Alright, I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before about discussing wide vs KU. You can see how I went from being in Kindle Unlimited to going wide later on. There’s a few reasons for that, we’ll discuss the reasons and what data we can extract from this.
Hidden Wishes was written as more an urban fantasy Gamelit work, so I kept that in the back of my mind while writing it. What that meant was that each book is between 60-70k in words, a general average for most urban fantasy.
That’s great, but it also means that page reads (in this case, KENP which is the important part) is only around 310 or 312. Now, assuming a KENP payout of on average $0.0042 per page, that means each read works out to $1.30 or so for each finished book.
Now, compare that to what I get for each sale at $3.99 and 70% which is around $2.70 (assuming $0.10 delivery rate which is high, but whatever). So, we’d basically have to sell twice the number of KU books to make back the cost of 1 normal sale.
Keep that in mind for the next portion.
Kindle Unlimited Readthroughs
The KU readthroughs for Squire’s Wish are even worse than our sale read-throughs. From 4706 Book 1 to 1416 for Book 2. That’s 30.1% compared to sales read-through of 43.45%. Now, obviously those numbers have gone up because KU is no longer an option, but the 30% readthrough is horrendous however you look at it.
Still, 1416 KU sales are roughly worth 700 ‘normal’ sales, so that’s what I’d have to hopefully recover if I take the entire thing out.
Switching from KU to Wide – Increased Profitability
Now, let’s take a look at what happened in the first few months of launch for book 2. I sold a total of 1358 books, with 353 of them being direct sales, leaving 1005 KU books.
For book 3 launch, in the first 2 months, I sold 574 books.
That’s an increase of 221 books from book 2 sales compared to the first few months. Assuming we had a 60% reduction (our general readthrough rate), that means it’s actually higher as we’d only expect (353 * 0.6 =) 212 sale readers. So, we actually see an increase of (574 – 212=) 362 sold books.
Now, assuming we saw a 60% readthrough in KU (and remember, we saw a bigger drop than that), we’d see 603 book 3 readers.
Which means, we’re actually seeing a higher read-through rate for book 3 by shifting over wide (and more profit, since 362 * 2 .08 = 752 KU books). We actually made more by the equivalent of 149 KU books (or around $194).
And that’s assuming we are seeing an equivalent rate of read-throughs, which if you remember above, we saw a lower rate for book 2.
Switching from KU to Wide – Percentage switch
So, we worked out that by switching over, we actually made more since we make more per book sold even though our total books sold / read are lower. However, there’s also another interesting statistic we can find here.
Using the 362 new books sold over what we would expect from book 2, and also using the equivalent of the 60% read-through rates of book 3 (i.e. 603 readers), we can make a guesstimate of the number of KU readers who would actually buy a book if it wasn’t in KU.
In this case, that estimate is 362/603 = 60%.
Now, that seems like a really high number, so you could also use 362 new sales divided by total book 2 readers in KU (1005) which works out to be around 36%.
Personally, I’d assume the number between the two in this case, somewhere between 30-60% of your KU readers would buy your book if you weren’t in KU.
Obviously, this has some cavaets. Book 3 is $3.99 so a higher price book might not do as well. Also, I’m looking at the first 2 months of sales (though, if you watch the numbers it does drop off significantly after those two months, so it’s not horrible, but I could extend the numbers out to see if it plays out).
Still, when people talk about how KU is all important, these are the kind of numbers and testing to show that if you’re a good writer, if you have something of interest (and again, this isn’t one of my better series); you can bring some of those KU readers with you.
Last thing, wide income. Obviously, since I went out of KU, I could get into other retailers. Now, I haven’t pushed wide very much for this series, so my wide income is extremely low ($60.68) but the option to increase it is there. And heck, as you can see above, I earn more by not being in KU than being in it, mostly due to page reads variances.
Furthermore, just so you know, my mediocre (or horrible) results wide is more to do with lack of focus and budget (I can promote Hidden Wishes with 3 books or Adventures on Brad with 6 books) than the fact that wide retailers can’t give you income. I’ve seen a significant increase in AoB by pushing it wide, which is another one where being short reads makes not being in KU better.
No single best option
The point here is that there’s no single best option. KU isn’t always the best option.
Wide worked for my short works because page reads aren’t there. Longer books though (some epic fantasies hitting 200k words) make more easily by page reads compared to sales. Many epic fantasies readers prefer to run sales at $2.99 just to get their ranks up and increase visibility, just to get themselves seen by even more KU readers.
And that’s not even including what you can do if you increase sales further in wide retailers.
As always, run your own numbers. And feel free to ask questions.
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