Are We In The Twilight of Kindle Unlimited

Are We In The Twilight of Kindle Unlimited

If you're an avid reader or an author hoping to launch your self-publishing career, you're likely familiar with Amazon's Kindle Unlimited has been in your radar for quite some time. 

For those who ain’t in the know, Kindle Unlimited is a subscription program where readers get “unlimited” access to a vast library of e-books that they can read on their Kindles or other devices for just $9.99 a month. Unlimited is in quotations because it’s not truly unlimited. There are a limited number of books you can have on your account. But for many readers, Kindle Unlimited has been a game-changer, opening them up to new authors and genres, allowing them to read as much as they want without breaking the bank. For authors, too, it has presented an opportunity to get their work seen by a wider audience. Its been sold as a way to build a dedicated readership as a new author, and can help you maintain a steady income as your career grows.

But is this all about to change?

Well, it seems that fuckery is afoot in the world of Kindle Unlimited, and it's not just the latest dark romance or monster romance craze. 

At first glance, it seems as if the bots have broken Amazon. If you've taken a peek at Amazon's top 100 charts you might have noticed that the selection seems a little... maniacal. Out of the top 100, a whopping 81 titles are listed as being in Kindle Unlimited, which means that they can only be read by KU subscribers. And that's not even the craziest part. Many of the books listed are categorized as "Cycling,” "Christian Social Issues,” or “Camping & RVs.” Not exactly genres that you'd associate with contemporary romance. It's clear that the system is being gamed, but should we be concerned?

One factor at play is Amazon's algorithm. The company's algorithm has always been notoriously opaque. We know that it takes into account various factors like reviews, sales, and author rank (which is determined based on borrows through Kindle Unlimited), but beyond that, it's anyone's guess. For the past few years, some scammy authors have been playing a game of sorts, churning out books as quickly as possible and then using various tricks of the trade, like "stuffing" (adding useless content to e-books to make them appear longer), to manipulate the algorithm and get their books to show up higher in search results and bestseller lists.

Another factor is the changing landscape of the e-book market. During the COVID lockdown, e-book sales soared. But as physical bookstores start to reopen and readers seek out more varied content, some argue that with ChatGPT listed as author or co-author of 200 e-books on Amazon Kindle back in February of this year. this race to the bottom was predicted as a sign that self-publishing is coming to an end. In that context, the saturation of the Kindle Unlimited market with low-quality, barely related content may be a sign that the platform has reached the point of no return.

But is the end nigh for Kindle Unlimited? That remains to be seen. Amazon has made some small changes to the system in recent months, such as requiring KU authors to provide more detailed table of contents in their books, which could be a sign that they're cracking down on stuffing again. On the other hand, the company has also been known to make sudden, sweeping changes to its policies without much warning. Policies that harm honest, hardworking indie authors more than anyone else. However, it's entirely possible that the system will continue on as it always has.

That’s not to say that I’m totally discrediting a Kindle Unlimited author business model. I think, like always, it’s time to be smart about how you approach it. 

How to Launch Your Romance Author Career Using Kindle Unlimited in 2023

With so many writers vying for the attention this voracious group of readers, how can you stand out? Here’s how you could to launch your career using Kindle Unlimited in 2023.

1. Have goals: Before you start publishing on Kindle Unlimited, you need to set clear goals for yourself. What do you want to achieve with your writing? Are you looking for a full-time career, or just an additional stream of income? Once you’ve determined your goals, you can tailor your strategy accordingly.

2. Know your ideal reader: Romance is a broad genre, and it’s essential to know your readers to get ahead. Study your reader base and determine the type of romance they enjoy reading. Once you’ve figured out your target audience, you can create more tailored content that appeals directly to them.

3. Leverage social media: Social media platforms are a great way to connect with your readers and keep them engaged. You don’t need to be everywhere all at once. You only need to choose the platforms that work best for you and share content consistently. Share teasers and sneak peeks of your upcoming work, but also be social to get your readers’ engaged and make them a part of your community.

4. Work with bookish content creators: Nowadays, one of the best things you can do for your books is to connect with a reader who knows how to sell it to other readers. Especially if you struggle with marketing and promotion. Reviews are the lifeblood of a writer, especially those starting out. Try to look for book bloggers and reviewers in your genre and offer them a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. A positive review will get more readers to read your work, increasing your visibility and your chances of becoming a best-selling author. However, remember that reviews are for reviewers. Don’t make demands. Don’t tell the type of review you will accept. Don’t get into discussions with them about their opinions of your work. Just… don’t. Reviews about your books are for readers. Not a place and a time for you to respond as if it’s a crit in your creative writing class. 

5. Remember that Amazon isn’t the only game in town: Your best bet is to treat it like a discovery platform with books that appeal to KU readers while publishing the rest of your books wide on various distribution sites (one of which should be your own website bookstore!) Short, super-tropey, high heat novellas, cozy mysteries and darker romances are a few types of stories that readers love and read voraciously. KU isn’t really the space to publish the book of your heart. Take a look at other distribution platforms like Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, Barnes & Noble … there are options out there! 

There you have it, five actionable steps to help you launch your Romance Writing career on Kindle Unlimited in 2023. Keep in mind that success takes time and dedication, and it won’t happen overnight. 

Whatever happens with Kindle Unlimited, it's clear that the world of self-publishing is in flux, but isn’t it always? One of the best things about being a self-published author is that we have the space and opportunity to be nimble in times like these. One thing to remember is that people predicted ebooks would kill physical books when, in fact, there are thriving fandoms and readers that value having physical books in their hands. Think of ChatGPT and other forms of AI in the same way. Of course there’s gonna be a period of adjustment but everything is figureoutable. We can adjust. 

The above tips will serve you no matter which distribution platform you use. Change can often be a good thing, and it's possible that we could be on the cusp of a new era of self-publishing, one that offers authors more control and guarantees that readers get the books they want! Only time will tell.

* * * * *

In the meantime, here are some KU titles from fellow Wordmakers:

Fumble Recovery: A second chance sports romance (Endless Knight Book 1) by Rae Shawn

Alvin Knight was more focused on his career as the star running back for New Orleans, than the girl he claimed to love. His drastic mistake cost him Alani Reese's heart and winning her back will be harder than any game he faces in the NFL. 

Alani has been avoiding her famous ex for more than a year, but her newest interior design project has brought her face-to-face with the one person she hoped she’d never have to see again.

With the end of his sophomore season fast approaching, Alvin has set his sights on the girl he left on the sidelines, but she's not ready to trust him with her heart again. He'll do whatever it takes for another chance with Alani, because love could be the fumble recovery of a lifetime...

Something More: A Classmates to Lovers novella by Lee Stevens

Two College Friends. One Night.

Deidra Young is fresh off a divorce and avoiding her family. Between work, the divorce, and juggling single mom life, she needs a moment to figure out what comes next. What she didn’t expect was running into Big Head, an old college classmate who definitely grew up.

Kwame “Big Head” Mitchell has a lot going for him, except in the love department. His family is on him to settle down but his company is his life. Then Dee struts into the hotel lobby where he’s staying. Seeing her sparks a glimpse at a different kind of life.

For one night, Deidra and Kwame get reacquainted, let their guards down, and maybe open the door to something more.


Ill-Fated Mate: A Steamy Monster Romance (Gods of Old Book 1) by Jordan Monroe

A cursed god...

Cursed to remain locked in his mountain hold until his soul’s mate frees him, Zcerneboch, God of Ill Fate, has forsaken all hope of ever finding that soul. After waiting for 2,500 years, he believes he has finally found her. Unfortunately, he can't convince her their souls are bound without leaving the mountain prison.

A skeptical mortal…

When folklore student Diana Antonov finds her name carved in strange runes on a German mountainside, she has to investigate them. She never dreamed she'd find an eight-foot tall, winged creature with golden eyes declaring that not only is he a god, but she is his eternal soulmate. She should run, but the chance to discover the truth behind the myth is too enticing.

An impossible task…

To break the curse, he must persuade Diana to open her soul to him, but the more he learns about her, the more he finds himself falling under her spell. And this woman deserves so much more than a monster...

She is Me by Jessica Terry

Tonette liked her life as an elementary school teacher, though most usually considered it boring. Deciding that her vacation to Barbados would be her chance to step outside of herself and let loose, free-spirited 'Toni' was born.

She figured it was harmless to adopt a new vacation persona. Fun and adventure were the only things on her agenda, after all. But she didn't count on falling for sexy islander Troy. Or worse, him falling for her alter ego.

Once her vacation was over, though, she never expected to see Troy again. But when he shows up at her door in Atlanta, she pretends to be Toni's twin, kicking off a new wave of lies and deception.

Things begin to unravel as Tonette falls deeper into her charade. And if she doesn't fix things, she could lose Troy and everything she didn't even realize she wanted for good.

A Fae's Two Alphas by Jem Zero

Bennett Chiston is fed up.

After eight years with his fae father in Faerie, being trapped in a small Northern Michigan town with his controlling human mother is pure agony. Magic defined Bennett—it affirmed his identity as a trans man and allowed him true freedom.

Too bad Bennett's father stole his magic and kicked him out of Faerie with zero explanation.

Desperate to return, Bennett hunts down Callum Truett, a reclusive magewolf alpha who may be able to restore Bennett's magic. He doesn't expect his long-lost childhood best friend Jesse Chen, another alpha wolf shifter, to barge in during the meeting. The tension between the two alphas is impossible to ignore, but it works in Bennett's favor when Jesse needles Callum into accepting the job.

As each magical experiment fails, taciturn Callum keeps Bennett grounded, while cheerful Jesse lifts his spirits. The developing three-way connection turns into powerful attraction, even forcing Jesse and Callum to confront the mutual feelings they'd denied until Bennett arrived. Together, they all fit.

Yet Bennett still can't let go of his desire to leave the mundane realm behind. Everything about it makes him miserable. Everything except Callum and Jesse.

When an opportunity to return to Faerie finally appears, Bennett is forced to choose: give up his two gorgeous alphas, or change his definition of home.

Liability: A Sapphic Romance (Farrellton Foster Family Book 3)

She was just a fantasy. . . Until she crashed into her garden and her life!

Crashing into a billionaire’s garden wall isn’t the start to Neve’s dream car restoration business she aimed for. The cost of the damage will wreck her chances of a new start, throwing her back to work she’d left behind, and a painful childhood saved only by an incredible foster mum. Then Jessica Beaumont recognises Neve from her former career as Maiden Heaven - porn star.

Jessica can’t believe it when the woman she idolised during her toughest time smashes, literally, into her controlled and secluded life. Her rich parents think Jessica’s queerness is a phase, but there’s nothing transient about her interest in Neve. Offering to invest in Neve Lee’s business is an excuse to be closer to Neve and Maiden Heaven. Knowing she’s a liability as a girlfriend, Jessica focuses on the money, and forgetting the old guilt. . .

Working together roars their lust into overdrive, but as they’re both looking to the future, a letter from Neve’s past will change everything.

- billionaire lesbian romance
- found family
- porn star/fan
- opposites attract

Pregnant by the Prince: A steamy second chance marriage of convenience royal romance (Pacific Passions Book 1) by Courtney Clark Michaels

A one-night baby...
Type-A event planner Stella Warren has known from childhood she can’t count on anyone but herself. Arriving on the tropical island of Avali, she has only one thing on her mind - giving her best friend the wedding of a lifetime. But when she throws caution to the wind and winds up in bed with her ex, she finds herself planning for one thing she could never have predicted - motherhood!

A marriage of inconvenience...
Prince Aleki Esera doesn’t do relationships. His country depends on him to set an example and he can’t afford to risk his image with tabloid tales. When one steamy night with his former flame results in an unexpected pregnancy, he proposes a marriage of convenience. It’s the perfect solution - a future king will need a wife, and their baby will have the stable home life Stella has always craved.

A second chance at love?
With a woman who thrives on control in chaos, pressure to perform rising on the Pacific prince and a baby on the way, will it be second-time-lucky for the former sweethearts? Or will mixing duty with desire lead to a royal disaster?

For the Captain: A Hockey Romance (The Detroit Pirates Book 1) by Jenny Redford

A hockey player who doesn't need a woman meets a woman who doesn't want a hockey player.

Jordan King is known as the most eligible bachelor in the Motor City, especially now that he's been named the captain of the legendary Detroit Pirates. But Jordan realizes he needs to step it up as a leader if he wants the team to win it all this season, which means leaving behind his reputation as a partying ladies' man.

Charlotte Stone is a best-selling author and Manhattan socialite who is sick of the city. She's determined to live somewhere different that doesn't include being a guest star on her mother's reality show. That's when she hears about a building renovation project in Detroit and decides a move to somewhere completely unexpected is exactly what she needs.

What Charlotte doesn't need is another hockey player in her life. Two years ago, she dated the biggest pest in the league who ended up breaking her heart. So why is she trying to find excuses to see the all-star captain of the Pirates? And how did she become the only woman who could derail Jordan's plan to win it all?

For the Captain is a friends-to-lovers hockey romance featuring the newest captain of the Detroit Pirates, a popular romance writer, a gorgeous penthouse in Detroit, and a charity auction that puts a bunch of old rich dudes to shame.

Forged in Flames: A Godstouched Shifter Romance (The Freed Hunt Book 1) by Ali Williams

Very little phases blacksmith Kenna, so accidentally awakening a Goddess barely gives her pause, until she discovers what gifts Belisama has bestowed in her. She finds herself in the midst of a power struggle between two Gods that she didn’t even know existed, but it’s the fact that this isn’t a challenge she can face alone that will almost get her killed.

 Morcant has been trapped as part of the Wild Hunt for centuries: he’s seen his brother die as part of the curse; friends give up; and he’ll do just about anything to keep the remaining members safe. So when he’s promised their freedom, he agrees to do what the god Nodens asks, and stop the Godstouched from unwittingly creating more mayhem.

But the Godstouched is Kenna, the first woman to touch his heart in millennia, which leaves him with a horrendous choice: her happiness, or freedom for those he thinks of as family.

Welcome to the Godstouched Universe, where the Gods interfere in the lives of mortals. Forged in Flames is an m/f romance, with a guaranteed Happy Ever After.

Dirty Money (Harbourview Casino Book 1) by Kristy Mallory

She was ordered to get close to him, to find out what he knew. She wasn’t supposed to fall in love. Sam Bennett is on the fast track to achieving her goal in political communications. Spearheading Coastal Casino’s expansion into the lucrative Ontario market will turn her dream into reality. The only person standing in her way is a sexy investigative reporter. Billy Cameron is on a crusade to expose how casinos launder dirty money - the very corruption that led to his father’s suicide. After Billy crashes Sam’s press conference with accusations against her employer, she is ordered to get close to him to execute damage control. She never expected to be attracted to the man who could ruin her future. As the truth comes out, Sam may be forced to choose between saving her career, or gambling on her future…

Hiss and Make Up (Bayou Rescue Book 1) by Leigh Landry

Sierra believes in second chances for anything with fur, feathers, or scales.
For people?
Not so much.

Louisiana naturalist Sierra plans to keep things strictly business when the guy who served up her first heartbreak needs help identifying a potentially venomous snake. Surely she can keep her traitorous heart in check.

Someone’s trying to scare sportswriter Marc's sister and her kids off their bayou-front property. He needs answers, not his first crush complicating things.

Sierra and Marc once shared a kiss; now they’re sharing death threats. If they can let go of the past, they might have a shot at finding this creep and maybe also finding what they left behind on that porch swing long ago: a second chance at first love.

Hiss and Make Up blends a second chance romance with a fun cozy mystery. Begin the Bayou Rescue series today and enjoy the humor, heart, and Cajun charm!

Happy Reading!

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