Where’s the Kindle or other version?

These are questions that I get asked so often, I’ve decided to write a dedicated page for them.

Question: Where’s the Kindle version?

Answer: Audible likes to have an exclusivity deal with authors. During negotiations, they will try for up to a six month gap before the text versions are produced. The inducements to the author are: Audible pays for the narrator, Audible pays for the cover, Audible does marketing, Audible offers a much larger advance. Audible is also responsible for about 2/3 of my total income, so they are by definition my primary publisher.

Fortunately my agent, who is a bit of a pit bull, has kept the exclusive period down to four months. So the text version (for the current contracts, anyway) will always come out 4 months after the Audible version.

Question: Where’s the epub or other version?

Answer: Amazon only lists your work in Kindle Unlimited if you go exclusive with Amazon for the electronic version. That means no epub or Kobo or Google Play version. Before you ask, KU is probably about 25% of my non-Audible revenue, and that’s still a serious chunk of change. See below for discussion of fiduciary greed.

When I originally self-published Outland, I initially went wide (Kobo, epub, Google Play, etc). If I made so much as a penny from any of those other channels, I don’t remember it. When I switched to Amazon exclusivity and KU, my Amazon revenue went up about 20%. So there is literally no inducement for me to consider going wide with my novels.

Question: So it’s all about money?

The answer is oh hell yes. This writing thing isn’t a hobby, and I’m not independently wealthy–I have to pay a mortgage, me and my family have grown accustomed to eating regularly, and I’d like the bank to not take my car back. I literally quit my day job so I could write full-time, which means I can produce books a lot more quickly, but also means I have to be concerned about the financial aspects of my ‘job’. So when they wave a wad of bills under my nose, I pay attention. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.