When Amazon introduced KOL in July 2 014 – the subscription service for readers – everything changed for me. From September 2014 when the first payment of the July KOL royalties arrived in my bank, my income doubled. Then last year's Christmas novella, Christmas at Hartfield Hall, took off and became a bestseller and gained me three lots of author bonus payments.
This amazing increase in royalties continued until April (which was February's royalties)and then began to tail off and for a while I was worried that my writing career was on a downward slope.
Then I realised this surge of borrowing was because the scheme was newly introduced and once everyone who'd joined had read my books, things had returned to normal.
There are over 1 million people in the scheme and the majority signed up when it started. I doubt that there will ever be that sort of explosion again – which is a shame as it gave me a fantastic boost in income.
That said, my income hasn't fallen below what it was before the scheme began – in fact it is slightly higher.
There are still indie writers who sell a substantial amount of books without being in the KOL system,but I think they are in the minority. For me everything is now different. I have literally hundreds of thousands of pages read every month, but am lucky to get three or four hundred sales when I used to have three or four thousand. I think that my readers have all moved to the library scheme.
My mainstream historical titles still sell a pleasing amount every month so I must assume that these readers are not in KOL and prefer to buy books.
There are a finite number of readers and a growing number of writers – someone told me that there are 3000 titles published in the UK every week. That's a staggering number and we are all competing for sales in the the same pool of readers. Indie writers can actually be maintaining their author and sales rankings whilst their slice of the sales-pie is now smaller than it was.
I shall continue to write to the best of my ability and publish seven or eight new titles every year in the hope that this keeps my market share stable even if it is no longer rising.
Fenella J Miller