Author Topic: KU Crushed My Sales :(  (Read 140402 times)  

Offline C. Gockel

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #100 on: November 28, 2014, 07:01:29 PM »
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  I've normally stayed away from Select because I have readers on the other platforms - not a lot, but even one is too many to disappoint in my opinion - but had been considering a rethink of that for my new one coming out near year's end, even if just for the 90 day initial period.  All things considered, though, it seems it's starting to make less sense for a full-sized >$2.99 novel.

On my newsletter sign-up I ask people which platform they prefer so I can send them a customized email. Over 1/3 of the people on my email list are at B&N; and then I've got a few folks at Apple, GooglePlay, Smashwords and Kobo. I was thinking about putting my next series into KU, but I've decided not to. I believe this will hurt me in the short-run, but help me in the long run.

Something someone said about traditional publishers is that they forgot that bookstores weren't their customers; people were their customers, and that is how Amazon crushed them. 1/3 + of my customers are on other platforms; I will go to them.


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Offline KMatthew

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #101 on: November 28, 2014, 07:04:40 PM »
As I said in another thread - the people moaning most about KU are those that lost the permafree visibility advantage overnight.  The effectiveness of that funnel has been reduced dramatically.

Reduced, not obliterated.

I didn't use permafree and my sales have held steady.  I'd like to know from those that are reporting slumps if they did use permafree.  Permafree was always risky and controversial - people were warned it was going to backfire.   

So lets be brutal about it - those that gamed the system using permafree have been found out. The playing field has leveled again - so be it.

I highly doubt this had anything to do with people using permafree to 'game the system'. There are a lot of things that people could consider 'gaming the system'. Amazon was simply responding to services like Oyster and Scribd. This was the way that publishing was heading. This was always the direction that ebooks were going to go, towards the subscription model. I knew it before Oyster and Scribd even existed. And I honestly think that most people expected it. Heck, I'm surprised it took this long. There are subscription services for every other type of digital media. Why not books? Even though we knew this though, it was hard to plan for it not knowing what the royalty structure was going to be and that Amazon was going to throw exclusivity into the pot. I always assumed that when they rolled out with this, everyone would be included, because it just made the most business sense. But I believe they're still attempting to snuff out their competition by trying to force indies into exclusivity because they still hold the lion's share of the ebook market. 

Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #102 on: November 28, 2014, 07:05:55 PM »
Heh.

I use the crap out of permafree and I weathered KU's advent without a scratch.

So no, permafree didn't backfire. in fact, it was the fact that I could repeatedly spike my free promos on a staggered schedule to stay in the top 100 Free in my genres that I didn't get hurt.

Also, I'd looooove to hear how permafree is 'gaming the system' when there is literally a space on the dashboard to tell you how many permafree copies you've given away and Amazon will happily SET YOU TO FREE on .com if you ask.

I only took damage when Amazon went out of their way to de-free me in the DE, CA and AU stores. Some of the people who they denied my free books to went and got the series from other sources, so really Amazon only stole money from themselves with that stunt.

Maybe that doesn't come to a lot from just one account, but how many times have those same readers been forced into that situation in the past couple of months? How many other readers of other books that stopped being free there did the same? It's like anti-exclusivity: they send customers directly to other outlets.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 07:08:50 PM by Vaalingrade »

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #103 on: November 28, 2014, 07:10:08 PM »
Now I'm interested in what I can accomplish with permafree. I set one up this month, and while the Amazon books are almost dead, the ones on BN are constantly moving.

Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #104 on: November 28, 2014, 07:14:56 PM »
Amazon was simply responding to services like Oyster and Scribd. This was the way that publishing was heading. This was always the direction that ebooks were going to go, towards the subscription model. I knew it before Oyster and Scribd even existed. And I honestly think that most people expected it. Heck, I'm surprised it took this long. There are subscription services for every other type of digital media. Why not books?

When I buy a paperback I read it and then donate it to a charity shop or a friend. Many readers never re-read books so for readers subscription services makes more sense for books (and movies) than music. Of course that depends on there being a subscription service with a lot of the books that you like to read and at present that means Scribd (or Oyster if you live in the US).


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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #105 on: November 28, 2014, 07:15:10 PM »
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.

That is a good idea, Jan.

Holly, I am sorry you have the additional burden of having your income affected by KU on top of those health issues that your child faces. I hope there is improvement soon for both.

Offline C. Gockel

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #106 on: November 28, 2014, 07:15:20 PM »
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So lets be brutal about it - those that gamed the system using permafree have been found out. The playing field has leveled again - so be it.

I didn't see any drop in my free downloads. I saw a drop in my sell-thru. So I lowered the price of my second in series. That boosted my sell-thru rate but decreased my revenues by about $200 a month.

Permafree is still working for me--free books are the easiest and cheapest to promote; and I do so every month.


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Offline Nic

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #107 on: November 28, 2014, 07:21:40 PM »
When I buy a paperback I read it and then donate it to a charity shop or a friend. Many readers never re-read books so for readers subscription services makes more sense for books (and movies) than music. Of course that depends on there being a subscription service with a lot of the books that you like to read and at present that means Scribd (or Oyster if you live in the US).

When I buy a book it usually is the hardback, very rarely the paperback, and it goes into my library. If I like an ebook a lot I will buy the paperback. It also goes into my library. That's a room as central to me in my house as the kitchen. I write, read and study in the library.

I also use offline and online libraries, and I decided last month I will subscribe to scribd (rather than Amazon's KU).

Offline John Ellsworth

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #108 on: November 28, 2014, 07:31:28 PM »
I have been toying with the idea of selling direct from my website. The technology to do so can be viewed on my website where I've set up a sample chapter http://johnellsworthbooks.com/free-chapter/.

The company is PubML at http://pubml.com/

The technology can also be monetized.

Offline Lisa Grace

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #109 on: November 28, 2014, 07:32:33 PM »
Although we think of ourselves as creative people because we write books, Amazon thinks of us as suppliers of a product they sell. They're using the product we produce--books--as a lure to sell more Kindles, hoping the people who buy those Kindles and get the free six month subscription will become members of Prime, where they really make money. KU isn't about us: it's about Amazon. If we aren't careful and put our books elsewhere and promote them elsewhere, they will eventually have a monopoly on the ebook business.

First, sorry Holly about your child. It's the worst feeling as a parent. Praying for his healing.

My sales were hurt after my very first year with Amazon when they did one of their changes to their algorithms. They've never quite recovered, but I'm putting out more books anyway. This is one reason why I've been a proponent of not having all your eggs in one basket, as Amazon can change anyone's visibility/payment  in a Seattle minute. KU just shows how dangerous Amazon's control can be.

I agree with what Marian said, and I've said it before. Amazon is not about the "ebooks." They are about selling everything. They collect all the data they can on you, and make suggestions daily based on your buying and search habits. They track whom you buy gifts for and when, all your purchasing patterns. Ebooks give them an easy way to track this data.

They use self publishers to plug gaps left when trades won't play their way. They promote us when they're at a stand still with publishers, they put us on a back burner during Christmas, when trades pay for prime advertising and promotion.

They'll plug us more in January, when people have their shiny new Kindles, but as I've said before it's not about the books, but Prime, subscription services, one click, emails, and access to peoples' search and buying habits.  Books are truly a widget, and yes, a brand name may make one widget more desirable than another for a while, but they have the power to make new widgets even more desirable, or at least satisfactory as a replacement.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 07:35:34 PM by LisaGrace »
 
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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #110 on: November 28, 2014, 07:36:44 PM »
As I said in another thread - the people moaning most about KU are those that lost the permafree visibility advantage overnight.  The effectiveness of that funnel has been reduced dramatically.  * * *

I'd like to know from those that are reporting slumps if they did use permafree.

I never used permafree. In fact none of my books has ever been free, and my sales were reduced by about 1/3 when KU started. Maybe that doesn't count since I don't think I moaned.   :)

Things looked up sharply when I put my newest book in KU, but how does one judge that? The book is selling well and maybe it would have sold as well and given the backlist as much of a boost as it's received without KU. The last few books didn't, but this one really seems to be resonating with readers, so maybe it's responsible for everything and KU is having no effect or a negative effect. I've given up trying to figure it out. I'm putting one of the older books in KU to see what happens. I can definitely say that after 5 years, my non-Amazon sales were about 4% of my Amazon sales. KU on one book and one short story is paying many times more than the non-Amazon vendors ever did.

I think we can debate this for eternity and there will never be One True Way for everyone.

Saying a prayer for Holly's boy.

Offline Lisa Grace

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #111 on: November 28, 2014, 07:40:00 PM »
As I said in another thread - the people moaning most about KU are those that lost the permafree visibility advantage overnight.  The effectiveness of that funnel has been reduced dramatically.

Reduced, not obliterated.

I didn't use permafree and my sales have held steady.  I'd like to know from those that are reporting slumps if they did use permafree.  Permafree was always risky and controversial - people were warned it was going to backfire.   

So lets be brutal about it - those that gamed the system using permafree have been found out. The playing field has leveled again - so be it.

Not true. I'm getting more free downloads on my perma free. Plus, I'm actually getting borrows on my 99 cent serials, so to me, KU has been a benefit on all but one of my full length novels.

How exactly does perma free game a system??? That makes no sense.

 I give the first book away free because if readers like it they'll go on to buy the rest. Plus, I always have something I can promote.  I love perma free, and it works for me on Nook, Kobo, Amazon's foreign stores, iTunes, and everywhere else. I'm getting ready to load everything that isn't in Select on Google Play too.

Perma free works well for me still, and I plan on setting another perma free soon.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 07:44:14 PM by LisaGrace »
 
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Offline KMatthew

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #112 on: November 28, 2014, 07:44:11 PM »
They'll plug us more in January, when people have their shiny new Kindles
Don't count on it. They'll be plugging KU titles like mad because of the 6 month trial they're giving buyers of their skiny new Kindles.

But you just stated in your above post that some of your titles are in KU, so hopefully that means they'll be plugging your titles too. For those of us outside of KU, no such luck. And I realize that's a personal choice, but that's also, more than likely, a reality.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 07:47:11 PM by KMatthew »

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #113 on: November 28, 2014, 07:46:16 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.

They are.

They are.

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #114 on: November 28, 2014, 07:47:42 PM »
No one was "gaming the system" through permafree--and Holly doesn't have a permafree.

It hit my permafree and non-permafree series equally hard.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #115 on: November 28, 2014, 07:49:36 PM »
This might be a topic for another thread, but H.M. Ward, how would things change for you if Amazon dropped the exclusivity requirement for KU?

I hope things work out for your boy.

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #116 on: November 28, 2014, 07:49:57 PM »
Only three types of people are better off with KU than before:

-Those selling at $.99.
-Those JUST starting out in romance.
-Those whose books no one wanted to buy before.

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #117 on: November 28, 2014, 07:51:01 PM »
This might be a topic for another thread, but H.M. Ward, how would things change for you if Amazon dropped the exclusivity requirement for KU?

I hope things work out for your boy.

She didn't have an exclusivity requirement.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #118 on: November 28, 2014, 07:51:18 PM »
It games the system by working against those that don't break Zon's terms by going down the permafree route - giving a competitive advantage in regards to visibility.

If perma-free is breaking the KDP TOS, Amazon is oddly complicit in it.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #119 on: November 28, 2014, 07:51:58 PM »
She didn't have an exclusivity requirement.

Wow. And even without exclusivity, it didn't work for her?

Perhaps the system is broken.

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #120 on: November 28, 2014, 07:53:05 PM »
Oyster and Scribd pay 100% royalties.  I'm happy to have my books there.

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #121 on: November 28, 2014, 07:54:25 PM »
Why did you create a permafree?  to create increased visibility and funnel readers into your other titles? of course you did - and that gave you an advantage over those that didn't have permafrees. 

To do so you had to go off Zon - and reverse engineer - against Zon's terms.  Gaming for competitive advantage.

Permafree is at the root of all this -   

...Really?  So if I price my books at $3.99 and not $8.99 like trad pubs, is that GAMING, too?  What if I have nice covers and good editing, unlike 80% of indies?  I bet that's CHEATING!

Offline Mark Tyson

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #122 on: November 28, 2014, 07:55:03 PM »
This thread is confusing the heck out of me. I came out with my first title back in March and I hit the ground running selling almost 2000 books in a month and a half. After reading various threads on  Kboards, I found that I fell in the "not typical" category for a first book. Then KU hit and my sales dropped too but I do not have a large enough catalog to know if it was because of KU or if my title just leveled out normally. Since then, I have released book 2 and I have a new release coming Sunday. As my mailing list grows and my sales remain steady (but fairly low) I am perplexed whether or not I should go wide or stay in select as I have from the beginning. When I read threads like this I feel I need to go wide but I am scared as heck to do that since I am doing okay with borrows (about 50/50) I have not done the permafree option yet but I do price pulse book 1 now between .99 and 2.99. I am doing okay, but no where near what I did the first 3 or 4 months. I guess the exposure is good for me to remain in select but I can't help to think I could be making sales on other platforms too. I fear this is "grass is greener" thinking. Any advice from you long term authors is always appreciated!

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Offline Lisa Grace

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #123 on: November 28, 2014, 08:04:10 PM »
It games the system by working against those that don't break Zon's terms by going down the permafree route - giving a competitive advantage in regards to visibility.

You are in a minority if you are seeing your downloads increase  - plenty of others have seen them plummet.

It doesn't "game" the system, in that Amazon doesn't have to price match, and for the first several months, they chose not to. I was free on several other platforms, through Smashwords.  As a self publisher, I don't have to do things to "please" Amazon, just my readers.

All those leaving KU certainly won't be "pleasing" Amazon either.
 
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Offline Deanna Chase

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #124 on: November 28, 2014, 08:06:54 PM »
Can you see a $0.00 pricing option on Zon?  No? you have your answer.

No, but Amazon's TOS addresses what the author's payment is if the book is on a free promotion at another retailer and Amz chooses to price match it.  Many people on this very board have asked Amazon if free is against the terms of service. The answer was no. Many have reps who actually help set books free when asked. If that's gaming the system, then it's done with Amazon's clear blessing.

But feel free to keep telling us all we're gaming the system. For the record, I have three series. At the time KU launched, one series had a permafree. All books dropped 30% in revenue all do to lost visibility on Amazon because of KU books getting an advantage in visibility. It's not because permafree backfired. It's because the conditions changed. Free still works in most cases. It just works a bit differently.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 08:37:11 PM by Deanna Chase »

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