Author Topic: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.  (Read 282023 times)  

Online David VanDyke

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3175 on: April 16, 2017, 07:54:47 PM »
Sounds like a waste of money to me. If the purchased visibility were leading to real buys/reads, the book(s) would be getting reviews. Visibility isn't everything, eh?

Not a waste of money if it's getting clickbot page reads. We really don't know.


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Offline Seneca42

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3176 on: April 16, 2017, 08:17:29 PM »
Sounds like a waste of money to me. If the purchased visibility were leading to real buys/reads, the book(s) would be getting reviews. Visibility isn't everything, eh?

Depends on the money being spent. I have no idea how botting works or how much it costs.

But yes, i agree with you that it's a waste of time. On the other hand, I image there are plenty of authors who reach the end of their rope and figure there's nothing left to lose.

What's really odd is that when you get up in the ranks, you'd think with increased visibility (especially in KU) you'd at least seal your fate one way or another (lots of good or bad reviews). But to be top #400 in all and have zero added reviews over 2-3 months. It's baffling.

Makes you wonder just how much visibility actually plays into things.

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3177 on: April 21, 2017, 05:17:36 AM »
Amazon needs to try something different with the whole visibility thing. They are basically forcing authors to either: put out a book a month minimum to maintain search visibility; or putting out collections to boost their backlist.

With the deluge of books being put out by brand new authors (over 1500 per day?), I read that if your book isn't ranked 200,000 or better, it's dropped out of Amazon searches entirely. I don't know if that's true.

Since most new authors seem to jump into KU, better authors are getting pushed aside. My editor had a KU sub and canceled it a few months ago; the offered books were so bad that the cost wasn't worth the time to search and read.

I've been out of KU for some months now (thankfully), and have seen my sales compensate. My paperback sales jumped from 10 per month to 40+. I don't know if KU is still having problems, but I'm rather glad I dumped the program and went wide. Wide was a bit of a slow start, it has been accelerating every month. Between paperback increases and wide, my former $300+ per month in page reads has just about been replaced.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3178 on: April 21, 2017, 06:05:59 AM »
Amazon needs to try something different with the whole visibility thing. They are basically forcing authors to either: put out a book a month minimum to maintain search visibility; or putting out collections to boost their backlist.
From Amazon's perspective, do they really, though? They're trying to sell books, not help authors. And as you note, there are ways that authors can maintain visibility, to which list you can add advertising. Or getting picked up by an Amazon imprint. There are plenty of authors who always have books in the top 10,000, so I can't imagine Amazon thinks there is a problem.

As a side note - here's an anecdote to counter the idea you have to release a book a month. My last book was released on 2/9, a kindle worlds book in David Wood's kindle world. David has very solid sales and a receptive initial audience, but he's hardly a household name. The kindle world books are not in KU. It's priced at $1.99 (I have no control over this) which is an odd sort of price not likely to drive readers on price like a 99 cent book. After an initial push the first day, the book had no promotion. It stayed between 5000 and 12000 for three weeks or so, then it stayed in the top 25,000 for another five weeks. This is only a single anecdote and I know a lot of folks experience the 30 day cliff. But it does seem quite possible that with 4 books a year plus collections and shorts, an author could do well.

With the deluge of books being put out by brand new authors (over 1500 per day?), I read that if your book isn't ranked 200,000 or better, it's dropped out of Amazon searches entirely. I don't know if that's true.
This is an urban legend. Books come up just fine no matter what their rank. Lower rank does have a correlation with appearing further down the search results pages, but it's not a perfect correlation. There's no magical level where books stop appearing in searches. I have a shorts collection ranked a million and it comes right up. It's not near the top unless I put most of the words in the title in my search, but thst's to be expected.

Since most new authors seem to jump into KU, better authors are getting pushed aside. My editor had a KU sub and canceled it a few months ago; the offered books were so bad that the cost wasn't worth the time to search and read.
Data is not the plural of anecdote. Honestly if there is a single mistake I see repeated in posts many times a day by kboards authors, it's assuming that the way they (or people they know) consume and judge books is the way most people do. KU almost certainly has several million subscribers and there are many, many books by excellent authors in KU. The Amazon Imprint books alone provide many "vetted" authors in many genres. And what do you mean, "better authors" pushed aside? Who decides who's a better author?

I've been out of KU for some months now (thankfully), and have seen my sales compensate. My paperback sales jumped from 10 per month to 40+. I don't know if KU is still having problems, but I'm rather glad I dumped the program and went wide. Wide was a bit of a slow start, it has been accelerating every month. Between paperback increases and wide, my former $300+ per month in page reads has just about been replaced.
I think this is great and it must be a relief to see things picking up. I am wide with all but two books. As authors, we have to make the best decisions we can for our own books and approach. Like many, I don't care for the exclusivity requirement, and I can't give away the first book in my series as a reader magnet if it's in KU. And the even bigger problem is one which you hint at in your first comment - if you're not in KU, it's harder to get visibility because you don't have borrows helping your rank. Those concerns, however, don't mean that KU has bad books or is not doing well.
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Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3179 on: April 21, 2017, 07:04:56 AM »
From Amazon's perspective, do they really, though? They're trying to sell books, not help authors. And as you note, there are ways that authors can maintain visibility, to which list you can add advertising. Or getting picked up by an Amazon imprint. There are plenty of authors who always have books in the top 10,000, so I can't imagine Amazon thinks there is a problem.

I most certainly believe Amazon thinks things are great.


And what do you mean, "better authors" pushed aside? Who decides who's a better author?

Readers decide what they like. As an author and a sometimes editor, when I see many of the "hottest" offerings in KU I often wonder which blind monkey edited it? Blurb errors? Improperly formatted Kindle? Subjectively, I decide if an author is "good" if they take the care to offer their best presentation to the reader. If they can't even be bothered to correct simple errors, they are telling me they don't care about the reader.

However, one cannot argue with a top seller, even if it contains horribly mangled grammar and errors in speech identification.

And the even bigger problem is one which you hint at in your first comment - if you're not in KU, it's harder to get visibility because you don't have borrows helping your rank. Those concerns, however, don't mean that KU has bad books or is not doing well.

I think KU is doing great - for Amazon. And certainly for some authors who do write good books. But there is a flood of new books released every day by new authors - and most pouring into KU. The reader, of course, can decide if it is worth reading something unpolished. In going through the top 100 lists and reading blurbs and peek insides for research, I often find myself cringing. But there it is, they are in the top 100 and not me. I don't complain about my standing, I keep plugging away and my readership grows.

My editor didn't think $9.99 was worth it for the "garbage" she was reading (she used a four-letter word). For her part, I believe she was searching specific genres and not just reading a "bestseller."

As for myself, I'd love to be back in KU - not because of missed sales or income, but just being able to offer some or all of my books in something popular. However, as you said, the exclusivity bothers me and so do the problems I have read about botters inflating legitimate books, reporting them, and getting accounts banned. Those kind of things make me extremely shy of getting back in.

Hopefully those things get addressed.

Offline edwardgtalbot

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Re: Amazon is intermittently admitting to errors in it's KU page reporting.
« Reply #3180 on: April 21, 2017, 07:51:55 AM »
As for myself, I'd love to be back in KU - not because of missed sales or income, but just being able to offer some or all of my books in something popular. However, as you said, the exclusivity bothers me and so do the problems I have read about botters inflating legitimate books, reporting them, and getting accounts banned. Those kind of things make me extremely shy of getting back in.

I do hope they fix these things, and it seems like it's something they could do which wouldn't be counter to their other goals. My opinion is that KU would not be successful without Amazon Imprints. The existence of those imprint books is why they were able to ignore the page read problem and why they have been able to ignore decent selling authors leaving in some genres. The one thing we can be sure of is that the details of KU will continue to change. All we can do is monitor them and keep evaluating what makes sense for us.
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