Author Topic: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?  (Read 38543 times)  

Offline PamelaKelley

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #150 on: March 20, 2015, 05:30:44 AM »
It's funny how things have changed. It used to be that the only thing people cared about was getting an agent and selling to NYC. It wasn't about the money then....because everyone knew that no one made real money in writing....except for a few lucky ones who got the rare six figure advances.....and we've seen since then how that's not as great as it seems, when you factor in it's paid over several years.

Now there are new authors who for some reason expect to instantly be financially free from "selling on kindle".

But if it was that easy, obviously everyone would have figured out 'the formula'.

Even if you do figure out the formula, it doesn't mean you would be successful implementing it. I'm really enjoying reading some of the edgy serials with cliff-hangers...but I know there is no way I could begin to write those. I write what calls to me, and it's mostly sweet romance and I knew going in to this that I wasn't likely to strike it rich.....but it was never about the money for me. I have a day job that I like, and no intention on leaving it anytime soon.

Having to make a certain amount of money or being under financial pressure makes it that much harder to be successful with writing or anything, I have found. So much of what we do is mental, and our attitude affects our outcome....that sounds new agey I know.....but I have found it to be true and seen it to be true with others.

I think if you focus on finding the right fit for you with writing and write for the joy of it.....that could lead to more success than you expect. Especially if you are also aware of the market. My sweet romances are doing better than I ever imagined that they would. There is a market for sweet. It might not be as huge as the market for the hot stuff, but that's okay.

I remember a post Viola Rivard had here some time ago that I always found interesting. She was talking about how she decided to focus on writing paranormal shifter romance. How she really liked paranormal romance in general, and wanted to do shifters. If she was purely writing from her heart, her first choice wouldn't have been a BBW heroine, but she recognized that it was a very popular trend and why not give her new series a better shot at success? So she did and if I remember, she then added the menage element and then everyone started copying her when her books went crazy. But she was so smart to recognize what would take her book to an even more popular level....combining her passion for the story with market savvy to help it stand out and sell even better.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 05:32:23 AM by PamelaKelley »

Offline ShaneJeffery

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #151 on: March 20, 2015, 05:43:51 AM »
Viola Rivard is the reason I changed what I was doing and started making money with writing.

Offline Annie B

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #152 on: March 20, 2015, 05:46:07 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.


Writing is a lot like poker, actually. In my experience anyway. You write a book, it might sell, it might not. You try to do all the right things, make the correct decisions, but nobody knows. You can make a killing one month and have nothing the next. Sales can die out overnight. Book 1 might sell like crazy and nobody buys book 2.  You can write a book that is amazing, with a great cover, great description, tons of marketing push, etc and... people will buy Bearillionaire* instead. That's sort of how the game works, if you think of it as a game. Only thing to do is keep going and know that if you are really good, the math will work out in your favor. 

Though I do agree, poker certainly has some serious variance to it. It ain't for the faint. Compared to playing cards, writing to make millions is a pretty low risk venture.  So much more depends on a hand than just making the mathematically correct decision. A lot is instinct. I used to play sit-n-gos in front of friends on the projector and they'd be screaming at me not to do a thing or to do another thing. But I trusted my gut and six or seven times out of ten, my gut was right. That's all the edge I needed.  It's sort of the same for me in writing. You can't control all factors, but so far I've learned from my mistakes and I'm now one of those "outliers" that everyone talks about like we're some kind of mystery. Funny how that works. :)

But hey, it can all end tomorrow. Which is why I should probably finish this next book, eh? ;)



*not that this is a bad thing. I think that Terry Bolryder is brilliant as heck with a great sense of humor ;)
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 05:47:44 AM by No Cat »

Offline Peter Spenser

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #153 on: March 20, 2015, 07:28:29 AM »
Btw- they don't say it's too short, they called it a waste of time.

Yes, the reviewer did say "short."

It's short, can read it in about 5 minutes. There's nothing exciting about it as it's predictable. There's nothing romantic about it as the only romantic things that happens is a kiss at the very end. Honestly, this so-called "book" needs to be retitled as perhaps a prologue because that's all it is.

O.K., so she didn't like your writing style, and she didn't like the plot. But besides all of that, and in all fairness to the reviewer (not that we need to be fair to reviewers), when you charge $2.99 for a book whose Amazon-estimated length is 30 pages, you're going to get some people who are unhappy just for that alone. (Yes, I know that the length is right there for everyone to read before they buy but sometimes---often---they don't.)



Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #154 on: March 20, 2015, 07:31:07 AM »
OK, this is way off topic...Stephanie asked that we move on from her comments about the review.  Let's do so.

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Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #155 on: March 20, 2015, 08:51:15 AM »
Writing is like playing jazz music. (I do both.) It's a labor of love, and you can make a living at it if you don't need a lot of money. There are lots of old jokes about this situation that can be applied to writing.

Q: How does a jazz musician/writer make a million dollars?
A: Start with two million.

Q: What would a jazz musician/writer do if he or she won the lottery?
A: Keep writing until the money's gone.

Q: What do you call a jazz musician/writer without a significant other?
A: Homeless.

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #156 on: March 20, 2015, 09:16:51 AM »
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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Offline Lhhansen

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #157 on: March 20, 2015, 09:24:08 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.

Are you sure it was just luck and not a computer program manipulating the odds? I am sure there is a book in there somewhere, but the movie was already made.
http://www.amazon.com/Runner-Justin-Timberlake/dp/B00GK607UQ/



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  :)

That is great. I have had a book at 5,000 and it make nowhere near $5,000. Yes it was on sale for a few days, but went back to $2.99. You probably had other books coming right behind it that also did very well. But a rank from 190k to 5k in two days has to have more than select behind it, especially if it stuck. Are they horror or romance now? That is the essence of the original post, not really understanding how well ranked books still just don't make much, so what are the odds of sticking it under 1,000, under 500? Even then, it is extremely volatile. However, I do see very similar books stay there week after week after week, and you have no idea what is going on (kind of like your poker example). It's a tough nut to crack sometimes, going beyond just writing more (though I will do that too).  Did your 5,000 ranking stick for awhile?

Offline '

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #158 on: March 20, 2015, 09:51:40 AM »
Betsy, you are breaking your own rule about linking to reviewers' profiles.

Offline Hugh Howey

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #159 on: March 20, 2015, 09:58:05 AM »
My response got so long, it became a blog post.

http://www.hughhowey.com/kdp-is-for-chumps/
 
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Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #160 on: March 20, 2015, 09:59:45 AM »
http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,216185.msg3013849.html#new

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Offline '

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #161 on: March 20, 2015, 10:01:52 AM »
Are you sure it was just luck and not a computer program manipulating the odds? I am sure there is a book in there somewhere, but the movie was already made.
http://www.amazon.com/Runner-Justin-Timberlake/dp/B00GK607UQ/


That is great. I have had a book at 5,000 and it make nowhere near $5,000. Yes it was on sale for a few days, but went back to $2.99. You probably had other books coming right behind it that also did very well. But a rank from 190k to 5k in two days has to have more than select behind it, especially if it stuck. Are they horror or romance now? That is the essence of the original post, not really understanding how well ranked books still just don't make much, so what are the odds of sticking it under 1,000, under 500? Even then, it is extremely volatile. However, I do see very similar books stay there week after week after week, and you have no idea what is going on (kind of like your poker example). It's a tough nut to crack sometimes, going beyond just writing more (though I will do that too).  Did your 5,000 ranking stick for awhile?

Why are you stuck on rankings?  It's paying readers you need and lots of reviews ... then the rankings will take care of themelves.

Offline Jonathan C. Gillespie

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #162 on: March 20, 2015, 10:07:53 AM »
Thank you for the inspiration, those of you who are doing well. I hope to someday join your ranks. Lord knows I'm doing everything I can...


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Offline dalya

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #163 on: March 20, 2015, 10:11:35 AM »
I don't agree. Plenty of people sharing exactly what they're doing, marketing-wise. Plenty of them. Authors are some of the most generous professionals out there.

And I agree with NoCat's post above, too, about the typical ways people fail. And that the fact that many people fail doesn't mean that you can't succeed. Also, failing for a while and learning can lead to success down the road. Maybe you improve your covers. Maybe you improve your storytelling, your editing, your blurbs, your marketing plan. Lots of ways to improve.

Some people do share everything, it's true. Rosalind, you've always been very giving and generous and kind on here, and I know it's appreciated. You're also a gifted and hardworking writer, and much of your success comes from that, IMHO, and not any marketing secrets!

But I would caution people in general that the more you share every little thing you do online, the less likely it is that other people who know about hidden gems will tell you anything particularly juicy.

I'm not saying that just to be a dick, though I suppose I am in a dickish mood today (should be working!), but I really like telling the truth. Yes, there are secrets. Yes, there are plenty of marketing tricks that people won't share on here because (a) they'd be crucified by at least one person who thinks what they're doing is wrong (let's all remember the "marketing is cheating" thread), and (b) some great opportunities disappear when everyone stampedes in.

Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #164 on: March 20, 2015, 10:11:48 AM »
Writing isn't a luck game. Not in the same way poker is.

It really kind of is thought. No one wants to admit it because we all want to believe in meritocracies, but there's still an unbelievably strong luck component to it.

When we talk discoverability, we usually just mean the contortions required to make our books appear to the maximum amount of people. But in reality, that's just odds manipulation trying to get as many chances as possible to hit the real jackpot: the viral fan.

The viral fan being the kind of person who doesn't just read and enjoy your work, but raves about it and tries to get everyone they know to read it. Those are the people who we're really talking about when we think of word of mouth because they represent the maximum return on that.

Yeah, one can argue that skill is required to excite the viral fan, but that's so subjective and some stuff that takes off is so poorly done, that it's not a demonstrably good argument. What matters is striking that viral fan's fancy and that's something completely out of your hands aside from essentially buying more 'tickets' via advertising, more books, etc for a chance to get the right person to pick the book up.

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

Probably because 'go bark up a creek with the other dogs' is an existing expression.

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Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #165 on: March 20, 2015, 10:13:49 AM »
My response got so long, it became a blog post.

http://www.hughhowey.com/kdp-is-for-chumps/

:-)

I propose that we herewith change the title "prawns" to "chumps."

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Offline meowbiscuit

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #166 on: March 20, 2015, 10:47:00 AM »
Probably because 'go bark up a creek with the other dogs' is an existing expression.

There's probably a lot of "existing expressions" that would garner a mod intervention depending on how they're used.

As far as "bark up a creek" goes, though: "bark up a creek" only returns three Google results and one is about bark floating up a creek. So I think Mr. Sparkle's point still stands.

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #167 on: March 20, 2015, 11:00:19 AM »
There's probably a lot of "existing expressions" that would garner a mod intervention depending on how they're used.

As far as "bark up a creek" goes, though: "bark up a creek" only returns three Google results and one is about bark floating up a creek. So I think Mr. Sparkle's point still stands.

Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille

Offline SevenDays

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #168 on: March 20, 2015, 11:17:20 AM »
Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille

This is how I understood it, also.

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Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #169 on: March 20, 2015, 11:27:17 AM »

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.

No matter what genre you write in - studying and listening to advice from some of the top selling erotica and romance writers can't hurt.

Sure I may be biased - but some of the smartest marketing tips can be learned from that community. In past a lot of snark and viciousness directed at these writers chased them away from KB.

And I think the community as a whole lost something when that happened.

Also no.. you don't have to write Erotica or Romance to be successful. But those overlapping genre's just happen to have a voracious (if not insatiable) reader base.  In my experience - they are also a fanatically loyal reader base. That's a potent combo.

But there's no reason people can't take tips  from erotica/romance writers (marketing etc..) and apply it to their genre. I guess sometimes people are too short-sighted to see the potential. 

Offline blakebooks

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #170 on: March 20, 2015, 11:44:03 AM »
You know, I've been gone from this forum for over a year, but I read Hugh's lengthy blog post responding to this thread, and thought, WTF, might as well throw my two cents into it.

First off, I have no idea who advanced the idea that writing was any different than the other arts. Most people who study ballet never become professional and never make a dime at it, and spend a lot on their avocation, training for a pursuit they'll never make it at. Most kids with a guitar or drum kit who work at it for a decade never make a dime as musicians. Most painters or artists don't make a living wage from their art.

It's remarkable to me that the expectation is now that you should earn a decent amount of money from writing. The odds are extremely long. Extremely. Better than they were as trad pub, but still very, very slim.

Why is that? Because there are millions of writers. Some extraordinarily talented, most middling, some awful. Standard bell curve distribution. And anyone with a computer can "write." So the barrier to entry is very low. Some might argue, now, non-existent.

I think what many are realizing is that writing is not a good way to make money.

But publishing can be. Publishing your own work can be, too.

Operating a publishing company, which involves competitive analysis, a comprehensive grasp of the market, of trends, of appetites, marketing and promotions acumen and an appropriate budget, a good quality control system (editing and proofreading), quality cover creation, quality blurb creation, appropriate pricing strategies, a production schedule that meets market demands, basic accounting and budgeting and forecasting, etc. can be a nice business. So can virtually any business where you package raw goods and successfully sell them in a retail environment. But it's extremely difficult to do everything well and right, which is why it pays well when you can.

You will note that none of the skills of operating a publishing business are the same skills as writing a decent book: knowledge of craft, a way with words, the ability to tell a story folks enjoy and want to read, the discipline to carry the story through to the end in a timely fashion, an understanding of story structure, the ability create an engaging plot and vivid, believable characters, and on and on.

I think a lot of authors fail to grasp that operating a successful self-publishing enterprise requires that you not only have the skills of an author, but also that you develop all of the skills required to operate a publishing company.

It's not for everyone. It's not even for most. It's a good fit for those who are naturally entrepreneurial, or who have operated businesses successfully, be it small or large ones, and who can write to at least the level that meets reader expectations within whatever genre they choose to operate, and are willing to invest the massive time and energy (and yes, money, too) to make it work.

But even so, toss out the extraordinarily long odds of making money writing, and move to the long odds of any start-up business making money.

Why would your publishing company be any different? Why would it not be subject to the same odds all other businesses face? Short answer: it would be. And that's what many are seeing - even the ones who do everything right, and who can write their asses off.

Because the lion's share of start-ups fail. And even the successful ones often don't make any money for a year or two, and require significant investment of time and money to get there.

I have no idea why beginning authors believe that they can start a publishing enterprise with no budget, no expertise, no real time to learn the publishing business skills they require, and be one of the successful ones, any more than I understand why someone could find a violin, sit down and spend a little time trying to learn how to play, and then expect to be in Carnegie hall, or at least the local orchestra, earning money from their playing.

It's magical thinking. And it's bogus. Which results in shattered dreams, bitterness, disillusionment.

To me, it's better to understand what's required to narrow the odds, going in. I think it does authors a tremendous disservice to argue that it all comes down to the writing - we can all name plenty of pretty terrible examples of writing that have sold decently.

I counseled, in a fairly popular KB post, a disciplined approach to the business of publishing your own work, and the art/craft of writing. In that post I warned that most who pursue writing won't make money, partially because the world isn't fair, partially because there are already millions of good books available that vie for readers' attention, and partially because many don't bother to invest the time to become proficient at their craft. But assuming that the world were fair, that for some reason your books stood out, and that you've invested the time and energy in getting good, my point is that makes you a good author, not a publisher with a decent chance of success, success being defined as making good money at it (because publishing is a commercial enterprise, and that's how commercial enterprises are measured).

For what I believe is necessary to be a successful publisher, especially a self-publisher, see my earlier description of some of the requisite skills.

I hope this helps at least a few who are struggling with the challenges involved in earning money writing and selling books. There will always be lightning strikes, lottery wins where a book catches fire and suddenly everyone wants to read it. There are also many, many thousands of aspiring actors who want to be Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie. Most won't be. Those are the odds. Understanding the odds, and then finding your edge, the thing or things that will differentiate you, is a big part of it, but even so, the bummer is it probably won't be enough. Because you'll then need to operate a publishing business, and acquire all the skills I outlined, or further reduce your odds of success.

Nobody likes hearing that, because that sounds like a [crap] ton of work. And it is.

I'm one of the fortunate ones, coming up on year four of self-publishing, and having passed year three of making money at it. I am working on my 38th novel today (I think - I kind of lost track somewhere in the thirties). I still work 12-15 hours a day, coming up on 48 months. I'm still excited to write each book, and I still have to market, promote, work on editing and covers with my team, and generally dance for my nickels, as do all entertainers since the beginning of time.

That's the gig. So if you want to dance for these nickels, understand the lay of the land, write because you love it and not because you want to make money at it, and realize that the business of selling books is completely different than the business of writing them. Writing books rarely pays well. Selling books can, but it ain't easy, and anyone who says it is, is misleading you.

Having said all that, I'm glad I pursued it, and didn't give up until my sales turned the corner. That would be around book number 11, for those following along at home. And only because a convergence of Select's algo magic, having a series that got some lift, discovering the power of perma-free, and being in the right place at the right time, helped me get the necessary visibility so my writing could get a chance to find a readership.

I shall now recede back into the mist. Be nice to each other, and good luck to all.


Offline D-C

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #171 on: March 20, 2015, 11:49:20 AM »

the business of selling books is completely different than the business of writing them.


Yes, yes, a hundred times, yes. :D

Offline Lydniz

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #172 on: March 20, 2015, 11:56:47 AM »
Russell speak big truth.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #173 on: March 20, 2015, 12:04:07 PM »
Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille
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  Suspense with a Dash of Humor

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #174 on: March 20, 2015, 12:04:47 PM »
I always love me some Russell.   
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