kindle unlimitedFantasy author Rachel Aaron has a breakdown of the sales of her latest book on her blog, and, though long, it’s fascinating reading. While it’s worth reading (in all its 5400 word glory), there were two points which particularly interested me.

1. Fixed ranking hypothesis

I’m not sure I’m buying her hypothesis, but it’s an interesting idea, if true.

On paper, at least, I looked like a winner, and it’s my theory that because of this, I was given extra visibility by Amazon in the form of a fixed ranking. And I don’t mean fixed as in illegally fixed, I mean they stuck my rank on me with digital glue. That’s why my rank didn’t move, because it wasn’t actually my rank. It was a bonus Amazon automatically attached to a book they predicted would do well, but that hadn’t actually been out long enough to get the also-boughts and link ups that actually drive the Amazon sales engine.

Rachel has been traditionally published, and her books have performed well, so it makes sense that, if such a fixed rank exists, she would be the type of author who might receive it. Since this is one data point (and read her entire article to see how she arrived at the theory), I’m not going to go into any detail about what it all means, but it’s the sort of thing the Author Earnings guys should investigate.

Any other authors had a similar odd sticky rank? Feel free to share.

2. Kindle Unlimited

Now that the subscription service has been out for nearly three months, we’re starting to see how it affects authors and sales. Rachel made the decision to switch from wide distribution to Amazon exclusivity, and when you look at her numbers, it makes perfect sense.

Since my sales graph was already moving down after the Thirty Day Cliff, I feel I can safely say that these were sales I would not have otherwise gotten, and while $1.50 or so per borrow isn’t the $3.42 I earned from a sale, it’s better than nothing, and waaay better than the crappy 3 a day I was doing on the other vendors.


She goes on to discuss her decision as a business decision and how, as an author, she doesn’t want to turn off readers by not being on their platform of choice, but as a business owner, it doesn’t make sense to lose lots (and I mean lots) of money with that decision. I suspect many authors are taking hard looks at their numbers and deciding if Kindle Unlimited and Amazon exclusivity might not make sense. I know I am, and if I hadn’t gotten a fantastic Smashwords review in July which made a big difference in my sales that month, I would have already switched. As it is, I dither about my existing books while I’m frantically writing a book I intend to make an Amazon exclusive.

Who cursed us to live in such interesting times? 😉


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