Yet Another Look at KDP Select, the July 2015 Edition

Project Zeta by RJ Blain Art by Chris HowardI 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 partial lack of one.

In July 2015, I almost made minimum wage on my writing work. I may have leaked a little. I'm not quite there, and I acknowledge it is only one month. If I count conversion rate to my currency, I did make minimum wage. (Because I'm judgmental, especially towards myself, I'm eyeballing my new home for minimum wage.)

Oh, by the way, unless something drastic happens, I'm moving to California! So many of my problems will be solved!! I won't be restricted by all of the not-available-to-Residents-of-Quebec rulings any longer!

I made you a fancy chart to show you how my works performed in July 2015, using estimates. Until August 15, I won't have the official numbers. All Pay per Page royalties are calculated at 0.0058.

The first chart is simple. It shows the novel, the amount paid out in Pay per Read Royalties, the amount paid out in normal sales royalties, and the totals.

Note: All figures are estimates.

Title Pay Per Read Sales Total
Blood Diamond $181.37 $151.34 $332.71
Inquisitor $114.17 $72.72 $186.89
Storm Surge $21.18 $34.20 $55.38
Storm Without End $17.21 $4.65 $21.86
TotWW 1 $14.14 $18.63 $32.77
TotWW 2 $0.01 $12.42 $12.43
The Eye of God $0.02 $0.00 $0.02
Winter Wolf $115.52 $36.90 $152.42
Totals $463.62 $330.86 $794.48

To give you an idea of how much of a difference the new payment method has made, I made $249.63 in June 2015. That is a 3.1x increase between June and July. While the new releases of Blood Diamond and TotWW helped, it's worth pointing out I still made more excluding those titles–and June had a week of Blood Diamond sales, which made up a substantial chunk of my income for June.

In the previous method of payment, I only got paid when a reader reached 10% of a novel. I write longer books, although Tales of the Winter Wolf are shorter compilations of stories about two characters. The novels are definitely paying out more, but it's worth noting even the short fiction is doing fine under the new scheme.

The following chart assumes everyone reads the title (which is totally not accurate!) This is just a demonstration to get an idea of how many people read over the month.

Something of note: The 2 pages of Tales of the Winter Wolf volume 2 counted in right before the month switched over. The reader finished the book after the month cut off. (How do I know this? Exact match of pages in the title matched the stats in the morning. The reader started reading right before the time switched over in the system and finished in the same sitting.) There's something interesting about this I should also point out.

The total number of pages read is affected by the front matter/end matter. I include samples of my other books in the backs of my titles. Sometimes readers look them over, sometimes they don't. These count for Amazon's system, but they skew the total reads.

Looking at how the stats have flowed over the month, with the exception of my debut novel, most readers seem to be finishing my books.

(I may have leaked a little when the realization sank in.)

Title Pages Read Total Reads
Blood Diamond 31,270 37.86
Inquisitor 19,685 32.38
Storm Surge 3,652 4.88
Storm Without End 2,967 4.87
Tales of the Winter Wolf, Vol. 1 2,438 11.34
Tales of the Winter Wolf, Vol. 2 2 0.01
The Eye of God 3 0.01
Winter Wolf 19,917 28.01
Grand Total 79,934 119.35

Here's where things start getting really interesting. I sell my books between $1.99 (Tales of the Winter Wolf) to $4.99 (Blood Diamond.) In order to demonstrate how the KDP Select system is currently advantageous to me, here are my sales figures for July 2015.

Title Copies Sold
Blood Diamond 46
Inquisitor 36
Storm Surge 10
Storm Without End 3
Tales of the Winter Wolf, Vol. 1 27
Tales of the Winter Wolf, Vol. 2 18
The Eye of God 0
Winter Wolf 15
Grand Total 155

I had more sales than I had estimated reads, but because of how KDP Select is paying out, I made more from KDP Select's Pay per Read scheme than traditional sales.

In order to make the same royalties as the Pay per Read scheme, I would have had to charge the following for my books:

Note: Because Tales of the Winter Wolf is sold at a 35% royalty rate, I set the rate to $2.99, the amount needed to earn 70%. Any title with a calculated sales $ per book below $2.99 was set to $2.99 for this reason. There's no way to realistically reach the royalty earnings for these titles because of how royalty payments actually work.

Title Royalty Per Title Sales $ Per Book
Blood Diamond $4.79 $6.23
Inquisitor $3.53 $4.58
Storm Surge $4.34 $5.65
Storm Without End $3.53 $4.59
Tales of the Winter Wolf, Vol. 1 $1.25 $2.99
Tales of the Winter Wolf, Vol. 2 $1.14 $2.99
The Eye of God $2.23 $2.99
Winter Wolf $4.12 $5.36

No, I won't be changing how I price things to match KDP Select's new system. I want my books to be affordable. The only titles I foresee selling at higher than $4.99 are my omnibuses or exceptionally long titles–by that, I mean titles exceeding 150,000 words by a notable margin. (Blood Diamond is a 150,000 word monster.)

I am undecided what I'll charge for books longer than that. I don't even know if I'll write titles longer than that! I expect Silver Bullet will be a monster, but we'll see when I get to actively writing it.

I'll let the numbers do the talking for me. KDP Select exclusivity is working for me, and until the other marketplaces can offer something equally competitive, I'll probably be staying.

Don't make the mistake of believing I'm an Amazon fangirl. I'm going to be brutally honest here:

I go with the money. I've tried ePub marketplaces, and being blunt once more, I simply didn't make the necessary amount of money. (And it was not for lack of effort and investment in the marketplace. I simply connect easier and better with readers who use Amazon.)

So, there you have it. July 2015's estimated figures.

P.S.: The image above is the progress on Project Zeta's cover.

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1 comment
Kellye Remson says August 5, 2015

I will pay whatever you charge. You go girl…..

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