Author Topic: About those also-boughts...  (Read 1925 times)  

Offline Guy Riessen

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About those also-boughts...
« on: January 02, 2018, 01:08:37 PM »
They seem to kick in randomly...does anyone have any other information?

My short novel, Retribution, has also-boughts...and has only sold about 30 books since November. My full-length novel, Piercing the Veil, sold 15 pre-order copies, 62 e-books, 2k page-reads, and 8 paperbacks...and has no also-boughts. Both have 10 reviews each. Weird? Or just the way it goes?

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2018, 02:49:03 PM »
They seem to kick in randomly...does anyone have any other information?

My short novel, Retribution, has also-boughts...and has only sold about 30 books since November. My full-length novel, Piercing the Veil, sold 15 pre-order copies, 62 e-books, 2k page-reads, and 8 paperbacks...and has no also-boughts. Both have 10 reviews each. Weird? Or just the way it goes?
It may depend on how many common titles purchasers had in each case. Hypothetically, 100 sales to people with few previous titles in common might give the also-bought list less common material to display than 30 sales to people with several common titles.


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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2018, 12:32:08 PM »
It may depend on how many common titles purchasers had in each case. Hypothetically, 100 sales to people with few previous titles in common might give the also-bought list less common material to display than 30 sales to people with several common titles.

hmm, I'm close to your hypothetical with 98 sales now. Still no also-boughts on the novel.

However, it is showing up as an also-bought on other books--which is great...that's what I really want anyway. But it's getting weirder that the novel is not showing any also-boughts.

The paperback, which has sold 11 copies is showing an also-bought...the ebook not so much.

I get your point about not-enough related purchases, but this is a genre novel (I find it hard to believe that Lovecraftian Mythos readers don't share a lot of books in common)...with 96 ebooks sold...organic sales (this has not even been announced to family and friends yet to prevent also-bought pollution as per Chris Fox's theories).

Looking at my short story, Death in the Sunset...yep Piercing the Veil is an also-bought for Death in the Sunset now, but not vice-versa. Same with my novella, Retribution. It's strange.

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2018, 01:41:01 PM »
hmm, I'm close to your hypothetical with 98 sales now. Still no also-boughts on the novel.

However, it is showing up as an also-bought on other books--which is great...that's what I really want anyway. But it's getting weirder that the novel is not showing any also-boughts.

The paperback, which has sold 11 copies is showing an also-bought...the ebook not so much.

I get your point about not-enough related purchases, but this is a genre novel (I find it hard to believe that Lovecraftian Mythos readers don't share a lot of books in common)...with 96 ebooks sold...organic sales (this has not even been announced to family and friends yet to prevent also-bought pollution as per Chris Fox's theories).

Looking at my short story, Death in the Sunset...yep Piercing the Veil is an also-bought for Death in the Sunset now, but not vice-versa. Same with my novella, Retribution. It's strange.

I've never heard of that before (being in also-boughts without having any). It definitely sounds like a glitch to me. Have you tried emailing kdp? I sometimes find they just email back on this sort of thing saying they can't do anything about it, but lo and behold it's then immediately fixed. Of course, as you said, it's the being in also-boughts that's the important thing, so maybe it doesn't much matter??.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 02:41:10 AM by MelanieCellier »

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Offline Sapphire

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2018, 02:28:37 PM »
How long has your novel been active for sale (since actual publish date, not pre-sale date)? It's possible you haven't given it enough time to populate.


Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 04:24:18 PM »
How long has your novel been active for sale (since actual publish date, not pre-sale date)? It's possible you haven't given it enough time to populate.

It went on sale on December 15th, there was a pre-order period of one week prior to that.

Have you tried emailing kdp? I sometimes find they just email back on this sort of thing saying they cant do anything about it, but lo and behold its then immediately fixed. Of course, as you said, its the being in also-boughts thats the important thing, so maybe it doesnt much matter??.

I did. They said, and I might be paraphrasing here, "I dunno. Algorithms be hatin'."
Well, it was similar to that anyway... they said there was nothing they could do about it.

And it's 104 sales now too.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2018, 04:25:55 PM by Guy Riessen »

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2018, 04:49:54 PM »
Last time I tested this, the threshold was 50 sales in the US Kindle Store. Have you exceeded that in the US Kindle Store?

There have been bugs previously where Also Boughts didn't appear (which can kill your book - speaking from personal experience). But I also wonder if sales count to people outside the US who use the US Kindle Store (like some Irish customers, all South African readers, etc.)
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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2018, 07:26:05 PM »
Last time I tested this, the threshold was 50 sales in the US Kindle Store. Have you exceeded that in the US Kindle Store?

There have been bugs previously where Also Boughts didn't appear (which can kill your book - speaking from personal experience). But I also wonder if sales count to people outside the US who use the US Kindle Store (like some Irish customers, all South African readers, etc.)

According to Book Report there have been just 7 sales outside of amazon.com. Since you're speaking from experience, were you able to do anything to get amazon to correct the issue?
I wrote to amazon again today, to let them know that sales had passed 100 and that Piercing the Veil was showing up on my other books as Also-Boughts, but that none are showing on Piercing the Veil itself.

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Offline C. Gold

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2018, 11:15:32 PM »
My book got also boughts as soon as it sold 50 ebooks. But that's my only data point so far :P

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #9 on: January 06, 2018, 01:16:55 AM »
hmm, I'm close to your hypothetical with 98 sales now. Still no also-boughts on the novel.

However, it is showing up as an also-bought on other books--which is great...that's what I really want anyway. But it's getting weirder that the novel is not showing any also-boughts.

The paperback, which has sold 11 copies is showing an also-bought...the ebook not so much.

I get your point about not-enough related purchases, but this is a genre novel (I find it hard to believe that Lovecraftian Mythos readers don't share a lot of books in common)...with 96 ebooks sold...organic sales (this has not even been announced to family and friends yet to prevent also-bought pollution as per Chris Fox's theories).

Looking at my short story, Death in the Sunset...yep Piercing the Veil is an also-bought for Death in the Sunset now, but not vice-versa. Same with my novella, Retribution. It's strange.

You have reciprocal also boughts? Thats like magic! I guess the glitch is back. This is a better version of the old 'never showing up at all" AB shenanigans

Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #10 on: January 06, 2018, 02:14:19 AM »
You have reciprocal also boughts? Thats like magic! I guess the glitch is back. This is a better version of the old 'never showing up at all" AB shenanigans

Yeah the only problem is those books aren't selling. Piercing the Veil is selling, and it would be great it the other books showed up as also boughts, so people could read my other writing. Well hopefully Amazon is directing them at the end of the book, or their clicking my links at the end of the book. Sigh.

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2018, 03:23:48 AM »
For decent also bougths this is what I did. Set up an Ad and target the books you want to show up in your also boughs. Set a high bid rate and get you ad on the first page of those books. If you actually start selling you'll see those books show up and more importantly, your book will show up on their page.

You can use this tool to track your progress

http://yasiv.com/

Just enter your books name to see where you show up and who is showing up for you.
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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #12 on: January 06, 2018, 03:55:17 AM »
The last time I tested this was in April or May, so it could have changed since then (previously the threshold was 10 or 20, I can't remember, and that changed in 2015/6 so it's possible it has changed).

My experience is that Amazon won't be open about this threshold and pretend it depends on a number of vague variables, but our testing showed it was an explicit threshold of 50.

Now, as I said, I ran into a problem when I launched a book last summer - it didn't get Also Boughts for three months, despite easily exceeding the threshold right away.

Amazon, you won't be too surprised to hear, weren't very helpful. And the book just died after launch - without Also Boughts, you are kind of invisible to the whole recommendation engine, and, sure enough, no one got any emails recommending that book. I didn't even get any of those browing-based recommendations myself, despite constantly going to the book's page and checking for Also Boughts etc.

If Also Boughts aren't appearing and you have definitely exceeded the threshold in US Kindle Store sales to US readers, you have two choices, I think:

1. Pull down and republish. This is what I wish I had done, but you may resist that idea for various reasons (as I did).

2. Put together a big campaign to brute force the Also Boughts. Free would be best IMO.

Wish I could be more exact. Also Boughts are mysterious and tricksy. And there is an element of randomness with them that undermines everything anyone says about them (probably unexplained factors rather than true randomness, but you know what I mean).
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Offline CarolynVMurray

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2018, 11:00:59 AM »
I've heard of one possible explanation - which I was skeptical about, but there may be some truth in it.

They speculated that Amazon has changed their system so that if your income is coming from KU reads, then it will show up as Also Viewed rather than Also Bought. Only when the actual book sales reach their quota would it change to Also Boughts.
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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2018, 11:08:43 AM »
FYI it was always the case that borrows didn't count towards Also Boughts (one of the classic tells of an inartfully clickfarmed book was being at the top of the charts with no Also Boughts). They will count towards Also Vieweds though because you have to view the page to borrow it of course.
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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2018, 01:00:51 PM »
I've heard of one possible explanation - which I was skeptical about, but there may be some truth in it.

They speculated that Amazon has changed their system so that if your income is coming from KU reads, then it will show up as Also Viewed rather than Also Bought. Only when the actual book sales reach their quota would it change to Also Boughts.

I don't think this is the issue, I only have 2k page reads, and now I have 112 sales, 105 US sales. This is double the highest threshold dgaughran was able to determine, so I'm pretty sure it's trapped with the same issue he had.

Amazon was zero help--they did however send a much longer email that still said nothing at all, except that customer service had no way to help with this particular issue.

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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2018, 01:05:31 PM »
For decent also bougths this is what I did. Set up an Ad and target the books you want to show up in your also boughs. Set a high bid rate and get you ad on the first page of those books. If you actually start selling you'll see those books show up and more importantly, your book will show up on their page.

You can use this tool to track your progress

http://yasiv.com/

Just enter your books name to see where you show up and who is showing up for you.

The problem is my book is locked out of also-boughts. There are plenty of sales to trigger it--the paperback has even triggered also-boughts with 15 sales. I have well-targeted ads that are getting good click-through (1 in 370) and good conversion (1 in 15). My book HAS started to show up on other pages (this is great). BUT, without also-boughts, it's not as effective in generating traffic from Piercing the Veil to my other books.

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Online dgaughran

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2018, 01:09:37 PM »
Don't panic just yet. You are only out two weeks. Also Boughts only re-crunch twice a week - and that's when the system is performing optimally, and it probably isn't post-Christmas.

Also: the most important Also Boughts are those pointing at you.
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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2018, 02:31:32 PM »
Don't panic just yet. You are only out two weeks. Also Boughts only re-crunch twice a week - and that's when the system is performing optimally, and it probably isn't post-Christmas.

Also: the most important Also Boughts are those pointing at you.

Makes sense. Plus this is my first full-length novel, and first in a series--I'll try and save the panic for if it happens when access to my backlist is more important!

Thanks for the info/help David!

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2018, 03:31:32 AM »
Makes sense. Plus this is my first full-length novel, and first in a series--I'll try and save the panic for if it happens when access to my backlist is more important!

Thanks for the info/help David!

IMO there's a problem. I published on December the 18th and had also-boughts by the 20th (I know because I don't do any promos until I see also-boughts). Our range of sales might differ (I crossed the 50 books bought on Day 1) but still..... two weeks is too long. In your position, I'd contact KDP to find out what the problem was.
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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2018, 04:10:56 AM »
You can try emailing KDP but I'm just setting expectations appropriately: I don't think they will be much use. There was a MAJOR also bought problem last summer and they were resolutely unhelpful, denying anything was wrong, etc. The usual. I was caught up in the tail-end of that and didn't get Also Boughts for three months. Total nightmare.

Obviously you want to avoid that, having Also Boughts is crucial.

Normally Also Boughts recrunch on a Saturday and Thursday, so if the Also Boughts didn't appear yesterday - and it looks like they didn't - then I'd start to get concerned. If it was me, I'd probably set a deadline of next Thursday before throwing something at this to get it moving. Unless anyone has better ideas, I think a quick free free run is probably the best bet to get things moving. The other option is the nuclear one - pulling it down and republishing, but then you will lose your sales history, your reviews, and you will have to plot out a path to 50+ sales to get Also Boughts on the new book.

You can try emailing KDP in the meantime, but perhaps start working on a Plan B yourself. If they haven't appeared by Thursday evening, you can set a free run to start right away, and book whatever cheap last minute ads you can throw at it.

The other alternatives are a quick 99c campaign, a BookBub PPC campaign, or some Facebook action, but they are all a little more involved, and will require more outlay, etc.

I'd still hold fire until Thursday though. You said you only had 62 ebook sales as of Tuesday, and if some of those were to non-qualifying customers, and there is any delay in the system right now, the Also Boughts could still be en route.
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Offline Russ Munson

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2018, 04:56:09 AM »
I've never had anything but strange behavior with also boughts.

One of my titles didn't get also boughts for about six months. I suppose this is because it took that long to get 50 sales. Fair enough.

HOWEVER, one of my other titles shot up the chart organically. It only sold about 7 books, but had lots of KU reads and got tons of also boughts almost instantly. In this case, it looked like KU reads DID affect also boughts since I had way more also boughts (17 pages of them) than I had sales.

Also, I have found that when you republish a title, Amazon sits on it forever. I've had them upload a new book to the store within hours, but a republished one took nearly the full 72 hours. I don't know if the republished material was triggering internal checks, their way of discouraging republishing titles, or just the luck of the draw.

My sample size, of course, is small, but those have been my experiences.

Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2018, 01:33:35 PM »
You can try emailing KDP but I'm just setting expectations appropriately: I don't think they will be much use. There was a MAJOR also bought problem last summer and they were resolutely unhelpful, denying anything was wrong, etc. The usual. I was caught up in the tail-end of that and didn't get Also Boughts for three months. Total nightmare.

Obviously you want to avoid that, having Also Boughts is crucial.

Normally Also Boughts recrunch on a Saturday and Thursday, so if the Also Boughts didn't appear yesterday - and it looks like they didn't - then I'd start to get concerned. If it was me, I'd probably set a deadline of next Thursday before throwing something at this to get it moving. Unless anyone has better ideas, I think a quick free free run is probably the best bet to get things moving. The other option is the nuclear one - pulling it down and republishing, but then you will lose your sales history, your reviews, and you will have to plot out a path to 50+ sales to get Also Boughts on the new book.

You can try emailing KDP in the meantime, but perhaps start working on a Plan B yourself. If they haven't appeared by Thursday evening, you can set a free run to start right away, and book whatever cheap last minute ads you can throw at it.

The other alternatives are a quick 99c campaign, a BookBub PPC campaign, or some Facebook action, but they are all a little more involved, and will require more outlay, etc.

I'd still hold fire until Thursday though. You said you only had 62 ebook sales as of Tuesday, and if some of those were to non-qualifying customers, and there is any delay in the system right now, the Also Boughts could still be en route.

Maybe it's a recrunch EOD Saturday, because also-boughts just started appearing today (Sunday)

Yay

--Just FYI for anyone looking, I had 138 e-book sales and it took 3 weeks for these also-boughts to start showing up.
--I had just over 2k page reads, 5 full read throughs (they came in spaced apart so I could see reading pace, which was informative on its own)
--The paperback had also-boughts by the end of the first week, with only 11 sales.
--I emailed KDP 3 separate times--all responses were unhelpful and they insisted everything was working, but the responses DID come from 3 different CS Reps. Squeaky wheel *may* have been a factor, but if so, they kept it on the down low.

Something definitely seemed broken and was either fixed, or the book reached some other set of criteria and bypassed the problem.

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Offline Martitalbott

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #23 on: January 07, 2018, 03:42:21 PM »
I don't get it. My also bought are usually my own books, which I thought meant readers are buying them, which they are. I've never heard of a threshold or time or any number of sales to get those to show up. Doesn't also bought mean readers also bought the books that show up??? Why would it be something Amazon does or even would manipulate?

Marti. Check out the also bought on my books. Most are my other books with a few other more thrown in, which I bet readers actually bought.
       
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Offline Guy Riessen

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Re: About those also-boughts...
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2018, 08:41:34 PM »
I don't get it. My also bought are usually my own books, which I thought meant readers are buying them, which they are. I've never heard of a threshold or time or any number of sales to get those to show up. Doesn't also bought mean readers also bought the books that show up??? Why would it be something Amazon does or even would manipulate?

Marti. Check out the also bought on my books. Most are my other books with a few other more thrown in, which I bet readers actually bought.

Exactly. So when it doesn't work that way, there's an issue, right? Well that's what the problem was. The algorithm amazon uses to align also-boughts did not work right, so even though my book should have had also-boughts by the time it was on sale for a couple weeks and sold a hundred copies, it didn't.

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