Taking Down Part of a Serial

Although I've really wanted to avoid doing this, I may need to put the first year of Super Powereds into Kindle Unlimited on Amazon fairly soon for promotional reasons. To do that, however, I'll have to take it off my site, as that violates Amazon's exclusivity agreement. I'm really on the fence over this one, as from a business side this is an increasingly necessary step, but I also dislike the prospect of taking a free resource away from readers.

Has anyone removed part (or all) of a serial before? If so, how did your readers react to the absence?

You should drop Billy Higgins a line -- he took down Sprawl a while back.

I suspect "you'll get complaints" is a relatively safe observation to make. :D

I wonder if it's possible to publish a different version through through Kindle Unlimited, allowing you to keep the current version on your site, and publish a new version on Kindle.

I don't have any experience with this but it might be worth looking into.

I hope so. I'm wanting to set my ebook in an Earth 2 reality. Then again, I might not go KU so it might not matter.

If you find out, I'd love to know.

I have several books on Kindle, but for reasons I don't understand, Barnes and Nobel have always sold more of my books than Amazon so I'd be wary of anything that dictates exclusivity.

It depends on the book from what I can tell.

That being said the KDP Select terms state anything 'substantially similar' in the phrasing, with the option of charge or denying payouts if violations are found. I chose not to push this boundary, and while there are a few who haven't had issues - Drew is high enough profile that he might be caught easier then others...

Yeah, this is why I opted not to try publishing at certain places. Either removing content or substantially changing the work so it doesn't resemble the original. While I don't have a serial, so it's less likely to negatively impact me, there's some stuff that's been free online since the beginning that I don't want to have to remove just because of a clause.

While it's not the "main stream" site, have you considered publishing through Smashwords? More lenient, easy to use, and they also shotgun your work out to over a dozen other major ebook sites. I've got stuff on the Apple store, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and other places (even foreign sites), just from publishing at Smash. That won't necessarily increase your sales, but it's something.

However, I know Kindle Unlimited is a pretty hot service right now, and unfortunately, Smash doesn't have anything like that. But still, if you really want to sell your stuff, it's a pretty flexible site to try.

Seconded, Smashwords is awesome and easy to use. I like Smashwords :)

Thanks for input so far everyone. Unfortunately, going multi-platform won't be a viable fix to the issue. For better or worse, Amazon fundamentally Is the e-book market right now, and most authors (or at least the ones I compare data with) see more from the gains of KU than they do from being in multiple markets. Plus, for many of the bigger promotional sights (Bookbub and the like) with high criteria, having a big presence on Amazon makes getting in the door more viable.

However, since KU enrollment is only 3 months minimum, it occurred to me that I could take SP Year 1 down for only that run of time. I wanted to stop in and see if anyone had dabbled in temporary removal of a serial, and how that went over if so.

Over on RoyalRoadl I know da3strikes recently took down most of Awaken Online because he enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. It's sold phenomenally well as far as I can tell, and there's been little to no backlash, but he really only had the first book up.

Hey Drew,

What promotions have you done? Are you submitting a book to bookbub every month - or is it every two weeks, don't remember their required wait time before another submission for a different book? With the amount of great reviews you have, it shouldn't be too hard to get accepted after a few tries. Books that are wide are more likely to get accepted by Bookbub, so it might be worth considering first before you go KU - if that's what you end up doing.

There's also the alternatives - smaller promo sites that can be stacked. Promos have been great for me even when I only had one book out, and I can't wait to do more of them in early September with 2 books out. With the amount of publications you have, any new fan with sell-through to other books would make you a lot of money.

Let me know if you want some recommendations for smaller promo sites I've used. :)

Something else - KU readers like to binge through a whole series. If they see that only the first book is in KU, they might not bite as much.

Also, how about enrolling a standalone book or a series that you haven't posted online? Like... Corpies. Or the Fred books. Corpies is directly linked to Super Powereds, so you'd most likely get a lot of sell-through, especially if you link to SP at the end of the book.

I think your main problem will be losing new web readers by going this route. If people arrive at your site via WFG or TWF they won't be able to start the story. So the question is does that matter to you?

If you have to go with KU I'd suggest doing what Chrysalis suggests and going with Corpies with a link to Superpowereds in the back matter.

I'm a dummy, I just realized that Corpies is online even though it's not listed on WFG. Duh. Still, since it's a standalone novel, your readers won't mind as much if you take it offline.

Corpies has the added advantage of adult protagonists, which means a larger audience. Some people won't touch YA out of principle, no matter how good it is.

Also, make sure to give whichever book you put into a KU (if you decide to do it) a nice big starting boost with promos. KU readers select their next read based on poplists, and I think (author experiences suggest) the first month of a book being added to KU gives it some extra Amazon algo love.

I'm not really happy about losing Super Powereds from the webfiction world, BUT... if Drew is trying to boost exposure to the series, then Super Powereds Year One is the best way to go.

Corpies works better in context after you've read SP Year 3. Pushing it first as a freebie breaks the chain of the overall story.

I'm not sure SP really qualifies as YA -- they're all in college, not high school -- but I'm not really an expert on that. It could be YA includes college age these days.

The big problem is that taking out Year One breaks the whole series online. Tactically I think it's the right call in terms of getting the most out of KDP but it unravels everything online. If someone started reading with Year Two they'd miss a lot of stuff.

Honestly, I'd be more tempted to take the "in for a penny, in for a pound" approach and take the whole series offline for a while and put it in KDP, but you're still writing Year 4 and probably your readers would track you down and violence would ensue. :)

The tone of SP year one is very YA, I've found. There's more 'teenage drama' or 'young people drama' going on than superpowered fights. Also, parties. And slow-developing romance. And parties.

Corpies has a much more 'serious' tone with 'adult' issues, for lack of better words. My English sucks. :P

I might be biased because I loved Corpies, so feel free to ignore me. :)

Ah, I see what you mean. That said, I'm not really a YA reader (I don't hate the genre or anything, I just tend to drift in other directions) and I enjoyed reading it. I don't think it would be a huge turn-off for people looking for superhero stories.

And from the perspective of "getting people on the SP train" I think Year One is probably a better choice.

SP is definitely not YA, as those tend to have much milder language, focus on high school rather than college, and eschew the honest college truths about drinking, drugs, and sex. But I've actually hit the issue a lot with people thinking superhero immediately equals family-friendly, and have some angry reviews from parents to prove it. I've actually joked that if I get many more of them, I'm going to retitle the series to: "Cursing, F*cking, and Violence. Also Superpowers."

Thanks Chrys, I may take you up on learning about the smaller ones. I'm planning to do a Bookbub sub, along with some other ads and promos, because this month will also mark the release of SP Year 3 on audio, which completes the set. Trying to give the whole series a big shove while I've got "new" content out because I don't think Year 4 is going to be done anytime soon.

Stripping out Year 1 is definitely going to cost me new readers, it bites but that's the trade-off for playing the e-book game. I'm more worried about angering my current readers, however I think the best option is being utterly upfront with them. I'll do a blog, open it up to discussion and opinions, and see how everyone reacts. If they have a say in it, it might not seem so sudden or ill-intentioned.

You could market it as New Adult, which the criteria for that is the main character being between the ages of 18-34 I believe. It's just a genre between YA and Adult. I know it's popular in the romance department, but I'm not sure about anywhere else.

All you can do is be upfront with your readers. I'm an optimist and believe they'll understand.

Haha, lordy. Sprawl. Can't say I have too much advice to give you because of that, Drew, because that serial didn't have much of an audience, and it wasn't a funnel for all sorts of other series. I'm honestly disgusted by KU's exclusivity requirement -- its blatantly monopolistic, and for all of Amazon's claims that you don't have to join, indie authors really need to join to access so many of the readers Amazon has now trained to only read things for free.

The whole thing is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. One's going on right now, but it probably won't succeed because there are three things that need to happen for a monopoly lawsuit to succeed.

1) Company needs to have a dominant market share (85% of self-published books, so check)

2) Company needs to purposefully be hurting competition (KU is obviously doing that)

3) The monopoly needs to be hurting consumers in some way (this is the line they haven't crossed yet; it might take years, but I'll be shocked if they don't cross it eventually)

Onto more practical matters: I'd give your audience a thirty-day warning. Mention it on the blog like you said you were going to, say it on Twitter and FB and wherever else. Then at the end of the thirty days, put it in KU for a couple months. See which one does better for you. Your plan sounds good, but I'd be wary of giving them a say in it if you need to get into KU financially. If it's really a decision you still have to make, awesome. But if you're asking them for input and it's all negative, are you gonna be cool w/ not putting it in KU?

About Corpies: I read it without reading Super Powereds, and I actually really enjoyed it. There were little references I wasn't familiar with, but they all really felt minor. And they were all explained in-text. (Like when the protag is talking about his sons, who go to a school, I was like, "Oh I bet that's a Super Powereds reference. I didn't need to read the books to figure that out, lol!)

No matter what, hope it works out for you, Drewster!

Hey folks, sorry to necro a dead thread, but since I went ahead with this plan I thought it was worth an update for the sake of any who have to go down the same route in the future.

I did a blog a post on the same day SP: Year 1 came down, explaining why it had to happen, that it was a temporary measure, and opening the floor to feedback from readers on how they felt about the issue. And, despite my worries, the response has been overwhelming positive. I'll try to track my rate of growth and see how badly this slows down acquiring new readers during the three month run, but at least for now people seem to be really okay with it. I think the takeaway is to get out in front of it and make sure to communicate with the existing readers, and they'll be understanding to our situations.