these two Kindle programs. Speaking as an independent author, I find this change refreshing, as well as a better system for rewarding authors who's writing is judged by readers. I believe it is also a very subtle application of a readership review of any author's writing ability to fill in, possibly replacing the peer review or editorial review expected in the publishing industry. An issue that has yet to be fully addressed.
For authors, however, there remains the condition of being seen by the reading public, a portion of which make up the readership of the Kindle programs that offer pretty much free access to the books from the list of participating authors. That entails marketing expenses or personal ingenuity, as well as internet and social media skills. I am also becoming aware of new ebook publishing services for authors, the internet replication of traditional brick and mortar publishing houses. The ebook publisher takes charge of getting your book formatted and listed in ebook channels, perhaps does the marketing and pays royalty to the author from sales. This model is recognizable because it is the same principle as traditional publishing, done digitally; POD publishing. It was but a matter of time before this niche was to be filled, and in my thinking, a good addition to publishing options for authors. As always, know exactly what the contractual relationship is, who holds the rights to the work, royalty calculations and amounts and other very important points of contractual relationships that authors find themselves in when dealing with a publisher.
There are always trade offs between traditional publishing, either brick and mortar or cyber publishers, and independent publishing. Anyone having attempted publishing their work is surely wide awake after the first book. As are those that have gallantly worked the traditional publishers to have their book even read. The choice is simple. Work the publishers and accept the contractual conditions for publishing your book, or become your own industry and take on those tasks yourself and control the entire process, receive the larger return. Old story, new twists and new opportunities.