Are Chapters important?
By definition they’re a main division of a book, and are often identified by a number or heading. But, what about how many you have, and how long they are. Could that be important?
As a retired accountant I’m always playing with numbers trying to make sense of them. This month I looked at my KENP numbers, and now I’m wondering whether Chapters are more important than I thought.
If you need a reminder of how things work, or want to learn, check out the following page in KDP: –https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201541130
The size of the KDP Select Global Fund is reviewed each month, and with sums around $45 million in 2023 it’s attractive for authors to enroll their Kindle eBooks in KDP Select. I decided to abandon publishing Wide in September 2018, and went All-In with KDP Select. By opening the door for readers to borrow ALL my books through Kindle Unlimited, Amazon rewards me by including KENPC figures from books Downloaded in my Free Promotions.
I’ve analyzed my Borrows and Downloads, and only a small percentage were paid for through KU. The vast majority of the 19.75 million KENP for my two series came from 12 BookBub Featured Deals.
Overall: 19.75m KENP from 474.5k Downloads & Sales. Ave KENPs Read = 41.5
The split between Thrillers and Murder Mysteries interested me : –
Phoenix: 4.75m KENP; 220k Downloads & Sales. Ave KENPs Read = 21.5
Freeman Files: 15m KENP; 254.5k Downloads & Sales. Ave KENPs Read = 59
Why the big difference? My first thought was readers enjoyed the second series far more than the first, and my superfans (although small in number) read every new title from cover to cover as soon as it was published. That may be true, but I soon realised the answer lay in how I have structured my books since halfway through the Phoenix Series.
Many authors wouldn’t impose such a strait-jacketed system, but I adopted a basic 12-Chapter structure, aiming for 4500 to 5500 words in each. Some books needed an extra Chapter (or an Epilogue) to get the job done, and once I’d added Front and Back Matter, I had 65000 words minimum to edit and polish before publishing.
I had included 24 Chapters in Phoenix #1, The Olympus Project (some with only 1000-1500 words, especially at the front end) and had slimmed to 14 Chapters by book #12, Larcombe Manor. Therefore, the books which accounted for the majority of my Downloads were littered with far shorter Chapters than anything readers found in the Freeman Files.
Readers are creatures of habit. They read to the end of a Chapter on a Kindle, just as with a Paperback. So, what would have happened if I had squeezed the Phoenix Series titles into my 12-Chapter structure? If readers followed the same reading pattern shown by the Freeman Files that 4.75m figure could have risen significantly.
Have I stumbled across a way to increase the KENP Royalty I receive? Or has a retired accountant played with the numbers and made no genuine sense from them whatsoever? It wouldn’t be the first time!
I’d love to hear what you think – get in touch at email@example.com
(Will I be re-structuring the first six books from the Phoenix Series to test my theory? You bet.)