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Author Topic: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.  (Read 7680 times)  

Offline loraininflorida

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #50 on: October 12, 2017, 05:56:55 PM »
Just remember, anyone not happy with something that happened to them regarding KU, the official way to complain is by mailing a complaint to Amazon's official agent:

"To begin an arbitration proceeding, you must send a letter requesting arbitration and describing your claim to our registered agent Corporation Service Company, 300 Deschutes Way SW, Suite 304, Tumwater, WA 98051, USA. The arbitration will be conducted by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) under its rules, including the AAAs Supplementary Procedures for Consumer-Related Disputes. The AAAs rules are available at www.adr.org or by calling 1-800-778-7879 (in the United States). Payment of all filing, administration and arbitrator fees will be governed by the AAAs rules. We will reimburse those fees for claims totaling less than $10,000 unless the arbitrator determines the claims are frivolous."

(This is from the KU contract, Section 10.1, Disputes.)

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #51 on: October 12, 2017, 06:14:19 PM »
Right now, Zon is all kinds of messed up.

I have most of my catalog in KU (though I'm falling off the fence I've been straddling about getting out). Recently, I decided to burn the free days on a book because I hadn't promo'd it in a very long while. Given all the shenanigans, I decided not to advertise it at all. Not even my NL. Just burn the days.

It got the normal uptick in downloads I'd expect. Nothing at all outrageous. Three days in, got de-ranked. The rank came back, but the initial algo demanding a check clearly clocked in. Whatever they do for the second stage of that must have been fine because the rank came back with only a moderate loss down to about 1000 in rank.

A week later...just a few days ago...I had a 0.99 Bookbub on a wide book. Sold gobs all over the place. No de-rank. No glitches.

Right now the only safe thing to do is to have paid books that are not in KU. Period.

Offline alawston

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2017, 02:56:02 AM »
I thought the first line of punishment for quality issues was an email, and then theyd put a banner on the book page stating the book had quality issues, but I havent seen one of those in more than a year.

Im surprised youre so relaxed about them taking back page reads, which sort of suggest they think they were inappropriately gained. Its not a huge dollar value, but to do that without an explanation seems unreasonable. Yeah, I know, thats Amazons MO.  ::)

I'm kind of surprised not to see a quality banner on there either, but then as far as I can see there's nothing wrong with it anyway, so I think it's all just one big glitch in the matrix to be honest...

As for the page reads, well, one picks one's battles. Back in August I put out a fairly outrageous erotica short with a horrendous DIY cover for a laugh, as the result of some late night drunk chatter with some writer friends. It picked up about $7 worth of sales at $0.99, which reflected the time and effort put in just fine, and then I set it free for a weekend, to see if I could pick up some also-boughts and string things out a bit, pretty much on a whim. That was literally all I did. It was a joke project, so I wasn't going to spend any money promoting it, and I couldn't mention it on social media without outing myself as the "author".

So when the "book" suddenly started getting at least 12 borrows and complete readthroughs a day in the UK, every day for a month, I was always torn as to whether I'd somehow cracked the system, or whether something odd was going on. I know from past experiments that erotica is one of the few places where you can just strike gold suddenly and at random, and it had a review, and great comments on Goodreads, and the best erotica title that has ever been devised even if I do say so myself (it's killing me being unable to share it and take full credit for my sick punning genius, trust me), so it didn't seem beyond the realms of possibility. At the same time, I counted up all those page reads (it had a KENPC of just 40) and realised I'd shifted well over 300 borrows in a month, which just didn't seem plausible for the UK market. So when Zon nixed almost all of those reads, I can't say I was utterly shocked, and I'm taking it on the chin.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2017, 03:48:39 AM »
@alawston

Now Im horribly curious about that book.  :o

But youre a lot more forgiving than Id be. How is it your fault if 300 people are kinky, or theres a bot out there with a fetish? Its Amazons fault for not managing fraud detection on their site.

Offline alawston

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2017, 04:38:08 AM »
@alawston

Now Im horribly curious about that book.  :o

But youre a lot more forgiving than Id be. How is it your fault if 300 people are kinky, or theres a bot out there with a fetish? Its Amazons fault for not managing fraud detection on their site.

It was quite a departure from translating French pulp fiction, that's for sure...

I probably should be angrier, but from straight sales and the reads that have been left, the "book" has recouped the effort of producing it, such as it was. I was a bit suspicious of the numbers of reads I was getting anyway, so... I'm just glad the book's not been rank-stripped, or otherwise penalised. I think if it had happened on any of my "proper" titles, I'd be livid. But the whole thing was written for a laugh, and published for a dare, with a cover that belongs on a bad covers tumblr feed (Maybe it's even on one, maybe that's where the traffic came from). I just can't get too upset about anything that happens to it, except to underline my current wish to steer well clear of KU.


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Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2017, 04:54:08 AM »
It was quite a departure from translating French pulp fiction, that's for sure...

I probably should be angrier, but from straight sales and the reads that have been left, the "book" has recouped the effort of producing it, such as it was. I was a bit suspicious of the numbers of reads I was getting anyway, so... I'm just glad the book's not been rank-stripped, or otherwise penalised. I think if it had happened on any of my "proper" titles, I'd be livid. But the whole thing was written for a laugh, and published for a dare, with a cover that belongs on a bad covers tumblr feed (Maybe it's even on one, maybe that's where the traffic came from). I just can't get too upset about anything that happens to it, except to underline my current wish to steer well clear of KU.

That is weird. If they thought you were being naughty then why werent you rank stripped. Hmm, is it a glitch, or did you get hate mail? If its a glitch then maybe the page reads will magically reappear. Also, you and your friends have some interesting convos!   ;D

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #56 on: October 13, 2017, 05:02:27 AM »
Conspiracy Theory - please take with a pinch of salt.

We all know our Amazonian overloads are honest to a fault and would never do anything to hurt us just to make money on their end...

But...what if, they devised an evil plot to slur all reputable vendors of ads such as BB, Freebooksy, Facebook, etc, by somehow linking them to the evil botters who are determined to take over the free charts? The only place left to advertise would be Amazon AMS ads themselves. If you're only using their ads then they can't accuse themselves of botting.

And... what if, in the process of scaring authors off using free days and other ad sites and reaping in all that lovely advertising monies it also has the added effect of scaring the crud out of authors to set their free books to paid, getting rid of that pesky price match issue? And freeing up our Amazonian overloads to set their own imprints to free and reaping in all that lovely money for themselves.

I mean, it's not like Amazon to crush their rivals or do anything underhanded to crush competitors, but still...




Offline TwistedTales

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2017, 05:35:36 AM »
Conspiracy Theory - please take with a pinch of salt.

We all know our Amazonian overloads are honest to a fault and would never do anything to hurt us just to make money on their end...

But...what if, they devised an evil plot to slur all reputable vendors of ads such as BB, Freebooksy, Facebook, etc, by somehow linking them to the evil botters who are determined to take over the free charts? The only place left to advertise would be Amazon AMS ads themselves. If you're only using their ads then they can't accuse themselves of botting.

And... what if, in the process of scaring authors off using free days and other ad sites and reaping in all that lovely advertising monies it also has the added effect of scaring the crud out of authors to set their free books to paid, getting rid of that pesky price match issue? And freeing up our Amazonian overloads to set their own imprints to free and reaping in all that lovely money for themselves.

I mean, it's not like Amazon to crush their rivals or do anything underhanded to crush competitors, but still...

If they did anything like that then I think they just stepped over the line into breaking the law through misrepresentation of data. Would they get caught? FB did. Loose lips and all that.

Nah, theyre not that organized, but I imagine they have great big wall calendar pinned across the KDP strategy room with post-it notes. Every month and quarter they have one more action that takes back their margin. Eighteen months ago it had a note to add a download fee to books sold above 99c. A year ago it had a note to add the page flip functionality. A few months ago it had a note to increase the ACX prices. This month it had a note to close CreateSpaces e-site. I could track back and work out what action was assigned to every month or quarter. Bit-by-bit, theyre clawing back their margins and authors are being left both bewildered and with the real costs of doing business.

The real thing to wonder is whats written on those post-it notes for the next twelve months, because believe me when I say they are not finished with us yet.

They dont need to do anything illegal, they just have to keep taking actions within the model that push the costs back onto authors. No conspiracy with this theory, it is exactly what is happening.

Offline alawston

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #58 on: October 13, 2017, 05:43:17 AM »
That is weird. If they thought you were being naughty then why werent you rank stripped. Hmm, is it a glitch, or did you get hate mail? If its a glitch then maybe the page reads will magically reappear. Also, you and your friends have some interesting convos!   ;D

No hate mail so far, but I'm not holding my breath for any magical reappearance, given that they effectively confirm payment totals on the 15th with the KENP announcement...

It was a slightly crazy group, and quite a few of us were riding high in the charts at the time in various genres, so we were suffering from an excess of confidence, I think :)


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Offline dgaughran

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #59 on: October 13, 2017, 05:45:34 AM »
I've heard about maybe eight authors affected by this now. All bar one have similar stories - went free, advertised in a few places, got rank-stripped, got The Letter from Amazon and have been getting boilerplate ever since with scant details. I know one of them personally and I'm 100% sure there was no shadiness at their end.

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Offline Lydniz

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #60 on: October 13, 2017, 06:41:01 AM »
I have a Bookbub coming up. I should be excited, but instead I'm nervous.

Offline dgaughran

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #61 on: October 13, 2017, 06:50:13 AM »
I can understand people being nervous but I don't think BookBub is the issue. I don't think it's an ad site issue at all.

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Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #62 on: October 13, 2017, 07:00:57 AM »
I've heard about maybe eight authors affected by this now. All bar one have similar stories - went free, advertised in a few places, got rank-stripped, got The Letter from Amazon and have been getting boilerplate ever since with scant details. I know one of them personally and I'm 100% sure there was no shadiness at their end.

The frustrating part of all this is that there's absolutely no way to protect yourself from this, other than going wide and non-free. It just seems to strike randomly.
   

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #63 on: October 13, 2017, 07:05:02 AM »
The frustrating part of all this is that there's absolutely no way to protect yourself from this, other than going wide and non-free. It just seems to strike randomly.

THIS!
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Offline SummerNights

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #64 on: October 13, 2017, 08:54:07 AM »
I've heard about maybe eight authors affected by this now. All bar one have similar stories - went free, advertised in a few places, got rank-stripped, got The Letter from Amazon and have been getting boilerplate ever since with scant details. I know one of them personally and I'm 100% sure there was no shadiness at their end.

Do you think they would be willing to write to Jeff Bezos? Maybe if a lot of us did, someone will look into it.

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #65 on: October 13, 2017, 09:00:52 AM »
Do you think they would be willing to write to Jeff Bezos? Maybe if a lot of us did, someone will look into it.

Maybe it's time for indie publishers to unionize and have some legal clout to deal with these issues.


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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #66 on: October 13, 2017, 09:55:05 AM »
Maybe it's time for indie publishers to unionize and have some legal clout to deal with these issues.

With a wack load of the population being botters and fake reviewers? The very last thing I'd want to do is be in a union with criminals; they would only use the union protection to bot even more.  No way I'd pay dues just so crooks could have representation across the table from zon.

No matter how you look at this issue there is absolutely nothing approaching any kind of feasible solution. KU is the source cause of ALL the problems, and so either it dies at some point or things continue as they are. Tying rank bump to page reads rather than borrows would be the only thing they could do to slow the botting (but then bots would just turn to page reads; if they aren't already doing that as well - we THINK bot reads were stopped, but we have no proof that's true other than no one has been caught in a long time).

And while I put 70% of the blame on zon, I put the other 30% on the authors who play to this flawed model. To be clear, I can both agree that it's their right to do what makes them the most money while also holding that they are sowing the seeds of their own destruction long term.

The cigarette company is to blame for selling carcinogen products, but the smokers share some blame for consuming said product (despite the neurochemical addiction they get trapped in). Others have equated KU to a drug addiction, and I think it's very apt. People know they shouldn't be in it, but they are addicted to those revenues.

So this isn't getting fixed anytime soon and it likely will get much worse through 2018.

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #67 on: October 13, 2017, 11:30:26 AM »
The very last thing I'd want to do is be in a union with criminals; they would only use the union protection to bot even more.

I think I get your gist, but a guild or union formed via a proper vetting process for members would ideally address issues with Amazon that allow a "criminal" element to exist. As far as I know, KDP authors have no collective voice with Amazon. A guild or union (of some kind) with appropriate, persuasive powers COULD be useful. I'm actually surprised it doesn't already exist in some form. Maybe it does and I've missed it.



Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #68 on: October 13, 2017, 11:40:29 AM »
I think I get your gist, but a guild or union formed via a proper vetting process for members...

That runs the danger of using the easiest method: all "indies" must get publisher representation.
 

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #69 on: October 13, 2017, 11:44:59 AM »
I think I get your gist, but a guild or union formed via a proper vetting process for members would ideally address issues with Amazon that allow a "criminal" element to exist. As far as I know, KDP authors have no collective voice with Amazon. A guild or union (of some kind) with appropriate, persuasive powers COULD be useful. I'm actually surprised it doesn't already exist in some form. Maybe it does and I've missed it.

The problem is that any guild would take its marching orders from the contributing members. This would almost entirely consist of the highest selling SP authors who could afford to fund the organization. A lot of those authors (obviously not saying all or even the majority) are gaming the system. We saw this with Simpson losing rank. And believe me, there are plenty of others.

Don't get me wrong, an above board and beyond reproach organization looking after SP authors would be great. But this industry is full of scoundrels who will abuse, warp and twist almost anything to their advantage.

And ultimately, what can a guild or anybody really do? Zon will pay it no mind, SP authors refuse to ever shed even one drop of blood for the industry as a whole, so it will just be a megaphone for a small group that everyone ignores.

The only action that will clean things up is people leaving KU. And since they aren't prepared to do that, this is how the industry will remain until either zon randomly decides to clean it up, or consumers themselves start turning their backs on KU.

It's 100% FUBAR.  :P

Offline Laran Mithras

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #70 on: October 13, 2017, 11:50:47 AM »

The only action that will clean things up is people leaving KU. And since they aren't prepared to do that, this is how the industry will remain until either zon randomly decides to clean it up, or consumers themselves start turning their backs on KU.

That is probably the only workable option. If KU is hitting scammers and catching indies in the savagery - with trads getting their pay no matter what - then anything KU does to scammers hurts indies. Thus, being indie in KU is a losing proposition.

Amazon will have to come down on the scammers by going after the income flow - and we all know how those previous methods worked against us. Indies are caught in the net because we rely on the same payflows scammers do.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 12:07:37 PM by Laran Mithras »
 

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #71 on: October 13, 2017, 11:56:41 AM »


It's 100% FUBAR.  :P

All good points... Anyway, maybe this board is already serving the function of a guild or advocacy group (well, of course, it is). I know I've been convinced to leave my next book out of KU as an experiment and may remove the others as their terms expire.


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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #72 on: October 13, 2017, 12:13:07 PM »
That is probably the only workable option. If KU is hitting scammers and catching indies in the savagery - with trads getting their pay no matter what - then anything KU does to scammers hurts indies. Thus, being indie in KU is a losing proposition.

Mmazon will have to come down on the scammers by going after the income flow - and we all know how those previous methods worked against us. Indies are caught in the net because we rely on the same payflows scammers do.

I'd suggest that TP has a lot to fear from all this. If zon can manage to make all this work - which is to say control the flow of content in the industry (and suppress whatever books they want on the store) - then it's really not a big step for Amazon Imprints to start luring TP authors to zon (a few fat million dollar contracts would easily accomplish that). But they likely won't pull that trigger until they at least have 100 or so physical book stores.

I mean, it doesn't take a genius to see that zon is slowly and methodically looking to destroy the big 5. Which is probably why losing a few million to scammers doesn't bother them if their overarching strategy of taking over a billion dollar industry is still chugging along smoothly.

The great irony in all this is that at some point the TP's will have to fight back and in doing so may actually end up saving self-publishing by removing zon's stranglehold... but as I've said before, that will have to unfold in conjunction with a Walmart or someone making a serious run at zon.

It's impossible for me to imagine that in 5 years zon will be the only distribution channel for books. No way, no how. Someone, or a collection of someones, will mount a challenge at some point.

 


Offline Tilly

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #73 on: October 13, 2017, 12:29:51 PM »
I think I get your gist, but a guild or union formed via a proper vetting process for members...

There are already a number of organisations authors can join if they want a voice, plus of course the numerous other benefits of networking with similar genre authors, courses, conferences etc. There's RWA, SFWA, NINC etc. Find one that best suits you and get involved if you want to make a change.

Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Help! KDP alert for sales rank.
« Reply #74 on: October 13, 2017, 12:32:06 PM »
I can understand people being nervous but I don't think BookBub is the issue. I don't think it's an ad site issue at all.

But if deranking regularly happens to people following ads on Bookbub and/or other sites, these sites might become concerned enough to raise the issue with Amazon themselves. It would be a blow to these sites if authors become afraid to advertise books for fear of punishment by Amazon's errant algorithms.