Author Topic: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD  (Read 9563 times)  

Offline Seneca42

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Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
« Reply #50 on: March 18, 2018, 11:23:55 am »
A lot of it is dependent on your genre and your audience within that genre. I've chosen to go with KU because a lot of the authors who are doing well in epic fantasy are in KU. It seems to be a thriving market for fantasy.

What do you mean by doing well? You mean ranked high? Because that doesn't mean they are doing well (or as well as they appear to be doing). That's the whole point of KU, it makes books that aren't best sellers look like they are because of the borrow bump. Toss in .0046 KENP rates and the author you think has tens of thousands of readers and is making six figures may not be doing anything even close to that. All you need is a really catchy cover to generate a lot of borrows... they quit reading after the first chapter, but you'll still get your rank bump as though you made a sale (spend yourself into oblivion with AMS and you can keep up the illusion that you're moving tens of thousands of books when you really aren't). 

Meanwhile, direct books further down the ranks that you don't even see, and by association might think are doing poorly, may be killing it. Aside from higher royalty payments, you aren't seeing all the sales on other sites that are generating money. Not to mention people are genuinely buying and reading their work (not just skimming because of a flashy cover).

I have no idea how anyone assesses what "doing well" is if a book is in KU given the program is based entirely on smoke and mirrors. Unless these authors are showing you their bank account, it's impossible to accurately correlate rank to any kind of readership base or actualized earnings. I suppose you could use reviews as a gauge of reader engagement, but they are gamed worse than anything else on the store (you see so many top selling indies rack up 100 reviews in the first few weeks and then BAM, the reviews just stop and they are lucky if they get 10 more over the next year... so all you are really seeing is their street team padding the reviews upon launch).
 
Even the authors who brag about how much they make in KU almost always fail to mention what percentage of their income is coming from the bonuses. Strip away those bonuses and they aren't doing anywhere near as well as people think they are.

All to say I have no idea how you assessed wide versus KU and accurately determined that your genre does better in KU than wide. 

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    Offline dgcasey

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #51 on: March 18, 2018, 11:34:11 am »
    Even the authors who brag about how much they make in KU almost always fail to mention what percentage of their income is coming from the bonuses. Strip away those bonuses and they aren't doing anywhere near as well as people think they are.

    I'm really not sure how you can make an assessment like that. If a person did well enough to get a bonus, then even without the bonus they would be doing very well. If they achieved the bonus level with the widely tossed out number of 4,000,000 page reads, that would equate to $18,400 a month just in KENP earnings alone. That would be almost a quarter of a million dollars a year. I don't know what you consider "doing well," but I think I could live on that amount.

    Offline Used To Be BH

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #52 on: March 18, 2018, 11:50:24 am »
    What do you mean by doing well? You mean ranked high? Because that doesn't mean they are doing well (or as well as they appear to be doing). That's the whole point of KU, it makes books that aren't best sellers look like they are because of the borrow bump. Toss in .0046 KENP rates and the author you think has tens of thousands of readers and is making six figures may not be doing anything even close to that. All you need is a really catchy cover to generate a lot of borrows... they quit reading after the first chapter, but you'll still get your rank bump as though you made a sale (spend yourself into oblivion with AMS and you can keep up the illusion that you're moving tens of thousands of books when you really aren't). 

    Meanwhile, direct books further down the ranks that you don't even see, and by association might think are doing poorly, may be killing it. Aside from higher royalty payments, you aren't seeing all the sales on other sites that are generating money. Not to mention people are genuinely buying and reading their work (not just skimming because of a flashy cover).

    I have no idea how anyone assesses what "doing well" is if a book is in KU given the program is based entirely on smoke and mirrors. Unless these authors are showing you their bank account, it's impossible to accurately correlate rank to any kind of readership base or actualized earnings. I suppose you could use reviews as a gauge of reader engagement, but they are gamed worse than anything else on the store (you see so many top selling indies rack up 100 reviews in the first few weeks and then BAM, the reviews just stop and they are lucky if they get 10 more over the next year... so all you are really seeing is their street team padding the reviews upon launch).
     
    Even the authors who brag about how much they make in KU almost always fail to mention what percentage of their income is coming from the bonuses. Strip away those bonuses and they aren't doing anywhere near as well as people think they are.

    All to say I have no idea how you assessed wide versus KU and accurately determined that your genre does better in KU than wide.
    The problem here, as with most of the conversations here on the forum, is that almost nobody has any data except their own. You make a good point that Ryan would need to see the bank accounts of KU authors to know how well they're doing--but the same is true for authors going wide. How many of their bank accounts have we seen? None. There's no hard data on either side. What anecdotal data there is remains contradictory.

    Can we tell whether someone ranking well is doing well financially? No, we can't. However, the fact that someone has a good rank hardly proves the person is doing poorly, either. We also don't know that KU readers are drawn based just on the cover and that the vast majority don't read very far in the books they borrow. We can't even tell that for ourselves because we see only the number of pages read, not the number of borrows. I will say, however, that, looking at the likely borrow impact on my ranking, and at the fact that most of my books have KU pages read that total roughly the same number of full reads as I likely have borrows. In other words, my KU readers don't seem to abandon the books without reading most or all of them. I have one book that appears to be cursed and is an exception to that rule, but otherwise the performance is pretty consistent. Does that mean everyone's is? Of course not. But it does mean that we can't assume it always isn't.


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    Online Usedtoposthere

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #53 on: March 18, 2018, 11:51:14 am »
    Ah, the "they're probably lying" argument. This is why I advise folks to do what works for YOU, and to pay attention to what works for other authors you know well. Once, early on, I got this "you're lying" deal from some people, one of whom is on this board. (I still get that, but at that point I was new and outraged.) It was the old "Never give a book away free that you can sell" deal, and I was trying to say that free had worked super well for me, trying to help with that concept in my naive ernestness. (This would have been autumn of 2013, when this was still a hot debate.) After some internal struggle, I posted a screenshot of my overall author rank on Amazon since the beginning (this was pre KU, so they couldn't make that argument)--and was told that I'd photoshopped it! (If you knew me, you'd know how ridiculous that is.) Nowadays, I'd be told that (a) my borrows weren't translating to page reads, and (b) I was probably spending 20K a month in advertising. If I posted my friggin' bank statement, I'd be told again that I somehow knew how to draw numbers in Photoshop. :) (I HAVE learned how to take screenshots AND to crop images, though!) I don't know what my motivation would be to lie about my anonymous self, but OK. Maybe I'm Walter Mitty. And anyway--I'm not YOU.

    My advice: experiment. Try some books in KU. Try wide. Try permafree. Try advertising. Try whatever else makes sense to you. Find out what works and do more of that. If something doesn't work, even if "everybody says" it's the key, or if you hate it, don't do it. Find the spot that works for, not just your genre, but your books. If possible, get to know some authors you trust to tell the truth, and find out what works for them.

    In my own author circle, people do well with all varieties of KU and wide, hybrid and indie, and all genres. (I don't know any pure trad authors much, because I haven't been around that long and don't go to conferences, and I think they tend to have their own circles.) However, I've seen plenty of evidence that different paths work to the point of "WOW" for different people.
    « Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 12:03:49 pm by Usedtoposthere »

    Offline Atlantisatheart

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #54 on: March 18, 2018, 12:28:04 pm »
    I'm really not sure how you can make an assessment like that. If a person did well enough to get a bonus, then even without the bonus they would be doing very well. If they achieved the bonus level with the widely tossed out number of 4,000,000 page reads, that would equate to $18,400 a month just in KENP earnings alone. That would be almost a quarter of a million dollars a year. I don't know what you consider "doing well," but I think I could live on that amount.

    You do have to take into account ads. I was actually quite shocked when an author I thought was killing it told me how much they spent on ads, between ams, facebook, and promos it knocked their 20k a month down to 8k, less than I was making with only 500 in ads.

    Why? Why put that kind of a spend into advertising? Surely by now, that author should have perma-readers who snapped their stuff up? 

    Offline Atlantisatheart

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #55 on: March 18, 2018, 12:36:47 pm »


    My advice: experiment. Try some books in KU. Try wide. Try permafree. Try advertising. Try whatever else makes sense to you. Find out what works and do more of that. If something doesn't work, even if "everybody says" it's the key, or if you hate it, don't do it. Find the spot that works for, not just your genre, but your books. If possible, get to know some authors you trust to tell the truth, and find out what works for them.


    Yep, when the landscape keeps changing the way it has over the last few years, we all need to evaluate the options on a regular basis, which brings me full circle to my first post on this thread.

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #56 on: March 18, 2018, 12:37:36 pm »
    The problem here, as with most of the conversations here on the forum, is that almost nobody has any data except their own. You make a good point that Ryan would need to see the bank accounts of KU authors to know how well they're doing--but the same is true for authors going wide. How many of their bank accounts have we seen? None. There's no hard data on either side. What anecdotal data there is remains contradictory.

    Direct is easy to figure out. We know on the direct side that x number of sales will generate roughly y rank. Take 70% of list price and you can pretty accurately figure out what an author is earning on any given day. If you tracked that rank for the year you'd be able to have a pretty good estimate. With no bonuses, there's also no "hidden" revenue.

    I'll toss this out to chew on as well. In the direct model even 99c is cost-prohibitive to game the system (as 35% return isn't worth it to the game the ranks with direct purchases). But in KU, it's actually worth it to game the direct sales ranking to generate 'verified purchased' reviews, since you're getting 70% of your 99c back. As the list cost goes up, it becomes less and less worth it to bother with buying your own book directly.

    Now, with the other retailers, since they don't have sub models that distort rankings you CAN trust the ranks. Sure, an author here or there might be super rich and buy a 1,000 copies of their own book at 35-45% royalty return, but they will be an outlier.

    Amazon intentionally manipulates their own ranks to drive authors into KU. That is pretty much a no brainer observation. And they do it so authors can appear wildly more successful than they really are.

    edit: the one exception to figuring out direct success is, as atlantis pointed out, the marketing spend. So you can't really know what an authors take home pay is, but you definitely can trust if they are high in the ranks that it's because people are buying their books.
    « Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 12:41:49 pm by Seneca42 »

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #57 on: March 18, 2018, 12:58:06 pm »
    I don't know what my motivation would be to lie about my anonymous self, but OK. Maybe I'm Walter Mitty. And anyway--I'm not YOU.


    Generally people lie for attention. Online or in real life, never underestimate people's desire to have everyone focus on them. 

    Offline Used To Be BH

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #58 on: March 18, 2018, 01:34:15 pm »
    Direct is easy to figure out. We know on the direct side that x number of sales will generate roughly y rank. Take 70% of list price and you can pretty accurately figure out what an author is earning on any given day. If you tracked that rank for the year you'd be able to have a pretty good estimate. With no bonuses, there's also no "hidden" revenue.

    I'll toss this out to chew on as well. In the direct model even 99c is cost-prohibitive to game the system (as 35% return isn't worth it to the game the ranks with direct purchases). But in KU, it's actually worth it to game the direct sales ranking to generate 'verified purchased' reviews, since you're getting 70% of your 99c back. As the list cost goes up, it becomes less and less worth it to bother with buying your own book directly.

    Now, with the other retailers, since they don't have sub models that distort rankings you CAN trust the ranks. Sure, an author here or there might be super rich and buy a 1,000 copies of their own book at 35-45% royalty return, but they will be an outlier.

    Amazon intentionally manipulates their own ranks to drive authors into KU. That is pretty much a no brainer observation. And they do it so authors can appear wildly more successful than they really are.

    edit: the one exception to figuring out direct success is, as atlantis pointed out, the marketing spend. So you can't really know what an authors take home pay is, but you definitely can trust if they are high in the ranks that it's because people are buying their books.
    The direct gross is easy to figure out is someone wanted to put the time into it, but without the net, and without the net for KU authors, the two paths can't really be compared. Just because someone is in KU doesn't tell you what percentage of their transactions are borrows. Any way you look at it, the problem is still the same--not enough data to draw firm conclusions. Authors can obviously draw conclusions about their situation, but about authors in general? Not a chance!

    When you say, "Amazon intentionally manipulates their own ranks to drive authors into KU," I assume you mean by counting a borrow as a sale. That may or may not have been Amazon's motivation. I can easily see someone assuming that rank should have some correlation with audience size, in which case it makes sense to equate a borrow and a sale. Sure, we don't know whether the borrowers read the books or not, but we don't really know that for sales, either. It is logical to assume that someone who spends money on something would be more likely to read it, but they might also return it if they didn't like it or get it buried on their tbr list and somehow never get to it. Regardless, does that ranking really drive authors into KU? If it was really a well-enough designed carrot to do that, then wouldn't that contradict your own argument that going wide is better financially? Some people do reports drops in Amazon sales after leaving KU, which would suggest the lower rank is leading to lower sales, but others have reported a steady flow, and others have even reported an increase. If you're right about Amazon's intent, it doesn't seem to have as if they've achieved the desired result.
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    Offline Amanda M. Lee

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #59 on: March 18, 2018, 01:39:34 pm »
    The KU argument is so old it's menopausal. If you don't want to be in KU, don't be in KU. If you want to be, go nuts. The reason these threads have died down is because most people have settled into their course of action. It doesn't matter if you're exclusive or wide. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you do what's best for you and don't purposely hurt others. Look around. It's the same people making the same arguments. What does it matter? I mean ... why do the same handful of people attack KU (and authors in KU) every month? If they're not in the program, why do they care?
    Numbers, numbers, numbers. Always demanding numbers and then calling you a liar when you supply them because it's not what they want to hear. People still talk numbers, they simply do it in much smaller and private communities where the attacks are kept to a minimum. This thread alone has seen attacks at every corner. Attacks on people and what they write. Attacks on people regarding who makes more. It simply doesn't matter.
    So, for those that desperately need them, here are your percentages:
    1. Audio is 6.66 percent of my net.
    2. My bonuses are about 7.3 percent.
    3. KU reads are 58.7 percent of my KDP number (which excludes ACX, bonuses, and paperbacks).
    4. My paperbacks are 1.3 percent of net.
    5. I spend 2 percent of my net on ads.
    There are your numbers. Go ahead and call me a liar ... and disparage what I write as trope-y nonsense ... and denigrate me however you want. The same people do it every month. It doesn't matter. Just be happy with yourself. That's the most important thing.

    Amanda M. Lee

    Offline KelliWolfe

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #60 on: March 18, 2018, 02:20:33 pm »
    When you say, "Amazon intentionally manipulates their own ranks to drive authors into KU," I assume you mean by counting a borrow as a sale. That may or may not have been Amazon's motivation. I can easily see someone assuming that rank should have some correlation with audience size, in which case it makes sense to equate a borrow and a sale. Sure, we don't know whether the borrowers read the books or not, but we don't really know that for sales, either. It is logical to assume that someone who spends money on something would be more likely to read it, but they might also return it if they didn't like it or get it buried on their tbr list and somehow never get to it. Regardless, does that ranking really drive authors into KU? If it was really a well-enough designed carrot to do that, then wouldn't that contradict your own argument that going wide is better financially? Some people do reports drops in Amazon sales after leaving KU, which would suggest the lower rank is leading to lower sales, but others have reported a steady flow, and others have even reported an increase. If you're right about Amazon's intent, it doesn't seem to have as if they've achieved the desired result.
    If anyone actually uses the Amazon website or their Kindle to buy books, they know that the importance of rank or "popularity" is being steadily eroded in favor of new releases and Amazon's recommendations. The last few website changes have buried the top lists and HRN lists so if you don't already know how to get to them, odds are you're not going to find them. Instead new releases and preorders have gained prominence.  You can't even sort search/browse results by rank or popularity anymore. "Featured," publication date, and most reviews are what you get, and "Featured" means whatever Amazon wants it to mean. While there is some correlation to rank, it isn't the same thing, and I haven't bothered spending the time cross-checking it against the top lists to see if it gives an extra boost to Select titles over non-Select ones.

    It's hard to really know what kind of impact rank has unless you know how people are buying your books. It makes a difference whether they buy on the web or on their Kindle/phone because the UIs are different and readers are presented with different choices. Do they browse by category or do they search? But overall given the newer interfaces, rank doesn't have nearly the potential to drive new sales that it used to.

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    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #61 on: March 18, 2018, 02:45:45 pm »
    Look, the doomsaying and complaining about KU really comes down to this question:  let's say you pull out and go wide and I stay in KU, and then the KUpocalypse happens as some posit.  I'm forced to take my books out of KU and have a few month climb to get anywhere near what I was before by going wide.  You, the one who pulled out early, lost your KU revenues at the beginning when you went wide, pre-KUpocalypse, before you were able to build traction wide.  I, the one who stayed in, lose my potential wide revenues for the months it takes me to build momentum and traction AFTER the collapse.

    So, the question is, WHY is it better to lose the money now than to lose it later?  Cause money's going to get lost no matter when it happens.  In my case, nearly two-thirds of my monthly income from writing would get lost until and unless I could build traction on other platforms.
    If you aren't making much money from KU currently, sure, it makes all the sense in the world to go wide, but this question isn't about that scenario.  It's about the people who were making good money on KU and pulled out, or the ones who say other people who are making good money on KU SHOULD pull out because "the END is near..."

    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #62 on: March 18, 2018, 03:27:39 pm »
    The danger of KU isn't that it will collapse and everyone will have to go wide. It's that it will succeed to the point of driving the competition out of business (or out of the indie book business at least) and Amazon will gain a monopoly on all indie book sales, at which point the terms/payout will change and things will become much, much worse for authors, when we all have to beg for scraps from Amazon's table.

    I really don't understand why some people aren't getting that.


    Because it's incredibly unlikely.  If things happened that way, another market would open up.  And markets will open up, even before then, and are opening up now.

    Quote

    You're also making the assumption that all authors will make a lot of money in KU and make no/much less money wide (when you speak of losing money going wide as if it's a hard, universal truth), which is not the case.

    No, actually I am not assuming that, which you'd see if you read the end of my post.

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #63 on: March 18, 2018, 03:28:37 pm »
    I really don't understand why some people aren't getting that.

    They 100% get it, they just enjoy arguing against it :P

    Even if you're making mad bank in KU, this only reflects a very obvious reality, which is:

    If the market is HUNGRY for your work, why are you taking pennies on the dollars through KU instead of selling direct? People making $100k in KU tout that as success, when in reality, they should be making $300-500k out of KU.

    So why are they giving away $200-400k or whatever the number is to be in KU? The answer? Forget about earning more direct, they can't even earn the $100k they are getting from KU.

    They know KU is bad for the overall market, but it's the ONLY market they are able to generate any traction in, so what choice do they have? They just aren't honest about this and act like KU is a choice they made, rather than the only choice they had.

    So we always come back to KU being a niche saturated sub model which requires authors to tailor their work to its audience and a slew of other strategies specific to KU. And that clashes with the wider market only in that Amazon has manipulated its ebook store to favor KU authors.

    But no one who could make a living direct would ever choose KU (unless they got a sweetheart deal where they were paid direct royalties for a borrow OR they are being subsidized to be in KU via all star bonuses). Otherwise, giving up 70% royalties on regularly priced book in favor of .0046 KENP makes no sense at all.



    Offline Used To Be BH

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #64 on: March 18, 2018, 03:48:06 pm »
    The danger of KU isn't that it will collapse and everyone will have to go wide. It's that it will succeed to the point of driving the competition out of business (or out of the indie book business at least) and Amazon will gain a monopoly on all indie book sales, at which point the terms/payout will change and things will become much, much worse for authors, when we all have to beg for scraps from Amazon's table.

    I really don't understand why some people aren't getting that.

    You're also making the assumption that all authors will make a lot of money in KU and make no/much less money wide (when you speak of losing money going wide as if it's a hard, universal truth), which is not the case.
    How exactly does Amazon drive anyone else out of the indie publishing business? By getting 100% of all indies into KU? It's hard to see that happening. People who are successful going wide are going to stay there. Some others will go wide because they're tired of the way Amazon runs KU. People who are wildly successful in KU will stay in KU, but they're there already, and their presence there hasn't driven anyone else out of business. Amazon will scoop up a certain number of newbies each month, but that isn't going to matter in the great scheme of things. Authors with significant sales matter, and it's clear they're divided between KU and wide--and likely to remain so.

    Aside from Barnes and Noble, which has been teetering for years, could Amazon drive any of the major competitors out of publishing, or even indie publishing? Not as long as they make money at it. Google, Apple, and Kobo (because it's owned by Rakuten) are all big enough to resist Amazon pressure. The best way to ensure Amazon doesn't dominate the market is not to get people freaked out about whether or not they're being in KU is going to cause the world to end. It's for Google, Apple, and Kobo to get serious about selling books, and indie books in particular. As long as they're content to stay minor players in that arena, Amazon is going to dominate it. 
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    Offline GeneDoucette

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #65 on: March 18, 2018, 03:53:58 pm »
    They're different markets, that's all. KU is one market, consisting of a dedicated pool of readers who (largely) won't read books that aren't in KU. The indie ebook market is a separate market. It's not Amazon-exclusive, and books in this market cater to readers who aren't in KU but are sensitive to prices as high as what the traditional publishers charge.

    (I would argue that the trad pub ebook market is a third market, but that's for another time.)

    It's possible to be successful catering to only one of these markets. It's also possible to be unsuccessful if you happen to write books that don't fit into the marketplace you're trying to sell in. My books never sold well in KU, so I stopped trying to sell in it. Other authors can't sell well outside of KU, so they stay in.

    It isn't much more complicated than that.

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #66 on: March 18, 2018, 03:56:29 pm »
    When you say, "Amazon intentionally manipulates their own ranks to drive authors into KU," I assume you mean by counting a borrow as a sale.

    That is what I mean. All KU is about (for amazon) is locking content to amazon's platform exclusively. Borrow bumps didn't used to be a part of KU, but I'm sure amazon quickly learned that authors are very psychologically addicted to their rank.

    KU is almost "gamified" if you will. It's set up a lot like a little video game. Write books faster, spend more on AMS, get rewards like rank bumps and bonuses. And just like games, you'll have a bunch of people botting and cheating.

    I think authors are way more addicted to watching their rank jump around than they acknowledge. In fact, I'd say it's probably the #1 driver for a lot of people being in KU. Not the big sellers (for them it's actual revenue), but the thousands of other authors. "OMG someone borrowed my book today! YES!". It really feeds their hope that maybe they'll make it one day. Whereas on the direct side, they go weeks with zero sales and it's demoralizing. Now, that borrow may never be read, but they love seeing that spike on their dashboard (edit: to be clear, from any ensuing pages read) and getting that bump in rank.

    Having been wide for a year now, I can honestly say I don't think I've checked my rank on any of my books now in seven months. I completely don't care in the least. The only thing I track is revenue/sales. But when I was in KU I was constantly checking out all those irrelevant stats, because it's set up to make you see publishing as a game of sorts.

    « Last Edit: March 18, 2018, 04:01:16 pm by Seneca42 »

    Offline Used To Be BH

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #67 on: March 18, 2018, 04:04:54 pm »
    They 100% get it, they just enjoy arguing against it :P

    Even if you're making mad bank in KU, this only reflects a very obvious reality, which is:

    If the market is HUNGRY for your work, why are you taking pennies on the dollars through KU instead of selling direct? People making $100k in KU tout that as success, when in reality, they should be making $300-500k out of KU.

    So why are they giving away $200-400k or whatever the number is to be in KU? The answer? Forget about earning more direct, they can't even earn the $100k they are getting from KU.

    They know KU is bad for the overall market, but it's the ONLY market they are able to generate any traction in, so what choice do they have? They just aren't honest about this and act like KU is a choice they made, rather than the only choice they had.

    So we always come back to KU being a niche saturated sub model which requires authors to tailor their work to its audience and a slew of other strategies specific to KU. And that clashes with the wider market only in that Amazon has manipulated its ebook store to favor KU authors.

    But no one who could make a living direct would ever choose KU (unless they got a sweetheart deal where they were paid direct royalties for a borrow OR they are being subsidized to be in KU via all star bonuses). Otherwise, giving up 70% royalties on regularly priced book in favor of .0046 KENP makes no sense at all.
    Again, you're assuming a lot of things you don't really have any data for. You could be right. You could be wrong. At best, there's no way of telling.

    The idea that KU is only pennies on the dollar compared to what someone could get from sales is based on assumptions about pricing and about the length of the book. I actually get more for a full read than for a sale in some cases. Yes, I could price those longer books higher, but in my experience, higher price points result in fewer sales. That's not a universal truth by any means, but neither one of us has the data to either prove its a widespread phenomenon or not.

    You're also assuming that borrows are lost sales. If, as many people seem to think, KU is a separate market, then that may not be the case at all. When I started KU, my sales weren't cannibalized. In fact, they went up--and I got KU payouts on top of them. Again, I know authors have widely different experiences in this regard, but there is not enough data to determine which experience is more typical.

    For writers who find they don't lose sales in KU, the simple question is, do they make more in KU than they do wide? That answer will vary. Again, there is no global data that demonstrates what the average author experience is, and even if there were, an average is just that. There will be people above and below. I think there is enough anecdotal data to conclude that at least some people don't lose sales by being in KU. How many is anybody's guess.

    Ironically, I'm actually in the process of putting some of my works wide. I don't have any strong feelings either way. I'm just mystified by why people are so determined to push a particular narrative based on unproven (and given the lack of data availability, unprovable) assumptions. There's nothing wrong with sharing your opinion and your own experience. That's what makes Kboards valuable. However, stating your own opinion as fact isn't as beneficial.

    Sure, Amazon has serious flaws. KU has serious flaws. About that, I think there's little disagreement. However, people have significantly different experiences with it, and there's really not enough data to generalize in a meaningful way.
    I have not consented to the new Terms of Service, which were implemented without any announcement and without the ability to accept or reject them. My continued participation on the forum is related only to addressing this issue and cannot be construed as implied consent.  9/19/2018

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #68 on: March 18, 2018, 04:15:00 pm »
    The idea that KU is only pennies on the dollar compared to what someone could get from sales is based on assumptions about pricing and about the length of the book. I actually get more for a full read than for a sale in some cases.

    Bill, this makes my very point. The fact this can happen is so very very wrong.  Think on it and you'll eventually realize just how messed up what you just said is (not in that it's wrong as a fact, but that it's happening in the ebook market).


    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #69 on: March 18, 2018, 04:18:59 pm »
    Opportunity cost. The Now Option provides greater control of the transition, minimizing the impact of opportunity costs. When writers are collectively forced out, for whatever reason...it's going to be chaos. The future is unpredictable. For example, what if, when that apocalyptic day comes, Nook and Kobo have pulled a Google Play, and stopped taking new authors?

    The Now Option is a significantly more known quantity. I guess it comes down to how much money is at stake, both in the the short term and the long term. If you're killing it in KU, maybe you'd be killing it even more wide? Who knows?

    I'd be more worried about what happens when Amazon finally gets called on the carpet for their monopolistic practices. Even if they successfully defend their position, like Microsoft, there's going to be fall-out. Look at what happened to Bell Labs when AT&T was split apart. (Ironically, over the last twenty years or so, Bell has pulled an Iron Giant and begun reassembling itself. Southwestern Bell, became SBC, and actually purchased the parent company it was split from in 2005, becoming, wait for it -  AT&T again, and then went on to reunite with more Baby Bells.)

    For now, everyone keeps saying do what works for you...which I totally agree with. We're not all after the same things.

    Personally, I decided to move my current series wide, because, 1) I hope it has potential beyond KU, and 2) I want a broader presence, as opposed to being an exclusive Zon author. To balance this, I'm going to re-pub an older series and put it into KU. Finally, I'm going to pursue TP and short story publication this year as well.

    It's my opinion that careers shouldn't be measured by a single summer or a few good years. We'll have to see what happens down the road and go from there. All we know for sure is that no one knows anything - for sure.

    I don't see anyone measuring careers, I just see people debating what's the best course for right now. 

    As to the question of opportunity cost...can you put a dollar number on that?  Because I can put a dollar number on the money I'd lose.
    As for the people saying that "readers want your books so why should you take less on KU for them?" the fact is, KU readers are the whale readers who read everything in certain genres.  There is no guarantee whatsoever that the numbers on KU would translate to sales on other platforms, particularly given the nature of Amazon's algorhythms.


    Edited to remove political content. Evenstar, Moderator
    « Last Edit: March 20, 2018, 03:36:47 am by Evenstar »

    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #70 on: March 18, 2018, 04:19:52 pm »
    Bill, this makes my very point. The fact this can happen is so very very wrong.  Think on it and you'll eventually realize just how messed up what you just said is (not in that it's wrong as a fact, but that it's happening in the ebook market).

    I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with it at all.  No one is being forced to do anything.

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #71 on: March 18, 2018, 04:23:04 pm »
    The Now Option is a significantly more known quantity. I guess it comes down to how much money is at stake, both in the the short term and the long term. If you're killing it in KU, maybe you'd be killing it even more wide? Who knows?

    If you're killing it in KU, but can't do even better wide, then it's tantamount to saying your work has a market value of about $1.50 (or whatever KU pays out on a full novel read).

    I know people don't want to hear that, but it's what KU values a book at. The logic in KU has always been not to make more per sale, but rather to make more through VOLUME (take less margin, but make up for it on volume). But that's also the trap... because the more volume amazon can control, the less they have to pay in margin because where else are you going to go if all the (your) readers are in KU? Hence you get commodification, as the more of the market KU controls, the less they have to payout to authors. Hence the implementation of bonuses, so that well-performing authors aren't hurt by the programs commodification process and hence stick around.

    But the good thing is that KU only controls volume for specific niches. Outside of that they've been unable to own the market.

    So, I'll actually defend amazon in a strange way here. If YOU can't generate your own volume, then amazon kind of has a right to pay you crap in exchange for giving you their volume. But if you can generate your own volume, you're insane to drive that volume into KU for pennies on the dollar... it's literally tantamount to cutting your own throat.


    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #72 on: March 18, 2018, 04:27:24 pm »
    If you're killing it in KU, but can't do even better wide, then it's tantamount to saying your work has a market value of about $1.50 (or whatever KU pays out on a full novel read).

    Your work is worth whatever you can make on it.  The question isn't how much you make per read on KU, the question is, would you replace it with sales if you were wide?  Because principles are great, but they don't pay the bills.

    Offline Seneca42

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #73 on: March 18, 2018, 04:31:49 pm »
    Your work is worth whatever you can make on it. 

    that was exactly my point. No one would take $1.50 if they could make $5 direct. Ergo, it's worth the $1.50.

    Offline Rick Partlow

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    Re: February 2018 - Headline KENPC Rate 0.0046601USD
    « Reply #74 on: March 18, 2018, 04:59:19 pm »
    that was exactly my point. No one would take $1.50 if they could make $5 direct. Ergo, it's worth the $1.50.

    I suppose.  But there've been a lot of businesses that have thrived selling in bulk with a smaller profit margin.  I'm not too proud to take less for each book if I can move more of them.

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