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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: Lhhansen on March 18, 2015, 06:42:51 PM

Title: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lhhansen on March 18, 2015, 06:42:51 PM
I am looking at KDP from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well with KDP? If you would have told me that books ranked 10,000 - 50,000 or so only make a few hundred dollars a month before I was a writer, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in KDP unless an author consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, writing is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

I read an article that said most authors make four figures. If it takes several months to write a book, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most authors well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to write, if you want to make a living?

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

I have heard others say you just have to keep writing, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the books may de-rank faster than you can put new ones out, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

I have written both fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction has much more staying power, but it took me two years to write the book! Fiction I can crank out faster, but it de-ranks faster. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most authors just don't make much in KDP, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Patty Jansen on March 18, 2015, 06:51:51 PM
1. Don't, ever, believe everything you "read somewhere" (or even anything)
2. Many people here are retired/student/unemployed/never had a job/unable to work because of young children, illness or other issues. Saying that a few hundred $$$ is "nothing" totally misses the point.
3. If you're in it for money, go and put your money in the stock market. Or maybe not. But writing is not, not, not the place to be. Sure you may make money, but most likely you won't make all that much. It's a bit of a lottery. Love for the craft of writing always comes before money.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: horse_girl on March 18, 2015, 06:53:54 PM
It's a gamble, no matter what you do. Some hit the magic spot, many don't.

Write because you love to write. Having people pay for the pleasure of you taking them on an imaginary journey is icing on the cake.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Flay Otters on March 18, 2015, 07:06:23 PM
1. Don't, ever, believe everything you "read somewhere" (or even anything)
2. Many people here are retired/student/unemployed/never had a job/unable to work because of young children, illness or other issues. Saying that a few hundred $$$ is "nothing" totally misses the point.
3. If you're in it for money, go and put your money in the stock market. Or maybe not. But writing is not, not, not the place to be. Sure you may make money, but most likely you won't make all that much. It's a bit of a lottery. Love for the craft of writing always comes before money.
Patty nailed it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: J. Tanner on March 18, 2015, 07:14:22 PM
So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most authors just don't make much in KDP, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?

You probably aren't wrong for you. But neither are you right for many.

The odds of significant financial success in any artistic/entertainment field is incredibly slim. Writing is no exception. If you thought this was a get-rich quick (or get rich ever) kind of idea, you were WAY off, in the way that people that think the lottery is their financial opportunity are all wrong. Internet marketers, for example, drooling over e-publishing are barking up the wrong tree.

Conversely, many writers aren't considering opportunity cost by the same metric. For example, there's zero opportunity cost for me. I'm writing because I want to write, not because of the potential financial reward. If I make lunch money for something I'm doing anyway, it's a net positive.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Wayne Stinnett on March 18, 2015, 07:16:39 PM
Not sure how you're coming up with those numbers, but a book that's ranked #10K is selling 10-15 per day, or 300-450 a month. Priced at $3.99, that's $800-$1200 a month. All six of mine are in Select and if it weren't for promos, they'd all be in the 10K to 15K ranks. Still, that's $4800 to $7200 a month. More than I made as a truck driver.  ;)

Nobody is going to make a living on one book. Writing more books is the key.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: MyraScott on March 18, 2015, 07:17:56 PM
If someone told you that you were guaranteed to make a comfortable living at writing, they lied.  Any business you run yourself (and you say you consider writing your business) is only as good as you make it.


Let's say instead of books, you make ice cream. You make good ice cream, maybe it has a little bit of originality to it, but in the end it's ice cream.  Now you put your ice cream for sale in a mall with 500,000 other people selling ice cream.  Some is better than yours, maybe a lot of it is worse than yours. But you are all selling ice cream.


The secret to selling more ice cream isn't simply making more flavors. The secret is getting people to come buy your ice cream and become attached to it, to seek it out, to walk by all the other ice cream to buy yours.


Once you have those customers, you can sell more to them.  But when you have no customers, making more flavors gives you a tiny added advantage of having more things to sell, but if no one knows/loves your brand, you are just waiting for customers to randomly walk by and pick your product out of a whole bunch of similar products.


It's only for chumps if you think selling books is simply following a formula an waiting for your bank account to fill up.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ML-Larson on March 18, 2015, 07:22:10 PM
Yes, there is a low success rate in publishing, and especially indie publishing.  But you will also find a few people on this very board who do make publishing their full time job.  There's another forum I sometimes visit where members regularly report a higher monthly income than my husband makes in health care.

Which, if my husband wasn't in health care, I wouldn't be able to do this right now.  This is, right now, my kind of expensive hobby.  But it's one which I hope to see a full ROI on by the end of the year.  That's really all I'm looking for in it at the moment, though it would be nice to be able to use this hobby to fund my other kind of expensive hobbies.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: George Applegate on March 18, 2015, 07:23:25 PM
I don't remember who said this...

"If someone tries to talk you out of being a writer, let them."
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Patty Jansen on March 18, 2015, 07:30:07 PM
Not sure how you're coming up with those numbers, but a book that's ranked #10K is selling 10-15 per day, or 300-450 a month. Priced at $3.99, that's $800-$1200 a month. All six of mine are in Select and if it weren't for promos, they'd all be in the 10K to 15K ranks. Still, that's $4800 to $7200 a month. More than I made as a truck driver.  ;)

Nobody is going to make a living on one book. Writing more books is the key.

Not just what Wayne says, but I'm making consistently  more than $1200 a month, and my books are ranked nowhere near that. Why? Because my sales are all added up across Amazon US, UK, CA, Kobo, B&N, Apple and Google Play. So really, Amazon US ranking alone tells you nothing.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: LilyBLily on March 18, 2015, 07:32:37 PM
Please don't crank out fiction. I hate reading cranked out fiction.  ::)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 18, 2015, 07:33:49 PM
It is for chumps if you don't have a plan, IMHO. I wrote this post before, and I truly believe it - it's not enough to just write some books, put them up, and sing "Luck Be A Lady." But, if you're strategic, then, yes, you can make a good living at this.

Strategic means figuring out what needs to be done to be successful, and then tailoring your writing towards that. I always get rotten tomatoes thrown at me when I say this, but it's not a bad strategy to read the top-selling books in your genre, then try to write something similar. It's definitely not a bad strategy to write in a series. It's not a bad strategy to write for a trend, if you can write fast to capitalize on it. It's an excellent strategy to anchor your series with a permafree. I would also suggest going wide. Paid promotions should always be a part of a winning strategy as well.

These are just a few strategies. Some find success with KDP Select. Others wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole. Some find success writing what their heart desires. That generally only works, however, if the heart happens to be in a hot genre or at least a semi-hot genre. Not that cold or lukewarm genres aren't worth writing in, it's just that you have a better chance making a good living if you avoid them.

Etc., etc. If you take the time to learn what works, you can definitely make more than $20,000 a year. You don't even have to be special. You just have to be wiling to do your homework and not try to fight what works. :)

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D. Zollicoffer on March 18, 2015, 07:34:06 PM
Some of you guys are writing the wrong stuff. Niche titles with no real market, and thought behind them. I'm not trying to be mean, but it's the truth. You have to study the market, get good covers, blurbs, etc. All of this has been said a million times. This will better your odds, but obviously there's no guarantees.

Maybe it's easier for me since I majored in business. IDK, I started writing last June and quit my job by August. I'm not making as much as some people here, but it's double what I made clocking in everyday. More than enough for a single guy living in North East Ohio. Work hard and pay attention -- you can earn a decent living. But it will take time.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on March 18, 2015, 07:34:41 PM
I'm exclusive with KDP and I really love my chump change. It keeps me in shoes, all of the geeky stuff I could possibly want, oh, and I'll be able to buy my dream house (with furniture) outright in a year.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 18, 2015, 07:38:40 PM
I've been consistently making in the $1000-1400 range for half a year now* and, like Patty, none of my books are ranked anywhere near those numbers cited. I have a few books out, which helps a lot, and a couple of series going, which helps a lot more. Only one is in Select, and it's a non-seller (<5 copies a month). I don't do much ad promo (mostly because I forget TBH), and tomorrow will be the first BookBub ad I've had - so again, this income isn't from the luck of drawing a BB.

It's a lot of work, a lot of patience, and consistently putting out new material. Occasional sales. A series. Nice covers. And while my grand a month isn't going to drop any jaws, I also don't know anyone who'd turn down bringing in that extra income every month.

My sales add up all over the place.


*This is excluding income from a box set I'm in
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 18, 2015, 07:39:39 PM
Some of you guys are writing the wrong stuff.

You do you, and I'll do me, thanks.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SB James on March 18, 2015, 07:40:18 PM
1. Don't, ever, believe everything you "read somewhere" (or even anything)
2. Many people here are retired/student/unemployed/never had a job/unable to work because of young children, illness or other issues. Saying that a few hundred $$$ is "nothing" totally misses the point.
3. If you're in it for money, go and put your money in the stock market. Or maybe not. But writing is not, not, not the place to be. Sure you may make money, but most likely you won't make all that much. It's a bit of a lottery. Love for the craft of writing always comes before money.
I could not have said it better myself.
In my situation, I'm writing for some pocket money and possible retirement money later on (after all, my works won't go out of print unless I take them off the market). I'd change my entire strategy if I was writing for primary income, but it HAS been done and it CAN be done.
Some authors can really make things work with KDP Select. I think you just need the right kind of books. I don't think KDP Select really works for every book series, but I do not think it should be ruled out as something I would NEVER do, since I could always write something to put into the program.
Like Wayne just said, writing more books really is the best strategy for any author, regardless of whether or not they enroll their books in KDP Select.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D. Zollicoffer on March 18, 2015, 07:42:08 PM
You do you, and I'll do me, thanks.
Oh please, don't be like that. Seriously, they're writing the wrong stuff if they want to earn a living. Which is the point of this thread. You can write whatever, but not if you want to get rich  :P
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 18, 2015, 07:43:01 PM
Oh please, don't be like that. Seriously, they're writing the wrong stuff if they want to earn living. Which is the point of this thread. You can write whatever, but not if you want to get rich  :P

I will be like that. Thanks.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: JRHolmes on March 18, 2015, 07:46:52 PM
With only eleven posts from the OP ::), this has the odor of an agitator... Throw a smelly post out there and watch the ants get rattled.

Obviously there are a number of regulars here that are making more than the chump change that is being referred to. I don't think any more needs saying.




Reminder to members that "troll" is a four letter word here; please don't use it.  Name calling in general is not allowed, thanks.--Betsy
Thanks for the pointer Betsy. While I wanted to be plain-spoken, I didn't intend to offend.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D. Zollicoffer on March 18, 2015, 07:47:28 PM
I will be like that. Thanks.
Just seems like you're picking a fight for no reason. I'm truly sorry if my post somehow offended you (that's not sarcasm), but it's clear what I meant. Really, there's no need for the snark. I don't think anyone would really disagree with what I said. If you're doing this for money then there are a set of rules you should follow.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ML-Larson on March 18, 2015, 07:48:40 PM
Just seems like you're picking a fight for no reason. I'm truly sorry if my post somehow offended you (that's not sarcasm), but it's clear what I meant. Really, there's no need for the snark. I don't think anyone would really disagree with what I said. If you're doing this for money then there are a set of rules you should follow.

Hmm.  No, it seems to me like you're the one trying to pick a fight, mate.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 18, 2015, 07:50:04 PM
Just seems like you're picking a fight for no reason. I'm truly sorry if my post somehow offended you (that's not sarcasm), but it's clear what I meant. Really, there's no need for the snark. I don't think anyone would really disagree with what I said. If you're doing this for money then there are a set of rules you should follow.

Amen. I'll back you up on that. Perhaps it was said inelegantly, but I do agree with the overall idea of your post.

And, btw, I forgot to mention this but the OP specifically said that KDP is for chumps. Select works for some, but for me, Amazon has been a bit of a sinkhole lately. But I'm established on all the other platforms, so hopefully, like Patty, I don't have to depend on Amazon anymore.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Patty Jansen on March 18, 2015, 07:52:13 PM
Quote
Some of you guys are writing the wrong stuff.

As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

~~~ (Edited per this post (http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,211162.msg2945719.html#msg2945719).) - Admin
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: MyraScott on March 18, 2015, 07:52:19 PM
KDP is Kindle Direct Publishing. He didn't say Select was for chumps.  His post seemed to imply indie publishing wasn't cutting it for him even though he'd followed the instructions.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D. Zollicoffer on March 18, 2015, 07:53:02 PM
Hmm.  No, it seems to me like you're the one trying to pick a fight, mate.
Really? All I did was clarify my point, and post a silly emoticon. This is why I try to stay out of topics like this. We need a, "I'm happy font, seriously, not trying to be snide or anything."

But it's too late, so I quit. I'll go back to lurking  :(
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 18, 2015, 07:54:33 PM
As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

I've sold my soul to things like *gasp* corporate writing. *shiver* I wouldn't wish that on anyone ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Patty Jansen on March 18, 2015, 07:57:36 PM
I've sold my soul to things like *gasp* corporate writing. *shiver* I wouldn't wish that on anyone ;)

LOL. I got out of that when I could :P
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 18, 2015, 07:58:36 PM
LOL. I got out of that when I could :P

I still do a bit off and on, but I'm pretty much done, too. Winding it all down now, in fact.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D. Zollicoffer on March 18, 2015, 08:01:39 PM
As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.
Okay, I need to stop posting at night. I didn't even mention smut or romance. There are other markets. I wasn't talking about selling your souls to the erotica gods, just doing some research that's all. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'll be more clear in the future.

But you guys really shouldn't be so quick to jump on the defensive. My post was aimed at people like the OP. People who think this is about easy money, and then start complaining when they aren't rolling in cash.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 18, 2015, 08:06:29 PM
Okay, I need to stop posting at night. I didn't even mention smut or romance. There are other markets. I wasn't talking about selling your souls to the erotica gods, just doing some research that's all. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'll be more clear in the future.

I was going to say the same thing. SF/F is a viable genre, obviously. Lots of people making bank there. Urban fantasy, same thing. Mysteries, thrillers, horror, dystopian - lots of writers on this board cleaning up. When I say cold or lukewarm I mean...well, I don't really know, but I know it when I see it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D. Zollicoffer on March 18, 2015, 08:12:07 PM
I was going to say the same thing. SF/F is a viable genre, obviously. Lots of people making bank there. Urban fantasy, same thing. Mysteries, thrillers, horror, dystopian - lots of writers on this board cleaning up. When I say cold or lukewarm I mean...well, I don't really know, but I know it when I see it.
Yeah that's all I meant. Pick a lucrative genre IF you care about cash. But write whatever IF you're just doing it for fun.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lhhansen on March 18, 2015, 08:26:32 PM
Yeah that's all I meant. Pick a lucrative genre IF you care about cash. But write whatever IF you're just doing it for fun.

There is definitely a legitimate argument that you have to study what sells to make money. Sometimes I cannot believe what sells(!) and have adjusted accordingly. I saw a book next to "To Kill a Mockingbird" that made me laugh (it involved a leash), so yes, you must study the market. Save the grand life changing novel for when there is enough cash flow for such an adventure! If you want to make money, better learn what is selling and what the market wants-fast! I agree! And I am doing that. I moved from nonfiction to fiction mainly for that reason. I write mainly romance/supsense. I may have to smut it up, which admittingly makes me somewhat of a less fluent writer.

It seems everyone agrees you must write what sells so I am not sure what the fuss is about.

Since some have already found success, care to share what genre you are writing in, D Zollicoffer?  :P

Many of us love to write and create, and would do it with no worries BUT we also need to have some cash, especially in the backdrop of a rather brutal economy. Some feel it more than others I suppose.

All of my books are in Select because I felt I had no choice. They don't sell anywhere else, and when KU came out, my income dropped. But I was referring to KDP overall.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 18, 2015, 08:28:17 PM
I will solve the argument,  write many readable books in the genre or genres of your choosing.   Make blurb and cover look good.   
Then maybe you will make money or maybe you won't.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Stephanie Marks on March 18, 2015, 08:43:32 PM
As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

Wow. Just freaking wow.

First of all I write BOTH urban fantasy and erotic romance so you might want to watch your tone about selling your soul and barking dogs. How unbelievably arrogant of you.

My contemporary erotic romance outsells my urban fantast no question, even though fantasy is where my ultimate passion is. That's just how it happens to be for me. That's the simply truth of MY income flow. I like to write both but the MARKET DEMAND is greater for my romance endeavors.

As to writing the wrong thing. YES, you can "write the wrong thing". Not necessarily an entire genre but even just within a genre. My first "smut" works sank to the bottom of Amazon pretty much instantly. I loved what I had written but when it came to making cold hard cash I had f**ked it up. That's just how it is. The MARKET didn't want it, and no amount of b*tching and whining was going to change that. I learned from my mistakes, scrapped the idea, looked more analytically at things and tried again with something new in the SAME genre and it worked. I wrote the WRONG thing for the goal I was trying to achieve. No point in being precious about it. I would never move ahead that way.

You guys need to get over yourselves. In your blind rampage to defend your precious work you're trampling everyone else and finding offense where NONE was meant.

I take offense and your final paragraph. It reflects poorly on you and your professionalism.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Adam Poe on March 18, 2015, 08:44:29 PM
We've never had a book above the ~5k range in the store (meaning in the top 5k). In fact, our main sellers fluctuate from 15k-40k most of the time. In 2014 we cleared more than 60k$. That's with the year starting at 200-300 a month. Also, no Bookbub ads/etc. We're on track to do even better this year. Clean urban fantasy -- not the hottest of markets.

If that's chump change then I'll take it! :P

Write (good books)
Publish (often)
Repeat (ad infinitum)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 18, 2015, 08:51:29 PM
Wow. Just freaking wow.

First of all I write BOTH urban fantasy and erotic romance so you might want to watch your tone about selling your soul and barking dogs. How unbelievably arrogant of you.

My contemporary erotic romance outsells my urban fantast no question, even though fantasy is where my ultimate passion is. That's just how it happens to be for me. That's the simply truth of MY income flow. I like to write both but the MARKET DEMAND is greater for my romance endeavors.

As to writing the wrong thing. YES, you can "write the wrong thing". Not necessarily an entire genre but even just within a genre. My first "smut" works sank to the bottom of Amazon pretty much instantly. I loved what I had written but when it came to making cold hard cash I had f**ked it up. That's just how it is. The MARKET didn't want it, and no amount of b*tching and whining was going to change that. I learned from my mistakes, scrapped the idea, looked more analytically at things and tried again with something new in the SAME genre and it worked. I wrote the WRONG thing for the goal I was trying to achieve. No point in being precious about it. I would never move ahead that way.

You guys need to get over yourselves. In your blind rampage to defend your precious work you're trampling everyone else and finding offense where NONE was meant.

I take offense and your final paragraph. It reflects poorly on you and your professionalism.



I agree with your sentiment, in that, clearly, there was no offense meant by D. Zollicofer or by me (I wasn't directly addressed, but I get the feeling I was indirectly).

And you're precisely right about having to know the market within your genre. Even if you're writing romance, if you don't write to market, you have a bigger chance of failing than if you do. That's just reality. Many do just fine not writing to market, and more power to them. But writing to market gives you better odds.

I think that's the point that D. Zollicofer was trying to get across.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: LadyStarlight on March 18, 2015, 08:59:17 PM
*throws stardust over everyone*


Everyone calm down now, everything will be okay! Peace, love and bliss!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 18, 2015, 09:03:03 PM
Okay, I need to stop posting at night. I didn't even mention smut or romance. There are other markets. I wasn't talking about selling your souls to the erotica gods, just doing some research that's all. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I'll be more clear in the future.

But you guys really shouldn't be so quick to jump on the defensive. My post was aimed at people like the OP. People who think this is about easy money, and then start complaining when they aren't rolling in cash.

Yeah, you probably should step back and cool off for a bit, because right now it's you who's coming across as combative and defensive.

I agree with the basic idea that if you want to make money, you should write what sells. Where we disagree is on the meaning of "what sells." There is a market for everything under the sun, and if you can dominate a niche, you can really rock that segment of the market.

An example: for the past half-century, everyone in publishing has said that Westerns don't sell. But Louis L'Amour dominated that niche, and did quite well for himself there.

Another example: science fiction is not exactly a genre that people say you should write if you want to make money. Amish sci-fi is such an obscure sub-genre that even most hardcore sci-fi fans have never heard of it. But Michael Bunker (arguably the inventor of Amish sci-fi) is rocking that sub-genre to the USA Today bestseller list.

Sometimes, it's a better career decision to pursue a small niche that you can dominate than it is to chase the money with the rest of the herd. It all depends on your own proclivities and disposition. For some writers, chasing the money really pushes them to thrive. For others, abandoning the passion that drove them to write in the first place is the start of a creative death spiral. So really, YMMV.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 18, 2015, 09:09:23 PM
If someone told you that you were guaranteed to make a comfortable living at writing, they lied.  Any business you run yourself (and you say you consider writing your business) is only as good as you make it.


Let's say instead of books, you make ice cream. You make good ice cream, maybe it has a little bit of originality to it, but in the end it's ice cream.  Now you put your ice cream for sale in a mall with 500,000 other people selling ice cream.  Some is better than yours, maybe a lot of it is worse than yours. But you are all selling ice cream.


The secret to selling more ice cream isn't simply making more flavors. The secret is getting people to come buy your ice cream and become attached to it, to seek it out, to walk by all the other ice cream to buy yours.


Once you have those customers, you can sell more to them.  But when you have no customers, making more flavors gives you a tiny added advantage of having more things to sell, but if no one knows/loves your brand, you are just waiting for customers to randomly walk by and pick your product out of a whole bunch of similar products.


It's only for chumps if you think selling books is simply following a formula an waiting for your bank account to fill up.

That's actually quite a profound analogy. It sums up my own experience with marketing my books better than I could have myself. In particular, the difference between finding new customers (expanding your readership) and selling more flavors to them (writing more books) is a really important distinction to make.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 18, 2015, 09:11:20 PM
This whole conversation reminds me that I was looking through the list of the top 100 authors on Kindle, and I ran across the name of a guy who used to post here all the time. Or his pen name, rather.

I remember well when he was thrilled that he sold 50 books - he never sold that many in a month. Now, it's like 18 months later, and he's in the top 100 authors in the entire Kindle store. I think he beat out Jodi Picoult.

What changed? He decided to write romantic suspense, found out he had a (real) knack, and that was that. Before that, I don't know what genre he was in, but he decided to give up that genre to try to write to market and, boy, did he.

It's a Cinderella story, but it can happen to anybody who has the dream of making millions and follows a plan to do that. Because I wouldn't be surprised if he's a millionaire by now. 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Perry Constantine on March 18, 2015, 09:26:49 PM
So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in KDP unless an author consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, writing is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

First off, it depends on where you live. $20K a year actually makes for a very comfortable standard of living in my area. Second, even if 20K a year isn't enough to live on, that's still $20K a year that you didn't have before. Even if you have to supplement that with some other income, you're making money you can live off of doing something you love.

Quote
I read an article that said most authors make four figures. If it takes several months to write a book, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most authors well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to write, if you want to make a living?

Sure, if money is the only thing that's important to you. But there's no rule that says if you want to be a writer, you can ONLY be a writer and can't do anything else. There are many, many, many writers who have other streams of income. It's not all or nothing.

And would you rather write or work the counter at McDonald's?

Quote
The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

If the only reason you love to write is because of the money, then you shouldn't be a writer. I wrote for nothing for years. Even if I never sell another book, I'll still write.

Some of you guys are writing the wrong stuff. Niche titles with no real market, and thought behind them. I'm not trying to be mean, but it's the truth.

I've said this before, I'm going to say it again, and I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face: why in god's name would I write something I don't care about just because it sells? Because it might make more money?

Writing something I hate is about as pleasurable for me as sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day. But at least when sitting in the cubicle, I get a guaranteed paycheck and benefits.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 18, 2015, 09:39:00 PM

I've said this before, I'm going to say it again, and I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face: why in god's name would I write something I don't care about just because it sells? Because it might make more money?

Writing something I hate is about as pleasurable for me as sitting in a cubicle for eight hours a day. But at least when sitting in the cubicle, I get a guaranteed paycheck and benefits.

But Perry, it's not all or nothing. I personally hate writing straight erotica. I tried, but I don't have the knack. For me, there's only so many ways you can describe two people doing it. It's bad enough that I put lots of sex in my books, but to write an entire book about that - not for me (and that's NOT disparaging erotica writers. I'm just saying I hated writing it). I would agree with you - I would never write anything I HATE. That would be depressing.

Sometimes, though, you can find a genre that you never thought about before, try writing in it, find that you like it, and you're making good money. It might not be your first choice, but you like it fine all the same. That's sort of me. I love writing romance, but I never thought I would. In reading stuff, I'm more of a dark fantasy/mystery/thriller type girl. I could make money in those genres, too, but it's somewhat easier to make it in romance, so here I am.

Oh, my words will be twisted around, I know it. I'm NOT saying that making money in romance is easy, or that writing it is easy. I am saying that it's a genre that gives pretty good odds of doing well. And I'm not selling out, because I genuinely love what I write. I love my characters. It just isn't the genre that I would have necessarily chosen from the very first.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Caddy on March 18, 2015, 09:50:59 PM
You do you, and I'll do me, thanks.

Ditto.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Cherise on March 18, 2015, 10:00:47 PM
If someone told you that you were guaranteed to make a comfortable living at writing, they lied.  Any business you run yourself (and you say you consider writing your business) is only as good as you make it.


Let's say instead of books, you make ice cream. You make good ice cream, maybe it has a little bit of originality to it, but in the end it's ice cream.  Now you put your ice cream for sale in a mall with 500,000 other people selling ice cream.  Some is better than yours, maybe a lot of it is worse than yours. But you are all selling ice cream.


The secret to selling more ice cream isn't simply making more flavors. The secret is getting people to come buy your ice cream and become attached to it, to seek it out, to walk by all the other ice cream to buy yours.


Once you have those customers, you can sell more to them.  But when you have no customers, making more flavors gives you a tiny added advantage of having more things to sell, but if no one knows/loves your brand, you are just waiting for customers to randomly walk by and pick your product out of a whole bunch of similar products.


It's only for chumps if you think selling books is simply following a formula and waiting for your bank account to fill up.



+1
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jim Johnson on March 18, 2015, 10:03:06 PM
As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

Depending on how you define successful, at least 70 sff indie writers joined SFWA within the last three weeks on the strength of their indie sales (1 work earning $3k in a year, IIRC).
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Sophrosyne on March 18, 2015, 11:04:32 PM
Authorpreneurship. It's not just about writing.

If you know how to write well and are willing to rewrite as much as needed...

If you publish books with great covers, solid editing, clean formatting...

If you have your cover, product description and sample pages working together instead of at odds with each other...

If you're willing to do a promotion every few months...

If you're willing to have a social media presence...

If you're willing to keep writing and publishing...

It's not chump change.

What it is, is a business.

If you are willing to make your book as professional as the ones coming out of the Big 5, or out of Amazon's imprints, it's definitely not chump change.

What it is, is an unprecedented opportunity to make a living as a professional author/publisher.

However, many people sabotage their own success. They don't write enough, they put out books before they're ready, they slap on whatever cover they can do themselves in Photoshop, they don't market, they use utilitarian product descriptions instead of intriguing ones, they put their weakest writing in the sample pages, they aggressively over-market their books on social media and never make a real connection with their fans.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Sophrosyne on March 18, 2015, 11:10:08 PM
LOL. The response was to the original post. That'll teach me to respond before I read the entire thread. I'm just so tired of hearing people say that indies only make 4-figures a year.

Yes, some are. But there are a lot who are making 4- to 5-figures a month.

That is definitely not chump change.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: thewitt on March 18, 2015, 11:46:35 PM
It's nearly impossible to estimate the income of independent authors, but you do have to go into this with your eyes open.

You will find that some people post on websites such as this one, anonymously, and boast of six or even seven figure incomes from their self-publishing empire.  They don't include their real names though, or their book titles, and claim this is simply to remain anonymous.  I call BS on virtually all of their posts, and just dismiss their advice out of hand.  Why?  It has no credibility behind it.

There are others who will talk about their income from self-publishing who list their books in their signatures, have websites where you can find all of their listed works, and using tools like KindleSpy you can estimate their income from sales on Amazon anyway.  Now KindleSpy has issues - and guesses income wrong for many - but it's not going to say someone earns $1000 a day if they are making $1000 a month...

There is great advice on this and other forums, and those who tell you that you need to have well written, well thought out, professionally edited and presented books are right on.  Covers and titles are your first hook, followed by your blurb and then if you are lucky your "peek inside."

You will generally need to have more than one book published before you have any credibility with the readers, unless you are very good at marketing or get very lucky.  I mean if you can get Oprah to recommend your first book on her show, you will be an overnight success...

My own titles are growing in sales every day, and though I won't be able to write full time any time soon, I am pleased that sales continue to grow and cross multiple sales channels.  I have no desire to be KDP only, and I suspect my Amazon sales are not as high as they could be as a result, but I've had a really strong pop on iTunes, B&N and Kobo this last month, and am seeing sales in Australia through GooglePlay that really surprised me.

If you decide to enter this business, keep in mind as others have said it IS a business. You not only need to write a good book, well crafted, that is an interesting read - but you need to market it as well. This is true whether you self-publish or Trade publish by the way... If you submit to an agent, one of the key things they want to know is how to YOU plan to market your book - which it what THEY need in order to get paid....  They expect you to do that as well....and not simply write and move along to the next novel in the list.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on March 19, 2015, 12:24:17 AM
Not sure how you're coming up with those numbers, but a book that's ranked #10K is selling 10-15 per day, or 300-450 a month. Priced at $3.99, that's $800-$1200 a month. All six of mine are in Select and if it weren't for promos, they'd all be in the 10K to 15K ranks. Still, that's $4800 to $7200 a month. More than I made as a truck driver.  ;)

Nobody is going to make a living on one book. Writing more books is the key.

Correct. It took 7 books for me, and mine are $4.99. I'm in all the different stores, yet Amazon is still 50% of all income and Audible 35%. Write a series that people enjoy, and although ranks fluctuate and with it your sales, you'll make a good living as long as you keep giving your readers good books to enjoy. In other words, find what your readers want more of, and give them that thing.

I don't stick with one genre. I know, I know... I'm bad, I'm stupid, the common wisdom says yadda yadda... I write what I want to read. If I don't read a genre, I don't try to write in it. That doesn't mean I won't try erotica or romance one day, but you can be sure I'll be reading all the bestsellers in those genres first! Write what you know is such a cliche, but it's still true. It just means research what you want to write thoroughly first.

You don't have to be in the top 500 or even the top 20,000 to make a living. My books used to hover around the 10k mark. Now most are in the 20-30k range. I still make a very good living, because I didn't stop at that magic book 7. Never give up, never surrender, and all that. I love my writing life. I don't do anything else.

Don't give up, mate. Back in 2001 I never thought I would be doing this for a career. Miracles DO happen.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 19, 2015, 12:32:20 AM
I make five figures a month and have no books in the top 500 at the moment (mine that sell are ranked anywhere from 1800 to 80,000). And all those books are SF or some flavor of fantasy.

Publishing without a plan and a clear set of goals... that might be for chumps ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Michael J Elliott on March 19, 2015, 12:53:44 AM
I'm on a disability pension and I fund the cost of my covers through semi regular babysitting jobs for my sister. ATM I only have two short stories out with the third to arrive soon followed by the collection. I love sitting on the couch daydreaming about walking down a red carpet event where one of my books has been turned into. This isn't a goal, it's just a nice little daydream and we all need those occasionally don't we? Some of my biggest thrills now come from my family asking "How's the writing going" or getting a great review. For me, seeing my name on a cover is reward enough and if in the future, if I earn money is earned in any amount I'll be very happy and grateful.
I can understand those who want to write for money and I don't condemn them for it but I don't think anyone should feel bitter about NOT making money as an author, as has been previously mentioned it requires strategies and plans and marketing as well as a lot of other things which don't gaurantee your monetary success but it can help it.
When the thought of picking up a pen becomes utterly abhorent to me, that's when I'll stop writing, not because my bank statements don't reflect what I should be earning  ;D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: CJAnderson on March 19, 2015, 01:16:51 AM
I think it also depends on your writing goals. There are ways to write if your goal is strictly to make money. Other people write for different reasons. Figure out exactly why you are writing is the first step.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ireaderreview on March 19, 2015, 02:45:40 AM
This post is going to have some pretty dark stuff in it. So avoid it if you don't like dark things, even if true.

I'll respond to each point based on what I've seen in music, movies, games, apps, books

******

I am looking at KDP from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well with KDP? If you would have told me that books ranked 10,000 - 50,000 or so only make a few hundred dollars a month before I was a writer, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

*******
1) Some people do very well. Some people do well. Most people make nothing.

To an extent this is true in EVERY Field. Apple makes $3 to $6 billion a month in profits. Samsung makes $2 billion a month in profits. HTC makes $30 million a month in profits, Xiaomi makes $1 per phone profit, most other phones companies make losses.

The Winners disproprotionately get 100%+ of the profits. #1 dominates, #2 does well, most others struggle.

2) Any digital market is controlled by the market maker/the app store/the platform.

So, their aim is to get creators to work for free while they capture the value created.

Apple can sell iPhones for $500 to $700 in part because users know they'll get a bucket load of free apps and games and lots of cheap software. So developers are adding value and most of that value is being captured by the owner of the app store, not by developers.

No user ever thinks - how is the developer going to make money from this free app? They just think - Wow! Thanks Apple! I get all these apps for free!

REMEMBER THAT. You don't want to be the developer in that equation. You want to be the store.

In Music streaming sites are trying to pull off the same trick - pay very little to music creators, and capture the value.

In books, whoever owns the stores will do this. Keep in mind that Amazon shifted to 70% cut only after Apple offered that.

3) If you're one out of 300,000 or 1 million authors selling through an ebookstore you're replacable and gradually all the value will go to the store. There will always be lottery winners - the top 500, the top 5,000. Perhaps even the top 20,000. However, the rest of the 1 million+ authors will make nothing or have losses. That means 980,000 out of 1 million authors. That's 98%.

A rough ratio of

98% at less than break even
1.5% at slight money. A few thousand a month.
.4% at decent money. $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
0.09% at good money. More than $10,000 a month.
0.01% at very good money. More than $25,000 a month.
Please Note: These figures are approximations. This is to give you an idea.

That 0.01% might be just 100 authors. However, EVERYONE assumes they can be one of those 100.

Even if we increase everything by 10, to go to highest level of optimism, we get

1,000 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
9,000 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 45,000 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
Around 180,000 authors who earn a few thousand a month.
Remaining 765,000 authors who make nothing.

******* So you're right. If you aren't in the top 10,000 authors you won't make much. And after that there are just 45,000 more spots with decent money.
And please keep in mind - this is optimistic scenario.


So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in KDP unless an author consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, writing is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

***
4) Yes, this is exactly right. For big money you need big ranks. And big ranks are limited. You're also competing against Big 5 Publishers and Amazon and very successful indie authors for this.

Depending on what your personal lifestyle is, you have to figure out what you can earn.

5) Consider this:

1,000 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
9,000 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 45,000 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.

This is in the optimistic scenario.

In the super pessimistic scenario

100 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
900 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 4,500 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.

****** I'm guessing this is where you'd like to be. You'll have to crunch the numbers yourself.


I read an article that said most authors make four figures. If it takes several months to write a book, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most authors well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to write, if you want to make a living?

* That's accurate. Most authors make very little. The Q is - What would YOU make if you had very good books and used good strategy. Could you be one of the 10,000 best authors? Could you be one of the 50,000 most successful authors?

THAT is what you should consider.

To be honest, the easiest way to do that (be very successful and make money via writing) is if you don't need money from your writing. It's really tough.

****

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

******

5) It's going back to the store owners and the platform owners getting the value created.

In very free markets where the store owner's motivations aren't necessarily to make money from books/movies/games/content, the content creators get squeezed. IF you think this is bad, imagine what would happen when Amazon's price controls break down and $1 and Boxed Sets and Free Books take over? There's a non-ignorable chance that happens. Then the money available might shrink or it might get distributed between multiple authors.

Again, the less you need money the more you can gain market share and thus gain advantage. And authors keep doing this - to gain an advantage they are willing to do anything, including hurt their own long-term earning potential.

*****

I have heard others say you just have to keep writing, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the books may de-rank faster than you can put new ones out, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

7) No, this isn't accurate. It's a vicious positive cycle if you write well. It's only a vicious negative cycle if you put out junk or make lots of strategy and marketing mistakes. BUILD DIRECT CHANNELS to your readers. That's #1. So readers know they are getting the value FROM YOU. Not from their store or their subscription or something else.

I have written both fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction has much more staying power, but it took me two years to write the book! Fiction I can crank out faster, but it de-ranks faster. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most authors just don't make much in KDP, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?

* No, for the vast majority of authors this is not a real business.

Remember, you're selling books from someone else's store to someone else's customers.

You have to sell your books from your own store to your own customers.

Right now, you're building beautiful sand castles on someone else's beach. If the tide doesn't wash you away (infinite competition from authors), then the beach owner can kick you out.

So there are basically two options

Option A: Build your own stores and control your customer relationships.

OR

Option B: Find an area where you own at least one out of the reader relationship or the store.

*******

There are very very very few areas of business (or for that matter jobs) where you will have

Lesser profits
Lesser Control
Lesser Satisfaction of Owning the Customer Relationship
Lesser Locus of Influence

than selling digital content through a store to someone else's customers, where you own ZERO% of the customer relationship.

If you want to make a living from writing, then either figure out a way to create a store owned by authors themselves, or build your own store and your own direct channels to readers.

And do consider the fact that the range of authors who'll be able to make $5,000 or more a month from books is probably going to be between 55,000 and 5,500. Is there a way you can guarantee being in the Top 55,000? What about top 5,500? If not, and if you do need the money, then you have to get a day job and write for fun.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Wayne Stinnett on March 19, 2015, 04:18:51 AM
One of my books is in a promo and currently sits at #716. Priced at $.99, because it's in Select, I get $.70 in royalty. Yesterday, it sold 229 copies, for a net income of $$160.30.

Consider this. If it were priced at regular price, that would be $480 and if all six were ranked similarly, that'd be nearly $3000 per day, or $90K per month. So, to answer your question, no you don't have to be in the top 500 to make a decent living. If you had six books in KDP all in the top 500, that'd make you a millionaire.

Drop the rankings down some. The next book in the series sold 11 books yesterday at $3.99. My royalty on those is about $2.70, or almost $30/day. It's ranked at #10,973. If it held that rank and sales number every day for a year, that'd be $11K per year. With two books, $22K. With six books, $66K. KU borrows are nearly equal sales, so toss in another $40K+/- and I'm easily into six figures income.

A six figure income with six books ranked at about #11K? Yeah, it can be done and many are quietly doing it every day.

Write more. Write better. Market more. Market better. Invest your earnings in your product early on, buying better covers and better editing. But most importantly, WRITE MORE.

On an average day, my six books sell
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: beccaprice on March 19, 2015, 04:29:07 AM
I write fairy tales (talk about a narrow niche!) because that's what my imagination comes up with. I'm currently working on a series within that genre (well, I've got book 1 and book 4 - books 2 and 3 are on the drawing board for this year). I have a fantasy novel/fairy tale for adults that I intend to write next year. I'm a slow writer, so it may take me the full year. At least that one I won't have to worry about getting illustrations for!

so far, I've taken a loss on my writing by a fair bit - but I admit I'm doing things fairly expensively. I have an excellent editor, but she's pricey. I have an excellent and affordable illustrator, but when you are talking 5-6 illustrations per story, and I've got 8 stories in this next collection, it adds up.

Even with a fantastic BookBub ad results and a long tail, the most I've ever made was $500 in a month. but 2014 was only my first full year doing this, and I'm still learning.

so this may turn out to be an expensive hobby for me. Or, suddenly fairy tales could turn hot. (or pigs could learn to fly). or my novel may be my break-through book.

but I'm having fun, and the people who do buy my books seem to like them. I just have a small audience (pun there not intended.)

So you can call me a chump if you want, but I'm (mostly) happy writing what I write in the way I want to write my stories.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Boyd on March 19, 2015, 05:39:32 AM
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers? 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: thewitt on March 19, 2015, 05:41:40 AM

Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers?

It annoys the **** out of me and I write Fantasy!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Patty Jansen on March 19, 2015, 05:41:57 AM
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers? 

Probably not, but I'm equally annoyed to be told that we write "the wrong stuff" by some anonymous erotica writer with no verifiable name/books. Because there are many writers of other genres who do perfectly fine.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Al Stevens on March 19, 2015, 06:17:06 AM
You're right, OP. It's for chumps. We're all chumps. I agree you should find another way to burn daylight. That would reduce our competition by one chump. :)

All in good fun, of course.

Parse this: "How do we make that chump change?"
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe_Nobody on March 19, 2015, 06:19:44 AM
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: nonbreaking space on March 19, 2015, 06:21:59 AM
i made 94k last year without a single book in the top 2000.
there is money in the midlist. you need more quantity to make it.





Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Drake on March 19, 2015, 06:22:42 AM
I'm writing because I love doing it, and am thrilled that others want to read the words that I have cobbled together into a story.  The fact that I'm making a living from making stuff up is pretty amazing as well.  It's about creativity, not just money.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Quiss on March 19, 2015, 06:26:41 AM
Wow, I wander off for a while and come back to find everyone pushing everyone's cranky-buttons.
Time for some amusing gifs, I think. With kittens.

As for the OP, if you find that KDP is chump change for YOU, start selling elsewhere. Kind of a no-brainer. For many of us, Amazon is only a part of our writing income. At this point, 45% of my revenue comes from other channels.

Regardless of what you write, if your income isn't enough for YOU, you're doing it wrong. Or YOU should be doing something else.
My redhead is currently paying for my bathroom reno. And that ain't chump change :)

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lehane on March 19, 2015, 06:30:40 AM
Probably not, but I'm equally annoyed to be told that we write "the wrong stuff" by some anonymous erotica writer with no verifiable name/books. Because there are many writers of other genres who do perfectly fine.
That poster never said anything about erotica/romance in their post here. They said people were writing "the wrong stuff," not the wrong genre, and went on to outline that they believe people aren't selecting their niches to capitalize on a target audience, and maybe not planning as well as they could. I read that to span many genres. Lots of people write in lucrative non-romance/erotica genres (SFF, suspense, YA, action-adventure, etc.) but don't plan as extensively as they could to get their works to thrive in the market.

I agree with anniejacoby's post. There are so many opportunities in genres that sell out there that I get a little confused when people assume they would have to write something they hate in order to make a lot of money. Even beyond switching genres into something you may like just as much (which is something I've done -- PNR isn't too far from UF but is a bit easier to break in with -- and I love it), people have made what they love work for them. It just requires some careful navigation, some planning, and maybe a bit of tweaking your stories to really grip readers. Heck, we have people here making bank on military adventure books, Jane Austen fiction, hard science fiction, and more pretty specific genres that you might not think scream "easy money." These people found something that really got them excited, found a way to market them, and ran with it. That's what I felt like D. Zollicoffer meant by "writing the wrong stuff." The 'wrong stuff' is what you don't plan or target.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: katetanner on March 19, 2015, 06:40:42 AM
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers?

No you are not the only one.

First, Erotica and Romance are two different genres. Second, Romance pays my bills and I love writing it and reading it. The romance genre is very varied. I have read some romance stories about some interesting subjects including homelessness, depression, recovering alcoholics, abuse and life threatening diseases. These books are heartbreaking and have opened my mind.
Third, I'm grateful to Amazon for letting me sell my little stories in their store. You can choose to have all your books just on Amazon or spread them wide. Experiment and see what works for you.

I'm not sure why the OP has started this thread but it's interesting that in this thread What age is Appropriate for New Adult/Sex http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,178510.msg2515692.html?PHPSESSID=UHPpwSJGQCR7-y5VKa9Q-3#msg2515692, the OP seems to be a little confused about what they are writing and what is selling.

I think it would have made more sense to start a new thread and ask some advice that could help you, instead of asking if KDP is chump change for chumps, which I find quite rude. 

I'd like to make more money and I don't mind starting a new thread and asking, How could I sell more? I write jn this genre (insert genre) but I'm a little confused about how to stand out in this genre, I'm confused about what the readers of this genre really want, I don't know how the topsellers do it.


Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 19, 2015, 06:51:32 AM
Folks,

as this thread is going off topic, let me step in to remind people to be respectful of all genres, as we have authors in all genres here.  As has been shown time and time again, there are no "gimme" genres or we would all be rich.  Also, for our newer members, "troll" is  a four letter word here.  Please don't use it.  Name calling in general is not allowed.

Let's stay on the topic of the original post.  If you don't think the topic worth discussing, lots of other threads.

Thanks,

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: C. Gockel on March 19, 2015, 06:53:21 AM
Quote
I think it would have made more sense to start a new thread and ask some advice that could help you, instead of asking if KDP is chump change for chumps, which I find quite rude. 

Such a thoughtful reply. Wish there was a like button.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: MonkeyScribe on March 19, 2015, 06:54:31 AM
Am I the only one who's annoyed with the dismissive attitude folks have about Romance/Erotica writers? 

My opinion about this is similar to how I feel about the OP. If you're diving into writing (or some supposedly hot genre), because you think it's a quick and easy way to make a buck, think again. Not only is it really, really hard to make a living under the best of circumstances, you'll also be competing with people who work hard and love it. It's tough enough for me to put together the stories that really mean something to me and then shift enough copies to stay in the game. Why would I try to venture out and compete on someone else's turf? Not only would I hate it, but people who know what they're doing will surely leave me bloody in the ditch.

I don't just write whatever pops into my head at the moment, but anything I write must be something I would also read for pleasure.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: EB on March 19, 2015, 07:32:33 AM
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P

Absolutely. It is for chumps.
And I'm a chump who quit a nursing career where I made great $$ to go full-time as an author. Even with the student loans, it still makes financial sense.
Lol, what a chump I am.  ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Wayne Stinnett on March 19, 2015, 07:54:14 AM
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P

I smell chum in the water.....  ;D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SevenDays on March 19, 2015, 07:57:01 AM
Also, for our newer members, "troll" is  a four letter word here. 

Uhem. Five letters.


(I know, I know, I'll see myself out. ;D)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 19, 2015, 08:10:09 AM
Uhem. Five letters.


(I know, I know, I'll see myself out. ;D)

(http://www.vosizneias.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/848c0187-2103-4a28-b8d3-bdebc5e68a0a.jpg)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Mark at Marble City on March 19, 2015, 08:16:58 AM
Also a quick mention for those authors with OOP backlists who have been left for chumps by mainstream publishing and are now earning some nice chump change thanks to KDP.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Moist_Tissue on March 19, 2015, 08:48:03 AM
I'm trying to wrap my mind around this. So an author who makes "only" a thousand or few thousand dollars a month wouldn't be considered very successful?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Simply Unbound on March 19, 2015, 09:10:22 AM
I'd rather be a poorly compensated KDP chump than a 9-to-5 grind chump, particularly considering the 9-to-5 now tends to come with unpaid overtime.

Your results may vary, however.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: TexasGirl on March 19, 2015, 09:15:46 AM
I'll take my six figures of chump change and be happy to be called a chump.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Indiecognito on March 19, 2015, 09:34:36 AM
I'll take my six figures of chump change and be happy to be called a chump.

Me too, though I'd rather be called a chimp. Or, in a perfect world, a CHUD.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: doolittle03 on March 19, 2015, 09:36:06 AM
I'm trying to wrap my mind around this. So an author who makes "only" a thousand or few thousand dollars a month wouldn't be considered very successful?

Thank God someone said it! (um, pick me?)

I am currently making chump change but the way I look at it, I was making no change at all in traditional publishing where I was truly a chump with the strange dealings that went on there.
 
Cinisjoy and Books Butterfly ... excellent thoughts there ... thank you.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jim Johnson on March 19, 2015, 09:40:10 AM
I'd rather be a poorly compensated KDP chump than a 9-to-5 grind chump, particularly considering the 9-to-5 now tends to come with unpaid overtime.

Your results may vary, however.

Very true. It's hard to beat the health insurance and the employer match to the 401k, though.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 19, 2015, 09:44:07 AM
People get mixed up between income and income streams -- that is, a wage and investment income.

Intellectual property is capital.  The time you invest in creating it is like buying a bond.  It pays off over time.  You don't say "I worked for three months and I only get $100 a month from it." You say "I invested three months, and expect to have income for the next 20-30 years."

In that sense, you compare that three months effort to the money that would buy a bond.  A 10k investment right now would net you about $300 a year right now.  A more risky stock portfolio averages $1000 a year for that amount.

So if you're making over $100 a month on a three month investment, then you're doing well.  You're beating the market if you normally make $40k a year with the time you're investing in writing.

Now, as with most investments, the income on that is going to vary, and there are a lot of factors that go into it -- such as how many more books you write, and how you maintain your body of work over time, especially after you retire from writing, and how "evergreen" your genre, subject and style is.

But if you are writing midlist books, you're talking a long term game, not a short cash-in.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: wtvr on March 19, 2015, 10:00:14 AM
tl;dr

To recap:
People who make $ to $$ say it is impossible to succeed except for luck but wanting more than that makes you a greedy sellout anyway, so don't ever change!
People who make $$$ to $$$$$ say hey there are lots of ways to skin a cat but success is just around the corner if you make some strategic decisions about what and how you're writing and follow the examples of people who are doing well.

OK who do you wanna believe?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cbaku on March 19, 2015, 10:32:34 AM
If you just needed to vent a little, I get it, and consider yourself hugged.But it's writing, and THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. This is true whether you are trad-pubbed, hybrid or indie. Even if we write a ton, lead with the must-have pro covers and blurbs, and have brilliant, flawless content, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. Wander around in the fiction stacks of your local library or a big brick-and-mortar bookstore (if you can find one...). You're going to see the blood sweat and tears of thousands who went before you, carrying the same fire inside, and the great majority of them will never be Stephen King or Bella Andre. No one WANTS to labor in obscurity. Hell, even Emily Dickenson wanted to make it.  ;) It's okay to hit a wall now and then and wonder aloud if you're a chump, but the truth is that, although we writers have more opportunity now than ever before in history, THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. Writers have to write. So, give up in relief and do something else, or get back to work. xo
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: m.a. petterson on March 19, 2015, 10:37:44 AM
I have a friend with a full-time job who plays in a band on the odd weekend.

He spends hours and hours practicing, drives a $3000 van, has $12,000 worth of equipment, and makes maybe $50-$100 per gig.

When someone pointed out the economics of this to my friend, he replied, "If I have to explain you wouldn't understand."
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 19, 2015, 10:55:51 AM
The thing with niche genres is that mainstream genres used to be niche themselves before someone wrote some gateways works and got people taking notice. Doing that take a lot of understanding about how genres and fandoms work, but it can have amazing returns if you do it right.

But as to the larger topic... you can't expect an instant money shower. Individual books might not make a ton, but once you have a nice, hefty catalog there's not a lot of difference from the earnings of someone with a few bestsellers and someone with enough midlisters to choke some sort of thick-necked animal.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: drno on March 19, 2015, 11:18:05 AM
1,000 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
9,000 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 45,000 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
Around 180,000 authors who earn a few thousand a month.
Remaining 765,000 authors who make nothing.

At Author Rank 13000 you make about 550 bucks a month. I wonder what Author Rank it takes to make 2000 a month on Amazon.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 19, 2015, 11:43:11 AM
1,000 very successful authors who earn $25,000 a month
9,000 successful authors who earn $10,000+ a month.
Around 45,000 authors who earn $5,000 to $10,000 a month.
Around 180,000 authors who earn a few thousand a month.
Remaining 765,000 authors who make nothing.


This is a very manipulative set of numbers.  That "make nothing" level actually reflects the income of the majority of Americans overall.

Let's face it -- many of the people here are not talking about making a living -- they're talking about getting rich. There's nothing wrong with that goal at all, but that doesn't make the rest of the world just a bunch of loser "hobbyists."

I never made more than 2.5k a month in my life - and most of my life I made significantly less -- and on that I saved enough to retire early and write full time.  While others certainly need more than that to make a living, I certainly don't.  Give me 2k a month and I would never have to dip into my retirement accounts.  I would be adding to them.

So it's downright ridiculous to act as if people making 3k a month are barely making it and those making 1-2k (or even $400, or less) a month are making "nothing."

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 19, 2015, 11:45:22 AM
This is a very manipulative set of numbers.  That "make nothing" level actually reflects the income of the majority of Americans overall.

Let's face it -- many of the people here are not talking about making a living -- they're talking about getting rich. There's nothing wrong with that goal at all, but that doesn't make the rest of the world just a bunch of loser "hobbyists."

I never made more than 2.5k a month in my life - and most of my life I made significantly less -- and on that I saved enough to retire early and write full time.  While others certainly need more than that to make a living, I certainly don't.  Give me 2k a month and I would never have to dip into my retirement accounts.  I would be adding to them.

So it's downright ridiculous to act as if people making 3k a month are barely making it and those making 1-2k (or even $400, or less) a month are making "nothing."

Camille
ALL THIS +1.   
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Becca Mills on March 19, 2015, 12:12:43 PM
ALL THIS +1.
+ another 1.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 19, 2015, 12:25:44 PM
This is a very manipulative set of numbers.  That "make nothing" level actually reflects the income of the majority of Americans overall.

Let's face it -- many of the people here are not talking about making a living -- they're talking about getting rich. There's nothing wrong with that goal at all, but that doesn't make the rest of the world just a bunch of loser "hobbyists."

I never made more than 2.5k a month in my life - and most of my life I made significantly less -- and on that I saved enough to retire early and write full time.  While others certainly need more than that to make a living, I certainly don't.  Give me 2k a month and I would never have to dip into my retirement accounts.  I would be adding to them.

So it's downright ridiculous to act as if people making 3k a month are barely making it and those making 1-2k (or even $400, or less) a month are making "nothing."

Camille

You are my hero, Camille. ;D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: drno on March 19, 2015, 12:28:03 PM
I disagree. There is too much hype and not enough numbers. The list said that 45000 authors were making about 5000 bucks a month. That is not true. At Amazon Author Rank 13000 you make about 550 bucks a month. My question is not whether someone is frugal, but what Amazon Author Rank do you have to be to make 2000 bucks a month? I think this is the sort of information new writers would like to know. Also others trying to figure out whether full time writing is worth pursuing or not.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annabel Chant on March 19, 2015, 12:36:56 PM
I may be misunderstanding those numbers, but are they not really for single books, rather than authors. If I've got this right, surely that means that there could be a far greater amount of authors earning in the higher bracket, from a large back list of books.

Unless I've got it wrong, which I probably have  :D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 19, 2015, 12:42:40 PM
Dr no. You are asking an unanswerable question.   It will vary from month to month.  I can not tell you that you must be author rank 22, 346 to make $2000 a month.   I do believe rank goes by number of sales not by price. 
Hence if you want to make 2 grand a month, you need to sell roughly  6000 at 99 cents, 1000 at $2.99, 717 at $3.99, 573 at 4.99, 500 at 5.99 etc up to 286 at $9.99. 
This is providing you have no expenses on your books. 
Now you have the key to the kingdom, use it wisely.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 19, 2015, 12:44:51 PM
I disagree. There is too much hype and not enough numbers. The list said that 45000 authors were making about 5000 bucks a month. That is not true. At Amazon Author Rank 13000 you make about 550 bucks a month. My question is not whether someone is frugal, but what Amazon Author Rank do you have to be to make 2000 bucks a month? I think this is the sort of information new writers would like to know. Also others trying to figure out whether full time writing is worth pursuing or not.

This is probably helpful. My author rank, on Amazon, this month, has ranged from a high of 14,000 to a low of 26,000, but the average has probably been around 16,000. Thus far, this month, I've made around $3300 from all the Amazons put together. Granted, I have 7 books for sale, so that might skew things some.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 19, 2015, 12:49:54 PM
My question is not whether someone is frugal, but what Amazon Author Rank do you have to be to make 2000 bucks a month? I think this is the sort of information new writers would like to know.

I can see why people might like to know it - i.e. out of curiosity, but I don't see how it can help. It's not like I can do things differently in order to aim for an author rank of whatever. In fact, it might put people off and make them think they've no hope of reaching that kind of level.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: bobfrost on March 19, 2015, 01:05:56 PM
The trouble with using author rank to figure income is people with multiple author names.

I made almost 40,000$ last month and didn't even hit an all-star bonus. ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Okey Dokey on March 19, 2015, 01:20:44 PM
I'm always looking over my shoulder to see if the Tax Man cometh.

If he catches me saying:

I'm writing because I want to write, not because of the potential financial reward

or this is my kind of expensive hobby

or it would be nice to be able to use this hobby to fund other expensive hobbies."

THEN the Tax Man will say that since I would write whether I made money or not, then I am pursing a Hobby.
And expenses to maintain a hobby are not deductible.

I had a conversation with the Tax Man years ago. Now I will never make any "hobby" comments on a public forum. Now, my writing is "for the money," Mr. Tax Man.

And I don't HAVE to make money. But I have to prove that my PURPOSE is to MAKE money, not just enjoy myself.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 19, 2015, 01:22:58 PM
Using the ranks to figure out author income isn't going to provide usable data because you don't know how or even if they're selling elsewhere. That would make the rank estimation the floor of what they might make... buuuut, you also don't know what kind of overhead they're looking at per book. So maybe it will give you the mean? I don't know, statistics was too long ago.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jana DeLeon on March 19, 2015, 01:34:20 PM
Author rank takes more into account than just sales, so you can't base anything on that except that those in the Top 100 are probably making a darn good living.

I totally agree that many people are writing the wrong thing. That statement has nothing at all to do with genre. It simply means they're not taking into account their individual talent and making it mesh with the current market. It is possible to write what you want and make it more commercially viable at the same time.

As for the $25k a month thing, I could easily name over 100 authors that make that and much more. If you take into account everyone who has ever published a book, then the percentage making big money is very low, but if you compare the big earners only to a pool of authors pursuing writing as a business they would like to support them, my guess is that percentage goes up considerably.

Making a living is a horrible description to ever use as comparison. For some, making a living is $20k and they're quite happy. For others, they left high paying positions to write and $20k a year wouldn't cover their mortgage. It's a very individual thing. When someone implies that 1 or 2k a month isn't good money, they are speaking from the position of their own financial obligations. They're not making a judgment about anyone else's earnings.

btw This is my published name, books are in sig, feel free to KindleSpy me. :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: drno on March 19, 2015, 01:41:03 PM
Granted, Author Rank is about unit sales and borrows; not revenue. I see that now. Price of books is not included in the rank. So we can't get any useful info about how many writers are actually making 2000 bucks a month on Amazon. Pity!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jana DeLeon on March 19, 2015, 01:48:59 PM
It also takes into account number of product offerings, historical sales, current sales, velocity of sales, Likes on author page, page views of books, books wish listed, etc. The algos are very sophisticated. It's not a simple thing to assess.

But the answer to your question is "a lot."
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Marian on March 19, 2015, 01:55:15 PM
The OP is right, it is for "chumps."

You guys should all go do something else.

Just so the readers aren't left hanging, I'll stay back and cover your retreat. I'll pop out a few more titles so as to avoid a Kindle apocalypse and widespread social unrest due to reader withdraw.

I know, I know... Don't bother to thank me. If somebody has to sacrifice themselves, it might as well be me.  :P



You made me laugh! Thank you.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AJStewart on March 19, 2015, 01:56:51 PM
This is probably helpful. My author rank, on Amazon, this month, has ranged from a high of 14,000 to a low of 26,000, but the average has probably been around 16,000. Thus far, this month, I've made around $3300 from all the Amazons put together. Granted, I have 7 books for sale, so that might skew things some.
Annie, as with most everything you post here, this is helpful. And I don't think your 7 books skews things, I think it serves to make the point. You keep putting work out, you think about how to market, you tweak covers etc and you think about how what you are writing is being accepted by the market. There are no guarantees because no two books are the same, but there are signpost actions that successful writers do to put the odds on their side. And although we all have own ideal of success, I think you fit that category (but may it get much better for you!).
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ellenoc on March 19, 2015, 02:26:24 PM
Thanks, Joe, for the laugh.

Thanks, Camille, for the dose of reality.

Let me be another to address the "hobby" thing. Earning $20,000 or $200 a month or year doesn't make one's writing a hobby. Someone who labors 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job isn't pursuing a hobby because she doesn't make a fortune. Amount earned isn't what defines hobby vs. job, profession, line of work. Things like intent and approach make the difference. Even the IRS recognizes that.

I'm one of the retired folks referenced above. I've made a low of $1,000 a month and high of $7,000 a month since early 2010 with my writing. It's a part time job that pays much better than what I'd earn from any other part time job I could get, assuming I could even get one at this age.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: genrehopper on March 19, 2015, 02:40:12 PM
As far as I know, there are some very successful SF/F authors. On these boards even. There is a dude called Hugh Howey, for example.

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

I'd like you to know that I logged into this site for the first time in months just so I could report your post. 

You can argue for the aesthetic superiority of what ever you write all you want.  At least have the decency to do it while not engaging in ad hominem attacks.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 19, 2015, 02:42:25 PM
Annie, as with most everything you post here, this is helpful. And I don't think your 7 books skews things, I think it serves to make the point. You keep putting work out, you think about how to market, you tweak covers etc and you think about how what you are writing is being accepted by the market. There are no guarantees because no two books are the same, but there are signpost actions that successful writers do to put the odds on their side. And although we all have own ideal of success, I think you fit that category (but may it get much better for you!).

Aw, thanks for your kind words!

Amazon is a small part of my income, too, at least this month. It's usually around 45%. This month, it's more like 25%. I have no idea why - it's just one of those things.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 19, 2015, 02:46:29 PM
Author rank takes more into account than just sales, so you can't base anything on that except that those in the Top 100 are probably making a darn good living.

I totally agree that many people are writing the wrong thing. That statement has nothing at all to do with genre. It simply means they're not taking into account their individual talent and making it mesh with the current market. It is possible to write what you want and make it more commercially viable at the same time.

As for the $25k a month thing, I could easily name over 100 authors that make that and much more. If you take into account everyone who has ever published a book, then the percentage making big money is very low, but if you compare the big earners only to a pool of authors pursuing writing as a business they would like to support them, my guess is that percentage goes up considerably.

Making a living is a horrible description to ever use as comparison. For some, making a living is $20k and they're quite happy. For others, they left high paying positions to write and $20k a year wouldn't cover their mortgage. It's a very individual thing. When someone implies that 1 or 2k a month isn't good money, they are speaking from the position of their own financial obligations. They're not making a judgment about anyone else's earnings.

btw This is my published name, books are in sig, feel free to KindleSpy me. :)

This x100000.

2k a month is decent money, but I'm supporting my elderly parents, and, to a certain extent, my sister. Unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to do that if I made 2k a month. Everyone's different, and have different needs and goals. :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 19, 2015, 02:52:50 PM
I've said this before, but I'll say it again because, well, why not. I don't think you necessarily have to "study the market" and write to current trends, etc., to make a living. I know lots of folks doing well in non-current-trend areas, including within romance.

BUT it's good to be realistic about it. For me, I look at it this way: I do think one reason I've done well is precisely BECAUSE I didn't study the market and write to it. I think I sell because of my voice and my style--a much more realistic-style romance than is popular right now. Because that's what I write well. I don't have the writing chops to adapt and write something that's so far off of my style and voice--angsty, dark NA or paranormal erom or billionaire BDSM, the three things that come to mind as probably the top-selling indie trends at the moment. I can literally only write what I want to write. Those are the only stories my brain will bring forth.

If I COULD do that, and if I could write shorter and faster and all the rest of it, might I make more? Maybe. Probably. If I COULD do that well. But, bottom line--I don't want to. I, like many others, got into this business because I had stories I wanted to tell, specific stories told my way. That I make money at it is a lovely thing, but a fringe benefit. Basically, I just want to not have to get a real job.

But I'm also always branching out. I think it's really tempting, if something's working, to keep doing more of that. But there are lots of kinds of things I want to write, ways to keep my own spark alive. And besides, tastes change. I can't tell you how many authors I've seen, just in the 2-1/2 years I've been published, who were big when I started. But they only wrote one kind of thing, or they abandoned the thing they were good at in order to write the hot-new-indie-thing, and they've really fallen by the wayside. It's really hard, too, if your books are selling, to tell WHY they are selling. Is it the writing? Is it that you've found a good niche? It's taken me a while to get any kind of handle on that. It's hard for others to give advice, because it's hard to see all the elements that go into a successful author's career--other than that they write books people want to read, which is perhaps the most difficult-to-pin-down thing of all.

For me--last year was a GREAT year. This year is my year of taking chances, all sorts of chances. What I write, and how I publish it. I've discovered that I'm pretty good at romantic suspense, so I'm alternating now between feel-good lighter stuff and more emotional romantic suspense, and that's really fun and keeps me eager and wanting to write.

Being eager to spend my days doing my favorite thing--that's worth a lot.

So--I guess it depends what you want to get out of this. But if you go into it as a moneymaking scheme--well, it's worked for some people, but they still tend to be people who write very well and have an entrepreneurial spirit and are willing to work very hard. As, I think, most people who are successful indie authors are.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 19, 2015, 03:09:32 PM
Here's the thing:

If I'd needed to make $100k+ a year, I would have gone to law school.  Yes, you can make a lot of money at writing, but as with any entrepreneurial effort, there is no security there.  There never has been, never will be.  Odds are if you are making more money than you ever have made before your income won't stay that way.

So if you NEED it, and that need is not temporary, then you need to shore up that income with some kind of extra security.

Your best bet is to do serious money management.  Save, invest, take care with expenses.  And do not take on debt.  Especially credit card or variable rate debt.  And "passive" income -- from books you've already written, or investments, or other things -- can be a godsend when you are struggling.  Imho, it's always good to build up as few low-maintenance income streams as possible.

And for investment, I really like using a Roth IRA, because it simplifies taxes, and you can, in an emergency, take as much money out as you put in without penalty. (You just can't take out the gains -- which there won't be much of you keep taking out the capital.)

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 19, 2015, 03:28:20 PM
Heh, I wouldn't go to law school if you want to make 100k+ a year. Law jobs are extremely hard to get these days. I have multiple lawyer friends who either can't find work or are working for 40k a year just because it was all they could get.

Passive income from books is great. However, it does die out after a while, so if you make 300 a month on a book for the first few months, don't count on it making 300 a month forever. It won't, not without promo help and/or more books directly related to it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Moist_Tissue on March 19, 2015, 03:30:43 PM
Yeah. I have a law degree, graduating just before the market tanked. I know there was a surge of law school students and graduates during the financial slump. Now there are a whole bunch of people with JDs who are employed in non-legal fields. I'm in that position.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Boyd on March 19, 2015, 04:01:18 PM
As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs. Many people do quite well writing what I write. I don't even need any extra income, thank you very much.

This is the exact phrase I wanted to re-highlight about the dismissive attitude towards erotica/romance.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 19, 2015, 04:02:09 PM
Heh, I wouldn't go to law school if you want to make 100k+ a year. Law jobs are extremely hard to get these days. I have multiple lawyer friends who either can't find work or are working for 40k a year just because it was all they could get.

Passive income from books is great. However, it does die out after a while, so if you make 300 a month on a book for the first few months, don't count on it making 300 a month forever. It won't, not without promo help and/or more books directly related to it.

When I said that, I wasn't saying that anybody who wants to make good money should go to law school, I'm saying I would have gone to law school.  I.e. my background, skills and knowledge would have made tax law and accountancy law the best bet for me to make six figures or more.  Furthermore, my plan wouldn't just to be to jump into a great job -- it would be a lot more complicated than that, and would most certainly involve a lot of investment (just as my teaching and publishing careers involved).

And for all that there are poor job markets in the world of law, that's nothing compared to the ups and downs of publishing. The thing about any profession (but especially professions like law) is that it might be tough to start, but your experience as you move forward does make you steadily more secure.  If you do fabulously well as a lawyer, and don't bungle it, that has a permanent positive effect on your career.

This is not true of writing.  You can be super hot stuff for four or five years, and you still have to reinvent yourself when things crash.  And things WILL crash.

And no matter how bad the job market, if you have a law degree and the goal of making a large income, you are much more likely to hit six figures or more for a significant portion of your overall lifetime than writing will do for you.

I'm not complaining about this at all.  I love that about publishing  -- I CHOSE publishing over anything else.  But a whole lot of people are not ready for it when those massive ups and downs hit. They have a false equivalency in mind about how the risks of publishing are just like the risks of, say, a law career.

The great thing about publishing, though, is that if you are smart about it, the risks themselves are ... less risky. That is, your risk of failure or of losing what you've gained are higher, but unless you are foolish, you are not going into debt.  Law school and Med school (and any kind of school) may involve a lot of debt, even if you are careful about how much you take on.

And, just as some people who go into law are more likely to succeed than others (because of background, knowledge, skills and talents) the same goes for a publishing career.  The kind of writing you want to do, the kind you're good at, your overall tolerance of risk, your "entrepreneurial spirit" -- all those things will affect your upside (and downside).

But all the same, if you're flying high in publishing -- invest your money, save it, do  not go into debt.  Seriously.  Take care of that money while you've got it.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 19, 2015, 04:03:16 PM
Here's the thing:

If I'd needed to make $100k+ a year, I would have gone to law school.  Yes, you can make a lot of money at writing, but as with any entrepreneurial effort, there is no security there.  There never has been, never will be.  Odds are if you are making more money than you ever have made before your income won't stay that way.

So if you NEED it, and that need is not temporary, then you need to shore up that income with some kind of extra security.

Your best bet is to do serious money management.  Save, invest, take care with expenses.  And do not take on debt.  Especially credit card or variable rate debt.  And "passive" income -- from books you've already written, or investments, or other things -- can be a godsend when you are struggling.  Imho, it's always good to build up as few low-maintenance income streams as possible.

And for investment, I really like using a Roth IRA, because it simplifies taxes, and you can, in an emergency, take as much money out as you put in without penalty. (You just can't take out the gains -- which there won't be much of you keep taking out the capital.)

Camille

Erm, I did that. I was a lawyer for 11 years. I HATED IT. Hated every second of it. When I moved to California, I gave it up, because I had no desire to take the bar out here, so I ended up  working as  a low-paid freelancer, making around $10,000 a year. And was MUCH happier for it.

I would never go back to law. Ever. Couldn't pay me enough. I'm fortunate that, so far, this writing gig has provided me with twice as much as I ever made as a lawyer, and has made me 10,000,000 times happier.

But one thing is for sure. If this all goes away, and people stop buying my books, I won't take the bar here in California. I'd sooner sell myself on the street, LOL.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 19, 2015, 04:08:24 PM
Erm, I did that. I was a lawyer for 11 years. I HATED IT. Hated every second of it. When I moved to California, I gave it up, because I had no desire to take the bar out here, so I ended up  working as  a low-paid freelancer, making around $10,000 a year. And was MUCH happier for it.


Which was exactly my point.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 19, 2015, 04:26:54 PM
I agree you have to be smart as a freelancer and put away money to cover the thin times. But I don't agree at all that just because you make money now means you won't later, so don't worry too much about making money now. Constantly looking for ways to maximize income and income streams will have a positive long-term effect.  There is no way to have money in the future without also making it in the present at some point, after all. Years of not making money won't magically turn into having money. You have to earn it somehow, which means that at least at some times in your present career days, you will need to bring in the bacon. Paying attention to top sellers in your genre and what they are doing is a great way to do that. Listening to people who admit they don't sell, never sold, and haven't made much money/built a real audience is probably not a good way to go about it (other than learning from their mistakes, which can be helpful).

As for making money with writing, yes, many will fail. Just like most small businesses fail and for a lot of the same reasons. Doesn't mean you'll fail though, or that if you do, you will keep failing (as long as you learn from why you failed and don't repeat it, heh).

So yes, most who try writing will fail before they even get off the ground, for a whole host of reasons. Not finishing. Not publishing. Bad storytelling (this is #1 fail reason among those who do finish and publish, in my opinion). Bad covers. Bad editing. Poor genre choices. Poor understanding of reader desire. Poor marketing or poor marketing decisions. Tons of ways to fail.

But plenty of ways to succeed, too.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: dalya on March 19, 2015, 04:28:30 PM
As a publisher, I'd say there's a steep learning curve in figuring out how to make money, and that people who do figure it out rarely give away their best secrets. There's a reason Don Draper in Mad Men doesn't get a side gig writing a newspaper column telling people how to succeed in the advertising business.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 19, 2015, 04:29:25 PM
As a publisher, I'd say there's a steep learning curve in figuring out how to make money, and that people who do figure it out rarely give away their best secrets. There's a reason Don Draper in Mad Men doesn't get a side gig writing a newspaper column telling people how to succeed in the advertising business.

I'll give away the sekrit! WRITE IT GOODER!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 19, 2015, 04:34:02 PM
As a publisher, I'd say there's a steep learning curve in figuring out how to make money, and that people who do figure it out rarely give away their best secrets. There's a reason Don Draper in Mad Men doesn't get a side gig writing a newspaper column telling people how to succeed in the advertising business.
I don't agree. Plenty of people sharing exactly what they're doing, marketing-wise. Plenty of them. Authors are some of the most generous professionals out there.

And I agree with NoCat's post above, too, about the typical ways people fail. And that the fact that many people fail doesn't mean that you can't succeed. Also, failing for a while and learning can lead to success down the road. Maybe you improve your covers. Maybe you improve your storytelling, your editing, your blurbs, your marketing plan. Lots of ways to improve.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 19, 2015, 04:40:33 PM
If someone told you that you were guaranteed to make a comfortable living at writing, they lied.  Any business you run yourself (and you say you consider writing your business) is only as good as you make it.

Let's say instead of books, you make ice cream. You make good ice cream, maybe it has a little bit of originality to it, but in the end it's ice cream.  Now you put your ice cream for sale in a mall with 500,000 other people selling ice cream.  Some is better than yours, maybe a lot of it is worse than yours. But you are all selling ice cream.

The secret to selling more ice cream isn't simply making more flavors. The secret is getting people to come buy your ice cream and become attached to it, to seek it out, to walk by all the other ice cream to buy yours.

Once you have those customers, you can sell more to them.  But when you have no customers, making more flavors gives you a tiny added advantage of having more things to sell, but if no one knows/loves your brand, you are just waiting for customers to randomly walk by and pick your product out of a whole bunch of similar products.

That's one of the most complete summations of this endeavor that anyone has ever said, anywhere.

And you are definitely a delusional author…
Quote
…if you think selling books is simply following a formula and waiting for your bank account to fill up.

Unfortunately, too many neophytes think exactly that, and then wonder why nothing is happening for them, and then mouth off complaining about it, saying that the whole system is worthless.

Well, Buddy… you get out of it what you put into it.

But---and this is a big but---the "what you put into it" means not just all of the marketing stuff. It means that you have to be a pretty good writer, too. And, no matter how encouraging we all might try be to newcomers, we all know (I think) deep in our "heart of hearts" that some people are just not good enough.

However, as businessman-turned-business-author Robert Townsend said years ago in his book, Up the Organization, discovering that you are not good enough at this job does not mean that you are a terrible person. It just means that, no matter how much you might like it, this is not the job for you, and you should find some other place to direct your interest and effort.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 19, 2015, 04:45:52 PM
Ladies,
Please.   All of you are right.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: she-la-ti-da on March 19, 2015, 04:47:50 PM
Chump change for chumps? Aye-uh. Better quit now. Joe's providing cover, but what he doesn't realize is I've set up my sniper position, and he's in the cross hairs. I'm gonna be the last one standing, and don't you forget it.

Also, great thread because once again, erotica authors got crap thrown on them. Ain't this place grand?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 19, 2015, 04:50:53 PM
Ladies,
Please.   All of you are right.

Especially me. I am always very, very right. ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: G.L. Snodgrass on March 19, 2015, 05:02:49 PM
I wonder what percentage of new authors give up because they don't make enough money soon enough. This includes traditional authors. I would love to see a study with firm data.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 19, 2015, 05:06:01 PM
I am looking at being  a professional golfer from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well playing golf? If you would have told me that many golfers with a scratch handicap  only make a few hundred dollars a month before I took up golf, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in playing golf unless a golfer consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, golf is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

I read an article that said most golf pros make four figures. If it takes several months to get onto the pro circuit, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most golfers well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to play golf, if you want to make a living?

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to play golf, and I love winning pro-am tournaments, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Playing golf is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

I have heard others say you just have to keep practising, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the winnings from one tournament barely cover the costs of the next. With little money left over, it is difficult to pay for a golf coach, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

I have played in match play and stroke play competitions. My biggest wins have been in  match play tournaments , but there are only a few of those every year! There are more stroke play tournaments,  but there are also more competitors, so competition is much greater. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most golfers just don't make much on the pro circuit, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 19, 2015, 05:33:30 PM
Ladies,
Please.   All of you are right.

That's where the rubber hits the road in this discussion.

We all have different goals and desires, and there really is no need to play these competitive games.  If you want to be helpful, the key is to LISTEN, and try to help people with their own goals, not tell them how to reach yours.  (And to realize that just because parts of them sound similar, doesn't make them the same.)

That said, we can only help each other by sharing our own experience, or experiences we've observed and understand. That's still useful, and we shouldn't be offended when others cherry-pick the advice and experiences to find what suits them.

So if I've sounded disrespectful, that wasn't intentional.  I honestly think it's great if someone wants to make a bazillion dollars writing whatever it is they feel will get them there.  I know people who have done that, and I am always willing to cheer people on and share those experiences in hopes that it will help. I myself have done similar things in other areas, and though I hated it and stopped, I am certainly willing to share what worked and didn't with those who love it instead.

But I do ask that others not be so snarky about those who have other priorities -- and to recognized that just because I don't want to make a bazillion dollars a month writing erotica doesn't mean that A) I'm against erotica, or B) I'm against making money.

IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE EITHER/OR.

Many of us just want to make enough money, writing what we want to read.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: timstevens on March 19, 2015, 05:45:00 PM
Quote from: Mark E. Cooper link=topic=211162.msg2943603#msg2943603 date=1426749857/quote

You don't have to be in the top 500 or even the top 20,000 to make a living. My books used to hover around the 10k mark. Now most are in the 20-30k range. I still make a very good living, because I didn't stop at that magic book 7. Never give up, never surrender, and all that. I love my writing life. I don't do anything else.

Don't give up, mate. Back in 2001 I never thought I would be doing this for a career. Miracles DO happen.

Absolutely. I've been self-publishing three years come April. Never had anything published before that. I've never had a top 500 book, apart from brief spells following BookBub promos. Most of the time, my books are in the 20-50K rankings on Amazon.com, and 3-10K in the UK.

But I have 13 novels. I have a core of rabid regular readers. And I'm making the equivalent of around 60% of my day-job salary from my books each month. My goal is to go part-time in a year, and I'm on course to hit that.

You can crack this, OP. Decent writing, reasonably popular genre, prolific and steady output, and judicious marketing. Plus a bloody thick skin.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 19, 2015, 06:13:43 PM
Just saw this on facebook. It sums up the modernday assumption that if you write something, someone will want to read it:

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-f-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xpf1/v/t1.0-9/10986702_10152755254398403_8913051241669072964_n.png?oh=1c1fc49495aee0af72a191a21365e4d8&oe=557F9D90&__gda__=1433992943_a85cf14c5fd01530dbe5d2bdcc42f2a9)


Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 19, 2015, 06:17:25 PM
LOL
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Dactyl on March 19, 2015, 07:08:03 PM
The Ancient Egyptians knew they couldn't build inverted pyramids. What makes some modern humans think they can?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 19, 2015, 07:08:53 PM
The Ancient Egyptians knew they couldn't build inverted pyramids. What makes some modern humans think they can?

Huh?????
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Colorwheel on March 19, 2015, 07:17:37 PM
I think it also depends on your writing goals. There are ways to write if your goal is strictly to make money. Other people write for different reasons. Figure out exactly why you are writing is the first step.

I just wanted to go back, circle this, and draw some arrows and stars around it.

Knowing why you personally are in this, and realizing that it is your personal reason, goes so far in avoiding a lot of angst. It affects all of your decisions and strategies.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lhhansen on March 19, 2015, 07:50:43 PM
Not sure how you're coming up with those numbers, but a book that's ranked #10K is selling 10-15 per day, or 300-450 a month. Priced at $3.99, that's $800-$1200 a month. All six of mine are in Select and if it weren't for promos, they'd all be in the 10K to 15K ranks. Still, that's $4800 to $7200 a month. More than I made as a truck driver.  ;)

Nobody is going to make a living on one book. Writing more books is the key.
First of all congrats on your success. That is inspiring.
I do have several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Nonfiction is typically priced higher - up to $8.99. All books are in KU right now as other platforms have not fared very well no matter the genre. Interestingly, since KU the fiction has moved to borrows, they are more typically at a $1.40 price point than the previous $2.99 - $3.99 * .7, and the nonfiction has been rather unaffected with added borrows at the same purchase price.  Overall, this dropped my income but not the rankings. So, in the future, how much further will authors be squeezed? This is not a criticism of KU, but rather the overall business model that has a lack of control baked in. Who knows what is going to happen month by month. When we rely on the income to eat, of course this is of some concern.

Correct. It took 7 books for me, and mine are $4.99. I'm in all the different stores, yet Amazon is still 50% of all income and Audible 35%.

Don't give up, mate. Back in 2001 I never thought I would be doing this for a career. Miracles DO happen.
That is inspiring and very encouraging. I hardly sell anything on other platforms (Apple, Kobo, B&N) and these are books that sell daily on Amazon. So back to KU, where the income hits occur. Not sure what is going on there with other platforms.

I'd rather be a poorly compensated KDP chump than a 9-to-5 grind chump, particularly considering the 9-to-5 now tends to come with unpaid overtime.

Your results may vary, however.

True enough. From that perspective, I worked over 80 hours a week where I made five times as much money on an annual basis vs. self-publishing, but there's much less difference on an hourly basis. However, with my reckless ventures into self-publishing, I picked my head up and looked around, only to realize that I have thoroughly trashed my resume, so there is no safety net anymore. Oops. Or good riddance. Forced to survive with what I create, and its liberating and terrifying at the same time. I probably did it subconsciously as I saw too many employees get their throats cut over the years.

If you just needed to vent a little, I get it, and consider yourself hugged.But it's writing, and THERE ARE NO GUARANTEES. So, give up in relief and do something else, or get back to work. xo

Okay, I needed a hug and a kick in the butt. So thank you. And I do wonder at times where this platform is going. In this case it caused me to freeze up a bit instead of write, (and of course vent), so thank you.



*******

There are very very very few areas of business (or for that matter jobs) where you will have

Lesser profits
Lesser Control
Lesser Satisfaction of Owning the Customer Relationship
Lesser Locus of Influence

than selling digital content through a store to someone else's customers, where you own ZERO% of the customer relationship.

If you want to make a living from writing, then either figure out a way to create a store owned by authors themselves, or build your own store and your own direct channels to readers.

And do consider the fact that the range of authors who'll be able to make $5,000 or more a month from books is probably going to be between 55,000 and 5,500. Is there a way you can guarantee being in the Top 55,000? What about top 5,500? If not, and if you do need the money, then you have to get a day job and write for fun.
You honed in on my main concern. Loss of control and consequently dwindling profits. This is also true for music, and art, and movies, etc. If the answer is author ownership of the company, sounds like a platform outside of the Big 4 (online) and the Big 5 (traditional). If Amazon takes the direction of crushing profits to under $1, there has to be a response from authors, otherwise it's probably not enough pain to establish an alternative as we've already seen.

I disagree. There is too much hype and not enough numbers. The list said that 45000 authors were making about 5000 bucks a month. That is not true. At Amazon Author Rank 13000 you make about 550 bucks a month. My question is not whether someone is frugal, but what Amazon Author Rank do you have to be to make 2000 bucks a month? I think this is the sort of information new writers would like to know. Also others trying to figure out whether full time writing is worth pursuing or not.
Yes, the more metrics to make a sound business decision, the better. If over 95% of authors, just as an example only, are not making a livable wage (defined by the individual), then it may not be worth pursuing as a business, no matter how much you love writing (or another viable platform has to be created).

I am looking at being  a professional golfer from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well playing golf? If you would have told me that many golfers with a scratch handicap  only make a few hundred dollars a month before I took up golf, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in playing golf unless a golfer consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, golf is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

Ha ha. Well done. You know I did visit family in California who lived next to a pro golfer. I never heard of him because he basically just qualified for pro tournaments. He had a 1.5 million dollar house in California (which basically means 1,600 sq ft,)  but nice! :o

Absolutely. I've been self-publishing three years come April. Never had anything published before that. I've never had a top 500 book, apart from brief spells following BookBub promos. Most of the time, my books are in the 20-50K rankings on Amazon.com, and 3-10K in the UK.

But I have 13 novels. I have a core of rabid regular readers. And I'm making the equivalent of around 60% of my day-job salary from my books each month. My goal is to go part-time in a year, and I'm on course to hit that.

You can crack this, OP. Decent writing, reasonably popular genre, prolific and steady output, and judicious marketing. Plus a bloody thick skin.
Very uplifting.












Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Josh St. John on March 19, 2015, 07:57:24 PM
I wonder what percentage of new authors give up because they don't make enough money soon enough. This includes traditional authors. I would love to see a study with firm data.

I'd like to know this too. It'd be interesting to find out.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: thewitt on March 19, 2015, 08:04:32 PM
tl;dr

To recap:
People who make $ to $$ say it is impossible to succeed except for luck but wanting more than that makes you a greedy sellout anyway, so don't ever change!
People who make $$$ to $$$$$ say hey there are lots of ways to skin a cat but success is just around the corner if you make some strategic decisions about what and how you're writing and follow the examples of people who are doing well.

OK who do you wanna believe?

I'll add another group.

Those who SAY they make $$$$$ and you need to follow their lead or you will be a chump, but they are posting anonymously and with no way to verify even one book sale... ever.

The Internet is full of people who make up their own persona, post on public forums, and give people advice or call them stupid.

ALWAYS validate the source.

It could easily be a 14 year old kid using his mother's computer in the basement who just gave you million dollar book marketing advice...

Is there someone posting in these threads who makes $1000 a day in KDP sales?  Could be. 

Is there someone posting from their darkened bedroom laughing at how he fooled all these so-called professionals?  Could be.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 19, 2015, 08:32:19 PM
The Ancient Egyptians knew they couldn't build inverted pyramids. What makes some modern humans think they can?

I have no idea what you're getting at, but I think there actually is a convention center in Tokyo that's an inverted pyramid inside a frame.

So in answer to your question: advanced engineering science combined with superior materials.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 19, 2015, 08:35:31 PM
Aliens, people. Aliens.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: kimberlyloth on March 19, 2015, 09:58:58 PM
This post has been so enlightening. Can I just say how much I love kboards because I learn so stinking much. It was so interesting for me to see what authors are making and the perceptions they have about other authors. Unless someone is doing extremely well, it's nearly impossible to know how much they make unless they share that data. Thank you to all of you who are brave enough to do so.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 19, 2015, 10:52:38 PM
YOU DO YOU and I DO ME.

Seriously! I said this pages ago! :p
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 20, 2015, 03:56:54 AM
Ha ha. Well done. You know I did visit family in California who lived next to a pro golfer. I never heard of him because he basically just qualified for pro tournaments. He had a 1.5 million dollar house in California (which basically means 1,600 sq ft,)  but nice! :o

If you are happy with the golf analogy, you might find some useful advice here:

http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/242205

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 20, 2015, 03:59:27 AM
Hmmmm after defending erotica and romance writers on this thread my urban fantasy story was magically 1-starred. No written review just a single star slapped on it for its very FIRST rating. Which could essentially crush any chance it has to flourish. Now call me paranoid but I find it a bit hard to believe that this is an authentic rating. Especially after hearing about how some posters here 1-star other forum members that they disagree with. So if this was a K-Board member getting back at me, you suck.

Why do you think so many of us either left or are anon now? Sorry this happened to you :(
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ShaneJeffery on March 20, 2015, 04:01:37 AM
Concerning the original post, this was exactly how I felt.

Before I published anything, I spent about 2 years trying to be an online poker pro, because I always killed in live action tournaments. I put a lot of time and money into it, but after a while it didn't matter how much I changed about what I was playing, and how I was playing, I always broke even.

I would have games where I felt like I had pulled off brilliance to win, and other games where opponents just flopped stupid river cards to take me out. It was a reoccurring pattern. In the end, my great skills weren't enough to offset other people's good luck.

When I came into writing, I did just over a year writing horror, and made 100 dollars. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered - but I was trying to follow the sage advice - write in series, write novels, write what you love etc. Didn't work for me. And the advice said, just keep going, just keep going until you make it.

And I did a reversal. I became a hack and started writing fake romance just to see if it would work. The numbers basically said I had WAAAAY more chance of making it in the category but I got a lot of hate, and the dollars weren't enough to sustain me in the beginning.

I'd already given up romance and decided I would be a working stiff, using horror writing as a hobby, when like my 15th or so book that had been out for six weeks went from 190k in the store to 5k in 2 days.

What did I do?

I put it in select.

So anyway.... until that moment, it was chump change. It was like a rigged game - like the online poker - where I would always break even, and never make any money.

But I found a winning formula. Since then I've kept at it, and in February I earned 5,000 USD. Which is even more awesome because I live in Australia and our dollar currently sucks.

So weird it happened that way. But the message is pretty clear.

I could have given up and only been ONE BOOK away from my dreams  :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Stephanie Marks on March 20, 2015, 04:26:19 AM
Why do you think so many of us either left or are anon now? Sorry this happened to you :(

Yeah, I can see myself commenting a LOT less here and just sticking with the other forum.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ShaneJeffery on March 20, 2015, 04:36:40 AM
Stephanie Marks, there is a review there for your one star. They didn't like it because it was short. Click on the one star in your ratings to find it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 20, 2015, 04:53:19 AM
Oh cool! Thanks for letting me know. I feel SO much better now. Everyone please go back to what you were doing. Nothing to see here. Authentic 1-stars I can handle with a skip and a smile. Though no matter what I click on im not seeing a review anywhere.

If you click on the "1 star" to the left of the ratings graph it should take you to the rating.

Hope this helps!

EDIT:  Here's a link to the reviewer's page--your review is the most recent.  Strangely, I can't find the permalink to the review that is usually there; wonder if Amazon is playing with the options.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2GHC1TJFTW6KJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp?ie=UTF8

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Sapphire on March 20, 2015, 05:00:06 AM
When I first read the title of this thread, I went to the cupboard to set out the popcorn. Then I read a bit and got the kettle ready. Before long, I put the popping process on hold and was reading some interesting points. Recently, I started heating up the kettle. Glad to see I don't have to make popcorn. I really wasn't very hungry anyway. 8) :P
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 20, 2015, 05:00:56 AM
I used to play poker for a living. At first, it did feel like people were always lucky and no matter how hard I tried, I would just lose eventually. Then I studied my butt off, read all the books, watched tons of videos, memorized Caro's Book of Tells etc. And I played poker, 35-90 hands an hour, 18 hours a day, for months.  I started at .02/.04 with 10 dollars. Lost it down to .70. Then built it to 1700, cashed out, and started playing live as well. After a few months, I became a consistently winning small stakes player. Two nights a week and rent would be paid. Another couple nights online, and I had food. Another couple, I could make payments on my college debt.

I learned it wasn't that other people were lucky. I lost at first because I wasn't good enough. I didn't know enough, I hadn't practiced enough, I lacked experience. Other people were just better than I was. Over the long term, luck wasn't much of a factor. The real factor was hard work and study/smarts, and the sheer guts to do it (never underestimate guts in poker, or in life really).

It's the same way with writing, in my mind. When I started writing I did the same thing (still kind of do). I wrote a ton. I read every writing book I could get my hands on. I became a workshop junkie. When my stories didn't sell, I wrote more, I studied more, I tried harder.  I never let myself believe anything other than "I will be a bestseller and get rich doing this."

Who cares about what others are doing? Study what the people who have careers similar to what you want are doing. Work hard, keep improving, keep learning what works for you and your goals. Ignore the rest.  Just because lots of people fail doesn't mean you are somehow doomed to the same fate. Ignore fate. Make your own. :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 20, 2015, 05:08:03 AM
Sometimes I think people spend so much time complaining - that we overlook our blessings.

I'm in my 40's now. I've been writing since I was a teenager. I can't think of any time in my life when earning a living as a writer has ever been easier.

I know way too many other writers who are doing well at this point to be a doomsayer. You can write, publish, and reach countless numbers of people in a flash.  Not only that but most of the profit goes back into the writers pocket.

This is an amazing time for writers. I've never seen so many writers do so well - I just chatted with a friend who averages 5 to 8k a month from her writing. And she's not the only person I know like that. They aren't big names - and you probably never even heard of her. But she's out there doing it.

So even if you make $100 a month (or less) that's a helluva lot more than most writers could've expected to make in the past.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ShaneJeffery on March 20, 2015, 05:10:47 AM
I love your story No Cat. I did know before you had played poker.

Writing, straight away, had something poker never had - if I make a sale, I don't lose it the next round. With poker you're on a see saw constantly.

I watched thousands of hours of poker related material. I watched every tournament from the 90s till present. In full.

I read all the main books. I was really smart about making the correct decision each hand.

The problem with online poker wasn't my play. It wasn't how I had played a hand and had to work on that. Too many hands I played perfectly, that I should have won, resulted in stupid luck for the opponent and him winning. The theme never stopped. Bad beat after bad beat after bad beat.

Since then, pokers just a hobby.

Other people, in regards to writing, are essential for building your guide to success. My first successful book, after all the drafts and non selling books, was when I 'copied' another author's book. I read her book and made it my own. I ripped her off.

But I'm so weird, everyone says my books are nothing like they're read before. So different. So my take on her writing is bizarre for the majority.

But it sold. For the first time it sold.

Writing isn't a luck game. Not in the same way poker is.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Mr. Sparkle on March 20, 2015, 05:29:50 AM
When my stories didn't sell, I wrote more, I studied more, I tried harder.  I never let myself believe anything other than "I will be a bestseller and get rich doing this."

Who cares about what others are doing? Study what the people who have careers similar to what you want are doing. Work hard, keep improving, keep learning what works for you and your goals. Ignore the rest.  Just because lots of people fail doesn't mean you are somehow doomed to the same fate. Ignore fate. Make your own. :)

I agree with pretty much everything No Cat said. The above is the most important part, IMO. Comparing books between authors is useful from a planning standpoint. Comparing careers, not so much.

There are self-pub success stories in every genre on KU, just as there are on most of the major vendors. There are also plenty of books out there that are really, really good in terms of storytelling, craft, and style that make almost no money compared to books where the quality is questionable and definitely a matter of taste.

The reasons these disparities exist are many: bad / little to no marketing, amateurish packaging, whether or not a book follows current trends or anticipates future ones, niche subject matter, sales momentum, etc. Compare books that you personally consider a "miss" with books you consider "hits." When were they launched -- day of the week, month, year, during what trend? Were they in a series? Were they free or discounted for sometime? Did the author say publicly that they used promo sites? If so, which ones? Is their packaging professional? Are they hitting not just the tropes of the genre but the tropes as they exist in current trends?

This has been said before, many, many times, and there are plenty of people who still post here under their author names who are making full-time livings being exclusive in KU.


Also, it's really tiresome to see people bashing romance / erotica when it wasn't even brought up in connection with success strategies. You can choose to believe people without verifiable sales due to pseudonyms or not, but it's pretty low to insult them and then complain that their sales aren't proven when they were harmed into turning pseudonymous in order to avoid retaliation that could affect their livings.

Like this:

As for people who suggest that we should all sell our souls and write smut, they can go and bark up the creek with the other dogs.

I can't believe that this comment is still up (after a mod has visited this thread!).
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: PamelaKelley on March 20, 2015, 05:30:44 AM
It's funny how things have changed. It used to be that the only thing people cared about was getting an agent and selling to NYC. It wasn't about the money then....because everyone knew that no one made real money in writing....except for a few lucky ones who got the rare six figure advances.....and we've seen since then how that's not as great as it seems, when you factor in it's paid over several years.

Now there are new authors who for some reason expect to instantly be financially free from "selling on kindle".

But if it was that easy, obviously everyone would have figured out 'the formula'.

Even if you do figure out the formula, it doesn't mean you would be successful implementing it. I'm really enjoying reading some of the edgy serials with cliff-hangers...but I know there is no way I could begin to write those. I write what calls to me, and it's mostly sweet romance and I knew going in to this that I wasn't likely to strike it rich.....but it was never about the money for me. I have a day job that I like, and no intention on leaving it anytime soon.

Having to make a certain amount of money or being under financial pressure makes it that much harder to be successful with writing or anything, I have found. So much of what we do is mental, and our attitude affects our outcome....that sounds new agey I know.....but I have found it to be true and seen it to be true with others.

I think if you focus on finding the right fit for you with writing and write for the joy of it.....that could lead to more success than you expect. Especially if you are also aware of the market. My sweet romances are doing better than I ever imagined that they would. There is a market for sweet. It might not be as huge as the market for the hot stuff, but that's okay.

I remember a post Viola Rivard had here some time ago that I always found interesting. She was talking about how she decided to focus on writing paranormal shifter romance. How she really liked paranormal romance in general, and wanted to do shifters. If she was purely writing from her heart, her first choice wouldn't have been a BBW heroine, but she recognized that it was a very popular trend and why not give her new series a better shot at success? So she did and if I remember, she then added the menage element and then everyone started copying her when her books went crazy. But she was so smart to recognize what would take her book to an even more popular level....combining her passion for the story with market savvy to help it stand out and sell even better.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ShaneJeffery on March 20, 2015, 05:43:51 AM
Viola Rivard is the reason I changed what I was doing and started making money with writing.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 20, 2015, 05:46:07 AM
I love your story No Cat. I did know before you had played poker.

Writing, straight away, had something poker never had - if I make a sale, I don't lose it the next round. With poker you're on a see saw constantly.

I watched thousands of hours of poker related material. I watched every tournament from the 90s till present. In full.

I read all the main books. I was really smart about making the correct decision each hand.

The problem with online poker wasn't my play. It wasn't how I had played a hand and had to work on that. Too many hands I played perfectly, that I should have won, resulted in stupid luck for the opponent and him winning. The theme never stopped. Bad beat after bad beat after bad beat.

Since then, pokers just a hobby.

Other people, in regards to writing, are essential for building your guide to success. My first successful book, after all the drafts and non selling books, was when I 'copied' another author's book. I read her book and made it my own. I ripped her off.

But I'm so weird, everyone says my books are nothing like they're read before. So different. So my take on her writing is bizarre for the majority.

But it sold. For the first time it sold.

Writing isn't a luck game. Not in the same way poker is.


Writing is a lot like poker, actually. In my experience anyway. You write a book, it might sell, it might not. You try to do all the right things, make the correct decisions, but nobody knows. You can make a killing one month and have nothing the next. Sales can die out overnight. Book 1 might sell like crazy and nobody buys book 2.  You can write a book that is amazing, with a great cover, great description, tons of marketing push, etc and... people will buy Bearillionaire* instead. That's sort of how the game works, if you think of it as a game. Only thing to do is keep going and know that if you are really good, the math will work out in your favor. 

Though I do agree, poker certainly has some serious variance to it. It ain't for the faint. Compared to playing cards, writing to make millions is a pretty low risk venture.  So much more depends on a hand than just making the mathematically correct decision. A lot is instinct. I used to play sit-n-gos in front of friends on the projector and they'd be screaming at me not to do a thing or to do another thing. But I trusted my gut and six or seven times out of ten, my gut was right. That's all the edge I needed.  It's sort of the same for me in writing. You can't control all factors, but so far I've learned from my mistakes and I'm now one of those "outliers" that everyone talks about like we're some kind of mystery. Funny how that works. :)

But hey, it can all end tomorrow. Which is why I should probably finish this next book, eh? ;)



*not that this is a bad thing. I think that Terry Bolryder is brilliant as heck with a great sense of humor ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 20, 2015, 07:28:29 AM
Btw- they don't say it's too short, they called it a waste of time.

Yes, the reviewer did say "short."

It's short, can read it in about 5 minutes. There's nothing exciting about it as it's predictable. There's nothing romantic about it as the only romantic things that happens is a kiss at the very end. Honestly, this so-called "book" needs to be retitled as perhaps a prologue because that's all it is.

O.K., so she didn't like your writing style, and she didn't like the plot. But besides all of that, and in all fairness to the reviewer (not that we need to be fair to reviewers), when you charge $2.99 for a book whose Amazon-estimated length is 30 pages, you're going to get some people who are unhappy just for that alone. (Yes, I know that the length is right there for everyone to read before they buy but sometimes---often---they don't.)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 20, 2015, 07:31:07 AM
OK, this is way off topic...Stephanie asked that we move on from her comments about the review.  Let's do so.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Al Stevens on March 20, 2015, 08:51:15 AM
Writing is like playing jazz music. (I do both.) It's a labor of love, and you can make a living at it if you don't need a lot of money. There are lots of old jokes about this situation that can be applied to writing.

Q: How does a jazz musician/writer make a million dollars?
A: Start with two million.

Q: What would a jazz musician/writer do if he or she won the lottery?
A: Keep writing until the money's gone.

Q: What do you call a jazz musician/writer without a significant other?
A: Homeless.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 20, 2015, 09:16:51 AM
If you click on the "1 star" to the left of the ratings graph it should take you to the rating.

Hope this helps!

EDIT:  Here's a link to the reviewer's page--your review is the most recent.  Strangely, I can't find the permalink to the review that is usually there; wonder if Amazon is playing with the options.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/pdp/profile/A2GHC1TJFTW6KJ/ref=cm_cr_pr_pdp?ie=UTF8

Betsy
Why doesn't the reviewer find books she would like?   
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lhhansen on March 20, 2015, 09:24:08 AM
I love your story No Cat. I did know before you had played poker.

Writing, straight away, had something poker never had - if I make a sale, I don't lose it the next round. With poker you're on a see saw constantly.

I watched thousands of hours of poker related material. I watched every tournament from the 90s till present. In full.

I read all the main books. I was really smart about making the correct decision each hand.

The problem with online poker wasn't my play. It wasn't how I had played a hand and had to work on that. Too many hands I played perfectly, that I should have won, resulted in stupid luck for the opponent and him winning. The theme never stopped. Bad beat after bad beat after bad beat.

Are you sure it was just luck and not a computer program manipulating the odds? I am sure there is a book in there somewhere, but the movie was already made.
http://www.amazon.com/Runner-Justin-Timberlake/dp/B00GK607UQ/



I'd already given up romance and decided I would be a working stiff, using horror writing as a hobby, when like my 15th or so book that had been out for six weeks went from 190k in the store to 5k in 2 days.

What did I do?

I put it in select.

So anyway.... until that moment, it was chump change. It was like a rigged game - like the online poker - where I would always break even, and never make any money.

But I found a winning formula. Since then I've kept at it, and in February I earned 5,000 USD. Which is even more awesome because I live in Australia and our dollar currently sucks.

So weird it happened that way. But the message is pretty clear.

I could have given up and only been ONE BOOK away from my dreams  :)

That is great. I have had a book at 5,000 and it make nowhere near $5,000. Yes it was on sale for a few days, but went back to $2.99. You probably had other books coming right behind it that also did very well. But a rank from 190k to 5k in two days has to have more than select behind it, especially if it stuck. Are they horror or romance now? That is the essence of the original post, not really understanding how well ranked books still just don't make much, so what are the odds of sticking it under 1,000, under 500? Even then, it is extremely volatile. However, I do see very similar books stay there week after week after week, and you have no idea what is going on (kind of like your poker example). It's a tough nut to crack sometimes, going beyond just writing more (though I will do that too).  Did your 5,000 ranking stick for awhile?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 20, 2015, 09:51:40 AM
Betsy, you are breaking your own rule about linking to reviewers' profiles.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Hugh Howey on March 20, 2015, 09:58:05 AM
My response got so long, it became a blog post.

http://www.hughhowey.com/kdp-is-for-chumps/
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 20, 2015, 09:59:45 AM
My response got so long, it became a blog post.

http://www.hughhowey.com/kdp-is-for-chumps/
Hello sweetie.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 20, 2015, 10:01:52 AM
Are you sure it was just luck and not a computer program manipulating the odds? I am sure there is a book in there somewhere, but the movie was already made.
http://www.amazon.com/Runner-Justin-Timberlake/dp/B00GK607UQ/


That is great. I have had a book at 5,000 and it make nowhere near $5,000. Yes it was on sale for a few days, but went back to $2.99. You probably had other books coming right behind it that also did very well. But a rank from 190k to 5k in two days has to have more than select behind it, especially if it stuck. Are they horror or romance now? That is the essence of the original post, not really understanding how well ranked books still just don't make much, so what are the odds of sticking it under 1,000, under 500? Even then, it is extremely volatile. However, I do see very similar books stay there week after week after week, and you have no idea what is going on (kind of like your poker example). It's a tough nut to crack sometimes, going beyond just writing more (though I will do that too).  Did your 5,000 ranking stick for awhile?

Why are you stuck on rankings?  It's paying readers you need and lots of reviews ... then the rankings will take care of themelves.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jonathan C. Gillespie on March 20, 2015, 10:07:53 AM
Thank you for the inspiration, those of you who are doing well. I hope to someday join your ranks. Lord knows I'm doing everything I can...
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: dalya on March 20, 2015, 10:11:35 AM
I don't agree. Plenty of people sharing exactly what they're doing, marketing-wise. Plenty of them. Authors are some of the most generous professionals out there.

And I agree with NoCat's post above, too, about the typical ways people fail. And that the fact that many people fail doesn't mean that you can't succeed. Also, failing for a while and learning can lead to success down the road. Maybe you improve your covers. Maybe you improve your storytelling, your editing, your blurbs, your marketing plan. Lots of ways to improve.

Some people do share everything, it's true. Rosalind, you've always been very giving and generous and kind on here, and I know it's appreciated. You're also a gifted and hardworking writer, and much of your success comes from that, IMHO, and not any marketing secrets!

But I would caution people in general that the more you share every little thing you do online, the less likely it is that other people who know about hidden gems will tell you anything particularly juicy.

I'm not saying that just to be a dick, though I suppose I am in a dickish mood today (should be working!), but I really like telling the truth. Yes, there are secrets. Yes, there are plenty of marketing tricks that people won't share on here because (a) they'd be crucified by at least one person who thinks what they're doing is wrong (let's all remember the "marketing is cheating" thread), and (b) some great opportunities disappear when everyone stampedes in.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 20, 2015, 10:11:48 AM
Writing isn't a luck game. Not in the same way poker is.

It really kind of is thought. No one wants to admit it because we all want to believe in meritocracies, but there's still an unbelievably strong luck component to it.

When we talk discoverability, we usually just mean the contortions required to make our books appear to the maximum amount of people. But in reality, that's just odds manipulation trying to get as many chances as possible to hit the real jackpot: the viral fan.

The viral fan being the kind of person who doesn't just read and enjoy your work, but raves about it and tries to get everyone they know to read it. Those are the people who we're really talking about when we think of word of mouth because they represent the maximum return on that.

Yeah, one can argue that skill is required to excite the viral fan, but that's so subjective and some stuff that takes off is so poorly done, that it's not a demonstrably good argument. What matters is striking that viral fan's fancy and that's something completely out of your hands aside from essentially buying more 'tickets' via advertising, more books, etc for a chance to get the right person to pick the book up.

I can't believe that this comment is still up (after a mod has visited this thread!).

Probably because 'go bark up a creek with the other dogs' is an existing expression.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 10:13:49 AM
My response got so long, it became a blog post.

http://www.hughhowey.com/kdp-is-for-chumps/

:-)

I propose that we herewith change the title "prawns" to "chumps."

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: meowbiscuit on March 20, 2015, 10:47:00 AM
Probably because 'go bark up a creek with the other dogs' is an existing expression.

There's probably a lot of "existing expressions" that would garner a mod intervention depending on how they're used.

As far as "bark up a creek" goes, though: "bark up a creek" only returns three Google results and one is about bark floating up a creek. So I think Mr. Sparkle's point still stands.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 11:00:19 AM
There's probably a lot of "existing expressions" that would garner a mod intervention depending on how they're used.

As far as "bark up a creek" goes, though: "bark up a creek" only returns three Google results and one is about bark floating up a creek. So I think Mr. Sparkle's point still stands.

Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SevenDays on March 20, 2015, 11:17:20 AM
Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille

This is how I understood it, also.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 20, 2015, 11:27:17 AM

Also, it's really tiresome to see people bashing romance / erotica when it wasn't even brought up in connection with success strategies. You can choose to believe people without verifiable sales due to pseudonyms or not, but it's pretty low to insult them and then complain that their sales aren't proven when they were harmed into turning pseudonymous in order to avoid retaliation that could affect their livings.

No matter what genre you write in - studying and listening to advice from some of the top selling erotica and romance writers can't hurt.

Sure I may be biased - but some of the smartest marketing tips can be learned from that community. In past a lot of snark and viciousness directed at these writers chased them away from KB.

And I think the community as a whole lost something when that happened.

Also no.. you don't have to write Erotica or Romance to be successful. But those overlapping genre's just happen to have a voracious (if not insatiable) reader base.  In my experience - they are also a fanatically loyal reader base. That's a potent combo.

But there's no reason people can't take tips  from erotica/romance writers (marketing etc..) and apply it to their genre. I guess sometimes people are too short-sighted to see the potential. 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: blakebooks on March 20, 2015, 11:44:03 AM
You know, I've been gone from this forum for over a year, but I read Hugh's lengthy blog post responding to this thread, and thought, WTF, might as well throw my two cents into it.

First off, I have no idea who advanced the idea that writing was any different than the other arts. Most people who study ballet never become professional and never make a dime at it, and spend a lot on their avocation, training for a pursuit they'll never make it at. Most kids with a guitar or drum kit who work at it for a decade never make a dime as musicians. Most painters or artists don't make a living wage from their art.

It's remarkable to me that the expectation is now that you should earn a decent amount of money from writing. The odds are extremely long. Extremely. Better than they were as trad pub, but still very, very slim.

Why is that? Because there are millions of writers. Some extraordinarily talented, most middling, some awful. Standard bell curve distribution. And anyone with a computer can "write." So the barrier to entry is very low. Some might argue, now, non-existent.

I think what many are realizing is that writing is not a good way to make money.

But publishing can be. Publishing your own work can be, too.

Operating a publishing company, which involves competitive analysis, a comprehensive grasp of the market, of trends, of appetites, marketing and promotions acumen and an appropriate budget, a good quality control system (editing and proofreading), quality cover creation, quality blurb creation, appropriate pricing strategies, a production schedule that meets market demands, basic accounting and budgeting and forecasting, etc. can be a nice business. So can virtually any business where you package raw goods and successfully sell them in a retail environment. But it's extremely difficult to do everything well and right, which is why it pays well when you can.

You will note that none of the skills of operating a publishing business are the same skills as writing a decent book: knowledge of craft, a way with words, the ability to tell a story folks enjoy and want to read, the discipline to carry the story through to the end in a timely fashion, an understanding of story structure, the ability create an engaging plot and vivid, believable characters, and on and on.

I think a lot of authors fail to grasp that operating a successful self-publishing enterprise requires that you not only have the skills of an author, but also that you develop all of the skills required to operate a publishing company.

It's not for everyone. It's not even for most. It's a good fit for those who are naturally entrepreneurial, or who have operated businesses successfully, be it small or large ones, and who can write to at least the level that meets reader expectations within whatever genre they choose to operate, and are willing to invest the massive time and energy (and yes, money, too) to make it work.

But even so, toss out the extraordinarily long odds of making money writing, and move to the long odds of any start-up business making money.

Why would your publishing company be any different? Why would it not be subject to the same odds all other businesses face? Short answer: it would be. And that's what many are seeing - even the ones who do everything right, and who can write their asses off.

Because the lion's share of start-ups fail. And even the successful ones often don't make any money for a year or two, and require significant investment of time and money to get there.

I have no idea why beginning authors believe that they can start a publishing enterprise with no budget, no expertise, no real time to learn the publishing business skills they require, and be one of the successful ones, any more than I understand why someone could find a violin, sit down and spend a little time trying to learn how to play, and then expect to be in Carnegie hall, or at least the local orchestra, earning money from their playing.

It's magical thinking. And it's bogus. Which results in shattered dreams, bitterness, disillusionment.

To me, it's better to understand what's required to narrow the odds, going in. I think it does authors a tremendous disservice to argue that it all comes down to the writing - we can all name plenty of pretty terrible examples of writing that have sold decently.

I counseled, in a fairly popular KB post, a disciplined approach to the business of publishing your own work, and the art/craft of writing. In that post I warned that most who pursue writing won't make money, partially because the world isn't fair, partially because there are already millions of good books available that vie for readers' attention, and partially because many don't bother to invest the time to become proficient at their craft. But assuming that the world were fair, that for some reason your books stood out, and that you've invested the time and energy in getting good, my point is that makes you a good author, not a publisher with a decent chance of success, success being defined as making good money at it (because publishing is a commercial enterprise, and that's how commercial enterprises are measured).

For what I believe is necessary to be a successful publisher, especially a self-publisher, see my earlier description of some of the requisite skills.

I hope this helps at least a few who are struggling with the challenges involved in earning money writing and selling books. There will always be lightning strikes, lottery wins where a book catches fire and suddenly everyone wants to read it. There are also many, many thousands of aspiring actors who want to be Tom Cruise or Angelina Jolie. Most won't be. Those are the odds. Understanding the odds, and then finding your edge, the thing or things that will differentiate you, is a big part of it, but even so, the bummer is it probably won't be enough. Because you'll then need to operate a publishing business, and acquire all the skills I outlined, or further reduce your odds of success.

Nobody likes hearing that, because that sounds like a [crap] ton of work. And it is.

I'm one of the fortunate ones, coming up on year four of self-publishing, and having passed year three of making money at it. I am working on my 38th novel today (I think - I kind of lost track somewhere in the thirties). I still work 12-15 hours a day, coming up on 48 months. I'm still excited to write each book, and I still have to market, promote, work on editing and covers with my team, and generally dance for my nickels, as do all entertainers since the beginning of time.

That's the gig. So if you want to dance for these nickels, understand the lay of the land, write because you love it and not because you want to make money at it, and realize that the business of selling books is completely different than the business of writing them. Writing books rarely pays well. Selling books can, but it ain't easy, and anyone who says it is, is misleading you.

Having said all that, I'm glad I pursued it, and didn't give up until my sales turned the corner. That would be around book number 11, for those following along at home. And only because a convergence of Select's algo magic, having a series that got some lift, discovering the power of perma-free, and being in the right place at the right time, helped me get the necessary visibility so my writing could get a chance to find a readership.

I shall now recede back into the mist. Be nice to each other, and good luck to all.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: D-C on March 20, 2015, 11:49:20 AM

the business of selling books is completely different than the business of writing them.


Yes, yes, a hundred times, yes. :D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 20, 2015, 11:56:47 AM
Russell speak big truth.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Donna White Glaser on March 20, 2015, 12:04:07 PM
Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille
+1
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 20, 2015, 12:04:47 PM
I always love me some Russell.   
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Sapphire on March 20, 2015, 12:14:52 PM
You know, I've been gone from this forum for over a year, but I read Hugh's lengthy blog post responding to this thread, and thought, WTF, might as well throw my two cents into it.

I shall now recede back into the mist. Be nice to each other, and good luck to all.
Russell, you have no idea how much you are missed around here. I, for one among many, would love it if you threw your two cents in more often.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Donna White Glaser on March 20, 2015, 12:15:21 PM
Having said all that, I'm glad I pursued it, and didn't give up until my sales turned the corner. That would be around book number 11, for those following along at home.
Love this. That's what is keeping me going. The hope that I'm rounding the corner. Not sure I'm loving the "book number 11" part, though. Sigh... WHERE'S ALL THIS EASY MONEY I KEEP HEARING ABOUT?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Hugh Howey on March 20, 2015, 12:49:29 PM
I summoned the Russell.

My work here is done.







(Miss you, dude. Hope all is well.)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: devalong on March 20, 2015, 12:50:31 PM
I'm a chump! I just need 45 more books that do as well as the 6 I have now and I will meet my goals :). I plan on it taking 10 years and about 1M more words.

Busy busy busy! as my inner Bokononist says  :).
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 20, 2015, 12:51:07 PM
I summoned the Russell.


Did you say "tequila" three times?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: TexasGirl on March 20, 2015, 12:57:29 PM
Lydniz knows the Russell!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: crebel on March 20, 2015, 01:09:42 PM
I always love me some Russell.   

Ditto. 

I am not a writer or a publisher, but every single thing said in Russell's post makes sense to me.  This reader has missed his words of wisdom on KBoards.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 20, 2015, 01:15:59 PM
I guess I don't get the sensitivity on this thread. The OP specifically asked, in so many words, how to make a good living from writing. The advice from one of the posters was that some people are writing in the wrong genre, or something of the sort.

Now. It's just realistic to say that some genres are hotter than others. Some genres offer a better chance than others to make a solid income. Those genres are represented by different posters on this board who are making a decent living - Urban fantasy, SFF, dystopian, mysteries, thrillers, action/adventure, romance, erotica, epic fantasy, and some horror. I might have missed some genres, and, if I did, I apologize. But if you're writing in a quirky genre with not a lot of hungry readers, then you're going to have a harder time making a solid income.

But nobody is trying to tell anybody what to write, or that you're doing it wrong. Again, the OP wants to know how to make a solid income at this, and he meant over $2,000 a month. That was the number that he threw out there. The answer is, amongst other things, write in a genre that has a lot of readers. Sure, he can write in a genre that is small, and make decent money, but it will be harder to do. It just will be. 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Mr. Sparkle on March 20, 2015, 01:30:33 PM
I hope I don't or didn't sound snarky, but this is simply not true:

Or maybe there was no intervention, because that post was NOT snarking at erotica writers, but rather was aimed at those who insist on telling everyone else that they have to write certain things, in certain ways, or they're doing it wrong.

Camille

Below is presumably the quote that P. Jansen took exception to:

Some of you guys are writing the wrong stuff. Niche titles with no real market, and thought behind them. I'm not trying to be mean, but it's the truth. You have to study the market, get good covers, blurbs, etc. All of this has been said a million times. This will better your odds, but obviously there's no guarantees.

Incidentally, I didn't taking it to mean that "the wrong stuff" = "not erotica," as other people have already pointed out. But that's exactly what the quote I mentioned above did.

In order to reach readers, make a lot of money, or some combination of the two -- and they often go hand in hand -- I see one of two likely scenarios occurring:

1. You write the Next Big Thing that nobody was anticipating, coming out of the blue to score the grand slam to end all grand slams.

OR

2. Somewhere between the idea forming in your head and you hitting the publish button, you deliberately choose to include, in some way and to some degree, legitimate consideration of who your potential readers are, what they want, and why they pick up or download the books that they do. This allows you to better target your audience, advertise to them, and / or expose them to your stories.

There is no "one way" that users I remember reading on here have insisted everyone else take to 'do it right.' DZ's comments were blunt, but I think his general point is still valid. If your way of doing things has not worked to your own satisfaction, it may indeed be 'the wrong way' ...for you.

When one such as the OP seems baffled by a lack of traction in the market, a few hardy souls try to incorporate some variation on the above theme into their answers in an effort to help. This seems to be offensive to a few people who rush in and assume a whole lot. Usually they are not even the OP.

Hence, the frustration. When I see a question mark at the end of a sentence, I think someone doesn't have an already fixed view on that subject, and when that post is on a board where people are wont to give advice, it's not unreasonable for users to think it's an invitation to brainstorm for solutions (or bring up older ones that have worked for others).

It's sad to me that it makes a few people defensive, especially when they may already be successful enough that they shouldn't care if other people discuss ideas different than their own. It's frustrating to try to offer advice and be insulted for doing so.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Caddy on March 20, 2015, 01:39:25 PM
Writing is like playing jazz music. (I do both.) It's a labor of love, and you can make a living at it if you don't need a lot of money. There are lots of old jokes about this situation that can be applied to writing.

Q: How does a jazz musician/writer make a million dollars?
A: Start with two million.

Q: What would a jazz musician/writer do if he or she won the lottery?
A: Keep writing until the money's gone.

Q: What do you call a jazz musician/writer without a significant other?
A: Homeless.


Hmmm...reminds me of painting. :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 20, 2015, 01:48:42 PM
If the person Patty responded to was telling people to write thrillers, do you think she would have used the phrase "sell our souls"? I don't think so. This sort of thing only gets hurled at romance and erotica, which is why it's important to call it out.

ETA: and the person Patty responded to wasn't even telling people to write erotica. He was saying if you want to make money, you might be writing the wrong genre. I agree with this, although I would specify "subgenre."

I agree. Nobody EVER said to just write romance or erotica in this thread. There was a lot of conclusion jumping early on in this thread, I have to say. Lots of defensiveness instead of, as Mr. Sparkle noted, a willingness to genuinely help. It just kind of mystified me, to tell you the truth.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: katrina46 on March 20, 2015, 01:54:28 PM
I guess it depends on your situation. I've had my hours cut indefinitely cut on my day job, but this month I've already made enough to cover my rent and the month isn't over, so 450 dollars is so not chump change to me.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 20, 2015, 01:55:09 PM
Brigham Young had a quote about people who take offense, but I don't feel like getting banned again so I'm not going to repeat it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 20, 2015, 01:59:33 PM
A couple of things...

Joe, this is the second time you've posted something like your last post here.  There seems to be some confusion on your part.   Please PM me so we can discuss.

As for dissing erotica and romance, I asked yesterday that people be respectful of each other's genres.  It seems to me people have been doing that.  Let's keep on topic.

Glad to see Russell's post.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 02:01:15 PM
The way I see it, writers who love writing the popular subgenres are blessed. They can rock on.

The rest of us have decisions to make and research to do. What are our goals? What's gonna be our love-to-money ratio?

If there isn't a popular subgenre we like, is there one we can tolerate? What's even popular right now? That's where the research comes in.

Maybe there's a niche we like that we can do okay in. Maybe we really need the money and just need to write what will make $$ right now. This is all fine.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 20, 2015, 02:08:43 PM
Sure I may be biased - but some of the smartest marketing tips can be learned from that community.

Agreed. I also think it forces those outside of the genre to consider why marketing tip A works in erotica (for example) but might not work with their own readership, which can sometimes be just as important as gleaning the stuff that does work. Back in the day, I did find there were things the erotica authors were doing I knew wouldn't work for my readers, but in thinking through why it wouldn't work, I was able to massage out thoughts about what would work.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 20, 2015, 02:12:18 PM
My work here is done

Never!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 02:17:58 PM
No matter what genre you write in - studying and listening to advice from some of the top selling erotica and romance writers can't hurt.


Absolutely.

That's why people who don't write erotica or romance are in those conversations in the first place.  The problem comes with a minority of contributors (often not the successful erotica or romance writers in question) who get really snarky about following the exact path, beat for beat.  Those of us who aren't interested in following that path get snarked at a lot as if our not wanting to do exactly the same thing is an affront to those who are writing romance, erotica, etc.  I hear everything from "How dare you say there is a difference between (name your genre) and erotica!" to "You're a hobbyist if you don't want to do everything in this plan, so NONE of it applies to you" to "Your rank is too low for me to take seriously."

The truth is, if you write, say literary fiction, and it takes you three years to write a novel, much of the advice for erotica doesn't apply directly.  It takes a lot of questioning and work to find a takeaway that works for such writers.  If you write in a solidly defined genre, on the other hand, a lot of the advice applies directly, but not all.  (Plus, even if you do write erotica, it may be necessary to cherry-pick what you can do successfully with your own skills and talents.  Some people can write faster than others. Some can follow trends more easily than others, for instance.)

And a lot of us fall in between those two extremes.  And sometimes the most valuable bit of information for the rest of us is not how the most successful people did it, but rather all those smaller bits of information that comes from those who tried something different, and didn't necessarily succeed at it yet, but they do increase our understanding of various audiences and options.

In short: I want to hear from EVERYONE.  I want to hear about the small successes, and the variables in the many failures.

(And, just as a reminder -- that's how so many of the "Successful Erotica Writers" threads started -- with somebody trying something out, failing, succeeding, failing again, and then succeeding a little more, etc.)

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 02:33:27 PM

Then why did it use the phrase "sell our souls and write smut"? That's the part that bothered me. Does anyone here say they're going to "sell their souls," "sell out," or "stoop" to writing mysteries or SFF?

Yes, if mystery or sff were the hottest thing going, and someone was telling erotica writers that they HAD to write mystery if they didn't want to be a chump, it would be EXACTLY the same, and the exact same terminology would be appropriate.

It's no different than in grad school, when I was told I could not write commercial children's fiction, and that the only true way was to write a very narrow band of literary fiction -- I refused to "sell my soul" to please the crappy professor who couldn't sell his novels without requiring them as textbooks for his students.

Any time, anyone tells you that you have to do what THEY value, instead of what YOU value, they are telling you to sell your soul.  And they deserve to be sent barking up the stream.

The problem comes in when people take offense that someone wouldn't want to do what they do.  Seriously, folks, we've got to get over that.  Even if someone really hates your genre, that's no criticism of you or the genre. That's just how it is. There are things you hate too.  That shouldn't stop those who love it from writing it and reading it.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 20, 2015, 03:40:17 PM
Did they use the words "selling out" or "selling one's soul"? I remember one thread where someone said they "sold out." They wrote romance, of course. The person was rightly called out.

As I recall, every time the idea of writing what you want to write comes up, the people who do so get called stupid and poor business people for not genre chasing. There's a reason this is a third rail type subject and that it's not considered 'simply' advice.

First and foremost being that it's a business decision, not the business decision. There's a lot of gold in the niches and lots of loyalty besides while what's hot ebbs and flows with the tides--based on what niche thing hits it big. The big money genres now were niches a decade ago. The people that made the most money out of them made them mainstream.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 04:03:19 PM
As I recall, every time the idea of writing what you want to write comes up, the people who do so get called stupid and poor business people for not genre chasing.

I have a question. Does this happen when people say "I'm writing what I want to write, and I'm sooo happy," or does it happen when people say "I'm writing what I want, but not making the income I want"?

I wouldn't call someone stupid or a poor business person, but subgenre is one of the things money-desiring writers should examine.

The big money genres now were niches a decade ago. The people that made the most money out of them made them mainstream.

This is true.  However, a writer wanting to make money shouldn't count on writing the breakout hit that starts a trend. That's a big gamble.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: VM Gautier on March 20, 2015, 04:05:51 PM
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ireaderreview on March 20, 2015, 04:09:40 PM
I'll add one data point. It's just a data point - not advice.

Regarding this: First and foremost being that it's a business decision, not the business decision. There's a lot of gold in the niches and lots of loyalty besides while what's hot ebbs and flows with the tides--based on what niche thing hits it big. The big money genres now were niches a decade ago. The people that made the most money out of them made them mainstream.

What I've seen people discuss and in my own personal experiences is

If you enter a venture that's tough, it makes a big difference whether your heart is in it or not.

So, how do you weight the added benefit of doing something you love i.e. a genre you love Versus a genre because it makes business sense?

Is there a way to weight that?

What happens when times get tough? When you have struggles?

If you picked the genre that you were truly passionate about, does it make you stronger? Or is the business-based decision the better one, because it might not be your passion but you get more money to pull through the hard times?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 20, 2015, 04:12:34 PM
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.



*Sigh* I guess that makes me a fool. A fool who made $140,000 last year by approaching this as a business.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 20, 2015, 04:13:15 PM
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.

So what would you call the writers who are, you know, actually supporting themselves without a day job? Because there happen to be a lot of us on these boards. ::)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 04:19:23 PM
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool.

...

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.



Here's the thing: a writer who researches market expectations, produces a competently-written story in a subgenre like motorcycle club erom or pseudo-incest erotica, packages it well, and keywords it correctly has a good chance of making money. Nothing is guaranteed, of course, but the probability is favorable.

This of course doesn't mean "everyone must write what's popular."
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 20, 2015, 04:23:13 PM
I have a question. Does this happen when people say "I'm writing what I want to write, and I'm sooo happy," or does it happen when people say "I'm writing what I want, but not making the income I want"?

I wouldn't call someone stupid or a poor business person, but subgenre is one of the things money-desiring writers should examine.

This is true.  However, a writer wanting to make money shouldn't count on writing the breakout hit that starts a trend. That's a big gamble.


In answer to your question, both.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 20, 2015, 04:47:42 PM
My post never told anyone to "sell out" or "sell their souls". It didn't even imply that they write erotica.

It was more of a "don't ignore people's advice because it's not your genre of choice" type of post.

I learn from everyone - and take what works for me. That's what I was trying to say. I think a few people got that and a few others didn't.

It's the knee-jerk "ick you're an erotica writer" response that drives me absolutely looney. It's like saying "egad you write Sci-Fi well that's an easy genre anyone can make money in.."

Which of course is absolutely ludicrous thing to say.  All the genre's can be tough. You do have to have some talent if you're going to please an audience. No matter what is it that's being written.

Trust me. I've had more failure than success with both erotica and romance. It's not easy money by any stretch of the imagination. But I enjoy the process.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 05:07:33 PM
People are allowed their preferences, and no one should tell a writer they MUST write in x subgenre.

However, writing to a market instead of following a muse or preference is a business decision. It isn't "selling out," "stooping," or "selling one's soul." You really don't see the insult in those phrases? It's insulting to not only the genres, but also to writers who decide to write to market.

How hard is it to say "I don't want to write a genre I don't like" or "I'm writing a genre that's not my favorite, but makes me money"?



Here's the thing -- the post in question was a reaction to an insult.  To a constant barrage of insult, actually.

Just now I can't find it, but one of the posts near this post I'm responding to did it again: they framed the discussion as a false dilemma: You can be business-like, OR you can follow your muse.

That's a very insulting sentiment -- not just insulting, but it's a sentiment that closes the door and excludes people from the business end of the discussion.

So yes, people get rightly snarky about that sort of statement.  It has no place in this kind of discussion.  "This practice is more likely to make you money, and that one is less likely to make money" -- both perfectly reasonable statements. "... and if you don't want to do that, you're a hobbyist" is NOT acceptable.

Although, I have to admit, I don't actually mind when people say things like that. What I mind is that they suddenly get all sensitive when anybody pushes back -- and that hijacks the discussion.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 05:27:31 PM
I have a question. Does this happen when people say "I'm writing what I want to write, and I'm sooo happy," or does it happen when people say "I'm writing what I want, but not making the income I want"?


Why can't people who are happy writing what they want also be interested in the business of making the best living they can from what they want to write?

THAT is where the insult is.

Why can't people just say: "Gee, I don't know about your genre, but with mine, I do X, Y and Z."

And if someone says "X doesn't work for me" (for whatever reason), why not discuss how and why X works in some situations and not in others, and see what options there are, rather than just dismiss it as a character flaw of the other person?

You'll notice that there are a number of people who already do this. As a matter of fact, MOST of the highly successful people here already do this (with a few exceptions). It tends to be either followers or anonymous types who actually are doing the stirring up.  However, it leaves frayed nerves behind it, so that others get roped in.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 05:59:45 PM
Why can't people who are happy writing what they want also be interested in the business of making the best living they can from what they want to write?

THAT is where the insult is.

There are writers who want to make the best of the subgenres they choose. There are writers who want or need to make money period. I agree that advice aimed at the second group shouldn't be worded in a blanket manner.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 20, 2015, 06:04:19 PM
I have a question. Does this happen when people say "I'm writing what I want to write, and I'm sooo happy,"

Yes. Yes it does. As in, 'the entire thread was started to talk about how someone enjoyed writing what they loved and they got blindsided and derailed over their apparent lack of business acumen'. Or people get discounted out of hand as being 'hobbyists' because their business plan is 'make money' rather than 'make the maximum amount of money in the short term'.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Flay Otters on March 20, 2015, 06:18:40 PM
Bottom line: people just like to call other people stupid.
It's human nature.
In the past, one needed to be in possession of a set (or drunk) in order to call another person stupid to his or her face.
These days, on teh internets, no personal bravery or responsibility (or liquor) required.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: KBoards Admin on March 20, 2015, 06:40:24 PM
All -- we have received numerous reports on this thread, related to (a) posts advising authors to write erotica if they want to make money; and (b) posts dismissing that advice.

Pruning those posts as they're derailing the topic of the OP.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 06:44:12 PM
All -- we have received numerous reports on this thread, related to (a) posts advising authors to write erotica if they want to make money; and (b) posts dismissing that advice.

Pruning those posts as they're derailing the topic of the OP.

Although I'm glad you keep an eye on these -- I do have to say that I felt like this particular thread actually has started getting somewhere in terms of bringing the two sides to a better understanding.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: KBoards Admin on March 20, 2015, 06:53:09 PM
I hope you're right! As I started pruning, I noted Betsy's earlier note in the thread, which I had missed before. Here's hoping the discussion can continue with it turning back into a genre dispute.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Boyd on March 20, 2015, 07:02:32 PM
Thanks Harvey.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 20, 2015, 07:20:20 PM
I've been at this a while.. and no I'm not a success. At the most I earned 1k in one month from my writing.  Which for a lot of people is "chump change"

But for me it was amazing. I was writing in a very narrow niche (transgender) and had a very tiny audience.  Next, I took a break and didn't put out much. So my old pen name stalled out.

I'm starting over from scratch (in Paranormal) and there's a few things I've noticed from people who've done well with KDP

- They publish fast and often
- The books are usually in a series
- They develop a relationship with their audience

Here's what I mean

- Publish Fast and Often
You'll usually see at least one publication every month or two from those top selling indies. If they are writing short - you can bet they are publishing more than that.  Writers who aren't as prolific seem to have a tougher time IMHO.

- Publishing in Series
Serials still seem to be pretty hot and have been pretty hot for quite some time. Readers appear to get hooked on favorite characters and want more. Again this is from my casual observation of top selling indies.

- Relationship with Audience
I've noticed that a lot of authors spend time sending out ARCS, participating in raffles, and generally engaging with their audience. This seems to build loyalty which turns into reviews and buys on their books.

Again.. these are my observations. They aren't a list of shoulds and should nots. Your mileage may vary. But from what I see these are things many successful writers seem to have in common. I've taken note of this and am figuring out how to incorporate into my work.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 20, 2015, 07:29:06 PM
I just want to point out re the above--I don't, and I know other successful authors who don't--

1) Publish fast and often. I publish, at most, a 100K book every 3 months. I know others who do very well at that pace too.

2) Publish in series. I write series, but loosely defined. Stand-alones within series. Lots of successful indies do this also. it doesn't have to be the same characters. It doesn't have to be serials, or have cliffhangers.

3) Relationship wtih audience--I just started with ARCs a few months ago. I didn't have a mailing list for two years. I never do raffles or anything. I do have a FB page, and my readers are active there. I do answer every reader who writes to me.

But I'll say again--you don't have to write the "hot" subgenres. You don't have to publish every month or two. You don't have to write series with cliffhangers, or serials.

You DO have to write books people enjoy reading, and to present them in an engaging way (cover & blurb). You have to have some hook that makes people want to pick the book up. You have to hook them in the first chapter, keep them hooked through the book, and have them enjoy it enough that they want to read the next one--AND tell somebody else to read it. Those are the things that keep books "sticky," that keep you selling well even if you aren't putting out a book every month. And, yes, I think one reason my books have been "sticky" is that I take my time with them, that I write and rewrite and edit some more, that I really let my characters come. I'm not saying speed makes quality impossible. Just that it would for ME. The speed at which *I* can write a quality novel that people will read and reread and recommend is--one book every three months.

And when I say "people," I don't mean everybody, because you won't get everybody. But you don't need everybody. You just need some readers to be hooked, to enjoy your work enough to talk about it, to get their friends reading it as opposed to whatever-else-is-in-your-genre.

I only point this stuff out because, when I started, before I self-published, I got so discouraged reading threads like these. I thought, oh, man, I'm doing this all wrong, it'll never work. And then--it worked. And since then, I've met a bunch of other people it's worked for.

Maybe you do have to do all of the above to make a million dollars a year. But I made almost a half a million last year. That's not too bad! And I got to do it in the way I enjoyed, writing what I like. I'm still learning all the time. I'm not great at either writing or marketing, but I'm getting better. This business is great because there's so much room for growth, and everything you learn and get better at benefits YOU, not some boss or corporation.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Crystal_ on March 20, 2015, 07:47:17 PM
I just want to point out re the above--I don't, and I know other successful authors who don't--

1) Publish fast and often. I publish, at most, a 100K book every 3 months. I know others who do very well at that pace too.

2) Publish in series. I write series, but loosely defined. Stand-alones within series. Lots of successful indies do this also. it doesn't have to be the same characters. It doesn't have to be serials, or have cliffhangers.

3) Relationship wtih audience--I just started with ARCs a few months ago. I didn't have a mailing list for two years. I never do raffles or anything. I do have a FB page, and my readers are active there. I do answer every reader who writes to me.

But I'll say again--you don't have to write the "hot" subgenres. You don't have to publish every month or two. You don't have to write series with cliffhangers, or serials.

You DO have to write books people enjoy reading, and to present them in an engaging way (cover & blurb). You have to have some hook that makes people want to pick the book up. You have to hook them in the first chapter, keep them hooked through the book, and have them enjoy it enough that they want to read the next one--AND tell somebody else to read it. Those are the things that keep books "sticky," that keep you selling well even if you aren't putting out a book every month. And, yes, I think one reason my books have been "sticky" is that I take my time with them, that I write and rewrite and edit some more, that I really let my characters come. I'm not saying speed makes quality impossible. Just that it would for ME. The speed at which *I* can write a quality novel that people will read and reread and recommend is--one book every three months.

And when I say "people," I don't mean everybody, because you won't get everybody. But you don't need everybody. You just need some readers to be hooked, to enjoy your work enough to talk about it, to get their friends reading it as opposed to whatever-else-is-in-your-genre.

I only point this stuff out because, when I started, before I self-published, I got so discouraged reading threads like these. I thought, oh, man, I'm doing this all wrong, it'll never work. And then--it worked. And since then, I've met a bunch of other people it's worked for.

Maybe you do have to do all of the above to make a million dollars a year. But I made almost a half a million last year. That's not too bad! And I got to do it in the way I enjoyed, writing what I like. I'm still learning all the time. I'm not great at either writing or marketing, but I'm getting better. This business is great because there's so much room for growth, and everything you learn and get better at benefits YOU, not some boss or corporation.

It's really bizarre to me that a 100k book every three months is considered slow.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 20, 2015, 07:55:41 PM
It's really bizarre to me that a 100k book every three months is considered slow.
I know, right? But it is.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 08:04:41 PM
But I'll say again--you don't have to write the "hot" subgenres.

I would consider contemporary romance a hot subgenre. It's certainly much hotter than steampunk romance.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 20, 2015, 08:08:13 PM
I would consider contemporary romance a hot subgenre. It's certainly much hotter than steampunk romance.
It's also the most competitive genre there is. More books in Contemp Rom than in anything else.
(I also write Rom Suspense, just for clarification. That would, oddly, never be considered "hot," and yet it quietly sells quite a lot, and there's infinitely less competition in it. Probably because it's harder to write a compelling suspense plot and a compelling romance plot, and weave them together. At least for me.)

I consider hot subgenres right now to be any kind of erotic romance, paranormal romance serials, billionaire BDSM romance. Those kinds of things. If you see "billionaire" in 40 out of the top 100 titles in CR (which is about the case, I swear)--THAT'S hot.
So why don't I write billionaires? Because they're not realistic! Aaaarrrrghhhh. Can't...fight...the...feeling.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 20, 2015, 08:10:58 PM
It's also the most competitive genre there is. More books in Contemp Rom than in anything else.
I consider hot subgenres to be erotic romance, paranormal romance serials, billionaire BDSM romance. Those kinds of things. If you see "billionaire" in 40 out of the top 100 titles in CR (which is about the case, I swear)--THAT'S hot.
So why don't I write billionaires? Because they're not realistic! Aaaarrrrghhhh. Can't...fight...the...feeling.

You counterprogram. That works, too. You pick up the people who wouldn't touch the billionaires with a ten-foot pole.

And, btw, the HOT subgenre is stepbrothers. Ugh. Even I don't want to touch that one.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 20, 2015, 08:11:48 PM
You counterprogram. That works, too. You pick up the people who wouldn't touch the billionaires with a ten-foot pole.

And, btw, the HOT subgenre is stepbrothers. Ugh. Even I don't want to touch that one.
LOL, so true! A stepbrother who is a billionaire. Whom you meet in a BDSM club. Or...TWO stepbrothers. I smell menage.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 20, 2015, 08:13:34 PM
It's also the most competitive genre there is. More books in Contemp Rom than in anything else.
(I also write Rom Suspense, just for clarification. That would, oddly, never be considered "hot," and yet it quietly sells quite a lot, and there's infinitely less competition in it. Probably because it's harder to write a compelling suspense plot and a compelling romance plot, and weave them together. At least for me.)

I consider hot subgenres right now to be any kind of erotic romance, paranormal romance serials, billionaire BDSM romance. Those kinds of things. If you see "billionaire" in 40 out of the top 100 titles in CR (which is about the case, I swear)--THAT'S hot.
So why don't I write billionaires? Because they're not realistic! Aaaarrrrghhhh. Can't...fight...the...feeling.

Sure, but didn't Jane Austen essentially write billionaire regency romance?

<ducks for cover!>
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 20, 2015, 08:16:34 PM
Sure, but didn't Jane Austen essentially write billionaire regency romance?

<ducks for cover!>
Absolutely! I was just thinking that the other day!
(But not BDSM, I hasten to point out. Also, Elizabeth Bennet was anything but a Mary Sue.)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Crystal_ on March 20, 2015, 08:21:24 PM
You counterprogram. That works, too. You pick up the people who wouldn't touch the billionaires with a ten-foot pole.

And, btw, the HOT subgenre is stepbrothers. Ugh. Even I don't want to touch that one.

Stepbrothers seem like they came out of nowhere! Never heard of that subplot before and then it was everywhere. I guess I see the forbidden romance angle, but otherwise... ew.

I think certain things, especially in romance, are classic. Teacher/student, friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, rich guys, and many more. If I understood this I would sell better :) These things will come in and out of style but there will always be some audience.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 08:25:08 PM
(I also write Rom Suspense, just for clarification. That would, oddly, never be considered "hot," and yet it quietly sells quite a lot, and there's infinitely less competition in it.

I would consider romantic suspense hot too, especially the ones that feature Navy SEALs.

See, I compare those subgenres to the ones I feature on site in my sig. Steampunk romance, certain kinds of sci-fi romance...they're harder to sell. 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 20, 2015, 08:26:31 PM
LOL, so true! A stepbrother who is a billionaire. Whom you meet in a BDSM club. Or...TWO stepbrothers. I smell menage.
Even I am saying no.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 20, 2015, 08:26:54 PM
I would consider romantic suspense hot too, especially the ones that feature Navy SEALS.

See, I compare those subgenres to the ones I feature on site in my sig. Steampunk romance, certain kinds of sci-fi romance...they're harder to sell. 
My new one's a high school principal and an office cleaner/waitress. Is that hot? No? Darn it. I keep screwing this up.

Also a kid. And a dog. No? Rats.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ava Glass on March 20, 2015, 08:27:32 PM
Stepbrothers seem like they came out of nowhere! Never heard of that subplot before and then it was everywhere. I guess I see the forbidden romance angle, but otherwise... ew.
 

Stepbrother short erotica has been popular for a while. These romances are the longer, more nuanced, and more "respectable" versions.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 20, 2015, 08:34:52 PM
Dinosaur stepbrothers. With a time machine.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: nobody_important on March 20, 2015, 08:44:07 PM
The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

Then do something fun to make money. Don't do stuff that makes you miserable.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 20, 2015, 08:56:32 PM
It's really bizarre to me that a 100k book every three months is considered slow.

Yeah... there's no way I consider that a slow publishing rate.  A full 100k book every three months would fall into the "fast and often" category. :D

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: jnfr on March 20, 2015, 09:17:26 PM
Bless you, Camille. You are a voice of sanity as always.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe_Nobody on March 20, 2015, 09:41:18 PM
Blink. Did I just see Mr. Blake and Mr. Howey comment on the same thread. Blink.

Okay, who put the time machine on my laptop?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 20, 2015, 09:41:56 PM
LOL, so true! A stepbrother who is a billionaire. Whom you meet in a BDSM club. Or...TWO stepbrothers. I smell menage.

Don't laugh! Billionaire stepbrothers are in the top 100.  They probably were met in a BDSM club, too.

And if the story is about a stepbrother, then there must be man chest. But no head.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David Adams on March 20, 2015, 09:49:33 PM
All I'm going to say is I <3 everyone and I hope one day we're all squakillionaires. That's a real word by the way. You can tell because it's made from letters.

<3 to all! :D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 20, 2015, 10:00:40 PM
Why, thank you, jnfr!

As I read through this, I think that there is a bit of wisdom we ALL know, but I don't know if we fully believe everybody else knows.

We'd all prefer to do something we love (and nothing we dislike) for lots of money.
We'd all refuse to do do something hate (with no other reward) for no money.
Some of us are willing (and able) to do something we utterly hate for lots of money.
Some are willing (and able) to do things we love for no money or other reward.

But most of the time, those are not really our choices.  I doubt very much if any of us set out to do any of those four extremes.  Instead we tend to make a complicated set of compromises.  You have some things you love, and put up with some you hate, and you find the balance where you make enough to make it worth it.

And most of us, even if writing is the central thing in our lives, have a whole bunch of other stuff that we love, hate, and can make money from, which we balance out with the writing part.  And we have a whole lot of other experiences and skills and resources that make one choice more viable than another.

And honestly, none of us have realistic expectations of things we've never done before. And maybe that's where the conflict comes in worst: people trying to save each other from their own mistakes -- but you can't do that.  Because not all of those mistakes are actually mistakes.  And even when they are, nobody can save us from our necessary mistakes: In the end we all really do have to pee on the electric fence for ourselves.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Krista D. Ball on March 20, 2015, 10:09:20 PM
Absolutely! I was just thinking that the other day!
(But not BDSM, I hasten to point out. Also, Elizabeth Bennet was anything but a Mary Sue.)

I personally like to think Lizzy tied Darcy up a couple of times...
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Crystal_ on March 20, 2015, 10:30:12 PM
I would put some of my chump change on a step-brother menage getting popular.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: anniejocoby on March 20, 2015, 10:50:04 PM
I would put some of my chump change on a step-brother menage getting popular.

I think you're right, unfortunately.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 20, 2015, 11:02:36 PM
I personally like to think Lizzy tied Darcy up a couple of times…

…and whipped him while he moaned, "Oooh! My kind of woman!"
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: LeonardDHilleyII on March 21, 2015, 01:31:48 AM


Nobody is going to make a living on one book. Writing more books is the key.

^^^This. Plus the more you write, the better your craft should become, and your audience tends to grow.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 21, 2015, 03:46:43 AM
So now it's okay to disrespect the author of some of the best loved books ever written in the English language. Disrespect is the curse of the twenty-first century.

In the UK, young impressionable children, predominantly girls but boys also,  are sexually abused because the society they are forced to grow up in has failed to protect them. Grooming, date rape and sexual abuse of children is commonplace. Sadly, those in authority turn a blind eye to this growing problem and so the suffering continues. When writers popularise the myth that women enjoy being treated badly,  the consequences for the most vulnerable members of our communities  are enormous.

Throughout the twentieth century, women fought hard to earn equality and respect. Popular art forms of the day reinforced women's right to be treated with respect, especially under the influence of alcohol. "... but you were somewhat the worse - or the better - for the wine and there are rules about such things."  (Philip James Quinn Barry (June 18, 1896 -- December 3, 1949), The Philadelphia Story (1939), play made into film starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.).

Nowadays, men ply women with drink on first dates in order to take advantge of their inebriated state. The rules no longer apply and popular culture does little to reinforce them. Quite the reverse. Young people subjected to grooming are given drugs and alcohol to facilitate abuse, and it is the disadvantaged who are most at risk.

As writers, we have a responsibility to put out the right message. Bad behaviour should be seen as such. Clear messages about what is and what is not acceptable should shine through everything we write. We have a duty of responsibility and should not abuse that position just to make money.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 21, 2015, 04:07:15 AM
If you're referring to Jane Austen, I am her biggest fan. But yes, it is perfectly OK to disrespect her if you don't like her.


I disagree with just about every word in this paragraph.

I rest my case.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Mark E. Cooper on March 21, 2015, 04:27:42 AM
It's really bizarre to me that a 100k book every three months is considered slow.

I'm doing 1x100k word book a YEAR atm. Glacial, but I'm doing okay.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: C. Rysalis on March 21, 2015, 05:03:42 AM
When writers popularise the myth that women enjoy being treated badly,  the consequences for the most vulnerable members of our commuities  are enormous.

I'm not sure the fault lies with literature. The parents should be held responsible for teaching kids how to avoid all those potential traps, and why they should be avoided.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 21, 2015, 06:00:21 AM
I'm not sure the fault lies with literature. The parents should be held responsible for teaching kids how to avoid all those potential traps, and why they should be avoided.

So it's okay to portray women as willing victims of abusive behaviour?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 21, 2015, 06:09:28 AM
Whoa.  We're getting WAY off topic here.  Shelagh--a separate topic on the purposes and responsibilities of literature I'm sure would engender a lively discussion.  Way beyond the scope of this thread.

And personally, I don't see any disrespect for Jane Austen in this thread (Krista, in particular, has an excellent modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice that got me hooked on the genre and made me re-read P&P).  Just sayin'.

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AmsterdamAssassin on March 21, 2015, 06:15:20 AM
I think it also depends on your writing goals. There are ways to write if your goal is strictly to make money. Other people write for different reasons. Figure out exactly why you are writing is the first step.

I agree, but I don't think writers should look down on those who prefer to write for money instead of more exalted goals. I applaud any writer who can live from the proceeds of their work. It's great being able to support yourself by doing what you love.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 21, 2015, 06:32:39 AM
The parents should be held responsible for teaching kids how to avoid all those potential traps, and why they should be avoided.

How about having parents---way before that---teach their children to not behave that way in the first place? To not be an abuser, not be a rapist (of any kind), not use alcohol or drugs to ensnare vulnerable people, and have respect for everyone especially women. Then we wouldn't have those traps that kids have to be taught to avoid.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Kirkee on March 21, 2015, 06:37:51 AM
Bingo, Russell B., Hugh H., Cin., Tricia O., & others.
Straight, no chaser. The amazing Russell Blake nails
it once again.   ;D

Post more often, Russell.

Continued success!

K
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SevenDays on March 21, 2015, 06:40:14 AM

I disagree with just about every word in this paragraph.

I don't disagree with the words themselves, just the order in which they are put.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 21, 2015, 06:54:23 AM
Folks, let's get back on topic.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 21, 2015, 07:19:27 AM
How about having parents---way before that---teach their children to not behave that way in the first place? To not be an abuser, not be a rapist (of any kind), not use alcohol or drugs to ensnare vulnerable people, and have respect for everyone especially women. Then we wouldn't have those traps that kids have to be taught to avoid.

Agreed, Peter. "Stepford students" are pressure groups intent on enforcing their own brand of political correctness:

"Their eyes glazed with moral certainty, they explained to me at length that culture warps minds and shapes behaviour and that is why it is right for students to strive to keep such wicked, misogynistic stuff as the Sun newspaper and sexist pop music off campus. 'We have the right to feel comfortable,' they all said, like a mantra. One -- a bloke -- said that the compulsory sexual consent classes recently introduced for freshers at Cambridge, to teach what is and what isn't rape, were a great idea because they might weed out 'pre-rapists': men who haven't raped anyone but might. The others nodded. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Pre-rapists! Had any of them read Philip K. Dick's dystopian novella about a wicked world that hunts down and punishes pre-criminals, I asked? None had."

Instead of trying to make the world a better place through teaching and learning, they just enjoy the feeling of empowerment  gained through collective thinking. It's pernicious and smacks of mob rule.

"Barely a week goes by without reports of something 'offensive' being banned by students. Robin Thicke's rude pop ditty 'Blurred Lines' has been banned in more than 20 universities. Student officials at Balliol College, Oxford, justified their ban as a means of 'prioritising the wellbeing of our students'. Apparently a three-minute pop song can harm students' health."

The answer to the problem of abuse is not to ban popular culture but to put pressure on those who have the most influence over young people, whether it be in literature or in music.

Quotes from: http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9376232/free-speech-is-so-last-century-todays-students-want-the-right-to-be-comfortable/
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: katetanner on March 21, 2015, 07:25:09 AM
Anyone going into writing as a "business" to make money isn't so much of a chump as a fool. To me a chump is someone who gets conned or invests tons of money in a bad deal. It doesn't cost anything to put a book up on kindle. You're only a chump if you overpay for related services that you either could have gotten for less or didn't need in the first place -- eg paying to self-publish through one of the notorious companies that are always getting written up in sites like Predators&Editors.

But it is foolish to expect to make a living as a writer. Even many of the most respected and well known fiction writers have to supplement their income by teaching or other work. I don't think most writers are fools. Most people who write (and I'm talking about fiction writers here) do so because they have to. Being able to make a living at it is a dream, not an expectation.

People are fools if they think KDP is some kind of get rich quick scheme. It's not. What it is a platform that allows all writers at least the opportunity to reach readers. That's pretty awesome.


i really don't get this attitude that writers should expect to write just for the love of writing. So we should not expect to make money from this. Why? We are artists and entrepreneurs and we have as much right to get paid for our artwork as a singer, screenwriter, movie director or actor.


I got really offended when I made the decision that I wanted to be a full time writer and a couple people told me that I should not expect to make any money out of this writing lark. So far I have been making a decent income by writing in a popular genre that I love (romance) and I pay attention to what readers are buying in my genre and I write similar stories. I also look at what other authors are doing marketing and promotional wise and I take notes and I try things out for myself. Can I live off my writing income alone, no not yet. i do some temping work but I'm not far off earning enough to support myself from writing alone. I don't have an expensive lifestyle.

I have a little niece who wants to write books for a living when she's older. She's 10 and she has already written a couple little stories which are really good. I would never dampen her dream to pursue a career as an author. Just like I'd never dampen my nephews dream to be a pilot. Or my little cousins dream to be a doctor.

There is some good advice on this forum from writers who are making a real living out of writing. To a new writer I'd say read other people experiences and experiment. Most of all, believe that you can make a living doing something you love.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 21, 2015, 07:25:13 AM
Folks, let's get back on topic.

Betsy
KB Mod

I think you're on a loser with that one. ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David Dire on March 21, 2015, 07:43:43 AM
Ever since I first became aware of Kboards there's always been this 'write for love or money' argument.

There's a 'big five' of these arguments that always happen (can't remember the other four off the top of my head). Whoever starts the thread with the big five writers arguments will end up in the Guinness book of world records for the longest thread known to man.

I'm pretty sure the write for love/art or money is 'the' writers argument since time immemorial.

- In a dusty bar in ancient Egypt two strangers meet, a lone Scarab beetle crawls across the floor -

So, what do you do then?

I'm a writer.

Oh really? Me too. What pyramid are you working on then?

I'm not working on a pyramid.

I see, so one of the smaller tombs then?

No.

Then what do you write on?

Papyrus.

Papyrus! Exactly what do you write on Papyrus?

You know, love letters for rich merchants to ladies bathing in milk and honey, the usual.

That's not writing!

Why not?

Well, it needs to be carved on stone, for a start! Papyrus isn't art.

But I use the same letters you use!

No, no. See, it's not the same at all. I suppose you're going to tell me you also draw some pretty pictures in there too.

It's Hieroglyphs! They're all pictures!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AshRonin on March 21, 2015, 07:54:18 AM
If someone told you that you were guaranteed to make a comfortable living at writing, they lied.  Any business you run yourself (and you say you consider writing your business) is only as good as you make it.


Let's say instead of books, you make ice cream. You make good ice cream, maybe it has a little bit of originality to it, but in the end it's ice cream.  Now you put your ice cream for sale in a mall with 500,000 other people selling ice cream.  Some is better than yours, maybe a lot of it is worse than yours. But you are all selling ice cream.


The secret to selling more ice cream isn't simply making more flavors. The secret is getting people to come buy your ice cream and become attached to it, to seek it out, to walk by all the other ice cream to buy yours.


Once you have those customers, you can sell more to them.  But when you have no customers, making more flavors gives you a tiny added advantage of having more things to sell, but if no one knows/loves your brand, you are just waiting for customers to randomly walk by and pick your product out of a whole bunch of similar products.


It's only for chumps if you think selling books is simply following a formula an waiting for your bank account to fill up.

I just want to mention how real this is and provide a little anecdote.

Right now I'm working as a pizza delivery driver and have done so for about 3 months. Recently, my town has seen an influx of new pizza places open. In the last 5 years, we've had 4 new places move into our delivery area.

The majority of our customers are repeat customers. There are a bunch of places in the last 3 months, I've delivered to 3-5 times or more. I am also only 1 driver out of 6 or 7 drivers so it's not even like I'm working every day. The business I work at stays afloat because of repeat customers who love our pizza.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AshRonin on March 21, 2015, 08:05:55 AM
Just seems like you're picking a fight for no reason. I'm truly sorry if my post somehow offended you (that's not sarcasm), but it's clear what I meant. Really, there's no need for the snark. I don't think anyone would really disagree with what I said. If you're doing this for money then there are a set of rules you should follow.

There are a set of rules if you want to be a boring drone bordering on mediocrity. If all you're ever doing is chasing the trends, you're never going to get ahead and become trendy yourself. If all you're doing is chasing the trends, you aren't going to create something that you're truly passionate about and in love with.

I think it's hilarious when I tell people that I'm working on Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction because I always hear the same things, Twilight has worn that out. The truth is, Twilight is still in the top 10 in its respective categories and Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction sold well before Twilight and will continue to sell well after Twilight.

Edit: Okay, to be totally truthful, whenever someone asks me what I'm writing, I do everything in my power to not tell them I'm working on Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction because it will start with them asking me if I've read Twilight (I haven't, not my type of book nor my target audience) and then I will get the enlightened marketing geniuses telling me how Twilight has bled this genre dry and there isn't any money to be made in it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AshRonin on March 21, 2015, 08:22:56 AM

i really don't get this attitude that writers should expect to write just for the love of writing. So we should not expect to make money from this. Why? We are artists and entrepreneurs and we have as much right to get paid for our artwork as a singer, screenwriter, movie director or actor.


I got really offended when I made the decision that I wanted to be a full time writer and a couple people told me that I should not expect to make any money out of this writing lark. So far I have been making a decent income by writing in a popular genre that I love (romance) and I pay attention to what readers are buying in my genre and I write similar stories. I also look at what other authors are doing marketing and promotional wise and I take notes and I try things out for myself. Can I live off my writing income alone, no not yet. i do some temping work but I'm not far off earning enough to support myself from writing alone. I don't have an expensive lifestyle.

I have a little niece who wants to write books for a living when she's older. She's 10 and she has already written a couple little stories which are really good. I would never dampen her dream to pursue a career as an author. Just like I'd never dampen my nephews dream to be a pilot. Or my little cousins dream to be a doctor.

There is some good advice on this forum from writers who are making a real living out of writing. To a new writer I'd say read other people experiences and experiment. Most of all, believe that you can make a living doing something you love.



I think what it really comes down to is most "writers" are tourists. They've read an article about how people are making money from self-publishing or they've read an article about that one guy/girl who was working that dead end job and they wrote 1 book and hit the lottery. These types of people flood the market and see it as a lottery ticket. They buy their 1 lottery ticket by writing that one book and then they b*tch and moan about how 50 Shades of Gray sold 50 million copies and their amazing work of art that is perfect in every single way only sold 5 copies to friends and family who probably didn't even read the book because it was terrible.

Then they come to KBoards and b*tch about how KDP is for chumps and there is no money in writing.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 21, 2015, 08:25:29 AM
I think you're on a loser with that one. ;)

If people can't resist responding, I'll start pruning.  There is a lot of positive conversation here.  I'd like to keep it that way.

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 21, 2015, 08:35:37 AM

....Most of all, believe that you can make a living doing something you love.


Absolutely.

Here's the thing about all those "failed" writers, and also about those who succeeded wildly: it's all about persisting until you find what works for you.

We all start out emulating role models, and we fail because we're not that person (and also because that person, that star, failed too at first) -- but we learn from that. That's HOW we learn.  And we keep moving and learning and find the path that works for us.  For some that path will not be in publishing at all. For others, it will be making a nice quiet living, and for yet others it will be building an empire.

The key is, persistence doesn't mean doing the same thing over and over again.  It means that you keep seeking.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 21, 2015, 08:36:12 AM
I'm working on Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction [and people ask] me if I've read Twilight (I haven't, not my type of book nor my target audience)…

Wait. Do I sense a major disconnect here? You're doing Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction and the Twilight people are not your target audience?

What am I missing?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: cinisajoy on March 21, 2015, 08:43:20 AM
Bingo, Russell B., Hugh H., Cin., Tricia O., & others.
Straight, no chaser. The amazing Russell Blake nails
it once again.   ;D

Post more often, Russell.

Continued success!

K
Also Joe and David.   :) Parts of this thread are wonderful and with the exception of Cin, the people listed in this post and Kirkee's wrote very wise words.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 21, 2015, 08:44:34 AM
There are a set of rules if you want to be a boring drone bordering on mediocrity.

Quick! Let me tell William Shakespeare, and Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie, and Karleen Koen, and Charles Dickens, and J.R.R. Tolkien what boring, mediocre drones they are!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 21, 2015, 08:47:24 AM
Wait. Do I sense a major disconnect here? You're doing Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction and the Twilight people are not your target audience?

What am I missing?

You're missing the fact that there are many many many different audiences with very different expectations.  This is true in all genres.  In that sense, vampires are just a motif. They don't tell you what kind of story it is. Furthermore, Twilight is very popular in the mainstream audience, and there are other paranormal stories with similar subjects which are really for specialized audiences.

It's like the difference between Star Wars, and heavy science fiction which explores some physics or sociological question.  They both involve planets and made up culture and aliens, but one is a bright ripping yarn for everyone, and the other is really aimed at people who already know a lot about theoretical science (scholars or just hard core sf fans).

And then there are all the audiences in between.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on March 21, 2015, 08:47:51 AM
When I started doing this in 2011, everyone ignored me but my parents. They all thought it sounded "nice" and  I'm sure they were making fun of me behind my back. As time went on, all of a sudden, things started to shift. People I hadn't heard from in years started contacting me. They would all be pleasant for about five minutes, and then it was all "so I hear you write books." I have no idea who started spreading that I was making money (although I honestly believe it was my mom and then my cousins added to the mix because we all have huge mouths). A lot of people started contacting me, though. They all thought it was going to be easy money. Apparently they missed the part of the story where I worked forty hours a week at my day job and then came home and wrote until 5 a.m. every morning. I think a lot of people just want an easy way to make money and if they see someone else succeed, they think they can do it, too.
I am a mixture. I write what I want -- but I also manage to anchor it to popular genres. I sell a lot of cozy mysteries, but I don't follow the rules of that genre. My books aren't clean. I've used child trafficking, rape, drug abuse, etc. as plots and those are all considered no-nos. I do write romantic suspense under a pen name, but I enjoy the genre and I give mine a little twist. You can write what you like and still make money, but I also think you have to have realistic expectations for certain genres.
I made it to a new tier of earning in February that blew my mind. It definitely wasn't "chump change." I still do things my way, though. However, making money is important to me, too. I also treat writing like a business. There is no rule that you can't enjoy the art of writing and make money, too.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 21, 2015, 08:49:33 AM
Quick! Let me tell William Shakespeare, and Arthur Conan Doyle, and Agatha Christie, and Karleen Koen, and Charles Dickens, and J.R.R. Tolkien what boring, mediocre drones they are!

The thing is, they were all breaking rules all over the place, and exploring new ground.  The "rules" we sometimes think they followed are, in many cases, ones they invented, or twisted into new forms.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David VanDyke on March 21, 2015, 08:51:04 AM
Speaking to the original topic and post: if you want to make a living as an indie, some luck helps, as does talent and skill, but mostly it takes work and more work.

When I saw how Russell Blake did it, I decided to imitate him (as well as anyone can) and I've published 18 novels in 33 months, mostly in science fiction. None of them were already written, though some were outlined or started over the years. I wrote four to six hours a day, every day for two years while still working a day job, and I'm now making a living. A good living. Not a rich and famous living, but my wife and I are blessed. I've quit the day job.

So it can be done, but not (IMO) at one novel a year, or even two. In a workshop I gave recently, I suggested that three a year is the minimum to build a fan base in today's digital world, four is better, and six is much better.

Along with producing original content, there are a dozen other things that need to be done to take that content and get traction for it. Those things have been discussed to death in other places, but suffice it to say I've done or tried almost all of them, keeping what works and abandoning what doesn't. And I'm still trying learning, expanding.

So as Hugh Howey said in his blog: "KDP is for chumps. Because it’s one of the best places for chumps to gather and to stop being chumps. KDP is for chumps like restaurants are for the hungry. It’s a magnet for chumps, and as soon as you enter, you stop being one."
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: G.L. Snodgrass on March 21, 2015, 09:19:21 AM
The way I see it, as a writer you have several options.

1. Write the novel you want to read.
2. Write a novel a few people want to read.
3. Write a novel that a lot of people want to read.

Pick Two items off the list.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AshRonin on March 21, 2015, 09:39:57 AM
The thing is, they were all breaking rules all over the place, and exploring new ground.  The "rules" we sometimes think they followed are, in many cases, ones they invented, or twisted into new forms.

Camille

Yeah, thanks for stepping in because the quote is taken out of context so hard. The people who are popular are almost always setting a new trend in some way. Going back to Twilight. How many hundreds of "Twilight copies" started popping up after it got published? Same goes for Harry Potter. I grew up in the 80s/90s and prior to Harry Potter, there wasn't a whole lot of fantasy fiction like Harry Potter out there (at least that I had access to at the time).

Some of the people mentioned in Peter's post are heavily emulated today. How many Sherlock knockoffs do we see thanks to SACD? JRR Tolkien revolutionized fantasy storytelling. How much mediocre epic fantasy is out there now days thanks to Lord of the Rings? (Lots)

If all you're doing is writing to emulate great/successful writers and sticking to the rules that they've created rather than learn to write for yourself, mediocrity is what you're shooting for because, unless there has been some major advancements than cloning that I'm unaware of, none of us are JRR Tolkien, SACD, Agatha Christie, Stephen King, etc.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AshRonin on March 21, 2015, 09:43:30 AM
The way I see it, as a writer you have several options.

1. Write the novel you want to read.
2. Write a novel a few people want to read.
3. Write a novel that a lot of people want to read.

Pick Two items off the list.

Truthfully, "few" is such a subjective thing.

When Hugh wrote Wool, do you think he picked number 1 and number 2 off that list while writing?

It was probably more like, "Write a novel he wanted to read" "Write a novel someone would read"
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 21, 2015, 09:49:48 AM
The way I see it, as a writer you have several options.

1. Write the novel you want to read.
2. Write a novel a few people want to read.
3. Write a novel that a lot of people want to read.

Pick Two items off the list.



The thing is... there's a lot of territory between "a few" and "a lot."  And most books fall into that space.

Also, your choices about the audience outside yourself kinda depends on that first item there: which books you like (and understand, and can write well).

I am of the opinion that you can't write a book that millions will love (or that anyone will love) if you don't, on some level, enjoy reading it yourself.  Maybe you once enjoyed it, and now you've burned out, but it was through enjoying it that you learned what people love about that kind of story.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lhhansen on March 21, 2015, 10:59:43 AM
Any open market like this that Amazon has created with Kindle is a wonderful opportunity for authors. This is the beauty of the market. But now it is just a fact that entrepreneurs are going to enter the market with the intention of making money. As Mr. Blake and other great business minds I have read say, self-publishing is an expression of entrepreneurism (and not just the writing). So we may as well put that on the table. That is who your competition is going to be no matter what genre you are in, and the entrepreneurs will be eyeing the most lucrative ones.

(Incidentally, I don't mind the topic of erotica because it is one of the most popular, and the more I learn of how people feel about it the better. The original comments and the responses are all useful for how people view a genre, and what sells. When I first started in self-publishing I had NO IDEA it was so popular, so I was at a disadvantage (even if it meant spicing up a different genre). BTW, no one is immune from what one views as normal. Stephen King jokes that because of his rather macabre themes, people often ask him what trauma occurred in his childhood to make him that way, which he has to laugh off rather frequently.)

We are all swimming with sharks now, so I do appreciate Mr. Blake helping some of us clarify between writing and running a business, and that the odds are very long for writing in general.  That was a splash of cold water that I think I needed. For those of us who want to make money doing what we enjoy, treating this like a publishing company that requires profits is also a huge distinction. More cold water. (BTW, Mr. Blake, even your bio picture is an unfair advantage to the rest of us.)

I would just add that further reducing the odds is lack of control as compared to other businesses. Is the new platform really the savior for authors, or a replacement of what the traditional publishers did? It remains to be seen.

I was reading a thread http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,210724.0.html about how Google modified its search algorithm (the Google Dance) and many authors saw their earnings ripped away from them. This saddened me for any author who is relying on that income to eat, or buy shoes, or get their kid anything. But do you think Google does not know exactly what they are doing, shifting profits from you to them?

I agree that Kindle is an incredibly innovative platform that has opened up many new possibilities to authors. It is the epitome of what the free market is all about.
I don't want to get on a rant about other tech companies (and believe me, I can with plenty), but I have seen some of the stuff they do. As an example, these are companies that will do just about anything for profits, including secret agreements with each other to fix wages in the labor market (class action lawsuit public info), and other shenanigans to lower wages. Thankfully Amazon was not part of that lawsuit. But the point remains, unless you sign a contract, this is not your business, wholly, but Amazon's profits to do what they want with in the future.

Am I thankful for KDP, yes, it has saved my butt many times. And I mean that in the truest sense. But, do I want to rely on them in the future to sing me to sleep knowing all is well? As George Carlin once said, “this is a giant club, and you’re not in it.” From a business perspective, there is the nagging issue of a loss of control, and what that means for all of us. I know that traditional publishing companies were worse, but that does not mean that the new platform has set us free. In the end, we may be lulled to sleep in the loving arms and by the soothing voice of Prince Charming blurring and fading into what appears to be the image of a giant vampire squid.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 21, 2015, 12:01:07 PM
Wait. Do I sense a major disconnect here? You're doing Vampire/Werewolf/Witch/Supernatural fiction and the Twilight people are not your target audience?

What am I missing?

To be perfectly frank, the audience that existed for Supernatural fiction prior to Twilight did not react well to Twilight. I'm one of them.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David VanDyke on March 21, 2015, 01:23:15 PM
(BTW, Mr. Blake, even your bio picture is an unfair advantage to the rest of us.)

Oh, you think that's really what he looks like today? LOL.

(J/K Russell. Really. Or maybe not. Haha. Bye.)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David VanDyke on March 21, 2015, 01:27:10 PM
To be perfectly frank, the audience that existed for Supernatural fiction prior to Twilight did not react well to Twilight. I'm one of them.

My educated guess is not that Twilight found its audience among the existing supernatural fiction crowd, but rather created it out of YA adventure-romance readers that accepted the supernatural element.

Just a guess, mind you.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Charmaine on March 21, 2015, 01:45:28 PM
Yes! It is for Chumps! Everyone leave. Excuse me, I have something to do...
(http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view6/3208409/dog-rolling-in-money-o.gif)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: RBradyFrost on March 21, 2015, 01:59:57 PM
I haven't made much money with my writing. I only have a handful of short stories published through KDP. But I'm happy to say that KDP has provided me an avenue to publish on my terms. I like seeing my work out there, I like seeing the sales in Germany, Japan, Italy, the UK... etc. For me, KDP isn't about chump change, it's about a change in the way we produce literature and opens a whole new way for readers to find literature they enjoy.

I love the community feel I have when I read a book and I can see where other people have highlighted a passage of text. I am happy with publishing through Amazon. If you aren't making a living with your writing, you probably wouldn't have any greater success through any other method. Traditional publishers don't put their promotional arm behind every author they give contracts to. You would most likely still be facing self-promotion and getting new book deals.

I don't think it's healthy to approach writing from a money making perspective. It's not really conducive to a good reading experience. And isn't that what writing is all about, that relationship we have with our readers?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ShaneJeffery on March 21, 2015, 04:09:12 PM
That is great. I have had a book at 5,000 and it make nowhere near $5,000. Yes it was on sale for a few days, but went back to $2.99. You probably had other books coming right behind it that also did very well. But a rank from 190k to 5k in two days has to have more than select behind it, especially if it stuck. Are they horror or romance now? That is the essence of the original post, not really understanding how well ranked books still just don't make much, so what are the odds of sticking it under 1,000, under 500? Even then, it is extremely volatile. However, I do see very similar books stay there week after week after week, and you have no idea what is going on (kind of like your poker example). It's a tough nut to crack sometimes, going beyond just writing more (though I will do that too).  Did your 5,000 ranking stick for awhile?

No, I didn't make 5000 off one book ranked at 5000.

That book ranking was the beginning. Prior to that I didn't have anything in select and my highest ranking ever was like 16k. I had already given up on writing romance at this point and just put the book in select when I was fumbling around. Like I said, 2 days later my eyes shot out of their head when I saw how the book was doing. What I did right after that was continue that series. As soon as books 2 and 3 were out, the ranking on the first book went up as high as 2,000. This was all back in October last year. Then I started writing more of these books, exactly in the same way as the original product. So continuing to release frequently, I made 5k in Feb with all the other books out there. The ranking stuck between 2 - 5k for two months and then between 5 - 10k for another month before it dropped. But then my next series did well, and so on.

All romance of course. I'm going to try some horror again this year, but more for recreation than short term financial gain. I'm going to remove my old horror works though because I want a fresh start.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jan Thompson on March 21, 2015, 04:12:11 PM
Having said all that, I'm glad I pursued it, and didn't give up until my sales turned the corner. That would be around book number 11, for those following along at home. And only because a convergence of Select's algo magic, having a series that got some lift, discovering the power of perma-free, and being in the right place at the right time, helped me get the necessary visibility so my writing could get a chance to find a readership.

That's the key, isn't it: "...didn't give up until my sales turned the corner."

Well, I had to crawl out of my writing cave to read the thread. LOL. I've also been off KB for a while since I have to go write LOL. I'm one of those who argued with myself about whether or not Russell Blake was right about indie publishing (all that he said on KB circa 2012-2013) and it took 2 years of internal debate before I decided to step out in 2014 and try it and when what he said WORKED like magic, I had to apologize to The Blake for being such an idiot at my own expense.

At the baseline is something I have to keep in mind all the time: "most books don't sell." So, hehe, write something that sells. And better enjoy it because you have to write for hours and days and it goes on until you can afford to feed the family pets or send your kids to college.

There is no formula to publishing. TEHO, YMMV, and all that jazz. But you find your own niche, you guard it, you produce, you learn, grow, move. It's freeing, really. As to income, if you're working for money, then money is all you got. I'm living my life, and I'm not rich nor poor, just a writer going about my daily business. Hard work? You bet! I'm in the middle of writing a series and it kills me all the things I have to do other than writing, but I have to do them (putting on my publishing hat) but this is indie publishing. It comes with the territory.

OK back to the writing cave...

(https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e1/e8/83/e1e883ae0d32a615afca6dbb0c6e2cee.jpg)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Peter Spenser on March 21, 2015, 04:41:05 PM
Yes! It is for Chumps! Everyone leave. Excuse me, I have something to do...
(http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view6/3208409/dog-rolling-in-money-o.gif)

THAT is hilarious!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 21, 2015, 05:01:04 PM
I haven't made much money with my writing. I only have a handful of short stories published through KDP. But I'm happy to say that KDP has provided me an avenue to publish on my terms. I like seeing my work out there, I like seeing the sales in Germany, Japan, Italy, the UK... etc. For me, KDP isn't about chump change, it's about a change in the way we produce literature and opens a whole new way for readers to find literature they enjoy.

I love the community feel I have when I read a book and I can see where other people have highlighted a passage of text. I am happy with publishing through Amazon. If you aren't making a living with your writing, you probably wouldn't have any greater success through any other method. Traditional publishers don't put their promotional arm behind every author they give contracts to. You would most likely still be facing self-promotion and getting new book deals.

I don't think it's healthy to approach writing from a money making perspective. It's not really conducive to a good reading experience. And isn't that what writing is all about, that relationship we have with our readers?

I approached writing as a business. My readers don't seem to have an issue with that. As someone who writes because I get paid for it, I write damn good books. Because why would you open a business and not offer the best product you can?

The relationship I have with readers is that I provide a service (entertainment) in the form of a purchasable product (the book) and they give me money for it. If I provide good service and a good product, I get more readers and make more money.  It isn't that complicated.  Tough to execute, perhaps, but not complicated.

If you aren't making much money, you probably don't have much readership. If you don't have readers, you are likely not providing something people want. Which is a terrible decision from the business side. If having a wide readership and running a successful business is not in your goals, that's cool. Lots of people write. Not everyone is cut out to make a career from it. Nothing wrong with that.

If you are happy with where you are, keep on doing what you are doing.  To me, the OP sure didn't sound that happy.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David VanDyke on March 21, 2015, 05:07:11 PM
If you don't have readers, you are likely not providing something people want.

I agree with everything you wrote except for this. This is confusing correlation with causation. There are probably thousands of wonderful undiscovered products out there, from grandma's pound cake to the next great American novel. They may never be discovered, because of insufficient/inept/ineffective marketing.

The flip side is, however, always true. If you are selling, you must be (on some level) be providing something people DO want.

The trick is getting them to want your stuff.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: EC Sheedy on March 21, 2015, 05:13:33 PM
Yes! It is for Chumps! Everyone leave. Excuse me, I have something to do...
(http://stream1.gifsoup.com/view6/3208409/dog-rolling-in-money-o.gif)

Hilarious! Am I wrong to want this?  :-\
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Annie B on March 21, 2015, 05:15:44 PM
True, I suppose. Sometimes the issue is discoverability. However, usually there are pretty easy steps to take to fix that. More books in the series. A better cover that broadcasts the genre/tone more. A different blurb. Different price points. Advertising.

But most books I see that flounder and don't do well? It isn't something that is easily fixed with cosmetics. There are just some books that won't sell no matter how pretty you make them look. And some topics that just don't have a very big readership. Which is fine, as I said. Niche books need writing, too. But I wouldn't write a literary story about a woman dying of cancer (actually, I'm totally doing that, but still) and expect it to make me more than coffee money.  Putting expectations in line with the size of the readership for any given genre or topic is smart business.

If you are writing a series in a genre in which lots of other authors are doing very well, and you aren't selling? Somethings gotta give there.  I know it isn't the nice thing to say, I guess, but... it might not be that your books haven't been noticed. It might be that your books don't deliver an experience that people want to pay for.  And as a business person, that's something I'd always keep in mind. I turned my entire career around from nearly 0 to making six figures because I finally recognized a lot of the mistakes I was making and took steps to fix them. I could have just sat around and wished people would just give my books a chance some more. Or complained that nobody was reading them because of X thing somebody else was doing. But that doesn't seem productive to me. :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Kirkee on March 21, 2015, 05:24:03 PM
David VanDyke: That's a photo of yours truly that Russell is using––
(with my permission, of course.)  ;D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David VanDyke on March 21, 2015, 06:21:09 PM
David VanDyke: That's a photo of yours truly that Russell is using----
(with my permission, of course.)  ;D

I knew it! The big phony.

I do remember he used an older-looking one for a while...my suspicion is that he dug up something from a decade or  more ago. Kind of like mine from 2009. I have a bit of salt in my pepper hair now...
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: CJAnderson on March 21, 2015, 06:29:32 PM
Best thread ever?  8)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Heather Hamilton-Senter on March 21, 2015, 08:59:23 PM
My heavens, how did I miss this thread??!!

There are no guarantees in the arts, none of them. Not in acting or fine art or singing etc... I've lived my entire professional life in the arts, mostly as a singer/actor, and I've made more money writing in less than 1 year than I did in years of singing (and believe me, I'm not getting rich! Which says how little I was making singing and acting ;) ). Yet I would say without a doubt I am a far better singer. I'm trained in opera and musical theater, graduated from theater school, am a member of the actors union, blah, blah, blah - and I was and am still a nobody. And I worked pretty hard at it and loved it a great deal.

So: No. Guarantees. Period.

But, Wayne said something very valuable in a milestone post I did a while back. He agreed that any kind of success, even minor success in publishing is like getting hit by lightning, but at least you can do your best to put yourself where the lightning is likely to be found! I'm paraphrasing, but the point is your chances are far better if you're serious about the business aspects of it.

And will some ignore all that and still get hit by lightning just out of the blue?- yes. But it's impossible to try to replicate that sort of success. The only things you can control are things in your control - so we might as well do that and increase our chances......
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 21, 2015, 09:11:35 PM
Here's something I think we all agree on:

Luck enters into it, but it's not a lottery.
What we do has a strong effect on where we end up, but where we end up is more a region than a specific place.

And... you'll never know if you don't go. (Never shine if you don't glow....)

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Heather Hamilton-Senter on March 21, 2015, 09:33:42 PM
Here's something I think we all agree on:

Luck enters into it, but it's not a lottery.

Yeah, that just about perfectly sums it up!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Umno on March 21, 2015, 10:26:01 PM
Hmmmm after defending erotica and romance writers on this thread my urban fantasy story was magically 1-starred. No written review just a single star slapped on it for its very FIRST rating. Which could essentially crush any chance it has to flourish. Now call me paranoid but I find it a bit hard to believe that this is an authentic rating. Especially after hearing about how some posters here 1-star other forum members that they disagree with. So if this was a K-Board member getting back at me, you suck.

I will go ahead and clear this up for so that you can remove any and all bitter feelings towards your fellow kboard members. I wrote the one star rating. I personally did not like it and yes, it was too short. Perhaps it was my fault for not looking at the page count and just assuming it was an actual novel based book based on the title and synopsis. Either way, I stand by what I said. I felt it was too predictable (and not in a - this is predictable but still enjoyable - sort of way), it wasn't romantic at all and it was overall boring. I would apologize if that hurts your feelings but I don't care. It was an honest opinion and not everyone will enjoy your work.

That being said - I was originally only here for two reasons - Clearing the air & I was extremely curious.  One of the board members decided to accuse me of being a kboard member and only giving a bad review due to relation.
(http://i.imgur.com/OgUjw1k.png)

I don't like being accused of things.

After reading your post I decided to comment to clear the air.  An Administrator can check my IP if they wish or even care enough to check that I am not a clone account. You can rest assured that it was not a kboard member but a random reader who has never heard of the kboards (thank goodness for google) until I was notified about the above comment.

On a side note - After discovering kboards, I know see how so many books have high ratings.  ::)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: JessieVerona on March 21, 2015, 11:09:24 PM

I don't like being accused of things.

.....

On a side note - After discovering kboards, I know see how so many books have high ratings.  ::)


Not making accusations are you?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: katrina46 on March 21, 2015, 11:13:29 PM
One of the first lessons I learned on Kboards is no good ever comes from commenting on a negative review no matter what.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Umno on March 21, 2015, 11:15:32 PM
Not making accusations are you?

No. Are you?

One of the first lessons I learned on Kboards is no good ever comes from commenting on a negative review no matter what.

I'd have to agree with that, on various levels.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 21, 2015, 11:18:27 PM
The number of pages is clearly listed on the book and it's also in the "Kindle Short Reads" category.

How could you have been surprised it was short.


Quote
    #49 in Kindle Store > Kindle Short Reads > 45 minutes (22-32 pages) > Science Fiction & Fantasy

Sorry but that's one thing that drives me nuts. If a book is listed in the right category - clearly has the number of pages on it. Why would you buy it - if you don't like short stories.


This just reeks of someone who is trolling to cause trouble and is terribly off topic.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Perry Constantine on March 21, 2015, 11:19:18 PM
No. Are you?

Well actually, you kind of are:

On a side note - After discovering kboards, I know see how so many books have high ratings.  ::)

You're accusing people on KBoards of artificially inflating their ratings for fellow posters. How is that not an accusation?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: EC Sheedy on March 21, 2015, 11:19:43 PM
One of the first lessons I learned on Kboards is no good ever comes from commenting on a negative review no matter what.

I think it should be tattooed on a writer's forehead before they hit the publish button.  :(

Just breathe...

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Umno on March 21, 2015, 11:26:34 PM
Well actually, you kind of are:

You're accusing people on KBoards of artificially inflating their ratings for fellow posters. How is that not an accusation?

That's so weird. I don't recall ever saying that or even implying it. Accusation much?

The number of pages is clearly listed on the book and it's also in the "Kindle Short Reads" category.

How could you have been surprised it was short.


Sorry but that's one thing that drives me nuts. If a book is listed in the right category - clearly has the number of pages on it. Why would you buy it - if you don't like short stories.

I believe I stated already that it was perhaps my fault for not checking the pages and for assuming based on the title & synopsis that it was an actual novel. The book was listed in romantic comedy and the synopsis sounded interesting, that is why I decided to read it. Also I didn't buy it - It was a kindle unlimited.

This just reeks of someone who is trolling to cause trouble and is terribly off topic.

Er. How exactly am I trolling? I was going about minding my own business when someone from here decided to give this place some free (negative) publicity by accusing a random person of disliking something out of retaliation. My curiosity won and I signed up to see what was said. I responded to let the author know not to hold it against anyone here.

Not really sure how that is trolling.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Perry Constantine on March 21, 2015, 11:33:25 PM
That's so weird. I don't recall ever saying that or even implying it. Accusation much?

You did type this quote, did you not? It's posted under your name:

On a side note - After discovering kboards, I know see how so many books have high ratings.  ::)

To me, that reads like an accusation that we inflate reviews of books by fellow posters. If that's not what you meant, then explain what you meant and I'll happily apologize.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Stephanie Marks on March 21, 2015, 11:35:44 PM
Oh gosh, I can't believe I'm actually replying to this when I know so much better *facepalm*. But since my next post was obviously missed, I DID go on later to say that if it WAS a true rating then I'm more than happy to accept it and the readers opinion. :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: JessieVerona on March 21, 2015, 11:49:01 PM
To me, that reads like an accusation that we inflate reviews of books by fellow posters. If that's not what you meant, then explain what you meant and I'll happily apologize.

That's pretty much how I read it, too. Perhaps we're mistaken.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Umno on March 21, 2015, 11:52:35 PM
Oh gosh, I can't believe I'm actually replying to this when I know so much better *facepalm*. But since my next post was obviously missed, I DID go on later to say that if it WAS a true rating then I'm more than happy to accept it and the readers opinion. :)

I only saw the one (honestly didn't feel like sorting through all the posts) and felt like commenting. As I said, I didn't want you being bitter towards your fellow members and thinking one of them did it.

As for the review - I stand by what I said. In terms of it being short I apologize for that particular aspect as I think there was an error somewhere. Partially on my side for not checking the page count, partially because it was under Romantic Comedy when I was looking, not short stories.

You did type this quote, did you not? It's posted under your name:

To me, that reads like an accusation that we inflate reviews of books by fellow posters. If that's not what you meant, then explain what you meant and I'll happily apologize.

Of course I said that, I was not denying that I did. What I was denying was your accusation -  based on what? What it reads like to you? It's not what I meant, but that being said I don't need to explain it to you nor do I need your apology.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: KBoards Admin on March 21, 2015, 11:58:29 PM
Numerous reports on this thread...

Let's leave it at this: someone posted (on Amazon, apparently) their suspicion that the 1-star rating was a KBoards 1-star review; the reader then joined KB to clear up that apparent misperception; and the author has responded courteously.

Any further posts regarding the 1-star review will be deleted.

And... a reminder to all... right or wrong, justified or not, it is never advisable to comment on a reader review.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Michael Parker on March 22, 2015, 02:45:51 AM
I started 40 years ago. I'm still trying!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: beccaprice on March 22, 2015, 07:23:43 AM
my feeling about the OP (some 13 pages ago) was that he was confusing KDP the publishing platform with Select, which is a marketing platform.

now, all my books are in Select, and will probably stay that way, but I've heard it said that writers who stay in Select are chumps.
Title: Re: Maeve Binchy fans in here...
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 07:33:20 AM
Any further posts regarding the 1-star review will be deleted.

Lo, and it has been done.  Let's move on, people.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 08:52:05 AM
My post was for the OP and not connected to the one star review, so I'll post it again. kboard members who write in the same genre share their email lists. You would have to be a chump to believe otherwise.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SevenDays on March 22, 2015, 08:55:13 AM
My post was for the OP and not connected to the one star review, so I'll post it again. kboard members who write in the same genre share their email lists. You would have to be a chump to believe otherwise.

Is that based on anything real? Because I've never heard so much as a whisper about that ...

(I guess I must be a chump.)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 22, 2015, 08:58:44 AM
Me neither. My email list is for people who like my books. They're not necessarily the same people who'll like somebody else's books. What would be the point? I'd be annoying my most avid readers for no reason.

Another chump here I guess.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SevenDays on March 22, 2015, 09:02:48 AM
Me neither. My email list is for people who like my books. They're not necessarily the same people who'll like somebody else's books. What would be the point? I'd be annoying my most avid readers for no reason.

Yeah, why would I want to annoy my readers? That's crazy.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: katrina46 on March 22, 2015, 09:04:48 AM
My post was for the OP and not connected to the one star review, so I'll post it again. kboard members who write in the same genre share their email lists. You would have to be a chump to believe otherwise.


Sorry, Shelagh, I misunderstood.  --Betsy
I've never heard that. I have seen some of them say they'll send out a link to a friend's book to help them out, but I think that's nice camaraderie.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 22, 2015, 09:06:25 AM
Is that even legal?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 22, 2015, 09:10:15 AM
Is that even legal?
No.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: katrina46 on March 22, 2015, 09:11:01 AM
Is that even legal?
I don't know. My mailing list is just for me, so it never occurred to me to share. I promise my readers when I put the list link in the back of my book that I will only contact them if I have a new release, so I couldn't if I wanted to.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 22, 2015, 09:12:43 AM
Nobody is getting their hands on my mailing list. I built it up with blood, sweat and tears* and it's MINE.

*Not really. I just sat there and waited, mostly.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Al Stevens on March 22, 2015, 09:23:13 AM
Back to the original question. KDP is a publishing platform available to all authors for no charge. Promotion of titles is the responsibility of authors. KDP offers optional promotional support, and each author decides whether to participate. So the answer is, in my opinion, no, KDP is not for chumps. It's for everyone who wishes to use it.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: David VanDyke on March 22, 2015, 09:25:36 AM
I second/third/fourth the denial that indies share mailing lists. It may have happened, but I'm pretty sure it's extremely uncommon. Doing so would cause an author to lose many fans, as well as his or her Mailchimp (or whatever service) accounts as the complaints pour in.



Edited, per Harvey's earlier post.  PM me if you have any questions. --Betsy 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 09:56:13 AM
Is that even legal?

Legal? Yes. You can buy email lists (http://help.madmimi.com/buying-an-email-list/), so swapping lists is legal and a quick way to double/triple/quadruple the size of the list. Ethical? You can answer that question, yourself.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 22, 2015, 09:59:43 AM
Legal? Yes. You can buy email lists (http://help.madmimi.com/buying-an-email-list/), so swapping lists is legal and a quick way to double/triple/quadruple the size of the list. Ethical? You can answer that question, yourself.
No. CAN-SPAM makes it extremely clear that you cannot legally buy mailing lists, unless from people who have opted in to receiving unsolicited email, if such people indeed exist.

Even the article you CITE says it's illegal, for heaven's sake. Here's a cut & paste from it:

Can I Buy An Opt-In List?
The claim:

Opt-in email lists for sale are lists of contacts that have agreed to receive emails from third party senders.
The truth:

No. There’s no such thing as an opt-in list for sale!

The fact is, email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don’t consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in. They call it “unsolicited bulk/commercial email.” If the people you’re emailing did not directly sign up with you (and only you!) then it’s considered unsolicited.

****

(Me again) I used to be Director of Marketing for a mail-order company, so I've studied this a bit, although I'm not an attorney.

I'm not saying that mailing lists aren't for sale. I'm saying that such sales or swaps don't comply with CAN-SPAM, and they certainly don't comply with any provider like MailChimp's terms of service. Constant Contact, MailChimp, etc.--you get enough spam reports, they find out you've sent email to people who haven't opted in to YOUR list? Your account is gone.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 10:01:14 AM
Legal? Yes. You can buy email lists (http://help.madmimi.com/buying-an-email-list/), so swapping lists is legal and a quick way to double/triple/quadruple the size of the list. Ethical? You can answer that question, yourself.

I'm confused.  Even the link you cited says the people have to have agreed to have their email addresses shared with third parties...which is probably not the case in most author email list signups.

EDIT:  Rosalind beat me to it!

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:09:26 AM
I'm confused.  Even the link you cited says the people have to have agreed to have their email addresses shared with third parties...which is probably not the case in most author email list signups.

EDIT:  Rosalind beat me to it!

Betsy

Before I post a link, I read the full content. Not so those who click on the links!

"The claim:

Opt-in email lists for sale are lists of contacts that have agreed to receive emails from third party senders.

The truth:

No. There's no such thing as an opt-in list for sale!

The fact is, email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don't consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in. They call it "unsolicited bulk/commercial email." If the people you're emailing did not directly sign up with you (and only you!) then it's considered unsolicited."
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on March 22, 2015, 10:09:34 AM
I think most people are of the mind that "you can pry my mailing list from my cold, dead hands." Most of us worked really hard for those -- and we would never share them.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 22, 2015, 10:10:32 AM
Before I post a link, I read the full content. Not so thise wo click on the links!

"The claim:

Opt-in email lists for sale are lists of contacts that have agreed to receive emails from third party senders.

The truth:

No. There's no such thing as an opt-in list for sale!

The fact is, email clients like Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail don't consider purchased lists or lists given to you by a third party to be opt-in. They call it "unsolicited bulk/commercial email." If the people you're emailing did not directly sign up with you (and only you!) then it's considered unsolicited."
Ummm....isn't that what I just posted? Which says it's UNSOLICITED if the person hasn't directly signed up with you. Which would make it illegal. CAN-SPAM. Illegal.

I'm not sure what your intent is here. Are you just trying to bait people? Accusing "kboard members" (whichever members those are) of doing something that's both unethical and illegal, and then posting something that proves the opposite of what you're saying? But...why?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 22, 2015, 10:11:57 AM
My post was for the OP and not connected to the one star review, so I'll post it again. kboard members who write in the same genre share their email lists. You would have to be a chump to believe otherwise.

Actually, if you're talking about Kboard specifically, that is very much against the standard practices around here.  The standard practice is to use Mail Chimp, and (even if only to keep to their rules about user satisfaction) to have the subscribers only add themselves to the list.

While it is possible to do the classic marketing trick of buying lists and using crooked marketing services, that has never acceptable around here.  Nobody advises it, and we tend to discourage the posting of links to those crooked companies or advice on how to use them....

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Rachelle Ayala on March 22, 2015, 10:15:38 AM
To the OP and others, I woke up this morning and wrote a blog post of what I learned from four years of self-publishing.

I hope it is a help to y'all.  ;D

http://www.rachelleayala.com/2015/03/what-i-learned-after-four-years-of.html (http://www.rachelleayala.com/2015/03/what-i-learned-after-four-years-of.html)

My point is, there are lots of things you can't control, and lots of things you can do right and still not have the results you want. But the most important is to enjoy the journey and define your own level of success.

Mahalo!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: daringnovelist on March 22, 2015, 10:18:48 AM
I think most people are of the mind that "you can pry my mailing list from my cold, dead hands." Most of us worked really hard for those -- and we would never share them.

Exactly -- and our subscribers wouldn't be pleased either.  If you think your readers would like someone, you send that out in YOUR newsletter. "Hey, if you like my books you should check out so-and-so."

Mailing lists here on Kboards should not be confused with the "hot prospects" lists that sales people and marketers use for cold-calling.  It's a very different use and purpose.  Mailing lists of this sort are really more like newsletter lists: they are all about maintaining a relationship with the reader.  This is by far the most effective marketing method.

Spam lists are not at all effective for books, (they work for get-rich-quick schemes, but not novels) so there really is no reason for people to use them.

Camille
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:20:43 AM
Ummm....isn't that what I just posted? Which says it's UNSOLICITED if the person hasn't directly signed up with you. Which would make it illegal. CAN-SPAM. Illegal.

I'm not sure what your intent is here. Are you just trying to bait people? Accusing "kboard members" (whichever members those are) of doing something that's both unethical and illegal, and then posting something that proves the opposite of what you're saying? But...why?

http://www.seqlegal.com/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-email-marketing
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: KBoards Admin on March 22, 2015, 10:23:16 AM
Shelagh -- obviously you feel very strongly about this, but it seems to me that the participants in this thread are saying pretty much the same thing that you are: that mailing lists are not something that should be shared or sold. Is there some separate point that you are trying to make?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 22, 2015, 10:27:32 AM
http://www.seqlegal.com/blog/10-things-you-should-know-about-email-marketing
That article references UK law, not US law. CAN-SPAM is the US law that governs email lists, and that providers like Constant Contact and MailChimp are using to determine acceptable practices.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:27:57 AM
Ummm....isn't that what I just posted? Which says it's UNSOLICITED if the person hasn't directly signed up with you. Which would make it illegal. CAN-SPAM. Illegal.

I'm not sure what your intent is here. Are you just trying to bait people? Accusing "kboard members" (whichever members those are) of doing something that's both unethical and illegal, and then posting something that proves the opposite of what you're saying? But...why?

You edited your post, Rosalind, while I was researching the link I posted. I'm not trying to bait anyone. My assumption is based on the fact that I receive newsletters and promotions from authors I never signed up to. 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Usedtoposthere on March 22, 2015, 10:28:35 AM
You edited your post, Rosalind, I was researching the link I posted. I'm not trying to bait anyone. My assumption is based on the fact that I receive newsletters and promotions from authors I never signed up to. 
Then you should report them as spam.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 22, 2015, 10:29:01 AM
My assumption is based on the fact that I receive newsletters and promotions from authors I never signed up to.

Well that is definitely bad practice and needs to be reported.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:32:06 AM
Shelagh -- obviously you feel very strongly about this, but it seems to me that the participants in this thread are saying pretty much the same thing that you are: that mailing lists are not something that should be shared or sold. Is there some separate point that you are trying to make?

What should be shared and what is shared are two different things, Harvey.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: SevenDays on March 22, 2015, 10:33:46 AM
My assumption is based on the fact that I receive newsletters and promotions from authors I never signed up to.

Then you should have said that in your original post, instead of making it sound like it was based on nothing more than, well, nothing.

Are these indie authors? Trade-published? Because if you sign up at the front/back of a trade-published book it's often the publisher itself that sends out the newsletters, and it quite often covers all their authors, not just the one whose books you just enjoyed.

If they're indie authors is it possible that they're just different pen names for the same person?

If not, report them. I absolutely would.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 10:35:09 AM
Well, at this point, I think it's been made pretty clear that it should NOT be done, whether people are doing it or not.  And it's unclear to me what this has to do with the OP, so I suggest we all move on from this particular point...

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:38:11 AM
Then you should report them as spam.

What's the point? How do I prove that I didn't sign up? The cheats of this world know who they are. Catch them out doing one thing, and they just switch to another.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 22, 2015, 10:39:12 AM
This thread:

(http://rack.0.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDEzLzA2LzEyL2I0L2FuaW1hdGVkcmFtLjViODMyLmdpZgpwCXRodW1iCTEyMDB4OTYwMD4/3414fbe3/725/animated-rampage.gif)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:40:18 AM
Then you should have said that in your original post, instead of making it sound like it was based on nothing more than, well, nothing.

Are these indie authors? Trade-published? Because if you sign up at the front/back of a trade-published book it's often the publisher itself that sends out the newsletters, and it quite often covers all their authors, not just the one whose books you just enjoyed.

If they're indie authors is it possible that they're just different pen names for the same person?

If not, report them. I absolutely would.

Betsy deleted my original post.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 10:43:55 AM
Betsy deleted my original post.

No problem, I'll post it again.  Here's your original post (which I removed because I thought it was addressed at the reviewer; you said it was not but had already reposted so I didn't restore it):

This is not an accusation; it's an assumption that kboard members writing in the same genre share their email lists. Those who do not will chime in and say that they most certainly do not; those who do will say nothing.


Here's your re-post version:

My post was for the OP and not connected to the one star review, so I'll post it again. kboard members who write in the same genre share their email lists. You would have to be a chump to believe otherwise.

Hope this clarifies things.

Betsy

*edited for clarity
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Silly Writer on March 22, 2015, 10:47:11 AM
I've managed to stay out of this thread for 14 pages... Until now.

That's a very serious accusation assumption. I've been around awhile and am in several groups, have lots of writerly friends that I speak to, and 'sharing mailing lists' has NEVAH EVAH even been brought up. I don't believe this is a practice among indies, or we would have heard of it long ago.

I call [bullcrap].

Etc: accusation to assumption...  ::)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 10:48:59 AM
Thanks, Betsy, much appreciated!  :)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Sophrosyne on March 22, 2015, 10:54:31 AM
I've never heard of people who write in the same genre sharing email lists. That's ridiculous and illegal. We share the same fans, but generally, they find us individually.

I've also never received newsletters from authors whose lists I haven't signed up to. It's entirely possible you signed up at some point and then forgot. Either that, or the author has you on their personal email contacts and added you in because they mistakenly think you're one of their friends. If you don't want to get their emails, unsubscribe from their lists.

Most newsletter lists require not only a sign-up, but also a confirmation, unless it's a direct add from the author.

When it comes to indie authors, I would just unsubscribe instead of risking screwing with their mailing list and getting them blocked from reaching their readers.

If it's one of the annoying marketers who spam everyone however, then I'd report them as spam. But even there, if you're getting newsletters, at some point, you signed up for it. Even if you don't remember it now.

The places that do sell their email lists are required to notify you and give you an option to opt out.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 11:00:40 AM
Your assumption is incorrect, Sophrosyne; I didn't sign up.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Silly Writer on March 22, 2015, 11:01:49 AM
You're an author, please explain the difference. Thank you.

Edited to clarify from your original post that Betsy reposted...maybe YOU should clarify:

"This is not an accusation; it's an assumption that kboard members writing in the same genre share their email lists. Those who do not will chime in and say that they most certainly do not; those who do will say nothing."

^^edited to further clarify...^^^above is the original post from Shelagh...not me! (Not sure how the blue box didn't appear around it)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 11:09:52 AM
Your assumption is incorrect, Sophrosyne; I didn't sign up.

How did you handle it, Shelagh?

If it were me, I would contact the authors(s) responsible directly stating that I did not sign up for their list and ask to be removed (there should be a link to do so in the email if they are complying with the law to that extent).  Whenever I have an issue with a business, I contact them and give them a chance to fix it.

If the emails continue, report as spam.  You've now got evidence that you asked to be unsubscribed.   Take screenshots.

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 22, 2015, 11:13:42 AM
How did you handle it, Shelagh?

If it were me, I would contact the authors(s) responsible directly stating that I did not sign up for their list and ask to be removed (there should be a link to do so in the email if they are complying with the law to that extent).  Whenever I have an issue with a business, I contact them and give them a chance to fix it.

If the emails continue, report as spam.  You've now got evidence that you asked to be unsubscribed.   Take screenshots.

Betsy

... and this will solve the underlying problem? No, it will just waste my time.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lydniz on March 22, 2015, 11:17:29 AM
... and this will solve the underlying problem? No, it will just waste my time.

So you shouldn't do anything about wrongdoing because nothing will get done about it and it will be a waste of your time? In that case, it's also a waste of time complaining about it, really.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Silly Writer on March 22, 2015, 11:23:29 AM
Please be courteous enough to answer my question. I asked because you changed your post to "a very serious assumption" which made no sense to me.

Shelagh,
I changed my post, out of professional courtesy, to refer to your "assumption," rather than "accusation" because as I was posting, Betsy reposted YOUR post that said it wasn't an accusation, but rather an assumption.

In other words (I can't believe I'm bothering with this...but) I didn't want to accuse YOU of accusing anyone. However, your next post did accuse as it said we were chumps if we didn't believe it was happening, so not sure why I bothered to begin with, when you clearly believe this is happening, and clearly accused in your 2nd post... And called people chumps. Please read your own previous posts before whipping this dead horse anymore.




Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 11:29:52 AM
... and this will solve the underlying problem? No, it will just waste my time.

Actually, yes, I believe it will.  If people are doing this, I believe they will stop if the people they are doing it to call them on it.  Especially if this wrongdoing (spamming) is brought to the attention of authorities who can shut them down.

Betsy

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 22, 2015, 11:36:16 AM
Sigh.  It looks to me that this thread has entirely jumped the dead horse shark.  Unless someone can convince me otherwise, I'm going to lock it in about fifteen minutes. I see no constructive conversation.

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Silly Writer on March 22, 2015, 11:39:24 AM
My post was for the OP and not connected to the one star review, so I'll post it again. kboard members who write in the same genre share their email lists. You would have to be a chump to believe otherwise.

^^THIS was tongue-in-cheek? Okaaaay... Maybe next time add a  ;D or something to let people know that. Might avoid getting some ethical writers riled up.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: sela on March 22, 2015, 12:07:52 PM
Wow a lot of accusations flying on this thread --  or should I write assumptions?

My 2c, YMMV.

KPP is an internet book retailing platform that allows trad pubs and self-pubs to sell their books in the Amazon store. KDP is not chump change for chumps. It is an entirely new business model that has resulted from the disruption in the publishing business afforded by the internet and ebook revolutions. It has opened up the publishing world to any author who wants to give self-publishing a try. Some have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, some are what they consider a success (me, forex) and the vast vast majority of authors who try the self-publishing route do not sell more than a handful of copies, most to friends and family. Amazon makes money off this venture or else it wouldn't exist.

KDPS is a marketing tool, and a way to get your book in front of prospective readers. It makes a lot of money for some authors and not so much for others, and nothing for even others. It will also have to make money for Amazon in the end or it won't be around for very long.

As to whether indie authors (kboard members) share their mailing lists, I have this to say: most authors will not be successful in self-publishing or trade publishing, period. That much the Author Earnings report has shown as well as other surveys of author income and earnings. When an author is not successful, they often try to understand why. There are many reasons: quality of product, size of prospective audience, cover, blurb, keywords, reviews, visibility, etc. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a book takes off and it is impossible to say why except it caught the imagination of a lot of readers and went viral. Sometimes, for whatever reason, a book fails to gain an audience. Not enough readers get excited about it and no amount of marketing or advertising can bump into a good/bestseller list. Sometimes, authors go into self-publishing with stars in their eyes and unrealistic expectations, and when they don't succeed, they try to find reasons beyond those I mentioned to explain the lack of success / sales.

Hence, they refer to conspiracies and cheating, such as authors buying reviews, sharing mailing lists, nefarious marketing practices, etc. It takes the sting out to blame someone else for your lack of success rather than look critically at your product and business practices and models.

I've been at this now since 2012 and have seen it all -- accusations of fraud, cheating, review buying, etc. Most of the time, those accusations come from authors who are unhappy with their latest book's reception. All I know is that the authors I know personally would NEVER share a mailing list. To do so would mean  p*ss ing off your readers who opted in on the assumption you would never share their email address. Most of us even put that in our books and on our social media -- a promise to never share their email. We take that seriously. Plus, we hoard our readers and treasure our mailing lists! We are happy to share our fellow author's book links but not ever to share our reader emails. Now, it is entirely possible that there are a few bad apples that will do so, but there are always charlatans and immoral business people in every industry and profession. I don't condone that kind of behaviour, period. If it goes on, it is not a common practice nor an acceptable standard or business practice.

So to trot out that as an explanation of why some books succeed and some fail is just plain wrong.

A book is not going to hit the bestseller's lists and stay in the top of the ranks unless it has something that pleases a lot of readers, period. Instead of complaining about cheating, it would be best to study how successful authors succeed. Study your markets and be smart. Write a quality product and know your market. Learn the business. That isn't a ticket to success but it will give you the best chance of doing so.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on March 22, 2015, 12:38:48 PM
I have no idea where the sharing mailing list thing is coming from.  I've been at this since 2011 and I don't know of anyone who does that.

What you may be encountering is an author with multiple pen names. There are quite a few authors who write under separate pen names as a form of branding. I.e. one name for romantic suspense, on name for westerns, etc..

But in all honesty - emailing people who are not interested in your book will be a huge failure. The key to using a mailing list right is informing your more dedicated readers - and getting them to review.  A scattershot email blast isn't really worth the effort. And most writers I know... don't do that.

It's all about focused and targeted emails - in order to get reviews.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Lhhansen on March 22, 2015, 12:58:19 PM
First off, it depends on where you live. $20K a year actually makes for a very comfortable standard of living in my area.
It looks like you live in Japan. Where else can I live on that. Mexico? Thailand? Something to certainly consider. Can we even publish on KDP overseas in the US?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 22, 2015, 01:30:44 PM
It looks like you live in Japan. Where else can I live on that. Mexico? Thailand? Something to certainly consider. Can we even publish on KDP overseas in the US?

In 2012, my AGI was something like $3,500, but I was living like a king in Eastern Europe (specifically, Georgia).

As a young single male with no dependents, no student loans, and no health problems, I can live quite comfortably in Utah on $800 a month.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Ann in Arlington on March 22, 2015, 02:04:00 PM
Been more than 15 minutes . . . shark still jumped. . . . locked.

Find another thread to play in.

Folks, we've talked it over in Admin and we're going to unlock this thread and give it one more chance.  Please stay on the topic of the original post.  The sharing email list part has been beaten to death.  Future posts about the email list sharing will be edited or removed.

Stay civil.

--KB Mods
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: she-la-ti-da on March 23, 2015, 05:06:15 AM
It looks like you live in Japan. Where else can I live on that. Mexico? Thailand? Something to certainly consider. Can we even publish on KDP overseas in the US?

I live in the central part of North Carolina. I can live quite well on 20K a year. Really quite well. Of course, I should clarify that my children are grown, so their expenses are small, I have no debt other than my land payment, which will be paid in full by the end of this year. We do need to get better cars, would like new computers, and the air conditioning needs to be fixed, but that could all be done easily on 20K.

Edited to correct my figures. Math is not my best subject, I'll admit. Also, too early in the morning for typing, I guess, because I knew what I wanted to say (and it wasn't 2K a month, though I hope to make that amount in the near future).




Edited as I've asked people to stay on topic of the original post.  PM me if you have any questions.  I've clarified my earlier comments.  --Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Perry Constantine on March 23, 2015, 06:23:00 AM
It looks like you live in Japan. Where else can I live on that. Mexico? Thailand? Something to certainly consider. Can we even publish on KDP overseas in the US?

You can absolutely publish on KDP outside of the US. Every single one of my books was published on KDP from right here in Japan. The only ebook store that really restricts your location is Barnes & Noble, but you can get on them through Draft2Digital or Smashwords.

The only real potential snag with publishing from overseas is the bank account you have your royalties distributed to. I can only speak from my own experience so I don't know if this is a problem other indies have experienced, but my bank account is with a local bank out here in my region and for some reason, they're extremely paranoid about receiving deposits from Amazon and PayPal. But I signed up for an account with one of the national chains and have had no problems getting my money since then.

I can't speak to other places where you could live comfortably on a lower salary. But I'm positive you could find them in the US as long as you're willing to sacrifice some of the conveniences of big city life. My girlfriend and I are homebodies, we're much more comfortable staying at home and watching a movie than we are going out on the town. But with the Internet, a lot of creature comforts can be acquired regardless of where in the world you live. I use Netflix through a VPN, I buy movies off iTunes, and if there's some food that I really want but isn't carried in the stores around here, I can go online and have it delivered within a few days.
Title: Re: Study your markets and be smart
Post by: ' on March 23, 2015, 11:23:56 AM
Surely someone had a marketing plan?
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Wayne Stinnett on March 23, 2015, 12:38:35 PM
It looks like you live in Japan. Where else can I live on that. Mexico? Thailand? Something to certainly consider. Can we even publish on KDP overseas in the US?

Same lame argument I've heard for twenty years now about any kind of job. McDonald's employees are complaining about not having a living wage. Walmart employees the same. When I first started a family, my job was in construction and it didn't pay enough to raise a family. I got a second job. What's so hard about that? I picked oranges on the weekends, bar bouncer at night, mowed lawns, and a dozen other odd jobs. If you're unable to make a decent living as a writer, don't quit your day job. It's really that simple. To earn more as a writer, write more, write better, create better covers, and write better blurbs.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 23, 2015, 01:23:43 PM
Same lame argument I've heard for twenty years now about any kind of job. McDonald's employees are complaining about not having a living wage. Walmart employees the same. When I first started a family, my job was in construction and it didn't pay enough to raise a family. I got a second job. What's so hard about that? I picked oranges on the weekends, bar bouncer at night, mowed lawns, and a dozen other odd jobs. If you're unable to make a decent living as a writer, don't quit your day job. It's really that simple. To earn more as a writer, write more, write better, create better covers, and write better blurbs.

You nailed it, Wayne!
Title: Re: Study your markets and be smart
Post by: Jim Johnson on March 23, 2015, 02:26:49 PM
Myra writes great advice. My marketing plan is part of my business plan. Constantly changing and being updated, but part of the core building blocks of my business.







Edited to remove quote of now deleted post.  --Betsy
Title: Re: Study your markets and be smart
Post by: Silly Writer on March 23, 2015, 04:19:50 PM
This was an excellent post that took a great deal of thought and was worthy of a reply. In summing up, Sela accepts that there will always be cheats in all areas of life, but in order for any business to have sustained success, there has to be a quality product, a great deal of hard work and a willingness to invest money, whether it be in self-publishing or any other business venture. Before you self-published, did you have a marketing plan?

Hmmm. I'm not sure that's the summary of her post... Or the point of it. I believe you may have missed her point. But far be it from me to attempt to summarize such a well-written post in one long run-on sentence that tries to prove my own point.  ::)

Sela: I agree with your post completely.  ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 23, 2015, 04:50:48 PM
Myra writes great advice. My marketing plan is part of my business plan. Constantly changing and being updated, but part of the core building blocks of my business.

Yes, Jim, a marketing plan isn't  rigid; it's  a building block. The OP gives the impression that all writers should be able to support themselves through their writing and publishing endeavours, and his inability to make a living from writing must be the fault of the whole publishing system in general and KDP in particular. He also misunderstands the ranking system, which determines rankings hourly based on Amazon's algorithms. It is the also bought lists that increase sales, not the rankings.

Before KDP Select, all free books on Amazon were permafree. When authors changed the pricing of the books back from zero to paid on Smashwords, Amazon price matched again and the book made sales because it remained in the also bought lists. At that time, the books maintained their ranking, but it was the appearance in the also bought lists that produced the sales. Many authors made good sales during this period and were devastated to the point of quitting altogether when Amazon introduced Select, and their sales dwindled to zero. KU has affected book sales in a similar way, but just as authors had to change and update their business plans after Select was introduced, so they will have to adapt to KU -- until Amazon come up with something new for authors to adjust to!
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Shane Murray on March 23, 2015, 05:39:02 PM
Same lame argument I've heard for twenty years now about any kind of job. McDonald's employees are complaining about not having a living wage. Walmart employees the same. When I first started a family, my job was in construction and it didn't pay enough to raise a family. I got a second job. What's so hard about that? I picked oranges on the weekends, bar bouncer at night, mowed lawns, and a dozen other odd jobs. If you're unable to make a decent living as a writer, don't quit your day job. It's really that simple. To earn more as a writer, write more, write better, create better covers, and write better blurbs.

This and Hugh's and Russel's posts on the topic settle it for me. Breathe. Smile. It's all good.

Hugh - http://www.hughhowey.com/kdp-is-for-chumps/
Russel - http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,211162.msg2945262.html#msg2945262

More than anything I always love coming back to these boards because I feel like it is a great support network for writers (even if I don't post often). Critical thinking is good, though let's try to stay positive, and keep writing. It would be a shame to see things get ugly with the kind of flame wars that tear up so many other places.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Kirkee on March 23, 2015, 06:44:58 PM
Right-on-the-money, Wayne!
Love it.  ;D

L.L.: Diggin' your responses.  ;)
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: AssanaBanana on March 23, 2015, 06:45:42 PM
I am looking at KDP from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well with KDP? If you would have told me that books ranked 10,000 - 50,000 or so only make a few hundred dollars a month before I was a writer, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in KDP unless an author consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, writing is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

I read an article that said most authors make four figures. If it takes several months to write a book, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most authors well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to write, if you want to make a living?

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

I have heard others say you just have to keep writing, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the books may de-rank faster than you can put new ones out, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

I have written both fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction has much more staying power, but it took me two years to write the book! Fiction I can crank out faster, but it de-ranks faster. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most authors just don't make much in KDP, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?


KDP is simply a tool. It isn't inherently good or bad, but it is a very well-made tool and if you learn how to use it you CAN be incredibly successful with it. Like any other implement you might use in an average workday, it takes some training. The more you use it, the more you learn the little tricks that enable you to use it better and to find bigger rewards as a result.

I haven't studied the numbers. Maybe "most authors" don't make much in KDP, but I know a hell of a lot of authors who DO. I am earning a respectable income at the moment - much higher than a fast food worker (and trust me, there was a time very recently when I WAS happy to simply have earned more than minimum wage in a day from KDP). But I learned how to use KDP better and it paid off. Sort of like a new driver learning that they'll get better gas mileage if they DON'T drive in first gear everywhere they go. Maybe they were simply afraid of driving faster - who knows - but you're never going to get where you want to be if you don't learn how to shift gears.

(Disclaimer: I really know nothing about cars. The analogy seemed appropriate, though.) :D
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: KOwrites on March 23, 2015, 08:25:45 PM
I am looking at KDP from a business perspective. Is anyone really doing well with KDP? If you would have told me that books ranked 10,000 - 50,000 or so only make a few hundred dollars a month before I was a writer, I would have been astonished.  Now I realize that is the case.

So now my concern is that there is very little money to be made in KDP unless an author consistently ranks in the top 500 or so. For money, real money where you can survive and thrive comfortably, buy a house, travel, and have money left over, that seems to be the case. Otherwise, writing is just a hobby because $20,000 or so is not really living for me anyway.

I read an article that said most authors make four figures. If it takes several months to write a book, and you make a few hundred a month, well, that is a few dollars an hour. That places most authors well below fast food workers, and even some panhandlers.  Is time better spent doing something else, even if you love to write, if you want to make a living?

The only reason I bring this up is because I have seen people struggle, including myself, waiting for that better someday that never comes. Don't get me wrong - I love to write, and I love words, and I have made enough money to survive, but it is not living.  Writing is no longer fun if there is only chump change.

I have heard others say you just have to keep writing, and then the money will accumulate. The problem is that the books may de-rank faster than you can put new ones out, so it becomes a rather vicious cycle.

I have written both fiction and nonfiction. The nonfiction has much more staying power, but it took me two years to write the book! Fiction I can crank out faster, but it de-ranks faster. So, is it worth it? Is this even a  real business, or is the opportunity cost just too high? I think the numbers show most authors just don't make much in KDP, and very few are the exception. Am I wrong?

This has been a thought provoking thread. I too wrote a blog post after reading/wading through it. http://katherineowen.net/advice-for-other-fiction-writers/

I think there are many great points of view in this thread. Lots of wisdom to gain encouragement from.

I have a personal observation. More than five years ago, I put my books out into the world. I remember selling 50 copies the first month. I think I priced them at $4.99 because I was focused on the long hours that went into producing the work and God forbid pricing them at less than a dollar was nevah going to happen. ha! I was so grateful for those fifty readers. None of which were my family except one (my brother) who actually read both books. Romance! No less. He didn't write a review. S'Okay.

Then, over time, I moved the goal posts.

In other words, the goals got bigger. Fifty copies a month wasn't good enough. Three hundred. A thousand? More? One month in September of 2013 I moved quite a bit more than 20,000 ebooks on Amazon alone. The confidence swaggered. The also-boughts in my book feed got better. Free runs and 99cents really worked and so did Facebook Ads. The reviews poured in, and the readers clamoured for more.  I created better covers and waded into branding. I wrote more but never faster. I wrote another book, probably my best. My fifth book. I got happy. I got sad. I got happier. I got sadder. I started comparing my work to others. I got discouraged. The 2nd book didn't take off like the first book did. The market had changed in a year. The market had probably changed four times since then but I didn't notice because I was focused on the work. Then, I wasn't. Then, Kindle Unlimited came along and that changed how things worked for many, including me. I got distracted by the ramifications of KU for a long while.

And, I found myself asking more and more. What am I doing? How long will this success take?

The thing is I do want to make money at this. I do. I had a six-figure job in the corporate world. But I really don't want to go back to it. I don't.

But lately? I've come to terms with the fact that I moved the goal posts. I did that. What made me happy then (fifty sold copies) doesn't do it anymore. So, I've arrived full circle almost back to where I started from. After months of studying the boards (here) and the ranks (mine and all the others), I've decided to focus on my building my mailing list one reader at a time with a permafree strategy with my bestselling book. It is STUNNING to me how free works (in a series, two books out, third one supposedly being written when I'm not reading writing books or Kboards threads). Yes, I'm focused on visibility. As Danielle LaPorte says, "how can I be visible today?" That's the marketing part.

For the writing part? Start here. Just ask yourself what it is you want out of this. Then, apply some of the advice that's been given in this thread. Not all of it. Some things won't apply. All writers take a different path. I really believe that. I write long novels 110K plus word novels. Getting two done in a year will be a flipping miracle, and I write full-time. Everyone has their process. Yours will be different from mine or any other writer on this board for that matter. 

I don't want to be accused of click-bait, but there's some words of wisdom in my little blog post. Probably the last line is best...

"Maintain humility about yourself and your work, and you will be mostly fine.
This is a lonely profession. Accept it and balance that out, which means participating in the world occasionally. It will feed your stories as well as your soul."


 
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 23, 2015, 11:19:21 PM
Same lame argument I've heard for twenty years now about any kind of job. McDonald's employees are complaining about not having a living wage. Walmart employees the same.

As well they should. No one should be putting in a day of work and still not be able to survive. Even serfs made out better and they had to deal with plague, knights and people from the future thinking they wallowed in their own filth..

Quote
When I first started a family, my job was in construction and it didn't pay enough to raise a family. I got a second job. What's so hard about that?

Thaaat the job market kerploded at the end of the last decade and has been struggling its way back ever since? Even safe jobs like Lawyer and Doctor have become a game of sunk costs once the pinata of falsehoods and Ponzi schemes cracked open.

'Get another job' isn't an answer when there are no other jobs and re-training costs more than the new job will ever earn. You might as well tell someone to find a wishing ring.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Evan of the R. on March 24, 2015, 01:33:12 AM
Same lame argument I've heard for twenty years now about any kind of job. McDonald's employees are complaining about not having a living wage.

I definitely agree with you that writers who want to earn more should "write more, write better, create better covers, and write better blurbs." However, I don't think that comparing indie writers to McDonald's employees is a good analogy. Here's why.

In 2013, McDonald's paid its CEO -- or rather, McDonald's CEO paid himself -- $9.5 million. Total compensation for the top 5 executives at McDonald's in that year was over $23 million. Just for the top 5 executives.

Meanwhile, most McDonald's workers earned the minimum wage: $7.25 per hour, or slightly more in some states. That would be less than $15,000 per year, if those employees were full-time (but of course, many of those employees are not ever allowed to get full-time hours). So you're talking about most people at a company getting $10,000 per year, while a few people at that same company are getting $3,000,000 or $4,000,000 per year.

These facts about compensation for executives and for the lowest employees at McDonald's are not unrelated. Executives at McDonald's are able to pay themselves more because the workers on the ground at McDonald's are earning the least amount possible.

That's why this is a bad analogy for indie writers. McDonald's employees have a legitimate argument for an increased wage in regards to executive compensation. But indie writers are in a completely different situation. Indie writers are definitely not losing money because the CEO of their company paid himself $9.5 million, and gave his four closest work buddies another $13 million.

If they're losing money, indie writers are losing money because they haven't come up with the right combination of book, blurb, cover and -- let's face it -- luck. If we want to succeed, we have to try again. Try harder. Make it better. Fail better. Keep on going. And if we keep going, if we finally get it right, we know we have a decent shot at success.

Unfortunately, we can't say the same about the average minimum-wage worker at McDonald's. Make the very best Big Mac or Quarter Pounder you can, every time, and you're still going to earn the same amount: the minimum possible.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: ' on March 24, 2015, 02:54:46 AM
... but McDonald's has 1.7 million employees. 23 million/1.7 million = $13.5. An extra $13.5 increase in annual salary is 5c per working day.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Vaalingrade on March 24, 2015, 03:22:23 AM
There are tons of jobs, it's just that many people would rather try to be celebrities or go massively into debt grabbing a liberal arts degree than harvest wine grapes in stifling heat or hang drywall for 12 hours a day.

...which would require moving 2000 miles and still not getting paid enough for your kid not to starve.

Also, yeah deal working conditions and unreasonable hours for a poor wage are totally the solution. We're a hundred years from the days of chopping kids up in looms and burning women alive in locked factories, but for some reason people are desperate to get back to that lovely status quo.

'Get a job' will only become valid once 'jobs' start paying well and stop being hilariously exploitative. Wages are so poor right now that they're literally the reason the fed doesn't raise rates.

It's 2015. We're living in a sci-fi future and really ought to be able to do better than 'slowly kill yourself to barely survive'.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 24, 2015, 03:45:07 AM
Let's keep the focus on the writers' plight, OK?

Betsy
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Flay Otters on March 24, 2015, 07:18:59 AM
'Get a job' will only become valid once 'jobs' start paying well and stop being hilariously exploitative. Wages are so poor right now that they're literally the reason the fed doesn't raise rates.

Here's the thing.
Once traditional protections for American workers were removed (in order to enrich the business owners), we were competing with the cheapest workers in the world.
That's why almost everything is produced in China (or other Asian countries, or Mexico).
In order to be profitable, a business must pay only what it can afford to its workers.
That's why you can buy a computer for a couple of hundred bucks and then go online to complain that American workers aren't getting paid enough.
That's why there is such a bipartisan rush to admit as many low wage immigrants as possible (from illegals to H1Bs), to keep production here, and wages low, and profits high.

Another poster has perfectly articulated the fallacy of executive overcompensation (although sumptuary laws would go a long way to mitigating that issue).

As authors we are not in that position.
We are not competing with Chinese peasants who just moved to the city to work in a widget plant, or Mexican immigrants who just indentured themselves to be smuggled across the border.
There are only so many educated English speakers with the requisite creative skills to go around.
However, we run up against the demand side of the equation.
People don't read so much any more. Certainly not enough to make us all as rich as we all feel we should be.

But writing is a lot more fun than most other kinds of work, certainly most minimum wage jobs.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: RomanceAuthor on March 24, 2015, 07:40:41 AM
Nothing against anyone, but the "if you want to make money don't become a writer, do something else" is a mindset I've never understood. Being a professional writer can be like a career, or like having your own business. If you have a solid strategy in place and execute it to perfection, it has the same chance to succeed like any other venture. I don't know why this myth of the "starving writer" is being so readily accepted by writers.

People make money off books, and it should NOT be viewed as something shameful if someone writes with the intention to make a living off it. Books are a business. Publishers make money off them. Libraries do. Bookstores do. Literary agencies do. Marketing agencies do. Why shouldn't writers?

This is why I think it's important to know from the very start what your goal is. If you want it to be a hobby then go ahead and "write what you want".
If you want it to be a business, study the market, find your place in it, develop a strategy and execute it.

It will have the same rate of success any other business does.

Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: MyraScott on March 24, 2015, 07:46:05 AM
If you want it to be a business, study the market, find your place in it, develop a strategy and execute it.

It will have the same rate of success any other business does.

And millions of businesses fail every year too. Hence the "not everyone can make money at writing."

You can open a pizza place, but if you fail to find enough customers who buy your pizza, you won't make money.  You can paint fine art or murals on children's room ceilings and if you can't find enough customers, you won't make money.  Any business that relies on you to find your customer base (instead of being given a check for hours worked) is dependent on the work you do to make it succeed.

The OP's original request was along the line of, "I've followed all the rules, where's my money?"
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Evan of the R. on March 24, 2015, 07:46:30 AM
... but McDonald's has 1.7 million employees. 23 million/1.7 million = $13.5. An extra $13.5 increase in annual salary is 5c per working day.

Like I said, this is not the "same lame argument." It's a very different situation.

(To clarify, the argument is not that higher compensation for regular McDonald's employees should come out of that $23 million paid to those 5 highly paid executives, or even other executive compensation. As Bloomberg has pointed out, McDonald's spent $14,286 *per restaurant worker* on share repurchases and dividends last year. That $14,286 *per restaurant worker* could have covered a raise of a few dollars per hour for every minimum-wage employee — and still paid for lots of share repurchases and dividends.)

As writers, we are a very different case. I'm with Wayne on writing more, writing better, and putting out the best product you can. And if it's not working, you can try something else until it does work.

Is KDP chump change for chumps? No way. There are a lot of people making a living via self-publishing. It can definitely work as a business.

The thing is that a lot of how much we earn on KDP (and elsewhere) is really up to us and our own efforts. That's why our situation is not akin to McDonald's employees, and our complaints, grievances and options are very different from theirs.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Joe Vasicek on March 24, 2015, 08:33:25 AM
I count at least four times this thread has jumped the shark. Now, all we need to round it out is an argument about healthcare, or how the EU is within 12 to 36 months of complete collapse.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Jim Johnson on March 24, 2015, 08:35:16 AM
I count at least four times this thread has jumped the shark. Now, all we need to round it out is an argument about healthcare, or how the EU is within 12 to 36 months of complete collapse.

There's the fifth. I'm impressed that this thread hasn't been locked down and left for dead.
Title: Re: Is KDP Chump Change for Chumps?
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on March 24, 2015, 08:40:10 AM
Well, we tried--there were parts of it that were very, very good....

I suppose it is time.

Locking thread so we can all move on.  Anyone who wants to make a compelling argument, PM me.

Betsy