Author Topic: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages  (Read 8218 times)  

Offline HopelessFanatic

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #200 on: April 16, 2018, 06:24:34 AM »
Why does everyone keep ignoring the elephant in the room?

This is a problem IN THE ROMANCE GENRE. And it could only ever *be* a problem in the romance genre.

Why? Because a poorly-written, incoherently-compiled stuffed book with a stock photo cover in any other genre would get one-starred into oblivion. Try pulling this nonsense in sci-fi, or fantasy, or literally *any* other genre, and see what happens.

The rest of the KU literary world is suffering because of a problem in ROMANCE. A stuffed book like this pops up in the other genres, the readers themselves would police the issue, and without question, the other authors in the genre would root out any violators with a quickness. Content farms don't have the talent to create consumable content in the more complex genres. It's not rocket science to write another billionaire bad boy book. That stuff can be created formulaically, in volume, and that's why you have the problem you have. Now, that doesn't mean that there aren't romance writers who produce gorgeous work. I'm sure many do, and I'm sure many of YOU do. But punishing writers of longer books - books that cost TONS more to produce, and have the potential to stand the test of time as major literary accomplishments - by capping page read payouts is absolutely asinine. Why, so we can get more cookie-cutter billionaire man-chest bad boy stories at the top of the charts, at the expense of writers in other genres? This is not our mess, why should we pay to clean it up by having the value of our work reduced?

This problem can be solved EASILY and FAIRLY:

1. Limit ROMANCE books to 1k KENP. No one writes romance stories over 1k. NO. ONE.
2. Make those publishing anything (in any genre) over 200,000 words certify, with a mouse click while submitting a title, that there is no "bonus" content in the book, and if they get found to violate that provision, they lose ALL KENP earnings *and* royalties, and their account and any associated pen names are banned from KU for a year.

Problem solved. Long book writers earn the same per page as short book writers, so the scales aren't tipped unfairly. The scammers are hosed, and forced to operate at a MAJOR risk. Amazon gets to keep whatever royalties are associated with the scammers, even sales royalties, so that pays for whatever additional manual review is required.

If there are any problems with these proposed solutions, then we can talk about refining them.

Lastly, for those of you who are saying "$5 is plenty for a book!": please think it through. You're all smart. If you were paying many, many thousands of dollars in production, editing, and graphics costs to create a 300k book, you'd feel differently. $5 wouldn't even come close to covering costs. How much do YOU earn for 300k words? You probably have 5-6 books you release to reach 300k. Are YOU OK with only earning $5 total KU money for 5-6 books? Of course not. And you shouldn't be. Your work is worth more than that. So is the work of epic writers.

This reflects a very skewed view of the romance genre. And really is pretty offensive to romance readers. Books that are incomprehensible garbage (truly incomprehensible, not just bad boy romance that actually gets read) are likely being botted and not read. That can happen in any genre. And if there's a cap in one genre, they will just move to another genre.

If you mean legitimately written books that are simply stuffed, regardless of one person's perception of quality, which are not botted and actually read and enjoyed by readers, then that's insulting.

Readers like what they like. And Romance is the biggest genre there is, followed closely by thrillers. In KU, romance dominates period. And more complex genres? There is not a single genre fiction category I can think of except perhaps historical (romance and non-romance) that is as a whole more complex than romance books. There will always be pulp fiction. And most pulp fiction is not romance.

The most consumed type of fiction? At least indie wise is pulp fiction. I can write formulic novels in most genres, at least if I'm familiar with them. Even epic fantasy (which I read a lot) can be formulaic.

How much romance do you read? I'm guessing not a lot because it isn't your preference. There are plenty of people who won't read epic tomes of fantasy or science fiction because they think they are boring and the pacing is off.

I could be a jerk and say most epic fantasy is just pumped full of filler like what kind of foods they eat and such. If they were written without all that filler, they would easily be short enough not to be affected by a 1k KENP cap.

But I wouldn't say that because I understand that making assumptions about an entire genre is silly.

Many thousands and thousands of dollars more you (in general) spend on longer books compared to shorter, I question that. The only thing that's for sure more is editing. And in order to equal the same payout of page reads even with the cap is not vastly different.

Plus more books equals more covers. And top-notch covers can be expensive.

My point is that there is no universal spend for either a shorter book or a longer one. Expenses will differ by author.

Online C. Rysalis

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #201 on: April 16, 2018, 06:27:21 AM »
I think lowering the cap is a helpful solution, and one Amazon could implement.

I know some people are complaining about how it would be unfair to writers if Epic and High fantasy, but frankly, I'd like to hear the opinion of these writers themselves.

Are many of them on KU? Is KU a high source of income for them? I don't know. Not a lot of the best-selling fantasy books are in KU, and many of them have less than 350 pages.

I'm not an Epic Fantasy author, but once upon a time I had a 270K word book that made sense as a 270K book and had been thoroughly edited more than once. The length wasn't an editing issue.

Then I got scared of publishing it that way - who the hell publishes a 270K word first novel? People would think it was poorly edited - and split it up into two books. Result: readers read the first half and think it's okay, but because the second half is missing, they don't get hooked. KU readers were more likely to give book 2 a chance (and loved it), but not that many purchased it.

But yes, I made quite a bit of money from KU, mainly because readers were more willing to give me a chance that way.

The genre is 'Epic Dark Superhero Deconstruction'. Since that's not a category I can pick on Amazon, I had to go with Urban Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, and Superheroes. :P
« Last Edit: April 16, 2018, 06:33:30 AM by C. Rysalis »

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Offline Reformed Pantser

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #202 on: April 16, 2018, 08:50:22 AM »
Here's the thing -- scores of honest romance authors writing thoughtful, well-researched, well-developed and well-edited stories are losing their livelihoods courtesy of the "bad boy" scam ring. Many have already been driven out of business because that scam ring has effectively turned KU into their cash cow / private playground.

These authors (who don't post here for fear of retaliation) will sign a petition to limit to 500 KENPC for Romance, 650 for Romance, or 1000 for all genres, whichever proposal carries the day (a quick poll would be helpful!). Let's do it before the only "romance" left in KU is the "Dirty Daddy" kind.

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #203 on: April 16, 2018, 09:31:58 AM »
In six months, this problem won't be limited to the romance genre anymore.  The group of people doing this are headed for fantasy, thrillers, and mysteries next.

If you're in a non-romance genre, and particularly if you're a comfortable mid-lister in a non-romance genre, you should be concerned.  You have a vested interest in fixing this issue, because you're vulnerable.  They *will* blow into your market and do exactly what they did with romance, and if you think your market is invulnerable because your readers are somehow more discerning than romance readers, just wait.

The "bad boy" author group isn't the only one you should be concerned about, either.

There are a *lot* of romance authors who are excellent writers, period.  Those authors have interests outside of romance.  If they start being driven out of romance in droves because it's no longer profitable, where exactly do you think they're going to go?  They're not going to stop writing.  They're going to move into your genres and niche markets.

PS - To the person who suggested a KENPC limit for romance only, I think the majority of romance authors would be 100% supportive, and the lower the KENPC limit, the better, because that would send the stuffer group fleeing out of romance and into other more profitable genres.



Offline Reformed Pantser

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #204 on: April 16, 2018, 09:42:30 AM »
Just to let everyone know we now have 2 polls: one worded in a way that I found too judgment-laden to be helpful, and a second one, neutral (trust me, it took a lot of self-discipline): https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,262608.0.html

Offline writerbiter

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #205 on: April 16, 2018, 11:19:27 AM »
In terms of manpower to check on reported books, I really don't think the number is going to be all that significant. Once the new rule is announced, give authors 30 days to bring their books into compliance, and then start checking books which are reported after the 30 days is up. You could probably have a single full-time staffer handling the job, and one person could probably deal with 100 books a day. Just boot offending books from the store and send a form email to the author/publisher telling them to bring the book into compliance or else. In fact, being Amazon and the heavy-hammer type, just suspend ALL their books until fixed.

Easy fix. Store would probably be clean of stuffed books in a month. And let's be honest, doing it would probably cost less staff hours than they spend now dealing with angry authors.

Amazon will NOT hire a person for this job. It won't happen.

It's corporate culture is entirely too toxic, driven on results for LESS money and LESS manpower.
 
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-warehouse-workers-have-to-pee-into-bottles-2018-4?r=UK&IR=T

Assume they will NOT: Hire more people, Hire programmers to change the system, Fundamental alter the program in an significant way which requires human oversight.

Offline Atlantisatheart

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #206 on: April 16, 2018, 11:38:01 AM »
Amazon will NOT hire a person for this job. It won't happen.

It's corporate culture is entirely too toxic, driven on results for LESS money and LESS manpower.
 
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-warehouse-workers-have-to-pee-into-bottles-2018-4?r=UK&IR=T

Assume they will NOT: Hire more people, Hire programmers to change the system, Fundamental alter the program in an significant way which requires human oversight.

Let's face it, amazon probably have robots to change a lightbulb.

Offline writerbiter

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #207 on: April 16, 2018, 11:38:24 AM »
Here's where the program stands:

Amazon has absolutely no problem with bonus material. This has been verified through Amazon reps--reps that I've personally spoken with on the phone and reps who work with other authors.

We can scream, shout, petition, and demand all we want, but the fact remains--Amazon will not eliminate bonus material. Ever. It is not a priority for them as customers do not complain about bonus material.

Asking for Amazon to police the bonus content is great--but it will never be implemented.  We need to think of alternative solutions to solve the problem.

So what is the problem?

1) Click-Farmers: Click-Farmers will create bogus material and scan it for profit. However, Amazon DOES audit their reads at the end of every month--it's why some bonuses are awarded late. Presumably, they have a process in place in which they can identify click-farmed reads already. The onus is on Amazon to detect their own fraud, and authors can help by reporting any of those questionable books we find.

However...

2) There is a larger segment of the KU monthly pot that is consumed by authors (primarily in romance) who publish 3-4 ghostwritten books a month (under one pen name--though some have more), stuff every book to the 3k limit, drive down the price-per-page of the overall community, and steal the bonuses which SHOULD go to authors with bestselling books, not just a pen name with a vast volume of material.

So what can be done?

Let's stop wishing for Amazon to end bonus content. It won't happen. It's time to start planning alternative solutions to the program.

Lowering the cap is ONE solution which would immediately resolve a vast amount of exploitation in the program--and it is one Amazon has already done in the past. Yes, it might hurt the occasional fantasy writer who has extraordinarily long books. It may also harm those who are republishing older material (which is individually available in the store) into boxed sets. However, as MOST writers publishing in the program have written books well under the proposed 1000 KNEP cap, it seems as though it would be a net benefit for the program.

If people are opposed to the lower cap--please, propose a solution that does not involve any additional manpower, programming, or investment on Amazon's part. We're desperate for a change, and, if we highlight the problems with the program, it might resonate.

If not, email Amazon and support the idea. I've had 50-60 Top 100/Lettered authors already contact Amazon in support of the idea. More voices can only help.

Offline JulesWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #208 on: April 16, 2018, 12:02:18 PM »
Ok serious question, if Amazon is completely fine with bonus content then why would they support a lower cap?

Offline writerbiter

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #209 on: April 16, 2018, 12:31:36 PM »
Ok serious question, if Amazon is completely fine with bonus content then why would they support a lower cap?

The one topic that really struck the rep I talked to was the integrity of the All-Star Bonuses. He said the team was concerned that the bonuses would not be awarded to the authors who deserved it based on the merit of their brand/book. Lowering the cap would ensure the authors who don't stuff and yet hit the top 10 are still awarded the rightful bonuses for a best-seller. It fixes the spirit of the program, and that something the project managers wanted to address.

They recognize there's a problem with the program, but because Amazon is a customer driven company, the bonus books have never bothered their customers. There's no incentive to fix that aspect of the KU. However, by demonstrating the millions of dollars they're losing a month in bonuses and pages, lowering the cap--like they did before--is an easy solution to an ugly problem. It doesn't impact the customers, but it will satisfy most authors with the least amount of effort/money/etc.

Offline JulesWright

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #210 on: April 16, 2018, 12:53:01 PM »
Ok, thank you for answering the question. The issue over the bonuses also indicates they could be concerned about more top romance authors leaving.

I am befuddled why Amazon would want to pay out on page reads on all of the bonus content and have Romance flooded with .99 books when they would make more on higher priced books.  But if customers really do like bonus content then it is kind of hard to argue against it.

I feel like those who stuff also have huge mailing lists, do big swaps and have all kinds of ways to adjust to still do fine and that is why I don't think it would really help, but I am not strongly opposed to it.  I think the best course for me is to be out of KU, so probably won't affect me either way.

Best wishes.

The one topic that really struck the rep I talked to was the integrity of the All-Star Bonuses. He said the team was concerned that the bonuses would not be awarded to the authors who deserved it based on the merit of their brand/book. Lowering the cap would ensure the authors who don't stuff and yet hit the top 10 are still awarded the rightful bonuses for a best-seller. It fixes the spirit of the program, and that something the project managers wanted to address.

They recognize there's a problem with the program, but because Amazon is a customer driven company, the bonus books have never bothered their customers. There's no incentive to fix that aspect of the KU. However, by demonstrating the millions of dollars they're losing a month in bonuses and pages, lowering the cap--like they did before--is an easy solution to an ugly problem. It doesn't impact the customers, but it will satisfy most authors with the least amount of effort/money/etc.

Offline idontknowyet

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #211 on: April 16, 2018, 12:54:02 PM »
Is this debate just being set up to distract us from working together to lower stuffing. I have no idea why but I decided to flip through the epic fantasy section of amazon just to see how many books would be effected by the change is KENP count. I scanned through several pages and found all of 1 book that exceeds the max 1k KENP
Epic fantasy books seem to range from 300-600 ish pages. Why is this debate even happening really are we talking about a handful or less of books that might need to be reformated?  You are talking about destroying a possible system for all readers for 5 -10 maybe 15 books?

This excludes boxed sets.

Offline ParkerAvrile

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #212 on: April 16, 2018, 05:59:07 PM »
A book-stuffer FB group advocates $5000-$10,000 launches. They sell at $.99 and game KU with bonus books. I've seen BR screenshots purporting to show they consistently double their money (they have a bad boy romance focus).

I suspect Amazon's view is their customers get a lot of value from the bonus book situation. In other words, it's a boon for their customers. There's really no incentive for them to change the system because in their view it's not broken (unless the stuffers bring in the bots).

I agree with your take on Amazon...

The group I'm talking about uses FB ads and they have a huge list. We may be talking about the same guy, I dunno.  I've heard $20-50K minimum spend per title but probably the numbers get exaggerated in the telling. (I'm not on FB.)   These are short snappy "bad boy" eroms, and a lot of readers gobble them up like popcorn.  There is no need for bots or click farms, this guy has a crazy huge following of fans. The thing is-- I don't think people would keep signing up for these mailing lists or for these free ARCs if they disliked his or his associates' books. I just don't.

As far as KU, it wouldn't matter if the book was stuffed, because if you didn't like it, you wouldn't read to the end anyway.

For his readers, these bonus books are providing massive value at the same they allow these authors to make a good living from a niche where the books are closer to novella length (bad boy).  I don't see why Amazon would consider that a bad thing, when his readers clearly love him.
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Offline Ryan W. Mueller

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #213 on: April 16, 2018, 08:21:17 PM »
Is this debate just being set up to distract us from working together to lower stuffing. I have no idea why but I decided to flip through the epic fantasy section of amazon just to see how many books would be effected by the change is KENP count. I scanned through several pages and found all of 1 book that exceeds the max 1k KENP
Epic fantasy books seem to range from 300-600 ish pages. Why is this debate even happening really are we talking about a handful or less of books that might need to be reformated?  You are talking about destroying a possible system for all readers for 5 -10 maybe 15 books?

This excludes boxed sets.

Those aren't KENP page numbers. A 600-page book is likely well over 1000 KENP.

For example, my longest book is officially listed at 465 pages. Its KENP is about 860.

Keep in mind that this book is about 165,000 words. Many epic fantasy novels are longer than 165,000 words. It might not be as common in self-publishing, where shorter books are more the norm, but we shouldn't have our legitimate page reads being taken away because some people stuff their books.

Besides, we don't have any evidence that payout would actually increase with all the illegitimate page reads being taken away. Amazon would probably just look at it as cost savings and deliver the same payout.

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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #214 on: April 16, 2018, 09:50:48 PM »
Just to be clear, KB can be used to organize a push for a 1,000-KENP limit, and it can be used to organize a push against such a limit. Or to organize some other push entirely. Posts that get ... territorial on such matters? not quite sure how to put it ... have been and will be deleted.

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #215 on: April 16, 2018, 10:59:58 PM »
Just to be clear, KB can be used to organize a push for a 1,000-KENP limit, and it can be used to organize a push against such a limit. Or to organize some other push entirely. Posts that get ... territorial on such matters? not quite sure how to put it ... have been and will be deleted.

It's one thing to organize in favor of something.

It's quite another to organize against something someone's advocating (not organizing at all). As soon as someone starts trying to collect others and organize against something another member of KBoards is advocating, that's where the problem starts--because then it's not about discussing and debate anymore--it's politics. That's already gotten threads shut down today, apparently.

That's exactly what organizing against something is--politics. Maybe that's the word you're looking for, and KBoards is no place for naked, aggressive politics--whether electoral or within the forum.


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Offline Becca Mills

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #216 on: April 16, 2018, 11:31:37 PM »
It's one thing to organize in favor of something.

It's quite another to organize against something someone's advocating (not organizing at all). As soon as someone starts trying to collect others and organize against something another member of KBoards is advocating, that's where the problem starts--because then it's not about discussing and debate anymore--it's politics. That's already gotten threads shut down today, apparently.

That's exactly what organizing against something is--politics. Maybe that's the word you're looking for, and KBoards is no place for naked, aggressive politics--whether electoral or within the forum.

I guess it is "political," in that sense. Interesting point.

I think we do have to allow space for competing and/or contradictory efforts, though. Otherwise the forum becomes a first-come, first-served space, where whoever happens to begin organizing first pretty much gets sole rights to use the forum to further their effort, even if a substantial portion of the membership happens to disagree with that effort.

It is reasonable to ask competing organizers to adopt a hands-off or boundary-respecting attitude toward one another, I think, so that different efforts can use the space without coming into more conflict than is necessary. So, I'll do that now: let's keep this thread focused on the effort to build support for a KENP cap and to debate the wisdom of such a cap. Any effort to organize along different lines should get its own thread.

Online Lefevre

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #217 on: April 17, 2018, 11:32:56 AM »
I propose that AMZ just gets rid of KENP and makes it so people actually buy books...
Lefevre

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #218 on: April 17, 2018, 01:42:15 PM »
In six months, this problem won't be limited to the romance genre anymore.  The group of people doing this are headed for fantasy, thrillers, and mysteries next.

If you're in a non-romance genre, and particularly if you're a comfortable mid-lister in a non-romance genre, you should be concerned.  You have a vested interest in fixing this issue, because you're vulnerable.  They *will* blow into your market and do exactly what they did with romance, and if you think your market is invulnerable because your readers are somehow more discerning than romance readers, just wait.


This is just called capitalism. You really can't stop the inevitable. Amazon rewards fast, frequent content. Even outside of KU, Amazon's algos push new releases so much more than older books & then they fall off the cliff. One writer & their keyboard is like a hamster on a wheel trying to keep up & make a living self publishing. When people who are business-minded figure out that there is money to be made, they swoop in & create a business that provides a supply to meet the demand. Or when writers have too many ideas to write them all out, they turn themselves into publishing empires & get 'assistants' aka ghostwriters to help them keep up the pace with all the different characters, settings & series in their heads. James Patterson does it. The Nancy Drew series did it. Harlequin does it- at least if my friend's stories of being provided w/ exact outlines to write to make sure they stay in line w/ Harquelin's brand if they want to get paid for the book they write for Harlequin are any indication. Basically, expanding the business to meet the demand of hungry readers is as old as publishing itself.

Everyone who continues to demonize one group of authors/publishers is missing the much larger picture. Amazon doesn't have anything in place to limit the amount or frequency that self publishers can publish, & it's not going to put anything like that in place b/c it *likes* having lots of content available. [I am not sure why any self publisher would advocate to limit the amount of content they could publish or advocate for trad pub-like gatekeeping from Amazon. These things are not good for self publishing businesses.] Businesses have figured out how to get this content to people faster & they are always going to have an edge over an individual publisher. Therefore those of us who want to survive in this industry need to be thinking about how to produce their content faster. How to get our ideas out there in a way that keeps up w/ big business b/c this has in fact become big business. People spending $50k/month on advertising. People hiring lots of ghostwriters & editors. I personally see this as businesses being businesses & have no problem w/ that. I have friends who write for some of these 'content mills' & they make good money. Better money than my trad pub friends who get a small advance & see no other money, ever. Ghostwriting has become a viable way to make a living for a lot of authors & I see nothing wrong with that. In fact I think it's a good thing b/c it gives people jobs writing & how many people have you heard wishing there were more jobs where they could make money writing? Lots! When I read a good book I don't care if it's ghostwritten or not; I suspect a lot are. The businesses publishing genre fiction [of any type] know that & they make sure to produce well told stories that hit all the expected beats & give the readers what they want. They are never going to go out of business when they know how to give readers more & more of what they want, faster & easier than just one person writing it all.

Those who want to focus only on writing are free to do so but IMO it is short-sighted to think that it will always make good money. Self-publishing on Amazon was a gold rush & it still largely is & I for one am grateful for the chance to sell my words to readers & make any money from it at all. Sure, I'm not a huge fan of Amazon's vague & inconsistently enforced rules & it's definitely a love/hate relationship but I think blaming the platform that makes it possible & the businesses taking hold of the opportunity doesn't do a darn thing to help keep my own self publishing business sustainable. I actually like to learn about Internet marketing & business models that help me sell my words better. I don't have any hate for anyone & it pains me to read some of the vitriol on these threads; I think that we as writers & business people [which, as self publishers, all of us are] should come together to figure out ways to make our own words more competitive & our businesses sustainable. Trying to chase the big names out of top 100 romance [or any genre] publishing is not going to achieve that goal. Even if these people are doing something wrong [I don't believe it since they are consistently in the top 100 & have a lot fans & are in good standing w/ Amazon despite everyone claiming they're 'scammers' since, like, Idk, last year or so?], even if ya'all are somehow successful in getting them 'taken down' they will just resurface or others will just replace them. In all genres. Across the Kindle store & especially in KU. That is just the nature of business & capitalism. I feel ya'all are fighting a losing battle expecting it to get easier, rather than harder, for one man or woman & a keyboard to make good money self-publishing when it has now become a big business, especially if ya'all are just focused on taking down other people/businesses or making changes to the system that seem unlikely based on Amazon's own business model, rather than looking at your own business plan & deciding what you personally can do to get the content out there faster [if you're in KU or in the Kindle store in general- which clearly are systems that reward a lot of fast frequent content] or otherwise adapt to changing market conditions.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 01:48:15 PM by writerlygal »

Offline Edward M. Grant

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #219 on: April 17, 2018, 02:02:22 PM »
This is just called capitalism.

KU, which eliminates the price mechanism in the ebook market, has nothing to do with capitalism. Quite the opposite, in fact: it's basically socialism in the ebook world: 'pay us $9.99 a month in tax and we'll give you all the free books you want, comrades!'

Online Usedtoposthere

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #220 on: April 17, 2018, 02:53:23 PM »
As a businesswoman, I think the best way to have a long term career in the writing business lies in product and brand differentiation. In knowing the market segments you are aiming for and in satisfying them. The other way works too, obviously, but it is not really a writing career. It is a production/marketing career. I already had that career. No, thanks.

I wrote a post a while back called Get Off the Churn Train about how to do this. It was well received. If folks are interested, you can google it.

There is NOT one path to continued success. The people I know who are netting the big numbers are doing it by differentiation. By offering a unique product line and gaining author-loyal readers. That is a perfectly good and sustainable long term strategy, and the bonus is that you are unlikely to run afoul of Amazon pursuing it.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 03:04:35 PM by Usedtoposthere »

Online Jack Krenneck

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #221 on: April 17, 2018, 05:17:59 PM »
This reflects a very skewed view of the romance genre. And really is pretty offensive to romance readers. Books that are incomprehensible garbage (truly incomprehensible, not just bad boy romance that actually gets read) are likely being botted and not read. That can happen in any genre. And if there's a cap in one genre, they will just move to another genre.

If you mean legitimately written books that are simply stuffed, regardless of one person's perception of quality, which are not botted and actually read and enjoyed by readers, then that's insulting.

Readers like what they like.

I've modified my view recently, and it's mostly because I had a look through the Romance bestseller lists. I arrived at a similar conclusion to the above quote.

The words scammer and stuffer have been thrown around a lot. I don't doubt that both exist. But what I saw was mostly authors with bonus material. And these authors are being READ and LIKED by readers. Who can blame them? Readers can buy a book for 99 cents or borrow it for free. Either way, they're getting a large volume of reading material on the cheap. Readers want that. The authors are making money. And it's working for Amazon, otherwise it would have been shut down.

The people it wouldn't be working so well for are new authors, or slow-writing authors. These people won't have the volume of material available to provide bonus content, so they're at a competitive disadvantage. A lower KENP cap would benefit them. But not because it reduced scammers...but because it disadvantaged their more prolific competitors.

I think the word "scammers" is getting used too much and too purposefully. It's being used to create an emotional response.

To be clear, I'm not denying that scammers exist. (They should be hunted down and eradicated). I'm just saying that many of the supposed scammers are actually authors offering bonus content in accordance with Amazon rules. And that readers are reading them and liking it.

I don't much like the idea of "bonus" content. But it's not stuffing either. I don't much like free or 99 cents as a price point either. But just because I don't like it, or it's not the business model that I've chosen, doesn't mean it's scamming. 

In short, lowering the KENP cap would not be a legitimate solution to actual scamming. It would make some authors more competitive against other authors.

I'd suggest the real enemy is fake accounts and bot reads. And given what's happened recently, it seems that Amazon is taking major action on that front.

Offline katrina46

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #222 on: April 17, 2018, 05:28:46 PM »
It's one thing to organize in favor of something.

It's quite another to organize against something someone's advocating (not organizing at all). As soon as someone starts trying to collect others and organize against something another member of KBoards is advocating, that's where the problem starts--because then it's not about discussing and debate anymore--it's politics. That's already gotten threads shut down today, apparently.

That's exactly what organizing against something is--politics. Maybe that's the word you're looking for, and KBoards is no place for naked, aggressive politics--whether electoral or within the forum.
I just don't see the problem with organizing against something that you disagree with, or that will hurt your interest, political or not. The market place is political if nothing else. It always has been. It's set up on a foundation of political principles. People who would be hurt by this should not be expected to not voice an opposition. They have a right to be heard and considered. Then it's up to which, if either side, Amazon listens to. Seems fair.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 05:31:26 PM by katrina46 »

Offline David VanDyke

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #223 on: April 17, 2018, 05:33:53 PM »
 
KU, which eliminates the price mechanism in the ebook market, has nothing to do with capitalism. Quite the opposite, in fact: it's basically socialism in the ebook world: 'pay us $9.99 a month in tax and we'll give you all the free books you want, comrades!'


Hear, hear.

This is something that needs to be understood. KU is the opposite of market capitalism.

Markets are organic. They are, to a large extent, self-balancing, by natural forces. Minimal intervention (such as anti-monopoly action) is needed to keep things functioning.

KU is only influenced by the controls and rules of the owner of the system, Amazon. That's authoritarianism, combined with a weird form of socialism (forced redistribution of wealth).

All such artificial systems are vulnerable to manipulation. The more rule-based a system is, the more opportunity there is for manipulation and rent-seeking (note that rent-seeking is a technical term having nothing to do with renting property--it means figuring out a way to extract money without adding any value--look it up).

So, Amazon created a system that's fundamentally vulnerable to manipulation, that's fundamentally flawed, and has to be actively managed to keep any semblance of functional fairness. This is also called negative static stability, the tendency of a thing to become unbalanced without constant corrective input, like a person on a tightrope or a car with bad steering.

Durable, robust, or better yet, antifragile systems need to be designed with positive static stability--the tendency of something to self-balance, like water in a canal or a properly designed glider.

The best we'll ever do with such a flawed system is hope they eliminate the worst of the unbalancing elements and achieve neutral static stability.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2018, 05:38:24 PM by David VanDyke »


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Offline Crystal_

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Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« Reply #224 on: April 17, 2018, 05:36:50 PM »
This is just called capitalism. You really can't stop the inevitable. Amazon rewards fast, frequent content. Even outside of KU, Amazon's algos push new releases so much more than older books & then they fall off the cliff. One writer & their keyboard is like a hamster on a wheel trying to keep up & make a living self publishing. When people who are business-minded figure out that there is money to be made, they swoop in & create a business that provides a supply to meet the demand. Or when writers have too many ideas to write them all out, they turn themselves into publishing empires & get 'assistants' aka ghostwriters to help them keep up the pace with all the different characters, settings & series in their heads. James Patterson does it. The Nancy Drew series did it. Harlequin does it- at least if my friend's stories of being provided w/ exact outlines to write to make sure they stay in line w/ Harquelin's brand if they want to get paid for the book they write for Harlequin are any indication. Basically, expanding the business to meet the demand of hungry readers is as old as publishing itself.

Everyone who continues to demonize one group of authors/publishers is missing the much larger picture. Amazon doesn't have anything in place to limit the amount or frequency that self publishers can publish, & it's not going to put anything like that in place b/c it *likes* having lots of content available. [I am not sure why any self publisher would advocate to limit the amount of content they could publish or advocate for trad pub-like gatekeeping from Amazon. These things are not good for self publishing businesses.] Businesses have figured out how to get this content to people faster & they are always going to have an edge over an individual publisher. Therefore those of us who want to survive in this industry need to be thinking about how to produce their content faster. How to get our ideas out there in a way that keeps up w/ big business b/c this has in fact become big business. People spending $50k/month on advertising. People hiring lots of ghostwriters & editors. I personally see this as businesses being businesses & have no problem w/ that. I have friends who write for some of these 'content mills' & they make good money. Better money than my trad pub friends who get a small advance & see no other money, ever. Ghostwriting has become a viable way to make a living for a lot of authors & I see nothing wrong with that. In fact I think it's a good thing b/c it gives people jobs writing & how many people have you heard wishing there were more jobs where they could make money writing? Lots! When I read a good book I don't care if it's ghostwritten or not; I suspect a lot are. The businesses publishing genre fiction [of any type] know that & they make sure to produce well told stories that hit all the expected beats & give the readers what they want. They are never going to go out of business when they know how to give readers more & more of what they want, faster & easier than just one person writing it all.

Those who want to focus only on writing are free to do so but IMO it is short-sighted to think that it will always make good money. Self-publishing on Amazon was a gold rush & it still largely is & I for one am grateful for the chance to sell my words to readers & make any money from it at all. Sure, I'm not a huge fan of Amazon's vague & inconsistently enforced rules & it's definitely a love/hate relationship but I think blaming the platform that makes it possible & the businesses taking hold of the opportunity doesn't do a darn thing to help keep my own self publishing business sustainable. I actually like to learn about Internet marketing & business models that help me sell my words better. I don't have any hate for anyone & it pains me to read some of the vitriol on these threads; I think that we as writers & business people [which, as self publishers, all of us are] should come together to figure out ways to make our own words more competitive & our businesses sustainable. Trying to chase the big names out of top 100 romance [or any genre] publishing is not going to achieve that goal. Even if these people are doing something wrong [I don't believe it since they are consistently in the top 100 & have a lot fans & are in good standing w/ Amazon despite everyone claiming they're 'scammers' since, like, Idk, last year or so?], even if ya'all are somehow successful in getting them 'taken down' they will just resurface or others will just replace them. In all genres. Across the Kindle store & especially in KU. That is just the nature of business & capitalism. I feel ya'all are fighting a losing battle expecting it to get easier, rather than harder, for one man or woman & a keyboard to make good money self-publishing when it has now become a big business, especially if ya'all are just focused on taking down other people/businesses or making changes to the system that seem unlikely based on Amazon's own business model, rather than looking at your own business plan & deciding what you personally can do to get the content out there faster [if you're in KU or in the Kindle store in general- which clearly are systems that reward a lot of fast frequent content] or otherwise adapt to changing market conditions.

This is ridiculous. It's not business being business. There only reason why these masterminds can make bank now is the 3k KENPC limit. These are not savvy business owners who are putting out a great product people want. These are marketers exploiting a loophole on the system.

I don't know anyone who takes issue with publishers who use gw. Or publishers who do a lot of advertising. Or publishers who publish a lot of books. But a group that continually decieves other authors, knocks off covers, titles, and blurbs, uses poor formatting to increase pages, hides their use of bonus content, uses click to the back/epilogue after bonus content tricks, and uses stolen images in ads--

A lot of people have a problem with that.

And that's not even touching the low quality work they put out.