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Is It Worth Putting Your Books in KU

When it comes to self-publishing, Amazon offers a unique opportunity to authors with Kindle Unlimited. The program was designed to offer readers a cheaper option to buying books every month, while still ensuring that authors get paid for their work. Readers pay a set amount per month, around $10, and they can borrow books in the Kindle Unlimited program, read them and return them. So how does this benefit the author? The author gets paid by the page read. So a longer book could net more for the author than a direct sale. Which begs the question: is it worth enrolling all your books in the program? The answer: it depends.

While there are many authors successfully utilizing Kindle Unlimited, it does actually have its limitations. For one, the payment per page read is based on the overall money in the 'pot' and is divided between authors. Currently, it is sitting at about half a cent per page read. If you write longer books, this could be very beneficial with a five hundred page book netting around $2.50. If you write shorter books, however, it may not be worth it when you can sell your book for more. 

KU readers like a series. They will devour them and when they are available to borrow, you may find that they will read them in quick succession. This will increase your page reads and make you more money. But again, if you don't have a series, then this may not benefit you. 

In the last few years, there have been horror stories where authors were stripped of their page reads due to claims of tampering. All authors deny this and since Amazon refuses to offer an explanation for it, this means that if you rely solely on your page reads, you could lose all your money for the month. If you rely on that income, is it worth the risk?

KU also requires exclusivity, which not only means that you cannot sell your book through other vendors, but can cause issues if your book ends up pirated. Book pirating is a serious issue and it can really impact authors through loss of sales. But with KU it can lead to your books being removed from the site because it is showing up elsewhere. Amazon rarely accepts excuses for this and simply removes the books. Again this can severely impact your bottom line. 

If you choose to utilize the Kindle Unlimited program then consider adding a completed series that readers can work through. Single books may not be worth adding unless they sell well and have a high page count. Never add all your books to the program. By having all your eggs in one basket, you risk losing money if something goes wrong. Consider taking other books wide. If you do add books to the program, the great thing is they are only in it for a set time - three months. You can go into your dashboard and uncheck the box which automatically re-enrolls the books in the program when this time period comes to an end. This way you can give it a test run before deciding if you want to leave it in permanently. 

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Samantha Gregory