Author Topic: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?  (Read 39084 times)  

Offline Sapphire

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #175 on: March 20, 2015, 12:14:52 PM »
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.

I shall now recede back into the mist. Be nice to each other, and good luck to all.
Russell, you have no idea how much you are missed around here. I, for one among many, would love it if you threw your two cents in more often.


Online Donna White Glaser

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #176 on: March 20, 2015, 12:15:21 PM »
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.
Love this. That's what is keeping me going. The hope that I'm rounding the corner. Not sure I'm loving the "book number 11" part, though. Sigh... WHERE'S ALL THIS EASY MONEY I KEEP HEARING ABOUT?
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Offline Hugh Howey

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #177 on: March 20, 2015, 12:49:29 PM »
I summoned the Russell.

My work here is done.







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Offline devalong

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #178 on: March 20, 2015, 12:50:31 PM »
I'm a chump! I just need 45 more books that do as well as the 6 I have now and I will meet my goals :). I plan on it taking 10 years and about 1M more words.

Busy busy busy! as my inner Bokononist says  :).
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 12:53:11 PM by devalong »

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #179 on: March 20, 2015, 12:51:07 PM »
I summoned the Russell.


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Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #180 on: March 20, 2015, 12:57:29 PM »
Lydniz knows the Russell!

Offline crebel

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #181 on: March 20, 2015, 01:09:42 PM »
I always love me some Russell.   

Ditto. 

I am not a writer or a publisher, but every single thing said in Russell's post makes sense to me.  This reader has missed his words of wisdom on KBoards.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #182 on: March 20, 2015, 01:15:59 PM »
I guess I don't get the sensitivity on this thread. The OP specifically asked, in so many words, how to make a good living from writing. The advice from one of the posters was that some people are writing in the wrong genre, or something of the sort.

Now. It's just realistic to say that some genres are hotter than others. Some genres offer a better chance than others to make a solid income. Those genres are represented by different posters on this board who are making a decent living - Urban fantasy, SFF, dystopian, mysteries, thrillers, action/adventure, romance, erotica, epic fantasy, and some horror. I might have missed some genres, and, if I did, I apologize. But if you're writing in a quirky genre with not a lot of hungry readers, then you're going to have a harder time making a solid income.

But nobody is trying to tell anybody what to write, or that you're doing it wrong. Again, the OP wants to know how to make a solid income at this, and he meant over $2,000 a month. That was the number that he threw out there. The answer is, amongst other things, write in a genre that has a lot of readers. Sure, he can write in a genre that is small, and make decent money, but it will be harder to do. It just will be. 

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #183 on: March 20, 2015, 01:30:33 PM »
I hope I don't or didn't sound snarky, but this is simply not true:

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

Below is presumably the quote that P. Jansen took exception to:

Some of you guys are writing the wrong stuff. Niche titles with no real market, and thought behind them. I'm not trying to be mean, but it's the truth. You have to study the market, get good covers, blurbs, etc. All of this has been said a million times. This will better your odds, but obviously there's no guarantees.

Incidentally, I didn't taking it to mean that "the wrong stuff" = "not erotica," as other people have already pointed out. But that's exactly what the quote I mentioned above did.

In order to reach readers, make a lot of money, or some combination of the two -- and they often go hand in hand -- I see one of two likely scenarios occurring:

1. You write the Next Big Thing that nobody was anticipating, coming out of the blue to score the grand slam to end all grand slams.

OR

2. Somewhere between the idea forming in your head and you hitting the publish button, you deliberately choose to include, in some way and to some degree, legitimate consideration of who your potential readers are, what they want, and why they pick up or download the books that they do. This allows you to better target your audience, advertise to them, and / or expose them to your stories.

There is no "one way" that users I remember reading on here have insisted everyone else take to 'do it right.' DZ's comments were blunt, but I think his general point is still valid. If your way of doing things has not worked to your own satisfaction, it may indeed be 'the wrong way' ...for you.

When one such as the OP seems baffled by a lack of traction in the market, a few hardy souls try to incorporate some variation on the above theme into their answers in an effort to help. This seems to be offensive to a few people who rush in and assume a whole lot. Usually they are not even the OP.

Hence, the frustration. When I see a question mark at the end of a sentence, I think someone doesn't have an already fixed view on that subject, and when that post is on a board where people are wont to give advice, it's not unreasonable for users to think it's an invitation to brainstorm for solutions (or bring up older ones that have worked for others).

It's sad to me that it makes a few people defensive, especially when they may already be successful enough that they shouldn't care if other people discuss ideas different than their own. It's frustrating to try to offer advice and be insulted for doing so.
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Offline Caddy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #184 on: March 20, 2015, 01:39:25 PM »
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.


Hmmm...reminds me of painting. :)
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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #185 on: March 20, 2015, 01:48:42 PM »
If the person Patty responded to was telling people to write thrillers, do you think she would have used the phrase "sell our souls"? I don't think so. This sort of thing only gets hurled at romance and erotica, which is why it's important to call it out.

ETA: and the person Patty responded to wasn't even telling people to write erotica. He was saying if you want to make money, you might be writing the wrong genre. I agree with this, although I would specify "subgenre."

I agree. Nobody EVER said to just write romance or erotica in this thread. There was a lot of conclusion jumping early on in this thread, I have to say. Lots of defensiveness instead of, as Mr. Sparkle noted, a willingness to genuinely help. It just kind of mystified me, to tell you the truth.

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Offline katrina46

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #186 on: March 20, 2015, 01:54:28 PM »
I guess it depends on your situation. I've had my hours cut indefinitely cut on my day job, but this month I've already made enough to cover my rent and the month isn't over, so 450 dollars is so not chump change to me.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #187 on: March 20, 2015, 01:55:09 PM »
Brigham Young had a quote about people who take offense, but I don't feel like getting banned again so I'm not going to repeat it.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #188 on: March 20, 2015, 01:59:33 PM »
A couple of things...

Joe, this is the second time you've posted something like your last post here.  There seems to be some confusion on your part.   Please PM me so we can discuss.

As for dissing erotica and romance, I asked yesterday that people be respectful of each other's genres.  It seems to me people have been doing that.  Let's keep on topic.

Glad to see Russell's post.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #189 on: March 20, 2015, 02:01:15 PM »
The way I see it, writers who love writing the popular subgenres are blessed. They can rock on.

The rest of us have decisions to make and research to do. What are our goals? What's gonna be our love-to-money ratio?

If there isn't a popular subgenre we like, is there one we can tolerate? What's even popular right now? That's where the research comes in.

Maybe there's a niche we like that we can do okay in. Maybe we really need the money and just need to write what will make $$ right now. This is all fine.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 02:07:44 PM by Ava Glass »

Offline Krista D. Ball

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #190 on: March 20, 2015, 02:08:43 PM »
Sure I may be biased - but some of the smartest marketing tips can be learned from that community.

Agreed. I also think it forces those outside of the genre to consider why marketing tip A works in erotica (for example) but might not work with their own readership, which can sometimes be just as important as gleaning the stuff that does work. Back in the day, I did find there were things the erotica authors were doing I knew wouldn't work for my readers, but in thinking through why it wouldn't work, I was able to massage out thoughts about what would work.

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Offline '

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #191 on: March 20, 2015, 02:12:18 PM »

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #192 on: March 20, 2015, 02:17:58 PM »
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.


Absolutely.

That's why people who don't write erotica or romance are in those conversations in the first place.  The problem comes with a minority of contributors (often not the successful erotica or romance writers in question) who get really snarky about following the exact path, beat for beat.  Those of us who aren't interested in following that path get snarked at a lot as if our not wanting to do exactly the same thing is an affront to those who are writing romance, erotica, etc.  I hear everything from "How dare you say there is a difference between (name your genre) and erotica!" to "You're a hobbyist if you don't want to do everything in this plan, so NONE of it applies to you" to "Your rank is too low for me to take seriously."

The truth is, if you write, say literary fiction, and it takes you three years to write a novel, much of the advice for erotica doesn't apply directly.  It takes a lot of questioning and work to find a takeaway that works for such writers.  If you write in a solidly defined genre, on the other hand, a lot of the advice applies directly, but not all.  (Plus, even if you do write erotica, it may be necessary to cherry-pick what you can do successfully with your own skills and talents.  Some people can write faster than others. Some can follow trends more easily than others, for instance.)

And a lot of us fall in between those two extremes.  And sometimes the most valuable bit of information for the rest of us is not how the most successful people did it, but rather all those smaller bits of information that comes from those who tried something different, and didn't necessarily succeed at it yet, but they do increase our understanding of various audiences and options.

In short: I want to hear from EVERYONE.  I want to hear about the small successes, and the variables in the many failures.

(And, just as a reminder -- that's how so many of the "Successful Erotica Writers" threads started -- with somebody trying something out, failing, succeeding, failing again, and then succeeding a little more, etc.)

Camille

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #193 on: March 20, 2015, 02:33:27 PM »

Then why did it use the phrase "sell our souls and write smut"? That's the part that bothered me. Does anyone here say they're going to "sell their souls," "sell out," or "stoop" to writing mysteries or SFF?

Yes, if mystery or sff were the hottest thing going, and someone was telling erotica writers that they HAD to write mystery if they didn't want to be a chump, it would be EXACTLY the same, and the exact same terminology would be appropriate.

It's no different than in grad school, when I was told I could not write commercial children's fiction, and that the only true way was to write a very narrow band of literary fiction -- I refused to "sell my soul" to please the crappy professor who couldn't sell his novels without requiring them as textbooks for his students.

Any time, anyone tells you that you have to do what THEY value, instead of what YOU value, they are telling you to sell your soul.  And they deserve to be sent barking up the stream.

The problem comes in when people take offense that someone wouldn't want to do what they do.  Seriously, folks, we've got to get over that.  Even if someone really hates your genre, that's no criticism of you or the genre. That's just how it is. There are things you hate too.  That shouldn't stop those who love it from writing it and reading it.

Camille

Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #194 on: March 20, 2015, 03:40:17 PM »
Did they use the words "selling out" or "selling one's soul"? I remember one thread where someone said they "sold out." They wrote romance, of course. The person was rightly called out.

As I recall, every time the idea of writing what you want to write comes up, the people who do so get called stupid and poor business people for not genre chasing. There's a reason this is a third rail type subject and that it's not considered 'simply' advice.

First and foremost being that it's a business decision, not the business decision. There's a lot of gold in the niches and lots of loyalty besides while what's hot ebbs and flows with the tides--based on what niche thing hits it big. The big money genres now were niches a decade ago. The people that made the most money out of them made them mainstream.

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #195 on: March 20, 2015, 04:03:19 PM »
As I recall, every time the idea of writing what you want to write comes up, the people who do so get called stupid and poor business people for not genre chasing.

I have a question. Does this happen when people say "I'm writing what I want to write, and I'm sooo happy," or does it happen when people say "I'm writing what I want, but not making the income I want"?

I wouldn't call someone stupid or a poor business person, but subgenre is one of the things money-desiring writers should examine.

The big money genres now were niches a decade ago. The people that made the most money out of them made them mainstream.

This is true.  However, a writer wanting to make money shouldn't count on writing the breakout hit that starts a trend. That's a big gamble.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 04:04:53 PM by Ava Glass »

Offline VM Gautier

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #196 on: March 20, 2015, 04:05:51 PM »
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.


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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #197 on: March 20, 2015, 04:09:40 PM »
I'll add one data point. It's just a data point - not advice.

Regarding this: First and foremost being that it's a business decision, not the business decision. There's a lot of gold in the niches and lots of loyalty besides while what's hot ebbs and flows with the tides--based on what niche thing hits it big. The big money genres now were niches a decade ago. The people that made the most money out of them made them mainstream.

What I've seen people discuss and in my own personal experiences is

If you enter a venture that's tough, it makes a big difference whether your heart is in it or not.

So, how do you weight the added benefit of doing something you love i.e. a genre you love Versus a genre because it makes business sense?

Is there a way to weight that?

What happens when times get tough? When you have struggles?

If you picked the genre that you were truly passionate about, does it make you stronger? Or is the business-based decision the better one, because it might not be your passion but you get more money to pull through the hard times?

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #198 on: March 20, 2015, 04:12:34 PM »
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.



*Sigh* I guess that makes me a fool. A fool who made $140,000 last year by approaching this as a business.

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Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #199 on: March 20, 2015, 04:13:15 PM »
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.

So what would you call the writers who are, you know, actually supporting themselves without a day job? Because there happen to be a lot of us on these boards. ::)