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Messages - Bards and Sages (Julie)

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1
Has anyone actually read the relevant law? What you say is possible, but I would have thought part of processing an application would have been to verify its accuracy.

Welcome to the government! Having had the displeasure of dealing with multiple government agencies over the years (DOT, FAA, FDA, OSHA, etc) YES, it is assumed that you are in fact submitting factual and accurate information when you file any government form. It is not the job of the person processing the application to verify it. There job is only to make sure it is done correctly and the info matches existing records. It is only when there is an audit (either because something got kicked back or because someone logged a complaint), that the original paperwork is looked at carefully.

See, it is actually rather brilliant. Because if you knowingly file a false application, then the government can use that against you if something happens later. Oh, one of your employees shipped a hazardous material from your location and it caused an explosion in transit? Well, your Life Hazard Use Fee application didn't indicate that your location HAD hazardous materials. We just doubled your fine for falsifying documents.

Or, hey, your employee just filed a Worker's Comp claim due to an injury at work. He is still out of work two weeks later, but your OSHA Form 300 incident report said he only missed ONE day and then went on light duty? We just tripled your fines for falsifying reports. And your Worker's Comp insurance rates are probably going up, too.

Now in the case of trademark filings, it could take a long time for anything to catch up. But, let's say, the same attorney files twenty trademark applications that all get challenged. THAT is going to grab someone's attention and get them digging.

Because the other problem is, despite claims to the contrary, most government agencies are incredibly UNDERSTAFFED. They are top heavy with appointees and such, but the actual grunts in the trenches? Significantly understaffed. So there is simply no time to examine each document that comes in. In order to get ANYTHING done, you have to work from an assumption that the information is correct, and then the penalties hit on the back end when it comes out that they weren't.

2
That's a couple of tickets to a concert, and potentially, much more entertaining. And the payoff if accepted/allowed? Priceless. :D

Keep in mind that is PER CLASS of goods. And, if you look carefully at the official list of classes, "books" isn't a blanket class. "Downloadable series of fiction books" does not also include "series of fiction books" (physical products, not downloadable), or audiobooks. So to cover all three classes, you have to pay for each class. And the $225 fee also has the toughest requirements to file, and the majority of people would need an attorney to help with that. So you have to add in the cost of attorney fees for the filing.

3
Writers' Cafe / Re: ISBN usage question
« on: Yesterday at 05:55:08 AM »
You can't reuse an ISBN. The whole point is that it points to a specific unique version of a specific unique book. It's a serial number. Reusing it would kind of be against the whole concept.

This. No, you cannot reuse ISBN numbers. It is a controlled number. The entire point of the ISBN system and the reason why only certain agencies are allowed to issue them is that they are controlled numbers. If you could just reassign them whenever you wanted, there would be no reason for them to exist.

4
Writers' Cafe / Re: Pathetic Peeves - Confess Yours
« on: Yesterday at 05:51:58 AM »
Ah, sorry. I see people complaining about fantasy names all the time, and I always wonder why the heck the complainers think people from another world would be called Tony or Francisco or Brigid.

Because unless you specifically set up your world to justify strange names, then there is no reason to assume the names would not be relatively normal.

ALL YOUR CHARACTERS are speaking English, after all. You aren't writing in Klingon. And if the fantasy setting mimics Medieval Europe, for example, in character and theme, then there is no reason a reader should not expect names that would fit Medieval Europe. If your fantasy world mimics Ancient China, then the characters would reasonably expect names that mimic Ancient China.

No, your fantasy setting that mimics the indigenous people of South America probably should not have people named Robert. But I would say, yeah, a fantasy that mimics Medieval England probably should not have people named Thak'ror'totak.

Just because something is fantasy does not mean it doesn't need to be internally consistent. If you set up the reader with certain expectations, then you have to follow through on those expectations.

5
There is a precedent for this: YouTubers already make videos snarking back at their more obnoxious commenters. (No surprise that the author mentioned here is also a YouTuber.)

Not remotely the same thing. Youtube is designed for interaction. When you comment on a video, you are often talking directly to the person who made it. That is the point of commenting.

Customer reviewers are NOT the same thing. It is hard for those of us entrenched in indie publishing to wrap our heads around, but the average, Jane Doe Amazon book buyer is NOT expecting interaction from the author/publisher when they review a book. They simply are not. They are just sharing their thoughts. Some of them do so because they genuinely enjoy reviewing. A lot of them do so because Amazon sends annoying "reminders" to leave reviews and people are oddly obedient when you make such requests. Seriously, they aren't leaving reviews FOR THE AUTHOR. They are often leaving reviews because they think that is what Amazon wants them to do.

Consumer conditioning is a very real thing. Companies spend a lot of money learning how to do it and implementing it.

6
Writers' Cafe / Re: Boasting about sales ( an indie thing?)
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:38:36 AM »
There are three times as many millionaire indies at Amazon now than there were 2 years ago--

This doesn't really mean anything. The overall number of millionaires in the U.S. has increased as well, yet the median income in the U.S. is around $30,000, a significant drop over the last few years.

Without knowing what the median income for authors is, a lot of this is a moot point. There are a few sites that have compiled data on author earnings, but as those all depend on self-reporting they are skewed high because those folks are the most likely to report. And Amazon isn't providing that data because Amazon doesn't provide ANYTHING without filtering it to the point of uselessness and then spinning it to fit their agenda.

7
Writers' Cafe / Re: Pathetic Peeves - Confess Yours
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:06:55 AM »
The use of the wore "cement" for what is actually "concrete"  (I'm an architect, shoot me)

Don't feel bad. I once made a writer revise a story because of safety violations in a factory setting. (I am the safety coordinator at my day job, among other things lol). The plot of the story depending on violating about a hundred different OSHA and FDA regulations. I basically told him, "You either need to set up the story to explain how it is this factory has NOT been closed down for what would legitimately end up a multi-million dollar fine, or you need to set up the story better so that we don't need to ignore the actual realities of a factory in the U.S.

8
Writers' Cafe / Re: Pathetic Peeves - Confess Yours
« on: June 15, 2018, 05:57:26 AM »
Peeves...I have a few  :o :P

"Very"

I blame this on a high school English teacher. Because, in the 80's, we teens put "very" in front of everything. And he was determined to get us to expand our vocabulary. So he banned the word "very" from all writing exercises. It was effective for me, at least, as it did force me to think more about proper word choice. But to this day, I wince a little when I read "very pretty" or "very smart" etc etc.

Writers in love with their character's name
Pronouns are your friends, people!

"Roland shrugged his shoulders. Roland didn't want to listen to Carol whine anymore. Carol always whined to Roland about everything. Roland wanted to go somewhere else, but Carol just followed Roland and kept whining. Carol was so annoying. Roland couldn't deal with Carol anymore. Roland wanted to punch Carol in Carol's Face with Roland's fist, but Roland knew if Roland punched Carol, Carol would just whine more."

And this is the worst in fantasy stories where these same authors also feel the need to give the character's names that are difficult or impossible to pronounce.

In all seriousness, as an editor, this is a big problem. I often have to go through stories and replace proper names with pronouns or revise some sentences just to stop the endless barrage of proper names over and over.

Commas for no reason
Comma misuse doesn't generally bother me too much. The rules for comma use can get cumbersome. I get it. But when people add commas for NO CONCEIVABLE REASON it gets on my nerves.

The castle was built, in 1483.
Some people drive, cars and trucks.

For some reason this is a real problem with video game loading screens. It is like a Comma Monster infiltrated the code and just added random commas. The problem was so bad in Skyrim that some kind soul actually made a mod to correct all of the loading screens.

"Highlander" effect
People pulling swords and other large weapons out of their jackets, pants, backpacks, or whatever. Does EVERYONE in UF has an inter-dimensional space in their clothing? Do people NOT realize how cumbersome it would actually be to carry a sword inside a trench coat or other piece of clothing? And more importantly, how likely you would be to cut yourself pulling it out?

Women only shown from the backside on covers
Or, really, any ridiculous, probably extremely uncomfortable, hypersexualized pose used on book covers and other media. Particularly annoying with books that are allegedly meant to show "empowered" and capable women. Because apparently you can't be "empowered and capable" unless you have a helluva fine backside to show off.

Reptilian races with breasts
Reptiles do not have mammary glands. There is no evolutionary reason why a humanoid reptilian race that lays eggs should have boobs. Fantasy or not, some internal consistency is needed. Every time I have to talk to a female Argonian on ESO, I get the twitches.

9
I'm not sure the above is true, Julie. I think that if you title an individual book in such a way that someone might arguably misperceive it as being part of the trademarked series, the trademark holder might sue you. If I published a standalone book and titled it Star Wars, I have a feeling I'd hear from Disney, and the fact that I didn't use "Star Wars" as a series title won't make a wit of difference to them.

First, don't confuse the fact that anyone can sue anyone for anything in civil court with what the actual law says. People sue as a bully tactic, even when they don't have a leg to stand on. Because it is often cheaper to settle out of court than to defend in civil court. That is a problem with civil courts, not the actual law itself. This country needs a great overhaul of the entire civil court system to make it more equitable. Namely, holding the attorneys responsible for too many frivolous lawsuits and possible loss of their licenses would clean up the courts real quick. Because attorneys are the ones often encouraging their clients to file.

Second, the Mouse is inherently evil and sue-happy, regardless of what the actual law says. Disney has a nasty habit of suing people even when people are 100% within their rights to do something. For example. Disney has been known to send DMCA take-down notices to websites that feature PICTURES of toys PEOPLE BOUGHT. Think about that. People buy an item, take a picture of it and post it. And Disney sends a take-down notice citing a copyright violation. There is NOTHING in copyright law that justifies this action. But Disney has done it. So using Disney's actions as evidence of how the law should be interpreted is wrong on its face.

Third, what people identify as Star Wars is directly tied to a very specific fictional universe. You could most definitely title your tell-all book detailing feuds between Hollywood actors "Star Wars" and it would be completely appropriate and legal, because you are in no way infringing on the trademark of the SW franchise, which is tied to the FICTIONAL UNIVERSE. Now if you tried to call you space opera series Star Wars, you might have some serious problems. The thing about a trademark is that it must be associated with something specific that serves as the "noun" for generic use. Again, the fact that Disney might sue anyway isn't relevant to the actual law.

Apple is a trademark for a type of computer. But there is also an Apple School Supply which exists outside the Apple company. There is also an Apple cosmetics. Apple Paints. etc etc. Apple computers can't really do anything about any of those companies, because they exist outside the scope of their own trademarks.

10
Actually, he DID answer the question. He explicitly said that a single book title cannot be trademarked. Only the SERIES.

So if she wants to call her SERIES the Cocky SERIES, that is fine. But that SERIES has nothing to do with individual TITLES. It would only be triggered if someone tried to create a SERIES with the word cocky in the name. The issue in this case is not the mark itself. The issue is that she is attempting to use the SERIES mark to stop INDIVIDUAL TITLES.

11
Threads like this are why the entire concept of "ARC TEAMS" bother me. They are fraught with ethical problems. ARC Teams ONLY exist to manipulate reviews. I don't care how often authors claim, "Oh, I only want honest reviews." How many people with ARC Teams keep people on their team that leave bad or even neutral (three star) reviews? ARC teams are specifically designed to generate a high quantity of high star customer reviews. That is the very definition of review manipulation. Particularly when you are policing those reviews and providing direction on them.

These are not neutral reviewers. These are marketing people. The use of the word "TEAM" clearly implies they are a part of your organization, even if unpaid. They work for you in a capacity, and they are "paid" in access to you and free books.

And, yes, requiring a review does violate the FTC rules regarding endorsements. This is why even Amazon removed the requirement for reviews in their Vine program. Originally, you were required to review every product. Then the requirement was moved to 80% of what you selected. But they eventually had to remove the requirement entirely because you can't REQUIRE reviews. EVEN ON THEIR OWN SITE.

12
Writers' Cafe / Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 13, 2018, 01:45:41 PM »
I just checked our numbers for delivery actions, and since launching back at the end of September, we have delivered over 18,000 books sold from authors' websites. Most through special offers, exclusive content or discounts, boxsets, and just plain appeals to readers. Readers love their favorite authors, and they want to support them.

The question is not: Can I convince my dedicated fans to buy my book on sale directly from me?

The question is: Can I actually generate NEW BUSINESS selling directly from my site or increase my per sale revenue enough to justify the expense, time, and resources involved?

OF COURSE some people are capable of doing this. Just like some people are capable of hitting the bestseller list with every book.

18,000 sounds impressive, but if that is since last September, that works out to 2,000 sales a month. Across how many author accounts? In reality, is this a case of ten authors selling 200 books each (which merely means a handful of authors have successfully figured it out) or 2,000 authors selling one each (which means the amount of effort involved to get that one sale is excessive.)

The fact that you handle the customer service aspect makes the possibility of selling directly on site easier. And I am certainly not in the "don't ever do it" camp. But folks need to be very careful when they start direct selling, because you open a whole lot of doors that you may not be able to close. Particularly when it comes to taxes. Folks outside the U.S. in particular have to deal with things like VAT (which still makes my head hurt whenever I read about it). And even in some U.S. states, direct selling out of your home, whether digital or physical products, can cause certain issues depending on municipal laws (assuming, of course, you are selling above board and following the law and not doing a "How will they ever know? thing."

13
And then there are those of us who would pay for a service that told us what genre the confusing mess we just wrote belongs in. Because I would love to make it easier for readers to find me.  It's a business opportunity, Julie. :D

I always miss the opportunity to exploit my fellow authors for profit. I tend to do this stuff for free lol

https://bardsandsages.com/juliedawson/2011/08/09/writing-clinic-defining-genre/

14
If you are direct uploading to a retailer with a dedicated device, it makes sense to use a retailer specific link at the back of the book. The easier you make it for people to purchase your book, the better. Because people are inherently lazy  :P And if they are on a dedicated device, they are generally only interested in buying from that retailer.

I think it is less of an issue for retailers that do not have dedicated devices. Someone who is already side loading to their tablet from Smashwords or Drivethru or downloading from Google Play isn't going to be put off by a catch-all page and may actually be happy to see you available elsewhere (i.e., the person who bought the book on Smashwords during a sale and then realized "Hey! The sequel is available at Google Play where I usually buy books! Yeah!" or "OHhhhhhh, the next three books are available on BN and I just got this gift card for my birthday!"

It becomes a balancing act, to be sure. Because people buy for a lot of different reasons, many of which don't actually make rational sense.  :o

15
I don't think we can really say what belongs where until Amazon gives us more clear guidelines about categories (the way iBooks does).

The problem is that it is NOT up to Amazon to decide what the definition of each genre is. Contrary to the popular opinions, each genre DOES, in fact, have rather clear reader expectations and established tropes and themes. The problem is not that Amazon hasn't told authors what to do. The problems are:

1. Too many authors simply do not have the literary literacy needed to properly categorize their books. They don't know the history of the genres they are working in. Haven't bothered to read the classics in their genres. Don't really do any sort of academic research to understand the how and why of the genre. They just say "I liked Jane Doe's books. Her books were in X genre. My books are like her books so my books are in x genre."

2. Too many authors are ashamed of their genres. I know writers who are clearly writing romances, but put their books in fantasy because they don't consider themselves "romance" writers. I recently had an argument with a friend who put his book in epic fantasy when it was clearly urban fantasy, but he didn't want to put it in urban fantasy because "that is all shifter smut books written by women." (Yes. he is still alive...there is some slight bruising however).

3. Too many authors are too self-important and simply INSIST that they are some cross-genre marvel and their book really, really, OMG SERIOUSLY IT IS a thriller-horror-fantasy-science fiction-romance-family saga-time traveling memoir FOR REAL. Newsflash, a few scary scenes doesn't make your book horror. The existence of a romantic sub-plot does not make your book a romance. Adding one robot to a story doesn't make it science fiction. The fact that a crime occurs doesn't make it a police procedural. I can count on one hand the number of times an author told me their book was a "cross-genre" when it actually WAS cross genre and not just self-important wishful thinking.

4. And, yes, too many authors just want to cram their books into as many categories as possible because they think it will increase their visibility on Amazon.

Those of us who have the knowledge of specific genres should report miscategorized books in the interest of fans of those genres. At the end of the day, to me, it is ALL ABOUT THE READERS. We should do whatever we can to help readers easily find the books they actually want. Because when people can find what they want easily, they shop happy. And when they shop happy, they tend to spend more money. And when they are willing to spend more money, they buy MORE books or more expensive books. So it also benefits the entire community.

16
We're just talking about what would happen to Indie Publishing if we were to carry on tomorrow without KU. Not because Amazon created another program. Not because (Insert made up scenario). No need to overthink. Just answer the question are indie authors overall better off with KU or without

You are obviously trying to force a specific answer for your own agenda. You CANNOT answer the question without thinking about the context under which that would happen, and I already answered why. Seriously, the very question is a MADE UP SCENARIO because Amazon is not closing KU tomorrow. The question, therefore, cannot be answered intelligently without context.

Now if you just want unintelligent answers from people who don't think, that is another story entirely...

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Selling ebooks directly from your own website
« on: June 13, 2018, 09:14:16 AM »
The process for downloading even an ePub or Mobi file directly into a Kindle (for example) directly from your website is convoluted and simply too hard for your everyday user. It's not a big deal, but it's not one click either. That's the challenge.

More importantly, the average consumer is becoming less adventurous regarding where they buy.  The average consumer doesn't want to go to AuthorSiteA to buy one book, AuthorsiteB to buy another, and then AuthorsiteC to buy a third. They want to be able to get everything they want in the fewest places possible. 

There is also the issue of workload. Modern consumers expect customer service. What happens when someone buys directly from you and then has a problem with the file? But you are on vacation and it is a week later that you see their email? Or, heck, a DAY later and they are meanwhile freaking out all over social media that you aren't answering their emails and they paid for a book they can't read? Direct selling on your website requires a secure infrastructure to both process payments and deliver files. It requires some sort of customer service to deal with consumers. It requires being prepared to adhere to the tax laws of a lot of different areas. The question becomes are you going to sell ENOUGH ebooks directly to justify all of the extra up front costs and time it takes to do it?

In most cases, the answer is going to be a big, fat "no."

18
I would say it depends on what killed it. Context matters. Context ALWAYS matters.

If Amazon killed KU and replaced it with something more equitable to indies, that would be amazing.

If Amazon killed KU and replaced it with something worse, that would be horrible.

The answer, therefore, depends on what brings about the death of KU. If you are taking some fantasy "Amazon just shuts KU down tomorrow with zero explanation or recourse" there is no scenario where that is not bad. Not because KU is GOOD, but because it would introduce massive uncertainty in the marketplace. It would also cause a huge consumer backlash from all of those subscribers that use it. You can't just close something down in 24 hours and not have a backlash.

19
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon as your competitor
« on: June 12, 2018, 06:35:45 AM »
It's worth pointing out that as indies, we're really only looking at--and getting feedback from--a part of the marketplace. It's a larger part of the marketplace than most of the official numbers would suggest, but it's certainly not the majority. Traditional publishing is still a real thing, and it's still bigger than the indies. We're not looking at the whole picture.

One of the things large houses are doing is going out and creating new markets. One of the big things right now are the drug store chains. They are working with the large chains to provide regionalized book selections for their demographics. While indies are "thinking bigger" insofar as high volume/low margin, many large publishers are thinking "smaller:" lower volume but higher margins. Drug stores have incredible small "shelf space" for books, but they are stocking books specific to their demographics. CVS is looking at publishers and saying "What do you have in inspirational women's lit" or "what is in your catalog for Hispanic readers?" or "What are you offering in men's adventure?"

That type of thinking is part what the article was talking about. Taking changes. Being nimble. Creating new opportunities that may have a smaller initial ROI but offer long-term stability.

20
Writers' Cafe / Re: You gotta laugh (or head bang)
« on: June 11, 2018, 01:23:28 PM »
This reminds me of an article I read recently about Amazon product reviews. The latest scam is to keep the same listing for years and years, but change what you are selling. So, if you sold a watch that got 10000 five stars and everyone loved it, change the listing to a cheap bracelet (keeping the same ASIN) and the vendor will reap instant reviews for that new but completely different product. Evidently, most people just look at the star average and not the actual reviews.

I've come across this quite often, and reported it when I found it. I can't even understand how Amazon allows that to happen (but I've given up trying to understand anything Amazon does)

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Hate the main character, hate the book?
« on: June 11, 2018, 01:20:27 PM »
I think sometimes people use the work "unlikable" when they mean "uninteresting."

There are plenty of characters that I HATED but loved to read about...waiting for them to get what was coming to them. And then there are characters that are likable enough but just don't interest me.

And particularly if it is the main character, that person MUST be interesting or, for me, the entire book falls apart. If I can't bring myself to be interested in the person, I have no interest in what happens to that person. And if I don't care what happens to the person, I'll lose interest in the book because...why keep reading if I'm not interested in what is happening?

22
I did not mention how to target a retailer. I don't. In fact, I leave the decision where to buy completely up to the reader.

This has always been my method. I don't promote RETAILERS. I promo ME. I drive traffic to my site, where I control the message. And then I let readers decide for themselves where they want to buy my books.

Think about ALL of the advertising you consume in a day. How much of it outside of books is retailer specific? How often does Colgate run commercials telling you "buy at WalMart?" How often does L'oreal run commercials telling you their products are on Amazon? When was the last time Hershey ran ads telling folks they can buy their candy at Acme? All successful brands market themselves first, and leave it up to the customer to decide where to buy.

In those cases where you do have exclusive deals, those exclusive arrangements are mutually beneficial between equals, not one side unilaterally dictating terms to the other. And then both sides pick up some of the cost of advertising, because both sides benefit from the association.

The point is, promote YOURSELF and let your readers shop where they want to.

23
Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon as your competitor
« on: June 11, 2018, 09:36:12 AM »
That's fascinating. I guess with Amazon's publishing branch, they kind of are our competitors. I hate to think of it that way, though, because I don't want to compete with other authors.

Amazon depends on keeping indies thinking of themselves as "authors" and not "publishers." You AREN'T competing with other authors. That is like saying the designers I work with are "competing" with the designers at another contract packaging company. The competition is at the upper business levels between YOU and AMAZON, not YOU and Amazon's authors.

It is important to change indies to change their perspective from "author" to "publisher." From "employee/contractor" to "business owner." Authors write books. Publishers market and sell them.

24
Writers' Cafe / Amazon as your competitor
« on: June 11, 2018, 07:37:33 AM »
As I've mentioned in the past, my day job is in contract packaging. This gives me access to a lot of industry publications that color my perspective on business in general. Most of them are behind paywalls, so I can't link to them for discussion. One of the few available without a paywall is Shopper Marketing Magazine. You can subscribe to see if you qualify to get a free copy. I qualified as I run an actual publishing company. I don't know how readily they will approve indie authors. But it is a monthly magazine actually sent to you (I know, real paper! What are they thinking!)

https://shoppermarketingmag.com/subscribe

It is predominately focused on the display industry, but it often contains a lot of insights and research into consumer behaviors as well as what is happening with the major players. This monthís issue had a focus on Amazon. It was specifically talking about Amazonís future with brick-and-mortar, such as the Whole Foods acquisition and some other potential acquisitions/plans. But it also discussed how manufacturers of products are starting to respond to Amazon. Not OTHER retailers, but manufacturers. Some of this might be relevant to publishers, as we are, technically, manufacturers. Just throwing out some of the key discussion points with my commentary.

Thinking of Amazon as a COMPETITOR, not just a Retailer
The big takeaway from the article is that manufacturers are thinking of Amazon not as a retail partner, but as a competitor. Amazonís algorithms favor their own brands, and the number of Amazon brands is growing exponentially.

Store brands have been a growing trend over the last five years. Quite often, store brands were made in cooperation with brand name products (sometimes even in the same facility!). Originally just seen as cheap knock-offs of brand names, many store brands have become strong brands in their own right. But the difference between other retailers that have store brands and Amazon is that Amazon gives preference to their brands. While other chains continue to simply offer their store brands alongside other brands as a matter of giving consumers choices, Amazon gives preferential treatment to their brands.

This obviously makes manufacturer's nervous. In particular, this means Amazon uses its own algorithms to promote its own brands while minimizing other brands. And any action taken by a manufacturer to DIRECTLY impact Amazon algorithms provides Amazon with data on both your marketing strategy and your consumers. Data it can use later for itself.

For example. Amazon knows which websites you are using to promote your books, because it knows where all of its traffic is coming from. It can track patterns and decide to diminish the value of certain traffic for purposes of algorithms. So downloads created by a specific site might be weighted less if Amazon feels it is in the best interest of their system. We have seen conversations in this forum about the effectiveness of some promo sites waning recently. We should assume this is not a failure of the sites, but a change in Amazonís algorithms when processing that traffic.

Manufacturers are beginning to take steps to limit the amount of data Amazon can access just as they would with any other competitor. Manufacturers are caught in the balancing act of making sure their products can be found on Amazon while not depending on Amazon search for people to find them.

Nimbleness is required
One benefit most indies have over traditional manufacturers is that you can make decisions quickly. You aren't bogged down with having to go through a corporate bureaucracy to make major changes to your business plan. You have much more freedom to adapt to changes in the marketplace than most larger companies. This is essential when dealing with Amazon, because their arbitrary, often bizarre changes aren't limited to just indies. Amazonís willingness to change programs with little notice is of concern to large companies as much as it is us. Amazon has been making a series of demands of manufacturers on a variety of issues.

 I know personally Amazon has been making radical demands of a lot of consumer commodity companies regarding changes to their packaging, specifically to make it easier for Amazon to ship. Much like WalMartís demands a decade ago led to innovations in concentrated products and reduced packaging, Amazonís demands today are changing the way manufacturers design both products and product packaging. The companies capable of meeting Amazonís demands get warehouse space and the coveted ďPrime eligibleĒ label. Lots of companies are falling behind here.

In this regard, Amazon has actually be more helpful to indies than other manufacturers, as the KDP system guarantees compliance with Amazonís goals.

Willingness to Fail
The companies that will survive dealing with Amazon over the next five years are the companies that are willing to fail.  By that, they talked about companies reexamining the demands of ROI to give themselves the flexibility to experiment with new marketing and advertising opportunities that are not Amazon-dependent. This is where companies have an advantage over indies, who are often dependent on their Amazon income to pay their bills. Large companies have the flexibility to occasionally ďfailĒ and lose money in the short term in order to cushion themselves against long-term losses.

The one "bright side" to the entire thing is that it seems like corporate America is just as abused by Amazon as we are lol

25
It's really hard to get your ideal audience to know you even exist. I mean, I have a novel that is an homage to D&D, and it has terrific reviews, but when I write to admins of D&D groups on Facebook to see if they might like a free copy, and if they enjoy it maybe let their members know about it, they just blow me off.

Maybe because you are the 30th person THAT DAY asking them to review. Heck, I'm a publisher and I get a dozen requests from random people on Facebook every week asking to to review something. If you want to get traction in a Facebook group JOIN THE GROUP and be part of the group. People get really frustrated with the high volume of spam requests for reviews from people who aren't part of their community.

The single biggest problem most admins have for groups is dealing with people who only post to sell/promote. If you want to to get involved in a group, you need to be an active part of the group and show that you care about the group, not just promoting yourself.

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