Thanks for reading my books. If you’ve been reading my stories for a while, you know that I’m an indie author who likes to foster one-on-one connections with all my readers. I write all the emails and social media posts that come from my account, and if you send me an email through my website, you’ll get a response from me. Not an assistant. Not a publisher. It’s all 100 percent me.
I came from the startup world, and I’ve tried to run my business like a startup: I move fast, I’m always trying new things, and because I’m small, I can keep my hand in every aspect of my business. I live my life on my own terms. I do not rely on gatekeepers. I do not kowtow to publishers. I hire my own editors and cover designers. I am free, independent author.
At least, that’s how I think of myself. But the truth of the matter is that if you write books in the digital age, you depend on Amazon — at least a little bit.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love Amazon. Amazon is great for the consumer, and it is the company that allowed me to become a full-time author. I am grateful to Amazon. The tools they have created for indies like me have changed the entire publishing landscape for the better. At least I think so.
The Cost of Being Retailer Independent
But from 2015 to 2018, I made an effort to keep my books retailer-independent. I made The Defectors Trilogy and The Fringe available everywhere: Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Google. Kindle Unlimited (Netflix for books) arrived in July 2014, but I didn’t realize its impact until months after I’d left the program.
Kindle Unlimited was a game-changer. It changed the way readers consumed books, and it changed the way authors got paid. Instead of getting a straight 35-percent cut of a $0.99 book or a 70-percent cut of a $2.99-$3.99 e-book, authors were getting paid based on book borrows. Then Amazon changed the game. Instead of straight borrows, authors would be compensated based on pages read in Kindle Unlimited (often less than half a cent per page). Readers were still buying e-books, but those who had Kindle Unlimited often limited their book choices to titles available in KU.
The problem? I couldn’t participate in the program without being exclusive to Amazon, but soon the cost of not participating (and being exclusive) became too high. I knew I couldn’t continue to make my living as an author if I didn’t put my top-selling titles back in Kindle Unlimited. (The Fringe had briefly been enrolled in the program before the series was complete.) I was losing money, and more readers were joining Kindle Unlimited all the time.
I enrolled Lawless and The Fringe in Kindle Unlimited, but it didn’t sit well with me. For one thing, I’d completely cut off Apple, Nook, and Kobo readers from my books. For another, I became reliant on Amazon for as much as 99 percent of my income. This is a dangerous situation for any author because it means that if Amazon ever changed their royalty rate my income would plummet overnight. (As it is, the KU page rate changes every month.)
So I started thinking. I wanted to find a way for readers to buy my books from me directly, but I did not want the hassle of collecting online payments and delivering the e-books to readers’ devices. It needed to be easy for readers, and it needed to give them something extra in return.
Patreon: A Match Made in Heaven
Another author I knew had started a campaign on Patreon. Basically, she allowed her readers to pay her per creation, meaning that they’d only be charged when she released a new book. They received the book a week before it went live on Amazon, and it allowed her to skirt Amazon’s pesky exclusivity agreement.
I decided to do the same thing. Now I release a special edition of each book to my Patreon Insiders a week early. That special edition usually contains some free short stories and other cool bonuses. The book is delivered via BookFunnel, which supports all major e-reading devices, including Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, etc.
If you love my books, Patreon is great for several reasons:
- You only pay when I release a new book. Never miss a new release again.
- You get cool bonuses. For Colony One, I gave my Patreon Insiders three free short stories and access to the Colony One fan portal.
- You get the book early (usually about a week before it goes live on Amazon).
- You get the book in any format you want. Read on an iPad or Nook? No problem. BookFunnel supports those, too. Plus, you own the book. You’re not “borrowing” it from Kindle Unlimited.
- You get to support me directly. I pocket about 90 percent of the profits generated by Patreon (rather than the 35-70 percent I keep from Amazon).
If you’d like to become a Patreon Insider, you can sign up on my page. For your convenience, I have four different tiers so that you can tailor your pledge to your needs:
- $1 – Happy Fan: Short stories/bonus content ONLY (no e-book)
- $4 – Lifelong Fan: E-book (delivered via BookFunnel), short stories, plus any other digital bonuses.
- $25 – Super Fan: SIGNED PRINT COPY (delivered via snail mail a few weeks after the digital launch), e-book (delivered via BookFunnel), short stories and digital bonuses. This option is only available in the U.S.
- $50 – International Fan: Same as Super Fan tier, but for my readers outside the U.S.
So what are you waiting for? Join my Campaign of Independence. Subscribe on Patreon, and never miss a new release again!