Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Dpock

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 22
Writers' Cafe / Re: KU -vs- Other retailers
« on: Today at 11:17:40 AM »
Hey...noob here, so sorry if this topic has been discussed. I did a little digging and didn't see anything resent on the topic.

But, I was wondering what everyone's thoughts were about using KU in terms of exclusivity. Obviously, a full read (when the math is done) doesn't equal the royalties if the book was bought, but you're getting eyes on your book which is always a good thing.

The flip side is not everyone uses Amazon. How many readers am I missing out on by not offering my books on itunes or nook or others? Is that trade off worth it to stay on KU or should I branch out to other retailers? I have a fairly steady number of reads on KU, so I'm hesitant to pull my books and dip my toes in elsewhere.

What are your experiences?

I don't have experience wide but you asked for thoughts about using KU and I do have those. But on the matter of wide, my research (extracting data from this board exclusively) indicates wide authors get five to ten percent of their sales from wide sources, with a few achieving 20%. It seems a majority going wide after a stint in KU make less money.

Putting revenue aside for a moment--strategically, wide is more prudent in a general sense, but there's no need to rush into it. You can keep it in your back-pocket until such time KU is no longer lucrative. The learning curve for wide awaits you in either case, so I'd wait until it becomes a necessity (or just put a book or two wide now to learn the ropes now. That's my plan.).

If you're above all a writer hoping to build an audience and long-term career (and not strictly a marketer out to make a buck), don't worry about a single book's KENP, look at your shelf's KENP. When you capture a fan, it's likely they'll read all of your books. You'll make up for the shorter work's pitiful KENP haul with your longer books and, of course, actual sales.

KU isn't evil, nor is it perfect. At the moment it's half of my income (I write 40k-80k books and price at $2.99). If KU is considerably LESS than half of your current income, it could be your genre would do better wide. That's the only metric I've come up that makes sense to me.

I don't think that's fair. I agree that bonus content is clearly allowed but it's also horribly unfair to authors who don't use bonus content, which is most genres that aren't sexy romance, as well as most romance authors who charge more than .99, and plenty of .99 romance authors who just don't like it.

There's a chance the bonus stuffers are screwing themselves. If they're using their older titles for stuffing, the reader may have already read them, so they only read the new book, earning the author just the short read or $0.35 if purchased. If they haven't read the stuffed books, they no longer have the need to download them, losing the author rank-boosts on older titles. I have noticed a steep fall off in rank on book stuffers back catalogs. Unless they've got huge ad budgets, authors who stuff are losing visibility for their entire shelf each time they publish.

Their assumptions are guesses like everyone elseís. Until Amazon publish the data, and even then Iím not sure they wouldnít spin the truth, no one will ever know. It all comes down to what you want to believe and thatís usually whatever serves your world view.

"Educated" guesses, based on a transparent methodology rooted in hard but slim data. It's nothing to be dismissive about, really. Just toss it on the broader pile of speculations unraveling in these threads.

I suspect it's based on the belief (which may be incorrect) that the vast majority of KU members read more than then the 2,000some pages their $10/month covers. If Amazon is subsidizing KU because the fees don't cover the program's cost, then it must have a reason for doing so.

There's interesting though speculative data on Written Word Media. Some quick takeaways (data from February 2017):

In February 2017 there were an estimated 3,360,000,000 KENP pages read, equal to 12,440,000 full novels (avg. 250 pages).

The average KU subscriber reads five books a month.

There are about 2,488,000 active KU subscribers, or 3,000,000 total including non-active, earning the KU pot nearly $30,000,000 per month.

Based on these estimates (which don't match KDP numbers from their monthly fund newsletter--I'm never sure what those numbers mean exactly), KU is probably self-sustaining revenue-wise.

In any subscription scheme, there will always be a sizeable portion of subscribers that seldom or never partake of their memberships. They sign-up and forget. I read about thirty percent of Netflix subscribers fail to login in monthly. Witten Media's estimate of half a million non-active KU subscribers is probably accurate. They don't earn authors anything, so for Amazon, it's like a $5,000,000 bonus.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Success with samples on Instafreebie
« on: Yesterday at 09:41:47 AM »
I've only ever put up previews ( the 10% Look Inside sample) for the primary purpose of getting subscribers. In ten months I've collected over 10k.

I believe it's also produced a lot of sales, though guesswork is involved there. During active giveaways, sales and borrows definitely and noticeably increase.

Unfortunately, those results seem to be moving into the past tense. About 80% of "new" subscribers I already have in my database and sales response is declining. It's possible nearly everyone on this board using Instafreebie has the same subscribers, regardless of genre.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 17, 2018, 07:08:16 PM »
I've always hated KU, but I still started a pen name just for it. It isn't going away and Amazon will do whatever they like.

What's for sure is KU will be ever evolving. The internet is the wild west with fresh outlaws arriving daily, and today's fixes won't work tomorrow.

I'm dating myself, but years ago I worked for a website named Themestream. It paid "writers" ten cents a page to write about their passions. That meant three hundred page reads would put $30 in your pocket (imagine getting $30 for every book you sold). The site grew quickly, and soon there were Yahoo boards or forums like this one where contributors shared their links. A writer would post that they'd written an article on kayaking, and the board would rush off to pretend to read it then leave glowing reviews. People would post an article in the morning, then sit on boards all day (imagine) posting their links.

Soon, the real outlaws arrived. They learned they could steal articles from other sites, put them up on Themestream, then post their links to porn topsites with deceitful titles. Twenty thousand or more would follow the link, registering twenty thousand page reads, putting $2000 in the outlaw's pocket. Soon the site was overwhelmed with junk or stolen articles.

Forced to react, Themestream cut the pay per page read. The "writers" were outraged, and endless debates consumed the forums. Six months or so later the site closed. To their credit, Themestream paid all that was owed. But the scammers had won, clearly and decisively. In hindsight, there's a lot Themestream could have done to stay in business, none of which would have pleased their contributors. Other sites popped up to mimic Themestream's model, such as Webseed and Vines, and they also failed to defeat the scammers. Epinions was another site based solely on product reviews that also fell victim.

So, it's not surprising KU has had growing pains. It some ways it's surprising it still exists.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 17, 2018, 05:53:47 PM »
otherwise we're drifting toward tribalism.

Oh, I think that boat docked about eight pages back.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KU capping poll #2 (neutrally worded)
« on: April 17, 2018, 03:14:41 PM »
Amazon is less The White Rabbit from Alice In Wonderland and is more The Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog.

Amazon will give the KENP cap threads about as much attention as they deserve. If you worked in KDP, you'd be aware of this board and check it out regularly. If a good idea sprouts here I'm sure it doesn't go unnoticed. Maybe a few of them want to be more forthcoming when glitches occur but their culture so far prevents it. There are superstars among us who have been wined and dined in Seattle on Amazon's dime. They have their own account managers. I don't know if they share inside stuff with superstars, even doubt it as I've never heard one of them say "I spoke with Amazon, and here's the scoop". It means we indies are more or less adrift, so shooting up flares won't amount to much. I suspect if you're selected for one of their imprints it's a different story.

I write action-adventure, Dan-Brown themes - that is the first trilogy. If doesn't pan out I'll try out another genre..

Give Mailerlite a shot.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KU capping poll #2 (neutrally worded)
« on: April 17, 2018, 11:55:57 AM »
Abolish KENP. People should buy books.

There's no guarantee they would. If Netflix and other subscription sites disappeared people might just watch less TV rather than rent more videos or buy cable. You never know. As it goes for books, I suspect KU has created a market, not tapped into one.

It could even be theorized that KU has created more book buyers, not fewer, as KU readers developer a broader habit.

Did the notice from Mailchimp say anything about a high unsubscribe rate?

It was her FIRST email. She wouldn't have an unsubscribe rate yet.

Interesting. What genre do you write?

Writers' Cafe / Re: KU capping poll #2 (neutrally worded)
« on: April 16, 2018, 06:56:12 PM »
This was a thing once, and ended with hundreds of LGBTQ books deranked by a report-bot. You can't outgame the people trying to game the system. Ban books being read by a kindle bot? Sounds like a good way to get fake page-reads pointed at an account.

"Ban all your competitors! 2000 pagereads per hour until the deed is done"

By Kindle bot, you mean a bot manipulating page reads? I see the bot question as a separate issue. A miscreant uploading 3000 KENP pages of nonsense so its bot can manipulate page reads will just upload three 1000 KENP pages if that's the new cap. They don't care about caps, other than viewing them as targets and thresholds. If the cap is lowered to 100 KENP they'll still be operating.

Book stuffing (bonus books) is a problem with or without bots. People here are discussing caps to counteract stuffing and/or bots. There is no way to destroy the bots, as they are ever-evolving. Let's assume Amazon will get better at dealing with them, knowing from time to time there will be collateral damage. For all we know, they're destroying several bots a day as it is. Tomorrow there will be more.

There's no "magical cap" that will fix the bot issue. Since we can't all agree on that I suppose we just have to agree to disagree, etc.

This other issue, stuffing books with bonus content, is not an issue with Amazon (apparently) but it is for some authors. How non-stuffers are harmed is debatable. I do see the pressure it puts on price points (because book stuffers don't care about retail prices if they can make a killing in KENP). Also, due to the limited real estate, the stuffer's greed is pushing them into category gaming to hit Top Lists and this, along with pricing pressures, is a growing problem in most genres. This is why I think bonus content should not exceed 50% of the titled content. It would take the pressure off pricing and limit the return for stuffers generally. Amazon only has to put it in their TOS. They don't need to hire an army to enforce it (that's what we do).

We've all seen the book reviews with statements like "This book ended at 20%. Don't buy this book". That suggests a poor reading experience. That's the angle that needs to be pressed upon Amazon. Excessive book stuffing results in disgruntled customers and should be stopped. The customers that view stuffed book in the same way they view a 60oz Coke will be unhappy, but who the hell knows why? If they have a KU subscription, they can already read all they want. If they don't have a KU subscription and depend on stuffed books for their happiness, they'll just have to buy a subscription when those stuffed books disappear.

Sorry to bump, but am I the only one seeing the old layout versus new?

Writers' Cafe / Re: KU capping poll #2 (neutrally worded)
« on: April 16, 2018, 03:25:47 PM »
I wonder why people think short doesn't work very well in romance.  Harlequin built a massive business just on short romance books and made a mint.

Not sure how that relates to the thread but indeed, shorter books in romance, particularly New Adult and Romantic Comedy, are novellas (with three or four bonus novellas attached! The current #1 in NA is one, weighing in at #17 storewide. It ends at 28% in your Kindle.).

I'm seeing the old version again now. That's a shame. I hoped it was permanent.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KU capping poll #2 (neutrally worded)
« on: April 16, 2018, 10:59:40 AM »
It's clear that Amazon won't implement anything that involves hiring additional manpower.

It's not clear, but possibly also not necessary. The same Amazon folks on the receiving end of the "Report This Book" button can handle it. If a book ends below 50%, pull it, or send a notice.

But first, Amazon must decide whether bonus stuffing is even a problem. So far they seem fine with it.

Writers' Cafe / Re: KU capping poll #2 (neutrally worded)
« on: April 16, 2018, 09:58:12 AM »
Add "Limit Bonus Content To No More than 50% Of Titled Content".

(Arguments against only suggest Amazon would never hire manpower to enforce it. This ignores the fact that most of Amazon's TOS is meant to be self-policing by the authors themselves (at risk of losing their accounts). Yes, Amazon monitors compliance in various ways (human and machine), but I'm positive (though can't possibly know for sure) that they rely heavily on complaints from customers and authors to catch the bad guys. It doesn't mean they'll always respond, or in a manner that pleases us.)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 06:11:52 PM »
Does this board have an easy poll function? It'd be interesting to see how the various solutions being kicked around here are supported by the board (or at least those who bother to vote).

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 03:13:59 PM »
Daily I read 5 books not novellas books. I try to find ones in the 300-page range or higher which is around 100k words.

That's quite a reading pace. You must be a speed-reader in Howard Berg's league. The average human reads 200 words a minute, or 12,000 an hour, or about sixty KENP pages (200-word count -- funny how that matches up). The average book on Amazon is 60k, or about five hours worth of reading. Reading five in a twenty-four hour day would be a challenge for the average reader.

I'm not questioning your reading speed. I wish I shared it. An ex-wife read in Berg's league. This was pre-Kindle, and the page flipping "swoosh" every thirty seconds became extremely annoying.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 11:20:17 AM »
If all you had to do was throw $20-50K at a book to make a hit, every single big trad book would be a hit.

A 1/5 page ad in the New York Times Book Review is over $10,000 so a traditional publisher might look at a $50,000 launch as cheap. That figure rather exceeds my AMS budget for the next dozen years.

Are traditional publishing houses advertising in AMS? I've never noticed.

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).

The way I see it, writing satire is about having fun and if you make some money along the way, then it's a bonus.

Unless you are incredibly lucky or incredibly talented, I think the only way to earn a living wage from self publishing is to write to the market. That doesn't mean writing romance cos it's the  best selling, but identifying a target audience that is big enough to generate a good number of sales and then writing to that audience*. In the end, writing for money isn't about pleasing yourself, but pleasing your readers. It's a bonus if you can do both (like that Sir Terry Pratchett fellow who wrote funny books and enjoyed writing them and made a huge amount of cash).

* this assumes that all the other boxes are ticked like a genre appropriate cover and good marketing, and that there is actually a coherent and engaging story between the electronic covers

I get your point, but you're not giving much hope to those of us who hate the idea of writing to market, lol. I don't. I write to please myself and those readers who enjoy my work. The readers that don't I couldn't care less about. (I'm actually supporting your statement that you have to please your readers.)

I write satiric, comedic novels that often sit next to Pratchett's up and down the ranks, a minor testament to the notion you can be successful without writing to market. I haven't and likely never will break the top #3000, but I still make a decent living wage.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 14, 2018, 01:44:59 PM »
True, but some readers don't even open the newly borrowed book until 4 weeks later. Or 8. Or they read 20 pages right away, and the rest as soon as the next holiday comes around.

Which is why I said "ballpark" and "roughly". For some reason, only those on Amazon imprints are given borrow/read-through data. Why they don't provide it to all of us is a mystery.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 14, 2018, 01:13:18 PM »

I wish we could somehow check how many pages are read (on average) per borrow. I'd really like to know!

You can ball-park it using the TCK sales calculator. If it says your rank means 20 sales a day, and you only see three in your KDP dashboard, you've had (roughly) 17 borrows. Divide your reads by 17 to get your average read-through.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 14, 2018, 01:04:10 PM »
This suggests to me perhaps books produced in content mill fashion, but not nefarious.  If someone is paying to acquire real readers then that's not cheating the system.   Using bots and incentivizing readers is.

Instead of jiggering with the page count why not just cap what a book can earn at the maximum of what they charge for the book.  So if someone wants to price their book at $9.99 then fine, the maximum you can earn in page reads for that book is 70% of that (or less if page reads would be less).

That still doesn't really get rid of the problem but limits what is earned per book to something reasonable.

There are several issues and they're not all related (bots, stuffers, content mills, bot/stuffers, and content mills/stuffers with or without bots, etc.). Botting is really a standalone issue impervious to book-length (though affected if restricted, it doesn't really interfere with their scheme). 

Restricting bonus content to a percentage of titled content would take care of bonus-stuffers dominating several categories in romance. Their gimmick is to publish a novella and include 3 or more bonus novellas (so the titled content is just a third or less of total content). This makes the $0.99 price point viable and puts downward pressure on price-points generally in the entire genre. Apparently, they're not violating TOS as it now stands. Assuming a human eyeball has a limited capacity for reading pages, these bonus-stuffers get the lion's share of available KU reads in some romance categories. Without a change in TOS, you're handicapped if you don't stuff, publish every two weeks, and price at $0.99. If you don't want to go along, petition Amazon. What else can you do?

Restricting KENP to 1000 pages per book would only marginally hurt the botters and few stuffers (their books typically, even when stuffed with eight novellas, do not exceed 1000 KENP pages). However, it would hurt a lot of legitimate authors writing long books.

The content mill/botter will just publish two five-hundred page books or ten hundred page books, whatever it takes to get under whatever threshold Amazon imposes.

There is a viable solution to bonus-stuffing -- limit bonus content to a percentage of titled content. They don't need to police it. KU writers will do that.

There's no solution to simple botting other than fine-tuning algorithms to work more effectively and with less collateral damage, though someone did mention a Captcha solution that might work. I think that merits further thought.

Pages: [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 ... 22