To Kindle Unlimited or Not?
This interview appeared in the RARE18 London booklet distributed to attendees. I want to share with everyone. Please enjoy! xx Melanie
What happens when a Welshbird, an Aussie, a Canuck, and an ‘Merican walk into a bar? You have the UN of Romance Summit. I asked my friends, Eli Carter, Beth Cranford and Mae Wood to join me at Pig & Barley for drinks and dish on what is happening in the book world. Conversation was about our catalogs and found something we had in common – Kindle Unlimited.
Whether or not you’re familiar, the general consensus is you love it or you hate it. Since I’m new to KU, I decide to ask their thoughts on this alternative.
Melanie: So ladies, I’m new to the KU subscription. After hitting NYT with The Contract, some readers were surprised when I would mention my back catalog with my last release. I needed to try and reach more people. How do you promote back catalog to new readers was the question that needed a fresh answer. After discussing with my PA, we decided to give KU a 90 day period a try. I’m happy to say I’m on my second 90-day rotation.
So, Beth, you are the newest debut here. Why did you decide to go straight to KU from the start?
Beth: With the sheer number of new romance authors publishing constantly, it’s getting harder and harder to be seen by readers. It’s something I encountered as a blogger—authors trying to find an audience in a saturated market—and as I use KU both as a reader and as a blogger to find new authors, it seemed the natural place to start. After all, people are more likely to take a chance when they’re not potentially spending their hard-earned money on a book that doesn’t work for them.
Mae: Kindle Unlimited is a great way for people to try out new authors and books. Readers get to be a kid in a candy store and I love having my books among the thousands that readers can explore.
Melanie: Eli, you didn’t start out on KU. You offered Nineteen free to read to start your Love By Numbers series, but then moved to KU. What prompted your move?
Eli: I’m always looking for new ways to introduce readers to my books. KU seemed a great way to reach those who use this subscription service exclusively, and my books rotate through this and on other platforms. It’s great value for money for voracious book lovers, and I like being able to offer readers a chance to read my work who otherwise may not be able to afford to do so.
Melanie: Overall, I’m pleased with the response of Kindle Unlimited readers. I was really surprised by which book has done the best. It Started With A Kiss is my ‘sweeter’ book; referred to as ‘cavity inducing’ in comparison to The Contract. However, it’s been an overwhelming success on KU. Tripling the other books in pages read every month. Do you have a title that seems to have taken off with KU readers more than another?
Beth: Not particularly. I only have three books—two full length and a novella—out at the moment and they tend to get the same amount of interest, though my second book, A Little Bit Crazy, has seen a bump in the past week or so, since I offered my first book, The Brightest Star free.
Eli: Yes, The Bachelors was a huge hit with KU readers, although I’ve found that the Love by Numbers series has done equally well across the board. It seems KU readers do love romance!
Mae: Kindle Unlimited readers are awesome. They were among the first to take a chance on my stories. My sweet and steamy silver fox romance, This Time Is Different, has found a solid following through KU. And for those who like that story, Kindle Unlimited makes it easy for them to keep reading in the universe I created.
Melanie: Hey Bert! Can you bring us another round, eh? Let’s see its A Good Man Found for Mae, Margarita for Beth, Porn Star Martini for Eli and I’ll have you fill to the brim my wine glass.
*whispers loudly* That is one fine man. I can see why he wouldn’t leave your head Mae.
Mae: Single dad bartender with a heart of gold and the body of a competitive swimmer? Oh, hell. He never really leaves my head. In fact, my Facebook reader group started a DILF post thread in his honor. And that’s another reason I love Kindle Unlimited. It easily allows readers to recommend the gems they’ve uncovered with friends because other than the subscription price, there isn’t much to lose in giving a KU book a try.
Beth: What is your response when people say they hate KU, that it’s ruining the market for other platforms?
Eli: If it’s not for you, that’s cool. I don’t like bacon, but you don’t see me boycotting it 😉
Mae: Huh. I hadn’t heard that. I e-read exclusively through Kindle myself, so I don’t know much about other platforms. I do know that Kindle Unlimited has been great for helping build and expand my readership and I’m looking forward to seeing how it grows.
Melanie: To be honest, I haven’t paid enough attention. It seemed so foreign to me. Like all things technology. It wasn’t until my PA started pestering me *side eyes* that I even considered trying it. It’s been a positive result in finding new readers everywhere. It’s like a virtual library. You read it and give it back. Some people prefer to keep the books and buy them. Both have their positives.
Wait. You don’t like bacon, Eli? I’m not sure we can be friends anymore.
Beth: That’s fair -about KU; not sure about the bacon thing . . .- think as a blogger, I might see more than just one side of an issue—if that makes sense? So, your PA brought it to your attention, but I’ve seen it discussed in blogger groups, readers groups—all manner of places. And it’s hard not to go on the defensive, because you’re spot on—the results in finding new readers are positive. I always try to explain that I understand some people have misgivings about KU, be it the fact it shuts out readers on other platforms or how the system can be ‘swerved’ by less-than-honest authors, but that, for me, it’s a good step. Or stepping stone, at the very least.
Melanie: We all seem positive with the response to KU. Here’s the big question – Will your upcoming books be added to KU?
Eli: Yes, if not initially, I expect they will rotate into the program at some point. I like to give my readers on all platforms the chance to read. Call me an equal opportunity author.
Beth: Yes, for the time being. I’m not saying I will never go wide—in fact, it is something I would like to do someday, but until I have established myself a little more, I think KU is the best place for my books, and my best chance at finding new readers.
Mae: I cannot imagine a situation where my upcoming books wouldn’t at least be added to Kindle Unlimited at some point.
Eli: *raises brow* and Melanie, are you?
Melanie: I’m in a wait and see mode. I’ve got my first interconnected series *takes a huge gulp of wine* and that is nerve wracking alone. I’m very happy with the status of my independent titles on KU. I’ll see the reception of Bentley then go make a decision before Aiden releases.
Melanie: Okay ladies, let’s head down to The Avenue. Beth has told me all about the owner there and she sounds like a hoot! I read on TMZ that fine looking Brit actor Jake Fox hangs out there when in the states. Let’s go ogle.
Karen: *grumbling* I’ll take care of the tab and meet you at The Avenue.