Hugh Howey predicted KU 2.0 10 months ago

Flashback 10 months ago:

“What if it’s a fraction of a penny per page read?”

KU was broken. Many people saw it. Many people capitalized on it. Now, Amazon is fixing KU. That’s what KU 2.0 is all about.

September 5th, 2014 – An interview between authors Hugh Howey and Russel Blake discussing KU. This is a fantastic interview as a whole. But here’s some highlights that pertain to KU.

Hugh Howey Russel Blake Interview – September 5th, 2014

@1:04:00 – 1:08:00 — Hugh and Russel discuss the implications of KU (which had just started a few months prior).

Hugh Howey: “I would love to see them differentiate between short stories and novels, cause I don’t think they should be giving the same borrow rate for a 5,000 or 10,000 word short story as… <Russell interjects>”

Russell Blake: “Certainly if the pay out is the same for a 110,000 word novel and an 18,000 word serial, gee, which one am I going to invest my time in?”

Hugh Howey: “Yeah. People are going to start chopping up their work, which I think provides a worse customer experience, which is what Amazon focuses on, so… They need to do something there to protect their customer base from being inundated with short disappointing reads.”

“And I think they can do that by paying per page. What if it’s a fraction of a penny per page read? So, if you can hold them, whether its through 10 short stories or 1 novel, if you get paid per page read, now you’re talking something that makes sense.”

KU changing should not be a surprise to anyone. While KU 2.0 is not perfect, it is fixing what was broken to begin with.

FYI — People did start chopping up their work. Or dropping out of KU altogether.

What isn’t mentioned is others started heavily exploiting the fact that the payout of short works through KU was 4:1 over what it was if customers purchased the same short story. A borrow was worth more than the royalty from a sale, and often more than the cover price on these shorter works.

This includes loading the front with excessive front matter to hit the 10% threshold before a single word of story had been read, as well as splitting longer works into short, to dilute the communal pool of funds, shifting the payouts in your favor, simply by taking more slices of the pie.

It was a mathematically flawed system that favored shorter works.

Ain’t DOOMSAYING when it’s pointing out the predictable.


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About J.E. Mac

J.E. Mac worked as a screenwriter in Los Angeles. Now, he bludgeons his soul onto the page and sells it off pennies at a time. Growing up in Southern California, people often asked him where he was from. Uh, Southern California. His answer was met with a look of disappointment. “Oh…” Apparently, no one is from Southern California. In light of that response, he wanted to concoct a biography about how he was a lonesome hermit living in the wilderness of Alaska. His only company was a stiff glass of whisky, his hunting dog Conan, and a great white bear that was stalking him. (That’s not a metaphor. Polar bears, man! Polar bears!) He also wanted to say he was a New York Times Bestselling author. But that’s a pipe dream. Besides, he wanted to be himself. At a young age he toured the world sailing. (Didn’t you just say you aren’t going to make up stories?) No, this is true. He grew up sailing out of Newport Harbor. His high school was Newport Harbor High School (You probably know it better as, “Hey! That’s the school from The OC”). He competitively sailed and traveled to London and New Zealand.So far, he has had an eclectic career. From inking comics for DC, to boom operating on Felicia Day’s The Guild, to climbing masts of sailboats to install new rigging, it’s obvious there’s little he says, “No,” to. You can contact him @: Facebook: Twitter: @J_E_Mac “We can talk about books, video games, comics, you name it. I probably enjoy it.”

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