I recently signed up for a trial of Kindle Unlimited (KU), the on-demand service from Amazon where you can borrow books, read them and the author gets paid based on the number of pages that you finish. It was a 30-day trial and there was a book I wanted to read that was available on there so I figured–what the hell? and decided to give it a try.
But after I finished reading the book I originally signed up for, it was almost impossible to find anything else that I wanted to read. All of the books I was interested in weren’t available on there.
And it kinda annoyed me.
Not just because I wasn’t able to find stuff I wanted to read (after all, what’s the point of paying for KU if nothing’s available on it?). But also because it bugs me that so many authors don’t see the value in it.
All of my books are available on KU (except one because I accidentally put it on Kobo years ago and you can’t use KU if you sell your book elsewhere). And the reason is because I care far more about my message and getting my stories and ideas out into the world than I do about making money.
That’s right. I said it.
I’m an author who honestly doesn’t give a fuck about making money from my books.
Now, will I take money from my books? Of course. I would be totally dumb not to.
But is money the reason I write my books?
Actually, make that HELL NO.
I write my books because I can’t not. Because if I didn’t, I’d be killing my soul.
Writing my books and releasing them out into the world is a part of how I fuel my soul and my purpose on this planet. I can’t not write books.
But if I never made another cent from them, I wouldn’t care.
Writing books is art. It’s soulwork. It’s making an impact on the world.
It’s NOT about making money.
Yet so many authors focus on the money. And that’s why they don’t put their books on KU. Because they won’t get paid as much as they would if someone buys the book.
I just think that’s selfish AF.
Authors should care more about their stories and their messages and getting their books out to the readers who need them.
Art first. Money second.
Again, I’m not at all against making money from your books. You should make money from your books.
But money ain’t the most important thing.
And when books aren’t available on KU–especially self-published ones–it sends the message that money matters more than art. That readers should have to buy your book to experience the transformation and the story. Or else miss out.
Well, I call bullshit on that.
I actually make plenty of money from KU because I get hundreds (and often thousands) of page reads every month. And I so enjoy all of the people who are getting to experience my books and have their lives changed by my stories and information.
I believe that authors should diversify. That they shouldn’t just focus solely on making money from their books.
And I stand by that.
Books and the stories and information in them should be available to any reader who wants to read them, regardless of if they buy it or borrow it on KU.
Authors never complain about the people who borrow their books from the library. And they don’t get paid a penny for that.
Yet so many refuse to put their books on KU.
Being on KU is actually better than no one buying your book. It’s better than the library. And the payout is better than music streaming where musicians get a fraction of a penny when people listen to their music via a streaming service.
I’m all about authors doing what’s best for them. But I also believe authors need to really think about what they got into this business for.
Was it just to make money? Or do you actually care about your readers?
I care about my readers. I want them to indulge in my books in whatever way makes the most sense for them, whether that’s by purchasing their own copy, borrowing it from the library (yes, my novel is stocked at several libraries) or renting it from KU.
At the end of the day, I’d write my books for free anyhow, because I can’t not. That’s just who I am.
My writing is my soulwork. And unleashing it on the world is a must. Regardless of if anyone reads it or not.
If you’re an author who refuses to have your books on KU or hasn’t yet looked into yet, I highly recommend you consider it. I highly recommend you tune back into your “why” and figure out what you really care about… your message, your impact, your stories… or the money.
Dream life or bust,