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What The KU Changes Mean For You (And Your Porn)

Kindle Unlimited will be undergoing a big change next month, overhauling the way that authors get paid and forcing many of us to get in touch with our inner starving-1940s-pulp writer.

Under the old system, KU paid out of the collective pot whenever a book was read up to 20% of the way through. This counted as a ‘borrow’ and meant Amazon would have to reach into their moth infested pockets to the tune of round about $1.30 or whatever that month’s KU rate was.

It didn’t matter if the book in question was a full length novel or a 4000 word long short story about some girls who mysteriously grew dicks after eating gas station hot dogs or drinking weird punch. If the reader got up to 20%, it counted as a borrow.

You can see how the novelists were getting the shaft from this system. Even more than the boyfriends of the girls who ate the gas station hotdogs, although almost certainly a lot less pleasurable.

Now, don’t start thinking that Amazon’s overhaul of the system has anything to do with their love of the long form novel. This is Amazon we’re talking about. They love only money and were getting pretty pissed off at having to pay out the standard borrow rate every time someone waded through the bloated front matter of a ropey porn book only to find that it was illiterate garbage.

Under the new system the author will be paid per page read. Nobody knows precisely what the rate per page will be yet, but there will also be new software in place to catch out authors who attempt to stuff their frontmatter (copyright pages, acknowledgements, etc) and also compute a standard number of words per page. So if you have one of those pages that spill a sentence into the next, no matter how you format the thing, you probably won’t be getting paid for that.

Admittedly I have more than one horse in this race. I mostly write novels, although I have been known to amuse myself with 7000 words of tentacle porn or werestrippers from time to time. On one hand I’m pleased that I might see some more money from KU on account of my longer works, but on the other hand I’m kind of sad that I can no longer make fast, dirty money from alien dickgirl threeways.

Does longer mean better?

Good lord, no. For reference, Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged weighs in a whopping 645,000 words, while The Great Gatsby is as svelte as a bright young thing of the Roaring Twenties, clocking in at roughly 47,000 words. A book should be as long as it takes to tell the story and no more.

This is not to say that you can’t spin the story of two uninteresting people having boring sex with each other out for the length of the equivalent length of Lord of the Rings and more. EL James managed it, and is now at work on her Silmarillion, if the Silmarillion was a tacky money grab composed mostly of copypasted dialogue and e-mails and constant thoughts about the main character’s penis.

Several options spring to mind for the Kindleporn writer.

1) Move into erotic romance. This will mean writing longer works, because romance readers will tar and feather you if you attempt to make them pay $2.99 for 5000 words of fucking.
2) Bundling – putting stories into collections in order to garner a bigger page count for $$$.
3) Pull out of KU altogether. Amazon will be giving authors a chance to withdraw their books from KU immediately in July, regardless of the dates of your current 90 day enrollment period.
4) Start writing filthy novels. Yes, it takes longer, but in my experience dirty novels have a far better shelf life than short smut. None of the nine or so stories I wrote last winter have made me any money this month, but I still occasionally get royalty cheques for erotica I wrote back in 2001.

It’s definitely going to be an interesting time in the next month or so; nobody is really going to know the full story of how this affects them until the 15th of August, when July’s royalty statements roll around. To all of those authors who are panicking because they think the Kindleporn goldrush is over, it probably is, in a way . I think the series format and short form erotica are pretty much dead in the water, but remember – self publishers have a huge advantage in this respect. We can respond faster to changes in the market than publishing firms.

Change can be a good thing. It’s all about how you react to it, how you work with it. You’ve got to turn and face the strange.

And then maybe offer it a gas station hotdog. Just to see what happens.

Anna Roberts’ latest novel, A Box Full of Ashes is now available on Amazon.com and through Kindle Unlimited. It doesn’t contain gas station hotdogs though. Sorry about that.

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Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter Fourteen – “I didn’t know I could dream sex.”

Quick reminder – this is your last chance to grab a free copy of Held before the offer ends tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has reviewed so far – I’ve been genuinely touched by the Amazon and Goodreads reviews for this book. It’s like everyone gets what I was trying to do, which is one of the best feelings in the world for a writer. Thank you.

Anyway, onto less fun things. Ever been hit in the clit with a riding crop? No, me neither.  Continue reading

Free e-book! Held: A New Adult Romance

I am currently doing a free run for Held: A New Adult Romance on Amazon. This will run all this week, so if you want to grab a free copy, now’s the time to do so!

The main reason for the free run is reviews. I’ve had some lovely star ratings on Goodreads (thank you!)but I’m really hoping this free run will deliver some Amazon reviews.

It’s a busy, busy digital marketplace out there – we all know that. Particularly when it comes to fast-moving genres like romance. And I think you’d be forgiven for thinking that all recommendations these days are digital – take one look at Amazon and your ‘also boughts’ and you’re looking at the most sophisticated recommendation engine in e-commerce. There’s a reason they’re the market leader.

So – say you’re browsing, right? You look at the books Amazon has recommended based on your previous choices. What’s the first thing you look at?

I know what I look at first – reviews. Is it weird to read the one star reviews first? Because I always do that. But even from the bad reviews, I begin to get a real idea of what I’m thinking of buying. Even as deep in the digital age as we are, I still believe there’s a place for good old fashioned word-of-mouth – it remains the most effective way for people to decide if they want to buy a book.

This is essentially why I’m doing this free-run this week – your opinions really do matter. There’s no substitute for them, for that wild, open, lively back and forth that has become so effortless to us online. You can’t beat that human touch, especially when you’re talking about stories – things that by their very essence are designed to move us in some way. This is why fiction itself is older than even the written word. It’s about feelings, about emotions and opinions – and not even Amazon’s astonishing engine can provide a substitute for that.

Although they are probably working on it.

Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter Ten – Out To Lunch At The Roadkill Grill

Happy New Year, people. I hope you have a happy, healthy and wealthy one. And what better way to celebrate the beginning of a shiny new year by plunging back into one of the dullest books in human history? Well, I can think of a bunch of better ways, but I’ve committed to this garbage and I like to see things through. Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter Eight – Let’s Do It!

I seem to have come down with a terrible cold just in time for Christmas, leaving my head too fuzzy for any other kind of writing. So I’ve been writing Fifty Shades recaps in between doses of cold medicine and the usual Christmas cooking. It’s fun cooking with a stinking cold – you can never be sure if anything tastes the way it should. It’s possible I may have made the world’s most alcoholic vanilla cream custard; I couldn’t be sure if it really tasted of Marsala or needed more.

Anyway – another Christmas, another recap. You’ll be thrilled to bits to discover that after seven chapters of soul-searing boredom, Ana and Christian are finally about to do all the filthy stuff that made these terrible books so notorious.

Sort of.

Okay, not really.

You can’t expect these people to be interesting lovers. They’re dull enough when they have all their clothes on. Beat me on the bottom with a Woman’s Weekly

Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter Seven – Say Cheese!

A short recap today – if only all the chapters in this droning borefest of a book were this short. Although obviously they’d be better if they contained a whole bunch of different words. And characters we could stand. And a plot.

Sadly we’re stuck with the ones we have here, but remember – Fifty Shades of Neigh is still only 0.99 in the Kindle store. You can get a whole bunch of different words (approximately 50,000 of them), sort of a plot and at least a couple of characters who don’t make you sick on sight. It wouldn’t be a faithful parody of Fifty Shades of Grey if I made the main characters too loveable, although I have to say I failed in creating a male lead who was even more repulsive than the original. Christian Grey sets the bar pretty high (or low).

Still, at least in my version there’s a hot Mexican transvestite to take the edge off. (‘hot Mexican transvestite’ – coming soon to weird search engine results for this blog) Continue reading

Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter Four – Fifty Shades Drunker

Hello once again. Just a quick reminder before we get onto the recap – my pseud’s new novel Held: A New Adult Romance is currently only 0.99 in the Kindle store, so please pass the link on to all of your book bargain-hunting friends. I know price is a big consideration for people who read three or four books a week, which is why I refuse to believe that 0.99 e-books are dead. And why not grab one yourself while you’re at it? If you’ll hate Fifty Shades of Grey, you’ll like it – it’s a book where stalky, unpleasant and controlling men get exactly what’s coming to them.

Unlike Fifty Shades. Yikes. Strap yourselves in, boys and girls. This one’s about to get creepy.

We last left Ana – and the last few sad rags of her pitiful self-esteem – cradled in Christian Grey’s manly arms. She wants him to kiss her and he isn’t going to, mostly because he is a practitioner of really poorly researched S&M and is clearly too dark and edgy for our poor little vanilla sap of a heroine.

Avanti. Continue reading