12 Days Later: A Second Look at Amazon’s Exclusive Royalty System

I wrote about how I was really liking the payment per page model Amazon released on July 1, 2015. I did a rundown of how it was performing for me in the opening days.

I chose today to do another look because it's one day prior to a new release. (Shameless plug: Like my blog? My royalties help pay for it. Don't be shy, buy a book. Winter Wolf is still available for free today and Tales Vol 1 drops tomorrow.)

Shameless plug out of the way, let's get to the nitty-gritty and talk some numbers.

really like the changes to Amazon's exclusive royalty system. I have created two tables to help demonstrate why this system is beneficial to authors who are telling good, engaging stories.

That doesn't mean page turners. It means just what I said: good stories. Engaging stories. Stories people finish. Stories people want to read.

The author was always responsible for writing engaging stories. Now we have to put up or shut up. I'm okay with that. I know lots aren't–it's harder to write good stories. Skilled authors should be able to have a better chance of success, in my opinion.

Anyone, onto the numbers.

This chart shows my current regular, paid sales for Amazon.com.

Title Copies Sold Royalty Royalty Per Book
Blood Diamond 19 $61.95 $3.26
Inquisitor 18 $36.72 $2.04
Storm Surge 6 $20.52 $3.42
Storm Without End 2 $3.09 $1.55
Winter Wolf 3 $8.18 $2.73
Totals 48 $130.46 $2.72


Unfortunately, I have zero way of showing comparison data for sales; Blood Diamond is a new release, but I didn't have it launched 12 full days in June, so I can't use last month's numbers.

This chart shows page data for these titles. This will take a bit of explaining, so please bear with me.

Pages read is the number of pages readers collectively read. I do not receive data on the number of readers. Pay per page is the estimated royalty figures Amazon will be paying out.

PP Royalties is Pay Per Page Royalties; it is calculated by multiplying pages read and the pay per page. # Pages is from Amazon's back end. Estimated # of reads is simply the total pages and the number of pages divided. This is an inaccurate number. I have no way of knowing how many people have actually read the book. But, if I assume that every reader reads the entire book, that's the number of reads. Let's face it, that's not the case. I'm hoping to get a number of readers figure from amazon but I wouldn't count it.

Finally, Per Page Roy / Book is the Royalties I receive per book.

Title Pages Read Pay / Page PP Royalties # Pages Est # of Reads Per Page Roy / Book
Blood Diamond 10904 0.0058 $63.24 826 13.20 $4.79
Inquisitor 7266 0.0058 $42.14 608 11.95 $3.53
Storm Surge 748 0.0058 $4.34 749 1.00 $4.34
Storm Without End 1169 0.0058 $6.78 609 1.92 $3.53
Winter Wolf 5573 0.0058 $32.32 711 7.84 $4.12
Totals 25660 0.0058 $148.83 700.6 36.63 $4.06

So, in short… I am currently making substantially more in the KDP Select exclusive system per book than I am from regular sales–even at the $4.99 price point. (See Blood Diamond.) I am actually making a dollar more per full read in the new system. I'm also making more in the new system than I am from actual sales.

To give you an idea of the old system, here are my numbers for the entirety of May. (This only includes earnings for loaned books.)

In short, I have almost made as much as I did in May in the first 13 days of July.

Inquisitor $50.34
Storm Surge $34.78
Storm Without End $27.39
The Eye of God $5.42
Winter Wolf $37.61
Grand Total $155.54

I understand why short story authors are up in arms over the changes, but there's something to be said for equality–and if the short story authors are telling good stories, they aren't going to suffer. People will read all of their stories if they're engaging their reader.

But that's the thing:

Authors are now required to perform, not just have a title that catches their eye. The traditional folks may not like this either, because it puts the onus on us, as authors, to entertain our readers–we are no longer living in a world where we get paid whether or not our fans and readers actually read the book.

Now we have to tell stories people want to read.

That's great for readers. That's really great for readers. That's fabulous for readers. It encourages us authors to go above and beyond and really aim to make our words the best they can be, and I like that.

It'll be hard work, but it's already hard work I'm willing to invest. For some, that may be a bitter pill to swallow.

Personally, I'll jump at any chance I can get to make my writing career financially viable.

Leave a Comment:

Avery K Tingle says July 13, 2015

I love this, and the intonation that we actually have to work for a living now. I’m also a fan of the new pp system and I hope it squeezes out the “writers” who’ve been cashing in and making our lives harder.

Yet Another Look at KDP Select, the July 2015 Edition | On Writing says August 3, 2015

[…] finally have a full month of data on KDP Select’s new Pay per Page scheme. I’ve discussed this before. I’m discussing it again because I feel it is important to be open about my career–or […]

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