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No Direction Home
by Elizabeth Burns

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Kindle Edition published 2017-05-20
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Hunter Grayson flits from job to job, relationship to relationship, continent to continent until thetragic death of her parents brings her back to her childhood home.While trying to figure out how to move forward, she meets wild, fun Natalya Haven, who quickly becomes the sister she never had. But when Natalya moves in, their friendship unravels.
A second tragedy sends Hunter to a small town in New Mexico, a town out of her own past. For Hunter, that's more than a coincidence, that's fate. Natalya's family will fill the void in her life. Natalya's parents will become her parents. She and Natalya's brother will fall in love. But nothing is ever that simple....

Author Topic: KU Crushed My Sales :(  (Read 142748 times)  

Offline Jac1106

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #175 on: November 29, 2014, 10:25:44 AM »
An eat-all-you-can thing is a one off.
KU is like having a buffet everyday for 30 days.
So KU is worse.

Offline D. Zollicoffer

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #176 on: November 29, 2014, 10:35:58 AM »
An eat-all-you-can thing is a one off.
KU is like having a buffet everyday for 30 days.
So KU is worse.
Lol, yeah you're right I guess!  :P

Online Chrissy

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #177 on: November 29, 2014, 10:38:52 AM »
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.

You write another book and the 30 day clock/timer starts again.  8)

Amazon algos love fresh new content.  :)

Offline Stacy Claflin

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #178 on: November 29, 2014, 10:40:27 AM »
This is what I've experienced. In May, my sales TANKED. I assumed it was because I published a box set and set the price at 99c, hoping to hit a list. It didn't. I cannibalized my sales for those books. I also heard about some change Amazon made around that time, so whatever that was probably played into it as well.

My perma-free at the time was a prequel novella, and those downloads dropped significantly. Double digits some days.

Then when KU happened, it didn't affect anything. None of my sales or downloads improved or got worse. I put a couple books into KU that don't sell anyway. Still don't. Barely get any borrows. I put in a short story. I'm not sure that it got any borrows the entire time.

In October, I published the first two books in my Gone series into KU. I didn't promote it because I was waiting until I had the third and final installment. It got a few sales and borrows, mainly because of good reviews from sending out ARC's.

Mid-October I decided to switch my perma-free from a prequel novella to book #1, my longest novel. (This series is NOT in KU.) This was also after rebranding my covers in the series. It got picked up by some promo sites. Then I paid for some promos and hit the top 100 free for the first time ever. It went into the top 50. That was a total game changer for me. The sell-throughs are unlike anything I've ever seen before.

Kobo is featuring my prequel novella in their first free in series. They've also featured some of my other books in some other promos. I've made about 3x in the last two months on Kobo than what I made all of last year. Wattpad is also featuring my prequel. Who knows what that will lead to?

Then on a whim (because I joined some Kboarders for a Black Friday promo) I set Gone free using my KDPS days. Pixel of Ink picked me up yesterday and I actually hit the first page of the free books. It looks like another game changer.

My experience shows that FREE is still the way to go. It could be perma-free, or it could be putting ONE novel into KU for one cycle for the free days. Free still works, and thanks to it I'm doing better than ever despite KU. If you're not writing shorts or serialized fiction, go wide and use perma-free OR use KU for one cycle to use the free days.
 

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Offline cinisajoy

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #179 on: November 29, 2014, 10:42:00 AM »
An eat-all-you-can thing is a one off.
KU is like having a buffet everyday for 30 days.
So KU is worse.
I know a couple that once he retired, they did buffets every day.   He told her I'm retired and so are you.   

Note: even the best sellers have to keep writing.
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Offline Quiss

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #180 on: November 29, 2014, 10:47:05 AM »
I know a couple that once he retired, they did buffets every day.   He told her I'm retired and so are you.   

My mom told her boy toy that they were just going to go to Costco every day and grab free samples.
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Offline Lydniz

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #181 on: November 29, 2014, 10:47:33 AM »
OR use KU for one cycle to use the free days.

This is what I did. My one and only experience with Select/KU was with my first in series. I got myself a free Bookbub ad and did all five days free at once and had phenomenal success (for me) with great sell-through. I'm out of Select again now, but I'd certainly consider doing it again for a short period, although only in conjunction with a Bookbub.

Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #182 on: November 29, 2014, 10:50:49 AM »
My mom told her boy toy that they were just going to go to Costco every day and grab free samples.

There is a casino in my area that gives free brunch to anyone who buys a $300 gambling ticket (we can't gamble with cash, here). I know people who buy their $300 ticket, go eat, then cash in their ticket.

Offline Lady Vine

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #183 on: November 29, 2014, 10:58:01 AM »
You write another book and the 30 day clock/timer starts again.  8)

Amazon algos love fresh new content.  :)
This assumes that I want to write shorts exclusively, which I don't. I'm also not a fan of the churn mentality, and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Churn isn't necessary everywhere else.

Offline Stacy Claflin

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #184 on: November 29, 2014, 10:58:32 AM »
This is what I did. My one and only experience with Select/KU was with my first in series. I got myself a free Bookbub ad and did all five days free at once and had phenomenal success (for me) with great sell-through. I'm out of Select again now, but I'd certainly consider doing it again for a short period, although only in conjunction with a Bookbub.

I agree. It needs to be done with some serious promotion. I was lucky to get picked up by POI, but for other free runs I would only use them along with the major promo sites. I got into the top 50 first time by using ENT and Freebooksy on the same day.
 

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Offline Tara Shuler

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #185 on: November 29, 2014, 11:00:24 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?


I actually borrowed the second book in Holly's The Arrangement series and after she left I can still read it. I just can't get the rest of them, which really sucks from my standpoint, because I was enjoying the series and wanted to borrow the next one right away. I was intending to borrow the whole series. No offense to Holly, but it's not something I would actually buy because it's out of my price range being such a long series. The books are fun to read, but the series is just longer than I personally want to shell out for. Which is why I hadn't read #2 until they went into KU.

As a reader, I LOVE KU. Before I bought maybe 1-2 books a month. Now I read more like at least 4-5 a month, sometimes more. And often I buy the books I REALLY love after I borrow them so I can read them again in the future. It's been a super way to test the indie waters with no risk. I even have a new favorite author whose books I BUY every single time she puts one out. I discovered her through KU, but I buy them because I don't want to lose them. (It's Milly Taiden, if anyone is curious.)

As a writer, it's a love/hate thing. I don't like having to be exclusive, but the benefits have been worth it for me personally.

Tara Shuler | TaraShuler.com

Offline Randall Wood

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #186 on: November 29, 2014, 11:12:26 AM »
I actually borrowed the second book in Holly's The Arrangement series and after she left I can still read it. I just can't get the rest of them, which really sucks from my standpoint, because I was enjoying the series and wanted to borrow the next one right away. I was intending to borrow the whole series. No offense to Holly, but it's not something I would actually buy because it's out of my price range being such a long series. The books are fun to read, but the series is just longer than I personally want to shell out for. Which is why I hadn't read #2 until they went into KU.

As a reader, I LOVE KU. Before I bought maybe 1-2 books a month. Now I read more like at least 4-5 a month, sometimes more. And often I buy the books I REALLY love after I borrow them so I can read them again in the future. It's been a super way to test the indie waters with no risk. I even have a new favorite author whose books I BUY every single time she puts one out. I discovered her through KU, but I buy them because I don't want to lose them. (It's Milly Taiden, if anyone is curious.)

As a writer, it's a love/hate thing. I don't like having to be exclusive, but the benefits have been worth it for me personally.

You just helped me without my asking!

Let me ask this. If I wrote a serial novel of twelve episodes with the idea of moving it primarily through KU, would you the reader want to see all twelve episodes in KU first before you felt comfortable starting the series? Or would six or less do it for you?

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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #187 on: November 29, 2014, 11:16:15 AM »
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.

Except the only free books they're seeing are lead-ins.

The 'free is training customers to expect free' thing is pretty much just freemongering that a lot of authors have swallowed with so little proof that it starts proving other, unrelated things.

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Offline Tara Shuler

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #188 on: November 29, 2014, 11:23:16 AM »
You just helped me without my asking!

Let me ask this. If I wrote a serial novel of twelve episodes with the idea of moving it primarily through KU, would you the reader want to see all twelve episodes in KU first before you felt comfortable starting the series? Or would six or less do it for you?

If they were in KU I would borrow something interesting if only one was out. But I'd wait to see a few out if I had to buy them.

Tara Shuler | TaraShuler.com

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #189 on: November 29, 2014, 11:36:30 AM »
Actually, it's been shown, off and on, that unbridled "free" actually builds the audience. 

There are always free books.  Project Gutenberg had free books for 30 years before ebooks took off.  They built an ebook readership, which Baen Books built on.  Baen Books built a larger ebook readership -- a really solid one -- well ahead of Kindle, largely on free books.  Every author who agreed to make their book free saw a surge in readership -- but then, so did all the other Baen authors.  And it also helped SF in general.  Libraries are always with us.  As are ultra cheap book sales for paper.  Children gain the reading habit at a time when books are provided to them for free.  In WWII publishers provided their entire booklist to soldiers on the front lines -- and saw a surge in sales after the war was over.

None of this is just samples and first book marketing gimmicks.  These are examples of wide-spread FREE.  So many free books that nobody ever has to buy a book again if they don't want to (which is true regardless of what publishers and writers do -- it's a genie that won't go back in the bottle, ever.)

What happens when you have ubiquitous free books, is that you build the audience of people who are in the habit of reading books.  It's like coffee.  Coffee made at home is ultra cheap, and it's not hard to learn to make it much better than you could buy.  But people will spend a lot of money on it... specifically because it's ubiquitous. They can get it at home, they can get it at work.  It's everywhere.  They WANT it because they get to have it all the time.  They LOVE it because of the same thing.

IMHO, the early ebook pioneers (a few years ago, yeah) didn't just gather an audience with their 99 cent and free books -- they CREATED the audience that the rest of us benefit from.  This is especially true of those whose books appealed to younger readers, who got in the habit of reading lots of ebooks while they were cheap, and now will pay for what they like best.

So....

I don't think it's good to undervalue your work -- if you're trying to make money, it's bad for your business -- but I have nothing against an excess of free or discounted work.  It may or may not be wise for the person offering it, but the rest of us benefit from it.

Camille

Offline wtvr

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #190 on: November 29, 2014, 11:53:12 AM »
Yeah, it's hard to upsell from free, but if they want me to try that new cheese at the market a free sample doesn't hurt. I probably would have eventually read the Arrangement series if it had stayed in KU, but there are a lot of books in there I still want to read and not enough hours to get them all!
 

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #191 on: November 29, 2014, 01:03:12 PM »
The subscription model for ebooks makes no sense,

FULL STOP. (sorry I cut off your quote, Ed, but the above phrase summarizes exactly how I have felt about KU all along. I just can't see how the economics make any sense for full length novels.

Either Amazon pays out too much to keep authors happy (and hopes those KU subscribers buy lots of other stuff to make it pay off, i.e. using KU as a lossleader.

Or Amazon leaves the program as is and lets the pay rate rise and fall unpredictably and lets authors realize this is a "promo" type of program. I think THIS option is the much more likely result.

I think KU will end up being 99 cent & short story central -- something that otherwise an author might have gone permafree everywhere but now at least they make some money in exchange for exclusivity. I don't think that is a bad thing at all -- it might be an awesome discovery tool in the long run -- but I don't see KU being viable for your main novels unless an author considers them low-cost/freebies or backlist to be used for platform building and trying to get readers to buy your other books.

I think the future of KU is short stories, serials, introductory novellas (that lead into a "for pay" novel series not in Select), etc.

I also think a lot of the "end of free" talk has been wishful thinking. People love free and it will never go away -- and it is GOOD for authors. It allows new readers to try your work at no risk to them. The key is to leverage free with a great product and get readers to want to buy your other books.

Holly, so sorry to hear about all of this. Best wishes for your child and your family.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 01:27:20 PM by BillSmithBooksDotCom »
Bill Smith is the author of the Outlaw Galaxy series and several Star Wars books. Visit him at www.BillSmithBooks.com or www.OutlawGalaxy.com. Blogging at www.BillSmithBooks.blogspot.com. The Outlaw Galaxy series features free-wheeling space fantasy action-adventure...fun for readers of all ages.


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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #192 on: November 29, 2014, 01:22:08 PM »
Is KU changing what you write? As the writer is paid by the borrow, not the word count, it benefits writers to have several shorter titles as opposed to one longer one.  Is that right?

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #193 on: November 29, 2014, 01:33:12 PM »

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.


Amazon CHOOSES to price-match permafree. As per the conditions on their contract, they could also threaten to delist a book from their service unless you increased the price everywhere else.

Right now, permafree is a great promotional tool for Amazon, so they have used it. That could change in an instant if somebody in Seattle decides to change the policy. I don't think that will happen because permafree is a great promotional tool for Amazon and I can't see them ever just giving up that visibility and potential market share to their competitors.
Bill Smith is the author of the Outlaw Galaxy series and several Star Wars books. Visit him at www.BillSmithBooks.com or www.OutlawGalaxy.com. Blogging at www.BillSmithBooks.blogspot.com. The Outlaw Galaxy series features free-wheeling space fantasy action-adventure...fun for readers of all ages.


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Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #194 on: November 29, 2014, 01:43:46 PM »
Is KU changing what you write? As the writer is paid by the borrow, not the word count, it benefits writers to have several shorter titles as opposed to one longer one.  Is that right?

No. If anything, I'm moving away from shorts and novellas and toward longer novels. If KU isn't the place for them, then I'll sell them elsewhere.

Offline Stacy Claflin

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #195 on: November 29, 2014, 01:47:35 PM »
Is KU changing what you write? As the writer is paid by the borrow, not the word count, it benefits writers to have several shorter titles as opposed to one longer one.  Is that right?

If I was going to stick with KU I would go with writing serials. I considered it, but at this point decided against it. I'm happier writing novels and using perma-free.
 

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Offline jegarlick

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #196 on: November 29, 2014, 01:54:50 PM »
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.


Maybe we all just need to NOT support it, and force people to value our work again. I too saw all my (not so big # of...) sales turn to borrows and an undetermined payout... NOT GOOD.
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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #197 on: November 29, 2014, 01:56:08 PM »
Is KU changing what you write? As the writer is paid by the borrow, not the word count, it benefits writers to have several shorter titles as opposed to one longer one.  Is that right?
I think no one is aiming to get rich on borrows alone. Most want a combination of sales and borrows, so I think the formula for a book, which makes money consistently is complicated.

Offline jegarlick

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #198 on: November 29, 2014, 01:59:40 PM »
Oh, and Holly...love your work...was planning on getting the rest of one of your series, just hadn't gotten to it...will go do that now, help out your bills a little. Not fair that American's have it so horrible with health care. I know it's not much but it's something. Hope the boy is on the mend. :)
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Offline Russell Brooks

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #199 on: November 29, 2014, 02:07:58 PM »
I thought that we still get paid for every download off of Kindle Unlimited, unless I misunderstood something. May someone be kind enough to explain?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 02:09:35 PM by Russell Brooks »