Besides the 4-book series I mentioned, which I’m currently working on, I also decided to publish a couple of short stories as a very early experiment. I churned out both 10,000-word stories in about a month; I put one on sale about a week before the other.
Short Story #1 was initially on sale for $0.99, which seemed like a reasonable price for ten thousand words. I enrolled both stories in Kindle Unlimited, to see what that was like, so when I published Short Story #2, I made Short Story #1 free for a couple of days. I saw 40 downloads in a day — yay!
That was the most exciting part of this experiment, to be honest. I’ve sold three copies of Short Story #2 (all of them, I assume, people who read Short Story #1 and liked it enough to see what else I’d written) — but two of them have been refunded. So on 20,000 words, I’ve made a grand total of $0.35 in royalties. Splat.
It’s not quite as bad as that makes it sound, however. Kindle Unlimited pays you based on pages read — anyone who subscribes to the paid service can read as many books as they want, provided those books are enrolled in the program — and quite a few people read both stories through KU.
Altogether, people read 355 pages of Short Story #1 and 302 pages of Short Story #2. Most of those reads showed up in multiples of the official Amazon page count for each story, meaning that most of the readers read the whole thing — probably about 5–7 people for each book.
The amount Amazon pays you per page read is variable depending on the month, but it usually works out to about half a cent per page. That means that I’ve earned about:
$1.77 from Short Story #1
$1.51 (pages) + $0.35 (sale) = $1.86 from Short Story #2
I won’t know the exact amounts until the actual deposits are made into my checking account — at the end of the month 60 days after royalties are earned, but in any case, it’s probably less than $4.00 for my 20,000 words. Not exactly raking it in, huh?