Author Topic: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon  (Read 2210 times)  

Offline Jonathan C. Gillespie

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Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
« on: February 28, 2018, 02:17:37 pm »
Look, Amazon folks. I know you read this board. Help me help you sell more books. Figured I'd post here since this is so author-centered, as folks might have different ideas...

1) Merge your control panels for adds, books, and author page maintenance into one dashboard and URL.
2) PLEASE fix the description control interface. Stop changes made to descriptions in Authors Central from being overwritten by the originally-created description over in KDP when someone changes something as simple as pricing in kdp. If I add a line break, please stop making me guess if it will show up or not in the description preview. I'm good with HTML; my background is in IT. PLEASE either make the WYSIWYG editor 100% reliable, or make the HTML editor 100% reliable. I shouldn't have to spend this much time making simple changes. Do you know when I get ready to make a change to a title in KDP I have to make a backup of my Author Central-based book description?
3) Please fix AMS reporting data. People have written books, excellent books, about how to compile AMS add reporting data so that trends become more easily accessible. That's been the biggest surprise I've had as I've begun learning about that add system. Are you sure you want metrics that obscured? I don't know how the other outlets, such as Facebook, record metrics, but I think you guys can probably do better.

Just some suggestions.


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    Offline ilamont

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #1 on: February 28, 2018, 02:37:22 pm »
    On point #3, the ACoS metric is very misleading and should be replaced by Average Cost of Net (publisher's net revenue, or amount remitted to publisher).

    I actually think we will see lots of changes to AMS in the next three years, as this is a big growth area for Amazon and growth areas is where they like to focus their software development efforts.

    I'm less hopeful that Amazon will spend much time fixing some of the other issues you highlighted. Looking at the universe of outdated Amazon interfaces, Createspace, Amazon Advantage, and some lesser-known marketing tools like A+ detail pages are way behind the times yet Amazon seems satisfied to keep them rolling along as is, as they can still perform their designated tasks.   

    Offline TromboneAl

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #2 on: February 28, 2018, 02:56:23 pm »
    2) PLEASE fix the description control interface. Stop changes made to descriptions in Authors Central from being overwritten by the originally-created description over in KDP when someone changes something as simple as pricing in kdp. If I add a line break, please stop making me guess if it will show up or not in the description preview. I'm good with HTML; my background is in IT. PLEASE either make the WYSIWYG editor 100% reliable, or make the HTML editor 100% reliable. I shouldn't have to spend this much time making simple changes. Do you know when I get ready to make a change to a title in KDP I have to make a backup of my Author Central-based book description?

    This is so important. Amazon's stupidity here is mind-numbing (and it's been like this for years). I've been bitten by their non-standard HTML, and I often see screwed-up descriptions for others' books.

    The problem is that Amazon can't just go to standard HTML without breaking millions of descriptions.

    But, there's an easy solution to this:

    1. Amazon makes up a tag like <UsesStandardHTML>
    2. If that tag is present in the text, then the description will use standard HTML, not the silly version that Amazon has.
    3. Users can then use any WYSIWYG HTML editor to format their descriptions.
     
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    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #3 on: February 28, 2018, 04:37:09 pm »
    My biggest gripe comes at the end of every month, when I have to spend quite a bit of time trying to identify what payment came from where. When you have sales in all stores, it becomes difficult to figure out which one was from where. An absolute must is a current currency converter. Even then, some are less than a dollar apart in revenue. Most are easy to recognize, but a lot of them are "best guess."
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    Offline Cheyanne

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #4 on: February 28, 2018, 04:56:40 pm »
    I wish you could update the price without having to resubmit the entire book. It's already approved and we're not changing anything internal, so it shouldn't have to go through any review.



    This!

    Also YES to the HTML editor. I just fought with it for 15 minutes trying to get simple line breaks and I know HTML very well.

    I'd give just about anything to have Amazon finally disable page flip or either start paying us for pages read in that mode.

    A "nice to have" feature would be knowing how many individual people borrowed our book from KU. Updating the price easily without resubmitting the book. If Amazon's dashboard worked like Bookreport so I don't have to pay an extra $19 a month now to get an estimate of my daily earnings.

    Offline CassieL

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #5 on: February 28, 2018, 05:28:12 pm »
    My biggest gripe comes at the end of every month, when I have to spend quite a bit of time trying to identify what payment came from where. When you have sales in all stores, it becomes difficult to figure out which one was from where. An absolute must is a current currency converter. Even then, some are less than a dollar apart in revenue. Most are easy to recognize, but a lot of them are "best guess."


    If you wait (I don't know how long it takes) the Payments section under the Reports portion of your KDP dashboard will show the final payment amount for each market. (Right now I'm only seeing India for December, but all of November are there. (I use Yahoo.com to convert the amounts on the day I get paid and I can usually figure it out that way, but some are within a few cents of each other.)

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    Offline going going gone

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #6 on: February 28, 2018, 05:43:46 pm »
    Agree with northstar! I often change the product description 2-3 times in pre-order. And I have to wait for the whole dang thing to process every time. Sigh.Let me change one little thing like that without it being a six click process.
    « Last Edit: September 19, 2018, 12:31:27 pm by s/he who always had this avatar »
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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #7 on: March 01, 2018, 12:51:16 am »
    If you wait (I don't know how long it takes) the Payments section under the Reports portion of your KDP dashboard will show the final payment amount for each market. (Right now I'm only seeing India for December, but all of November are there. (I use Yahoo.com to convert the amounts on the day I get paid and I can usually figure it out that way, but some are within a few cents of each other.)

    I know it's usually there by the fifth of the month, because that's when I do my accounts. I always use that page of the dashboard for reference, and match the numbers there up with what it says on my bank statement.

    Offline kathrynoh

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #8 on: March 01, 2018, 01:45:20 am »
    I'd really like them to not fill my book pages with advertising for other people's books but I figure that's not going to happen.

    Offline Doglover

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #9 on: March 01, 2018, 02:00:39 am »
    My biggest gripe comes at the end of every month, when I have to spend quite a bit of time trying to identify what payment came from where. When you have sales in all stores, it becomes difficult to figure out which one was from where. An absolute must is a current currency converter. Even then, some are less than a dollar apart in revenue. Most are easy to recognize, but a lot of them are "best guess."

    I don't have a problem with that one. I sell so little in all the other stores, that I know the highest amount comes from the .com store, the other high one from the .uk store and the others aren't worth worrying about.  8)

    I wish you could update the price without having to resubmit the entire book. It's already approved and we're not changing anything internal, so it shouldn't have to go through any review.


    You can. If you only go to the edit price section, you just have to change your price and click on publish.
    Look, Amazon folks. I know you read this board. Help me help you sell more books. Figured I'd post here since this is so author-centered, as folks might have different ideas...

    1) Merge your control panels for adds, books, and author page maintenance into one dashboard and URL.
    2) PLEASE fix the description control interface. Stop changes made to descriptions in Authors Central from being overwritten by the originally-created description over in KDP when someone changes something as simple as pricing in kdp. If I add a line break, please stop making me guess if it will show up or not in the description preview. I'm good with HTML; my background is in IT. PLEASE either make the WYSIWYG editor 100% reliable, or make the HTML editor 100% reliable. I shouldn't have to spend this much time making simple changes. Do you know when I get ready to make a change to a title in KDP I have to make a backup of my Author Central-based book description?
    3) Please fix AMS reporting data. People have written books, excellent books, about how to compile AMS add reporting data so that trends become more easily accessible. That's been the biggest surprise I've had as I've begun learning about that add system. Are you sure you want metrics that obscured? I don't know how the other outlets, such as Facebook, record metrics, but I think you guys can probably do better.

    Just some suggestions.
    I can see where all these things might help you (I mean individual you, not general you) but I can see nothing that will help Amazon sell more books. Personally, I don't want anything else cluttering up my dashboard and I've never had a problem with the description. However, I think Amazon are doing very nicely on their own. :)


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    Offline H.C.

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #10 on: March 01, 2018, 05:59:05 am »
    Does the richest man in the world who has increased his company's value tremendously really need so much advice (and snark) from the likes of self-published authors on HIS platform? :o

    Offline notjohn

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #11 on: March 01, 2018, 06:12:28 am »
    And my suggestion (to author-publishers, not to Amazon) is to retire forever the creepy non-abbreviation. It takes six characters to write the Zon. It takes six characters to write Amazon. What's the point?

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #12 on: March 01, 2018, 07:02:14 am »
    My biggest gripe comes at the end of every month, when I have to spend quite a bit of time trying to identify what payment came from where. When you have sales in all stores, it becomes difficult to figure out which one was from where. An absolute must is a current currency converter. Even then, some are less than a dollar apart in revenue. Most are easy to recognize, but a lot of them are "best guess."

    cosign.

    I'm always best-guessing which country I just got paid from.

    Offline Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #13 on: March 01, 2018, 07:25:02 am »
    And my suggestion (to author-publishers, not to Amazon) is to retire forever the creepy non-abbreviation. It takes six characters to write the Zon. It takes six characters to write Amazon. What's the point?



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    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #14 on: March 01, 2018, 08:46:03 am »
    • Make book subcategories much more granular, so that readers can drill down to exactly the type of books they want.
    • Limit all publishers to two subcategories only, so that if they miscategorize their books, they'll be missing their best opportunity to connect with readers who are really looking for what they're selling.
    • Make all category choices direct and intentional, rather than relying on keywords.
    • Institute an "adult products shown/not shown" search toggle and get rid of the dungeon.
    • Query copyright and check for plagiarism the first time a book is submitted for publication. If it passes muster, don't check again unless the book file has been significantly altered.
    • Hire more people at KDP who are trained well and then granted autonomy as thinkers and decision-makers, rather than relying on employees who are only permitted to send canned responses.
    • Put human eyes on each book briefly before publication, with a goal of catching scammers.
    « Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 01:31:24 pm by Becca Mills »

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    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #15 on: March 01, 2018, 08:48:46 am »
    And my suggestion (to author-publishers, not to Amazon) is to retire forever the creepy non-abbreviation. It takes six characters to write the Zon. It takes six characters to write Amazon. What's the point?

    Silliness helps us deal with a massive, unresponsive entity that holds our lives in its hands and makes us feel powerless.

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    Offline Wayne Stinnett

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #16 on: March 01, 2018, 09:42:32 am »
    If you wait (I don't know how long it takes) the Payments section under the Reports portion of your KDP dashboard will show the final payment amount for each market. (Right now I'm only seeing India for December, but all of November are there. (I use Yahoo.com to convert the amounts on the day I get paid and I can usually figure it out that way, but some are within a few cents of each other.)

    Yes, but it's sometimes a week later. When the line item appears on my bank dashboard, I want to be able to see at a glance where it came from. These numbers go into my bank ledger for balancing the accounts, before distributions are made. Right now, I use the KDP spreadsheet, adding a column to change each currency to dollars, to be able to identify the deposits that way. But, the exchange rate can fluctuate between when the report comes out on the 15th, and the payments are made two weeks later.
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    Offline TromboneAl

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #17 on: March 01, 2018, 09:51:53 am »
    Yes. And it's quicker to say world wide web than w w w.

    Right. They chose the only letter with more than one syllable. But at least people rarely say "W W W" anymore. Remember at the beginning, when it was always included? I remember an announcement over the PA at an air show: "And please visit us at H T T P COLON SLASH SLASH W W W DOT ..."
     
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    Offline Jonathan C. Gillespie

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #18 on: March 01, 2018, 10:08:50 am »
    Does the richest man in the world who has increased his company's value tremendously really need so much advice (and snark) from the likes of self-published authors on HIS platform? :o

    Bezos got where he is by being forward thinking and embracing innovation. Making the company insular and monolithic, as you seem to suggest he should, doesn't seem to be a viable long-term strategy.


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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #19 on: March 01, 2018, 10:31:33 am »
    And my suggestion (to author-publishers, not to Amazon) is to retire forever the creepy non-abbreviation. It takes six characters to write the Zon. It takes six characters to write Amazon. What's the point?
    Kneel before General Zon!

    I really need to put this on an appropriate pic of Bezos and use it for my profile picture...

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #20 on: March 01, 2018, 10:40:47 am »
    Bezos got where he is by being forward thinking and embracing innovation. Making the company insular and monolithic, as you seem to suggest he should, doesn't seem to be a viable long-term strategy.

    I suggested nothing of the sort.

    Nice strawman attack. ???

    Offline Jonathan C. Gillespie

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #21 on: March 01, 2018, 01:21:37 pm »
    You suggested he really shouldn't trouble himself with the "likes of self-published authors" on "HIS Platform". Seems a suggestion that he should be insular in his approach on these matters, and since it's his company it makes sense that the company culture would follow suit. At least that's how I read it. I'm not strawmanning you.
    « Last Edit: March 01, 2018, 01:23:15 pm by Jonathan C. Gillespie »


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    Offline CassieL

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #22 on: March 01, 2018, 01:36:32 pm »
    Yes, but it's sometimes a week later. When the line item appears on my bank dashboard, I want to be able to see at a glance where it came from. These numbers go into my bank ledger for balancing the accounts, before distributions are made. Right now, I use the KDP spreadsheet, adding a column to change each currency to dollars, to be able to identify the deposits that way. But, the exchange rate can fluctuate between when the report comes out on the 15th, and the payments are made two weeks later.

    Fair enough. What I do is on the 15th when the report comes out I record the total amount for each country in that country's currency on my budget spreadsheet where I track outstanding payments and then the day the payment hits I convert it to USD and match up the values.

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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #23 on: March 01, 2018, 01:44:41 pm »
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    Re: Public suggestions for the almighty 'Zon
    « Reply #24 on: March 01, 2018, 01:52:37 pm »
    And my suggestion (to author-publishers, not to Amazon) is to retire forever the creepy non-abbreviation. It takes six characters to write the Zon. It takes six characters to write Amazon. What's the point?

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