Author Topic: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?  (Read 39720 times)  

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #125 on: March 19, 2015, 05:33:30 PM »
Ladies,
Please.   All of you are right.

That's where the rubber hits the road in this discussion.

We all have different goals and desires, and there really is no need to play these competitive games.  If you want to be helpful, the key is to LISTEN, and try to help people with their own goals, not tell them how to reach yours.  (And to realize that just because parts of them sound similar, doesn't make them the same.)

That said, we can only help each other by sharing our own experience, or experiences we've observed and understand. That's still useful, and we shouldn't be offended when others cherry-pick the advice and experiences to find what suits them.

So if I've sounded disrespectful, that wasn't intentional.  I honestly think it's great if someone wants to make a bazillion dollars writing whatever it is they feel will get them there.  I know people who have done that, and I am always willing to cheer people on and share those experiences in hopes that it will help. I myself have done similar things in other areas, and though I hated it and stopped, I am certainly willing to share what worked and didn't with those who love it instead.

But I do ask that others not be so snarky about those who have other priorities -- and to recognized that just because I don't want to make a bazillion dollars a month writing erotica doesn't mean that A) I'm against erotica, or B) I'm against making money.

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE EITHER/OR.

Many of us just want to make enough money, writing what we want to read.

Camille

Offline timstevens

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #126 on: March 19, 2015, 05:45:00 PM »
Quote from: Mark E. Cooper link=topic=211162.msg2943603#msg2943603 date=1426749857/quote

You don't have to be in the top 500 or even the top 20,000 to make a living. My books used to hover around the 10k mark. Now most are in the 20-30k range. I still make a very good living, because I didn't stop at that magic book 7. Never give up, never surrender, and all that. I love my writing life. I don't do anything else.

Don't give up, mate. Back in 2001 I never thought I would be doing this for a career. Miracles DO happen.

Absolutely. I've been self-publishing three years come April. Never had anything published before that. I've never had a top 500 book, apart from brief spells following BookBub promos. Most of the time, my books are in the 20-50K rankings on Amazon.com, and 3-10K in the UK.

But I have 13 novels. I have a core of rabid regular readers. And I'm making the equivalent of around 60% of my day-job salary from my books each month. My goal is to go part-time in a year, and I'm on course to hit that.

You can crack this, OP. Decent writing, reasonably popular genre, prolific and steady output, and judicious marketing. Plus a bloody thick skin.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 05:46:51 PM by timstevens »

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #127 on: March 19, 2015, 06:13:43 PM »
Just saw this on facebook. It sums up the modernday assumption that if you write something, someone will want to read it:





Offline Krista D. Ball

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #128 on: March 19, 2015, 06:17:25 PM »
LOL

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Offline Dactyl

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #129 on: March 19, 2015, 07:08:03 PM »
The Ancient Egyptians knew they couldn't build inverted pyramids. What makes some modern humans think they can?

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Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #130 on: March 19, 2015, 07:08:53 PM »
The Ancient Egyptians knew they couldn't build inverted pyramids. What makes some modern humans think they can?

Huh?????

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Offline Colorwheel

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #131 on: March 19, 2015, 07:17:37 PM »
I think it also depends on your writing goals. There are ways to write if your goal is strictly to make money. Other people write for different reasons. Figure out exactly why you are writing is the first step.

I just wanted to go back, circle this, and draw some arrows and stars around it.

Knowing why you personally are in this, and realizing that it is your personal reason, goes so far in avoiding a lot of angst. It affects all of your decisions and strategies.

Offline Lhhansen

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #132 on: March 19, 2015, 07:50:43 PM »
Not sure how you're coming up with those numbers, but a book that's ranked #10K is selling 10-15 per day, or 300-450 a month. Priced at $3.99, that's $800-$1200 a month. All six of mine are in Select and if it weren't for promos, they'd all be in the 10K to 15K ranks. Still, that's $4800 to $7200 a month. More than I made as a truck driver.  ;)

Nobody is going to make a living on one book. Writing more books is the key.
First of all congrats on your success. That is inspiring.
I do have several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Nonfiction is typically priced higher - up to $8.99. All books are in KU right now as other platforms have not fared very well no matter the genre. Interestingly, since KU the fiction has moved to borrows, they are more typically at a $1.40 price point than the previous $2.99 - $3.99 * .7, and the nonfiction has been rather unaffected with added borrows at the same purchase price.  Overall, this dropped my income but not the rankings. So, in the future, how much further will authors be squeezed? This is not a criticism of KU, but rather the overall business model that has a lack of control baked in. Who knows what is going to happen month by month. When we rely on the income to eat, of course this is of some concern.

Correct. It took 7 books for me, and mine are $4.99. I'm in all the different stores, yet Amazon is still 50% of all income and Audible 35%.

Don't give up, mate. Back in 2001 I never thought I would be doing this for a career. Miracles DO happen.
That is inspiring and very encouraging. I hardly sell anything on other platforms (Apple, Kobo, B&N) and these are books that sell daily on Amazon. So back to KU, where the income hits occur. Not sure what is going on there with other platforms.

I'd rather be a poorly compensated KDP chump than a 9-to-5 grind chump, particularly considering the 9-to-5 now tends to come with unpaid overtime.

Your results may vary, however.

True enough. From that perspective, I worked over 80 hours a week where I made five times as much money on an annual basis vs. self-publishing, but there's much less difference on an hourly basis. However, with my reckless ventures into self-publishing, I picked my head up and looked around, only to realize that I have thoroughly trashed my resume, so there is no safety net anymore. Oops. Or good riddance. Forced to survive with what I create, and its liberating and terrifying at the same time. I probably did it subconsciously as I saw too many employees get their throats cut over the years.

If you just needed to vent a little, I get it, and consider yourself hugged.But it's writing, and THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. So, give up in relief and do something else, or get back to work. xo

Okay, I needed a hug and a kick in the butt. So thank you. And I do wonder at times where this platform is going. In this case it caused me to freeze up a bit instead of write, (and of course vent), so thank you.



*******

There are very very very few areas of business (or for that matter jobs) where you will have

Lesser profits
Lesser Control
Lesser Satisfaction of Owning the Customer Relationship
Lesser Locus of Influence

than selling digital content through a store to someone else's customers, where you own ZERO% of the customer relationship.

If you want to make a living from writing, then either figure out a way to create a store owned by authors themselves, or build your own store and your own direct channels to readers.

And do consider the fact that the range of authors who'll be able to make $5,000 or more a month from books is probably going to be between 55,000 and 5,500. Is there a way you can guarantee being in the Top 55,000? What about top 5,500? If not, and if you do need the money, then you have to get a day job and write for fun.
You honed in on my main concern. Loss of control and consequently dwindling profits. This is also true for music, and art, and movies, etc. If the answer is author ownership of the company, sounds like a platform outside of the Big 4 (online) and the Big 5 (traditional). If Amazon takes the direction of crushing profits to under $1, there has to be a response from authors, otherwise it's probably not enough pain to establish an alternative as we've already seen.

I disagree. There is too much hype and not enough numbers. The list said that 45000 authors were making about 5000 bucks a month. That is not true. At Amazon Author Rank 13000 you make about 550 bucks a month. My question is not whether someone is frugal, but what Amazon Author Rank do you have to be to make 2000 bucks a month? I think this is the sort of information new writers would like to know. Also others trying to figure out whether full time writing is worth pursuing or not.
Yes, the more metrics to make a sound business decision, the better. If over 95% of authors, just as an example only, are not making a livable wage (defined by the individual), then it may not be worth pursuing as a business, no matter how much you love writing (or another viable platform has to be created).

I am looking at being  a professional golfer from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well playing golf? If you would have told me that many golfers with a scratch handicap  only make a few hundred dollars a month before I took up golf, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in playing golf unless a golfer consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, golf is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

Ha ha. Well done. You know I did visit family in California who lived next to a pro golfer. I never heard of him because he basically just qualified for pro tournaments. He had a 1.5 million dollar house in California (which basically means 1,600 sq ft,)  but nice! :o

Absolutely. I've been self-publishing three years come April. Never had anything published before that. I've never had a top 500 book, apart from brief spells following BookBub promos. Most of the time, my books are in the 20-50K rankings on Amazon.com, and 3-10K in the UK.

But I have 13 novels. I have a core of rabid regular readers. And I'm making the equivalent of around 60% of my day-job salary from my books each month. My goal is to go part-time in a year, and I'm on course to hit that.

You can crack this, OP. Decent writing, reasonably popular genre, prolific and steady output, and judicious marketing. Plus a bloody thick skin.
Very uplifting.












« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 10:12:35 PM by Lhhansen »

Offline Josh St. John

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #133 on: March 19, 2015, 07:57:24 PM »
I wonder what percentage of new authors give up because they don't make enough money soon enough. This includes traditional authors. I would love to see a study with firm data.

I'd like to know this too. It'd be interesting to find out.


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Offline thewitt

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #134 on: March 19, 2015, 08:04:32 PM »
tl;dr

To recap:
People who make $ to $$ say it is impossible to succeed except for luck but wanting more than that makes you a greedy sellout anyway, so don't ever change!
People who make $$$ to $$$$$ say hey there are lots of ways to skin a cat but success is just around the corner if you make some strategic decisions about what and how you're writing and follow the examples of people who are doing well.

OK who do you wanna believe?

I'll add another group.

Those who SAY they make $$$$$ and you need to follow their lead or you will be a chump, but they are posting anonymously and with no way to verify even one book sale... ever.

The Internet is full of people who make up their own persona, post on public forums, and give people advice or call them stupid.

ALWAYS validate the source.

It could easily be a 14 year old kid using his mother's computer in the basement who just gave you million dollar book marketing advice...

Is there someone posting in these threads who makes $1000 a day in KDP sales?  Could be. 

Is there someone posting from their darkened bedroom laughing at how he fooled all these so-called professionals?  Could be.

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Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #135 on: March 19, 2015, 08:32:19 PM »
The Ancient Egyptians knew they couldn't build inverted pyramids. What makes some modern humans think they can?

I have no idea what you're getting at, but I think there actually is a convention center in Tokyo that's an inverted pyramid inside a frame.

So in answer to your question: advanced engineering science combined with superior materials.

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Offline Krista D. Ball

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #136 on: March 19, 2015, 08:35:31 PM »
Aliens, people. Aliens.

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Offline kimberlyloth

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #137 on: March 19, 2015, 09:58:58 PM »
This post has been so enlightening. Can I just say how much I love kboards because I learn so stinking much. It was so interesting for me to see what authors are making and the perceptions they have about other authors. Unless someone is doing extremely well, it's nearly impossible to know how much they make unless they share that data. Thank you to all of you who are brave enough to do so.

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Offline Krista D. Ball

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #138 on: March 19, 2015, 10:52:38 PM »
YOU DO YOU and I DO ME.

Seriously! I said this pages ago! :p

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #139 on: March 20, 2015, 03:56:54 AM »
Ha ha. Well done. You know I did visit family in California who lived next to a pro golfer. I never heard of him because he basically just qualified for pro tournaments. He had a 1.5 million dollar house in California (which basically means 1,600 sq ft,)  but nice! :o

If you are happy with the golf analogy, you might find some useful advice here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242205


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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #140 on: March 20, 2015, 03:59:27 AM »
Hmmmm after defending erotica and romance writers on this thread my urban fantasy story was magically 1-starred. No written review just a single star slapped on it for its very FIRST rating. Which could essentially crush any chance it has to flourish. Now call me paranoid but I find it a bit hard to believe that this is an authentic rating. Especially after hearing about how some posters here 1-star other forum members that they disagree with. So if this was a K-Board member getting back at me, you suck.

Why do you think so many of us either left or are anon now? Sorry this happened to you :(

Offline ShaneJeffery

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #141 on: March 20, 2015, 04:01:37 AM »
Concerning the original post, this was exactly how I felt.

Before I published anything, I spent about 2 years trying to be an online poker pro, because I always killed in live action tournaments. I put a lot of time and money into it, but after a while it didn't matter how much I changed about what I was playing, and how I was playing, I always broke even.

I would have games where I felt like I had pulled off brilliance to win, and other games where opponents just flopped stupid river cards to take me out. It was a reoccurring pattern. In the end, my great skills weren't enough to offset other people's good luck.

When I came into writing, I did just over a year writing horror, and made 100 dollars. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered - but I was trying to follow the sage advice - write in series, write novels, write what you love etc. Didn't work for me. And the advice said, just keep going, just keep going until you make it.

And I did a reversal. I became a hack and started writing fake romance just to see if it would work. The numbers basically said I had WAAAAY more chance of making it in the category but I got a lot of hate, and the dollars weren't enough to sustain me in the beginning.

I'd already given up romance and decided I would be a working stiff, using horror writing as a hobby, when like my 15th or so book that had been out for six weeks went from 190k in the store to 5k in 2 days.

What did I do?

I put it in select.

So anyway.... until that moment, it was chump change. It was like a rigged game - like the online poker - where I would always break even, and never make any money.

But I found a winning formula. Since then I've kept at it, and in February I earned 5,000 USD. Which is even more awesome because I live in Australia and our dollar currently sucks.

So weird it happened that way. But the message is pretty clear.

I could have given up and only been ONE BOOK away from my dreams  :)

Offline Stephanie Marks

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #142 on: March 20, 2015, 04:26:19 AM »
Why do you think so many of us either left or are anon now? Sorry this happened to you :(

Yeah, I can see myself commenting a LOT less here and just sticking with the other forum.

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Offline ShaneJeffery

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #143 on: March 20, 2015, 04:36:40 AM »
Stephanie Marks, there is a review there for your one star. They didn't like it because it was short. Click on the one star in your ratings to find it.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #144 on: March 20, 2015, 04:53:19 AM »
Oh cool! Thanks for letting me know. I feel SO much better now. Everyone please go back to what you were doing. Nothing to see here. Authentic 1-stars I can handle with a skip and a smile. Though no matter what I click on im not seeing a review anywhere.

If you click on the "1 star" to the left of the ratings graph it should take you to the rating.

Hope this helps!

EDIT:  Here's a link to the reviewer's page--your review is the most recent.  Strangely, I can't find the permalink to the review that is usually there; wonder if Amazon is playing with the options.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2GHC1TJFTW6KJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp?ie=UTF8

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« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 04:56:15 AM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Offline Sapphire

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #145 on: March 20, 2015, 05:00:06 AM »
When I first read the title of this thread, I went to the cupboard to set out the popcorn. Then I read a bit and got the kettle ready. Before long, I put the popping process on hold and was reading some interesting points. Recently, I started heating up the kettle. Glad to see I don't have to make popcorn. I really wasn't very hungry anyway. 8) :P


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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #146 on: March 20, 2015, 05:00:56 AM »
I used to play poker for a living. At first, it did feel like people were always lucky and no matter how hard I tried, I would just lose eventually. Then I studied my butt off, read all the books, watched tons of videos, memorized Caro's Book of Tells etc. And I played poker, 35-90 hands an hour, 18 hours a day, for months.  I started at .02/.04 with 10 dollars. Lost it down to .70. Then built it to 1700, cashed out, and started playing live as well. After a few months, I became a consistently winning small stakes player. Two nights a week and rent would be paid. Another couple nights online, and I had food. Another couple, I could make payments on my college debt.

I learned it wasn't that other people were lucky. I lost at first because I wasn't good enough. I didn't know enough, I hadn't practiced enough, I lacked experience. Other people were just better than I was. Over the long term, luck wasn't much of a factor. The real factor was hard work and study/smarts, and the sheer guts to do it (never underestimate guts in poker, or in life really).

It's the same way with writing, in my mind. When I started writing I did the same thing (still kind of do). I wrote a ton. I read every writing book I could get my hands on. I became a workshop junkie. When my stories didn't sell, I wrote more, I studied more, I tried harder.  I never let myself believe anything other than "I will be a bestseller and get rich doing this."

Who cares about what others are doing? Study what the people who have careers similar to what you want are doing. Work hard, keep improving, keep learning what works for you and your goals. Ignore the rest.  Just because lots of people fail doesn't mean you are somehow doomed to the same fate. Ignore fate. Make your own. :)

Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #147 on: March 20, 2015, 05:08:03 AM »
Sometimes I think people spend so much time complaining - that we overlook our blessings.

I'm in my 40's now. I've been writing since I was a teenager. I can't think of any time in my life when earning a living as a writer has ever been easier.

I know way too many other writers who are doing well at this point to be a doomsayer. You can write, publish, and reach countless numbers of people in a flash.  Not only that but most of the profit goes back into the writers pocket.

This is an amazing time for writers. I've never seen so many writers do so well - I just chatted with a friend who averages 5 to 8k a month from her writing. And she's not the only person I know like that. They aren't big names - and you probably never even heard of her. But she's out there doing it.

So even if you make $100 a month (or less) that's a helluva lot more than most writers could've expected to make in the past.

Offline ShaneJeffery

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #148 on: March 20, 2015, 05:10:47 AM »
I love your story No Cat. I did know before you had played poker.

Writing, straight away, had something poker never had - if I make a sale, I don't lose it the next round. With poker you're on a see saw constantly.

I watched thousands of hours of poker related material. I watched every tournament from the 90s till present. In full.

I read all the main books. I was really smart about making the correct decision each hand.

The problem with online poker wasn't my play. It wasn't how I had played a hand and had to work on that. Too many hands I played perfectly, that I should have won, resulted in stupid luck for the opponent and him winning. The theme never stopped. Bad beat after bad beat after bad beat.

Since then, pokers just a hobby.

Other people, in regards to writing, are essential for building your guide to success. My first successful book, after all the drafts and non selling books, was when I 'copied' another author's book. I read her book and made it my own. I ripped her off.

But I'm so weird, everyone says my books are nothing like they're read before. So different. So my take on her writing is bizarre for the majority.

But it sold. For the first time it sold.

Writing isn't a luck game. Not in the same way poker is.

Offline Mr. Sparkle

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #149 on: March 20, 2015, 05:29:50 AM »
When my stories didn't sell, I wrote more, I studied more, I tried harder.  I never let myself believe anything other than "I will be a bestseller and get rich doing this."

Who cares about what others are doing? Study what the people who have careers similar to what you want are doing. Work hard, keep improving, keep learning what works for you and your goals. Ignore the rest.  Just because lots of people fail doesn't mean you are somehow doomed to the same fate. Ignore fate. Make your own. :)

I agree with pretty much everything No Cat said. The above is the most important part, IMO. Comparing books between authors is useful from a planning standpoint. Comparing careers, not so much.

There are self-pub success stories in every genre on KU, just as there are on most of the major vendors. There are also plenty of books out there that are really, really good in terms of storytelling, craft, and style that make almost no money compared to books where the quality is questionable and definitely a matter of taste.

The reasons these disparities exist are many: bad / little to no marketing, amateurish packaging, whether or not a book follows current trends or anticipates future ones, niche subject matter, sales momentum, etc. Compare books that you personally consider a "miss" with books you consider "hits." When were they launched -- day of the week, month, year, during what trend? Were they in a series? Were they free or discounted for sometime? Did the author say publicly that they used promo sites? If so, which ones? Is their packaging professional? Are they hitting not just the tropes of the genre but the tropes as they exist in current trends?

This has been said before, many, many times, and there are plenty of people who still post here under their author names who are making full-time livings being exclusive in KU.


Also, it's really tiresome to see people bashing romance / erotica when it wasn't even brought up in connection with success strategies. You can choose to believe people without verifiable sales due to pseudonyms or not, but it's pretty low to insult them and then complain that their sales aren't proven when they were harmed into turning pseudonymous in order to avoid retaliation that could affect their livings.

Like this:

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs.

I can't believe that this comment is still up (after a mod has visited this thread!).
Mr. Sparkle is disrespectful of dirt!