The Final Blog Post

All-

When I started my professional career, one of my first bosses gave me some good advice – to summarize it, whenever you have something hard to say, just come out and say it without beating around the bush.

That being said, this is the last post for this blog.

Although the hard part is over, the remainder of this post is hard to write – mainly because I am giving up and throwing in the towel for this blog.  Some of you may not care for the rationale behind the decision; if you don’t, you can stop reading right now and jump to the last paragraph for some final instructions.

Some of you might want to know why I’m stopping this blog, but to boil it all down it comes to simple economics (as do most decisions like this): it’s not profitable to maintain this blog for the amount of time and effort involved.  You can boil it down to the following:

  • Amazon does not support or promote the paid blog subscriptions on e-Ink Kindles.
  • The majority of public opinion regarding eBooks priced at $1.00 or less is generally not favorable.
  • Independent authors can’t make a living with quality books perpetually priced at $1.00 or less.
  • Not that many people are purchasing eBooks priced at $1.00 or less.
  • The four factors above, in light of the fact I work 10 hours or so during each weekday in addition to trying my best to be a husband and father means there’s not enough hours in the day to make it worth the time and effort.

Since I am an accountant by day that analyzes various financial decisions and results each day (I don’t do taxes!), the following adds a little more color to this decision making process (make of it what you will).  Before I do that, here’s a little subscription data other blog publishers on the Kindle storefront probably don’t want me to disclose to you, although I am certain they would love to know the information as it helps them determine where they stand on the blog bestseller list:

  • 576 monthly paid subscriptions via the e-Ink Kindle push model.  That makes it have a ranking of #40 on the blog bestseller list.
  • 1,021 email subscribers.
  • Approximately 60 – 100 unique blog website visitors per day.
  • For each book posted to the blog, on average, lately there are approximately 10 – 20 sales of that particular book per post.  Sometimes a lot more, sometimes (gasp!) even none.

Amazon Support of the Blog Business Model

When the e-Ink Kindles first came out (an e-Ink Kindle is any Kindle not named “Fire”), in addition to being able to read books, newspapers, and magazines, Amazon touted the ability to receive blogs via a subscription “push” model that forwarded new blog content to a person’s Kindle.  That was pretty cool to a lot of folks (obviously to me, also), and in its prime the Amazon storefront had over 15,000 blogs available via this subscription model; today, there are 13,616 or approximately 9% less than there were about two years ago.

When I started this blog in June of 2011, it acquired just over 1,000 subscribers via the subscription model the first month.  Most of these came from a referral of my other blogs, some from word of mouth, and I did no outside advertising of this blog as I couldn’t afford it.

The title of this section is “Amazon Support of the Blog Business Model” but that’s an oxymoron as Amazon doesn’t really support the blog business model: pricing has been all over the map, it’s hard for a potential consumer to find out blogs are available for them to try out for the free two-week trial period, and the commission structure to the blog publisher is out of balance.  To top it off, Amazon does not reach out to the blogging community at all.

Links to the blog section used to be front and center on the Kindle pages of the Amazon website as well as from the shopping area directly from your Kindle: now, you have to click several times, deep into the offerings, and hope a potential reader / customer will click numerous times just to see blogs are available for your Kindle.  It’s very difficult to get new subscribers to enroll in a blog subscription – if Amazon isn’t going to make it easy to find customers, you’re stuck on a degrading subscriber model as the people who eventually unsubscribe aren’t replaced by new customers.

The pricing structure is really strange: the blog publisher has no control over the price as it is set by Amazon.  When Amazon first started the blog section, if you put a “new” blog up for consideration in the Kindle storefront the pricing was immediately set at $1.99 per month.  After an unknown period of time – or maybe it was the number of subscribers as Amazon would never reveal the pricing “formula” involved – the blog pricing might revert to 99 cents per month.

99 cents per month doesn’t sound too bad, does it?  If only that were the case, as Amazon keeps 69 cents and the blog publisher gets 30 cents for each subscriber.  When all of the e-Ink readers were via a cellular connection instead of the predominant Wi-Fi they are today, Amazon explained the split on the pricing structure was the way it is due to having to pay the underlying cellular provider (AT&T and Sprint) for the modems built-in to the Kindle.  Most of us rationalized it as a third each between Amazon, AT&T / Sprint, and the blog publisher.

Now that the majority of e-Ink Kindles are Wi-Fi only, you would think the cost structure has gone down (and it probably has) but that has not resulted in a change in the commission structure to the blog publisher.  With the lack of promotion, and the other factors I’ll mention in a moment, the number of monthly paying subscribers has steadily decreased and the number of purchases for books posted made each month also decreased.  With a total of 576 paying subscribers (and decreasing each month) for this blog, I would receive approximately $173 for a month or about $5.50 per day.  It’s harder than you think to find a potentially good Kindle book for $1.00 or less!

Most bloggers aren’t making much, if any, money via the Kindle subscription model.  In fairness, they probably shouldn’t expect to have the Kindle subscription model be the #1 revenue source for their blog(s).  Right now, as I type up this post, this blog is ranked #40 in terms of sales rank of the 13,616 blogs.  I wonder if the blog ranked at #5,000 – or #13,616 – has more than a handful of paid subscribers?

There’s an exponential difference between being in the top 10 and #40 on this list – I have been fortunate enough to have the #1 blog in the Amazon storefront for a little over two years now, and my cousin runs the Joke of the Day blog which is also in the top 10 and I know his subscriber numbers.  To say there is a cliff dropoff between #10 and #11 is an understatement as those in the top 10 enjoy the benefit of being on the first page of most potential subscribers’ display.  The reality is if you’re not in the top 10 don’t expect to make a living or substantial money via Amazon off of a blog!

In my opinion, Amazon also missed a major opportunity by not making the blog subscription model available for the Kindle Fire as they did the e-Ink Kindle, but that’s another story over a couple of adult beverages.  If Amazon would hire me to revamp the blog subscription model experience, I feel fairly confident (I’m from Texas, after all) I could make it profitable for all parties and continue the drive to make the Kindle indispensable to the end-user.  I doubt (a) anyone from Amazon will read this, and (b) that kind of job offer would ever materialize!

Looking over what I just typed – wow, that’s a mouthful!  Let’s see, I had three more major points to cover…

Public Opinion Regarding Books Priced at $1.00 or Less

Let’s face it, there are a lot of crappy (that’s a technical term, of course) books out there in the Kindle format.  You can read posts I’ve made on one of my other blogs about a sloppy book description (click here or type in http://wp.me/p2b82w-3Ux into your web browser to see it) or a bad cover (click here or type in http://wp.me/p2b82w-3UA to see it) which are discussions among themselves, but a potential consumer is looking at any reason to not purchase a book with their hard-earned money.

The beauty of the self-publishing platform is it is very easy to do, and a lot of outstanding authors who were rejected by the mainstream publishing companies have finally found an outlet and have embarked on full-time jobs as independent authors.  I’ve found a lot of them (and you have, too) and I want to read more from them.

The other side of the coin is the ease of being self-published: we’ve all read stuff in the Kindle format that looked like it was slapped together and is absolutely horrible.  That’s not unique to the Kindle world as you can certainly find the same in “regular” paper books. But many consumers associate price with quality (among many other factors).

As a result, not many people are taking a chance on a 99 cent book.  If people aren’t taking a chance on a 99 cent book, authors aren’t selling anything, and leads to my next point…

Independent Authors Can’t Make a Living with Quality Books Perpetually Priced at $1.00 or Less

To nip some of the comments in the bud now – sure, there are quality books priced at $1.00 or less, and they sell a lot month-after-month.   I personally know many authors who are doing this as a loss-leader approach: they have a catalog of books priced, for example, at $3.99 and above, and they are using book 1 of a series or one book (if not part of a series) as a “hook” to capture your interest.  The theory behind this is if you liked book 1 in a series, for example, there is a good chance you will buy their other books at full price.  With the introduction of Select, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, etc., authors are now making their books free for a period of time in order to enable that same hook concept.

If an independent author was relying on the $1.00 or less model to make ends meet, it would be very hard to do.  Why?  It’s all about the commission structure.  If a book is priced at $2.98 or less in the Amazon Kindle store, the commission to the author is 30% and Amazon gets the rest.  If the pricing is $2.99 or above, the commission structure is 70% to the author and 30% to Amazon.  To make $30,000 a year before the government takes their “fair share,” I would need to sell 100,000 books priced at $1.00 each.  Each year.

I don’t know about you, but I think that’s one hell of a lot of books to be sold each year.  Not too many people can do that year after year.

As someone who has also published books in the Kindle format, it doesn’t take my accounting degree to make my decision on that one: I’m going for a minimum of $2.99 as my pricing model all day long unless I want a loss leader that will be offered at a discount or free on a periodic basis.  At $2.99, to make that same $30,000 before taxes in my example above I need to sell “only” 14,333 books a year or 1,194 per month; at $3.99 I need to sell 10,741 books.  You can do the math at other price points.  That’s still a lot of books to be sold, but clearly not as daunting as moving 100,000 books each year.

From the author’s perspective, they don’t have much incentive to price at anything less than $2.99, and it takes a heck of a lot of trolling around for me to find a highly-rated book that appears to be a quality offering – I do read the review comments and the book descriptions – each weekday.

Number of Sales Per Post

As I mentioned above, for each book posted to the blog, on average, there are approximately 10 – 20 sales of that particular book per post.  Sometimes there’s a lot more than 20, and sometimes there’s none.  Zero.

Part of the way I get paid for the effort of the blog is via affiliate sales: I put a unique link in the post so that if you click on the book I posted about on a particular day and buy it, I receive a variable commission based upon the sales price.  While that doesn’t increase the cost to you, I do get a referral fee as a commission – after the government’s fair share, that nets out to approximately 4.7% for each sale made.  Assuming I had a great day (great for today, but not near as good as when this blog started) and 15 sales were made on a particular day for a 99 cent book, I will net 70 cents.  Assuming I found a nickel somewhere, I could buy a Diet Coke from the office vending machine!

It’s About the Time Commitment!

As many of you know, I don’t blog full-time but have a fairly demanding full-time job, plus my wife and I have two children and the commitments of being a husband, father, homework checker, and carpool driver.  There’s not enough hours in the day to justify continuing this blog with the time required to do a good job of it vs. the financial reward of less than $200 per month.  My other blogs can run on that model – I’ve done the analysis – but for this one I’m going to have to call it a day.  I’m not going to take this blog down or delete it, but will leave it up as I still believe the prior posts contain some great, and affordable, reading material – I encourage you to click the links on the blog’s website (https://ebooksforabuck.wordpress.com) and see what you may have missed – who knows, you may find a new favorite author!

For those of you who have subscribed to this blog, made contributions and suggestions to make it better, I appreciate it!  I’ll still be around blogging, for example, with the Free Kindle Books and Tips blog (www.fkbooksandtips.com)  if you still need your Kindle fix.

If you are an email subscriber, there’s nothing you need to do – there won’t be future posts to worry about clogging your inbox.  If you’re an e-Ink subscriber, you need to go to the “Manage My Kindle” section of the Amazon website and end this subscription so Amazon won’t continue to charge you 99 cents per month!

Until next time (or the next new blog)-

Michael Gallagher

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Filed under Miscellaneous Stuff

Mattie

Mattie by Judy Alter is $0.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, and this book has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 61 customer reviews.

Category: Literary Fiction

 
 

 
 

 
Here is the book’s description from the Amazon website:

Against the backdrop of sparsely settled western Nebraska at the turn of the 20th century, Mattie tells the story of a pioneer woman physician. Through the years of her practice, Mattie’s life is filled with romance and disappointments, battles won and loved ones lost, challenges met and opportunities passed. Through it all she endures. And as the years pass, her life takes on a richness and quality she knows she coiuld not have found anywhere else or at any other time.

Mattie offers a realistic and haunting portrait of life on the plains and of a most unforgettable woman.

USA subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/WEofmW into your web browser.

UK subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/12FX3Yp into your web browser to receive your free copy.

Published Monday – Friday (with an occasional weekend post) this blog, Kindle Books for a Buck or Less, primary focus is on the independent author as there are jewels beyond the “name brand” authors. If you would like to try out the free two-week trial subscription delivered to your e-Ink Kindle, click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your web browser. Who knows, you might find a new favorite author!

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with our updated Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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Filed under Literary Fiction, Western

The Key to Justice

I usually don’t post to this blog on the weekends, but I thought I’d be a little different today…

The Key to Justice by Dennis Carstens is $0.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 18 customer reviews.

Category: Thrillers / Suspense
 

 
 

 
 

 
Here is the book’s description from the Amazon website:

A serial killer is on the loose in Minneapolis and the head of the investigation, Minneapolis police Lt. Jake Waschke, is feeling the pressure to find him. To make matters worse, the killer strikes again, this time across the river in St. Paul, and his victim is the daughter of a prominent politician.

Just when the investigation seems to be going nowhere, the police catch a break when the killer strikes yet again, except this time there is a witness who gets the police, including Jake Waschke chasing the killer through the streets of Minneapolis. During the chase Jake gets a good look at him and realizes his problems are only beginning when he recognizes the man and realizes he must do whatever is necessary to protect him.

A patsy is found and an arrest is made. The patsy’s fate is placed in the hands of criminal defense lawyer, Marc Kadella, when the brother of the accused turns out to be a former client of Marc’s. The case has heat and publicity far beyond anything Marc has ever dealt with and he tries to beg off. He knows he is over his head with a case of this magnitude and also realizes it could destroy his practice and drive him into bankruptcy. The brother convinces Marc to take the case playing on their past relationship, guaranteeing payment of his fees and Marc’s own belief that the man is innocent.

As the case progresses, Marc, aided in the investigation by a stunningly beautiful private investigator, becomes more and more convinced his client is being framed. But, unless he can uncover who is framing him and, more importantly, why, an innocent man is going to take a very serious fall, Marc will be helpless to prevent it.

The Key to Justice is a work of fiction that the author undertook to give a more realistic view of the practice of law and what a lawyer goes through than is usually found in most legal thrillers. It is not an easy way to make a living but it can be very rewarding though not always easy on the soul and the lawyer’s private life. Whether the lawyer practices on his or her own, in a small firm or, maybe especially, a large firm to which you almost become enslaved, though well compensated, it can be a demanding, all-consuming, pressure-filled way to make a living.

USA subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/VLBkw8 into your web browser.

UK subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/WzoS14 into your web browser to receive your free copy.

Published Monday – Friday (with an occasional weekend post) this blog, Kindle Books for a Buck or Less, primary focus is on the independent author as there are jewels beyond the “name brand” authors. If you would like to try out the free two-week trial subscription delivered to your e-Ink Kindle, click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your web browser. Who knows, you might find a new favorite author!

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with our Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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Filed under Suspense, thriller

Brothers and Bones

Brothers and Bones by James Hankins is $0.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 5 out of 5 stars based on 37 customer reviews.

Category: Thrillers / Suspense
 

 
 

 
 

 
Here is the book’s description from the Amazon website:

Charlie Beckham is a rising star among federal prosecutors until, on the morning of the most important court day of his career, a deranged homeless man turns Charlie’s life upside with a single word. He calls Charlie by a secret nickname known by only one other person in the world–Charlie’s brother Jake, who went missing thirteen years ago. Charlie has a hundred questions but the homeless man disappears before Charlie can ask a single one.

So begins Charlie’s search for answers, and for his brother, a search that leads him down Boston’s darkest streets, into its blackest alleys, and, finally, into its criminal underworld. But if Charlie wants answers he’ll have to get them from some of the most feared and ruthless people in the city.

USA subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/WWeY68 into your web browser.

UK subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/XZSBMf into your web browser to receive your free copy.

Published Monday – Friday (with an occasional weekend post) this blog, Kindle Books for a Buck or Less, primary focus is on the independent author as there are jewels beyond the “name brand” authors. If you would like to try out the free two-week trial subscription delivered to your e-Ink Kindle, click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your web browser. Who knows, you might find a new favorite author!

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with our Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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Filed under Suspense, thriller

40 Days of Faith

40 Days of Faith by Benjamin Reynolds is $0.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 13 customer reviews.

Category: Religion
 

 
 

 
 

 
Here is the book’s description from the Amazon website:

40 Days of Faith is a devotional for anyone who desires a closer relationship with Christ and an outpouring of His anointing. Each time a person spent forty days praying, fasting and seeking the Lord they came out of that time period spiritually stronger and anointed. The same can happen with you as you go through the forty individual days of reading and prayer along with one day of fasting each week that are laid out in this book. Each daily readings include a carefully selected scripture along with an explanation of that particular verse. Each week in the 40 Days of Faith has a particular theme to help the reader focus on specific area. The six themes are:

Week 1 – Prayer
Week 2 – Knowing God
Week 3 – The Holy Spirit
Week 4 – Salvation
Week 5 – Intercession
Week 6 – Holiness

This is a structured program which requires daily discipline and faithfulness and will produce daily results. By the end of the forty day period, your faith will be greatly increased and you will experience a closer relationship with Christ. You will also see an increase in your effectiveness in prayer and knowledge of God’s Word. Prepare to walk with the Lord each day and have him walk with you.

USA subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/Wzo6RM into your web browser.

UK subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/Z0axNx into your web browser to receive your free copy.

Published Monday – Friday (with an occasional weekend post) this blog, Kindle Books for a Buck or Less, primary focus is on the independent author as there are jewels beyond the “name brand” authors. If you would like to try out the free two-week trial subscription delivered to your e-Ink Kindle, click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your web browser. Who knows, you might find a new favorite author!

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with our Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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Filed under Religion

Four Weddings and a Fiasco

Four Weddings and a Fiasco by Lucy Kevin is actually three books in one, and this collection is $0.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, and has received an average user rating of 4 out of 5 stars based on 8 customer reviews.

Category: Contemporary Fiction / Romance
 

 
 

 
 

 
Here is the book’s description from the Amazon website:

THE WEDDING GIFT (Book 1): After Julie Delgado’s restaurant closes, she temporarily takes over the catering position at the Rose Chalet, a full-service San Francisco wedding venue. She plans to dazzle the bride and groom so the Chalet’s owner will keep her around, but fate has other plans for her when the bride’s brother shows up for the first food tasting.

Andrew Kyle is not only the Cuisine Channel’s Edgy Eats host and chef, but his recent review of Julie’s restaurant was the final nail in its coffin. Once he meets Julie at the Rose Chalet, he’s certain she’s playing it safe. And he wants nothing more than to be the one to break her guarded passions loose.

But despite the undeniable sparks between Julie and Andrew–and the fact that he seems to believe in her when no one else does–can she afford to be taking risks with her cooking, with her career…or with her heart?

THE WEDDING DANCE (Book 2): Phoebe Davis, the Rose Chalet’s florist, knows nothing is permanent—not the floral arrangements she creates, not the weddings she helps produce, and certainly not her parents’ marriage which ended in a bitter divorce. Certain that all relationships come with strings attached, she has always worked to live for the moment and not to have any ties…ever.

Risking big is how Patrick left the family landscaping business, was the first Knight to graduate from college, and became an in demand architect. In California for a short while to work on a new home, from the very first moment he holds Phoebe in his arms, he knows he’s found his perfect match in the adventurous, alluring and intelligent florist.

But will Phoebe dare let herself risk her heart on the most fragile and precious bloom of all? Especially when one dance with Patrick Knight is all it takes for her to start rethinking everything she’s ever believed to be true about love…

THE WEDDING SONG (Book 3): Tyce Smith, the DJ and band leader for the top wedding venue in San Francisco, hasn’t written a new song in five years. Not since the fateful night he kissed the woman of his dreams, and she left him with nothing but a first name and no way to find her. When fate steps in a second time, he can’t make the mistake of letting her run again…even if the hurdles in the way of true love seem bigger than ever.

After Whitney Banning comes face to face with the man she’s never forgotten and knows she never will—how is she supposed to stop herself from dreaming again? Especially when the desires she buried so long ago are sparked back to life by one dance, one smile, one more forbidden kiss…and a brand new song about a love that will last forever.

USA subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/11VsdL7 into your web browser.

UK subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/Xf7Ogc into your web browser to receive your free copy.

Published Monday – Friday (with an occasional weekend post) this blog, Kindle Books for a Buck or Less, primary focus is on the independent author as there are jewels beyond the “name brand” authors. If you would like to try out the free two-week trial subscription delivered to your e-Ink Kindle, click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your web browser. Who knows, you might find a new favorite author!

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with our Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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Filed under contemporary fiction, romance

Secrets to Die For

Secrets to Die For by L.J. Sellers is $0.99 in the Amazon Kindle store, and this book has received an average user rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars based on 160 customer reviews.

Category: Mystery & Thrillers

Here is the book’s description from the Amazon website:

When young social worker Raina Hughes arrives at a ramshackle trailer outside of town, she’s on a mission to protect a small boy from abusive parents. But when Detective Wade Jackson arrives at the same location hours later, his mission is far grimmer: investigating Raina’s murder.

The victim’s vicious death is a shocking event for laid-back Eugene, Oregon—and even more chilling when one of Jackson’s fellow officers suspects an elusive rapist whose appetite is turning murderous. Jackson thinks he’s got a tight case against the meth-head dad who menaced Raina, but the evidence seems to leave his suspect in the clear—and a homicidal sex offender still on the loose. What Jackson fears is that his new love affair with nurse Kera Kollmorgan may be knocking him off his game. And what he never expects is to find an ally in savvy reporter Sophie Speranza, who may have stumbled on the killer’s shocking motive. But even as Jackson and Sophie team up to tighten the noose, their quarry zeroes in on his next victim—ready to take his twisted game to the next level.

USA subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/XluZlp into your web browser.

UK subscribers: click here or type in http://amzn.to/WrV8mH into your web browser to receive your free copy.

Published Monday – Friday (with an occasional weekend post) this blog, Kindle Books for a Buck or Less, primary focus is on the independent author as there are jewels beyond the “name brand” authors. If you would like to try out the free two-week trial subscription delivered to your e-Ink Kindle, click here or type in http://amzn.to/kb4abuck into your web browser. Who knows, you might find a new favorite author!

Organize your books on your Kindle Fire with our updated Collections and Categories App! Click Here or type in http://smarturl.it/firecollections into your web browser to get it now!

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Filed under Mystery, thriller