Author Topic: KENPC 0.0042229 for June  (Read 10988 times)  

Offline juliatheswede

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #125 on: July 17, 2017, 02:00:23 PM »
Julia, both Streetlib and Pronoun offer access to Google Play. Pronoun doesn't take a cut of your sales, either.
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Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #126 on: July 17, 2017, 02:01:50 PM »
There's a difference right now, though, Wayne. Bonus books are severely dragging down the payouts. If you don't shop in the affected genres lately, you probably aren't seeing how bad the problem has gotten. Amazon isn't fixing it yet, although there have been whispers they're slowly going through libraries. There's been no massive stop yet, though, which means we're not going to see a bounce back. With scammers and bonus books increasing, the pot will continue to drop. Amazon has shown they're not willing to add in more than they want to keep it at a reasonable number so until the bonus books and scammers are slapped back for a bit (they always come back for more) there won't be any recovery.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #127 on: July 17, 2017, 02:34:03 PM »
There's a difference right now, though, Wayne. Bonus books are severely dragging down the payouts. If you don't shop in the affected genres lately, you probably aren't seeing how bad the problem has gotten. Amazon isn't fixing it yet, although there have been whispers they're slowly going through libraries. There's been no massive stop yet, though, which means we're not going to see a bounce back. With scammers and bonus books increasing, the pot will continue to drop. Amazon has shown they're not willing to add in more than they want to keep it at a reasonable number so until the bonus books and scammers are slapped back for a bit (they always come back for more) there won't be any recovery.
I fear Amazon won't fix the system unless subscribers start complaining about lack of good content, particularly if they accompany that complaint with a cancellation. The other possibility is a major public scandal erupting. Amazon didn't move very vigorously on fake reviews, either, until articles in national publications announced just how broken the review system was.

We do have two things in our favor, but they're long-term things that won't save us right away. First, as scammers become more and more dominant in the KU selections, readers will become dissatisfied. For whatever reason, Amazon seems to want to keep KU. Maybe KU readers buy enough other stuff when they're onsite to make it worthwhile. It's also the only really strong benefit of being in Select anymore, and Amazon seems to want to retain Select, though I can't imagine why. Enough subscribers upset would cause Amazon to do something.

Second, Amazon makes creating a good customer experience one of the key parts of its overall strategy. It is averse to bad publicity, especially bad publicity with regard to the customer experience. Sooner or later, news outlets will pick up the KU story and run with it. When that happens, Amazon will act fairly quickly.

Either or both of these scenarios would probably lead to significant effort to rein in the scammers. Whether either happens soon enough to do us any good in the short-term is the question.


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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #128 on: July 17, 2017, 02:36:24 PM »
And when they act quickly to the negative press, it will be indiscriminate and then we will all be angry when no sales spikes register anything on the sales rankings at all.


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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #129 on: July 17, 2017, 02:48:37 PM »
And when they act quickly to the negative press, it will be indiscriminate and then we will all be angry when no sales spikes register anything on the sales rankings at all.
Sometimes Amazon does severely overreact, but in this case that might almost be better than no reaction. The best case would naturally be a more nuanced response.


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Online Jim Johnson

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #130 on: July 17, 2017, 03:15:10 PM »
I fear Amazon won't fix the system unless subscribers start complaining about lack of good content, particularly if they accompany that complaint with a cancellation.

Good point. If this is a problem in specific genres, it's possible KU readers of other genres may not even see a problem. I know in the genres I like to read through KU, I still have a ton of books to get to, and I haven't noticed one that's been artificially stuffed. Maybe I'm selective on the authors I read, or maybe they're just not the scammy types.

Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #131 on: July 17, 2017, 03:51:41 PM »
And when they act quickly to the negative press, it will be indiscriminate and then we will all be angry when no sales spikes register anything on the sales rankings at all.
It's not sales spikes, though. It's strictly borrows spikes (and freebies, ironically) and they only act if there's no digital footprint.

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Offline Atlantisatheart

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #132 on: July 17, 2017, 04:37:52 PM »
How hard is it to hire a team of low-level workers to go through the 'top' earner's books in KU every month to check to see what the content is inside these books? They wouldn't need that many people because they wouldn't need to check everything. They don't have to read them. They can use page-flip and stop at different points in the text. Delete the accounts-take back the pages.

They have a way to determine rank and so they know when a book comes from obscurity to the top of the pile - open - check. Rinse and repeat. It's not rocket science.

It's unfathomable to me that Amazon allows itself to be scammed. If it were my business, as a matter of pride, I would want to stomp on them from a great height. For a company that claims to be all about the customer experience, they are doing a p*ss-poor job of it.

Offline Wayne Stinnett

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #133 on: July 17, 2017, 05:43:16 PM »
How hard is it to hire a team of low-level workers to go through the 'top' earner's books in KU every month to check to see what the content is inside these books? They wouldn't need that many people because they wouldn't need to check everything. They don't have to read them. They can use page-flip and stop at different points in the text. Delete the accounts-take back the pages.

They have a way to determine rank and so they know when a book comes from obscurity to the top of the pile - open - check. Rinse and repeat. It's not rocket science.

It's unfathomable to me that Amazon allows itself to be scammed. If it were my business, as a matter of pride, I would want to stomp on them from a great height. For a company that claims to be all about the customer experience, they are doing a p*ss-poor job of it.

It would take surprisingly few. A trigger could be set up so that the computer would bump any book to a human for verification if it had a larger than average file size. Books over 3000 kb file size are probably a small portion of the total.

If my only job was to examine large file size books for stuffing, I think I could do it very judiciously to the tune of at least one an hour, probably several. And it's a job that can be done from anywhere with an internet connection. Eventually, the need would dwindle as the scammers moved on to something else and the verifiers received only an occasional longer book at random to confirm.
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Online MelanieCellier

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #134 on: July 17, 2017, 06:33:43 PM »
In the first 20 months of KU2, nine months had a higher payout than its previous month. I can pretty much guarantee that when the July payout is announced, it will be higher.

I really hope you're right! I'm cautious now, though, because that's the same logic that made me feel sure June would be an upswing.

With the exception of the very beginning of KU2 (when it dropped three times in a row from its initial high), it hasn't gone for more than two drops in a row before swinging back up. June 2017 was the fourth drop in a row. So, in that sense, we're in uncharted territory. (And this is in June, not January, when you'd expect total page reads to be down a little and the payout therefore up.)

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Online LilyBLily

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #135 on: July 17, 2017, 07:09:41 PM »
Here's a question for our statistics-obsessed authors. Do we know what percentage of the monthly Amazon KU pot goes to scammers?

Offline Homer

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #136 on: July 19, 2017, 07:25:03 AM »
I am not a fan of Mathias as a person (on the KDP/DTP forums long ago) or as a writer, but I don't think he's scamming anything. He had success before KU ever came along. He launched with long books at prices just a smidgen below what major publishers would price similarly themed works of the same length. Now, he does have a preview and a novella in there (at the back) -- but the last Jack Reacher book I read did, too. If it's ok for a book out of KU to have those reader bonuses and future work advertising, it doesn't become an illegitimate tactic because it's in KU.

5 days on and his new release is still in the top 700. No new reviews in that time - still just 2, despite nearly two weeks in the top 1000, most of that time in the top 100. On Goodreads ratings went from 3 ratings to 7. That's  two weeks of hundreds of sales / borrows a day. Still think there's no scamming here?

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #137 on: July 19, 2017, 07:41:30 AM »
5 days on and his new release is still in the top 700. No new reviews in that time - still just 2, despite nearly two weeks in the top 1000, most of that time in the top 100. On Goodreads ratings went from 3 ratings to 7. That's  two weeks of hundreds of sales / borrows a day. Still think there's no scamming here?

Condemning authors based on the number of reviews isn't valid. Believe me, I've had a book ranked at #12 in the US store and it stayed highly ranked for weeks (Top 2,000). Throughout this period I think I had about 5 or so reviews. Some of us don't do anything to attract reviews so they turn up slowly. Even now I don't have many on books where I've sold thousands of copies.

This issue is getting so bad I was attacked on FB for stating one of my books made it to the USA Today list. What was the basis of accusing me of lying? Apparently I didn't have enough reviews, as if there is some magical number of reviews that proves I'm telling the truth. I didn't do anything clever to make that list - I was lucky enough to score BookBub at the right time of year.

Authors attacking other authors has always been part of the business, but now we have people self righteously bullying anyone they think doesn't comply to their narrow assessment of what a best seller looks like.

Offline Anarchist

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #138 on: July 19, 2017, 07:48:48 AM »
5 days on and his new release is still in the top 700. No new reviews in that time - still just 2, despite nearly two weeks in the top 1000, most of that time in the top 100. On Goodreads ratings went from 3 ratings to 7. That's  two weeks of hundreds of sales / borrows a day. Still think there's no scamming here?

Can you say without a doubt that I'm not responsible for his book's rise?
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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #139 on: July 19, 2017, 07:51:14 AM »
Can you say without a doubt that I'm not responsible for his book's rise?

Have you been sacrificing bats at dawn again? You know virgins work so much faster.   ;)

Offline Mercia McMahon

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #140 on: July 19, 2017, 07:53:48 AM »
Authors attacking other authors has always been part of the business, but now we have people self righteously bullying anyone they think doesn't comply to their narrow assessment of what a best seller looks like.

There's the kaboom. Well said. I've been deeply uncomfortable at the easy assumptions made in this thread and challenging over-easy assumptions is my stock in trade as a nonfiction author. Argument from Also Buys made early in the thread are also spurious as can be seen from David Gaughran's article Please Don't Buy My Book.

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Offline Anarchist

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #141 on: July 19, 2017, 07:55:42 AM »
Have you been sacrificing bats at dawn again? You know virgins work so much faster.   ;)

As a dude, I'm not a fan of sacrificing virgins.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #142 on: July 19, 2017, 07:58:25 AM »
As a dude, I'm not a fan of sacrificing virgins.


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You do know virgins come in both genders, right?

Offline Homer

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #143 on: July 19, 2017, 08:01:45 AM »
There's the kaboom. Well said. I've been deeply uncomfortable at the easy assumptions made in this thread and challenging over-easy assumptions is my stock in trade as a nonfiction author. Argument from Also Buys made early in the thread are also spurious as can be seen from David Gaughran's article Please Don't Buy My Book.

So once a month, like clockwork, a click-farm chooses one of his books - usually from 2010-2011 - to bot into the top 100 on Amazon. Poor fellow. What did he do to deserve this unfair treatment?

I'll link to this thread the next time it happens - it's a pattern I've been keeping track of for many months.

Offline Cassie Leigh

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #144 on: July 19, 2017, 08:03:06 AM »
Condemning authors based on the number of reviews isn't valid. Believe me, I've had a book ranked at #12 in the US store and it stayed highly ranked for weeks (Top 2,000). Throughout this period I think I had about 5 or so reviews. Some of us don't do anything to attract reviews so they turn up slowly. Even now I don't have many on books where I've sold thousands of copies.

+1.  I publish across a wide range of genres and in fiction and non-fiction and don't try to get reviews, just let them come organically, and even within my own books I see a wide, wide range of reviews per 100 sales.
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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #145 on: July 19, 2017, 08:08:41 AM »
There's the kaboom. Well said. I've been deeply uncomfortable at the easy assumptions made in this thread and challenging over-easy assumptions is my stock in trade as a nonfiction author. Argument from Also Buys made early in the thread are also spurious as can be seen from David Gaughran's article Please Don't Buy My Book.

There are too many assumptions being made and someone telling me they're "in the know", but it's a secret how they know, doesn't work for me.

Singling out authors for attack won't get rid of scamming, so as a tactic it won't solve the problem. The only thing that has worked for me is to leave KU. Thanks to the skewed ranking logic where a borrow equals a buy I have no visibility. Without a decent ranking I don't turn up on any of the genre lists much less a best seller one.

For all the trouble it causes me to be out of KU I'd still rather stay out of it.  The solution to scammers is simple - don't be in KU


Offline Anarchist

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #146 on: July 19, 2017, 08:28:36 AM »
You do know virgins come in both genders, right?

Intuitively, yes. But sacrificing male virgins is pretty rare these days. ;)
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Offline Amanda M. Lee

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #147 on: July 19, 2017, 08:46:54 AM »
Forget about the who and focus on the what. If there was a legitimate advertising option out there that could catapult you to number one in the store in a few hours, don't you think everyone would know about it? Don't you think they would be advertising their list? More importantly, don't you think there would be a list for consumers to sign up for? That's the mark of "real" vs. "fake." With BookBub and ENT and Robin Reads you can sign up for a list. That's a sign of legitimate advertising.
In one of these cases a book was catapulted to the top three and it dropped to the thirties within a few hours. The next day it jumped back to the top five and dropped as fast again. This pattern was copied for another two days. Then, yesterday, another title by this author jumped from six figures to 18 in the store and is dropping like a stone again. Given the numbers we know it takes to get into the top ranks, we're talking about 24,000+ "sales" on just the one title. Can you honestly say that you can pull in that number of sales and not get at least one review? Not one? Really?
Plus, if there was anything organic going on the books would've stayed in the top 100 on their own at least for a few days. Instead, as soon as whatever "push" used was completed, the books dropped without any organic sales to bolster the rankings. That's not normal book behavior. It's not normal to drop from five in the store to 300 in less than 24 hours.

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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #148 on: July 19, 2017, 09:05:39 AM »
Forget about the who and focus on the what. If there was a legitimate advertising option out there that could catapult you to number one in the store in a few hours, don't you think everyone would know about it? Don't you think they would be advertising their list? More importantly, don't you think there would be a list for consumers to sign up for? That's the mark of "real" vs. "fake." With BookBub and ENT and Robin Reads you can sign up for a list. That's a sign of legitimate advertising.
In one of these cases a book was catapulted to the top three and it dropped to the thirties within a few hours. The next day it jumped back to the top five and dropped as fast again. This pattern was copied for another two days. Then, yesterday, another title by this author jumped from six figures to 18 in the store and is dropping like a stone again. Given the numbers we know it takes to get into the top ranks, we're talking about 24,000+ "sales" on just the one title. Can you honestly say that you can pull in that number of sales and not get at least one review? Not one? Really?
Plus, if there was anything organic going on the books would've stayed in the top 100 on their own at least for a few days. Instead, as soon as whatever "push" used was completed, the books dropped without any organic sales to bolster the rankings. That's not normal book behavior. It's not normal to drop from five in the store to 300 in less than 24 hours.

I've sold 7,000 books in 24 hours and not got a review for over a week, so that's possible. Reader behaviors vary by author, genre, etc.

We know there are KU subscriber networks out there and more than just a few. Is it possible a "promoter" has clusters of KU subscribers willing to download books based on their "ads"? Sure, why not?

Is that against the Amazon TOS? It depends on how you look at it. From the KU subscriber, viewpoint they've done nothing wrong. From the author's viewpoint, they've paid for a promotion and are getting downloads (maybe not an equal number of page reads). From Amazon's viewpoint, how do they know it's a "scam".

Amazon would have to decide a violation is happening to take action. If authors have been highlighting these books to Amazon and little to nothing has happened then I question whether they see it as a problem. It is from a KU authors viewpoint, but just how does that really affect Amazon? They throw a budget into a pot, it gets allocated, end of story.

Offline TwistedTales

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Re: KENPC 0.0042229 for June
« Reply #149 on: July 19, 2017, 09:06:23 AM »
Intuitively, yes. But sacrificing male virgins is pretty rare these days. ;)

Just for that I'm going to sacrifice a 72 year old virgin in my next book. I think I'll call him Chump.