Author Topic: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?  (Read 38564 times)  

Offline Annie B

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #50 on: March 19, 2015, 12:32:20 AM »
I make five figures a month and have no books in the top 500 at the moment (mine that sell are ranked anywhere from 1800 to 80,000). And all those books are SF or some flavor of fantasy.

Publishing without a plan and a clear set of goals... that might be for chumps ;)

Offline Michael J Elliott

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #51 on: March 19, 2015, 12:53:44 AM »
I'm on a disability pension and I fund the cost of my covers through semi regular babysitting jobs for my sister. ATM I only have two short stories out with the third to arrive soon followed by the collection. I love sitting on the couch daydreaming about walking down a red carpet event where one of my books has been turned into. This isn't a goal, it's just a nice little daydream and we all need those occasionally don't we? Some of my biggest thrills now come from my family asking "How's the writing going" or getting a great review. For me, seeing my name on a cover is reward enough and if in the future, if I earn money is earned in any amount I'll be very happy and grateful.
I can understand those who want to write for money and I don't condemn them for it but I don't think anyone should feel bitter about NOT making money as an author, as has been previously mentioned it requires strategies and plans and marketing as well as a lot of other things which don't gaurantee your monetary success but it can help it.
When the thought of picking up a pen becomes utterly abhorent to me, that's when I'll stop writing, not because my bank statements don't reflect what I should be earning  ;D

Offline CJAnderson

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #52 on: March 19, 2015, 01:16:51 AM »
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.

Offline ireaderreview

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #53 on: March 19, 2015, 02:45:40 AM »
This post is going to have some pretty dark stuff in it. So avoid it if you don't like dark things, even if true.

I'll respond to each point based on what I've seen in music, movies, games, apps, books

******

I am looking at KDP from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well with KDP? If you would have told me that books ranked 10,000 - 50,000 or so only make a few hundred dollars a month before I was a writer, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

*******
1) Some people do very well. Some people do well. Most people make nothing.

To an extent this is true in EVERY Field. Apple makes $3 to $6 billion a month in profits. Samsung makes $2 billion a month in profits. HTC makes $30 million a month in profits, Xiaomi makes $1 per phone profit, most other phones companies make losses.

The Winners disproprotionately get 100%+ of the profits. #1 dominates, #2 does well, most others struggle.

2) Any digital market is controlled by the market maker/the app store/the platform.

So, their aim is to get creators to work for free while they capture the value created.

Apple can sell iPhones for $500 to $700 in part because users know they'll get a bucket load of free apps and games and lots of cheap software. So developers are adding value and most of that value is being captured by the owner of the app store, not by developers.

No user ever thinks - how is the developer going to make money from this free app? They just think - Wow! Thanks Apple! I get all these apps for free!

REMEMBER THAT. You don't want to be the developer in that equation. You want to be the store.

In Music streaming sites are trying to pull off the same trick - pay very little to music creators, and capture the value.

In books, whoever owns the stores will do this. Keep in mind that Amazon shifted to 70% cut only after Apple offered that.

3) If you're one out of 300,000 or 1 million authors selling through an ebookstore you're replacable and gradually all the value will go to the store. There will always be lottery winners - the top 500, the top 5,000. Perhaps even the top 20,000. However, the rest of the 1 million+ authors will make nothing or have losses. That means 980,000 out of 1 million authors. That's 98%.

A rough ratio of

98% at less than break even
1.5% at slight money. A few thousand a month.
.4% at decent money. $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
0.09% at good money. More than $10,000 a month.
0.01% at very good money. More than $25,000 a month.
Please Note: These figures are approximations. This is to give you an idea.

That 0.01% might be just 100 authors. However, EVERYONE assumes they can be one of those 100.

Even if we increase everything by 10, to go to highest level of optimism, we get

1,000 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
9,000 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 45,000 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
Around 180,000 authors who earn a few thousand a month.
Remaining 765,000 authors who make nothing.

******* So you're right. If you aren't in the top 10,000 authors you won't make much. And after that there are just 45,000 more spots with decent money.
And please keep in mind - this is optimistic scenario.


So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in KDP unless an author 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, writing is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

***
4) Yes, this is exactly right. For big money you need big ranks. And big ranks are limited. You're also competing against Big 5 Publishers and Amazon and very successful indie authors for this.

Depending on what your personal lifestyle is, you have to figure out what you can earn.

5) Consider this:

1,000 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
9,000 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 45,000 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.

This is in the optimistic scenario.

In the super pessimistic scenario

100 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
900 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 4,500 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.

****** I'm guessing this is where you'd like to be. You'll have to crunch the numbers yourself.


I read an article that said most authors make four figures. If it takes several months to write a book, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most authors well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to write, if you want to make a living?

* That's accurate. Most authors make very little. The Q is - What would YOU make if you had very good books and used good strategy. Could you be one of the 10,000 best authors? Could you be one of the 50,000 most successful authors?

THAT is what you should consider.

To be honest, the easiest way to do that (be very successful and make money via writing) is if you don't need money from your writing. It's really tough.

****

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

******

5) It's going back to the store owners and the platform owners getting the value created.

In very free markets where the store owner's motivations aren't necessarily to make money from books/movies/games/content, the content creators get squeezed. IF you think this is bad, imagine what would happen when Amazon's price controls break down and $1 and Boxed Sets and Free Books take over? There's a non-ignorable chance that happens. Then the money available might shrink or it might get distributed between multiple authors.

Again, the less you need money the more you can gain market share and thus gain advantage. And authors keep doing this - to gain an advantage they are willing to do anything, including hurt their own long-term earning potential.

*****

I have heard others say you just have to keep writing, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the books may de-rank faster than you can put new ones out, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

7) No, this isn't accurate. It's a vicious positive cycle if you write well. It's only a vicious negative cycle if you put out junk or make lots of strategy and marketing mistakes. BUILD DIRECT CHANNELS to your readers. That's #1. So readers know they are getting the value FROM YOU. Not from their store or their subscription or something else.

I have written both fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction has much more staying power, but it took me two years to write the book! Fiction I can crank out faster, but it de-ranks faster. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most authors just don't make much in KDP, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?

* No, for the vast majority of authors this is not a real business.

Remember, you're selling books from someone else's store to someone else's customers.

You have to sell your books from your own store to your own customers.

Right now, you're building beautiful sand castles on someone else's beach. If the tide doesn't wash you away (infinite competition from authors), then the beach owner can kick you out.

So there are basically two options

Option A: Build your own stores and control your customer relationships.

OR

Option B: Find an area where you own at least one out of the reader relationship or the store.

*******

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.

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Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #54 on: March 19, 2015, 04:18:51 AM »
One of my books is in a promo and currently sits at #716. Priced at $.99, because it's in Select, I get $.70 in royalty. Yesterday, it sold 229 copies, for a net income of $$160.30.

Consider this. If it were priced at regular price, that would be $480 and if all six were ranked similarly, that'd be nearly $3000 per day, or $90K per month. So, to answer your question, no you don't have to be in the top 500 to make a decent living. If you had six books in KDP all in the top 500, that'd make you a millionaire.

Drop the rankings down some. The next book in the series sold 11 books yesterday at $3.99. My royalty on those is about $2.70, or almost $30/day. It's ranked at #10,973. If it held that rank and sales number every day for a year, that'd be $11K per year. With two books, $22K. With six books, $66K. KU borrows are nearly equal sales, so toss in another $40K+/- and I'm easily into six figures income.

A six figure income with six books ranked at about #11K? Yeah, it can be done and many are quietly doing it every day.

Write more. Write better. Market more. Market better. Invest your earnings in your product early on, buying better covers and better editing. But most importantly, WRITE MORE.

On an average day, my six books sell
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Offline beccaprice

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #55 on: March 19, 2015, 04:29:07 AM »
I write fairy tales (talk about a narrow niche!) because that's what my imagination comes up with. I'm currently working on a series within that genre (well, I've got book 1 and book 4 - books 2 and 3 are on the drawing board for this year). I have a fantasy novel/fairy tale for adults that I intend to write next year. I'm a slow writer, so it may take me the full year. At least that one I won't have to worry about getting illustrations for!

so far, I've taken a loss on my writing by a fair bit - but I admit I'm doing things fairly expensively. I have an excellent editor, but she's pricey. I have an excellent and affordable illustrator, but when you are talking 5-6 illustrations per story, and I've got 8 stories in this next collection, it adds up.

Even with a fantastic BookBub ad results and a long tail, the most I've ever made was $500 in a month. but 2014 was only my first full year doing this, and I'm still learning.

so this may turn out to be an expensive hobby for me. Or, suddenly fairy tales could turn hot. (or pigs could learn to fly). or my novel may be my break-through book.

but I'm having fun, and the people who do buy my books seem to like them. I just have a small audience (pun there not intended.)

So you can call me a chump if you want, but I'm (mostly) happy writing what I write in the way I want to write my stories.

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Offline Boyd

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #56 on: March 19, 2015, 05:39:32 AM »
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers? 

Offline thewitt

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #57 on: March 19, 2015, 05:41:40 AM »

Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers?

It annoys the **** out of me and I write Fantasy!

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Offline Patty Jansen

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #58 on: March 19, 2015, 05:41:57 AM »
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers? 

Probably not, but I'm equally annoyed to be told that we write "the wrong stuff" by some anonymous erotica writer with no verifiable name/books. Because there are many writers of other genres who do perfectly fine.

Offline Al Stevens

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #59 on: March 19, 2015, 06:17:06 AM »
You're right, OP. It's for chumps. We're all chumps. I agree you should find another way to burn daylight. That would reduce our competition by one chump. :)

All in good fun, of course.

Parse this: "How do we make that chump change?"

Offline Joe_Nobody

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #60 on: March 19, 2015, 06:19:44 AM »
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P


Offline nonbreaking space

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #61 on: March 19, 2015, 06:21:59 AM »
i made 94k last year without a single book in the top 2000.
there is money in the midlist. you need more quantity to make it.






Offline Drake

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #62 on: March 19, 2015, 06:22:42 AM »
I'm writing because I love doing it, and am thrilled that others want to read the words that I have cobbled together into a story.  The fact that I'm making a living from making stuff up is pretty amazing as well.  It's about creativity, not just money.
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Offline Quiss

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #63 on: March 19, 2015, 06:26:41 AM »
Wow, I wander off for a while and come back to find everyone pushing everyone's cranky-buttons.
Time for some amusing gifs, I think. With kittens.

As for the OP, if you find that KDP is chump change for YOU, start selling elsewhere. Kind of a no-brainer. For many of us, Amazon is only a part of our writing income. At this point, 45% of my revenue comes from other channels.

Regardless of what you write, if your income isn't enough for YOU, you're doing it wrong. Or YOU should be doing something else.
My redhead is currently paying for my bathroom reno. And that ain't chump change :)

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Offline Lehane

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #64 on: March 19, 2015, 06:30:40 AM »
Probably not, but I'm equally annoyed to be told that we write "the wrong stuff" by some anonymous erotica writer with no verifiable name/books. Because there are many writers of other genres who do perfectly fine.
That poster never said anything about erotica/romance in their post here. They said people were writing "the wrong stuff," not the wrong genre, and went on to outline that they believe people aren't selecting their niches to capitalize on a target audience, and maybe not planning as well as they could. I read that to span many genres. Lots of people write in lucrative non-romance/erotica genres (SFF, suspense, YA, action-adventure, etc.) but don't plan as extensively as they could to get their works to thrive in the market.

I agree with anniejacoby's post. There are so many opportunities in genres that sell out there that I get a little confused when people assume they would have to write something they hate in order to make a lot of money. Even beyond switching genres into something you may like just as much (which is something I've done -- PNR isn't too far from UF but is a bit easier to break in with -- and I love it), people have made what they love work for them. It just requires some careful navigation, some planning, and maybe a bit of tweaking your stories to really grip readers. Heck, we have people here making bank on military adventure books, Jane Austen fiction, hard science fiction, and more pretty specific genres that you might not think scream "easy money." These people found something that really got them excited, found a way to market them, and ran with it. That's what I felt like D. Zollicoffer meant by "writing the wrong stuff." The 'wrong stuff' is what you don't plan or target.

Offline katetanner

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #65 on: March 19, 2015, 06:40:42 AM »
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers?

No you are not the only one.

First, Erotica and Romance are two different genres. Second, Romance pays my bills and I love writing it and reading it. The romance genre is very varied. I have read some romance stories about some interesting subjects including homelessness, depression, recovering alcoholics, abuse and life threatening diseases. These books are heartbreaking and have opened my mind.
Third, I'm grateful to Amazon for letting me sell my little stories in their store. You can choose to have all your books just on Amazon or spread them wide. Experiment and see what works for you.

I'm not sure why the OP has started this thread but it's interesting that in this thread What age is Appropriate for New Adult/Sex http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,178510.msg2515692.html?PHPSESSID=UHPpwSJGQCR7-y5VKa9Q-3#msg2515692, the OP seems to be a little confused about what they are writing and what is selling.

I think it would have made more sense to start a new thread and ask some advice that could help you, instead of asking if KDP is chump change for chumps, which I find quite rude. 

I'd like to make more money and I don't mind starting a new thread and asking, How could I sell more? I write jn this genre (insert genre) but I'm a little confused about how to stand out in this genre, I'm confused about what the readers of this genre really want, I don't know how the topsellers do it.



Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #66 on: March 19, 2015, 06:51:32 AM »
Folks,

as this thread is going off topic, let me step in to remind people to be respectful of all genres, as we have authors in all genres here.  As has been shown time and time again, there are no "gimme" genres or we would all be rich.  Also, for our newer members, "troll" is  a four letter word here.  Please don't use it.  Name calling in general is not allowed.

Let's stay on the topic of the original post.  If you don't think the topic worth discussing, lots of other threads.

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Offline C. Gockel

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #67 on: March 19, 2015, 06:53:21 AM »
Quote
I think it would have made more sense to start a new thread and ask some advice that could help you, instead of asking if KDP is chump change for chumps, which I find quite rude. 

Such a thoughtful reply. Wish there was a like button.


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Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #68 on: March 19, 2015, 06:54:31 AM »
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers? 

My opinion about this is similar to how I feel about the OP. If you're diving into writing (or some supposedly hot genre), because you think it's a quick and easy way to make a buck, think again. Not only is it really, really hard to make a living under the best of circumstances, you'll also be competing with people who work hard and love it. It's tough enough for me to put together the stories that really mean something to me and then shift enough copies to stay in the game. Why would I try to venture out and compete on someone else's turf? Not only would I hate it, but people who know what they're doing will surely leave me bloody in the ditch.

I don't just write whatever pops into my head at the moment, but anything I write must be something I would also read for pleasure.

Offline EB

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #69 on: March 19, 2015, 07:32:33 AM »
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P

Absolutely. It is for chumps.
And I'm a chump who quit a nursing career where I made great $$ to go full-time as an author. Even with the student loans, it still makes financial sense.
Lol, what a chump I am.  ;)

Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #70 on: March 19, 2015, 07:54:14 AM »
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P

I smell chum in the water.....  ;D
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Offline SevenDays

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #71 on: March 19, 2015, 07:57:01 AM »
Also, for our newer members, "troll" is  a four letter word here. 

Uhem. Five letters.


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Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #72 on: March 19, 2015, 08:10:09 AM »
Uhem. Five letters.


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Offline Mark at Marble City

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #73 on: March 19, 2015, 08:16:58 AM »
Also a quick mention for those authors with OOP backlists who have been left for chumps by mainstream publishing and are now earning some nice chump change thanks to KDP.


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Offline Moist_Tissue

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #74 on: March 19, 2015, 08:48:03 AM »
I'm trying to wrap my mind around this. So an author who makes "only" a thousand or few thousand dollars a month wouldn't be considered very successful?
The Molly Malones: 100%

Siuil a Run: 100%

To The Valley's Edge: 0%
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