Stalking the Stats

I did a lot of research regarding which company to use to publish my book, and in the end, decided on Amazon’s umbrella companies, Create Space and Kindle Direct Publishing.  I found it easy to turn the words sitting on my Word document into a paperback or Kindle book, and I had no problem having my questions answered via other writers and customer support.

However, when choosing to publish via the Amazon company, I did not realize that I could receive royalties if someone reads my book for free. This is a win-win!

Okay, nothing is usually free. This is how it works. Amazon has two avenues to do this. The first is for the truly voracious reader. For $10/month, one can read an unlimited number of books and magazines using Kindle Unlimited, or for subscribers of Amazon Prime, the reader is limited to one book or magazine each month. While there are a plethora of titles to choose from, you will not find the current best seller on the “read free” list, although my family may disagree since my book can be read for free via these two services.

Not understanding this service and being new to the publishing game, I did not check the box to enroll in what is called KDP Select when my book was first published. When I finally decided to do so, while I could see that people were reading my book by means of a very cool graph (Note: I was a math major), I saw no evidence of royalties being paid to me.


Eventually, I trolled the Amazon KDP author communities and learned how to find my complete royalty report, which consisted of payments for kindle purchases, book purchases, and “free reads.” There is a formula which is used to determine the payments for the free reads, which differs each month, but it appears to be about ½ cent per page.

While not a lot, my profits for a Kindle free read is not much different than when someone buys the Kindle version. And I must admit that it’s pretty cool watching the graph tick upwards as my story is being read. I sometimes stalk my own stats.

So as a consumer, when I read someone’s book via my subscription to Amazon Prime or listen to Amazon’s streaming music, I now feel better knowing that the writer or musician is still being paid something.


About kjw616

I am a genealogy detective. I have already written one book about my Irish family's journey from 19th century Ireland to the United States- a family history sprinkled with personal anecdotes. My second book was intended to be a similar story about my Russian ancestors. Instead, it turned into a tale of just my father's immediate family. It is the tale of what happens when 6 children from New Jersey are moved to the Soviet Union by their Russian-born parents during the Great Depression. It details who lives, who dies, and who is able to return to NJ during a time when leaving the USSR was not an easy endeavor, particularly during World War II and the Cold War. It is my hope that those interested in history during this time period will find this story fascinating as well as those fellow amateur family historians who will learn some of the tools such as, visits to the National Archives, and local libraries I used to uncover this story.
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