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3 Things Behind An Author's Overnight Success

Reading Time: 
2 min 2 sec

by M LeMont

So what's all the fuss?  Authors are in an uproar over Amazon's new pay-per-page-pay out. It's called Kindle Edition Normalized Pages. (KENP) Authors will be paid by the number of pages read on borrowed books instead of downloads.  

But there are three things that you should know.

1. The new authors pay-out applies to books of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited customers who pay $9.95 a month to read an unlimited number of books.  And Kindle Owners Lending Library, Amazon Prime members who can choose one book a month with no due dates.  

Now let's delve a little deeper.  The KU and Kindle  Owners' Lending Library--both groups have privileges other retail customers don't have.  That means, KU and Koll customers are off the market.

Let me repeat that in case you didn't get it;  KU and Kindle Owners' Lending Library customers are off the market--they're not going to buy your book at retail, no matter what you do.  

It's like someone buying a subscription based Exxon gas card to fill up their car an unlimited number of times. Now you wouldn't expect them to drive over to Texaco to buy gas, would you?  Of course, not.  

Well, the same is true with Amazon privileged customers. They are not going to pay retail, even if you opt out of Kindle Select.  

I estimate that 40% of my sales in April came from borrowed books. Although the profit per book was small compared to 70% of the retail price $9.95, it was still a revenue stream that wouldn't exist if I wasn't participating.   

2.   The second thing is Amazon subscription-based program is growing in leaps and bounds. The KU & Lending Library customers are Amazon's R&D source. Through these customers Amazon can determine how many pages are being read--the true measurement whether a book or genre is really hot or not.   Downloads are not a true measurement. How many customers buy a best-seller then read less than 10% and never pick it up again?

Amazon is in the business of making money, so they are  going to recommend books to its retail customers, where  70-100% of the pages are read by its subscription based customers.


Do you really want to know why unknown authors become famous overnight?   

If you asked any successful author, they would tell you some bullshit that showed how smart they were.  It was my marketing plan, blog, interviews, book clubs, author's platform, SEO, or word of mouth. While these are contributing factors, none of them made the author famous--not, in the digital world of e-books.


Yes, it was Amazon that promoted & pushed their books behind the scenes that made an unknown author an overnight sensation.

Amazon is the Social Media Influencer, Digital Book Promoter, and the Market Maven rolled into one. They have their own ecosystem and are not dependent on outside markets--they are the market.   

For example, author EL James--Fifty Shades of Grey; the book set idle on her website for a year with no fanfare and then on Amazon for another two years.  There were also John Lock and Amanda Hocking with similar stories; all became overnight sensations because Amazon knew how many pages were being read by its R&D--subscription based customers. Amazon pushed these books to its retail customers, through it's marketing channels and ecosystem.  The BDSM, Vampire, Romance, Fantasy categories became red hot.

3.  The Tipping Point--Amazon is on the cutting edge of technology and change. When you look below the surface, things just tipped.  The best-selling books will no longer be the top selling books based on sales. And it's very likely that algorithms will affect sales & page rankings.   The books with more read pages would be heavily weighted. And let's not forget about the Kindle Unlimited customers who can download and umlimited number of books every month.

Here's a comment from a KU subscriber. "OMG!  I'm on the Kindle Unlimited plan. I've downloaded so many books, I don't know which ones I should read first."  

There will be a wash-out of the old and in with the new.  A new generation of authors will emerge, focused on giving customers a fresh reading experience. The Tipping Point is about to occur.


Now is the time to position yourself and write  a book that's a page turner.  Amazon will push the books where the pages are read the most, and make them best-sellers. They can make a genre like BDSM red hot.   

In the past, the winning formula was 95% marketing and 5% "good" book.  But now, you market to win Amazon's favor. In reality, it has always been 100% Amazon, we just didn't look deep enough to see it.

Make every second count. This is your moment for life!   

Are you opting out of  Kindle Select program? Please let me know by saying "I'm Out" or "I'm In."  Make your comment on Twitter @mistersalesman.


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