Kindle Unlimited and Serials – An Experiment In Exposure

Ask a handful of authors what they think of Kindle Unlimited and you’ll get a handful of different answers. Some love it, some hate it, most seem somewhat ambivalent about. We’ll never admit that, though .We’re writers, we’re supposed to be cantankerous.

So, for those who are uncertain what Kindle Unlimited is and why it’s important think of KU (as the cool kids call it) as a kind of Spotify for ebooks. Pay a small fee each month and you can read all the books you want. You can only have ten or so on your device at a time, but once you’re done you can get more. If you’re really into reading KU is a great thing. I’m a really slow reader so it makes more sense for me to buy a couple books a month and call it good.

Authors get paid for the people who read their works through KU, but it’s not as much as if someone bought a full copy. The Clock Man, for instance, is $2.99. For each sale I get 70% of the total cost which comes out to about $2.09 per sale. For each page read under KU I get about half a cent, or about $1.59-ish for the 318 page Clock Man. A little less, but at least people are reading it, so it’s all good. Henchmen and Arise, which clock in at 200-ish pages and about 270-ish pages respectively, pay less for a full read. Again, all good, people are reading and that’s a good thing.

A couple years ago I wrote a post about digital printing and binding – the kind of stuff Create Space uses to put together a book. It’s pretty revolutionary technology, easily on par with the movable type printing press. KU isn’t a new tech per-se, but it is a new distribution method. And I am going to try to take advantage of it.

In a recent book review I discussed Felipe Adan’s Lerma’s idea for a serial novel. It’s a good idea. It used to be short stories and the like were the exclusive purview of anthologies and literary magazines. KU is a game-changer, though, and new games require new exploits. Now it’s possible to put together a novelette-length story of around 15k-20k words, enough to tell a full story without delving into short-story territory but still staying away from full-length novel territory.

I’m picturing a kind of Television show level story, where each story is a complete unit, but each unit builds on the total story arc. Something that would be ideal for KU subscribers because it would be easy enough to produce a monthly installment and the shorter time to read would allow readers to cover more stories per month. It wouldn’t pay much, but it might be good exposure and it’s certainly a good writing exercise.

Now this plays right into the Henchmen universe because of everyone’s favorite go-to guy. No, not Steven. Wilford Saxton has a story that’s separate from the main Henchmen story arc but will still intersect at a later point. In the interim, he’s out building a small army and hunting monsters. I’m still working out the long-term story arc and figuring out the first tale which will take place immediately after the events of The Hunt (one of the stories in The Clock Man).

So, without further ado, let me warn you that a new hunter is coming and all the monsters of the world had best tremble.

SaxtonAdVertical

BTW, I will never advertise this as Free on Kindle Unlimited. Nothing on KU is really free; the readers pay for it. But I am hoping to leverage KU to achieve my goals of world domination. By which I mean, selling more books. Saxton’s adventures will also be available for purchase at $0.99 and I might even compile them all into a “box set” at some point.

Expect the first one in about a month.

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8 thoughts on “Kindle Unlimited and Serials – An Experiment In Exposure

  1. A great article Eric, and it looks like you’ve got the bases covered (as they say over your way), and that’s iimportant. We could all set out to write a serial story, but if I was honest my main reason for not doing so would be more to do with achieving consistent high quality. Note I say high quality, and not consistent quality.
    From concept to completion I’d probably spend a month on a a short story (3,500 words), if we included the ‘rest’ periods, rewrites and so on. I work on novels and short story anthologies side-by-side all year, so there is no free space.
    If I attempted the serial idea, it would become full-on, because in the rest periods of one episode I’d be working on the next one, or possibly two episodes. It would be easy to produce a mediocre piece of work every month having started with something spell-binding, so I’ll stay clear of this until I’ve got my novels out of my system.:)
    You have the experience, ability, imagination, and I’d say integrity to make this work for your readers.
    On another note, for the first time I’ve used ‘free on Kindle Unlimited’ in a FB post. Why have I avoided it so far? For the very reason you mention – the folk who are in KU are paying already.
    I’m also not a member of KU because I don’t read sufficient titles on a regular basis.
    I wish you well with this venture mate, and I look forward to your progress reports.:)

    1. Yeah, we’ll have to see how it goes. I need to spend some time figuring out the overall arc of the story and how each of the 4 or 5 shorter episodes fits into the whole. If I can get a coherent tale going in my head the rest will fall into place pretty easily. I’ll probably have to schedule it a bit so it doesn’t stomp on the other two novels I’m working on. Fortunately, the novels are long-term goals and I should be able to slide in enough time to handle an episode every month to six weeks and still have time to edit and polish.

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