Kindle Screwed Self-Help Authors

A quick story:

The big multi-billion dollar corporation, Amazon, has changed the way they pay independent authors who write self-help.

Under the old system, called Kindle Unlimited 1.0, authors who wrote shorter books of twenty to fifty pages were paid around $1.35 per book if it was borrowed in Kindle Unlimited.

Amazon started Kindle Unlimited a few years ago, charging customers $9.99 per month to read as many books as they wanted.

What was good about it?  Many authors were writing very good self-help and how-to books that condensed down the padding many publishers like to see.

Traditional publishers want 300 page books because they’ve conditioned readers into thinking larger content means more worth.

It does not.

But, they get authors to pad books with “this is the story of Jenny and she overcame (blah, blah, blah).  I can do without the padding – in fact, I think it takes away from the book.

When KU 1.0 hit, many authors jumped at the chance to write REAL books that gave good information and were quick reads.

I was one of those authors.

Since the advent of Kindle Unlimited 2.0, authors are now paid one half cent per page.  So, a forty page book will yield me now, not the $2.08 as in KU 1.0, but 20 cents.  That’s hardly worth the time and effort to sit in front of a computer for hours researching and writing.

It’s not just self-help and how-to authors like myself – it’s all indie authors: erotic, romance, thriller, and horror short story writers.

The worst part (assuming this isn’t bad enough)

Many authors were starting to make cash – enough cash to do this full time.  Many authors I have spoken with love writing and helping others through their books.  But, not – it’s just not economically feasible to spend the time publishing when so many books are on the market and you make so little.

There are many ways to read up on how to do something, many ways to get self-help information but Amazon was a go-to source for many readers.

I personally know of several authors who are pulling out.  Some are going wide (distributing with B&N and other outlets) but others are just pulling out of the business, entirely.

It’s a shame and an example of how Amazon has gotten so big that they don’t blink over the fallout and what their actions do to other people – including authors.


About George Fisher

George is a freelance writer, an author and a Democratic political consultant. He has worked as Deputy Communications Director for a Senatorial campaign and Campaign Manager for several NC House races and one congressional race. He previously worked as a news producer for a local television station.
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