Kindle Unlimited by Barbara Winkes

First of all, thanks to Jove Belle for inviting me to do this series of blogs. A while ago, I wrote about my learning curve as a self-published author, and I’m going to go into some more detail on a few subjects. Hopefully, this will be equally as interesting for you. I believe that you have to try out different things to know what truly works for you.

We’ll be taking a closer look at Kindle Unlimited, social media marketing, and staying on track for both the artistic and the business

You have probably heard good and bad things about Kindle Unlimited, and flat fee services in general. Some authors love it (I’m in that category), others won’t touch it. Most negative feedback comes from the fact that if a reader downloads your book and reads every page, you’ll make less than on a sale. The way KU will influence your bottom line depends on a number of factors.

I have shorter and medium-sized stories that sell at $3.99-$5.99, $0.99 for the short ones, and all of them are in Kindle Unlimited. In the beginning, the royalties from lending made up about half of the final check, now it’s about two thirds. Voracious readers can save a lot of money that way—and they might give you a try even when you just released your first book, and your name is not familiar to them.

However, if you’re already established, and constantly selling at a higher price anyway, the gap between what you make in KU, and with a sale, might not be worth it. I understand that.

And, of course, you have to remember that for the time that you are in the program (at least 90 days), you cannot sell wide. If you already have established a readership at different retailers, it might be another point against Unlimited.

Some authors like to leave at least one book (like the first in a series) in wide distribution.

In the end, you have to look at certain factors:

  • What is the best price for my ebook, and what do I make with a sale or in KU (for the latter, you can only know after you’ve tried it. When the pay-per-page-read started, it was about $0.0056, lately it’s been between $0.0046 and $0.0043 per page. Your account shows you the number of pages read in each country, and altogether. I usually use $0.004 as reference point for estimations.
  • Where do I find my audience? That is generally a good thing to know, but there are Facebook groups for KU readers specifically. In lesfic groups, it’s worth mentioning that your books can be borrowed, because many readers are looking for a wide range of genres, and they read a lot.
  • Where do I stand on flat fees in general? Every once in a while, the dream and the reality of publishing will differ quite a bit. I guess you expected that. When I first had more royalties from lending than from sales, I admit I had mixed feelings. After all, these readers didn’t necessarily want to own the book! I’ve come to think that what matters most, isn’t the format—I want to tell stories, and fortunately, there are still readers who want to read them. Whenever I tend to feel nostalgic for what I thought publishing would be, I remind myself of what is better for the bottom line (and still enables me to do what I love).

This is my experience with Kindle Unlimited. Please feel free to share your thoughts and ask any questions. Next time, I’ll tell you about my approach to social media marketing.

OScoverBarbara Winkes writes suspense and romance with lesbian characters at the center. She has always loved stories in which women persevere and lift each other up. Expect high drama and happy endings.

Discover a variety of genres, serial and standalone. Women loving women always take the lead.

Learn more about Barbara online at her website.

Coming September 8, 2017: The Exodus Strategy



  1. I stayed loyal to Amazon for a couple of years. The Kindle Unlimited (KU) program rocked for me…and then it didn’t. If you’re not constantly turning out new stuff and not constantly advertising what you have hoping to pick up new KU readers, you hit a saturation point beyond which your numbers go down. Going wide improves things dramatically but it takes time and patience. You have to pull books out of KU, post them to the other sites and promote them at least a little. Results trickle in but, after about 6 months, I was making everything I used to make with KU and more.

    If you rely on KU to make ends meet, going wide may not be for you. If not, the better long term play is always going to be to appeal to the widest possible audience.


    • I think every situation is different, and this is why each of us has to figure out what works for them, short term, and in the long run. My books were wide when I was still with my publisher, and I promoted the link to their site as well as the others. The results were sobering compared to Amazon (and those books were wide for a few years). I wouldn’t completely rule it out in the future, but at the moment, yes, I do rely on that KU chunk. But like I said, this is just my experience.


  2. I’ve dabbled with Kindle Unlimited, but I’ve mainly kept my books out of it because of the exclusivity requirement. I have readers on other platforms. Also, the compensation for page reads has been trending down.

    The exclusivity requirement is the deal-breaker for me, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am watching the trend as well (and there are always helpful folks in the Kindle Community who do the math each month). What I found a bit more concerning is the different way pages are calculated with 3.0. which caught me slightly off guard while I was on vacation on the other side of the Atlantic, with only sporadic internet access. At some point I might have to look into going wide again, but for me, it’s definitely not now, not yet.


  3. I keep reading about Kindle Unlimited to try to figure out exactly what I’m going to do about it, and frankly… I still have no idea. Maybe I’ll put a book or two in there for the exclusivity period, see what happens. Can’t hurt, right?


    • That’s how I started out–I had heard mixed things, but wanted to give it a try. Back in those days, Amazon still paid per download, not per page read, but even 2.0 worked okay for me. 3.0…I will have to wait for a bit to see the results.

      Liked by 1 person

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