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Messages - WasAnn

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Filled up my slots with some interesting future reads! Good luck to everyone!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Wish me luck - I'm going wide
« on: Today at 04:01:42 AM »
Good luck and enjoy the ride. I know it's scary, but for people in your position (and mine) who aren't forced to pay bills with the income, it's also less risky. Let that bring down the adrenaline when you get nervous. You have time to do it right. Like you, I only too out of KU what I didn't actually need in there, and it does take time.

Bookbubs help and they are much easier to get on wide books, so do toss that one into the pot of to-dos.

Writers' Cafe / Re: I Made Every Mistake & Now Starting Over
« on: Today at 03:50:59 AM »
If your goal is commercial success, then focus on getting out three books in the same genre very close together. Don't alternate until you have tickled the algos with one series. Seriously.

And short stories have a purpose, but it isn't to make a mint.

Short stories as an art form are incredibly difficult to get right, and rarely bring in the gold. Where those *are* useful, if you're not going for the perfect form, is as practice. Keep the ones you do in files to use when asked to be in anthologies.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Feedback on female body cover illustration
« on: January 19, 2018, 03:16:17 PM »
While I'm in the camp with the boobs come in all shapes people, I can also say than anyone doing an active job like a cop...where there might be running, tackling, bending...would not have their shirt so tight they can't even pull their arms back.

That's not a physical body type or feminist issue. That's just mechanics. Unless you're making her a woman who's shirt flies open every time she cuffs a perp, then it's not logical. And the notion of buttons flying off with every deep breath IS a sexualized female/ male fantasy, so...

And yes, I spent over 28 years in the military. Most of that time was with measurements in which my boobs were 8 inches more than my hips...and very low bodyfat. So, I know what I'm talking about. T-shirts stretch, oxfords don't.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Good sources of Urban Fantasy stock photos?
« on: January 11, 2018, 04:00:13 PM »
Try the new guys in town - Neo Stock - I've had a few from here and yes, they are pricey but there are some free samples too.

$25 a pop and you will need to manipulate them - they can't be used "as is"; they're for designers.

Neo-Stock is awesome sauce and they're doing new shoots all the time. Plus, if you communicate what you'd like to seem more of (and enough other people do too) they'll do it!

Writers' Cafe / Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« on: January 11, 2018, 10:06:17 AM »
*pours everyone drinks*

They were probably testing something and accidentally rolled it out. That's an error. No conspiracy here.

My thoughts: the 50% is either for books over $9.99 (Kobo's been really pushing for authors to price their books higher, so this move makes sense), or for authors who want to be in KU without exclusivity.

Either way, nothing's happening yet.

Again, it showed up only for the pricing option of between 2.99 and 9.99. So no, it's not for over or under. Whatever this is, no one enters that kind of elaborate coding to change a dashboard and all the calculations behind it by accident. Yes, we saw it by accident, but that's a whole other matter.

Whatever it is, it's coming.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What in the world is this? New rate coming at KDP?
« on: January 11, 2018, 03:40:37 AM »
I think what everyone speculating has missed is that the 50% "glitch" only showed up when the pricing was $2.99 - $9.99...not below it. That makes it exceedingly unlikely that this has anything to do with the $1.99 sales point, which we all agree would be a better place to up a royalty for promotions.

So, probably not anything below 2.99 or above 9.99...which leaves the prime territory for our 70% royalty. And 50 is below 70.

Glitch? Yeah, no. No one accidentally enters the kind of code needed for that. It's no glitch. It's something in progress that got seen early purely accidentally, but is coming.

I still can't think of a good reason for this to be there. Non-exclusive KU? Maybe. Or maybe it really is that KDP-S will get 70 and the rest will get 50.

Whatever it is, we'll see eventually.

Writers' Cafe / Re: 2018 - let the pricing chaos begin...
« on: January 02, 2018, 07:07:32 AM »
All I can see is that more than half the titles have no pricing on them and are "not currently available for purchase". This appears to affect mainly (not solely, but mainly) tradpub titles.

I went and looked to see what you meant, but everything had a price and was available in the US store where I looked. SF/F. Are you looking something other than .com? Can you screenshot?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon yanking sales ranking after a Bookbub promo
« on: January 02, 2018, 06:18:54 AM »
I've just blogged about this topic again. Author Kristi Belcamino was just rank stripped for a third time. You can read the whole sorry saga here:


1. She was rank-stripped immediately on going free, just like in December.

2. She was rank-stripped before any promo services kicked in.

Seems it is necessary to state that explicitly before people start saying "it's BookBub!".

This isn't a BookBub problem (or some crazy attempt by Amazon to force people into AMS). It's an Amazon problem.

I finally gave up on the nearly two years of tracking I've been doing on the scammers and the incidental impacts to indies. I wrote a long response on your blog, but the upshot is: We are treated like lesser beings.

That's the bottom line. Of all the tradpubs I've tracked, their problems are sorted within hours while an indie can wind up on the trouble list and experience repeated issues.

Risk factors are fairly plain and easy to see. Highest risk of this is for anyone in Select that does a free promo. Second is Select that does a discounted promo and has a much higher velocity than their history (which is super easy to trigger if you get a good promo slot). Third is wide free. Fourth and final is wide and paid, but with a very high velocity rate.

#4 generally winds up with a two to three hour rank strip for second level checking, but the other three carry with them the potential for very long term impacts.

How do we make them listen? How do we demand change effectively? How do we stop the increasingly apparent stance from Amazon that indies are all criminals and thieves first, and honest writers second?

Jason - Quick question...are you guys doing website redesign?

You assume anyone will get anything, Jan. When she loses, there will be a judgement against her, nothing more. She would only need to pay her lawyer about $500 to file bankruptcy. I can pretty much guarantee that's what she'll do.

I'm not sure that would work. I was browsing cases and found several instances of non-dischargability of SLAPP and SLAPPBACK awards. Is that becoming the standard so that people bringing vexatious lawsuits can't avoid paying the price for doing that to people?

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 30, 2017, 06:21:34 AM »
Karen, thanks for the detailed answer. I'd heard romance was increasingly competitive, but I hadn't understood how much it'd changed. And some say urban fantasy, which I write, is going the same way. I guess we'll see if it continues to be possible to sell stories in the most popular genres. Best of luck with your change in focus.

It's getting crowded, but the reader base is also growing, which means there's plenty of room for quality work. Fun times!

Writers' Cafe / Re: A Few ACX Questions
« on: December 30, 2017, 06:19:36 AM »
First off, you should read the entire selection of pages on ACX. Not just the rights holder one, but also the one for producers and narrators. You'll be coming from a much more informed space after that.

Second - I found an actor who had been doing audio for libravox as a volunteer and I loved, loved, loved her voice. BUT, she'd never done paid gigs before on the ACX platform. So, she also had nothing on her CV for professional audio.

Because her voice was so amazing, it was worth it to me to be patient, help her figure out this platform, and generally do more than normal to ensure the product would be good. I also went with royalty share, which I normally wouldn't do. I've been lucky in that Amazon and Audible teamed up to do previous work of mine and paid for top-notch talent that there's no way I could have afforded. I learned a lot through that process. Paying up front is far nicer for the narrator because they may never earn out that much in pure royalties. Of course, they might earn ten times more, but one never knows if that will happen or not.

My suggestion? For a narrator just learning the process with nothing on their CV, (but worth the work on your end), go for $75 pfh or royalty share. Go up based on performance for each follow on book. Getting well produced books on their ACX page will help them secure further work.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 30, 2017, 06:11:13 AM »
You've raised some excellent questions! Most of the books I've written have been contemporary romance. The market is now flooded and it has become more difficult to sell books. (Some NYT bestsellers have reported earning just 10% of the income that they made a few years ago when the competition for readers wasn't so stiff.) In 2013 and 2014, it wasn't that difficult to make five figures a month selling romance novels. Now it's a grind to make four figures, and you have to write and publish a book a month if you want to keep selling. I know romance writers who are pushing it and putting out a new book every three weeks just to remain competitive in the marketplace.
After a series of unfortunate events in my personal and professional life, I took a break from the "book a month" cycle. I was burnt out and wanted to do something different. I'm now in the process of rebranding and moving towards mystery and suspense. Right now, there is still some room in that genre to make money, but I need to build a backlist, which I'll be doing in 2018.

Your reasons are familiar! LOL. I got asked the same thing, but rather than money, mine is about doing something new and getting over the burnout. I write SF and post-apocalyptic, which isn't as crushing as CR, but pretty crowded. I do great, but I decided the churn was too much. I took a year (or two) to really craft books I could love...really craft them.

Having those letters is great and I'm very appreciative that I have bestselling creds, but it isn't what keeps me writing. Right now I have a book in the Prime library, which is nice and validating, but I still want to do this thing...this new and different thing.

Nice to have another person who understands that feeling so entirely. I'm soon to be ready to do mine, but want both books in the duology done before I submit book one.

It's fun to have this new form of challenge, isn't it?

Thanks for the link to the interesting article. That's the thing about SLAPP suits...they cost a lot when they get anti-SLAPPED and all of the money being spent by all these people will come right back to them from the person trying to SLAPP them.

What's most interesting is that a SLAPP suit is easy to see from the outside, yet people still file them.

Writers' Cafe / Re: $400 Cover Book Illustration by Alberto Besi
« on: December 22, 2017, 02:51:55 PM »
Your work continues to amaze! Beautiful!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 18, 2017, 06:05:27 PM »
Yes, the Scout model is a little bit more self-serve: get the basic editing done, get a good cover done, etc. before the work is even submitted. The feedback we get on mechanics is inconsistent. Some people are told their manuscript was rejected because of typos, while other people are reporting manuscripts with a lot of typos getting into circulation. On the whole, though, it makes sense that they'd tighten up. Let's hope that does lead to having more marketing money for the ones that do make it.

I've been doing my research, buying up former scout picks from all the way back to the beginning and looked for quality and grammar issues, as well as anything else of note. You're spot on. The quality varies quite a lot, some typos so glaring that any second read through by an editor should have caught them making it through to publication, while others are pristine and beautifully done.

I have to wonder if that's really more the work of the author pre-selection than anything else.

I've decided to send mine through all the editors, just as I would with a normal release, before submitting. It's expensive, time consuming, and shouldn't be necessary, but it's not worth risking a rejection if they really aren't doing close editing. I'd suggest that going through all the edits might be in any scouter's best interest given the variations.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 16, 2017, 09:59:41 AM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences.

Kindle Press, like every other trad publisher, doesn't give the same treatment to all books, just as you point out.  The definition of "featured Amazon marketing" is very flexible.

I wouldn't recommend Scout for people who already sell really well on their own. Chances are if an author is making a living on his or her writing, Kindle Press is unlikely to do better. On the other hand, for a complete newbie or a prawn, Kindle Press might make a significant difference. When I look at the reversion terms (less than $25,000 in any five-year period, less than $500 in any twelve-month period), that's typically more than I make on a single book within a comparable time frame. Actually, only one book has made more than that for me in twelve months (ironically, my first Scout reject). That means that even if KP did the minimum for me, I might conceivably do better than I could do on my own. If I didn't, I could more easily get the rights reverted than with any other publisher.

For people looking for agents, it's always nice to have a publishing credit other than straight self-publishing. That might be another reason for trying out Scout.

It's a good thing to try if one has reasonable expectations. Kindle Press isn't likely to have the impact of a Big Five publisher or even one of the other Amazon imprints, but it could get an author more exposure than he or she could get on his or her own.

Lots of good thoughts here, but I bolded a couple of them in particular. Like you said, I'm not your logical Scout applicant. Lots of books, Bestseller listed, books in Prime Reading...blah, blah, blah.

BUT, that's where the bolded part comes in. Like a lot of indies, I experienced some burnout. I didn't love the rapid fire requirement to stay on top of the algos, so I took a year and a half off (well, one book, six anthos, two charity anthos, a magazine, a duology collection...but no series). I wanted to really craft the books I had in the hopper.

Taking a year plus off is killer on any indie. Killer. Given my current sales, the reversion terms are about what I'd make for the new duology, so it's not the money. BUT, KS offers us a new and exciting way to reach new readers, pre-build anticipation with a new audience, and maybe--just maybe--get some of that Amazon algo love.

So, while I do agree with you that this is the perfect venue for a debut author, I think more indies than we might otherwise guess are also a good fit. Invigorating, new, with higher stakes, and the real possibility of failure or success...all very heady stuff.

Many of the Scouters here have done it several times. Some of you have loads of books in your signatures now. None of those indies are now debut...but rather experienced Scouters who love the challenge. That's also fun, the challenge. So, I wouldn't say anyone in particular isn't a good candidate for Scouting. We all do it for different reasons. I enjoy following along with their journeys too.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 15, 2017, 04:19:25 PM »
To those believing that KS is now a popularity contest...I don't think so. While I don't work for the mighty Zon, I do know they utilize algos and metrics in ways unmatched in the private sector. Possibly better than the public sector!

While that wording is awkward and gives a very wrong impression, which they should revisit, what I think is left out of that is the secret sauce. Naturally, they can't mention the secret sauce, but they could do better.

The verbiage could be altered to be...insufficient customer engagement. That is, I think, a far appropriate and probably accurate description.

They know exactly what every single scouter does on a page. They know how long they looked, how far down the read, if they gave up on the sample halfway through, if they clicked nomination without finishing the sample, if they gave feedback when the popup shows up. They know everything.

If a thousand people click to your page, and you get 100 nominations, you have a 10% success rate. But wait...did you get 15 of those nominations without scrolling with sufficient slowness down the sample? Hmm. Did 500 of those who clicked not even bother to expand the sample and not nominate?

As scouters here, we show support to each other, but I'm not sure that support is useful when it's an auto-click. Read each one all the way through, give feedback, LOOK like you actually want to read the book.

So, while we can't know for sure what's in the secret sauce, we know they love algos. It's easy to set up a customer behavior algo that tests engagement. I wouldn't take the popularity contest idea literally. If it were, then those with the most time on hot and trending would get it every time. They don't. Not even close. Look instead at the concept of engagement and work from there.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Prime Reading Experiences?
« on: December 15, 2017, 04:46:22 AM »
Hi - hope it's not too late to resurrect this topic, but I have a question that doesn't seem to have been asked before. I had the email offering to put one of my books in to the program about 3 weeks ago and I eagerly accepted. It's the first book I have in a series which is ranking about #5000 at the moment so I'm quite excited about the possibilities it may create.

However - since accepting - I have not heard anything. I was just wondering, for those of you that have been offered a place in the program, how long after the email were you included? Weeks? Months?

Yes, I guess I'm being impatient but it's a little frustrating receiving  the offer and then not knowing if/ when it's going to happen.

In case you're still wanting an answer. I got approached for a PR book a few weeks ago, signed and returned it. I had heard that they sometimes wait until a quarter or even the next quarter for inclusion, so I didn't expect anything to happen quickly. Woke up this morning to a notification that the book is in Prime Reading. So...I think it varies quite a lot in terms of response time and inclusion into the program.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 15, 2017, 04:39:35 AM »
Whoa...all these glitches are a bit worrisome. Given that there have been serious glitches on the KDP side the last two weeks, I'm wondering if they had a major server or computer issue, maybe an intrusion attempt or who knows what else.

But also, I think it's a relatively small group doing the KS work. Think a circle of editors--perhaps one to two per genre--a tech liaison and an admin person. Given that, mistakes will happen.

Today is my first day with a book in Prime Reading, so I was hoping to go into KS with my next book during that period in order to boost interest, but I think I'll hold off until the holidays are over and things are sorted in KS.

Really sorry to hear of the latest round of rejections, because there was some quality material in there for them to work with. Hope everyone has a marvelous launch.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 13, 2017, 04:40:35 PM »

On a side note, it looks like a lot of people on this forum are releasing their books for only 99 cents at launch. Is this to stay current and competitive with the market?

Not sure about how I feel listing it for that low a price, unless it was only for a short period of time as a promotion.

I'll tell you why I do it. Maybe that will help some with decisions.

I do it because I want my newsletter folks to be able to get it at a low price...which also urges them to buy during those first crucial days instead of waiting. I'd rather sacrifice a little in royalties and get a few hundred sales which will boost rankings and make Amazon show my book to loads of other folks, who will eventually pay full price. 99 cents is still within the impulse "almost no money" zone for people, even those who are total bargain shoppers.

Would I do that if I didn't have a whole lot of folks on my list? Probably not, unless I could arrange a whole lot of advertising.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Kindle Scout experiences & Nomination Requests (MERGED)
« on: December 13, 2017, 04:34:30 PM »
Query time: to become an official bestseller, it only has to hit #1 in one of the selected categories, right??

Rachel Wollaston | YA/Fantasy author

Just a friendly tip here: Don't do it.

Getting that #1 in a category, particularly a sub-sub-category with the next highest ranking book somewhere in the five digits, does not a best-seller make. It absolutely ruins your credibility because it's super easy to check the best rank a book ever achieved.

I'm a USAT and WSJ Bestseller (#14 and #4). I'm also Amazon BS (love that oh so many times. I never once called myself a bestseller until I hit those official lists. If you hit #1 in the PAID side of Amazon, then you can too, but only if that Amazon caveat is before it. Some people do it if they hit top 100 of all of Amazon on the PAID side.

If you're hitting a small subcat, don't do it. Just don't.

Writers' Cafe / Re: First Person Present Tense (FPPT)
« on: December 12, 2017, 03:24:54 PM »
I love it! I love to read it and write it. It's immersive if done properly. Done badly and it's like being in the shower with someone you hate while they do their thing. But yeah, I love it overall.

From other threads I've seen, you're not necessarily put in the next batch after you're invited to the program, which I guess is why they don't tell you when it is!

You're right about that. The email doesn't say which quarter it will be. That's weird. When they want to do a KDD or something they tell me which quarter...then the month and day when I agree. I guess this is super different.

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