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Monday Musings: The Best Investment

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Monday Musings

Wolfe Butler is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Happy Monday! Not to start on a down note, but the last week has been especially hard for me. I was still doing a little consulting work for the financial services company I left in December. That filled up all five days of last week. I have set up new Pinterest and Instagram accounts. I am trying to get a freelance writing and virtual assistant business off the ground. I am working on two novels. And I have been reading excessively on everything from blogging tips and SEO to work-at-home business set-up and the two books I am currently reviewing. Silly me, I thought I was going to be less busy when I quit my traditional job.

To turn up the positive, I am excited to talk about one of the investments I made in my business and blog. So far, this is the BEST investment, at least in terms of usefulness and immediate impact. What am I talking about? I signed up for a Kindle Unlimited membership. I must disclose here that I am an Amazon Associate, so if you click on any of the links on my blog and make a purchase within 24-hours, I will get a small commission. However, I would be writing this exact post even if I was not an Amazon Associate.

Over the past few weeks I have mentioned how I have been reading everything I can get my hands on. Who needs sleep when there is reading to be done? I have visited hundreds of blogs, marketing sites and retailers geared toward bloggers and writers. Yes, at times I can be a little obsessive, but I really do expect my writing and blog to be my only source of income at some point in the near future. It is important to me to have as much wisdom as I can get.

With all these site visits, I found myself getting discouraged. There are a lot of great and well-written sites. Many are aesthetically pleasing with excellent graphic images and engaging narratives. They have given me several ideas for updating this site in the coming weeks. What was discouraging to me, though, was the overwhelming abundance of “Buy Me” links and “Get this FREE with your email subscription.” We all must pay the bills. I do have an email capture on some of my pages and hope to develop a large email following in time. I am not currently selling any products, except for my book, Getting Home, on Amazon. Hence, the need to add affiliate links to keep this blog up and running.

I dove into several of the sites that were most compelling. Some have free information that they send you over the course of days or weeks. I am probably getting 30-40 emails a day now and at this rate will never read them all in my lifetime. Most want you to buy something, and generally from the very first page. I admire that. If someone worked hard on putting together an eBook or report that can help me, I expect them to get paid for their time and effort. However, some of these eBooks, though only 30-100 pages, are $80-$100 or more. Ouch. Did I happen to mention that I am no longer working and have NO INCOME at this point?

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A few of the posts were so well written and the site so attractive that I did purchase a couple of said eBooks. I am getting a lot of good information out of most of the ones I did purchase.

Still, as great as these purchases are, the onslaught of daily emails from each site and the constant, “Now you must buy more if you want the rest of the story,” has really been a sucker punch to me. I started with zero income, spent quite a bit at this point, and now I need to buy more? And with no guarantee that what is in your next eBook is going to benefit me at all?

At the same time that I exploring all these sites, I was corresponding with another writer about writing a review for his fiction book. I noticed it was available through Kindle Unlimited. I decided to go ahead and sign up for the free 30-day trial, so I could get his book instantly and get to work reading it.

A few days later, and by mistake or providence, I am not sure, but I stumbled upon one of the books I had almost purchased from another site. And it was also available on Kindle Unlimited. I clicked on it and started reading it immediately. I then grabbed another and another. To date I have read a number of books, in addition to the one book I signed up for in the first place, and I am still in my 30-day free trial. I am going to list some of my favorites at the end of this post.

Yes, I said free

Now before I start getting negative comments about encouraging my readers to get books through Kindle Unlimited rather than directly from the author blog, let me explain. First, please try to relax. Yes, initially the author of said eBook might get a lower royalty through Amazon. The author only gets paid for the pages of the book that is read. On the plus side, if the reader enjoys the book and gives a positive review, that may move hundreds or thousands of other Amazon customers to try your book. I did not see much for reviews on most of the blogs I visited, and the ones that did have reviews, there was no way to determine if they were legit or written by the blog owner.

It is also my thought process that if I read your book through Kindle and enjoy it, I may be more likely to try another of your books. If I spend too much money on a book with little to no value on your website, well then not only will I not buy any more books, I am also the type of person that will never visit your blog or social media posts again. I did purchase a couple of items that are available through Amazon and directly through a blog. The result? They are the exact same books. Page for page.

I do not intend to list all of the books I have purchased or reviewed here. Some, sad to say, were absolutely awful. They were clearly first-draft books that were thrown up quickly to hopefully produce sales. The layouts were sloppy, the grammar atrocious and the spelling mistakes make it appear that not even a common word processor spellcheck was used. I am furious that I paid blog price for some of these items.

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Another large advantage I am enjoying with Kindle Unlimited is that most of the eBooks I purchased directly from blogs are in PDF format, and several are hard to read productions. The Kindle books are available on all my Kindle connected devices. That means I can add the book and start reading in on my laptop and then later continue reading the same book on my phone or tablet. The Kindle app has a feature that it can automatically sync your progress, so you are always brought back to the right starting point regardless of device. I absolutely love this option.

Again, for the naysayers, I want to reiterate that reading a book through Kindle Unlimited does not hurt the author. The author is paid for each page read by each KU reader. I am much more likely to give your book a chance if I know I don’t have to lay out a bunch of money for something that I might hate.

This whole world of Kindle Unlimited has excited me so much that I have already decided that the eBooks I am currently working on will be available exclusively through Kindle Unlimited. Yes, I do stand to make a higher per purchase profit by selling directly, but that also means I need to set up my site to sell items and accept payment. Likely I will need some sort of merchant account to process payments and that is just one more thing for me to have to manage in a week that is already way too short on hours.

My intention in starting this post was not to write an ad for Amazon. As the words started to flow, though, it became more apparent to me just how much I am enjoying my Kindle Unlimited membership. Oh, and the best part? As I already mentioned, I am still in my first 30-day free trial. That means that so far, I have paid NOTHING for this investment that has brought so much knowledge and wisdom into my life.

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Thank you for visiting my blog today. I hope I have not upset anyone. One of my biggest life goals is to help nurture and advance fellow writers and artists. If you feel I have done you a disservice, please feel free to contact me. Or, better yet, if you are happy I have mentioned your book, please post a comment below to let us know you were here.

Click over to Amazon to get your Free Month of Kindle Unlimited. There is so much to learn!

Until next time…

Here are a couple of the books I have enjoyed so far:

Pinnacle    Make Money Blogging

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I have been an avid writer and reader since I was old enough to write and read. I grew up in a small midwest community. Now I am most at home in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Getting Home is my debut novel. Others will follow.

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