Whew, I think I’m already breaking out in a nervous sweat, and my books haven’t even left the KU shelves yet.

I’ve always been an advocate for Kindle Unlimited. I’ve always encouraged other authors to put their books in this program. Yes, it means your ebooks are exclusively locked into a contract with Amazon and you can’t sell them elsewhere, but the payoff—at least for me—has been more lucrative than having my books on the virtual shelves of iBooks, Nook, Kobo, etc etc.

For the last eighteen months or so, my income has depended on pages read through the Kindle Unlimited program. And while it’s still paying the bills, I’m worried it might not be enough in the long run.

So, I’ve made the daunting decision to try to branch out from Amazon. *gasp* It will begin with my first series, The Institute Series, and the four books will be on all platforms by April at the latest. Because release dates and whatnot were all different, books 2, 3 and 4, will be coming out of their exclusivity contracts at different times. In fact, book 3 comes out before book 2 does.

Defective (Book 3) will be out of KU and ready to go. However, Resistance (Book 2) will not be released from its contract until the 19th of March. As soon as it’s out, I’ll be uploading it and sending them to ALL OTHER retailers. When Through His Eyes: An Institute Novella comes out of KU on the 31st of March, I will upload it to all other retailers. The books themselves can take 2 hours to 2 weeks to appear in-store, so I unfortunately can’t give definitive dates, but if you join my VIP reader list, I will be sending out an announcement via email when I have confirmation they are live in all other stores. (Or wait until the 2nd of April when they will definitely be in-store)

You can join the mailing list here: http://www.kaylahowarth.com/newsletter-sign-up.html

I’m hoping that by branching out, I will gain more readers. And, if successful, I hope to have all my books join The Institute Series on all platforms.

Reasons authors choose KU:

Amazon pays authors per page read instead of sales. So, the more people reading your books, the more money they make. These reads boost sales rank and improves visibility, meaning more eyes land on your books.

It’s an amazing program and I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially for new authors.

It’s also great for readers too, because for a nominal monthly fee, you get access to thousands of books. And if you don’t like a book, you simply stop reading. The author will only get paid for how many pages you read.

But there are downsides:

Advertising is hard. While the big A is the number one bookstore, a lot of advertising sites won’t advertise you unless you have your books out through all retailers.

Not everyone likes kindle or has a kindle or the app on their tablet. (I used to be one of them!) Essentially, committing to KU alienates some readers, and that’s the last thing authors want to do. But on the flip side, pulling out of KU will often alienate KU subscribers. They already pay $10 (or whatever the cost is) per month, they don’t want to be buying books as well.

It’s a tough decision for any author to make. The key is finding what works. And I’m hoping by taking my first series wide, that it does work, and I won’t be reliant on KU anymore, meaning my entire backlog will be available through all retailers.

Until then, what some authors do is ask readers to email/message their receipt of purchase for their books on Amazon, and then the author will send the book in the preferred format. This way, Amazon get their money, authors get their royalty, and readers get their preferred format.