Turning the leaf on an old year and embracing the new is a pretty good time to make changes in one’s life – the symbolism alone is worth exploiting. Thus, a few things are in the process of changing at Sanddiver Books, the imprint for all of my works. Since July 2015, the ebook versions of my novels have all been sold exclusively via Amazon, so that I could take advantage of the program that places them on the electronic shelves of Kindle Unlimited (KU). Unfortunately, in the last six months or so, many authors, including me, have become less than enchanted with Amazon’s management of author royalties under KU. It used to make financial sense to give Amazon exclusive rights to sell my books. Now, not so much.
As a result, No Honor in Death (Siobhan Dunmoore Book 1) is no longer available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited, though it remains available for purchase on Amazon. However, it is now also available for purchase at over a dozen more retailers, including iTunes, Kobo, Blio, Barnes & Noble to name the larger players and a few subscription services such as Scribd. This will allow my books to reach a much broader audience, especially in my own country, where Kobo has a larger market share than Amazon. The other two Dunmoore novels will follow suit as their enrollment period in KU expires, one in mid-January and the other in late-February. For now, I don’t intend to take the Decker’s War books out of KU since, for some reason, they seem to have suffered less from Amazon’s follies and foibles, but that may change if Amazon continues to tinker with KU to my financial detriment, while publicly denying that there is an issue.
Although the first three Dunmoore novels will have left Kindle Unlimited by the time the fourth installment is published later this year, I intend to enroll Victory’s Bright Dawn in KU for the first 90 days after its publication. That way, Dunmoore fans won’t be unduly inconvenienced by Amazon’s handling of the author issues with the program. After that initial period however, it will join its predecessors on the shelves of other retailers, since I don’t intend to give Amazon a longer-term exclusive right to sell it.
Mind you, all of the above may change by 2018 if Amazon improves conditions for authors willing to hand it exclusive rights in exchange for being allowed to participate in KU, but based on its behavior in the second half of 2016, including the denial that it has made any changes, I’m not holding my breath. Amazon has shifted the rules of the KU game to the detriment of authors, without bothering to warn, let alone inform us, and so I have taken steps to reduce my dependence on Amazon by declining to keep at least one of my series in KU.
In the week since No Honor in Death has been available for purchase through more retailers, it has sold over a dozen copies outside the Amazon ecosystem without any advertising on my part, thus introducing new readers to Siobhan Dunmoore and her loyal crew. We’ll see how much more of an audience Siobhan finds once the rest of her adventures meet the wide, wide world beyond Amazon, but it’s an encouraging start.
Another change for 2017 will see the paperback versions of all of my novels available through book retailers other than Amazon, since only ebooks are covered by the Kindle Unlimited exclusivity requirements.
And now, with the annual Christmas scuba diving trip behind us, it’s time to finish the first draft of A Splash of Blood before plunging headlong into Victory’s Bright Dawn.