Using a pen name (“pseudonym” is the proper term) might keep your identity secret; but that doesn’t mean you won’t upset some people.
Here’s a forum where the subject of using a pen name when writing a non-fiction self-help book reveals stark differences of opinion that exist among authors.
I’ve always used my real name in my publishing projects.
I do have an old friend, though, who chose to publish under a pen name because the information he was wanting to release was in the industry he worked in at that time. Although most of his book was very generic, he did this to prevent his employer from accusing him of releasing trade secrets. (He didn’t.)
Here’s that link to the back-and-forth conversation between authors debating the reasons for and against using a pen name. Warning: some of the language can get pretty racy. Yet another clue that there are strong feelings among writers about the practice of using a pen name.
I’ve never sold many of my Kindle books in the United Kingdom; perhaps I’ll gross $10-$17 a month. But recent changes in European tax law seem to be making it even harder to earn royalties on the Amazon.uk.co website.
Here is post from Amazon on how the new VAT-inclusive pricing that kicked into effect Jan. 1, 2015 will affect readers, authors and publishers who sell e-books in countries where the company operates a Kindle Store:
On January 1, 2015, European Union (EU) tax laws regarding the taxation of digital products (including eBooks) will change: previously, Value Added Tax (VAT) was applied based on the seller’s country – as of January 1st, VAT will be applied based on the buyer’s country. As a result, starting on January 1st, KDP authors must set list prices to be inclusive of VAT.
You can read more about this on their website…
This new tax situation will effectively translate into about a 20% price hike for Kindle Book readers. In my opinion, this will hurt authors and publishers due to lost sales, and readers will have to be more choosy about the books they purchase. The VAT used to be just 3%, so the extra few pence in the UK didn’t seem to deter sales. I’m afraid that’s about to change. In December 2014, my sales of Kindle Books dropped to zero in the U.K. since this news spread across the Internet. Will this be as bad as I predicted …. or will it be worse?
Of course, the bright side of this might be that Kindle Unlimited borrowing in the UK will gain acceptance, as it allows subscribers to read as much as they can read (yes, they are limited to 10 ebooks at a time; but they can delete the ones they’ve read. It is just like checking out books from the library. You check them out, you read them, and then you take them back and check out more.)
I’ve found minor success with the Kindle Unlimited program, and I’ve renewed two of my titles through the month of February 2015 to take into account all the new Kindle e-book readers that will be given as gifts. I noticed in some of the holiday sales advertising online that 6 months of KU was being offered with some e-readers. That in itself might mean more borrow, more money, and more time for the Kindle Unlimited program to work itself out and prove it’s a long-term money-maker for authors.
Again, to get all the details about how the VAT-inclusive at Amazon.
There is a lot of worry and hand-wringing over on the Amazon Kindle Digital Publishing’s Community Forum pages the past few days, after Amazon rolled out “Kindle Unlimited.” For $9.99 a month, readers get a Netflix-like subscription to ebooks, and once they read 10% of those books, authors get a share of the Amazon fund (like KDP Select). Up until now, payouts have hovered between $1.80 and $2.50 for borrows; no one knows what the payouts will be for KU.
Here’s what indie authors are saying about it: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/thread.jspa?threadID=198609&tstart=0 (You probably need to be logged into your Amazon KDP account to read it…)
But I think it’s worth giving this new service a go with my latest book: “How To Make Easy Cash With Old Magazines: Make Money Finding, Listing & Selling Used and Vintage Magazines In Your Spare Time!” I’ll use it as an experiment. It launched early June, and since then has sold only a handful of books (1 of the orders turned into a return…). It’s got decent reviews, and it dovetails nicely with my original book on selling used books online; my hope is that readers of this title will be curious to learn more (and order) that book… which I’ve prominently promoted on the end-of-book pages of “Easy Cash.”
Day after I signed up for the 90-day exclusive with KDP & KU (you get ’em both when you sign up), I noticed a different layout on that book’s sales page. Here is a screenshot with my circles noting the promo of KU:
This test will run through October. I’ll report on the results as time goes along, to share my experience and my thoughts if KU gives self-published authors a new way to promote their Kindle books online, or if it represents a threat to author income in the long run.
On Aug. 14th I viewed KU borrow revenue at approx. $1.80 each, far ahead of what I was expecting. I figure Amazon knew it needed to sweeten the pot and boost the royalties authors received to give this program a chance to build momentum. I estimate September reports will show a slightly lower payment per download; I’ll guess $1.40-$1.50 each.
Yep. The KU revenue dropped to $1.54 per borrow, just a smidge above where I guessed it would land. The funny thing for me, though, is that even this falling per-borrow income is adding on nicely to my monthly royalties. In fact, I took the plunge and added my ebook on selling used books online, and the borrows have outpaced sales. I went ahead and boost the selling price to $3.99. I had about the same number of sales, but a higher margin. Interestingly, the ebook also saw sales increase in the UK Kindle Store, which Amazon just announced would also be featuring the KU Unlimited program this month.
The September KU per-borrow rate may rise, or it may fall from $1.54. I’d predict that Amazon would once more add money to the fund to help maintain a rate closer to $1.80 – $2.00, if for no other reason than to keep author’s ebooks in the KDP Select Program through the busy 4th Quarter. The two books I have in the program will earn me enough extra cash to keep me happy they are available in Kindle Unlimited. For now.
Amazon is now boasting that the Kindle Unlimited program features 700,000 Kindle books subscribers can read for free. Within a few months I believe the program will either be branded a complete success or belittled as a complete failure. Time will tell.
October 2014 update: It’s almost the end of October now, and I’ve noticed a slowdown of KU borrows. The September KU royalty stayed constant at $1.52 for U.S. ebook borrows, while the newly-launched UK KU (yes, KU has landed in the U.K., and it makes a delicious — although not very profitable addition to my income stream yet –palindrom) earns but $1.27 per borrow. Some authors are complaining that the KU borrows are lowering their sales revenue; this seems to be happening to my income, also. However, it seems that it all comes out right in the wash, as total revenue has stayed constant. Those complaining authors are likely taking their titles out of KU when their current 90-day exclusivity agreements expire. Will this bode well for the future of KU? Still, the answer remains: time will tell.
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