Author Topic: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED  (Read 41630 times)  

Offline MonkeyScribe

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #75 on: June 02, 2018, 12:20:05 PM »
Because it prevents scammers from getting a foothold on the program. Honest to God, I'm not worried about the small fraction of authors who will take a hit with such a cap. 1000 KENP is still extremely long (150-200k words). Not everyone will be pleased with the measures it's going to take to stop the scammers, but it'll eventually be the only way for KU to sort itself out.

It's either that or a gatekeeper of sorts.

I have a thirteen book series (legit novels of 70-90K words), and I like to bundle them up into collections when I'm done. The first in this bundle series has pulled in nearly $40,000 by itself in the last couple of years from borrows, reads, and purchases. There is no ambiguity in the titling, the books are only available individually or in this single collection, and the readers appreciate getting a steep discount on purchasing the books individually.

Given that what I'm doing is completely above board, not violating the ToS in any way, and is packaged much like print collections have been for a half century, if not longer, why make a new rule to wreck a strategy that is both working for the author and providing reader value?

Instead, I would like to see Amazon simply enforce the rules they've got, drop the ban hammer on scammers and stuffers, and other rather simple measures to keep out the bad actors.

Online boba1823

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #76 on: June 02, 2018, 12:27:12 PM »
Wouldn't that sort of thing strike readers as clearly manipulative and quite annoying?

Something like that might annoy the average reader, but I'm not sure that the average reader is the same as the kind of reader for this type of work.

For example: In general, I'd think that the average reader would be annoyed if, after buying/borrowing what appears to be a regular novel, it turns out that the title work is only 10-15k words and the rest of the book is 'bonus' material. Or if, after buying/borrowing what appears to be a Romance book, the work turns out to be.. well, basically a bunch of erotica scenes with maybe 2,500 words of added 'plot' with no character development and very few of the beats found in the typical Romance book. (Granted, I've only read a handful of these things, so maybe I'm basing this on a non-representative sample.. but these things were true of the ones I did read.)

Yet by all indications, these things that I would expect to be annoyances do not seem to be any real problem for books of this sort. So I can totally imagine "click to the back for the (actual) new story!" being something that readers of this sort would come to accept as normal.



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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #77 on: June 02, 2018, 12:30:23 PM »
Because it prevents scammers from getting a foothold on the program. Honest to God, I'm not worried about the small fraction of authors who will take a hit with such a cap. 1000 KENP is still extremely long (150-200k words). Not everyone will be pleased with the measures it's going to take to stop the scammers, but it'll eventually be the only way for KU to sort itself out.

It's either that or a gatekeeper of sorts.

I have a thirteen book series (legit novels of 70-90K words), and I like to bundle them up into collections when I'm done. The first in this bundle series has pulled in nearly $40,000 by itself in the last couple of years from borrows, reads, and purchases. There is no ambiguity in the titling, the books are only available individually or in this single collection, and the readers appreciate getting a steep discount on purchasing the books individually.

Given that what I'm doing is completely above board, not violating the ToS in any way, and is packaged much like print collections have been for a half century, if not longer, why make a new rule to wreck a strategy that is both working for the author and providing reader value?

Instead, I would like to see Amazon simply enforce the rules they've got, drop the ban hammer on scammers and stuffers, and other rather simple measures to keep out the bad actors.

We had a lengthy thread on the idea of lowering the KENP limit from 3,000 to 1,000 a couple months ago. Please revive that one rather than importing the argument to this one.

Offline Phxsundog

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #78 on: June 02, 2018, 12:32:28 PM »
I believe some of these scammers will go to greater extremes under the new rules. They'll try to hide extra content in books with no TOC heading and put ten lines of space between paragraphs to inflate their page count. An extension of what they're doing now. These tricks will become more obvious, more annoying to readers, and reportable to Amazon.

Offline sela

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #79 on: June 02, 2018, 12:36:02 PM »
I'm not convinced of anything until I see the biggest stuffers change their approach.

Currently, there are several stuffers in the top 100 romance category. Their books are stuffed to the gills with bonus books far exceeding the 10% limit. But at least now Amazon has it in writing. Whether the bots can detect it properly and whether the process for adjudicating the TOS infraction are fair is another question.

I have hope, but all the problems authors have been having with KU and their accounts being shut down, rank disappearing, reviews disappearing, etc. have made me really push to go wide again. Right now, I have only one series in KU and I am rethinking whether I should go ahead with my plan to release a new series in KU.

UGH. I hate that KU has been a scammer-magnet, making it harder for those of us who follow the rules...

Offline RBN

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #80 on: June 02, 2018, 12:52:42 PM »
Wouldn't that sort of thing strike readers as clearly manipulative and quite annoying? As a reader, I could pretty easily ignore stuff that comes after the thing I want to read, but making me search through a bunch of other books for the thing I want to read would  p*ss  me off. I think there'd be returns, and Amazon would hear complaints.

Readers are not as big a part of this business model as some might think. They're often just a happy accident in conjunction with a loop that generates thousands of dollars per member per month without any external involvement. Then the cult of personality comes into play, "befriending" and coaching those readers in the fine art of "helping" a poor, struggling author survive in a cold, cruel world.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #81 on: June 02, 2018, 01:02:01 PM »
whether the process for adjudicating the TOS infraction is fair is another question.



That's my big concern. The bots can only sift and locate suspects. The new mandate is more an appeal for compliance than a hard-fast rule they can enforce without producing a lot of collateral damage.


Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #82 on: June 02, 2018, 01:05:53 PM »
I have a thirteen book series (legit novels of 70-90K words), and I like to bundle them up into collections when I'm done. The first in this bundle series has pulled in nearly $40,000 by itself in the last couple of years from borrows, reads, and purchases. There is no ambiguity in the titling, the books are only available individually or in this single collection, and the readers appreciate getting a steep discount on purchasing the books individually.

Given that what I'm doing is completely above board, not violating the ToS in any way, and is packaged much like print collections have been for a half century, if not longer, why make a new rule to wreck a strategy that is both working for the author and providing reader value?

Instead, I would like to see Amazon simply enforce the rules they've got, drop the ban hammer on scammers and stuffers, and other rather simple measures to keep out the bad actors.
You are making a good point, and I don't really want to see legitimate authors lose what has been a useful strategy. However, I also think the scammers will take books with bonus content and relabel them as box sets. Maybe that will be less appealing to readers. Maybe not. But is there a way to prevent this kind of modified scam without eliminating box sets?

I'm not sure how easy it would be to get the bots to do this, but one way might be to require common subject matter (for instance, all the books are in the same series) and that each component be a certain length. A bot won't be able to judge subject matter for books that aren't in a series but that might be related in some way (like all of an author's novels under a particular pen name), but at least if Amazon had a policy, a real human might look if there were enough complaints.

Of course, there are still anthologies--but they don't have as much reader appeal, so I'm not as worried about scammers using that avenue.


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Online she-la-ti-da

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #83 on: June 02, 2018, 01:27:20 PM »
Who's to say KU3 won't be coming July 1 once these stuffed books get properly labeled? ;)

Well, I guess there's a little hope buried in my heart, but I also know that anytime Amazon tweaks something, or shakes up KU, I end up losing. I get knocked back to making a couple of dollars, and have to build back up again as best I can. I only have some niche shorts in KU now, because nothing else I have works in the program. I was gradually building up to some nice money, considering what they were (not erotica), and then the September Sobbing happened. I haven't gotten back to where I was, and actually steadily decline.

But, if this works, and more is coming down the road, I'll be happy, because I have friends who are hurt by how this mess is going, and I want them to be able to compete against real authors, not botted SEO scams.

I believe some of these scammers will go to greater extremes under the new rules. They'll try to hide extra content in books with no TOC heading and put ten lines of space between paragraphs to inflate their page count. An extension of what they're doing now. These tricks will become more obvious, more annoying to readers, and reportable to Amazon.

I'm sure some will go to the extra work, but will it gain them enough to be worth it? The majority of them aren't going after legitimate readers, they're paying click farms to bot them up in the ranks. It's expensive to stay on top and get bonuses, lots of bots and ads to run. Make it harder to make the big bucks, and many of them will move on.

Don't forget, a lot of these folks aren't like us, aren't writing because they love telling stories. They're SEO scammers out to make the easy money. Warrior Forum types, looking for that mythical passive income that will make them millionaires in a week sorts of things. They don't want too many real readers, because those people don't want to read 3K KENPC books full of junk.
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Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #84 on: June 02, 2018, 01:33:50 PM »
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...
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Offline P.J. Post

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #85 on: June 02, 2018, 01:40:59 PM »
So, going from observation to strategy: for those of us about to publish a box set, how does this change the game? Not necessarily from Zon's pov, but from that of the sales shelf?

Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #86 on: June 02, 2018, 01:43:53 PM »
@P.J. Post

Present it as a bona fide box set and I think you will be fine. As in clearly indicated in the cover, title, blurb.
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Online Becca Mills

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #87 on: June 02, 2018, 01:55:16 PM »
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...

Dude, this is the cruelest tease ever!

"I know what all your presents are. They're really ... striking. I'm not saying you won't like them. I mean, you might not. But I think you will. Probably. Do you like orange? I'm not saying they *are* orange, but orange might have something to do with them. They could be orange. Orange adjacent. Well, some people might call it puce. Colors, you know -- it's hard to say. And the shape. No, I'm just not going to go there. Can't wait for tomorrow, though. Your face when you open them -- hooboy! Yep, can't wait. That reminds me, do we have a fire extinguisher?" - David on Christmas Eve

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #88 on: June 02, 2018, 02:06:05 PM »
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...
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Online Dpock

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #89 on: June 02, 2018, 02:21:35 PM »
What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something.

The only thing that happened over the past week is Amazon's TOS clarification on bonus material. Or did I miss something?

A couple months ago erotica rankings disappeared and reappeared a week later.

For the past two months in a row, many authors had KENP pages removed from their accounts and received threating notices. (Take deep breaths before checking your mail June 10-11 when the new round begins).

Random Amazon page layouts have been shifting back and forth for over a month now.

Another round of reviews disappearing and reappearing occurred recently. (Did they amend their TOS regarding ARCs? I don't recall.)

The AMS dash reports it'll be down for nine hours June 9.

The above could be clues to something big coming down the road.   

Tiffanygate and Cockygate are separate issues (from Amazon itself, though both are occurring on Zon's platform).




Offline levz

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #90 on: June 02, 2018, 03:00:53 PM »
"I know what all your presents are. They're really ... striking. I'm not saying you won't like them. I mean, you might not. But I think you will. Probably. Do you like orange? I'm not saying they *are* orange, but orange might have something to do with them. They could be orange. Orange adjacent. Well, some people might call it puce. Colors, you know -- it's hard to say. And the shape. No, I'm just not going to go there. Can't wait for tomorrow, though. Your face when you open them -- hooboy! Yep, can't wait. That reminds me, do we have a fire extinguisher?" - David on Christmas Eve

LOL.  That made me laugh.  :)

Still, I'm glad to see the new verbiage Amazon's now made even more explicit and look forward to seeing any of these new/extra changes David's hinted are coming up. 

Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #91 on: June 02, 2018, 03:02:17 PM »
Still, I'm glad to see the new verbiage Amazon's now made even more explicit and look forward to seeing any of these new/extra changes David's hinted are coming up.

"Developments in this matter" would be more accurate than "changes." I wish I could be more explicit, but I can't.
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Offline K.B.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #92 on: June 02, 2018, 03:31:23 PM »
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...

No, David. You can't do this. I'm relaunching my pen name over the next three months. If it's going to be a turbulent time, I might wait.

Offline dgaughran

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #93 on: June 02, 2018, 03:38:42 PM »
No, David. You can't do this. I'm relaunching my pen name over the next three months. If it's going to be a turbulent time, I might wait.

I'm in the same boat. Not worried. I don't have special knowledge of what Amazon might do, but I'm not worried about that side of things. No one knows whatever the hell Amazon might do but there's no reason to worry more than your usual base level of worry.

Now, if I was a stuffer or clickfarmer or review purchaser or whatever, I might be a little twitchy.
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Online Atlantisatheart

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #94 on: June 02, 2018, 03:49:42 PM »
I'm in the same boat. Not worried. I don't have special knowledge of what Amazon might do, but I'm not worried about that side of things. No one knows whatever the hell Amazon might do but there's no reason to worry more than your usual base level of worry.

Now, if I was a stuffer or clickfarmer or review purchaser or whatever, I might be a little twitchy.

I'm not a stuffer, a clickfarmer, or a review purchaser, and I've always played by the rules, but after the rank stripping, the page culling, and the history of KU poop-ups after every change - I'm more than twitchy - I'm bricking it because I just don't trust amazon.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #95 on: June 02, 2018, 04:14:11 PM »
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...

Wow. Now I need a tranquilizer, I may not make it another few weeks!

Oh, well. Going to continue in my efforts to get all my stuff not in KU wide, and some of it in print. If KU settles down and looks more friendly, I might release a new book in, see how it goes. I've got a while before I need to think about that.
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Offline BGArcher

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #96 on: June 02, 2018, 06:06:21 PM »
So I'm of two minds. Let's say I have an erotica pen name. A lot of money from that channel comes from bundles. Meaning, I say up front this is a bundle of shorts. That should be fine right? Second, My other pen names (aka mysteries) will only have the one novel, plus a bonus chapter or two from other books. In both cases I'm in the clear correct?

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #97 on: June 02, 2018, 06:48:42 PM »
So I'm of two minds. Let's say I have an erotica pen name. A lot of money from that channel comes from bundles. Meaning, I say up front this is a bundle of shorts. That should be fine right? Second, My other pen names (aka mysteries) will only have the one novel, plus a bonus chapter or two from other books. In both cases I'm in the clear correct?

You'll be fine. Just make sure your bonus chapters follow the 10% guideline (of the titled book, not 10% of another book your catalog).


Offline BGArcher

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #98 on: June 02, 2018, 07:49:12 PM »
You'll be fine. Just make sure your bonus chapters follow the 10% guideline (of the titled book, not 10% of another book your catalog).

That's what I figured. I do have romance pen names where I would add a bonus book in the back, simply because everyone else would do it. I have no problem changing that policy going forward.

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Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« Reply #99 on: June 02, 2018, 09:19:26 PM »
"...and other stories."

I'm with the person who said all we'll see is a title change, nothing more. They'll turn everything into boxed sets.

Tia Siren is already trying this. It's just a parenthesis added to the title.



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