It’s time to pivot – 2 big announcements & a heads up

written by Lee Strauss | Ginger Gold Mysteries

August 16, 2023

The title of this post reminds me of that quintessential scene in the TV show Friends – if you know it, you know it!

Change is a part of life

If you're not changing, you're not growing, right? It's cliche but true, especially in the field of publishing. Ask any author and they'll tell you the speed in which things have changed in the last ten years is enough to give you whiplash. Several times over!

Sometimes a catalyst for change is when something new and better has been developed and it just makes sense to hop on board. For instance many cottage industries sprung up over the years that make an author/publisher's work a lot easier. Vellum for formatting instead of the dreaded html coding or even the difficulties working with microsoft word; Scrivener for organizing plot and character and so much more; bookfunnel for making it safe and easy to get early copies to reviewers.

Sometimes a change comes and it's just bad for authors. The most recent debate is over AI. Though it can be a good research tool, many bogus AI written books are being published to Amazon, clogging the lists for legitimate authors.

And sometimes it's hard to know if a new thing is good or not or if things just even out in the wash. In these types of cases authors usually fall on either side of the line and do what they think is best for their business, wishing the other guys success on their side. Kindle Unlimited falls in this camp. Some authors build their whole business on this role model and others prefer to go “wide” meaning, they sell their books at many retailers, not just Amazon. If you're unaware, authors have to sell their ebooks exclusively through Amazon to participate in Kindle Unlimited.

Kindle Unlimited seems like a win/win for readers and authors. Readers can read as many books they want for a low monthly subscription, and Amazon gives the author a bit more algorhythm love and pays a little bit per pages read that can really add up.

The problem for authors here is that they are not the rule makers and Amazon can and does change the rules often. One example is Amazon is paying authors less for these pages read as time goes on. This month the payout is the lowest it's been in the US since the program started.

Another problem with being completely reliant on one retailer is they can, and do, without warning shut down an author's publishing dashboard. That is an extreme case but I'm hearing about it a lot more than I'd like. Or they might refuse to publish a single title or a series. I've had this experience in a small way with one of my audio books. You might wonder why book 16, Murder in Belgravia, a Ginger Gold Mystery, isn't for sale on audible? It's not my decision, I can tell you that. All they'll report to me is that someone made a copyright claim and nothing I have said or done will change their mind (whoever they are) that this is a false claim. This is the sixteenth book in the series with established characters, etc.

It's not my intention to pick on Amazon, it's just that it's the retailer I'm most familiar with (and I'm very grateful for the opportunities Amazon through Kindle Direct Publishing has given me as an independent author.) Some authors have issues with the other retailers as well, and I hear the Apple dashboard can be difficult.

This is a long winded lead up to the first of my two announcements.

Sorry for shouting, but I'm actually really excited about this. Many, many authors are starting to sell directly to their readers and this is a win/win! I'll be launching my store next month, so stay tuned for more information on that. In my next blog, I'll provide links to other authors I think you'll enjoy so you can see how they've set up their store. You can sign up HERE to make sure you're first to hear when my store goes live.

This leads me to the Heads Up.

I'm one of those authors who have been all-in with Amazon for a very long time. For those of you who read my books in KU, take a deep breath. I'm not pulling all of my books out. I'm not pulling any Ginger Gold books out.
I am pulling some books out. Except for the first book, the Rosa Reed series has completed its three month enrollment. My backlist books are out. My backlist books contain my young adult books, the romances and the suspense series. You can still get the Rosa Reed Mystery bundles box 2 and 3 on KU for a short time. Book 1, Murder at High Tide is also on KU for a short time. If you like young adult you can get the Clockwise Collection (the first book is available on KU through the box set, Seaweed and Love, Tink until September.

For now, the Higgins & Hawke books will stay in KU along with Ginger Gold (as I've already said, but feel it needs repeating. The exception is the intro novella, Murder on the SS Rosa, but since it's priced on Amazon for .99, I'm hoping that won't be an issue for readers).

The Rosa Reed books and the backlist books will remain in KU for a short time, so if you want to read them there, you should do it soon.

Whew. Okay, onto announcement two.

I'm going to be launching a Kickstarter campaign next month as well. But since this blog has gotten so long, I'm going to save that for a separate post. Just know it's going to be really, really cool.

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  1. I live in the UK and listen to all of your Ginger Gold books on audio and about to start the Higgins and Hawke and the Rosa Reed series. Are you going to keep with Audible? The Ginger Gold books are wonderful, with more to come. Joy!
    Thank you for all the pleasure you give, helping me through some tough times.

    Good luck and very best wishes


    1. Yes, audio will continue. I plan to run audio sales on my store once it’s up and running. So glad you’re enjoying the series!

  2. May you prosper and stay safe in this worst of wildfire seasons. One of my fave authors (Lindsay Buroker) produces and publishes her own work, including audio. She also has a tiered following on Patreon, with the perks for members relative to the tier they’re supporting. Book Funnel now also supports audiobooks. It’s win win for us readers. You may want to check out those possibilities.
    :). Laura.

    1. I will be using bookfunnel to deliver books sold on my store. I’m happy to hear when other indie authors succeed. Patreon or the like is something I’m looking at, but not sure how I’d immplement.

  3. I am sad that the last few Ginger books are not available on Audible. Could you stomp your foot about that? Love the series!!

    1. Audio books take longer to make and publish. The narrator has a schedule that I can’t rush, but we are catching up! She’s going to start on Murder in France this fall. So happy to hear you’re enjoying the series!

  4. What a headache dealing with Amazon. I’ve heard they are run by bots and that’s why you can never get real action. I’ve had the same problem with them.

    Question: I have borrowed some of your books in KU. When they are pulled from KU, will they disappear from my KU library? Just wondering if I need to hurry up and read those right away before they are gone.

    Thanks for keeping us informed and good luck with it all!

    1. It’s my understanding that if you downloaded books from KU onto your kindle they remain there until you return them, even if the book is no long in KU on the Amazon store.

  5. First, let me say I have never used KU. As a former librarian, I’m very acquisitive with my books. I want to own them so I can re-read or refer back whenever I want. This is a long preamble to my point—I don’t care how you sell your books as long as I am able to buy them. Ginger is one of my top favorite characters. I prefer mysteries and I love yours. (I also am addicted to her journal. I check too frequently to see pig there are new entries.). I will follow you to whatever platform you use. Please make it easy for us to understand how to easily download the books. By the way, I enjoyed
    the Rosa books and Haley as well. I just tend to think of Ginger first. Thank you for hours of reading enjoyment. I look forward to future books.

    1. No, the journal isn’t finished. I’ve been so busy with all these other things but I will get back to them. It is coming close to the end of the story where we catch up the prequel short story – which will be part of my kickstarter campaign, coming soon!

  6. As someone else said, I will follow you wherever you go! I completely understand your feelings about KU and Amazon, and you need to do what is best for your writing and the business of it. Lead on!

  7. Well, I certainly won’t stop reading your Ginger Gold series 16 books in, so I’ll go to whatever platform you choose. And I always pre-order and pay for Higgins & Hawke because it’s my favorite series and I want you to keep on writing it.

  8. I’ve been seeing this so much more lately. As has already been expressed I’m hoping prices are reasonable especially with Amazon’s share out authors can get more and readers will not be adversely impacted. I just wish the process of transferring from Book Funnel to Kindle was easier.

    1. I find with book funnel that it’s easiest to save the file to my computer, then email it to my kindle using the email address associated with it.

  9. Hi Lee would be really happy if your books made it to Kobo. Also my library cannot/will not buy thru amazon so possibly they will be able to get more of them now.

    1. Most will eventually be available on Kobo. I just uploaded my Romances there! Libraries buy from Ingram, and most of my books are available there.

  10. As I indicated in the chat on Facebook a few weeks ago, I read a lot of books, averaging a bit over six a week over the past few years I’ve been keeping track.

    I have not read every book you’ve written, but I have read all of Ginger Gold, almost all of Ginger’s Journal, Rosa Read, and Higgins and Hawke, and I bought, but have not yet read, the first Clockwise.
    I rely heavily on KU, but do tend to buy 99 cent books or books by authors I really want to read who are not on KU, but price their books reasonably. But I won’t pay $18.99 or even $12.99 for a Kindle book. And if I had to pay $4.99 or $5.99 for the majority of books I’m reading, I’d probably cut way back on e-books and start going back to the library. I do miss the 25 cent paperbacks I read in high school and college–stall have many in my basement that I could go back and reread.

    I’ve heard from other authors about issues like those you raise. I sympathize, and might do what you’re doing if I were an author Unfortunately, my retirement income does not rise as fast as everyone’s prices, and at 81 with mobility issues I’m not inclined to look for a job.

    I see that Sara Rosett has just announced a Kickstarter plan. She has not been in KU (at least for the books I’ve read). I’ve purchased some from a couple of her series, but only the ones that I haven’t been able to get in one form or another from Overdrive or Hoopla through my libraries.

    So, this is just my two cents worth. Do keep me informed about your Kickstarter plan, but that’s not a commitment.

    1. I completely understand the book budget! And everyone’s is different. This is why, even though some of my books will come out of KU, I’ll always make them available in libraries! If you don’t see one at your library that you want to read, you can request they bring it in.

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