Author Topic: KU Crushed My Sales :(  (Read 140401 times)  

Offline vlmain

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #50 on: November 28, 2014, 01:44:47 PM »
I am so sorry to hear about your son's illness. I will keep him and your family in my thoughts. Taking such a huge hit to your income on top of that, I can't even imagine. I sincerely hope things turn around, soon.

That said, I can't see a subscribe to author with an automatic charge to the reader being a workable solution. I have a lot of authors I really enjoy reading. I would consider them favorites of mine, and yet, I don't read everything they write. Some write in multiple genres--some of which I like, some I don't. Being charged for a book I never intended to read would make me angry.

In addition, there is no limit to what the reader could get charged under that model. What would happen if an author they subscribed to decided to publish ten years of manuscripts that have been collecting dust on their hard drive? They could end up getting hit with a huge charge to their card, and it could happen at a time they can't afford to have that happen--like when the light bill is due.

I just see too many potential problems with that.

Offline books_mb

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #51 on: November 28, 2014, 01:46:46 PM »
Authors shouldn't be paid lottery style.

The pot scheme is a great way for Amazon to minimize its risks and keep the payout at a desired level. For authors, it sucks.



Offline cinisajoy

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #52 on: November 28, 2014, 01:47:04 PM »
Well, yes, I make more from a KU borrow than a sale on most of my short stories.

But how long are readers going to pay KU subscriptions if they can only borrow short stories?
For as long as there are big name books in it.   
Now yes: Holly and Rosalind pulling out of KU, may have hurt Zon a little.   But only because now Zon will have to go back to paying the ladies the full royalty on their books.    You must consider that both of them are very good writers and have a tremendous following.

So for Hugh and Holly and a few others, no KU would not be worth it.   Because it will cannibalize their sales.

Two schools of thought on KU.   Big names versus the unknowns.
Reader thoughts.    Oh good : Big name put most of their books in KU.   That will save me a fortune.  $10  a month versus 5 dollars per book.
Unknown name: well I can check out this new author and if he is horrible, all I have lost is a bit of time.

Are the authors on the main KU page leaving?    No, they aren't.   
Indies are not the draw.   The popular stuff is the draw.    You guys are the sprinkles on the cake.
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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #53 on: November 28, 2014, 01:48:52 PM »


That said, I can't see a subscribe to author with an automatic charge to the reader being a workable solution. I have a lot of authors I really enjoy reading. I would consider them favorites of mine, and yet, I don't read everything they write. Some write in multiple genres--some of which I like, some I don't. Being charged for a book I never intended to read would make me angry.

In addition, there is no limit to what the reader could get charged under that model. What would happen if an author they subscribed to decided to publish ten years of manuscripts that have been collecting dust on their hard drive? They could end up getting hit with a huge charge to their card, and it could happen at a time they can't afford to have that happen--like when the light bill is due.

I just see too many potential problems with that.
I totally agree with this. For example, I like Mindy Klasky's witch series but hate her baseball series. I love Katie Macalister's dragon series but am not interested in her other series. I like Nora Roberts witch stuff but am not interested in other stuff. And so. I have four different series under one name. Some people like them all. Some only like one of them. Others like two. Not everyone is going to like everything. Subscribing to an author doesn't sound feasible to me.

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Offline KatrinaAbbott

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #54 on: November 28, 2014, 02:09:01 PM »
Thanks for weighing in here. I know a lot of writers think their experience is unique to them, so it's good to share and know what everyone else is experiencing. I set my first in series to free around the same week as KU launched, so I have no way of comparing, but in looking through old threads and blogs, I do think my free downloads are lower than what they might have been if not for KU. Since my fifth book came out, I'm averaging about 10 sales per day at Amazon (I'm not exclusive) but do wonder if it would be more.

Anyway, it's not a very sustainable model for authors and it sucks to see people who were doing great having their sales fizzle. Especially when it has nothing to do with their work or anything they have control over. Honestly, if writers wanted to have the screws turned on them, they may as well go the traditional route.

I would love to see the metrics of KU subscribers and how many people end up opting out. For some, I'm sure it's a boon to get a constant stream of reads for one price, but it must be a disappointment to others who would get frustrated with the catalog and the growing number of shorts and serials.

And Holly - I'm wishing you all the best for your son. Financial instability when faced with stress over your kids is the last thing you need. Sending hugs and healing thoughts your way.


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Offline Kathy Clark, Author

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #55 on: November 28, 2014, 02:10:42 PM »
Whatever goes on with the retailers has never made any sense to us.  My first months were 7/2012 through 10/2012.  Then our sales dropped 40%+ until 9/2014.  Last month and this month were at 120% of the 2012 level.  In the valley months of 11/2012 through 9/2014 we tried every other channel to market out there and never had all of them together, all of them together, surpass 1% of the Amazon sales that month.  1%...not a joke or an estimate but an actual metric.

My back list sold well over 3 million units in it's day and I had my share of best sellers and award winners and since going on Amazon in 2012 our most recent 9 books have sold in the top 10 in various genres and occasionally hit the top 100 overall Amazon and we've won numerous awards.

But I cannot understand why and how sales rocket and dive and why some authors can sell through some channels and others cannot.  It is clear that this is not a pure marketplace and the channel masters do pick winners and losers and when something good or bad happens to a title in the marketplace it is impossible to learn why and therefore impossible to improve your books and their presentation.  The only thing that is consistent is that increased visibility increases sales.  All we can do is keep writing, add to our Street Team membership, strive to improve reviewer feedback.

 
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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #56 on: November 28, 2014, 02:24:04 PM »
AMZN isn't going to up the pot because indie writers (whom they barely respond to anyway) are kicking up a storm. We're just a pond of minnows compared to what they've got going on.

See now, but that's only because we're disparate, ununified and powerless. We generally don't tihnk of ourselves as important and give far too much credit for where we are to Amazon.

Except we're the ones who make that big, lovely number Amazon uses to tell people how many thousands of books they can get on Kindle and KU so big and so lovely. We, taken in total, make up something like 25% of their book revenue. We are the ones who pay exorbitant amounts and do unspeakable thing to get enough reviews to place ads to send millions of folks to Amazon every year.

Individually we're nothing and they know it. But if we actually started acting in concert? Telling them in a united voice that we're not going to lie down and take their terms? Especially if we had among us those indies they were already willing to make sweetheart deals with?

We could be mighty.

... It's never going to happen, but wouldn't it be awesome to be treated like some kind of person who mattered?

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Offline Kirkee

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #57 on: November 28, 2014, 02:29:31 PM »
KU should be KO'd!  :'(

 
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Offline Kathryn Meyer Griffith

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #58 on: November 28, 2014, 02:41:17 PM »
I, too, am VERY unhappy with KU but was afraid to voice what I really felt...until now. From the minute it began my sales dropped like big rocks. I pulled out of it on 4 of my books after the first two weeks, but my sales never recovered. What makes it really hard for me is that for over 30 years I was with legacy publishers (15 novels since 1984) and NEVER made a living at it with 4%-18% royalties and having no power or say in what the publishers did with my work. I worked extremely hard on my novels and literally gave up my life to create them. I suffered all those long years either working full time out of the home at graphic arts jobs plus writing on the side or I starved. But I never gave up, praying that one day my books would earn me what they deserved. A modest living. I write horror, but my life because of the greed of publishers was a horror show in itself. THEN I discovered Amazon KDP and self-publishing in 2012 and self-published 6 of my books with them - AND FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER I WAS MAKING GOOD MONEY! I was thrilled. So this sudden loss of income again just when I'd started getting it hurts even more. I, too, have spread my books to other  venues, but, of course, the income is nowhere near what Amazon used to pay me.
To tell the truth, from the very beginning I thought that KU was just another way to effectively lower our royalties or prices on eBooks and the final insult was that 10% reading thing...I have lots of eBooks on my Kindle I got free and STILL haven't started them. As I see it KU will NEVER work (for us novelists who write full novels).  Hey, I feel like I was giving away my books for almost free for over 30 years...and now if I stay in KU, I'll be doing the same thing. Does Amazon want to become a legacy publisher like we all are fleeing from and they seem to disapprove of? Because, in my opinion, they're doing a good job of recreating that whole unfair bogus system where they make the money and we authors survive on the pennies that are left. Please Amazon...reconsider KU and get rid of it!

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Offline delly_xo

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #59 on: November 28, 2014, 02:46:30 PM »
I, too, am VERY unhappy with KU but was afraid to voice what I really felt...until now. From the minute it began my sales dropped like big rocks. I pulled out of it on 4 of my books after the first two weeks, but my sales never recovered. What makes it really hard for me is that for over 30 years I was with legacy publishers (15 novels since 1984) and NEVER made a living at it with 4%-18% royalties and having no power or say in what the publishers did with my work. I worked extremely hard on my novels and literally gave up my life to create them. I suffered all those long years either working full time out of the home at graphic arts jobs plus writing on the side or I starved. But I never gave up, praying that one day my books would earn me what they deserved. A modest living. I write horror, but my life because of the greed of publishers was a horror show in itself. THEN I discovered Amazon KDP and self-publishing in 2012 and self-published 6 of my books with them - AND FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER I WAS MAKING GOOD MONEY! I was thrilled. So this sudden loss of income again just when I'd started getting it hurts even more. I, too, have spread my books to other  venues, but, of course, the income is nowhere near what Amazon used to pay me.
To tell the truth, from the very beginning I thought that KU was just another way to effectively lower our royalties or prices on eBooks and the final insult was that 10% reading thing...I have lots of eBooks on my Kindle I got free and STILL haven't started them. As I see it KU will NEVER work (for us novelists who write full novels).  Hey, I feel like I was giving away my books for almost free for over 30 years...and now if I stay in KU, I'll be doing the same thing. Does Amazon want to become a legacy publisher like we all are fleeing from and they seem to disapprove of? Because, in my opinion, they're doing a good job of recreating that whole unfair bogus system where they make the money and we authors survive on the pennies that are left. Please Amazon...reconsider KU and get rid of it!

Honestly, the more I think about it, the way for us to go about it is to not complain to Amazon or each other, but to bond together in an effort to explain to our readers why we are pulling our titles and going to other stores. Amazon will react very quickly after that.

My books are up for KU renewal January 1st. I am going to tweet, write in my newsletter, blog, facebook, everything about why KU is NOT good.

Who's with me?
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Offline Kirkee

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #60 on: November 28, 2014, 02:47:21 PM »
RE: Vaalingrade: Agree 100%!

KU? R.I.P

Never, ever give anyone exclusivity. So why did I go against my better
judgement?

They have us by the cojones at this point.
So to speak.

Am going with Salena Kitt, as soon as I break out of this KU prison.
Salena, iTunes & others.

This indie scribe's take on this whole B.S. KU fiasco.

My heart goes out to you, Ms. Ward.
Best,

Kirk

 
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Offline ゴジラ

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #61 on: November 28, 2014, 03:01:01 PM »
KU may stink for many authors, as any subscription service will stink for artists of all sorts, but it's not about authors. It's about Amazon getting $10/month from customers who are very happy to chew through as many books they want for a flat rate. It's good for Amazon and good for readers. "Many authors are experiencing reduced royalties" isn't a compelling reason for anything to change - we aren't entitled to our earnings. Also, the fact that KU is good for a subset of authors means you'll never be able to cut off the supply of content.

I really doubt KU is going anywhere.

Rather than trying to make this go away, our time is most productively spent figuring out how to operate in the new system.

Or sacrificing goats and praying to Bezos. Whatever's easier.

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #62 on: November 28, 2014, 03:03:05 PM »
Holly, I'm so sorry to hear about your son and your massive sales hit. I hope both make a full improvement. Unfortunately, there's a lot wrong with KU, and after giving it a try with my new series, I'm looking forward to getting out. I didn't put the last one in. I've gotten so few borrows it's definitely not worth it. I'm having a decent run with free days, but I can't even go out to dinner with last month's borrow payments. Whereas I'm actually gaining traction over at Kobo and Apple has some things in the works. I'm glad that Kobo and Apple are stepping up their game, and I hope that soon Amazon will have some real competition.
 

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Offline cinisajoy

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #63 on: November 28, 2014, 03:04:23 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.
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Offline Carolyn J. Rose, Mystery Writer

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #64 on: November 28, 2014, 03:09:08 PM »
It's definitely hurting me, but I don't want to abandon other distribution channels I've been with for years and that are steadily growing.

Here's what I don't get, though. Two years ago, before one of the many changes in algorithms, etc., I had more titles and was making a lot more than I'm making now. That means A was making a lot more. That makes me wonder why they changed things.

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #65 on: November 28, 2014, 03:17:51 PM »
why would anyone be afraid to voice opinion on KU? For a vast majority its a stinker and i've been saying that from early on. The economics are skewed. Yet every time i said something i got clobbered by the amazon fan boys and girls. It has been highly destructive to my business. I'm glad i tried it but I'm extremely disappointed with the results. I hope this program dies, though i know for sure that it wont, however it might slink off into obscurity over time.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 06:09:37 PM by Betsy the Quilter »

Offline horrordude1973

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #66 on: November 28, 2014, 03:31:10 PM »
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.

Online Silly Writer

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #67 on: November 28, 2014, 03:33:36 PM »
I have two pen names with a total of 7 books. I've unclicked all the Select boxes (one is already out and for sale everywhere Draft 2 Digital sells).

I've uploaded every book to D2D and left them in DRAFT mode so that the moment I come out of Select I can hit the Publish button. I'd rather give them 10% to manage it all with their outstanding service than let my books continue to suffer in KU. They've added new sales channels, and are in the works to add more as we speak.

They have the ability to set a book to free at B&N.

They listen when we talk. They give when we ask... They answer their phones and emails and respond instantly. Basically, they treat us as their bread and butter. They will work harder and harder to provide more reason not to stay/go in Select.

KDP/Amazon was a dream before KU...now it's a nightmare. I'm out.

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #68 on: November 28, 2014, 03:36:33 PM »
Hugs to you, Holly, and prayers for your son.

I knew KU wasn't for me from the beginning, but I didn't expect the effect it would have on my permafrees. Most days, my free downloads are in single digits. If I don't have sufficient freeloads, I don't have sales.

Right now, B&N is outselling Amazon money-wise, about 9 to 1.


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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #69 on: November 28, 2014, 03:52:14 PM »
Judging by the very large number of people who are gobbling up my shorts with KU, I'm guessing the subscribers might have something different to say about it. My readers are loving them, and if Amazon does anything to drive away those of us who are filling that market, they'd probably lose quite a few subscribers.

Amazon wants to provide what its buyers and subscribers want, not what writers want.

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Offline Quiss

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #70 on: November 28, 2014, 03:56:15 PM »
I knew KU wasn't for me from the beginning, but I didn't expect the effect it would have on my permafrees. Most days, my free downloads are in single digits. If I don't have sufficient freeloads, I don't have sales.

I'm seeing this, too.  It seems that a lot of the bargain hunters have shifted to KU. 
Like Mike Coker mentioned in his recent blog post, the number of available books is growing faster than the number of readers for digital books. So there are only X-number of bargain hunters and X-number downloading from places like B&N, where price isn't the major driver. Amazon is the Walmart of booksellers so there's that freebie hunter crowd.
As mentioned above, time for new strategies.
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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #71 on: November 28, 2014, 03:58:50 PM »
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.
No way in hell would I want that. Bad idea. I choose which books to buy individually. There are no authors I'd want to subscribe to. If I have no control over what they release, or how often, or how much their books cost, I don't want their work automatically appearing on my Kindle.

Offline delly_xo

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #72 on: November 28, 2014, 04:20:07 PM »
THANK YOU.

Amazon doesn't have legitimate buyers and subscribers.

Amazon has un-fixed variables in an experiment.

KU has been out for less than six months.
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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #73 on: November 28, 2014, 04:33:43 PM »
First of all, Holly, I'm awfully sorry to hear both about your son and your drop in income. Also thank you for reporting your experiences with KU.

I've never been in Select and KU. Unlike many other indies, I haven't seen any significant drop-off in Amazon sales since KU started, though a couple of popular new releases in August and September probably had a lot to do with that. However, I'm not seeing any significant rise of my Amazon sales either. They're more or less where they were last year, even with more books out.

Meanwhile, my overall sales and income are still growing, but that's largely due to rising sales at other retailers, including KU rival Scribd, which has been very good to me.

I've always thought that diversifying was the best course for indies in the long run, even if short term exclusivity might make sense for some indies in some situations. KU has only confirmed this.


Offline scribblr

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #74 on: November 28, 2014, 04:36:32 PM »
Honestly, the more I think about it, the way for us to go about it is to not complain to Amazon or each other, but to bond together in an effort to explain to our readers why we are pulling our titles and going to other stores. Amazon will react very quickly after that.

My books are up for KU renewal January 1st. I am going to tweet, write in my newsletter, blog, facebook, everything about why KU is NOT good.

Who's with me?

I've already been doing that for months. As I've reported on this forum previously, my sales at Amazon tanked right after the KU started. So I decided to take action. My newest novel, released on Oct. 1st, was a best seller on both Kobo and B&N and is still selling well. I offer a Kindle version through my website for the Kindle owners, and have sold a ton. I've spent a lot of time helping readers get the mobi version working on their Kindles, but once they've done it, they admit the process is very simple, and only takes about an extra minute. More importantly, the next time they won't hesitate to buy a kindle version from vendors other than Amazon. I'm sure the other resellers are happy to accept all the business that Amazon's exclusivity requirement is pushing their way. While people are on those other sites, they might stay to buy other author's books that catch their eye. After all, isn't that Amazon's underlying sales philosophy? Get people to buy books on Amazon and they stay to buy other products. This way it's just in reverse.

I've taken grief from a few readers who claim they will ONLY buy ebooks from Amazon, but that was to be expected. I hate to sound paranoid, but I wonder how many are Amazon employees. The really disgruntled ones have left one-star reviews on the print version (which I am offering on Amazon). Since I will no longer be publishing my ebooks on Amazon while they require exclusivity to participate in their new programs, I wonder if I'll get the same treatment with the next novel, or if other authors will have likewise stopped publishing on Amazon, so people will be used to authors deserting the ranks at Amazon. I do have to admit that I've sold a lot more print copies of the newest novel than I have in the past.