The first question I imagine is: Why? Why in the hell am I doing this?
There’s a few reasons.
Since the beginning, I’ve had hopes and aspirations. I’d like to say that getting anyone to buy or even read my work is enough, but that would be a lie. I’m not like those people who ask “Why does it always have to be about money, can’t you just be happy with the act of creation? You should be lucky that anyone has read your work, let alone paid for it.” Well, the answer to that question is, uh, the fucking world runs on money, and you need it to literally live.
Don’t get me wrong, I do write to be read, to make people happy, but I also need to make a living.
And for a long time, I actually was largely okay with making a living. That alone put me in probably the top 5% of every indie author who took a shot at writing as a job. Again, I was, and still am, extremely grateful that there are enough people out there who like me and my work that I can make this my job.
But since the beginning, I have had that vague idea of making a lot of money from writing. Like real money, you know? I don’t think I’ll ever be a millionaire. The idea still seems ridiculous to me. But then I finally began to achieve REAL success, making life-changing money. And you know what? I was able to actually do shit with that money. I gave my mom some money to help out with bills, I helped my friends out with some of their problems, I actually put money into a savings account, I was able to leave great tips.
To be honest, I’d make a lousy ‘conventional’ rich person. I don’t want a mansion, or even a really big house. I don’t want a new car that costs 50 grand. I don’t care about drugs. I’m not much of a vacation person. Obviously I’d like to have money to buy nicer things, but I also would love to be able to legitimately help people who need it, and life has proven to me time and again that by far the most effective way to help people is with money.
The amount of money I was making in April and May meant that I could do that.
In the months since the whole catastrophe, I’ve had a lot to think about, and this was the conclusion that I came to: I will never again achieve the level of success I saw without the Kindle Unlimited. Because of this, I am functionally living without the same hope that I used to have. As I said before, I was, and to a degree still am, thrilled to be making a living doing this. But there was always that sort of ‘real success is out there somewhere over the horizon if I just keep trying long and hard enough’ feeling to my life.
That’s gone now.
So my choices became these:
Stay out of the KU and settle for the fact that I’ve basically peaked, and this is as good as it’s going to get for the rest of my life. Sure, I might see some more success after many more years of plugging away, but that might feels far, far more diminished now, because Amazon clearly favors those in the KU. I think they even go so far as to not just give those in the KU preferential treatment, but actually suppress those who aren’t in it.
Go in the Kindle Unlimited, probably begin to see genuine success again, and live under a lot more stress because I am effectively playing Russian Roulette with my career. I still don’t trust Amazon. After what happened in May, I probably never will again. What happened before could happen again, and this time I might get terminated. But I might not. Maybe they actually changed some stuff in the backend, or maybe they’re actually trying to clean up, even a little. Or maybe what I’ve heard, that accounts don’t get terminated without a real human being getting involved.
So basically, I have to choose whether or not to live with hope. Hope is important. Making progress, achieving goals, doing things, these are all integral components to the human condition and to getting any kind of real satisfaction out of life.
I’d like to take a moment to say I don’t think I deserve massive success, or any success really. I’m more pointing out that clearly I’m capable of it (…if I get lucky enough…). I try to take ‘deserve’ out of the equation for my own life. I have a pretty low opinion of myself, and spent a long time feeling like a failure. I still do. But having actual, genuine facts that prove that I can actually succeed at writing has helped somewhat.
That’s my more personal reason I’m doing it, but I have another, probably bigger reason, and that is: the fans.
I received several messages from people telling me they wouldn’t be able to afford my titles unless they got them through the Kindle Unlimited. That was pretty unhappy news. I want to be available to people, and I definitely do want people to be able to read me. And being in the KU means that a shitload more people will be able to.
Sorry if this kind of rambling.
There are the reasons: I want more people to be able to read my work and I want to live my life at least thinking that it’s still trending gradually upwards…not down, and I want to help people.
So let’s get into the more practical side of things.
Part of the Kindle Unlimited deal is that any titles enrolled in the KU must be exclusive to Amazon. Which obviously means I won’t be able to publish them on any of the other platforms, nor will I be able to utilize my Patreon as I have been. So I’ll just say it here and now: If you are a 10$ Patron, you should either lower or remove the donation, since that tier will not be useful for much longer.
Now, as for how I plan on actually handling this whole thing.
I will be slowly reintroducing myself into the Kindle Unlimited. Paranormal Passions, when it releases on the 15th, will be uploaded to the KU. I’m doing this because I’m paranoid. While I still don’t have any real idea why I was threatened, I do think that some of it probably had to do with the INSANE success I was suddenly seeing. It probably didn’t look legit, even though stuff like this does happen legitimately.
(Seriously, Amazon is punishing authors for being successful? This whole thing is still goddamned ridiculous.)
Going forward, all new releases will be placed in the KU. And I’ll occasionally slip another of my already-published ones in, probably with a prioritization on Demoness, given that’s my flagship franchise.
That’s about it. Please, wish me luck. I’m playing Russian Roulette now.
If you have any questions at all, please ask. Either in the comments or send me an email. I will respond.
And to my fans, and readers, and supporters, seriously thank you. I obviously need to make a living and pay my bills, but having people actually read and even enjoy what I write is its own reward, and a massive one. I hope through my writing that I’ve helped you in some way, even if it’s just to pass the time, because you all have helped me in ways beyond measure.