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Messages - C.F.

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1
Writers' Cafe / Re: Tracking Book Sales: TrackerBox Mac Kickstarter is live
« on: November 10, 2017, 01:54:45 PM »
There aren't currently any plans. The data dump Book Report provides loses too much of the detail.

Thanks for the reply! I guess I'll just have to block off an afternoon to import everything when I get my copy of TrackerBox. Any idea when the beta will be available?

2
Writers' Cafe / Re: Tracking Book Sales: TrackerBox Mac Kickstarter is live
« on: November 10, 2017, 12:17:36 PM »
Are there any plans to support importing data from Book Report? I've been publishing since 2012 and rather than import every month's report, it would be nice to simply download all the data from Book Report and then import it into TrackerBox, if that's possible.

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: Blasty
« on: November 07, 2017, 06:11:53 PM »
When Google de-lists search results because of a DMCA complaint, they put a huge notice at the bottom of the page stating that some results are hidden and then link to the complaint that lists out all URLs that were removed from the results. It's basically a big notice letting people know which sites are actually infringing by having the content instead of just doing a bait and switch like many of the search results are. 


4
Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: Kindle Watch! -- New Oasis
« on: November 01, 2017, 12:22:13 PM »
Got mine! Thanks for the tip about changing the display size to get a percentage next to the battery. Mine came with a 60% charge. My last Kindle was a Paperwhite, and I'm loving the page-turn buttons! I also like the bigger display. I'm glad I don't have the first Oasis to compare to because I like little things, but I've been wanting a bigger Kindle display for a while. I don't know how comfortable it's going to be to hold long term, but I like that you can easily switch hands if one gets tired.

The sleeve I was planning to use is a tighter fit than I'd like, so I'm going to be shopping around for something else. I really hope more options pop up on Amazon soon.

5
Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: Kindle Watch! -- New Oasis
« on: October 31, 2017, 06:37:41 PM »
Just got the email that it's shipped! It's supposed to arrive tomorrow.

6
Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: Kindle Watch! -- New Oasis
« on: October 31, 2017, 02:00:09 PM »
Mine still says shipping today and arriving today even though I got an email that it's delayed. I'm a little concerned that it hasn't updated. I'm worried it might be stuck in some strange limbo. :(

7
Let's Talk Kindle! / Re: Kindle Watch! -- New Oasis
« on: October 31, 2017, 09:51:04 AM »
I ordered the day it was announced but then changed my mind--twice--about which configuration I wanted. I made my final order on the 21st and had an estimated delivery of Nov. 7th with free Prime shipping. I decided late Sunday night to change the shipping to 1-day since it was only $3.99 and experience shows that when I'm waiting impatiently for a package, my husband always wishes I had just spent the extra four bucks for faster shipping. Well, changing it to 1-day shipping gave me a delivery day of Oct. 31! Definitely worth the $3.99.

I just got an email saying they're encountering a delay with the shipping so they're going to refund me my shipping charge. So I figure I'm still going to get it way earlier than I planned and I'm not getting charged any extra, yay! I still wish I was getting it today, and on the orders page it still says it's preparing for shipment and arriving today, but I really can't complain. I guess I'll just have to entertain myself with unboxing videos! (Or I could finish writing the book that's due to the editor this week...)

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: First time for everything
« on: October 29, 2017, 07:53:09 PM »
Congrats!

9
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon yanking sales ranking after a Bookbub promo
« on: October 28, 2017, 07:05:06 PM »
They seriously don't want other people to pay to drive traffic to their site to buy purple dildos?

Monique, the Zon has asked me to tell you to stop referring people to their site to buy purple dildos. They would like to keep their stock of purple dildos a secret that only their existing purple dildo customer base knows about. They do not need or want any more purple dildo customers. Thank you for your understanding.

And thank you for this opportunity to gratuitously use the phrase "purple dildo." :D (Substitute anything for "purple dildo" and this still sounds ridiculous, but not as fun.)

10
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon yanking sales ranking after a Bookbub promo
« on: October 25, 2017, 03:27:33 PM »
My books get picked up from time to time by random promo sites. I don't book them, and I only find out they've ran if I'm tagged of FB or twitter, or something. How are we supposed to control who downloads our books? That's not realistic. Anyone can find a book that's free/99c/doing well on the charts and pop it into their newsletter. Anyone can bot any book. How do we protect ourselves from something we cannot possibly control!?

^^^^Yep. Any time one of my books goes free, a lot of sites pick it up. Same with countdown deals.

Amazon wants to hold us accountable for things that we have zero control over all so they don't have to be bothered closing fraudulent accounts...

Or admit that they can't detect fraudulent accounts...

Or deal with the CS nightmare it will be when they start closing the accounts of legitimate customers. Much easier and better PR wise to screw over authors than customers.

11
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon yanking sales ranking after a Bookbub promo
« on: October 21, 2017, 03:11:50 PM »
Does anyone know if the authors are losing the royalties associated with the de-ranked books?

I don't know, but if Amazon really does know that fraudulent accounts were used to manipulate the rank of a book, then shouldn't they be able to just nullify those sales in the ranking and not pay out for those sales? That seems like the reasonable thing to do, but I don't think Amazon really does know. They just see something they can't explain and so they assume nefarious actions.

If Amazon genuinely detected fraudulent sales on one of my books, I'd be perfectly fine with them not counting those toward rank and not paying me for them. I think many authors feel the same way. I don't need or want ill-gotten gains. But Amazon obviously doesn't really detect fraudulent accounts, so such a solution wouldn't work. So instead, Amazon goes scorched earth.

12
I don't subscribe to KU, but I do subscribe to Netflix. To me, what I'm paying for is access to all those movies and tv shows. I'm not paying to watch the movies, I'm paying for the privilege of being able to watch them. Kind of like if I paid for a gym membership. I wouldn't consider the monthly charge to be divided over the amount of reps that I did, or the amount of machines that I used, it's to pay for the privilege of access to the facilities.

This is exactly how I think of it. When I recommend a movie or a show to a friend or they suggest one to me, we'll often say, "Oh, you can watch it for free on Netflix" or "It's free on Amazon Prime." I don't see KU as any different. I have never in my life heard someone say, "Check out this show. After you pay your subscription fee, you can watch it on Amazon Prime" or "Watch this movie. If you watch 10 movies this month it's only $1 on Netflix!"

13
I haven't taken the plunge into audiobooks yet. The lack of control over pricing has always bothered me. However, I wanted to chime in that as a customer, I almost always bought the audio for $1.99 if it was offered. It was a total impulse buy. I don't even really listen to audiobooks but I always figured it was worth two bucks to have the option. $7.49 completely takes away the impulse buyers like myself, especially when the vast majority of fiction books I buy are less than that. I don't know why they would make this change.

14
Writers' Cafe / Re: August KU Rate: $0.00419
« on: September 18, 2017, 08:31:46 PM »
I'm specifically talking about this topic Elizabeth. When I see the equivalent of "lol, go see a lawyer and you do it then ha ha ha!" it's not great.

She was advising you to consult a lawyer because what you're proposing is illegal. Multiple people have pointed that out. You seem unconvinced, so you need to speak to a lawyer about it. If you can find a lawyer who tells you it's not illegal, then hire them to help you organize it and cover yourself legally.

I copy and pasted the following that I posted in another thread where this came up:

It is absolutely illegal to group boycott. The law says so and the Supreme Court has ruled on it. The Supreme Court has said specifically that businesses cannot organize to boycott a retailer. If you'll read the Wikipedia entry on United States antitrust law, you'll see the example of Fashion Originators' Guild of America v. FTC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion_Originators%27_Guild_of_America_v._FTC). The TL;DR version is that fashion designers got together and decided to boycott selling their clothes in stores that sell "pirated" designs (pirated is in quotes because clothes aren't protected by copyrights). The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the FTC because such an agreement restricts competition.

And if that's not enough, here is the FTC page explaining how group boycotts (like getting authors together to boycott KU) are illegal: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/dealings-competitors/group-boycotts.


There are already author organizations in place, they just don't collectively bargain or organize boycotts because they legally can't. When RWA made a post about Harlequin contracts (https://www.rwa.org/p/bl/et/blogaid=96), they specifically said, "I know that authors would like for RWA to tell them what to do, but unfortunately, we cannot. Beyond the fact that associations cannot engage in collective bargaining, contract terms have varied over the years, and some of the earlier contracts are likely more favorable, particularly with regard to reversion clauses." (Emphasis mine.) Courtney Milan is on the Board of Directors for RWA. She's an attorney and law professor and is incredibly active in the community. You should reach out to her and see what she says about organizing a mass KU withdrawal or trying to collectively bargain with Amazon.

Multiple people in this thread have encouraged you and others to join writer organizations. The only thing that has raised objection is the suggestion that a mass withdrawal from KU be organized. That objection is based on the illegality of the suggestion, not on the belief that it's impossible or doubt of the ability for a small group of dedicated individuals to affect change.

ETA: For those of us who do see serious problems with KU, the solution isn't to try to go down a path that is legally not open to us. If you want to see change, do exactly what you're doing here: share experiences, warn, raise red flags, keep the discussion going, add your voice so that authors trying to make this decision for themselves can do so with information you have and that you want them to keep in mind. I would also encourage you to join your genre specific organization and a group like Novelists, Inc. Voice your concerns there. Go to the NINC conference and speak directly with Amazon reps and with reps from the other retailers about how you can be successful wide. There's a lot you can do. There's just a few things that legally you can't, and it's a distraction to pursue those.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Uh isn't this against tos for Ku
« on: September 01, 2017, 03:54:27 PM »
Yeah, but let Penelope or Peter Prawn try it and the result might not be the same. We've seen time and again how different standards apply to those who bring in buckets of money and those who don't. I don't think I would risk it unless I were a member of the Buckets-of-Money Club, or unless the TOS specifically stated that doing so was acceptable.

FYI, authors have been doing this since the very beginning of Select. I have never heard of a single instance of Amazon having a problem with it. If someone buys a book on Amazon, they are free to convert it to any format they want. As Julie has explained, this author isn't distributing her book, she's converting it to epub for people who have purchased it and don't know how to convert it themselves.

16
Writers' Cafe / Re: 3D covers
« on: September 01, 2017, 03:09:39 PM »
The 2 tone cover was gone because I uploaded another image  to replace it so it wouldn't appear as though I was selling a public domain book from 1897.
KDP support still insists they do not support 3d covers.  If they're working there and don't know what the terms mean, I don't know how to illuminate the support staff.
The original cover has been uploaded again and is currently on the book's page.
Just one of the on-going mysteries of Amazon, I suppose.

They removed my 3d box set cover because they said the background had to be pure white even though that requirement is not listed anywhere. The background was pure white in some areas but then off white in others to make it appear more 3d and cast a shadow. It took several emails to get this answer, so that might be why they removed yours.

I don't understand how they can hold us to standards that aren't published anywhere yet seem to have such a problem with shutting down scammers. Priorities. Clearly 3d box set covers without pure white backgrounds are just wreaking havoc in the Amazon ecosystem. :/

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Uh isn't this against tos for Ku
« on: September 01, 2017, 11:51:39 AM »
I don't think it is. They bought the book from Amazon. They can convert it to epub themselves if they want, but a lot of people don't know how to do it, so the author is basically doing it for them. I wouldn't do it just because I'm lazy and that seems like a customer service nightmare. I do provide instructions on how to convert the file to epub using Calibre if people ask about an epub version.

That's right. I advertise on my landing page that the books can be read on any device; just give them the link to the app.

But your books can't be read on any device. They can't be read on any e-reader other than a Kindle. The app is only for tablets, phones, and computers. Kobo has some really nice e-readers and the only way to read a Kindle book on it is to convert it (if it doesn't have DRM) to epub.

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: What do you think about this KU blurb add-on?
« on: August 29, 2017, 02:13:11 PM »
I don't recall where it says this, but there is something in their guidelines about not being allowed to use anything time sensitive (take advantage of x deal before y date kind of thing). It even included not being able to put anything time sensitive about the author, like dates for media appearances, if I recall correctly.

19
You can also end the automation at that point, and then move them to a new group/start a new one based on what link they click.

This seems like the best option for maximum control and customization even though it can get a bit cumbersome and clutter up your automation tab. It's weird that they obviously have this technology but they don't allow us to make an entire automation sequence with it, meaning we can't just trigger the next step in the automation sequence by the reader clicking on a link. I wonder why they chose to do it the way they did where they check once after a set amount of time to see if the reader did the action.

20
Seriously, read Patty's post again. It describes exactly what you're looking for!

You can start an automation whenever a person clicks on a link in ANY email. Then set an action to move/unsubscribe/whatever you need to do.

Wow, you're right! Patty is a genius. At first I thought the link had to be in a campaign and couldn't be in an automation, but now I see what she's saying. Thanks for pointing out that I misunderstood. I'm already thinking of a lot of ways this is going to be useful. :)

21
I was looking at doing something similar with my automation in Mailerlite, but I noticed that with the if/then conditions, it only checks once after the delay you set, which might be fine with other things, but is worrisome with an unsubscribe. So if you put a 3 day delay because that's when the next email in your sequence goes out but the person doesn't check their email frequently so they click on the link 4 days after the email was sent, then they're not going to be unsubscribed. When Mailerlite first rolled out this feature I thought it was going to be in real time: someone clicks a link, no matter when, and the action you set happens.

Right now I've resigned myself to not putting any type of unsubscribe functionality in the automation (other than the standard unsub link at the bottom which removes them from the list entirely). It seems like there's just too much chance of  ticking someone off because it's not a real-time unsub.

22
My unsub rate from my Instafreebie autoresponder is just shy of 2.8%. I'd suggest that you're seeing a high unsub rate because of your content. People care about themselves. Your autoresponder needs to be 100% focused on them. Mine asks if they got the book squared away on their e-reader. Then I let them know why it's a great time for them to be reading that book: the last book in that series is coming out this month, so their timing is perfect and in anticipation of that release I've put the first book in the series at 99 cents for the month of August. Note that this isn't fake scarcity or anything like that; I really did price the first book at 99 cents this month only and it will go back up in September. When September rolls around I'll go in and edit the email to tell them another reason why now is a great time (the series is more popular than ever, it just passed x number of 5-star reviews, whatever). I get quite a few people replying to my autoresponder thanking me for the book or telling me they just grabbed the series or that they're looking forward to reading it, etc.

Putting info about yourself and your writing may be great for people who already like your work, but Instafreebie subscribers are a stone-cold audience. You have to warm them up first. They're not going to care to know more about you until you give them a reason to, and people's favorite topic is themselves, so make it all about them and they'll reciprocate.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Createspace - Site Can't Be Reached
« on: August 17, 2017, 12:30:40 PM »
I ran into this a few months ago. Type www.createspace.com and it should come up fine.  For whatever reason, leaving off the www portion causes the time out issue.

Yep, this happens to me all the time.

24
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon's fiasco for Gaughran
« on: August 17, 2017, 09:28:47 AM »
crow.bar.beer,

Much of your argument seems to hinge on authors being competitors. Many would argue that this is not the case. Take alsobots: if a reader buys your book and spots an alsobot recommendation on the same page and buys that too, does that suggest you are competing or cooperating in developing the market?

I return too to my earlier point; I am not suggesting restriction of supply, only a boycott, if necessary, of one supplier.
(Emphasis mine.)

Authors are competitors. I'd love to see the Big 5 argue in court that it's totally okay for them to collude because they show up in each other's also boughts on Amazon so they are just "cooperating in developing the market."

The part I bolded in your quote is illegal. The law says so and the Supreme Court has ruled on it. The Supreme Court has said specifically that businesses cannot organize to boycott a retailer. If you'll read the Wikipedia entry on United States antitrust law, you'll see the example of Fashion Originators' Guild of America v. FTC (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fashion_Originators%27_Guild_of_America_v._FTC). The TL;DR version is that fashion designers got together and decided to boycott selling their clothes in stores that sell "pirated" designs (pirated is in quotes because clothes aren't protected by copyrights). The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the FTC because such an agreement restricts competition.

And if that's not enough, here is the FTC page explaining how group boycotts exactly like the one you're proposing are illegal: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/competition-guidance/guide-antitrust-laws/dealings-competitors/group-boycotts.

25
Writers' Cafe / Re: July KENP is 0.00403472
« on: August 15, 2017, 03:50:06 PM »
They nixed the author list (making hit harder to see at a glance who all are scammers All-Stars), but the books and series lists are still available. The lists aren't usually updated until the mails have gone out to the bonus getters, so I believe this is for June still. Note that these aren't the individual book/series earners, but all those belonging to the All-Star authors.

https://www.amazon.com/b/ref=amb_link_457902022_2?ie=UTF8&node=11085390011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_s=special-offers-2&pf_rd_r=05B5CTZYC33KA4TCYM2M&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_p=2412951182&pf_rd_i=B017I0S4X4

Thanks for that, Phoenix! I've been trying and trying to find that in the store and never have. I find the way the Kindle store is laid out now to be confusing and I get hopelessly lost :).

I liked the list of authors in the beginning because the bonus has always seemed to be more about recognition than the money. If you have enough page reads to earn a bonus, the bonus amount itself is a drop in the bucket. When they announced the All-Star program originally, I remember thinking it was a way for them to generate enthusiasm for KU among the group of people that are more motivated by recognition than money.

I've become incredibly disenchanted with Amazon as both an author and a customer. I used to be their biggest cheerleader (annoyingly so) and now the enthusiasm is gone. The only thing that keeps me excited is that the experience of reading on a Kindle and having my books wirelessly delivered there still blows my mind. I don't know why, but my Kindle impresses me more than all my other gadgets. But then again, if there was a super easy, hassle-free way to get Amazon purchases onto a Kobo, I'd get their new e-reader in a heartbeat.

This month's payout has me feeling down and baffled that the other retailers aren't jumping at this chance to lure authors away. I'm making contingency plans and have already un-enrolled my books so that when their terms are up in October I can make a conscious choice of where to have them going into the holiday season.

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