The Indie Author Kindle Unlimited Debate


I bring an issue to the table today, the ongoing debate of Kindle Unlimited’s affect on indie authors.

Indie Authors & Kindle Unlimited 

In Jul 2014, after a few months of speculation, Amazon announced Kindle Unlimited, allowing people to borrow as many books as they choose for a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. Indie authors quickly got skeptical.

Kindle Unlimited features over 700,000 books for subscribers to borrow. Although bestsellers and well-known books are featured in the commercials and advertisements, 85 percent of the books in KU are by self-published authors.

To be in Kindle Unlimited, a self-published author has to enroll in Kindle Select, and have their e-books remain exclusive to Amazon. In the trade-off for being exclusive, authors have access to 5 free promotional days and time-bound promotional discounting during the 90 day contract period.

Jane Friedman wrote a great blog post on the skepticism behind Kindle Unlimited.

Traditionally published e-books are paid the same amount as a sale while indie authors get paid through the Kindle Select Global Fund. When a person borrowing a book gets to the 10% read mark, the author gets paid.

What’s the pay rate?’s kinda vague and unpredictable. The global fund varies from time to time and pay rates are released on a monthly basis. In the first three months of Kindle Unlimited the pay rate averaged $1.62. Is this proper compensation? Authors getting paid $1.62 for their novel?

Let’s examine the price points for indie/self-published books. The majority are priced at $2.99 and $3.99. Publishing through Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and with the author royalty rates at 70%, an indie author would be able to take away $2.09 and $2.79 on a $2.99 and $3,99 priced e-book, respectively.

So the pay rate is higher if an indie author is not enrolled in Kindle Unlimited but…an author wouldn’t get the promotional benefits provided by Amazon.

It’s a tricky issue about whether indie authors should enroll in Kindle Select and be part of Kindle Unlimited. Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, talked about how authors who go exclusive with Amazon become more dependent (rather than independent) of Amazon.

Coker’s statement is something of note, considering many authors are focused on growing an audience and readership for their book(s). Is remaining exclusive to Amazon helpful or hurtful to authors? Is remaining exclusive to Amazon beneficial or hurtful in the short or long run?

It’s the author’s choice to decide.

Goals for 2015

I'm the tall one...
I’m the tall one…

The college graduate feeling has officially kicked in.

Being a December graduate has been weird. Since graduating nearly three weeks ago, I’ve been under the thinking that “Oh, I’m just on break. I’ll be going back for classes come mid-January.” Wrong.

I’m finally out in the real world, with no job lined up yet, and it’s both hugely exciting and hugely terrifying. I have a mixture of emotions but I’m ready for this new part of my life. A few job applications have managed to get completed and sent out but I had to constantly remind myself to enjoy this period. This period of free time, unemployment, and job hunting stress. I’ll never get this amount of time again until I retire, so I better enjoy it while it lasts (although I seriously hope it doesn’t last too long, bills gotta be paid, amiright?).

With 2015 now upon us, I have a few goals I want to achieve this year. New Year’s resolutions have gotten a bad reputation due to most people failing to achieve theirs. The usual sayings go: You don’t need a new year to decide to do something new. You can go after opportunities any time of the year. New Year’s resolutions are stupid!

Well…yeah, I agree with all those points. At the same time though, it’s still great to set New Year’s resolutions as long as the resolutions  are realistic, measurable, and you know the goal you want to achieve with them. 

Another reason for starting my new year’s resolutions now is because the the time constraints of college are behind me. Granted, I will soon have the time constraints of a full-time job,  a job has a more structured time block than college and it’s endless required essays, assignments and quizzes that take longer than expected.

Below are my goals for the new year:

Learn more graphic design

I’m not quite sure the specialties of graphic design I would like to learn more about design theory, logo design, web design, e-book cover design, and illustration.

For the past week, I’ve been putting together a “syllabus” for my self-directed learning of graphic design. I’m investing in some hardcopy material including The Design of Everyday Things, Logo Design Love, and You Can Draw in 30 Days.

To create a measurable aspect to learning, I’ve outlined some things I want to accomplish:

  • 3 typography sketches per week, every week
  • 3 graphic design projects per week, every week (retouching a photo, doing an exercise in Illustrator, the project can be anything but it has to involve working in Photoshop, Illustrator and/or InDesign)
  • Design one website/blog per month

Publish my first novel 

I’ve been working on a novel for nearly two years. I’m editing it and feel confident in it. This year, I will set out to self-publish it and build readership for the book. The release date will be sometime this spring, no set day yet.

Ahead of the release, once I get the manuscript back from my editor, is to share excerpts and quotes from the novel. I want to build excitement for it!!

This is my biggest goal for 2015 so for the first few months of this year, I’ll be spending a majority of my free time on it.

Go to the freaking gym already

I signed up for a planet fitness membership in August 2014 and started going there. It’s been great and I’ve made progress but I haven’t been consistent. I would go to the gym five days one week, two the next, you get the gist.

My goal for 2015 is to maintain a routine of going to the gym five days a week. Exercising gives me a better outlook and attitude on things. It makes me feel great. I want more of that feeling so I’m going to better my gym visiting habits this year.


Hope everyone’s new year is filled with insightful conversations, great connections, growing friendship, and full of learning. Here’s to the new year!