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Messages - Dpock

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Doubtful. There aren't many things that will bring in six figures a month for as little effort as they have to put in. How much effort does it take to buy ghostwritten books? Or hire someone to slap covers on them? Hire bot/click farms on Fiverr? Buy and sell newsletter lists with your BHM buddies? The tools to create/manage multiple accounts and the books in them are all available in the usual places, and no doubt they've got tools now to automate AMS ad campaigns. Better yet, hire a shady PA to do it all for you so you can sit back and sip champagne while you chat with your fans on FB.

I suspect it takes a lot of effort, organization, capital, and brass round-shaped things to really pull it off. It's quite a commitment. It requires an abundance of really dark energy.

And of course, it takes a market for schemes to work. I think that's where things got really skewed. I'm not sure what came first, the scammers, or the market for scammers, but I doubt the market for ex-navy seal bad-boy billionaires is really so huge. That's where the bots came in, both for lifting ranks and generating page reads.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: Today at 08:52:24 AM »
Maybe this is a UK-centric view, but Chromebooks are no longer cheaper than the cheapest Windows 10 laptops.

In the U.S. you can buy a decent Chromebook for $150. A quick look at cheap Windows laptops came in around $200.

I think it definitely disproves the popular theory that some authors are too big for Amazon to boot.

Some might think "Amazon is stupid to do this. They make them a lot of money."  Personally, I'm of the mindset that nature abhors a vacuum.  Others will rise to fill those spaces.

For now, at least, KU gaming has been dealt a serious blow. Many of the victims of yesterday's sweep still had uncamouflaged stuffed books on their shelves and in a sense were asking for it.

I'm not sure where they can go next. The triple-spacing, large font schemes have been largely disproven as effective in manipulating KENP.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: Yesterday at 09:33:33 PM »
No hard drive? So, does that mean everything is in the cloud?

Your choice. I attached an external HD to my Chromebook to save everything locally too.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: Yesterday at 03:24:56 PM »
I have a Macbook so I can work anywhere. When I'm in my office, I plug it into a setup like this...

I don't know how anyone uses the Mac keyboard or mouse that comes with their desktops. I first thing I did with my iMac was toss both in the bin. It was the same with a new Lenovo desktop keyboard and mouse -- utterly useless.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: Yesterday at 10:16:03 AM »

I am thinking of getting an Apple desktop for Velum and to upload to iBooks.  I might just try to get a used one, because I think the Chromebook can be my daily computer.  I'm happy with no frills.

If only for Vellum, you can buy a Mac Mini pretty cheap and attach it to a large monitor.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: Yesterday at 09:37:31 AM »
A few months ago the latest Windows update completely destroyed my 2 year old laptop.  I don't ever want to use the Windows operating system ever again.

My rather expensive Lenovo desktop, also two years old, was nearly destroyed by an April Windows update. It got stuck in a "self-repair" mode until I found a Youtube video workaround. Once I was able to boot Windows, it refused to validate my account via "activation". It asked for the product key. Fine, where is it? It's not on my receipt (from Bestbuy), the box, the back of the computer. So, now when I use the Lenovo, I'm a "guest" -- on my own computer. If I restart it I lose everything saved to its hard-drive, so I NEVER TURN IT OFF. Once a week I hear a ding telling me Windows is going to install an update. If I don't catch it, when I start it up again I have to re-sign in everywhere I go, download Chrome, etc., in short, it's a pain.

My backup ASUS desktop running Windows 7, almost ten years old, works flawlessly. I replaced the HD last Fall. That's it for maintenance.

My ASUS Chromebook works like charm. I plan to buy a desktop version when more become available. I only need a PC to run Photoshop Elements, and hope there'll be a Chromebase alternative soon so I can ditch Windows once and for all.

Writers' Cafe / Re: What's the best laptop for writing?
« on: Yesterday at 07:33:50 AM »
Consider giving up Word and switching to a Chromebook and Google Docs. Chromebooks are so cheap they're nearly disposable.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Mailerlite Glitch
« on: Yesterday at 07:30:49 AM »
There may also be glitches importing new subscribers from Instafreebie giveaways. Since Friday I've given away about 100 books/previews on four different IF giveaways. My Mailerlite subscriber count has only increased by three. I doubt those 97 other subscribers via IF were already in my ML db (though it's not impossible either).


I realize that ARC's are a promo tool to push a book during its launch, gain traction, and all that. And in that sense, it helps the indie author.

They probably help initially, but they won't necessarily assure a favorable release or lead to evergreen success. There are loads of indie books with dozens, even hundreds of five-star reviews, ranking in the millions.

Ultimately, the magic sauce for evergreen indie success is in the books, not reviews.

ARCs aren't the only problem--and frankly, many of them aren't a problem. I'm with Usedtoposthere on that one. Just because someone gets a free book doesn't mean they'll be corrupted and not leave an honest review. Frankly, if a writer has enough fans to run his or her own ARC team, that at least tells me the author has enthusiastic fans. (I tried to set up an ARC team and got two signups. Sigh!) I know that some authors do suspect things with their ARCs, but everyone doesn't. Your analysis also doesn't account for ARC organizers like Hidden Gems. In a case like that, the reviewers are getting a free copy but don't know the author and weren't recruited by the author. Let's not tar all ARCs with the same brush.

Also, I'm not sure Amazon was the first site to do customer reviews online. The reason indies send ARCs to readers instead of professional reviewers is that indie authors see ordinary readers as their customers, whereas trads see book stores as their customers. Different demographic leads to different review strategies.

I'm not so sure about Hidden Gems. Haven't they just monetized the review process? Their reviewers must come from the same pool being solicited by authors in the most popular genres. (I doubt they're pitching NYT book reviewers to join their ranks.) Remove their carefully worded pitches and third-party ARC services are essentially selling reviews with the added benefit of no guarantees.

We could probably agree ARC reviewing has been co-opted by indies and has reduced the value of a five-star review in several genres.

There's nothing wrong with fans leaving reviews. If they need to receive a free book as an incentive to feel motivated to do so, so be it. Just don't offer them diamonds.

I roamed through several books published by traditional publishers. This is where you see snippets of true editorial reviews solicited by traditional publishers via ARCs. Looking at the customer reviews, I didn't see any "I voluntary reviewed an ARC of this book..."  statements but did read many amazing, well informed, well-articulated reviews -- a joy). Non-incentivized reader reviews can indeed be informative and a pleasure to read. 

Organic reader reviews are fine and useful to authors, even if negative. Gushing reviews from fans receiving free advance copies just clog the system and are seldom useful to anyone. "I love this book!!!" often just means "I love getting free books!!!".

ARCs were once meant to go to journalists and booksellers, not the general public. Amazon changed the rules (and with surprising clarity), but it seems to have backfired. It's why Hemingway's Islands In A Stream, published in 1970, has 205 reviews, while books like Navy Seals Spring Break Harem have 200 the day they're published. Seems askew.

Amazon doesn't care. What's screwy is, what's an indie author's incentive in sending a fan a free book? It's to get a review. The free book, a "gift", is the incentive. Any review generated by this gifting is in fact "incentivized".

It does appear new constraints have knocked down the number of reviews on new releases. I just hope they don't block organic reviewers with positive opinions of my books

Reviews will never go away, but I'm increasingly in the camp of those who think they are inappropriate for creative products.

The more commodity-based genres seem to view a high number of reviews as a sign of merit, hence the popularity of ARCs. Twenty years ago ARCs didn't go out to the general public. They went to professional critics. Now, any author can put out a call for ARCs to their lists. The ones that raise their hands are already fans. That must be why ARC reviews often sound so similar (and why many of them, but not all, read like 8th grade "What I Did Last Summer" essays). Those aren't professional critiques. For the most part, they're blurbs from gushing fans, and 300 gushing five-star reviews are not a sign of literary merit. They're a reflection of huge mailing lists. The general public doesn't know the difference. In many cases, that's a set up for a poor customer experience.

If Zon eliminated ARCs, 90% of the reviews in certain genres would disappear overnight. Without having to sift through them, the average reader would probably get the actual information they're looking for -- a fair assessment of the book in question.

I checked the latest version of Kindle Create. Drop caps are still an option.


Am I missing anything?

No, but Amazon is missing an opportunity to clarify its terms.

When it gets down to tackling the "bonus stuffers" gaming KU, Amazon could simply mandate the following publication guidelines for KU eligibility:

Single Titles May Be Published:

1. In a "Collected Works Edition" which include all or simply selected titles from a single author (revised as more books are added or substracted). One "Collected Works" only per author.

2. In "Series Collections", which may include titles from "Collected Works" editions.

3. As "Single Titles" (obviously).

With those guidelines, a single title could only be published three times (or twice if not part of a series).

Amazon needs to nix everything else. As it is, stuffers are now doing "romance compliations" bound only by the niches they serve rather being individual titles in a connected series.

At the expense of losing nice reviews, I wish Zon would abolish them entirely for books.

What I wonder about most are negative reviews. If a reader didn't like a book, why did they wait until the end to decide? Why didn't they put it down after ten pages if they didn't like it? Who reads a book to the end when they hate it? Maybe they don't read through and leave a bad review because thirty pages in, someone was unkind to a parrot, or expressed a political view they found displeasing. Quitting a book before finishing it should forfeit the right to leave a review.

In the end, one should only finish a book that pleases or enriches them. To do otherwise is mad (life is short, etc.).

Anyone who wants to push the lines is welcome to find out what KDP considers "excessive." I don't think any normal author wants to take the gamble.

I don't know. That "We consider "excessive" any amount of content repetition that would create a poor shopping or reading experience" seems pointlessly vague, like they're not sure what even they mean by it.

But I agree. I wouldn't want to be the one who finds out.

Writers' Cafe / Re: An Open Letter to Amazon
« on: July 10, 2018, 07:04:45 PM »
More power to you. Though not affected (yet), this fiasco, wholly unnecessary on Amazon's part, bothers me more than any other current issue facing indies. Sure, they have to deal with malicious bots, but not at the expense of innocent author's livelihoods and peace of mind.

I pray they set up a true and transparent arbitration process and remedy this ASAP.

I'm more a lemonade stand on an overcast day with a cool breeze, so a food truck is still aspirational, metaphorically speaking.

Writers' Cafe / Re: New Alternative Writing Board
« on: July 10, 2018, 01:19:48 PM »
Generally, I see two main reasons that certain things are verboten: rampant flame wars and getting sued for defamation. Both of those things ruin a board fast.

There's no reason to speculate. Just ask the mods.

Flame wars happen here occasionally as well as on every other public or comments section on the internet. No matter how pristine the culture of a forum, smart-alecks will sneak in to share their poor upbringing with strangers. There's no way around it.

Anyone engaged in spreading false and defamatory statements about other authors or persons should be sued or at least be banned. But calling out another author's marketing methods or books for breaking the rules when they affect the well being of a shared platform -- well, what's the best to handle that?

Amazon has a report function on its product pages. Maybe we should leave it there. However, there's some consensus that the report feature doesn't actually go anywhere, sort of like a novelty panic button. Who knows?

Writers' Cafe / Re: New Alternative Writing Board
« on: July 10, 2018, 09:52:43 AM »
Thanks everyone for the comments :)

 Let's see, first of all, IAH has 16 members, Kboards prolly has millions, so I don't think they're worried. *teehee*

 Secondly, I started the board on a whim *as I usually do things* because someone in another thread said they though it would be nice if someone started a forum where things like screenshots and stuff could be shared that aren't allowed here.

 I don't expect anyone to abandon Kboards and migrate over to my board. This place, tone policing and all, is still the most valuable website for writers on the net. I don't expect that to change. One of the upsides to their vigorous moderation is that they can be professional and that it allows them to make a name for themselves. When I google K'Senna Visitor, my Kboards profile is the first thing that pops up in google. And it's because of this reputation and high public profile that they have to be so careful.

  My board strives to be the exact opposite. Maybe it fills a need. Maybe it doesn't. No big deal, either way. :)

Good results often follow a whim, but usually only after a lot of fine-tuning.

For the most part, the topics you pre-slotted into your forum resemble what you find on Kboards, though a couple roamed into naming-names territory in an attempt to call out pens suspected of breaking the rules. That's something we can't do on Kboards and whether one agrees or not, naming-names does put heat on those attempting to game the system. A forum dedicated to keeping Amazon free of scammers isn't a bad idea, but it would need a strict code of conduct and clear rules. It would probably also require more rigged moderation than we experience here.

Writers' Cafe / Re: New Alternative Writing Board
« on: July 08, 2018, 11:16:50 AM »
An alternate board with an extreme and exclusive focus on scammers/offenders, where "suspects" exhibiting suspicious behaviors could be named for the sake of research, would be constructive and possibly even useful to Amazon, depending on the forum's conduct and vetting regimen. It should also be a home to facts, not opinions, and members should be vetted (meaning the forum shouldn't open to viewing or posting unless a member).

If these Masterminds have really cleaned up their act and decided only to publish following the ToS

Not all have gotten on board the straight and narrow train. In New Adult, which seems to be a prime target, there are several books published after June 25 as single titles harboring bonus content. They're being "monitored", as reviews such as the following illustrate:

The first book ends at 29%
The second book ends at 57%
The third book ends at 94%
after the third short novel ends, It is six chapters of an older novel from XXXXXX, and it continues with more notes, etc. I use to love my kindle subscription when I first got it. Now, I absolutely hate it. These are not books. The writing is horrible, foolish, lazy. Just an easy way to make money and steal from honest authors.

They're fine ranks, but they're much worse than comparable Mastermind ranks for single titles.

But I don't see any issue with Masterminds putting out clearly labeled box sets. If readers want that, and know what they're getting, what's the problem?

There is no problem, at least currently. In a month or two, if the top lists become dominated by boxsets, people might take another view.

For now it's wait and see.

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