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by Elizabeth Burns

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Kindle Edition published 2017-05-20
Bestseller ranking: 81281

Product Description
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 Chad Winters

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #675 on: December 28, 2014, 11:24:39 AM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/28/technology/amazon-offers-all-you-can-eat-books-authors-turn-up-noses.html?_r=0&pagewanted=all

This made the NYT print and online with links to KB as the sources. Thought that was pretty cool

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #676 on: December 29, 2014, 09:41:28 PM »
One of my pen names has been an All Star the last 2 months. I really don't like the program at all.
I suppose I wouldn't despise KU so much if it didn't have the exclusivity requirement.

So is KU working for you or not? My idea is that higher per borrow prices will solve 80 percent of indie writers' grievances about the program.

Offline AuthorX

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #677 on: December 29, 2014, 10:32:53 PM »
KU has evened the playing field and allows less-known authors and new authors who write good books a better chance at being discovered, rather than the marketplace being dominated by the same "Best Sellers" month after month or the guys with the best marketing team. This isn't so great for the guys who were already getting millions from their books sales every year, as they now have far more competition, but it's good for writers as a whole and encourages authors to step up their game and not "set it and forget it".

As a KU unlimited subscriber I couldn't be happier. I've read so many gems that I would've never tried if I wasn't able to borrow them. I used to buy maybe 2 or 3 books a year. That's roughly $15 I was pumping into the book market every year. Now I'm pumping about $120 into the book market via Kindle Unlimited, and I'm reading a whole lot more. It allows me to "try" things without fear of disappointment, read short stories, novels, and a whole array of things that I would otherwise be turned off from. I've read best-seller quality works by no-name authors, and I'm happy that my little borrow of their title edged them one step closer to competing with the big boys, because they deserve it.


Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #678 on: December 29, 2014, 11:08:47 PM »
I'm trying to figure out how KU is supposed to have 'evened' the playing field when the big authors were still dominating the lists, just making less money in the process.

Almost all the big names dropping out were still All-Stars.

Also, equality achieved by tearing others down... isn't.

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Offline SamSpade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #679 on: December 30, 2014, 02:33:57 AM »
If anyone wants to continue the conversation from the other thread, feel free to ask questions. I know the moderators of this forum were getting a lot of reports due to my data, hopefully you guys can keep your fingers off the trigger for long enough to debate some actual numbers.







Edit: reports received had to do with the tone of the prior thread, not with the data.--Betsy/KB Mod
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 05:22:17 AM by Betsy the Quilter »

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #680 on: December 30, 2014, 03:10:10 AM »
Can you restate the argument again, and explain why the inconsistencies can't be explained by ghost borrows?

Offline SamSpade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #681 on: December 30, 2014, 03:22:36 AM »
Can you restate the argument again, and explain why the inconsistencies can't be explained by ghost borrows?

My next post will contain the original post I had (to restate the argument), but to answer this question first: If we ignore ghost borrows, the numbers posted indicate that her revenue in September went to somewhere between 500% and 800% of her August revenue. In order to massage the numbers to get from, for instance, 500% of her revenue down to a loss of 75% (or 25% of her former revenue), we'd have to make the assumption that 95% of the borrows and sales that were coming in were never read to 10%. A more reasonable (though still higher than I believe possible) suggestion of 33% of her sales + borrows being ghost borrows as calculated by Edward W. Robertson in the last thread led to a revenue increase of 200% (or 300% of prior revenue), not a revenue decrease of 75%. There was some loss of revenue across the rest of her catalog, but as The Arrangement was the best performer of her catalog and the loss of revenue on other titles was not as severe as previously stated (something like 25%), there's no way to massage the figure down to a 75% loss.

Offline SamSpade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #682 on: December 30, 2014, 03:23:14 AM »
Before I begin, I have no agenda here but the pursuit of truth. There's an author on another forum that I frequent who brought it to my attention that, for all the respectable news outlets reporting on this "indie falling out" with Kindle Unlimited, there hasn't been a whole of fact checking going on. In fact, during a search, I haven't found a single news organization that has critically looked at Ms Ward's often-repeated "75% loss". From Ms Ward's own posts (and please excuse me for cherry picking):

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.

both months I was an 'All Star'

It effected the entire list including books not enrolled bc buyers changed into borrowers, who in turn did not spend money on my other titles.

That was my thinking, but nope. The only titles I enrolled were priced at $2.99 or lower and shorter works.

There was a decline in sales when KU launched, but not 75% worth.

I had non exclusive terms, so this doesn't account for other platforms, only amazon while in KU for 60 days.

Yes, it was only Amazon and it occurred AFTER enrolling the books in KU. So I lost 75% of my income from kdp in 60 days. As soon as the books were withdrawn, sales began to perk back up.

So, to sum up: Ms. Ward's series "The Arrangement", all volumes of which are priced at $2.99, were enrolled in Kindle Unlimited on or around September 5. No works higher priced than $2.99 were ever enrolled.

The following graph shows the sales rank of several of The Arrangement's volumes over the course of 2014. This information was obtained from Novelrank and can be verified independently.



Note the time period between September 5 and November 1, in which the sales rank went from around 4000 to around 500. A low sales rank indicates more sales and borrows. No other author has come up with credible evidence that borrows are weighted higher than sales, so we're left with the conclusion that her sales plus borrows increased to about 800% of their previous level. Of course, as people will be quick to point out, a reader doesn't have to actually read the book for the borrow to affect sales rank, thus creating the "phantom borrows" effect. And I could believe that it could be a pronounced effect for the first book, maybe even the second book. But not the seventh book, and certainly not the thirteenth book. This graph was also taken from Novelrank and can be verified independently.



With an increase to 800% of sales and borrows, if we assume that every one of those was a borrow and an average loss of revenue of 33% per borrow versus a sale, it would take a ratio of twenty unread borrows for every copy read to at least 10% to account for a 75% loss in revenue. This is simply unrealistic.

But, as noted above, Ms. Ward also takes into account the fact that, now that her shorts were in Kindle Unlimited, nobody bought her novels anymore. However, the data that I was able to find showed a natural decay in sales, no different than anyone else experiences with their books. For every novel that we were able to get data on, we got similar results. This graph was also taken from Novelrank and can be verified independently.



She specifically points out that this was Amazon only. With the data that I have (which can not be verified independently, I apologize), I have speculated that she easily made the Top 10 KDP All Star list in September, and probably landed between 9 and 12 on the list in October, with several of her books receiving individual All Star bonuses. If we add that into her sales figures, it adds something like 75 cents per borrow for that time period, bringing her average rate per borrow to parity with the royalty received from a $2.99 sale during the months of September and October.

There are other factors, of course. The Arrangement 16 was released in late August and remained in the top 100 for the first part of her Kindle Unlimited stint, but fell out quicker than usual. This may be due to a myriad of factors (including other authors taking advantage of Kindle Unlimited) but, with no release in October, her sales began to flag, though not even close to the level we saw in early September (the time before she entered Kindle Unlimited).

I've never seen when this 75% drop is supposed to cover, exactly. If she's talking about a 75% drop from October 2013 to October 2014, that's a pretty disingenuous statement. If she's talking about a drop from March 2014 to October 2014 (the earliest time period that I can see this possibly being true), that's still disingenuous. The only honest time frame is comparing sales of August 2014 with sales of September 2014 or October 2014, the time immediately preceding her time in Kindle Unlimited compared with the time that she was in it. And I'm not seeing it.

I don't know what Ms. Ward's motives are in misrepresenting this data and I don't care to speculate, but I think that it would behoove the multiple establishment newspaper and other reporting agencies to do the minimum required fact checking before running articles such as this. I don't expect Ms. Ward to respond to this but I would be curious to see what kind of explanation she has for this huge disconnect in numbers.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #683 on: December 30, 2014, 03:40:26 AM »
What about the bundles for the series? If we assume a 50/50 split between ghost borrows and true borrows, could the loss be explained by falling bundle sales?

For the record, I don't think Holly was purposefully lying to us. Instead, I think it's much more likely that there was an honest and unintentional flaw in her own analysis and conclusions (or perhaps in yours).

Offline SamSpade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #684 on: December 30, 2014, 03:44:28 AM »
What about the bundles for the series? If we assume a 50/50 split between ghost borrows and true borrows, could the loss be explained by falling bundle sales?

For the record, I don't think Holly was purposefully lying to us. Instead, I think it's much more likely that there was a flaw in her own analysis and conclusions (or perhaps in yours).

I'm confused, where are the bundles for the series? An assumption of 50/50 is still way way too high. And if there was a flaw in her analysis (I speculated in early November when she first withdrew that she may have been reading the Six Week Royalty Report which does not include money from borrows at all), she has had plenty of time to issue a correction. Instead, she's rolling with it, even going to the New York Times with the information.

You are welcome to point out the flaws in my analysis and conclusions, but please take a look at Ms. Ward's catalog first. It is impossible for me to respond to every "what if" scenario that is as vague as the one listed above (bundles that do not exist coupled with a 50/50 ghost borrow rate).
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 03:46:25 AM by SamSpade »

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #685 on: December 30, 2014, 03:49:52 AM »
Also, with such a long series, it's possible that the rate of ghost borrows increased with later books. People who read and enjoyed the first one might have immediately added the other books to their borrow slots, but just not gotten around to reading them. So no, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to get more ghost borrows for the later books than the earlier books.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #686 on: December 30, 2014, 03:54:00 AM »
I'm confused, where are the bundles for the series? An assumption of 50/50 is still way way too high.

From what Ed shared, he apparently was getting a ratio of 1:1:1 for sales: borrows: ghost borrows.

Also, I'm on mobile right now so I can't easily check Holly's catalog. I just assumed that she bundles her series into box sets, since that's kind of a standard practice.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2014, 03:56:23 AM by Joe Vasicek »

Offline SamSpade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #687 on: December 30, 2014, 03:54:10 AM »
Also, with such a long series, it's possible that the rate of ghost borrows increased with later books. People who read and enjoyed the first one might have immediately added the other books to their borrow slots, but just not gotten around to reading them. So no, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to get more ghost borrows for the later books than the earlier books.

As pointed out above, you are stating that, when twenty people bought or borrowed the book, of those twenty, nineteen of them were people who borrowed the book but never read it. That's 95%. And even then, the rest of her catalog that was not enrolled did not lose 75% of its income.

Nineteen out of twenty borrowed all sixteen volumes but then couldn't be bothered to actually read it.

Offline SamSpade

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #688 on: December 30, 2014, 03:56:22 AM »
From what Ed shared, he apparently was getting a ratio of 1:1:1 for sales: borrows: ghost borrows.

That's a third, for those of you playing along at home. If we assume that there was a 1:1:1 sales : borrows : to ghost borrows effect, and all of those borrows are worth $0, then her sales would be down 66% if the rank stayed the same and didn't go from 4000 to 500.

Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: KU Crushed My Sales :(
« Reply #689 on: December 30, 2014, 04:00:05 AM »
Folks,

Locking while we discuss.  SamSpade, you already posted what appears to be the exact same post in another thread.  We don't generally allow people to start locked conversations over again in a new thread.  It kind of defeats the purpose of locking the thread.  And yes, we are still discussing this...  Some of us had to sleep.

If anyone has any questions, please don't hesitate to PM me..

Betsy
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~~~

Update from Harvey:

We have banned the Sam Spade account. It's not about the data or findings presented or that questions were asked; rather, the inflammatory tone of her posts and her personal insinuations about the motives of others is inconsistent with our forum decorum rules for civil discussion. For those interested, we based this action on:

a) our observation that it's a brand new account, anonymous, and apparently started with a single agenda in mind; b) we've had reports from numerous KB members concerned that the posts contain personal attacks and are designed to inflame; c) the member continued to make similar posts in another thread after an earlier thread was locked; and d) further research shows it to be an account from an author who writes in the same genre as the OP, which raises questions of a competitive over-zealousness.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2014, 10:17:07 AM by Harvey »
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