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Author Topic: KU Crushed My Sales :(  (Read 146599 times)  

Offline scribblr

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #125 on: November 28, 2014, 08:08:37 PM »
Just wanted to let you know,  I admire you for this.   You actually did leave Amazon completely.    Are you on Google Play yet?

Thank you. No, I haven't joined Google Play because the contract with Google states that Google has the right to sell at whatever price Google chooses, although they still pay the author/publisher a 52% royalty based on the List Price. I've been delighted with my sales at, and working association with, Nook and Kobo and I don't want to anger them by having my books priced lower at other resellers. 

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #126 on: November 28, 2014, 08:12:36 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.

You left erotica shorts out of your definitive list.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #127 on: November 28, 2014, 08:18:22 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 -   

Where is the exact clause in the KDP TOS that forbids perma-free? When I look through the TOS, this is all I see:

Pricing Page 1. Royalties D. Matching Competitor Prices (35% Royalty Option):

Quote
From time to time your book may be made available through other sales channels as part of a free promotion. It is important that Digital Books made available through the Program have promotions that are on par with free promotions of the same book in another sales channel. Therefore, if your Digital Book is available through another sales channel for free, we may also make it available for free. If we match a free promotion of your Digital Book somewhere else, your Royalty during that promotion will be zero. (Unlike under the 70% Royalty Option, if we match a price for your Digital Book that is above zero, it won't change the calculation of your Royalties indicated in C. above.)

Pricing Page 1. Royalties D. Matching Competitor Prices (70% Royalty Option):

Quote
If we price-match your Digital Book, your Royalty will be:

The Royalty Rate indicated above, multiplied by the price at which we sell the Digital Book, less taxes and Delivery Costs, for sales to customers in the Available Sales Territories.

Royalty Rate x (Amazon price - taxes and Delivery Costs) = Royalty

By "price-match" we mean where we sell the Digital Book in one or more of the Available Sales Territories at a price (net of taxes) that is below the List Price to match a third party's sales price for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book, or to match our sales price for any physical edition of the Digital Book, in any one of the Available Sales Territories.

There's no mention there about how price-matching a free book is against the TOS. In fact, there's nothing there about how price-matching a NON-free book is against the TOS either.

Did Amazon quietly remove the most favored nation clause from the TOS while we weren't looking?

Offline GUTMAN

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #128 on: November 28, 2014, 08:20:31 PM »
Not to speak for Hugh, but from what I remember he is not being held to the exclusivity clause. However, that is for a finite period. Once that period ends he's said he will most likely pull out as the numbers AE and Data Guy have gathered do not support him staying in.

My sources in the "special club" of KU non-exclusivity told me they get this come and go deal until January.  At least that was true in the summer. Things may have changed--and for all anybody knows it could be different terms for different folks.

Offline ricola

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #129 on: November 28, 2014, 08:22:40 PM »
You left erotica shorts out of your definitive list.

Pardon me.  That's true for some.

Those who were doing decently before and doing better now are mostly doing it on sheer volume.  They may have made $5-10k a month before, but over dozens if not over a hundred titles.  Few people were buying any individual title.  So they had a LOT of books that not many people wanted to buy that added up to a decent income.

Screw KU.  I've gone off Amazon for eyeballs, and my sales are up 8x.  And I was making a living before.

Offline Monique

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #130 on: November 28, 2014, 08:31:33 PM »
Can you see a $0.00 pricing option on Zon?  No? you have your answer. 

LOL. I was going to correct you, but I see others have taken care of that quite nicely.

Your prejudice against something does not make it a fact.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 08:34:55 PM by Monique »

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Offline Jill Nojack

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #131 on: November 28, 2014, 08:33:23 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 -   
That's like saying people who get Bookbub ads are "gaming the system". There is no reverse engineering involved in a permafree. It's an ad, like any other ad. One that doesn't cost an author anything but the time he or she took to write the book.

Amazon is happy to set a person's book permafree for them if asked. Within hours. It isn't against their terms. The terms are that they reserve the right to price match or to not price match. You can't force them to do it. They wouldn't do it if it didn't benefit them.

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Offline sela

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #132 on: November 28, 2014, 08:42:43 PM »
I was in KDPS from the start of my writing career, which started in June 2012. I have two series published for a total of 7 full length novels and I have two novellas and two short stories. I pulled my books out of KDPS earlier in 2014 to take part in a boxed set that was distributed widely and to see if I could hack it in wider distribution. At first, I barely made any money on the other channels like B&N, iBooks and Kobo but I did really well after 2 Bookbub 99c promos and a couple of new releases. Then, KU hit and my Amazon income went down almost 50% from previous months. All my books fell in rank considerably when KU started up. As a result, my sales dried up drastically. Here are some numbers

Average Amazon monthly income:

Q1 (Jan, Feb, Mar): $14,318.19 per month average
Q2 (Apr, May, June): $15,003.88 per month average
Q3 (July, Aug, Sept): $8,585.10 per month average

Needless to say I went back all in to KDPS/KU. I started in October, but November was the first month I was all in to KDPS / KU again. My sales were drying up on B&N, iTunes and Kobo as the effects of the 2 Bookbubs were waning. Since I was not eligible for any more Bookbubs for 6 months, my choices were to go permafree with the first book in the two series or go back into KDPS. I decided to go back into KDPS as I was reluctant to go the permafree route because as far as I understand, once your book has been free, Bookbub will not do anything but free. 99c Bookbub promos have done really well for me, getting me to #2, #12, #23, #32 and #35 in the Kindle store. They give me a boost for a month or two. I'll be eligible once more starting in January 2015 so I will likely be pulling out one of my series from KDPS/KU and putting it back on all channels. The other series will probably stay in as it is doing better in KU than out of it.

Going all in to KDPS/KU has increased my rankings but the borrows have not made up for the lost income at other channels nor have they brought me back up to the income I enjoyed in Q1 or Q2 and I feel KU lends have cannibalized my sales. Is it all due to KU? I am sure there are other factors -- the natural decline in sales of a book that is older, the Summer Slump. etc. and 6 months without a new release, but I have to tie the majority of the drop to the start of KU and the effect of not being in KU on my books' ranking and visibility.

I started pulling books out of other channels in October and putting them back in to KDPS.

Here are my more recent stats:

October Amazon Income: $9,876.23
November Amazon Income (Projected): $9000.00

It may seem like a lot of those authors who are not making their living as full-time writers, but I am the sole support for myself and my two teens. Seeing that kind of drop in Amazon income while income on the other channels was dropping made me rethink wider distribution.

Anyway, am I bitter? I could be but this is business and I have to take a step backward and try to see the big picture. No one owes me a living. I have to make it and I have to find what works for me. I am not taking sides in this debate because I really think that this comes down to being smart and nimble and responding to conditions on the ground and never stopping or expecting anything. I love being indie and being in control of my destiny as much as possible. That means being aware of the realities facing me and responding.

Being exclusive to Amazon KDPS was good for me and gave me the opportunity to work full time as an author. Amazon is trying out a new program, and it is unclear to me whether it is net positive or negative for me as an author, although I suspect it will be net negative. Like all businesses, Amazon puts the bottom line first, and that means putting the customer first. It is top dog because it does everything better to make the customer happy and thus customers choose it over other online retailers. It is also playing the long game, maneuvering itself to be the biggest online retailer and getting ready to compete with Alibaba. If KU makes readers happy, if enough of them sign up for KU and Prime, Amazon will keep both programs in place. It will find a KU payout that keeps enough authors in. If not, KU will fade and be replaced by something else.

It's still possible to do really well outside of Amazon KDPS / KU. Nothing is certain in this business and so while I did really well for most of 2013 and the first two quarters of 2014, there is no guarantee that I will keep doing well. We indie authors are not special snowflakes. We are suppliers and Amazon has shown it is willing to squeeze suppliers if it has to. If KU doesn't work for us, we still have a choice of going wide in terms of distribution and using other tactics to sell and promote our books.

I have plans for a couple of new series and see that as my best strategy -- keep writing new content. I'm going to try permafree for one series starter, and for the other, I'm going to try the Liliana Nirvana technique with novellas and have three serial novellas ready to release every two weeks for 6 weeks and then release the bundle and see how it does in KU. I'm going to keep trying to build up my mailing list. I'm going to keep trying new promotions. I'm going to put one series in KU and one series in wide distribution and see what works best. I'm going to keep my eyes open and try to be smart and nimble.

Most of all, I'm going to keep writing - oh, and I'm going to focus on building up an emergency fund because in this business, nothing is certain. It's stressful and exhilarating at the same time. It's the best possible time to be an author as well.  :)




« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 08:52:49 PM by Sela »

Joliedupre

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #133 on: November 28, 2014, 08:49:32 PM »

Screw KU. 

For non-erotica?  Yeah, I'm going wide.  For erotica?  H*** NO.

Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #134 on: November 28, 2014, 09:10:22 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.

Not true, at all. There are a number of example right here on KB that disproves that.

Offline Deke

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #135 on: November 28, 2014, 09:26:42 PM »
FIrst off, you're probably in the minority in not having an Amazon accountor is that a wrong assumption? Second, I'm suggesting the reverse: that you could find Book 1 on Kobo (whatever that isha), and if you love it would have them be more inclined to jump through a hoop or two to get Book 2. Of course, this scenario would discourage folks who do not use Kindle from getting subsequent books in the series, but as proposed above some accommodation might be made directly from the author's own site.

I'm still working this out and perhaps the best-practices is this: Book 1 permafree everywhere.  Book 2+ a reasonable price everywhere.

The only lost opportunity with the above would be the "free loans" to KU members of Books 2+.

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Offline CoraBuhlert

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #136 on: November 28, 2014, 09:42:58 PM »
FIrst off, you're probably in the minority in not having an Amazon account...or is that a wrong assumption?

In the US maybe. But Amazon is not the dominant retailer or even the dominant e-book in many other countries.

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #137 on: November 28, 2014, 10:03:41 PM »
What I don't understand is that Amazon says we're giving 6 months of Kindle Unlimited away for free with a Kindle and the reaction of some is: "Now is a good time to jump from the bandwagon."

Offline Saul Tanpepper

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #138 on: November 28, 2014, 10:18:10 PM »
What I don't understand is that Amazon says we're giving 6 months of Kindle Unlimited away for free with a Kindle and the reaction of some is: "Now is a good time to jump from the bandwagon."

The size of the pot is unlikely to change, so more subscribers means more borrows, most likely weighed heavily toward those who are already heavy hitters. That means smaller royalties/read for everyone. Unless you're able to get more borrows to make up for it, your income is likely to go down.
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Offline Boyd

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #139 on: November 28, 2014, 10:19:25 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong - one of the terms of KDP is that your work cannot be free of charge anywhere else on the internet?  If Zon stripped every  permafree book tomorrow - they could point to that clause - and that's it.  No argument. 

Permafree is at the mercy of Zon - if and when they want it gone - it's gone. 
can you quote that for me in their TOS?  I don't recall seeing that.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #140 on: November 28, 2014, 10:25:23 PM »
Correct me if I'm wrong - one of the terms of KDP is that your work cannot be free of charge anywhere else on the internet?  If Zon stripped every  permafree book tomorrow - they could point to that clause - and that's it.  No argument. 

Permafree is at the mercy of Zon - if and when they want it gone - it's gone.

EC, you are wrong, and we are correcting you. There is no clause in the terms of KDP that says that you cannot offer your work "free of charge anywhere else on the internet." On the contrary, there are numerous clauses enumerating exactly what KDP will do if your work is available for a lower price elsewhere, and what their obligations are to you in that event.

Perhaps you need to read through the TOS more thoroughly before you bash everyone with a perma-free book for "gaming the system."

Offline Deanna Chase

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #141 on: November 28, 2014, 10:26:07 PM »
It was automatically going to be the case that KU would affect permafree visibility - for the simple reason that people who signed up for it had no incentive to go looking for free books any more.  As I said, a lot of the gripes are coming from people that lost the permafree visibility advantage - and your post confirms that.  KU up - permafree down.

You said books that had permafree are the ones that are suffering. I'm saying ALL books not in KU are at a disadvantage. Only one of my three series had a permafree book. But ALL three series took a hit. Just like HM Ward said her sales are down because of KU. A lot of people's books are down. Permafree isn't the reason they are down. KU and visibility advantage is.

Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #142 on: November 28, 2014, 10:39:51 PM »
What I don't understand is that Amazon says we're giving 6 months of Kindle Unlimited away for free with a Kindle and the reaction of some is: "Now is a good time to jump from the bandwagon."

Its only one month of Kindle Unlimited in the UK and AFAIK Kindle Unlimited is not even available as a paid service in Canada just a few hundred miles from Amazon's HQ.


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Offline D-C

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #143 on: November 28, 2014, 11:45:47 PM »
The did warn us this was how it was going to work. Remember back when this thing first dropped and the rep told one of our members (forget who) that KU was gong to be mostly for 'exposure' when she expressed concern that the KOLL payment wouldn't hold up?

Holds up hand. That was me. They told me straight, it's for exposure.

Offline Mark E. Cooper

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #144 on: November 28, 2014, 11:49:53 PM »
Hi.  Do you really want to hurt Amazon?   Pulling out of KU will not hurt Amazon in the least.   Hugh Howey not being in KU hasn't hurt it.

The only way for you to hurt Amazon is if you pull all your books from Amazon and do not sell there.

I am still sorry for Holly.   I figure that Amazon reps told her a little white lie.

I don't want to hurt Amazon. I love Amazon. I want to hurt KU...murder KU. Destroy it utterly! muhahaha

Offline Daphne

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #145 on: November 29, 2014, 12:58:26 AM »
EC, you are wrong, and we are correcting you. There is no clause in the terms of KDP that says that you cannot offer your work "free of charge anywhere else on the internet." On the contrary, there are numerous clauses enumerating exactly what KDP will do if your work is available for a lower price elsewhere, and what their obligations are to you in that event.

Perhaps you need to read through the TOS more thoroughly before you bash everyone with a perma-free book for "gaming the system."


Ive always been confused by Amazons policy on price-matching to free, because their Terms and Conditions on their Pricing Page would seem to say that you cannot deliberately price your book lower on any other sales channel (and free will always be lower as Amazon does not offer this option) and yet they have always appeared to be more than happy to set books to permafree.

On Pricing: "You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book. (my italics)

The phrase Amazon uses regarding Matching Competitor Prices  suggests occasional free promotions: "From time to time your book may be made available through other sales channels as part of a free promotion."

Arguably Amazon could decide that people who have chosen to set their book permanently to free on another channel are in breach of the terms and conditions because it is setting the price on Amazon higher and is not an occasional free promotion, but in reality they have shown no inclination to do so.

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Offline EC

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #146 on: November 29, 2014, 03:41:57 AM »

I've always been confused by Amazon's policy on price-matching to free, because their Terms and Conditions on their Pricing Page would seem to say that you cannot deliberately price your book lower on any other sales channel (and free will always be lower as Amazon does not offer this option) and yet they have always appeared to be more than happy to set books to permafree.

On Pricing: "You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book." (my italics)

The phrase Amazon uses regarding Matching Competitor Prices  suggests occasional free promotions: "From time to time your book may be made available through other sales channels as part of a free promotion."

Arguably Amazon could decide that people who have chosen to set their book permanently to free on another channel are in breach of the terms and conditions because it is setting the price on Amazon higher and is not an occasional free promotion, but in reality they have shown no inclination to do so.


Correct.

Offline Daizie

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #147 on: November 29, 2014, 04:41:27 AM »
Have you guys heard of Payhip.com?

I had a few of my books listed there for awhile and sold a handful before I went back to KU. Its simply a distro site. You list your books, readers can pay by credit/debit or paypal and you place the book there as an epub, mobi or pdf or whattever. The reader buys it and downloads it. Payhip only keeps like .10 from each sale.

Just hardly anyone knows about it and hard to get peopel to go there to buy is the biggest thing.

I've never heard of it. Thanks.

Offline Quiss

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #148 on: November 29, 2014, 05:59:03 AM »
On Pricing: "You must set your Digital Book's List Price (and change it from time-to-time if necessary) so that it is no higher than the list price in any sales channel for any digital or physical edition of the Digital Book." (my italics)

If Amazon wanted to evoke this they should have done this before KU to force all those permafreebies back into Select.
Given KU, there is little reason to offer a book for free for five days or use the Countdown since you're targeting the same audience with that. At least at .com where the numbers are.
What Amazon needs right now is an incentive for authors of longer and higher-priced works to stay exclusive. I'm not seeing it.
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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #149 on: November 29, 2014, 06:20:05 AM »
We should be able to make books free without having to "game" the system. It's time for Amazon to step into 2014 -- the other channels allow us to go free from the start.

Honestly, Amazon is the leader, but their system is easily the most archaic. Delivery fees, updates aren't automatically pushed thorough to customers (Apple handles updates the best, an icon shows up when a book has been updated), sharing a pot, the option to take 35% on a book over $2.99 (who would choose to make less), etc.

It's like they're stuck in 2009.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 06:22:13 AM by D. Zollicoffer »

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