Sunday, July 19, 2015

Why Must A Business Choice Be Demonized?

I’ve been watching with some fascination how quickly opinions can turn against popular authors that display a different way of thinking.

It’s shameful, really.

There’s a popular discussion board that I used to read and engage with. I won’t name the board, but I’m sure that most authors and a lot of readers will be able to guess its name.

When Amazon introduced the changes to Kindle Unlimited, I was against it at first. My reasoning was that nothing Amazon could do would make KU palatable for me. I’ve already blogged about what led me to my business decision, and why I’ve put all of my work again exclusive to Amazon.

But, there’s the other camp.

I’m talking about the camp that totally shifted their writing plans to the point that short stories were all that they wrote. They counted on Kindle Unlimited’s first setup of paying out $1.33 or more for any borrow, no matter the length. They based their business, and earnings, on a system of borrows rather than a system of sales.

Now, since Amazon has changed the game with a pay-per-page payout, which nobody should find unfair, they’re crying the blues because they can’t get more for a borrow than the sale price of the short story itself!

I write both short stories and novels. The last short story that I have published was in June of 2014, a full month before Amazon started Kindle Unlimited, so there’s no way anyone can say that my short stories were intended to “game the system”. As a matter of fact, I only had any of my work in KU for only one three month period during what is now called KU1. I didn’t like the payout – I got more for a short story than I felt that I deserved, and I didn’t earn enough for my novels. I pulled out, and went wide.

For any of my work, short or long, I would rather sell a copy than have someone borrow it. But, if they can’t afford to buy it, I still want the reader to have access to it…and if a lending library like KU is the way to get that story to readers, that’s great! The per-page payout now is a nice, fair bonus…and those that want to buy the story can still do so!

Hugh Howey made some comments about how much fairer this new system is to every author, and I agreed with him. He also made some comments about some authors “flapping their wings” in panic over the changes. He was harshly and unfairly criticized for suggesting that it might be a bit early for a panic over pages read. He also commented that authors that write long stories would now be much more fairly treated in KU2, and that short writers might consider writing longer works. I agreed with this as well.

You know why I agreed?

I write both. And a page read is a page read. If someone reads one of my short stories in KU, I love it. If they read one of my novels, I love that, too. I’m recompensed no matter which one of my stories, novels, or boxed sets get read. I get the same amount per page no matter what!

I’m upset over people being so vehement and intolerant of other authors’ business choices. It seems as if all the people that have opted out of KU2 have chosen to shout down those that have chosen to go in.

Remember that discussion board that I mentioned? I’ve stopped actively posting there. I still lurk, and read comments, but I don’t think I need the negativity.

Another private group that I participated in suddenly tried to bring in negative comments about Hugh Howey, and KU2 in general. I “unjoined” that community.

I’ve had enough, quite frankly. Choose to participate in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, or choose not to participate. YOUR decision is yours alone. I have no say-so in where your work is distributed, nor do I want a say-so. It’s your business, and your books…not mine.

By the same token, I demand that you respect my choices. I’m doing what I feel is best for my business, and my books.

And it’s time for a little mutual respect for other authors and their choices…without being insulting.

You, as an author, are always welcome to disagree with me, and I may disagree with you. But there’s no reason that disagreement must make a villain out of either of us.

As for you fans, please…

Keep reading!

T. M. Bilderback (But you can call me Michael)

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