Author Topic: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.  (Read 3035 times)  

Offline Trina Lee

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2018, 07:42:26 PM »
I am curious, though, to know how many mid/high-5 to 6 figure authors got there without BB.

I didn't get my first BB until three years after I became a six figure author.

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Online P.J. Post

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #26 on: July 11, 2018, 08:48:16 PM »
That makes 3.  :)

Seriously, I'm not being whatever about it, I really am curious. Most/many of the financially successful writers we hear about seem to have BBs routinely factored into their promotion schedules, but obviously, there are lots of authors doing really well that we never hear about. And for those that don't use BB, or didn't until well after they had achieved financial success, I'm equally curious as to how they got there: publishing schedule, genres, etc. And not in a give me advice kind of way, just in an analytical/academic, that sure is interesting, kind of way.
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Offline David VanDyke

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #27 on: July 11, 2018, 10:37:53 PM »
That makes 3.  :)

Seriously, I'm not being whatever about it, I really am curious. Most/many of the financially successful writers we hear about seem to have BBs routinely factored into their promotion schedules, but obviously, there are lots of authors doing really well that we never hear about. And for those that don't use BB, or didn't until well after they had achieved financial success, I'm equally curious as to how they got there: publishing schedule, genres, etc. And not in a give me advice kind of way, just in an analytical/academic, that sure is interesting, kind of way.

Remember, how stats are framed changes the apparent meaning. Stats and anecdotes have to be defined and framed properly.

Example: 100% of people looking for their lost keys find them in the last place they look.

If you immediately thought that couldn't be true, remember: as soon as you find your keys, you stop looking. So that's the last place you looked. 100%.

Why do I say this? Because without a control group of those who tried and failed to go wide with a BB, and a control group of those who tried and failed without a BB, you have nothing. You only have a list of authors who succeeded, some with, and some without a BB. You might infer, broadly, for example, that if the same number of authors reported success with, and without a BB, then it doesn't matter--but that would also be false, because there are so many variables:

How many tried and failed completely
Who happens to be reading and replying to this thread
What genres they are in
How many BBers would have made it without the BB anyway
How many needed the BB or they would have failed
How big is their backlist
How long are their books
etc. etc. etc.

The samples size here is far too small. All we can be sure of is, it is possible to succeed wide, and it is possible to succeed without a BB, and BB probably helps in most cases.

Beyond that, YMMV wildly.

The only thing you can do to be sure is try it yourself, using the best methods and strategies you can find and employ.


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Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #28 on: July 12, 2018, 01:02:05 AM »
I'm curious, has anyone heard of anyone being page stripped this month? I haven't heard anything on other boards.

There's one mentioned on another thread: http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,264067.msg3688130.html#msg3688130
   

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Offline PaulineMRoss

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon
« Reply #29 on: July 12, 2018, 01:13:09 AM »
I hate to say it, but I think the better you do in KU, the more insulated you are from Amazon BS. You rarely see high earning authors losing their pages or getting rank stripped unless they're engaging in blackhat practices.

This is something that's been intriguing me for a while now. Since I suspect all of Amazon's policing is managed by bots, apart from the odd time the suits swoop in and clean up after a publicity mess, why would they pick on the people least likely to be using or benefiting from illegal page reads? And why the 50% business? And why are so many new releases affected? And why these hot genres, like GameLit and RH?

Personally, I think it's a programming error. Wild speculation: the bots are set to detect a surge in pages read that's very high relative to previous history. Maybe more than 50% higher than some previous estimate. If detected, it will strip the excess automatically, which triggers the nastygram. If this were so, then those with previous high page reads would be protected, whereas anyone who previously didn't sell much, switched to a hot genre and suddenly took off would be vulnerable.

But honestly, I don't think anyone knows for sure what's going on, and I'm not even sure Amazon knows. The bots are running the shop now.
   

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Offline Annie B

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #30 on: July 12, 2018, 02:13:27 AM »
I didn't get my first BB until three years after I became a six figure author.

I didn't get one until a year after my stuff took off. Still get rejected by them all the time.

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #31 on: July 12, 2018, 02:59:14 AM »
Quote
I hate to say it, but I think the better you do in KU, the more insulated you are from Amazon BS. You rarely see high earning authors losing their pages or getting rank stripped unless they're engaging in blackhat practices.

TBH, I think the better you do, the less time you have to watch your numbers like a hawk. You'll watch the money come into your bank account and if it looks like an acceptable amount, you're not going to go back and see if all pages are accounted for. You don't have time for that.

Re. Bookbub.

Most successful writers use Bookbub because they get accepted by Bookbub and it's useful, but not necessarily career-changing (says she, having my 15th Bookbub tomorrow).

I guess I should write a post entitled "Patty's guide to 100% guaranteed getting accepted by Bookbub". It involves time and dogged determination, just like selling short stories to a literary magazine. You play ping pong with submissions: if it comes back, send them something else. Rinse and repeat. Put on autopilot, for years, if necessary.

Or you can whinge and throw dummy spits about not getting accepted by Bookbub.

Or you can decide that Bookbub doesn't fit in your strategy.

That's fine, there are other ways. It doesn't suit all genres and is no magic pill. My new release earnings spike is usually much higher and broader than a Bookbub earnings spike.


Offline boba1823

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon
« Reply #32 on: July 12, 2018, 09:53:52 AM »
why would they pick on the people least likely to be using or benefiting from illegal page reads? And why the 50% business? And why are so many new releases affected? And why these hot genres, like GameLit and RH?

I recall someone asking a similar question about the 50 percent figure back a month or two ago, asking if the percentage of stripped pages was the same for other authors. As I recall, the responses cited a wide range of stripped pages - some just 10 percent or so, others up to maybe 80 percent, I think. Whatever the exact figures, it seemed to pretty much clear up the (mis)conception that Amazon is just taking 50 percent of page reads from everyone.

I've yet to see any developments that sway me from accepting the most plausible explanation: Amazon is simply stripping page reads that come from bot accounts.

Why the hot genres like GameLit? Probably because those are the genres that scammers are targeting. I know there was at least one popular GameLit author whose books disappeared from Amazon (probable account ban, like what happened over in Romanceland). And it's likely affecting new releases because that's what the scammers target in hope of cloaking their bot activity.

I'm not disposed to defend Amazon without reason; I very much share the sentiment of the OP, that Amazon absolutely should not be offering up-to-date reporting of page reads if it can't guarantee those figures, because people make decisions about ad spends based on that information. But I simply don't think it plausible that Amazon is stripping page reads based on unjustified suspicions. If we start hearing about Amazon restoring these page for many authors reads at a later date, though, I think that would be good evidence.

Offline Lee Sutherland

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #33 on: July 12, 2018, 10:37:56 AM »


In other words, the OP declared that going wide would result in less income than KU, and that without a BB, going wide would fail. I refuted that argument, explicitly without claiming that everyone who goes wide would definitely do as well as I have.

The OP said "wide bad." I said "maybe not."

Umm, I never said that.  I said it would hurt my income to quit being exclusive.  My income. Which it would, because over half my income is from KU.  Could that change in time?  Yes.  My readers are big in KU.  From other authors in my genre who have gone wide, they barely sell on the other platforms.  I know it takes time and a strategy to see success wide, but not one part of me wants to take another year to build an audience wide when I was so close to being full-time now under my current strategy I have invested 2 years in.

I don't want to go wide, but it feels like I am being forced to do so because of the way Amazon is conducting their business.  I like playing in one place and having all my data right there and only having to worry about promoting on one retailer.  I simply want Amazon to be more transparent in what it does and answer a F%@*!&$ email when I send them one.

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #34 on: July 12, 2018, 11:00:26 AM »
Which it would, because over half my income is from KU.  Could that change in time?  Yes.  My readers are big in KU.  From other authors in my genre who have gone wide, they barely sell on the other platforms.

Out of curiosity could this be because LitRPG doesn't have a category on other platforms? And, is this something that could be rectified with some contact with those other platforms? Just wondering.

Offline Lee Sutherland

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #35 on: July 12, 2018, 11:12:14 AM »
Out of curiosity could this be because LitRPG doesn't have a category on other platforms? And, is this something that could be rectified with some contact with those other platforms? Just wondering.

Litrpg doesn't have a category on Amazon either.  We put our books in various categories that fit what is in them, but there is no dedicated category for LitRPG or Gamelit.

Offline Trina Lee

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2018, 11:23:06 AM »
I didn't get one until a year after my stuff took off. Still get rejected by them all the time.

Yeah, they haven't accepted me in two years.

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Offline Bill Hiatt

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2018, 11:29:10 AM »
Remember, how stats are framed changes the apparent meaning. Stats and anecdotes have to be defined and framed properly.

Example: 100% of people looking for their lost keys find them in the last place they look.

If you immediately thought that couldn't be true, remember: as soon as you find your keys, you stop looking. So that's the last place you looked. 100%.

Why do I say this? Because without a control group of those who tried and failed to go wide with a BB, and a control group of those who tried and failed without a BB, you have nothing. You only have a list of authors who succeeded, some with, and some without a BB. You might infer, broadly, for example, that if the same number of authors reported success with, and without a BB, then it doesn't matter--but that would also be false, because there are so many variables:

How many tried and failed completely
Who happens to be reading and replying to this thread
What genres they are in
How many BBers would have made it without the BB anyway
How many needed the BB or they would have failed
How big is their backlist
How long are their books
etc. etc. etc.

The samples size here is far too small. All we can be sure of is, it is possible to succeed wide, and it is possible to succeed without a BB, and BB probably helps in most cases.

Beyond that, YMMV wildly.

The only thing you can do to be sure is try it yourself, using the best methods and strategies you can find and employ.
Spot on, both for the reasoning and for the advice.

One of our problems as indie writers is what a small amount of data we have to work with (mostly our own, with a little sprinkling of data from people who post publicly). That may be enough to reveal what's possible under the right circumstances, but not necessarily what those circumstances are or how often such a high point is achieved.
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Offline ParkerAvrile

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Re: An Open Letter to Amazon on stripped page reads and false reporting.
« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2018, 05:37:02 PM »
Agree we always have limited information from Amazon but this person has all the data they need to make what appears to me to be an easy decision. They want to be a full-time author. Unless my math is wrong (always possible), even their best month was around maybe $6K, and mostly their income is much lower. And they still have to pay for expenses like AMS ads. If they're an American, this is not a full-time income. It's all right income for a job with benefits but not for a business with expenses and double social security taxes and an ever-escalating spend on private health insurance.

KU is not getting them where they want to be. Even without the random page stripping. So it should be pretty durn easy to walk away.

My vote is to move on. If this genre only sells in KU, I would not only abandon KU but the genre. Write for people who have money to pay for the books they want. If that means a change of genre, so be it.
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