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Author Topic: KU Crushed My Sales :(  (Read 134249 times)  

Offline H.M. Ward

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KU Crushed My Sales :(
« on: November 28, 2014, 11:10:11 AM »
Ok, some of you already know, but I had my serials in it for 60 days and lost approx 75% of my income. Thats counting borrows and bonuses.  :o My sales dropped like a stone. The number of borrows was higher than sales. They didn't compliment each other, as expected.

Taking a huge ass pay cut while I'm still working my butt off, well that's not ok. And KU effected my whole list, not just KU titles. :( At the time of enrollment I had about 60 titles total.

I planned on giving it 90 days, but I have a kid in the hospital for long term care and I noticed my spending was going to exceed my income-by a lot. I couldn't wait and watch thing plummet further. I pulled my books. That was on Nov 1,  & since then my net revenue has gone up. I'm now at 50% of where I was pre-KU. During the time I was in KU, I had 2 new releases. Neither preformed vastly different than before. They actually earned far less (including borrows).

This model needs to be changed for it to work. Authors shouldn't be paid lottery style. For this system to work we need a flat rate for borrows, borrowed or not borrowed (not this 10% crap), and it needs to be win win for the reader AND the writer. <-- That is the crux of the matter.

Id like to see Amazon create something new, something better instead of falling in step with Scribd and Oyster.

Example: subscribe to an AUTHOR. Easy, clear. When Author X has a new book it automatically gets sent to your kindle, & the card provided is charged.

As a reader, I'd want that. As a writer, I'd want that.

Amazon, stop following other companies and break the mold.

Ok, I'm done ranting. Back to writing.

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2014, 11:14:38 AM »
HUGSSSSSSS Holly.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

Please help our friend and fellow kboarder Craig Hansen.

Offline Sheluvspink

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2014, 11:17:46 AM »
OMG 75 percent :o I pulled out of Select a while ago to go permafree and it was the best decision I ever made. I make more at Apple than Amazon. I know if a megaseller like you can't make it work I defintly won't be expirementing with it again.


Offline Carol Davis

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2014, 11:18:42 AM »
Wow! That's alarmingly eye-opening, Holly.  I had assumed that things would hum along nicely for you guys who are top sellers.  I'm so sorry to hear that your sales took such a catastrophic dive.

Sending good wishes to you and your family!

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Offline SunshineOnMe

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2014, 11:23:11 AM »
(((((((big hug))))))))))) So sorry about your child.

Offline NoahPorter

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2014, 11:23:45 AM »
Me too.

Down $5,000+ this month from my past 24 month average. Just terrible.

Offline Lydniz

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2014, 11:24:07 AM »
Wow - if someone like you is saying this then Amazon really need to take notice. I hope you manage to pull it all back ASAP.

Offline D. Zollicoffer

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2014, 11:24:20 AM »
I agree! I've been saying that they need to pay us a flat rate ever since it was announced. We shouldn't have to share a "pot". I wish more authors would call them out because it's honestly ridiculous. Music streaming services don't make artist share a pot.

It may have made sense a few years ago, but now it's just insulting. I enrolled my books in KU, but I won't be re-enrolling them. It's just not worth it since you have to guess how much you're going to make.

It's nice to hear from a best-selling author. I know some posters are making a lot from KU, so it's interesting (and shocking) to find out you were making less.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 11:28:05 AM by D. Zollicoffer »

Offline darkline

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2014, 11:32:41 AM »
I'm sorry to hear that. 75% is a lot.  This is quite alarming.

Offline kirtkinkly

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2014, 11:32:49 AM »
Wow, I have no idea that putting your works in KU is so risky. You know what? I think I am going to create a new pen name and spread it out to other stores to test the water.

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2014, 11:33:11 AM »
this is very eye-opening.  And I love the subscribe-to-author idea.

Offline H.M. Ward

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2014, 11:45:00 AM »
Wow! That's alarmingly eye-opening, Holly.  I had assumed that things would hum along nicely for you guys who are top sellers.  I'm so sorry to hear that your sales took such a catastrophic dive.

Sending good wishes to you and your family!

That's why I posted this info. I assumed I was the only one. I thought I was too stupid to make KU work, but both months I was an 'All Star' so something just doesn't work. Plus other heavy hitters starting talking, telling me a similar story. The model itself is flawed.

I spoke about this with my rep b4 the program was launched and my concerns weren't addressed. They couldn't be. I'm not an idiot and know a lot more about sales and marketing than the average author. Amazon was hellbent on the model being awesome and talked me into trying it. Things did what I hypothesized, not at all the way they'd hoped or thought. :/ I should have trusted my gut and stayed away.

Thank you for the well wishes for my boy. When it rains, it pours. Thank God I'm cheap and saved all my pennies. My insurance won't pay, & if I didn't have this job we'd be screwed. KDP isn't just a service, they've taken many families out of poverty and put food on tables. They're like an employer and when they make changes it affects thousands of ppl.

We need a win win idea. I'm routing for kdp, hoping they'll reexamine things and try again. And this time when the writers with biz brains point out the flaws, plz listen. Too many families depend on you guys, and until this whole KU incident I couldn't think of one bad thing to say about kdp. That alone is astounding bc I'm not easy-going.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 11:48:39 AM by H.M. Ward »

Offline M M

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2014, 11:50:35 AM »
Thanks so much for posting this.  KU can (and is) quickly turning into a race to the bottom. We need to look at what's best strategically for authors as a group and band together.  KU feels like divide and conquer, and if it is, we will all lose long term. 


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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2014, 11:56:35 AM »
I'm really really sorry for you and the effect the drop has had, but I'm really kind of glad for the rest of us that people like you are making a point of saying it isn't working.

My Amazon sales plummeted when KU came out, and because I am not in Select at all they have never really recovered, if it wasn't for Googleplay then I think I would be on the verge of giving up.

Also I found the All-Stars thing really insulting. I know some of "our own" have been rewarded and I'm thrilled for them, but it just reminded me of a huge scandal here in the UK where the banks were paying their chief executives huge bonuses and all the little people were totally ignored. But that's another rant... But I'm still a bit feeling kind of betrayed by Amazon for it.

Big hugs, Holly, and I'm behind you on this one 100%

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2014, 12:01:03 PM »
I love Holly and I have been following her for a while now.   I was not surprised to hear that she was losing sales.    The reason for that is because she is a big name in her genre.   I would imagine many readers probably in the thousands thought oh cool, I can read most if not all of her books for free.   Enough readers that even that All-Star bonus would not offset the loss.    So in her case being big hurt instead of helped.
I am glad Amazon let her pull out of KU.
More hugsss.
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

Please help our friend and fellow kboarder Craig Hansen.

Offline Avis Black

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2014, 12:06:51 PM »
If you were seeing a big income drop even with the bonus, then the other All-Stars are likely seeing this, too.  I wouldn't be surprised if they start fleeing KULL en masse.


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Offline rcasey

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2014, 12:09:52 PM »
LONG term lurker here. Hi all!

Holly - I'm very, very sorry to hear about your loss of earnings. And I wish your child the best, too.

I'd like to add my voice to the choir of KU discontent. Before KU launched, I had seven novels, multiple serials and a few shorts through various names, and I was making a living solely writing fiction.

Along comes KU and now... well, I'm not.

My earnings are roughly 60% what they were back before KU launched with four releases since. I tried out KU for a few of my novels, saw a lot of borrows but a massive loss in earnings, so took them out again.

Now, earnings aren't what they were, but they're holding steady again. I have the great people at Kobo to thank for consistently spotlighting some of my books, meaning two months of bigger Kobo sales than Zon right now.

Im just trying my best to keep on writing, keep on improving my storytelling and quietly assessing. I don't know how things will stand in a year, but I do know that I'm not happy with the borrow rate for novels right now, and I hope Amazon listens to the author discontent and does something about KU.

I just don't know what that something is.

Good luck to all, whether you're in or out of KU. There is no right or wrong way, only your way, the way that works for you and your business.

For me and my business, that isn't Kindle Unlimited. Not right now.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 12:17:21 PM by RKC »

Online SevenDays

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2014, 12:11:38 PM »
If you were seeing a big income drop even with the bonus, then the other All-Stars are likely seeing this, too.  I wouldn't be surprised if they start fleeing KULL en masse.

Yeah, I think Rosalind mention pulling out of Select, too, and going wide. I think she'll do very, VERY well in the other sales channels.

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Offline K.B.

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2014, 12:12:35 PM »
KU launched a few weeks after I released my debut novel. In two weeks, I had racked up over 300 sales. The day KU hit, my sales dropped to 0-1 a day. They never recovered.

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Online Edward M. Grant

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2014, 12:13:49 PM »
The model itself is flawed.

The subscription model for ebooks makes no sense, but Amazon are chasing after Scribd and the other subscription providers. The difference, as I see it, is that the 'pay authors the full amount' model like Scribd makes no sense for them, whereas the 'pay authors a discount rate' like KU makes no sense for us.

KU will probably just fade away over the next few months as more and more writers abandon it.

Online Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2014, 12:14:31 PM »
Add me to the list of authors getting fleeced. I have been watching a steady decline the past two to three months, wondering what the heck?!? I am down probably 40% on average and that's WITH a new release. I have two titles in KU, the rest are not. I do get some borrows, but it's not enough to touch what I was making several months ago. I've been watching the rants on the 10% from the sidelines and it seems there are tons of folks putting out serial shorts to get that KU amount. I don't agree with it, and think there should be a minimum word count at the very least lest novelists are forced to compete with a host of short story and pamphlet writers for the same pay. It's an unfair system, in my opinion. On a personal note, sorry to hear about your child. I hope this turns around for all of us.

Maybe it would work better if the reader had to read a minimum number of words (of the story - not padding) say 3 000, rather than a percentage. That would cut out the short shorts and be fairer to the novels.

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Online Wired

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2014, 12:15:41 PM »
So how does Amazon benefit from this? What's their ultimate goal?

Offline carinasanfey

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2014, 12:16:27 PM »
Yikes. This is eye-opening. Sorry to hear what you're going through, Holly, it must be horrible. I hope things pick up again soon.

Offline Lydniz

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2014, 12:19:01 PM »
My books aren't in Select and I can't honestly say sales have dropped since the launch of KU, but they have certainly stopped rising as fast as they had been before, considering my backlist is 20% bigger than it was when KU started. I couldn't claim cause and effect with any certainty, but the whole thing has made me concentrate on other outlets with more enthusiasm than I ever did before.

(As a matter of fact, my sales have plummeted this week, but that's probably because some well-known authors in my genre have just rereleased their entire back catalogues and have pushed me right out of the rankings for the first time since I started. I think that's a different matter, though.)

Offline D-C

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2014, 12:20:41 PM »
Prior to KU my UF was steadily climbing. Once KU hit, sales fell, KU picked up at about 50/50 (so for every sale, I get 1 borrow), but my income took a nose dive. Sure I'm shifting more units but at much less profit. The whole guessing game for each payout really gets on my t*ts. KU has given me the kick I needed to get out of Kdps and go elsewhere. Hugh Howey said its not worth it. When the big names start shaking their heads; something is rotten.