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Messages - PaulineMRoss

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This is it. They don't want readers to find you organically. You have to pay to play.

Yeah, but the worst of it is, for me as a reader, the sponsored books are mostly things I'm not interested in, outside my genre, so no, I'm not going to buy anything from those suggestions. The also-boughts were (mostly) relevant; the sponsored ads aren't.

It sounds to me as if you've given those four books every opportunity to shine, and they're acting like sulky teenagers - don't wanna, can't make me, so there! Really, you done everything that's recommended, and if it's not working, it's maybe time to let those go. Most of us have books that just didn't do the business, for whatever reason.

Your fifth book is a different genre, so if it were me, I'd focus my attention on that. All writing is good practice for the day you release your 6th or 10th or 15th book, and holy moly! It just takes off. So don't sweat it.

-you need to keep the publishing pace up to keep the earnings flowing. Basically, if you drop three books at once, then you drop another a month later, you're kind of locking yourself into fairly quick releases, at least for the near future. Like anything longer than once every two months for the next year is probably a no go. And you're probably building a fan base - at least partially - who like/expect super quick releases. If those dry up, they might not stick around.

This is a key point that tends to be forgotten. People focus all their efforts on the quick-release and don't think about what comes after. When those books are out in the world, what then? Another long gap while you stockpile the next trilogy (or whatever)? Or a shorter gap, just until the next book is out? And how quickly can you write and release anyway? Ultimately, any long-term strategy has to be based on the speed with which you can produce the next book for your growing fanbase. I've never troubled the bestseller lists for more than five minutes myself, but I imagine it must be hugely frustrating to have a wildly successful quick-release series and then see that success dribble away to nothing while you scramble to get another book out.

So I would say that a quick-release strategy is great to launch a new author/pen name/genre/long series, but ultimately I think it's better to aim for a steady release schedule that builds more slowly but surely.

Writers' Cafe / Re: My KU page reads have died. How about yours?
« on: Yesterday at 02:41:47 AM »
My e-ink kindle isn't backlit at all. It basically looks like the page of a book (which to me is the appeal of having an e-reader at all, otherwise I'd just read on my phone/tablet). I assume it's not producing any blue light.

Apologies for taking the conversation further off track!

Still off-track, because this needs clarifying: the original Kindle isn't lit at all, it needs an external light source to read by. The latest models are side-lit with white LEDs, and therefore emit some blue light, but far less than you get from any kind of regular screen. The light level can also be adjusted however you want, to minimise the light emitted.

There's a very famous study that purports to show that e-readers disturb sleep far more than reading a paper book, but the test used an iPad at full brightness for 4 hours, so yes, duh, naturally that had an effect on sleep. But dedicated e-ink readers are far, far less likely to do this. That includes the Kindle models as well as the Kobo.

OK, back to your scheduled thread topic. ;D

Congratulations, Pauline! You have worked hard, and have excellent books. You deserve this.

Thank you!

Did it have an effect on the new book you said you had coming out?

It did, in that I had my highest ever pre-order numbers on that book, by quite a margin. Also, the additional mailing list signups undoubtedly made the mailouts more effective (although I didn't track that particularly). And revenue was tasty, too.  ;D It was a good release, definitely.

I like the idea of a payment cap better than a page cap. You can still write long but most people who do aren't pricing that much more. I'm happy to take the money, but I never understood paying authors more than what they would make based on how they priced their books.

I like this idea, too, but it makes my head spin trying to marry the price-per-unit of a sale with the price-per-page of a borrowed book, especially when the price-per-page is only worked out weeks after it's registered. Not to mention that half the books in KU would be priced at 99.99.  :D So I don't think this one will fly.

I only know what I saw....and I didn't see posted anywhere that she had been contacted privately, that wasn't in the OPs post. 

That's presumably because those who contacted Marie privately are keeping those conversations private, as they should. Sometimes what we see going on in public is just the tip of the iceberg. It's hard to judge a case where we don't know the full story.

Writers' Cafe / Re: My KU page reads have died. How about yours?
« on: June 21, 2018, 05:28:03 AM »
What is a "wire connecting" device?

It was a verb, not a noun: 'wire-connecting devices' ie connecting devices by means of a wire. Side-loading. :D

Millions of people use Calibre if the company's claims are real. I use it as does everyone I know. It is useful for many reasons, nit just "stealing" page reads from KU.

Sure. But the point here is evaluating just how many of them are using it to steal page reads from KU.

Writers' Cafe / Re: My KU page reads have died. How about yours?
« on: June 21, 2018, 04:30:29 AM »
I have no idea what the real numbers are re people switching, but I am seeing and hearing about it in a lot of places. Mostly High School and University campuses.  It's not at all technical. If they can use Calibre, it is just a matter of adding a plugin. Your Grandma could probably do it.

LOL. Um, no. The vast majority of people are not that tech-savvy, beyond being able to access Facebook on their phones and order stuff online. Getting special software and downloading plugins and wire-connecting devices is more than they want to do. I used to do all this stuff myself when I first got my Kindle, so I'd have backups of my books if ever Amazon went belly-up, but it soon got tedious.

Anything that makes life more convenient for people (like reading in page flip mode) I can see being used quite a bit, but anything that's awkward or time-consuming or requires special equipment is going to be the province only of a select few. In my view, anyway. Not to mention the illegality of it, which might put one or two people off, one hopes.

So (dragging the thread back on topic) I can see this technique being used by a certain number of people, but I remain unconvinced that it's enough to cause a noticeable drop in overall pages read.

Writers' Cafe / Re: My KU page reads have died. How about yours?
« on: June 21, 2018, 03:39:57 AM »
There is one other reason that no one seems to consider. A tremendous number of people have switched from Kindle to Kobo purely for the ComfortLight night reading mode. There have been a lot of articles about the damage to health that using screens with high Blue Light levels create. Causes insomnia in many people . I use a phone with Night Shift for reading in the hours preceding bedtime. It made a huge difference in to my previous insomnia.

I always understood that e-ink screens, as on standard Kindle devices, is already low on blue light and therefore easier on the eyes than reading on a phone, tablet or PC. I use f.lux to adjust the light levels on my PC, but I use a Kindle Voyage for reading.

Not sure about 'tremendous numbers' switching to Kobo. The method you describe is pretty technical. Amazon and Kindle were both built on the principle of removing the customer from the technology as far as is humanly possible, hence one-click everything. Most people seem to prefer that to side-loading and un-DRM-ing.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Quick question re: Freebooksy
« on: June 20, 2018, 01:31:50 PM »
Does anyone know if Freebooksy has a length requirement? I haven't been able to find that info on their site. I have a serial set to run every week this summer. Each episode is about 10-12,000 words. A few weeks in, I want to make the first episode free for a few days but I'm concerned that the length will be an issue.

From the Freebooksy page for picking a date:

Is My Book Eligible?

    Your book must be over 50 pages in length.

You're probably right on the edge.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Great Reviewers
« on: June 20, 2018, 01:27:57 PM »
Paying for reviews is a direct violation of Amazon's TOS AND a host of federal laws.

That site is so slimy I feel like I need to take a shower now.

By the gods, they even sell packages to guarantee a specific number of sales.

Dancing Squirrel said these were for editorial reviews, which are traditionally paid for (Kirkus, etc). Customer reviews shouldn't be paid for, of course.

As for the rest, caveat emptor.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Do you have a favorite book you've written?
« on: June 20, 2018, 10:42:47 AM »
My favourite book is always the most recent. I'd like to think it's because it's the best because I'm slowly getting better, but probably it's only because it's the one I'm fully immersed in. The earlier ones drift away from you rather, like balloons. Although I confess that (as someone else said upthread), when I have to look stuff up in an older book, I invariably end up rereading quite a chunk.

In a bit of Zonish weirdness however, Amazon still have not raised my US price up to 3.99 on Blade's Edge and instead have it stuck at 0.99 (albeit with me getting 70% instead of 35%). I am somewhat mystified as to why they are doing this, but as they are paying me at the 70% royalty I can only assume it's intentional on their part rather than a glitch, and if it means that they are pushing Blade's Edge at all, then I will take it. I don't mind seeing it continue in the top 50 of its best categories every day, and if the sell through to book 2 continues it'll pay off eventually. Maybe.

Are they price matching with some obscure wide site that hasn't yet updated its price?

Congrats on the ongoing tail!

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why are Boxed Sets/Bundles/Etc Allowed In Select?
« on: June 19, 2018, 03:27:05 AM »
On a practical level , as pertains to the dynamics of KU page reads, is there a difference between stuffing and a box set, aside from labelling?

Yes. A box set is a collection of books connected in some way, either by being books x-y in a series, or by theme, like a Christmas collection, or some such. They also usually have a 3D cover, and are clearly labelled as a box set. Stuffing and bundles include unrelated, or very loosely related, material, and tend to look like a single title. The looser the connection, the more likely the extra material is just there as a KU money-making exercise.

I still don't understand the fairness of box sets on KU. For standalone sales, they are fair, because every author sets their own price, and they will usually adjust it according to the marketplace. But in KU, there is a shared marketplace -- this is why book stuffers are criticized. They are 'gaming the system'. If they were stuffing standalone books, they would be gaming nothing.

A conventional box set, that is, a collection of several books in a series, is usually offered when sales of the individual books have dropped, to rejuvenate the series by appealing to a different customer, the casual value-oriented reader. It's targeting a different market, and it's obvious to the reader that there are two different ways to buy the same books, so there's less double-dipping.

But I agree with you in principle. A box set, where all the individial books are available in KU already, has no value in KU for the reader. The only benefit is to the author. And I like your description of KU as a shared market-place - sums it up very well.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Going wide [UPDATED: FIRST FIVE MONTHS]
« on: June 16, 2018, 01:12:08 PM »
Have your Amazon sales increased as your books dropped out of Select? I've always been curious whether KU subscribers still actually buy books, or do they only borrow them?

When I first dropped out of KU, there was a mini-surge of sales, as (presumably) people who were working slowly through the series in KU found they had to buy the next book in sequence instead. But that didn't last long and Amazon sales have dropped off dramatically since then. But that was a series that had pretty well run out of steam anyway.

Interestingly, I'm in the very slow process of allowing my first Regency series to drop out of KU, and the box set was the first to drop. Already I've seen a modest uptick in sales.

Congratulations on the Bookbub (and the long tail for your regencies).   I think some people have mentioned having some really good results from int'nl Bookbubs, so I might be cautiously hopeful - or at least not too dismayed.

Thank you! Yes, I'm OK with the international Bookbub, but I have realistic expectations. Cautiously hopeful is a good way of expressing it!

Whoop! Congrats on the second BookBub! Even if it'll be tiny compared to the one in February, more BookBubs is always a good thing from what I can tell. And it should help with those pesky Google Play sales.

Hopefully, yes. This is a good way of forcing me to put in the work on the wide books, and get those Google Play keywords sorted out. I've been more focused on the (more profitable) Regencies in KU, but wide needs different marketing strategies, and I need to get on top of that. And yes, more Bookbubs is always a good thing!

Something "Select" should be, well select.

It's 'select' for authors, but for readers, it's 'unlimited'. Quantity not quality. Somewhat different emphasis.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Going wide [UPDATED: FIRST FIVE MONTHS]
« on: June 16, 2018, 07:42:54 AM »
I read your post mentioning your poor Google Play downloads, so I checked you out on Play.  Looks like you don't have your keywords in your description, and you have only one genre picked (I usually go with at least ten).  Adding those should help with visibility problems (YMMV).

Yeah, I really should get round to adding the keywords (you're not the first to point that out to me!). I didn't know about the ten genres - must look into that. Thanks.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Going wide [UPDATED: FIRST FIVE MONTHS]
« on: June 16, 2018, 06:16:24 AM »
Five month update...

The miracle finally happened - I got a Bookbub for the epic fantasy box set. It's 99c and international only, and the average result is 520 sales, which will just about cover the $188 cost. There are six other books for sell-through and I'm happy to be boosting my non-US markets, which are likely to be more stable than the US one, but still... I'm just a tad underwhelmed. So a small yay.

Trouble is, I had such a phenomenally successful Bookbub in February on the KU Regency box set, and the last vestiges of the tail are STILL visible from that, and I just can't see this one doing even a tenth as well. Still, a Bookbub is a Bookbub, and I don't want to sound ungrateful, just a bit pessimistic about the outcome.

In other news, May was my best month yet in non-Amazon retailers. I actually made more elsewhere than at Amazon, particularly at Kobo. I had an Editor's Pick promo at the end of April, and that had a nice effect. Apple and B&N are still spotty, but I got a bunch of sales from Overdrive, which astonished me. Still a big fat nothing from Google Play. June is shaping up to be a quiet month (translation: low sales). But July brings that Bookbub, so we'll see how that goes.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Why are Boxed Sets/Bundles/Etc Allowed In Select?
« on: June 16, 2018, 03:48:07 AM »
I hate to say it, but on a practical level, I really see little difference between one author stuffing and another having a box set on KU.

The difference is that one is obviously a specific set of books, and the other is an unnamed and usually unrelated collection of books. A box set usually has a 3D cover and a title something like: The Thingy Series Books 1-3. A potential reader can look at the author's page and see instantly that the books are available separately or as a box set, and can make an informed choice. I find that once there's a box set out, sales/borrows of the individual books drop off, so there's no double dipping.

A bundle has a title like: The Billionaire's Baby (A Romance Collection) and there's no way to know, without reading the small print in the blurb or the look inside, what other books are included. Plus the headline book is usually a new release. It's a completely different approach.

Having said that, I'd be happy to see all box sets and bundles out of KU. There's really no need for them (for the reader, that is).

Writers' Cafe / Re: KDP insinuates that Amazon ads are manipulative?
« on: June 14, 2018, 03:09:56 PM »
I just went and removed all my books from KU. I'm done with this crap. They removed 100% of my reads, which were small potatoes anyway. I've been battling medical issues and haven't done any marketing at all.

So sorry, Judy. It's a bummer. I have no idea what's going on, but it makes no sense at all to me. I haven't been hit (yet) but I've speeded up my planned process of going wide as a result of it. I don't want to be part of any arrangement where half (or all!) of my money earned can be taken away without explanation or appeal.

I hope the medical issues improve soon.

Writers' Cafe / Re: NOT a poll :)
« on: June 14, 2018, 01:29:07 AM »
Now I want to go watch it again.  :D

Writers' Cafe / Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
« on: June 08, 2018, 07:50:13 AM »
I'm curious as to what was the infraction that pushed Amazon to shut him down. I know RWA's message makes it seem like it's the bonus books, but I'm doubtful of that since it's a new rule and he was making changes there. I'd think that would be a roll back of reads at most, currently. I'm leaning towards the publicity behind his illegal lottery, since that breaks laws outside of just Amazon's TOS.

My guess is that it has to do with training his fans to page through his books while doing other things, to artificially increase his page-reads tally. Amazon takes a dim view of fake page reads.

Because nobody pays attention to this:

This made me laugh so hard! Thank you!   :D

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