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INCLUDES BONUS FREE E-DOWNLOADS: TEMPLATES FOR GRANT WRITING!

Grant writing shouldn’t feel like a trip to the dentist. Take the pain out of the process with this innovative and fun, yes fun, guide. Learn all the inside tips and tools of the grant-writing trade in this easy-to-read and upbeat book.
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Author Topic: KU Crushed My Sales :(  (Read 146598 times)  

Offline Cherise

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #150 on: November 29, 2014, 06:45:39 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.


While all this is true, the Zon still has the best discoverability engine, which in the end is what matters most. They get the most eyeballs on our books.

Offline DanaG

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #151 on: November 29, 2014, 07:00:22 AM »
A decline in a writer's sales doesn't mean sales and borrows are disappearing into nothing. The non-sales for this writer become sales and borrows for someone else. Let's say just as deserving as the writer, who lost sales.

I don't necessarily think this is true.  The fact that one writer isn't doing well on KU doesn't mean that readers are buying someone else's books instead.  It could just mean that sales and/or borrows are down across the board there.

I do wonder if KU in general is not doing well, and that's why Amazon felt the need to offer that six month free subscription to it.

Offline C. Gockel

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #152 on: November 29, 2014, 07:15:09 AM »
Quote
I do wonder if KU in general is not doing well, and that's why Amazon felt the need to offer that six month free subscription to it.

This is only anecdotal, but when KU first came out I checked out the comments in my Facebook post and they were mostly positive. (But similar ads have negative comments for Scribd and Oyster--your typical, "you could just get these from a library for free" comments).

However, lately, the comments on KU in Facebook have turned into, "the books are nothing but junk". Of course, I know a lot of high quality trad & indies who are in KU, but I think maybe the scamlets are making consumers more wary.


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Offline Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake'

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #153 on: November 29, 2014, 07:20:39 AM »
I don't necessarily think this is true.  The fact that one writer isn't doing well on KU doesn't mean that readers are buying someone else's books instead.  It could just mean that sales and/or borrows are down across the board there.

I do wonder if KU in general is not doing well, and that's why Amazon felt the need to offer that six month free subscription to it.

As a reader, KU holds no interest for me. There's too much choice out there for me to decide what I want to read. I don't even use my Prime borrow every month because I can't figure out what I want to read. I buy based on recommendations or an Amazon ad might strike me. If the book is out of my price range, I might use my KOLL borrow.


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Offline Donna White Glaser

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #154 on: November 29, 2014, 07:43:12 AM »
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."
This is the point I'm wavering on, for short-term decision-making. Come Jan., there are going to be a whole lot of people trying KU for the next six months w/ their free Kindle. I have 1 permafree and then 3 next in the series. The 3 next are in KU, but their tour of duty is up Jan. 1st. I'm trying to decide if I should take all or just the latter two out.
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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #155 on: November 29, 2014, 07:54:11 AM »

While all this is true, the Zon still has the best discoverability engine, which in the end is what matters most. They get the most eyeballs on our books.

...which they promptly sabotaged to put their thumb on the scale for KU.

And it really is borked too. I was trying to link a friend's book for the Wendig thing and using the search terms that always put his book on the first page turned up a page of things that didn't even have anything to do with the terms (including a COOK BOOK when looking for a steampunk fantasy) with him on the second now.

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Offline Deke

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #156 on: November 29, 2014, 08:14:39 AM »
I wonder if KU will ultimately change what I write. Maybe it's time to seriously look at shorter novellas and TV-series style episodes. Then have some in and some out of KU.

In general, I'm grateful to Amazon for creating this marketplace, but I'm not real happy about anyone loaning my product out for a fee I didn't agree to.

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Offline Marian

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #157 on: November 29, 2014, 08:22:58 AM »
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!

If I were you, I'd go wide. If you're afraid to leave Select, leave just the first book in and promote it like crazy. It will lead readers to your other books. Hype your new release as well. As so many of us have said, don't put all of your eggs in one basket, especially since Amazon is holding the basket and they can drop it anytime they want to.

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #158 on: November 29, 2014, 08:26:00 AM »
I haven't manage to read all the way through this thread, so pardon if I am repeating what someone else said ....

I've been reading the posts which seem to reflect on timing and specific behavior and results, and I wonder if we're not seeing a bubble pattern.

With Prime Lending, people could only borrow one book a month, so it probably didn't make as much difference to the audience, even though it made a big difference to some authors.  However, now with KU (which I believe allows lots more borrowing) we're seeing the customers who are into deals leap in -- making a new-adoption bubble. (Kind of like what happened  a couple years ago with free books and new Kindle users.)

But here's the thing -- the "irrational exhuberence" of those customers is likely aimed at the most expensive books they can find.  If traditionally published best sellers (which are overpriced) are in KU, those are the books people are going to go for, even though they did the opposite with Select.  The psychology is different.

It's different partly because the customers with Select had already paid their fee, and it was "oh look, a new benefit for Prime."  With KU, it's bargain hunters who paid their money up front, and want their money's worth.

I suspect Indie customers were already getting their money's worth.  Select gave other people incentive to try the occasional new author.  KU does the opposite.

If I'm right, this might be a bubble.  Once the first instinctive grabbing wears off, people will settle down into regular reading patterns, just like they did after the first crazy free and 99 cent book bubble.  However, I have no idea whether the regular pattern will be good or bad for authors, or for indies.

Camille

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #159 on: November 29, 2014, 08:42:57 AM »
I'm not a KU subscriber so I don't know how it works from a readers perspective, but what I understand from reading here is any book that has been borrowed will disappear from every Kindle it is on if removed from KU by the author. I know there is a ten book limit, I was just wondering if people are turning on their Kindles and finding the ten books they had borrowed suddenly reduced to five or two or even zero? Does this happen even if they have read half the book already? How does that effect their view of their KU subscription? Has any author received a bad review due to a book disappearing?

Can any subscribers out there give us some insight on this?

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Offline daffodils321

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #160 on: November 29, 2014, 09:10:54 AM »


If I'm right, this might be a bubble.  Once the first instinctive grabbing wears off, people will settle down into regular reading patterns, just like they did after the first crazy free and 99 cent book bubble.  However, I have no idea whether the regular pattern will be good or bad for authors, or for indies.

Camille

Very insightful! I think we will have to wait for the free 6 months of KU to end before we know anything.

Holly, I hope everything turns out with your family's medical issues. Thanks for sharing.

Offline crebel

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #161 on: November 29, 2014, 09:13:31 AM »
I'm not a KU subscriber so I don't know how it works from a readers perspective, but what I understand from reading here is any book that has been borrowed will disappear from every Kindle it is on if removed from KU by the author. I know there is a ten book limit, I was just wondering if people are turning on their Kindles and finding the ten books they had borrowed suddenly reduced to five or two or even zero? Does this happen even if they have read half the book already? How does that effect their view of their KU subscription? Has any author received a bad review due to a book disappearing?

Can any subscribers out there give us some insight on this?


It is a 10 book at a time limit, but unlimited for the number you can borrow that are in KU.  If you've borrowed and read 10 books or see another book you want to borrow, you have to return one before you can get another.  Theoretically, you could borrow a 1,000 books in a month, but no more than 10 at a time.

A book you have borrowed will not disappear from your Kindle unless you stop paying for KU and then all borrowed books will disappear at the end of your current 30-day subscription.  If an author has a book in KU and you borrow it, it will stay on your Kindle until you delete it or your subscription terminates, regardless of whether the author has pulled the book from KU in the meantime.
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Offline Randall Wood

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #162 on: November 29, 2014, 09:19:16 AM »
It is a 10 book at a time limit, but unlimited for the number you can borrow that are in KU.  If you've borrowed and read 10 books or see another book you want to borrow, you have to return one before you can get another.  Theoretically, you could borrow a 1,000 books in a month, but no more than 10 at a time.

A book you have borrowed will not disappear from your Kindle unless you stop paying for KU and then all borrowed books will disappear at the end of your current 30-day subscription.  If an author has a book in KU and you borrow it, it will stay on your Kindle until you delete it or your subscription terminates, regardless of whether the author has pulled the book from KU in the meantime.

Got it, thanks. Seems very safe....for Amazon.  ::)  Looks like an author could have KU borrows showing up on their report months after they have pulled their books out if the reader takes their time getting to them.

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Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #163 on: November 29, 2014, 09:19:41 AM »
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.

There are a lot of customers who don't subscribe to KU. For that reason, the free days and Countdown deals are still a great marketing tool.

Offline ThePete

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #164 on: November 29, 2014, 09:21:38 AM »
The negative and positive effects of KU are being greatly exaggerated. In early June, Amazon made huge changes to their salesrank system to emphasize churn. It's now harder to gain a high rank and takes more work to stay there. That's the real game changer. This revolutionary change a few days before KU was unveiled is responsible for most of the poor sales folks are complaining about. Big name or small time author, the need to perpetually promote your works has never been so urgent. We can't "coast" on success as long we once could.

Let's take a look at the impact of KU borrows on Amazon:

There were 512.7 million ebooks sold* in the US in 2013.
On Amazon: 333.255 million (65% market share)
Monthly Average: 27.77 million
KU/KOLL monthly borrows from last month (Oct): 4.5 million (one million more than previous month)

That's a 16.2% range of harming or helping sales. No paltry sum, but no game changer either. The actual number is likely smaller, since this lumps in KOLL numbers and borrows on every Amazon marketplace. Not just .com.

*http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/63052-industry-sales-flat-in-2013-trade-dropped-2-3.html
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 09:31:14 AM by ThePete »
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Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #165 on: November 29, 2014, 09:23:14 AM »
Very insightful! I think we will have to wait for the free 6 months of KU to end before we know anything.

The bubble won't last just six months, though, because Kindles will be sold this month, next month and many months from now, and they'll all have a six month KU membership on them.

Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #166 on: November 29, 2014, 09:32:04 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.

I know I'm probably going to get flack for saying this, but I don't want them to allow us to set our books permafree. We're already fighting a battle against those who think everything on the Internet should be free. Having more ebooks offered permafree is the last thing I want to see.

Offline Kathy Clark, Author

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #167 on: November 29, 2014, 09:33:57 AM »
thank you Richard!

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Offline Randall Wood

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #168 on: November 29, 2014, 09:40:00 AM »
I know I'm probably going to get flack for saying this, but I don't want them to allow us to set our books permafree. We're already fighting a battle against those who think everything on the Internet should be free. Having more ebooks offered permafree is the last thing I want to see.

I've actually expected them to drop FREE as an option at Amazon for some time. Obviously there is some math somewhere that tells them not to.

Or they could be trying to drop EVERYTHING to free and make up the loss is higher traffic. I'd like to see how much of an increase in traffic to the website a KU membership results in. More traffic = more eyeballs on the ads = more money spent. If that's the case KU is an advertising expense.

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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #169 on: November 29, 2014, 09:42:46 AM »
Hardly anyone is offering more than a first-in-series or promo title for free.

Plus, if you're worried about people getting your book for free, Amazon's pirate-friendly policies like excessively generous returns and the fact that you can still offload KU-borrowed files are a bigger concern to you than people offering loss-leaders.

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Offline KMatthew

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #170 on: November 29, 2014, 09:44:27 AM »
The negative and positive effects of KU are being greatly exaggerated. In early June, Amazon made huge changes to their salesrank system to emphasize churn. It's now harder to gain a high rank and takes more work to stay there. That's the real game changer. This revolutionary change a few days before KU was unveiled is responsible for most of the poor sales folks are complaining about. Big name or small time author, the need to perpetually promote your works has never been so urgent. We can't "coast" on success as long we once could.

Let's take a look at the impact of KU borrows on Amazon:

There were 512.7 million ebooks sold* in the US in 2013.
On Amazon: 333.255 million (65% market share)
Monthly Average: 27.77 million
KU/KOLL monthly borrows from last month (Oct): 4.5 million (one million more than previous month)

That's a 16.2% range of harming or helping sales. No paltry sum, but no game changer either. The actual number is likely smaller, since this lumps in KOLL numbers and borrows on every Amazon marketplace. Not just .com.

*http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/63052-industry-sales-flat-in-2013-trade-dropped-2-3.html

This is great data to have. Thanks.

Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #171 on: November 29, 2014, 09:45:36 AM »
More traffic = more eyeballs on the ads = more money spent. If that's the case KU is an advertising expense.

Yes! I have always considered Select and now KU as a set of marketing tools. How they impact our sales will depend on how skillfully we learn to use them.

Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #172 on: November 29, 2014, 09:51:05 AM »
Hardly anyone is offering more than a first-in-series or promo title for free.

The point is, the more free books there are, the more free books the consumer expects. The buyers don't make a distinction between first-in-series and every other book. All they see is free, and the more they see it, the more they want it.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 10:02:20 AM by vlmain »

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #173 on: November 29, 2014, 10:01:00 AM »
...which they promptly sabotaged to put their thumb on the scale for KU.

And it really is borked too. I was trying to link a friend's book for the Wendig thing and using the search terms that always put his book on the first page turned up a page of things that didn't even have anything to do with the terms (including a COOK BOOK when looking for a steampunk fantasy) with him on the second now.
Yeah, I've never really understood this whole "Amazon is king of discovery" thing. Okay, so the 30-day New Release list works well, but then what? Also boughts won't help you if you were a modest seller straight out the gate. And personally, I've never found Amazon's search engine particularly useful. It's far worse now than it was before, though. All that can really be said here is that it doesn't suck nearly as much as the others. 

Offline D. Zollicoffer

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #174 on: November 29, 2014, 10:18:55 AM »
I know I'm probably going to get flack for saying this, but I don't want them to allow us to set our books permafree. We're already fighting a battle against those who think everything on the Internet should be free. Having more ebooks offered permafree is the last thing I want to see.
People are still buying books on the other sites, and Amazon. We can still make our books FREE so they should just make it easier. I've gotten it down to a science, I can get my books free just by emailing Amazon and sending them 5 FREE links from other sites.

It's not like we're going to give everything away, and the scammers aren't giving anything away.

Maybe permafree is devaluing books, but KU is doing the same. A $9.99 all you can eat buffet is just as bad IMHO :)
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 10:21:17 AM by D. Zollicoffer »