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Chris Podhola

Hey folks.

Been a while since I chatted in this forum, but I was curious to see what people think of KENP overall (For those with qualifying titles).

Personally ... I hate it. When it first came out, I thought it might be a cool thing. My hopes were high that the program would help increase royalties paid through the unlimited program. So far, it hasn't (at least not for me). For novel length works, I seem to be averaging just over a dollar, but when you consider the downsides, that means you are getting less (not everybody who downloads a free book, reads it right away and since Kindle Unlimited is a subscription based program they are downloading books for free).

Have the Unlimited royalties increased for others, or others suffering income losses the same as I am?

Replies:   Switch Blayde
Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

Although my novel has always been exclusive to Amazon, I didn't enroll in Unlimited. I wanted the sales. But after the novel was out there for some time, I decided to enroll. I did that for three reasons:

1. To get another way to earn royalties.

2. An author on wattpad says he makes more money through Unlimited than through novel sales.

3. I like the change Amazon made. Authors were gaming the system by flooding it with short works. I think the pay-for-pages-read is the right way to go.

Chris Podhola

I understand completely the reason for the change and to be upfront (many authors in here already know this), I am one of the authors who submit many novellas. I still do and still will. Even with the new way of figuring the royalties for Kindle Unlimited, it is not only a very profitable way to publish, but it is also an excellent way to develop your skills in the craft.

But I disagree if you are suggesting that the average author makes more under the new system than he did the old (even if he/she only publishes full length novels.

Case in point: I currently have a full length novel (306 pages estimated by Amazon). As of five minutes prior to starting the reply, I have 1,596 KENP pages read today for that novel. That equates to approximately 6 copies (give or take). Based on past performance I estimate that todays Kenp reads will pay roughly $7.50 (As far as I can tell I make $5.00 per every 1 thousand pages read). Doing it the old way, the same six copies would have paid more than $8.00. So ... how is this better?

It's not. It is worse (obviously). On top of the pay being worse per novel read, an author is no longer paid for every copy moved, only for every page read. So, if an author moves 10 copies per day, but 1 or 2 of those readers, don't read it right away, or let it pile up in their queue with a bunch of other works, the author never gets paid at all. Again, how is this better for the author?

I guess my grumble is more with the authors who complained to get the policy changed than it is anything else. Now, everybody is making less. At least I cannot see how anybody could be making more. (Unless they are writing 6oo page novels. Even then, the amount of increase they are getting doesn't seem worth it (Unless their last name is Rowling).

***NOTE*** I also resent the implication that authors who publish novellas are 'gaming the system'. If I publish a 70 page novella and can sell it to customers for $3.99 and another author publishes a full length novel of 400 pages for the same $3.99, how is it that his work has the same value to paid customers, but less value to KENP readers?

It doesn't. It should have the same value in both places.

Crumbly Writer

@Chris Podhola

Chris, I believe most of the Indie Publishers here have bypassed the Unlimited program, mainly because we write long stories, and the pay rate was angled against us.

The argument about 'gaming the system' was floating around many writing forums, and was a known problem with the Amazon system. Because of the pay structure, the ONLY ONES making money were those publishing less than novellas, so they're pay/content ration was high enough to earn a profit. The only way you could earn anything at all was to break a novel up into a series of sub-chapters, and lease 30 books rather than selling 1.

Personally, I think Amazon's compromise now a decent move, but you're right, Amazon Unlimited was never intended to pay a living wage! It was meant to attract people willing to buy lots of goods by giving away unlimited books for no charge. Which was never intended to benefit said authors.

Chris Podhola

Well, I think you are missing out by (a) not getting involved in the Unlimited program and (b) not writing more novellas yourself. You are also mistaken when you say that "The Unlimited program was never intended to pay a living wage!" I wouldn't be disappointed with the decrease in royalties if I wasn't talking about a substantial amount of money. I am. Finally, to say that "The ONLY ones making money were those publishing less than novellas," also lacks accuracy.

All of these statements are emotional responses. I don't know why authors who are skipping that step in the learning process are so against novellas, but ultimately it is to their detriment.

When I first began publishing I stubbornly insisted that I should follow Mark Coker's advice and publish on as many platforms as possible. If I remember correctly, the last time I posted on this forum, I was still doing that. I've since switched to Amazon exclusively and my royalties have tripled by being "Unlimited".

Using the Unlimited program has given me an auto-pilot marketing system. Having a title on free promotion at all times increases my sales dramatically for most of my pen names and even though my royalties are diminished by the change in program, I by no means mean that I am not making a nice amount of money in it. My KENP reads are still paying my rent.

I scratch my head at authors who gaze down their noses at authors who write novellas. Authors who skip that process are cheating themselves on so many levels. Most of the truly great authors of our time earned their stripes by beginning with short works. If one can't write novellas successfully, how can one expect to write a successful novel?

They can't. It's an unrealistic expectation.

An author should expect to crawl first, walk second and gain his footing before he tries to run. Too many authors out there are trying to run marathon's before they graduate from diapers. A few of these authors get lucky and win the lotto, while the rest sit around and blame everybody else for why their novels aren't selling. They point their fingers everywhere else but at themselves for why they don't have an audience. It's a shame. They don't have an audience because they haven't taken the time to build one. Novellas are where authors should start. It should be a requirement. lol.

Don't get me wrong. If an author has no respect for the craft and he/she feels they are above novellas, it's no skin off my back. Five months ago, when I published something, I had to work really hard to jumpstart my work. Now, I publish a piece and get a dozen paid sales the first day without mentioning its publication. This happens because I am taking the time to build a platform. I don't expect overnight success. I don't live in a dreamworld and I understand fully that I must graduate into success. I take the time to begin where an author should begin and learn the ropes of my craft one step at a time. Twenty years ago, my only choice was to publish these shorter works in magazines. Today, that option isn't nearly as viable, so I publish them on the open market. They sell very well and my platform is growing.

Any smart author who wants to do this for a living should do the same.

Replies:   richardshagrin

@Chris Podhola

Full of ignorance, but eager to put my two cents into this discussion, once-upon-a-time authors of science fiction got started in science fiction magazines. Pay was low, at least per word, but they got some editorial guidance and if they wrote novels some of them got serialized in the magazines.

Of course my once-upon-a-time was in the 1930s and 1940s, but the magazines are, mostly, still around and somebody is writing for them. It might still be an option for the no-sex or very little sex story writer.

Ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise. I don't know anything about how to break into that market, but if you could there would be some name recognition to jumpstart your career. Or not, I suspect their circulation is not what it once was. Does anyone here know anything about how to write for magazines?

Crumbly Writer


I haven't heard much in the writer forums about writing for magazines (as they're sales continue to diminish), but it was always my impression that it's similar to getting published by the traditional publishers (i.e. you spend years trying to get something submitted, then when you figure out the contacts, styles and submission guidelines, they do re-hires. In other words, it's a fairly long and laborious procedure.). But then again, I haven't actually heard from anyone who's been published in one. But I believe the people who publish via the big publishers are the same ones who publish to magazines.

Chris Podhola


Your timeline is a little off, but the premise of your comments is true. Stephen King got his start through magazines, but he wasn't born until after the thirties and forties. Up until the digital age, magazines were a strong platform.

And yes, you can still publish in magazines. It is extremely difficult, but the way to do it is through that individual magazine. Find one you want to break into and follow their individual submission guidelines.

Switch Blayde

@Chris Podhola

But I disagree if you are suggesting that the average author makes more under the new system than he did the old (even if he/she only publishes full length novels.

I didn't say " the average author." I said that one author said he's making more.

***NOTE*** I also resent the implication that authors who publish novellas are 'gaming the system'.

Some authors on wattpad said they know authors who broke a novel into 3 novellas as a series so they'd get paid three times as much.

Kim Little

Any money in curating a digital anthology (like a magazine) so that all authors get a cut of the payouts?

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