Sunday, August 17, 2014

Adrift on the ocean of challenges, and Kindle Unlimited

Ah, where do I begin? It seems like I blogged something just last week, but it turns out that I haven't posted since July. What what? I'm sort of surprised about that, too. Sort of, but not really. I wasn't intentionally hiding away or purposely avoiding the blogosphere. Think of me as having been adrift in a yellow rubber life raft all that time. Think of me as a half drowned rat in tattered clothes, clinging to that little useless rope attached to the life raft, while violent ocean waves toss me around.

It's a fairly accurate analogy of my life right now. Actually life has been like that since right before my grandmother's funeral last month. It's getting better. Slowly. Kind of. At least, changes are happening. I guess it's too early to diagnose whether they're good changes or bad. It's probably safest to wait and see. So, while we wait and see, what have I been up to?

Well, I've been getting the family finances in order. This hasn't been a pretty process. Hubby's job is stable... for the time being. It's supposed to be stable. It's a good job and a good company, but I've learned not to trust the permanence of it despite company promises. You never know these days. You could have the most stable job in the world, and with times the way they are now, you could be presented with a layoff at any moment. So I'm taking it as it flows. Right now, the man is gainfully employed, and I am fixing all the damage a year of no work does to one's pocketbook. And credit. A year of unemployment, plus six months of being severely underemployed toppled us, and as much as I'd like it to be over quickly, it's going to take time to repair the damage done.

More goings on... I'm back in school. Well, as of this coming Monday, since that's when classes officially start. However, one of my professors has already begun assigning essays, and since I'm already organizing assignments, reading texts, and answering questions, I figure it's safe to say I'm a student again.

What else is going on? Let me think... Oh, I joined Kindle Unlimited. I joined July 18th. I realize that's hardly an event event, but still it's an interesting thing to talk about. Personally, I love the service. It might not be so good for authors, I have no idea, but for me, it's saved me a lot of money in downloads. The cost is $9.99 per month, USD. I've been keeping a spreadsheet listing all of the books I've downloaded from Unlimited, the prices of each book (had I purchased them outright), and whether or not I read a book completely or returned DNF - did not finish. To date, I've downloaded 15 books and read 14 of them (I'm currently reading Solaris, by Stanislaw Lem, which is #15). Overall, I've saved a total of $67.84.

I wasn't charged for the first month of service. Billing starts tomorrow for me, so if I were to subtract the monthly fee, I can say I've saved $57.85 on books. I'm happy with that. Very happy.

Kindle Unlimited is basically a subscription service where you can download titles (only titles marked as part of the Kindle Unlimited program), read them for free, then return them. You don't keep the books you download, and you can only hold so many books at one time. I think the limit is ten. After I signed up, about a week or so thereafter, I went into the service and kept adding books to see what would happen, what the cut off point would be. When you are maxed on books, and you attempt to download another, it prompts you to go to your management dashboard and return one of the books you already have. Easy peasy. It's stress free. You don't have to worry about going over and then being billed extra or anything like that, which is something I had worried about. I know, I know...I'm a worry wart. I can't help it.

Like I said somewhere above, I'm not sure about the pros and cons for authors, whether it would be worth it to enroll your books. I've heard that a reader must read past the 10% point for the author to be credited any royalties. I don't know what the percentage of royalties is supposed to be. I've heard it's $2.00 per download read past 10%, I've also heard it's half the purchase price of the book. I don't know. But with many of the ebooks I've downloaded, regardless of the length, most of the books skip over the cover image, the TOC, and the introduction and land you right at the beginning of the story. To see the cover you have to scroll backward to view it. It was that way before Kindle Unlimited, and most of the books I've downloaded from the service itself start you out at 8-10% anyway. So, if the 10% rule is true, I don't think most authors have anything to worry about when it comes to the 10% mark. Which seems like a fair system to me.

However, if someone downloads your book, never reads it, then returns it to make space in their library...well, that just sucks. I don't think the author gets paid when that happens. But then again, the person didn't read the copy, so I guess one way to look at it is like this: a person in a digital bookstore is browsing. While browsing, they pull your book off the shelf, wander around the store with it for a while, but in the end, they put it back. No harm done.

At any rate, I like the service. I've gotten a lot of use out of it. Bonus points that a lot of classics are Kindle Unlimited books. I'll be needing several of those while taking classes, I'm sure.

Moving along... I wouldn't say I'm on a writing hiatus necessarily, but the words are flowing much more slowly these days. I have a release coming out later in the fall, and I'm scrambling to wrap up Vampyre Night for release. Also, a close friend of mine has reintroduced me to Wattpad (I joined in 2009), and I'm considering posting a story or two there for free. Nothing erotica though, since I don't feel comfortable posting it on a site that's so youth oriented, even though there are protections on the site in place. So what will I be adding there? Romancey stories, that's a possibly. Horror and sci-fi, probably. If you're on Wattpad, and you'd like to keep tabs on me there, my profile is listed here:
http://www.wattpad.com/user/CoraZane . If you'd like to get updates on when and what I'm posting at Wattpad, click the follow author button on my profile.

Last bits of news before I get on with Sunday chores... My website is down while I contemplate a new design. Also, I deleted my LinkedIn. If you were looking for me on LinkedIn and couldn't find me, I'm sorry. I deleted the page. I liked the site just fine, but the time I'm able to devote to social media is limited. Also, most of the people viewing my LinkedIn profile and sending me friend requests were marketers. I can see the value of a marketer, don't get me wrong, but five hundred of them when I'm interested in books and publishing industry related topics...well, it came across as unproductive. At the very least, it seems like my time would be better spent elsewhere. For example, Twitter and Facebook.

Over the next few months, at least through early December, I imagine my posts will be sporadic as I take on schoolwork, housework, writing work, and family life. To psyche myself up, I keep saying over and over, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this." I may look like a shipwrecked, half-drowned mouse by the end of it, but I'm soldiering on. But enough waxing poetic for now. Take care, my friends. Until next time, happy wishes!