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Messages - writerbiter

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Writers' Cafe / Why are Boxed Sets/Bundles/Etc Allowed In Select?
« on: June 15, 2018, 12:10:26 PM »
Given the issues lately surrounding book stuffing, why doesn't Amazon forbid boxed sets/bundles/compilations/etc from entering Select?

New releases are now prohibited from "Stuffing" by Amazon's new terms/guidelines, but the bundles allow authors to "double dip" from the store. Eliminate boxed sets in Select, and Amazon eliminates the rampant page inflation and ensures the All-Star Bonuses are awarded to authors with the most widely read catalog, not the most content under their name.

Bundles have always been used as a traditional benefit to the readers, not a money-making scheme for the authors. If the books are already in Select and free to borrow, then nothing is lost for the author.

Removing bundles from Select seems an easy solution that works in conjunction with Amazon's new guidelines.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 02, 2018, 10:56:30 AM »
This does nothing.

For Example:

Baby Bump - The Accidental Baby Collection #2

Featuring the never-before-released story, Baby Bump!

***

There. Now it's a bundle. And, not only that, because it's a bundle and NOT a "New Title" it doesn't need to follow the rules for a regular book--especially in regards to WHERE the new content is placed. That "never before released" book will be in the back, preceded by Baby On The Way, An Accidental Baby, Whoops-My Boss's Baby, and Where'd I Put My Baby?

Theoretically, people could stuff 10 books into this file, put the new content in the back, and then earn all the pages from everyone scrolling past the stuff they've already read--and it won't be against the guidelines.

This changes nothing--just legitimizes what's already plaguing the store. 

3
This change would hardly impact a 300-400 page paperback novel. Boxed sets seem to be the sticking point, but that's a separate argument. The individual books are still for sale. They can be linked from the first book in the series or used how they've traditionally been used in the past--as a bargain for the readers and a bit of a loss for the authors in exchange for visibility.

As it stands now, you seem to believe that brand new, never before published books should suffer in a broken system to protect the profits of a combined set of books stuffed with previously published material...

Doesn't seem very fair to those "short-form" writers who aren't in a genre which allows for boxed sets. Seems like you're stepping on the rest of us to protect boxed sets.

4
I'm sure you will forgive those who would be harmed by your proposal to expect something more solid than that before we bow out of the conversation. "I know a guy who knows a guy who said..." isn't data.

I think we're done here, in any case. Amazon isn't going to do this. There isn't enough public support for the idea, there is plenty of opposition, even here on Kboards, and the outcry from those who lose income on this - epic writers and legitimate box set sellers as well - would be way more of a firestorm than any publicly traded company would want to deal with. B&N and the rest would be rubbing their hands with glee if Amazon did this. Ain't gonna happen.

Somebody get the lights.

What EXACTLY do you want? Private IMs I've exchanged with people? Private chats with other writers who have discussed this issue? I can't give you names, I can't give you the KDP charts, I can't even give you titles.

The people doing this have spent more money than you will likely make. Do you want to see my FB account with hundreds of thousands I've spent in advertising to compete with these people? So much of what I've said has been publicly discussed on various writing forums and Facebook. Take a peek at DD. Check out a couple romance groups. You'll see the problem, and then I won't get railroaded out of this particular board for witch hunting.

The cap is the problem. Do not be surprised if it gets lowered. You may see opposition here, but you don't see the 50+ top charting, All-Star winning, lettered authors who have also emailed and spoken to their personal Amazon reps about this. Will it be put into effect? Who knows. But I would suggest you talk a peek around the store, check out the top 100, and see what's really happening.

You might lose a couple cents per read-through if the cap is lowered. There are award winning, Top 100, USA Today/NYTimes authors who are losing tens of thousands of dollars every month. The bonus threshold for the All-Stars has been so inflated it is nearly impossible for a new release with only one 80k book to get a bonus, even if it hits Top 10. Authors who have hit the Top 30 aren't even making the $500 bonus. We aren't talking people who are selling a couple copies here or there, or even a couple hundred copies. Authors who sell THOUSANDS of copies of their book are getting hit hardest by these publishers, and, believe me, they're already heading for other genres. Do not be surprised if in half a year's time, epic fantasy gets crowded with those who would exploit the system currently protecting your novel.

Also, B&N and Apple couldn't care less. Like it or not, all of our eggs are in Amazon's basket now. I'd just like to make sure those exploiting the system don't scramble them.

5
How can you know this? Not meaning to sound abrasive, honest, just not sure how else to word that question. I just don't know how you could possibly have such insight into those business models, their expenses, margins, etc. There's not enough publicly available information to derive those numbers with any degree of accuracy. If you have specific data on this, please share it. That would add a great deal to the conversation. But if you don't have direct access to that data, I think it is harmful to imply that your numbers are accurate, and assumptions should be drawn from them.

While the romance community is large, the cliques are very small. Most top 100 authors know each other in some shape or form. We know all the tricks, and everyone talks.

6

I think - and if this logic is erroneous, please correct me - if Bookstuffing Outfit, LLC is used to earning $300k/mo, they are going to keep trying to earn $300k/mo, and that could only mean more titles and more ads, exacerbating the problem. Maybe their margins get cut by 50% - OK, great. Then they need to publish 6x as many titles to keep the same income coming in. The folks who are hoping this would be some kind of magic bullet would not get the benefit they are hoping for, I don't think.

While I understand your concerns about fantasy, Limiting the cap would absolutely stop those exploiting the system.

These publishers literally spend $2k a day in ads to hit the top 100. The only reason they can do that is because they earn so much with their 3000 KNEP books--at least 2 a month per pen name, now approaching 3-4 a month. This is not an exaggeration.

However, they are not making much money.  They're just making enough that the system is profitable for them. A book might earn $60k in a month, but they might spend upwards of 75% of those earnings in ads, marketing, and their system of ghostwriters/personal assistants. If we limit the amount they can make per book, they will have less money to use for advertising. They will not be able to launch multiple books. They will not have a sustainable moneymaking scheme anymore. They will stop publishing and move on to the next black hat career.

They aren't writers. They aren't even editing the books. Readers can absolutely abandon author if they feel the quality is poor. That's why these publishers rotate multiple pen names.They know how long a pen name can last, how may books they can write, and when to jump ship. They are doing it for the love of literature. They aren't even doing it because they like it. There's money involved. Lots of it.

Right now, Amazon has made it exceedingly easy to exploit the program for their benefit. If we can make it less profitable and harder for them to do the same thing they're doing now, they will leave the program. Everybody benefits. The page rate will not be influenced by an inflated amount of pages read per month. The bonuses will once again be awarded to the authors who deserve them for high ranking, best-selling books. And it will stop these people before they infiltrate other genres.

Romance is dead. It's completely saturated, and even traditional publishing has stopped taking a number of submissions. Agents and editors cannot sell romance anymore. It's only a matter of time before those who are exploiting romance begin saturating your genre. All it takes is a handful of ghostwriters and the opportunity to earn a ridiculous amount of money on an exploited system. Lowering the cap is one of the easiest ways for Amazon to stop this from happening. It's not entirely fair, but it is the best we can hope for.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 16, 2018, 12:31:36 PM »
Ok serious question, if Amazon is completely fine with bonus content then why would they support a lower cap?

The one topic that really struck the rep I talked to was the integrity of the All-Star Bonuses. He said the team was concerned that the bonuses would not be awarded to the authors who deserved it based on the merit of their brand/book. Lowering the cap would ensure the authors who don't stuff and yet hit the top 10 are still awarded the rightful bonuses for a best-seller. It fixes the spirit of the program, and that something the project managers wanted to address.

They recognize there's a problem with the program, but because Amazon is a customer driven company, the bonus books have never bothered their customers. There's no incentive to fix that aspect of the KU. However, by demonstrating the millions of dollars they're losing a month in bonuses and pages, lowering the cap--like they did before--is an easy solution to an ugly problem. It doesn't impact the customers, but it will satisfy most authors with the least amount of effort/money/etc.

8
I think we need a stricter cap. I know it might impact some boxed sets and obscenely long books, but I'm willing to sacrifice my own boxed sets if it means protecting rest of the store.

It's not like the fantasy writers wouldn't get paid at all. In fact, writing a 5 book, 100k a pop epic fantasy saga that hooks people through the entirety of the series with advertising, freebies, reader interaction/reader groups, social media/mailing list signups, and the bump from new releases seems like it would do a hell of a lot better than a single door-stopper that is published and immediately falls victim to the algo three months after publishing and fades to obscurity. But that's just what I've seen around the store with the higher ranking/KU all-star authors.

Anyway, something needs to be done. And since Amazon is unlikely to simply eliminate bonus material, this is a possible solution.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:38:24 AM »
Here's where the program stands:

Amazon has absolutely no problem with bonus material. This has been verified through Amazon reps--reps that I've personally spoken with on the phone and reps who work with other authors.

We can scream, shout, petition, and demand all we want, but the fact remains--Amazon will not eliminate bonus material. Ever. It is not a priority for them as customers do not complain about bonus material.

Asking for Amazon to police the bonus content is great--but it will never be implemented.  We need to think of alternative solutions to solve the problem.

So what is the problem?

1) Click-Farmers: Click-Farmers will create bogus material and scan it for profit. However, Amazon DOES audit their reads at the end of every month--it's why some bonuses are awarded late. Presumably, they have a process in place in which they can identify click-farmed reads already. The onus is on Amazon to detect their own fraud, and authors can help by reporting any of those questionable books we find.

However...

2) There is a larger segment of the KU monthly pot that is consumed by authors (primarily in romance) who publish 3-4 ghostwritten books a month (under one pen name--though some have more), stuff every book to the 3k limit, drive down the price-per-page of the overall community, and steal the bonuses which SHOULD go to authors with bestselling books, not just a pen name with a vast volume of material.

So what can be done?

Let's stop wishing for Amazon to end bonus content. It won't happen. It's time to start planning alternative solutions to the program.

Lowering the cap is ONE solution which would immediately resolve a vast amount of exploitation in the program--and it is one Amazon has already done in the past. Yes, it might hurt the occasional fantasy writer who has extraordinarily long books. It may also harm those who are republishing older material (which is individually available in the store) into boxed sets. However, as MOST writers publishing in the program have written books well under the proposed 1000 KNEP cap, it seems as though it would be a net benefit for the program.

If people are opposed to the lower cap--please, propose a solution that does not involve any additional manpower, programming, or investment on Amazon's part. We're desperate for a change, and, if we highlight the problems with the program, it might resonate.

If not, email Amazon and support the idea. I've had 50-60 Top 100/Lettered authors already contact Amazon in support of the idea. More voices can only help.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 16, 2018, 11:19:27 AM »
In terms of manpower to check on reported books, I really don't think the number is going to be all that significant. Once the new rule is announced, give authors 30 days to bring their books into compliance, and then start checking books which are reported after the 30 days is up. You could probably have a single full-time staffer handling the job, and one person could probably deal with 100 books a day. Just boot offending books from the store and send a form email to the author/publisher telling them to bring the book into compliance or else. In fact, being Amazon and the heavy-hammer type, just suspend ALL their books until fixed.

Easy fix. Store would probably be clean of stuffed books in a month. And let's be honest, doing it would probably cost less staff hours than they spend now dealing with angry authors.

Amazon will NOT hire a person for this job. It won't happen.

It's corporate culture is entirely too toxic, driven on results for LESS money and LESS manpower.
 
http://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-warehouse-workers-have-to-pee-into-bottles-2018-4?r=UK&IR=T

Assume they will NOT: Hire more people, Hire programmers to change the system, Fundamental alter the program in an significant way which requires human oversight.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 03:48:06 PM »

If your objective is to ONLY punish the wrongdoers, to the benefit of the community at large, I assume, then, that you would be open to carving out an exception for writers of legitimate epics, yes? Your answer to that question will expose your motive.

I can't help but shake my head at how folks don't see how this wouldn't work at all, and would probably screw things up even worse. Do any of you guys use AMS? You know how it works, right? The more titles being advertised, the more expensive the bids become. When these stuffers/scammers start chopping their books into 1k chunks, you're gonna have a problem FAR worse than what you have now. Yeah, they will lose some margins, and they'll still print money. Your stuff will become INVISIBLE. Fine, forget whether it's fair or not, or whether it will severely harm good, honest people - clearly, many of the people in this thread don't care a whit about harming other authors, so long as they benefit - at least use common sense. It's a bad idea that won't work, and could make things a hell of a lot more awful.

Expose my motive? I'm not deliberately proposing a solution to the rampant exploitation of the Kindle Unlimited program by targeting epic fantasy writers.

But to answer your question--no. I would not ask Amazon to make exceptions for fantasy as they wouldn't do it. The more cravats we put on a proposed solution, the less likely they'd be to institute it.

I apologize if this isn't what you wanted to hear. You're free to disagree. But there's a problem with the store now, and demanding Amazon eliminate the bonus books as a whole is not working. We need a different plan of attack, and some innocent writers will be swept up in the fallout. I am sorry about that, but limiting the cap would be a net benefit to the majority of writers in the program.

And, if we limit the amount of pages these people can earn per file, we will dramatically reduce their advertising budgets. Yes, I use AMS ads. And yes, I'm seeing the costs creep higher and higher. What used to be a $.15 click is now $1.50. The ones grossly exploiting the system have moved half of their advertising to AMS ads and are spending $5 or $6 a click. The longer we allow those who exploit to profit from this system, the higher those ad costs will become.

They cannot launch double or triple the amount of books per month on a third of their income. The worst offenders would be dramatically limited in what they could do with any new release.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 15, 2018, 07:29:53 AM »
Unfortunately, you cannot simply limit the romance cap. Those exploiting the system will simply re-categorize their books. It's happening already. Look at Urban Fiction, Westerns, Vigilante Justice, etc. Romance is already creeping into other genres because it's easier to hit the top 100 subcat. And if a limit would be implemented strictly on romance, these authors will attempt the same strategy in other genres. Fantasy and sci-fi, thrillers, inspirational etc. It won't stop the root of the problem -- an exploit, not the behavior of individual publishers.

Remember, they are not writers. They don't care about the stories, the characters, or building a brand. They do this for the money, and they will do whatever it takes to earn more, including exploiting a system in place that a majority of writers do not abuse.

The program needs to be altered, and it's long overdue.

You also cannot rely on the community to police and review books for 10% or more bonus content. The review does not stop with the authors monitoring the store. A complaint will need to be read and verified by an Amazon representative. This would require more and more manpower, and Amazon is not a company that hires additional people to do these jobs. They demand automation. That's just how Bezos works. It's obvious the KDP department is tremendously understaffed already. Adding an additional workload for actual, warm-blooded reviewers will never happen. It's an expense, and they will not spend any additional money or sacrifice any additional staff.

On that note, any sort of plagiarism software is unlikely to be implemented. Thousands of books are published every day. Amazon cannot devote the resources to running a plagiarism checker on every one of them, especially as a plagiarism checker presupposes they have a scannable database somewhere where they can check for published material. Again, you're asking for more manpower, more programming, more delays, and more hands-on treatment of the program at least in the beginning to solve the problem. Assuming there's a technological solution to the problem without considering the processing power/server power such a review process would require is not thinking like Amazon--they want to do the most they can for the least amount of manpower, programming, and effort.

So, we have to meet them in the middle. Even further than the middle. And while a lower cap might harm a very select minority of writers who are writing longer books, they are a small minority. The overwhelming majority of writers in the program write books that are smaller than two hundred thousand words (1000 KNEP). And while I'm seeing complaints from writers who utilize box sets, this change does not impact your individual books. You would still be able to publish your titles with no change whatsoever.

If we want to improve the program, we need to think about the majority of authors were utilizing it. And the majority of authors are writing single title books, not box sets, that are under two hundred thousand words. If the change benefits 99% of the writers using the program, is it fair to make exceptions for a minority of writers knowing that it causes a massive exploit which detrimentally impacts the program for everyone?

No, it isn't fair. But neither is what these publishing houses are doing to the entire store.

Remember, there are two problems plaguing the store at the moment. Click farmers and publishing powerhouses who are exploiting the page system. The publishers are not only seizing a larger share of the monthly pot, there also taking the All-Star Bonuses. Unfortunately, the bonuses are no longer awarded to the authors who have a best-selling book. They rewarded to those ghostwritten publishers who have the largest quantity in the store. This flies against the spirit of the program and is detrimental to many authors who should rightly be awarded the bonuses. They are seizing a large share of the monthly pot, they are driving prices down, and the longer Amazon allows this to happen, the more they will exploit the system.

As an example, last month, twelve of these authors reached the Top 100 in a single weekend. That's not unusual. They usually release together, coordinating their tropes as well as their covers images and fonts and colors. Each of these authors included 6 to 12 bonus novels, as close to the three thousand page cap as they could get. At that point, the Top 100 was no longer the 100 best-selling books. It became the top 200 (or worse). This happens twice a month, and, judging by their new publishing schedules, it will soon happen once a week.

They exploit the system, and they are rewarded for it because Amazon does not believe bonus books constitute a detrimental experience for the readers. There is no cause for them to change anything about the bonus books or stuffing as the readers do not complain.

Therefore, we need to address the problem differently, in a way that Amazon can and will implement. Lowering the cap is an easy and free solution for Amazon. If earnings are reduced, those exploiting the system will not be able to launch as effectively. (Or at all.) And while the fear may be that those simply release more books, they cannot launch double or triple the amount of books on one third of the earnings. Not when they are spending thousands upon thousands of dollars a day with each new release. They will not be able to profit. They will stop and move on to the next moneymaking scheme which may or may not be on Amazon (Ebay, Etsy, etc).

Unfortunately, I don't have a petition. The representative I spoke with asked for individual authors to email their thoughts to the department directly:

KDP-CRS <at> amazon.com


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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 14, 2018, 07:09:29 AM »
Are you kidding me? First of all, what makes you think they're advertising their books? They don't give a fig about ranking or advertising. They'd rather fly under the radar anyway. They stuff a bunch of meaningless pages into a book and then they have their click farms read through the book and they get paid. They don't want a whole lot of human eyes looking between their covers.

And second, I doubt they have a large number of ghostwriters or large companies. Most of their "books" are plagiarized works from other authors. The last time I went looking for these thieves I found a whole raft of books filled with bits and pieces of Wizard of Oz books and some out of print Russian novels. It doesn't take an army of ghost writers to create these books. I could create a dozen of them in an hour if I wanted to.

Your "solution" does nothing to fix the problem. It just makes the scammers rework their methods and continue exactly as before.

You're seeing only half of the problem.

Look at the top 100. Look in romance. Over half of the romance books in the top 100 are produced this way. They're publishers, not authors. Their romances hit the top 100 with 8-11 books stuffed into the back. They publish 2-4 books a month, just in romance--and now they're targetting other genres as well.

Amazon will remove the Wizard of Ozes and out-of-print novels when they're reported. But the romances are legitimate to them, and those are the ones adding millions upon millions of pages to the pot every month. The top KU bonus threshold has moved from 12 million page reads to over 20 million page reads because of them--romance authors consistently hitting the top 100 with 3000 KNEP files.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 13, 2018, 05:18:30 PM »
So what stops the stuffers from simply publishing three "books" at 1000KENP instead of one at 3000KENP? It's slightly more inconvenient for them, but they know how to game the system. They'll do the same thing. Hurting legitimate authors is not the answer.

As someone mentioned above, there are plagiarism checkers you can work with. If a book isn't explicitly stated to be a box set (which I still believe is considered okay) and it contains huge chunks of other books, then the program will see that and Amazon can respond accordingly.

Justifying hurting some authors because more authors are getting hurt in a different genre is not the answer. It's nothing more than a temporary band aid and fails to address the root of the problem. If it were an actual, viable solution, I'd deal with it. But it won't work.

Those who are stuffing their books to the 3000 limit are using their earnings to advertise heavily. THOUSANDS of dollars a day in ads. They aren't profiting much--75% or more goes to their ads, their ghostwriters, their full-time staff, and their covers. Cutting the KNEP will reduce their earnings by a third. They won't be able to publish and effectively launch double or triple the amount of books with one third of their "normal" earnings. It just won't work.

Amazon is not going to devote their servers to plagiarism checkers for the hundreds of thousands of books published on their site. It isn't feasible. They won't dedicate the time or processing power to it. We can't ask them to change their fundamental system--it's not important enough to them as the customers have no issue with bonus content. But limiting the cap IS something they've done before which requires no more effort, manpower, or processing power, and it will NOT impact customer experience which is all Amazon cares about

Also, epic fantasy may have SOME authors with 200k+ word epics, but they are an exception and a very large minority. A very, very small percent of authors write a single title book that large. You--they--are outliers, and a cutoff has to be made somewhere. Some innocent people will get caught, but the overall experience for EVERY author in the KU will be better as the page inflation is already cutting into YOUR earnings since those exploiting the system are taking larger amounts of the pot.

15
Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 13, 2018, 01:07:54 PM »
It might be more efficient to restrict bonus content to ten or twenty percent of the total file size. Enforcement could be as easy as hanging a threat over stuffer's heads that any book found in violation would be blocked until it was in compliance.

Unfortunately, that requires readers or other authors policing the store, and then it would require customer service agents on Amazon's side to verify the complaint. This adds MORE manpower to the equation, and Amazon is not a company that likes to hire MORE workers when it could simply automate a solution. Limiting the total amount of pages per file would reduce the amount of exploitative stuffing--and, when those publishers realize they aren't making the thousands of dollars required for them to publish their books and push the new releases to the top 100, they'd be forced out of the program. They won't be able to launch double or triple the amount of books on one third of their normal earnings.

This is the easiest way to make a change. Amazon won't hire people, reprogram the KU, review individual files more closely, or monitor for only original content. We have to make it easy on them. They've already lowered the cap once before. We'd be asking for them to do it again.

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Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 13, 2018, 01:02:20 PM »
Doesn't this mean George RR Martin would have to split his book in half to be in KU? 

Seems like a better idea would be to not allow content that's already been published.  Maybe a 10% cap on any previous material...just as there's a 10% cap in having anything outside of KDP available to the public?

At the current cap, even Martin's LONGEST book wouldn't fill the 3000 KNEP. He'd be lucky to reach 2/3rds of the limit. He could stuff a Game of Thrones (292k) and Clash of Kings (318k) into a single file if he wished.

And yes, after the change, he would have to cut his books in half. Then again, he needs special considerations from TOR/their printers in order to even print a paperback that large. He is an exception, not the rule. Especially as most agents/editors advice fantasy writers to aim for 80k-110k words, 150k words max.

How many KU authors out there legitimately have a 200k+ single title book--not a boxed series, a single story. It is an incredibly small number. We shouldn't make exceptions for a tiny percentage of writers while the community at large is suffering as a result of the exploits.

17
Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 13, 2018, 10:38:51 AM »
I don't agree with this. I have a book that's roughly 250,000 words (about 1,350 KENPC if I recall) and another that's roughly 200,000 (about 1,100 KENPC). They are box sets for the complete 'seasons' for a serial I wrote, neither of which contain any stuffed material, bonus material, etc., just the story itself.

While I agree with the sentiment behind your proposal (stopping the scammers), I don't think a blanket solution like this that penalizes authors who write legitimate books (that happen to be long) is the answer.

Unfortunately, lowering the cap would harm a small section of authors who write tremendously large books. However, in this instance, it would improve the store/economy for 99% of other authors out there. Very, very few authors write 200k+ books. Even yours is a boxed set. You could easily create two volumes for your set and still attract readers.

While you are not exploiting the system, but many other authors are, and their actions are reducing the amount of money your large box set would make. This change would greatly improve the KU for many many authors out there, and would protect the authors who can't or aren't able to create boxed sets like your series. Non-fiction authors. Women's fiction. Thrillers. Etc.

18
Writers' Cafe / Re: Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 13, 2018, 10:27:55 AM »
Spitballing here, but dropping the cap isn't really the issue is it? It's stopping the stuffers. What's to stop a scammer from releasing a ton of 1000 page books rather than slightly fewer 3000 page books?  And would a glut of 1000 page books in the market potentially harm writers who write really long books and might end up close to that cap even tho they might be entirely honest writers and not scamming?

The worst offenders, those who are exploiting the system, are spending a majority of their earnings on advertising--$1500-$2000 or more a day between Facebook and AMS ads. Probably more in certain special circumstances. They're able to do this because they have huge advertising budgets, a whole company based on hiring full-time salaried PAs, and a cadre of ghostwriters at their disposal. They're spending tremendous amounts of money to make very little, but they are making some profits, which encourages the behavior.

If they wish to publish more books, that's fine. They'll need to release double or triple the amount of books on a budget that is one third of their original earnings. It will be impossible for them to profit with this new system. 

Amazon is unlikely to change their policy on bonus content, so we need to meet them in the middle with a proposal that is easy for them to implement and returns the spirit of the program to the KU. This will limit bonus content and make it more difficult for those who take advantage of the system to reach the rankings which offer them the visibility to continue with their particular business plan.

19
Writers' Cafe / Lowering the KNEP Cap from 3000 to 1000 Pages
« on: April 13, 2018, 09:20:35 AM »
I propose we contact Amazon and ask to lower the current KNEP cap from 3000 pages to 1000 pages.

Asking Amazon to police their entire store for "stuffed" content is silly and ineffective. If the customers don't mind having bonus material, Amazon won't disrupt their experience. However, if they lower the KNEP cap for payable material, the customers can still read their bonus material, but the exploitation of the KU system will be resolved and the monthly page inflation slow.

Plus--Amazon has already lowered the cap once before. This is an easy, effective, and fair solution, and one Amazon is equipped to implement immediately. 

On average, each KNEP page equates to 150-200 words per page. At the current 3000 KNEP cap, this means a file could contain upwards of 600,000 words. This is an obscene amount of words--far longer than any novel. Even the largest George RR Martin novel is only 2/3 of that cap.

Lowering the cap to 1000 will mean a file could contain upwards of 200,000 words, which could still allow for even the largest scifi/fantasy novels. However, it will dramatically lower the amount of money potentially made from those who would exploit the pages-read system--limiting earnings from $14 per entire file to $4 per file.

This solution requires no additional programming, manpower, or oversight from Amazon. It is an easy fix that will slow the rampant page stuffing which exploits a loophole in the pages read system.  It will ensure that All-Star Bonuses will once again go to the books that earned the most reads, not the authors publishing vast amounts of ghostwritten material with the most pages included in the file. The rampant page inflation will slow, resulting in greater payouts per page. And it will also deter some of the unseen scammers who are clickfarming and boosting books in lower ranks to steal from the system.

I've already spoken with an Amazon rep on the phone regarding this issue. While he could offer me no guarantees, he directed me to have anyone in favor of this change to email KDP at:

KDP-CRS <at> amazon.com

Numerous authors have already emailed their support--mostly top 100 romance authors. If authors from other genres also email in--especially genres which do not traditionally "stuff" their new releases--it will help to demonstrate the seriousness of this particular program exploitation. 

I firmly believe Amazon does not understand the exploitation of their systems or how large a 3000 KNEP file truly is. If authors share their experiences, concerns, and common word counts and KNEP pages for their single-title files, the representatives will understand the importance of this issue.

20
Writers' Cafe / AMS Rejections - Nips or Abs?
« on: April 04, 2018, 07:20:19 AM »
Amazon/AMS is on a prudish streak again. The usual KU/$.99 romance Male-Chest cover is now getting rejected once again for AMS ads. Sexually suggestive poses.

I just want to save us all some time. Is it the six pack or the nipples that auto-rejects us? Last time it was the nip-slip. This time it might be the whole package. Does anyone know?

21
Writers' Cafe / Re: Why many self-published books aren't selling on Amazon
« on: September 01, 2015, 04:40:11 PM »
There are no "settings" in the KDP dashboard unless you're talking specifically keywords or categories, and, if that's the case, there's already dozens of theories, tips, and tricks listed.

In the meantime, you admitted the problem yourself. You're a reader. Why would you tell a board full of writers a "Secret" to success. If a bad book somehow makes it to the top because of a secret trick and you tell everyone, more terrible material will rise. Amazon already suffers from a deluge of terrible books with decent rankings due to other scammy methods. We don't more of it.

Tell your friend congratulations and be done with it.

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