Tag Archives: Amazon

Amazon #Giveaway: 1 in 25 chance to #WIN #fantasy #book

In the Company of the Dead Book 1 of The Sundered Oath

I am hosting an Amazon Giveaway for In the Company of the Dead! Everyone who enters has a 1 in 25 chance of winning a Kindle version of the book, and all you have to do to enter is follow me on Amazon. Easy, right?

You can enter the giveaway here.

Open to US residents only. amzgiveaway

About the Book

In the Company of the Dead Book 1 of The Sundered Oath

Only a fool crosses a god, but Ellaeva and Lyram will do anything to get what they want.

Chosen as a five-year-old orphan to be the Left Hand of Death, Ellaeva has nothing to call her own—nothing except a desire to avenge her slaughtered parents. Her duties leave her no time to pursue the man responsible, until both her work and revenge lead to the same place—the lonely castle where Lyram Aharris is serving out his exile after the murder of his wife.

Lyram is third in line for the throne, and when the castle is unexpectedly besieged, he fears his prince means to remove him from contention for the crown permanently. Ellaeva’s arrival brings hope, until she reveals she has not come for the siege, but instead she hunts the castle for a hidden necromancer dedicated to the dark god of decay.

Within their stone prison, Ellaeva and Lyram must fight to save themselves from political machinations and clashing gods. But as the siege lengthens, the greatest threat comes from an unexpected quarter.

Monday Morsel

If you are looking for this week’s Monday Morsel it’s been held over until next week. I absolutely adore this next snippet I’m going to share with you, and I didn’t want it getting muddled up in this post.

New Kindle Unlimited Royalties Explained: Amazon Takes Away the Ability to Write Crap and Get Paid Top Dollar


The announcement of changes to the royalty payments to authors participating in the Kindle Unlimited program has caused widespread angst – but I’m going to explain why, objectively, these changes are a good thing. If after reading this post you still defend the old system, then:

In case you don’t know, here’s a quick breakdown of how the old and new systems work:

By way of background, short stories used to suffer in the print environment because the printing costs were prohibitively high and no return could be made on them at market prices. So historically short stories suffered and print favoured longer stories (but not too long, because then costs become too high again).

The ebook revolution changed this by removing the print cost of production. Once again, short stories were in vogue, and more or less had equal standing to longer stories. Authors tended to price their stories according to length, with full-length novels priced from $2.99 up to around $9.99, and shorter stories appearing under the $2.99 price point.

Kindle Unlimited’s old royalty system favoured short stories even more because all stories were paid the same, regardless of length, which meant short story authors would get the highest return for effort. So the pendulum swung from discriminating against short stories, to a level playing field, to discriminating against longer stories. Authors were now disincentivised to write long stories (or to include their long stories in Kindle Unlimited) because the return was too low for the invested effort.

However, this also meant the old system was subject to being ‘gamed’ because authors could churn out masses of (often sub-standard) short stories and make money on them because the reader only needed to read 10% for the author to get paid. So even if the reader abandoned the story relatively early, say because the story was garbage, the author would still be paid.

Now that things are changing, a lot of people are complaining, and yet the new system is fundamentally fair. You will get paid per page read. It doesn’t matter how many stories you have, or how many pages they are, you will get paid exactly the same as Joe Bloggs down the road and Jane Smith halfway around the world. Everyone gets paid equally for their effort. There is no discrimination between short and long stories. Authors are equally incentivised to write stories of any length. Well, so long as your pages actually get read, and so….

The system is also incentivising authors to write good quality books, because if they don’t, and the reader stops reading because the story is rubbish, then the author won’t get paid. So keeping readers reading is now imperative.

So why are people complaining? Let’s look at some of the most common complaints…

Well, yes. But not because this new system is unfair. Some of you will get paid less now because the first system was unfairly skewed in the favour of short story writers and to the disadvantage of longer story authors. This argument is purely self-interest – I don’t want things to change because it affects me badly, and I’ll just ignore the fact that assessed objectively the new system is fairer.

I recognise that some of you were making a living off your royalties, which is money you now won’t receive – but recognise that some people were trying to live off their royalties, and couldn’t, because their return on investment (their payment for the same or greater work) was too low.


Yes…. But no.

A short story can be a complete story and provide the same amount of enjoyment as a long story. But it doesn’t take you nearly as long to write it, and as a reader it won’t take me as long to read it. If we consider value as a dollar amount per hour, if a short story costs the same as a long story, it will be less valuable to me, because the entertainment cost to me per hour of pleasure is higher. This is, fundamentally, why short stories are usually priced lower than longer stories on Amazon.

Also, if you write a 10,000 word story, and I write a 100,000 word story, then assuming all else is equal, in the time it takes me to write my story, you can write ten. If one person reads my one story, and one person reads all ten of yours, then under Kindle Unlimited we will get paid the same. Looked at another way, we are being paid the same hourly rate for the same work…

If you still don’t get it, consider the situation where you were paid $400 a week to work 40 hours, but someone else gets paid $400 a week to work 4 hours a week doing the same work. You are the long story author. The other person is the short story author. Your hourly rate is $10/hour. Their hourly rate is $40/hour. How would you feel about that?

The new program gives equal reward for equal effort – assuming you can write something that people want to read.
And if you can’t write something that people want to read…. Well, you’re out of luck. Produce a better product.

Still not convinced? This idea of being paid for length is not new. If you submit a story to a magazine, you get paid per word. In that system, you get paid for the words written, so you get paid no matter if it ever gets read, but you also only get paid once. Under Kindle Unlimited, it’s the same concept – you get paid per page read. It’s read, not written, but the flip side of this is that you have the opportunity to be paid again and again.

Fundamentally true – this is why big brand name authors can charge more for their books, because they have a perceived higher value to readers, who are willing to sustain a steeper price to get their fix.

But if you choose to participate in Kindle Unlimited, you are sacrificing any brand power you have, because you no longer have the power over your price – Amazon does. Or its Kindle Unlimited payment algorithm, anyway. So if you choose to participate in Kindle Unlimited, under the old or new royalty system, don’t even bother dusting this argument off.

One person suggested that the Kindle Unlimited changes can be regarded as unfair on the basis that Amazon has unilaterally changed the consideration under the contract, and therefore the changes are unlawful. I am not familiar with the US law that applies to the Kindle Unlimited contract, but I believe this is actually unlikely to be the case.

The general principle of law is that parties are contractually free to agree to whatever they want, with only unconscionable (excessively unfair) contracts being void (subject to some other exceptions). Mere unfairness isn’t enough to void a contract.

In Australia, we do have unfair contracts legislation, but currently it only applies to consumers, so such a thing wouldn’t have any application to a contract between businesses like the Kindle Unlimited contract. It looks likely that legislation is also about to be rolled out to small businesses, and it certainly does include reference to unilateral changes to consideration potentially being unfair – but it’s not considered unfair for one party to change the amount to be paid if the other party has the right to terminate the contract when they do. In other words, it’s only unfair to change the payment amount if the other party is forced to accept it because they have no out. And authors have the right to exit Kindle Unlimited at anytime. So even under Australian law, it’s highly unlikely this contract would be illegal.

As I mentioned, US law applies, not Australian law, but given that Australian regulation is generally tighter than US, I’d be surprised if similar legislation exists – but if you’re curious, by all means check.

“She had not yet decided whether to use her power for good or evil.”

In this instance, Amazon has used its power for good – they made changes that are objectively fair.

But… It didn’t have to be this way. Amazon could have used its power to change that contract any way it liked. Amazon is a borderline monopoly, and the more authors that sign up for KDP Select (which is an exclusive arrangement that requires that book not be sold through any other outlet), the more it will become one. Arguably it’s close enough right now that it doesn’t matter. It has most of the readers and most of the authors. Amazon has enough market power it can do what it likes.

I can see the appeal in Kindle Unlimited, especially now the royalty structure has changed. I’ve never participated because I don’t like the exclusivity arrangement. But… maybe the solution, the balance between participating and maintaining competition, is to enrol a first book in a series, but not the subsequent books. It’s something to consider.

How To Gift a Kindle Ebook – A Christmas Guide

How To Gift a Kindle Ebook

Do you give books for Christmas? If you’re giving them to someone who has an e-reader, consider giving ebooks instead!

Many e-reader owners no longer want paperbacks, or only want select titles in paperback, due to:

  • Storage – paperbacks take up room, and avid readers will already have stacks of books (possibly literally);
  • Convenience – paperbacks are heavy to carry around, and inconvenient when about to finish a book, as you must carry two;
  • Ease of reading – E-readers are generally easier to hold and manoeuvre, particularly for readers of large books or readers with problems like arthritis or carpal tunnel.

Don’t like giving gift cards? No fear! You can gift a personalised selection of Kindle books on Amazon and here’s how.

  • Account – If you don’t have an Amazon account, set one up. Follow the link to Amazon – note that you can’t give Kindle books as gifts from some Amazon Kindle Stores;
  • Choose your books – In the search bar, use the drop down menu to select ‘Kindle Store’ and search for books you know the recipient will like;
  • Gift details – On the right of the book page, click ‘Give as a gift’, and select ‘Email the gift to me’.  Complete the recipient’s details, and your gift message. Change ‘Your Name’ to the names you want the gift to be from e.g. Mary, Bob, Matt and Lucy;
  • Place order – Select place order to have the gift voucher emailed to you;
  • Print voucher – Once you receive the emailed voucher, print it and cut it to size;
  • Gift Wrapping – Amazon gift vouchers (when cut to size) fit nicely in pre-made DVD gift boxes, so you even still have a gift to put under the tree! If you can’t find any of these boxes, put the vouchers in a beautiful Christmas card.
DVD gift boxes – perfect for Amazon gift vouchers

Got it wrong? If the recipient already owns the book, or doesn’t want it, they can easily exchange it on Amazon. 

So next time you’re considering buying a paperback for someone with an e-reader, think twice – I know people who no longer want paperbacks, and even have paperbacks that have been loaned to them lying around unread.

Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t give digital books!

In the New Year, I’ll be posting about what e-book preferences means for brick-and-mortar stores, and how bookshops need to adapt and evolve to survive.