Author Topic: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?  (Read 38560 times)  

Offline Ava Glass

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #200 on: March 20, 2015, 04:19:23 PM »
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool.

...

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.



Here's the thing: a writer who researches market expectations, produces a competently-written story in a subgenre like motorcycle club erom or pseudo-incest erotica, packages it well, and keywords it correctly has a good chance of making money. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but the probability is favorable.

This of course doesn't mean "everyone must write what's popular."
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 04:23:15 PM by Ava Glass »

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #201 on: March 20, 2015, 04:23:13 PM »
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.

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.


In answer to your question, both.

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Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #202 on: March 20, 2015, 04:47:42 PM »
My post never told anyone to "sell out" or "sell their souls". It didn't even imply that they write erotica.

It was more of a "don't ignore people's advice because it's not your genre of choice" type of post.

I learn from everyone - and take what works for me. That's what I was trying to say. I think a few people got that and a few others didn't.

It's the knee-jerk "ick you're an erotica writer" response that drives me absolutely looney. It's like saying "egad you write Sci-Fi well that's an easy genre anyone can make money in.."

Which of course is absolutely ludicrous thing to say.  All the genre's can be tough. You do have to have some talent if you're going to please an audience. No matter what is it that's being written.

Trust me. I've had more failure than success with both erotica and romance. It's not easy money by any stretch of the imagination. But I enjoy the process.

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #203 on: March 20, 2015, 05:07:33 PM »
People are allowed their preferences, and no one should tell a writer they MUST write in x subgenre.

However, writing to a market instead of following a muse or preference is a business decision. It isn't "selling out," "stooping," or "selling one's soul." You really don't see the insult in those phrases? It's insulting to not only the genres, but also to writers who decide to write to market.

How hard is it to say "I don't want to write a genre I don't like" or "I'm writing a genre that's not my favorite, but makes me money"?



Here's the thing -- the post in question was a reaction to an insult.  To a constant barrage of insult, actually.

Just now I can't find it, but one of the posts near this post I'm responding to did it again: they framed the discussion as a false dilemma: You can be business-like, OR you can follow your muse.

That's a very insulting sentiment -- not just insulting, but it's a sentiment that closes the door and excludes people from the business end of the discussion.

So yes, people get rightly snarky about that sort of statement.  It has no place in this kind of discussion.  "This practice is more likely to make you money, and that one is less likely to make money" -- both perfectly reasonable statements. "... and if you don't want to do that, you're a hobbyist" is NOT acceptable.

Although, I have to admit, I don't actually mind when people say things like that. What I mind is that they suddenly get all sensitive when anybody pushes back -- and that hijacks the discussion.

Camille

Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #204 on: March 20, 2015, 05:27:31 PM »
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"?


Why can't people who are happy writing what they want also be interested in the business of making the best living they can from what they want to write?

THAT is where the insult is.

Why can't people just say: "Gee, I don't know about your genre, but with mine, I do X, Y and Z."

And if someone says "X doesn't work for me" (for whatever reason), why not discuss how and why X works in some situations and not in others, and see what options there are, rather than just dismiss it as a character flaw of the other person?

You'll notice that there are a number of people who already do this. As a matter of fact, MOST of the highly successful people here already do this (with a few exceptions). It tends to be either followers or anonymous types who actually are doing the stirring up.  However, it leaves frayed nerves behind it, so that others get roped in.

Camille

Offline Ava Glass

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #205 on: March 20, 2015, 05:59:45 PM »
Why can't people who are happy writing what they want also be interested in the business of making the best living they can from what they want to write?

THAT is where the insult is.

There are writers who want to make the best of the subgenres they choose. There are writers who want or need to make money period. I agree that advice aimed at the second group shouldn't be worded in a blanket manner.


Offline Vaalingrade

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #206 on: March 20, 2015, 06:04:19 PM »
I have a question. Does this happen when people say "I'm writing what I want to write, and I'm sooo happy,"

Yes. Yes it does. As in, 'the entire thread was started to talk about how someone enjoyed writing what they loved and they got blindsided and derailed over their apparent lack of business acumen'. Or people get discounted out of hand as being 'hobbyists' because their business plan is 'make money' rather than 'make the maximum amount of money in the short term'.

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Offline Flay Otters

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #207 on: March 20, 2015, 06:18:40 PM »
Bottom line: people just like to call other people stupid.
It's human nature.
In the past, one needed to be in possession of a set (or drunk) in order to call another person stupid to his or her face.
These days, on teh internets, no personal bravery or responsibility (or liquor) required.

Offline KBoards Admin

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #208 on: March 20, 2015, 06:40:24 PM »
All -- we have received numerous reports on this thread, related to (a) posts advising authors to write erotica if they want to make money; and (b) posts dismissing that advice.

Pruning those posts as they're derailing the topic of the OP.
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Offline daringnovelist

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #209 on: March 20, 2015, 06:44:12 PM »
All -- we have received numerous reports on this thread, related to (a) posts advising authors to write erotica if they want to make money; and (b) posts dismissing that advice.

Pruning those posts as they're derailing the topic of the OP.

Although I'm glad you keep an eye on these -- I do have to say that I felt like this particular thread actually has started getting somewhere in terms of bringing the two sides to a better understanding.

Camille

Offline KBoards Admin

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #210 on: March 20, 2015, 06:53:09 PM »
I hope you're right! As I started pruning, I noted Betsy's earlier note in the thread, which I had missed before. Here's hoping the discussion can continue with it turning back into a genre dispute.
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Offline Boyd

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #211 on: March 20, 2015, 07:02:32 PM »
Thanks Harvey.

Offline Gentleman Zombie

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #212 on: March 20, 2015, 07:20:20 PM »
I've been at this a while.. and no I'm not a success. At the most I earned 1k in one month from my writing.  Which for a lot of people is "chump change"

But for me it was amazing. I was writing in a very narrow niche (transgender) and had a very tiny audience.  Next, I took a break and didn't put out much. So my old pen name stalled out.

I'm starting over from scratch (in Paranormal) and there's a few things I've noticed from people who've done well with KDP

- They publish fast and often
- The books are usually in a series
- They develop a relationship with their audience

Here's what I mean

- Publish Fast and Often
You'll usually see at least one publication every month or two from those top selling indies. If they are writing short - you can bet they are publishing more than that.  Writers who aren't as prolific seem to have a tougher time IMHO.

- Publishing in Series
Serials still seem to be pretty hot and have been pretty hot for quite some time. Readers appear to get hooked on favorite characters and want more. Again this is from my casual observation of top selling indies.

- Relationship with Audience
I've noticed that a lot of authors spend time sending out ARCS, participating in raffles, and generally engaging with their audience. This seems to build loyalty which turns into reviews and buys on their books.

Again.. these are my observations. They aren't a list of shoulds and should nots. Your mileage may vary. But from what I see these are things many successful writers seem to have in common. I've taken note of this and am figuring out how to incorporate into my work.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 07:22:27 PM by Vicky Foxx »

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #213 on: March 20, 2015, 07:29:06 PM »
I just want to point out re the above--I don't, and I know other successful authors who don't--

1) Publish fast and often. I publish, at most, a 100K book every 3 months. I know others who do very well at that pace too.

2) Publish in series. I write series, but loosely defined. Stand-alones within series. Lots of successful indies do this also. it doesn't have to be the same characters. It doesn't have to be serials, or have cliffhangers.

3) Relationship wtih audience--I just started with ARCs a few months ago. I didn't have a mailing list for two years. I never do raffles or anything. I do have a FB page, and my readers are active there. I do answer every reader who writes to me.

But I'll say again--you don't have to write the "hot" subgenres. You don't have to publish every month or two. You don't have to write series with cliffhangers, or serials.

You DO have to write books people enjoy reading, and to present them in an engaging way (cover & blurb). You have to have some hook that makes people want to pick the book up. You have to hook them in the first chapter, keep them hooked through the book, and have them enjoy it enough that they want to read the next one--AND tell somebody else to read it. Those are the things that keep books "sticky," that keep you selling well even if you aren't putting out a book every month. And, yes, I think one reason my books have been "sticky" is that I take my time with them, that I write and rewrite and edit some more, that I really let my characters come. I'm not saying speed makes quality impossible. Just that it would for ME. The speed at which *I* can write a quality novel that people will read and reread and recommend is--one book every three months.

And when I say "people," I don't mean everybody, because you won't get everybody. But you don't need everybody. You just need some readers to be hooked, to enjoy your work enough to talk about it, to get their friends reading it as opposed to whatever-else-is-in-your-genre.

I only point this stuff out because, when I started, before I self-published, I got so discouraged reading threads like these. I thought, oh, man, I'm doing this all wrong, it'll never work. And then--it worked. And since then, I've met a bunch of other people it's worked for.

Maybe you do have to do all of the above to make a million dollars a year. But I made almost a half a million last year. That's not too bad! And I got to do it in the way I enjoyed, writing what I like. I'm still learning all the time. I'm not great at either writing or marketing, but I'm getting better. This business is great because there's so much room for growth, and everything you learn and get better at benefits YOU, not some boss or corporation.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 07:40:51 PM by Rosalind James »

Offline Crystal_

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #214 on: March 20, 2015, 07:47:17 PM »
I just want to point out re the above--I don't, and I know other successful authors who don't--

1) Publish fast and often. I publish, at most, a 100K book every 3 months. I know others who do very well at that pace too.

2) Publish in series. I write series, but loosely defined. Stand-alones within series. Lots of successful indies do this also. it doesn't have to be the same characters. It doesn't have to be serials, or have cliffhangers.

3) Relationship wtih audience--I just started with ARCs a few months ago. I didn't have a mailing list for two years. I never do raffles or anything. I do have a FB page, and my readers are active there. I do answer every reader who writes to me.

But I'll say again--you don't have to write the "hot" subgenres. You don't have to publish every month or two. You don't have to write series with cliffhangers, or serials.

You DO have to write books people enjoy reading, and to present them in an engaging way (cover & blurb). You have to have some hook that makes people want to pick the book up. You have to hook them in the first chapter, keep them hooked through the book, and have them enjoy it enough that they want to read the next one--AND tell somebody else to read it. Those are the things that keep books "sticky," that keep you selling well even if you aren't putting out a book every month. And, yes, I think one reason my books have been "sticky" is that I take my time with them, that I write and rewrite and edit some more, that I really let my characters come. I'm not saying speed makes quality impossible. Just that it would for ME. The speed at which *I* can write a quality novel that people will read and reread and recommend is--one book every three months.

And when I say "people," I don't mean everybody, because you won't get everybody. But you don't need everybody. You just need some readers to be hooked, to enjoy your work enough to talk about it, to get their friends reading it as opposed to whatever-else-is-in-your-genre.

I only point this stuff out because, when I started, before I self-published, I got so discouraged reading threads like these. I thought, oh, man, I'm doing this all wrong, it'll never work. And then--it worked. And since then, I've met a bunch of other people it's worked for.

Maybe you do have to do all of the above to make a million dollars a year. But I made almost a half a million last year. That's not too bad! And I got to do it in the way I enjoyed, writing what I like. I'm still learning all the time. I'm not great at either writing or marketing, but I'm getting better. This business is great because there's so much room for growth, and everything you learn and get better at benefits YOU, not some boss or corporation.

It's really bizarre to me that a 100k book every three months is considered slow.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #215 on: March 20, 2015, 07:55:41 PM »
It's really bizarre to me that a 100k book every three months is considered slow.
I know, right? But it is.

Offline Ava Glass

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #216 on: March 20, 2015, 08:04:41 PM »
But I'll say again--you don't have to write the "hot" subgenres.

I would consider contemporary romance a hot subgenre. It's certainly much hotter than steampunk romance.

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #217 on: March 20, 2015, 08:08:13 PM »
I would consider contemporary romance a hot subgenre. It's certainly much hotter than steampunk romance.
It's also the most competitive genre there is. More books in Contemp Rom than in anything else.
(I also write Rom Suspense, just for clarification. That would, oddly, never be considered "hot," and yet it quietly sells quite a lot, and there's infinitely less competition in it. Probably because it's harder to write a compelling suspense plot and a compelling romance plot, and weave them together. At least for me.)

I consider hot subgenres right now to be any kind of erotic romance, paranormal romance serials, billionaire BDSM romance. Those kinds of things. If you see "billionaire" in 40 out of the top 100 titles in CR (which is about the case, I swear)--THAT'S hot.
So why don't I write billionaires? Because they're not realistic! Aaaarrrrghhhh. Can't...fight...the...feeling.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 08:11:16 PM by Rosalind James »

Offline anniejocoby

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #218 on: March 20, 2015, 08:10:58 PM »
It's also the most competitive genre there is. More books in Contemp Rom than in anything else.
I consider hot subgenres to be erotic romance, paranormal romance serials, billionaire BDSM romance. Those kinds of things. If you see "billionaire" in 40 out of the top 100 titles in CR (which is about the case, I swear)--THAT'S hot.
So why don't I write billionaires? Because they're not realistic! Aaaarrrrghhhh. Can't...fight...the...feeling.

You counterprogram. That works, too. You pick up the people who wouldn't touch the billionaires with a ten-foot pole.

And, btw, the HOT subgenre is stepbrothers. Ugh. Even I don't want to touch that one.

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Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #219 on: March 20, 2015, 08:11:48 PM »
You counterprogram. That works, too. You pick up the people who wouldn't touch the billionaires with a ten-foot pole.

And, btw, the HOT subgenre is stepbrothers. Ugh. Even I don't want to touch that one.
LOL, so true! A stepbrother who is a billionaire. Whom you meet in a BDSM club. Or...TWO stepbrothers. I smell menage.

Offline Joe Vasicek

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #220 on: March 20, 2015, 08:13:34 PM »
It's also the most competitive genre there is. More books in Contemp Rom than in anything else.
(I also write Rom Suspense, just for clarification. That would, oddly, never be considered "hot," and yet it quietly sells quite a lot, and there's infinitely less competition in it. Probably because it's harder to write a compelling suspense plot and a compelling romance plot, and weave them together. At least for me.)

I consider hot subgenres right now to be any kind of erotic romance, paranormal romance serials, billionaire BDSM romance. Those kinds of things. If you see "billionaire" in 40 out of the top 100 titles in CR (which is about the case, I swear)--THAT'S hot.
So why don't I write billionaires? Because they're not realistic! Aaaarrrrghhhh. Can't...fight...the...feeling.

Sure, but didn't Jane Austen essentially write billionaire regency romance?

<ducks for cover!>

Offline Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #221 on: March 20, 2015, 08:16:34 PM »
Sure, but didn't Jane Austen essentially write billionaire regency romance?

<ducks for cover!>
Absolutely! I was just thinking that the other day!
(But not BDSM, I hasten to point out. Also, Elizabeth Bennet was anything but a Mary Sue.)

Offline Crystal_

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #222 on: March 20, 2015, 08:21:24 PM »
You counterprogram. That works, too. You pick up the people who wouldn't touch the billionaires with a ten-foot pole.

And, btw, the HOT subgenre is stepbrothers. Ugh. Even I don't want to touch that one.

Stepbrothers seem like they came out of nowhere! Never heard of that subplot before and then it was everywhere. I guess I see the forbidden romance angle, but otherwise... ew.

I think certain things, especially in romance, are classic. Teacher/student, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, rich guys, and many more. If I understood this I would sell better :) These things will come in and out of style but there will always be some audience.

Offline Ava Glass

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #223 on: March 20, 2015, 08:25:08 PM »
(I also write Rom Suspense, just for clarification. That would, oddly, never be considered "hot," and yet it quietly sells quite a lot, and there's infinitely less competition in it.

I would consider romantic suspense hot too, especially the ones that feature Navy SEALs.

See, I compare those subgenres to the ones I feature on site in my sig. Steampunk romance, certain kinds of sci-fi romance...they're harder to sell. 
« Last Edit: March 20, 2015, 08:49:55 PM by Ava Glass »

Offline cinisajoy

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Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
« Reply #224 on: March 20, 2015, 08:26:31 PM »
LOL, so true! A stepbrother who is a billionaire. Whom you meet in a BDSM club. Or...TWO stepbrothers. I smell menage.
Even I am saying no.
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