Author Topic: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.  (Read 5862 times)  

Offline Sparling

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #50 on: April 21, 2018, 04:07:40 PM »
No need for conspiracies here. What happened last summer lines up perfectly with the Mastermind romance group coming onto the scene. It's been hell ever since for most romance authors who don't hire ghostwriters in mass or sink at least $10-50k into every release on ads. The sad part is this group is only getting stronger. There are roughly ten of their books in the Top 100 paid at all times. Dozens more new books floating around at lower ranks. Many of them feeding content to three or more pen names simultaneously now with weekly releases and sky high ad budgets. In less than a year, internet marketers using scummy KU exploits have swept aside most ordinary authors. This looks set to continue until Amazon changes something.



*sigh*

This is so disheartening, but I think you're right. In an effort to earn money anywhere I can, I sought out freelance projects and found that people are paying ghostwriters something like $50-100 for a full romance novel, and people are actually doing it! UGH. No wonder the market is flooded. For a while I skated by with some dedicated fans of my sweet ya contemporary novels, but now it seems all the traction is with steamy older/NA romance novels, which I just don't write. I'd hoped my smaller YA genre would stay safe from the mass producing ghostwritten romance novels, but this doesn't seem to be the case. It bums me out that writers like me and the rest of us who are passionate about writing and our stories are shoved aside for the book mills that only care about raking in that sweet KU cash.


Offline Lorri Moulton

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #51 on: April 21, 2018, 04:10:49 PM »
(snip) These are what I use. Newsletter marketing every 2-4 months. A new book every 3-5 months. Word of mouth. Loyal reader base. Variety of subgenres, but staying true to my type of books overall. It still does work.

Romance is without a doubt the most crowded wirh the primarily-marketers and commodified books. I would
Not do cozy mystery or urban fantasy either now, but like I said, the more complex type of romance genre is still much less crowded because so much harder to game. If you can write funny. If you can write suspenseful. Those things are harder to commodify.

I agree.  Romance is a busy genre, but we also have the most readers.  If you can come up with something new, I think there's still room to do well.

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Offline C. Gold

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #52 on: April 21, 2018, 04:26:15 PM »
May I ask you then...what would your suggestion be for uniqueness in a popular genre like the OP? It sounds like he/she enjoys writing YA romance (also, C. Gold's suggestion of adding paranormal or magic would be a way to do this right?).
I'll give you ideas of what worked to snag me into reading stories.

Regency... kind of same-y right? How about adding a gypsy locket with 'magical' powers that can find the love of a duke? Then that gets passed around to various women who find their true love. It's a minor thread that ties together all the Love of a Duke stories, but I thought was a clever way to spice things up. You know the locket will pop up... question is how? Plus Christie Caldwell covers are seriously to die for. Sooo purty.

Billionaires... probably a billion books out there, right? But what happens when you create a family and the series involves books about each son or daughter finding their HEA? Still too same-y? Ok, how about the parents who have their own troubles in their relationship. They are known as the Eternal Couple, but he cheats, she cheated and had a kid on the side, he has kids on the side, and all because of an issue that happened long long ago. So, while you are reading the ten books in this series, the parent's thread keeps weaving in and out and you have to read the next one not only because you want sonx's HEA, but you are dying to know if the parents get a HEA or not after all the heartache they've both had. Or you can set the billionaires down into a small town and let the fun begin with all that small town flavor. Or have interfering grandparents who match make for their grandsons. Or do all of the above! Sinclairs, Mavericks, Pryces, Barringtons, and other families have entertained me for hours just because they had a thread in them that added to the usual couple plot.

Serials... I loathe these with a passion and refuse to buy them.... except there was this nerdy guy who was married in Vegas to the girl he crushed on in high school, only when she gets the papers, she's like what? This isn't me. Something hinky is going on and boy was that catnip to this cat! Thanks Gina Robinson. Sometimes the story is just too dang wild and interesting and fresh, you gotta click buy.

Vampires... and other paranormals... ugh right? There are probably more vampires than billionaires and even some vampire billionaires... But what if you create a made up town where they celebrate Halloween 24/7 365 days of the year and let all the paranormal people be themselves because, hey, disguise right? Then add some humorous problems because vampires and gargoyles can have trouble finding love too, right? Then put amazingly funny covers with catchy titles like 'The Vampire's Mail Order Bride' and you have ME of all people buying the dumb things like candy! (Yeah, I try avoiding vampire books, but did you see that title? And that cover? Shoot, I don't think I even stopped to fully read the blurb before I was buying the first Nocturne Falls book.)

The way I see it, adding paranormal is almost an instinct with YA romance these days. Sparkly vampires or shadow hunters or young superheroes, anyone? Because how many of us wished we had special powers when we were going through the teenage angst phase of our lives? I don't read vanilla YA romance because it's so much cooler to read about young people having to deal with hormones AND powers or dealing with their secret lives as a mages/wizards/witches/warlocks. Why have just a romance when you can have all that plus the action and double trouble as well?

Or you could write post apoc and get something like Hunger Games or Divergent. You could even blend Veronica Mars with YA romance if PI work is interesting to write about. Or there's always the young person in a fantasy world who develops special powers or inherits a magical artifact right after their town is destroyed by enemies seeking to kill the prophesied one... or the young person who falls in a portal to a fantasy world (and finds the talking lion?!)... or they get abducted by aliens and fall in love with the alien overlord... The ideas here are endless.

Online Rosie A.

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #53 on: April 21, 2018, 04:33:11 PM »
I agree.  Romance is a busy genre, but we also have the most readers.  If you can come up with something new, I think there's still room to do well.
This is why I decided to write bad girl brides for my next series. A lot of historical romance heroines are sweet/gentle/fragile. Standing out takes a bit of creativity and patience but I agree that romance has a lot of room for experimentation and growth.

C. Gold: yes! I love all those twists and turns! ;)
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 04:35:14 PM by Rosie A. »

Offline Phxsundog

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #54 on: April 21, 2018, 05:42:46 PM »


*sigh*

This is so disheartening, but I think you're right. In an effort to earn money anywhere I can, I sought out freelance projects and found that people are paying ghostwriters something like $50-100 for a full romance novel, and people are actually doing it! UGH. No wonder the market is flooded. For a while I skated by with some dedicated fans of my sweet ya contemporary novels, but now it seems all the traction is with steamy older/NA romance novels, which I just don't write. I'd hoped my smaller YA genre would stay safe from the mass producing ghostwritten romance novels, but this doesn't seem to be the case. It bums me out that writers like me and the rest of us who are passionate about writing and our stories are shoved aside for the book mills that only care about raking in that sweet KU cash.

Shady business practices aside, this is another reason I loathe these content mills coming onto the scene and dominating like they are. They're paying ghostwriters on average $0.01-0.02 per word for 50,000-80,000 word novels. You can see the jobs all over Upwork and other freelance sites. Worse than minimum wage for the work involved. They'll happily spend more on line editors to clean up incoherent junk in some cases to make it just barely readable when the content is disgustingly cheap. Don't get me wrong. Not every small publisher employing ghostwriters pays rock bottom rates like this, but the ones pushing self-pub into a race to the bottom situation do. Publishers paying higher rates tend not to resort to dirty tricks in other areas either. It's a nasty situation for indies and whitehat publishers in romance alike if this grows like a cancer. Worse than traditional pub coming back dominant in many ways. Writers earning $500-700 per novel with no royalties is poorer than many old school advances in romance. Truly heartwrenching if many of yesterday's indie romance writers wind up choosing to slave write for these people to survive.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 05:44:20 PM by Phxsundog »

Offline C. Gold

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #55 on: April 21, 2018, 06:36:04 PM »
Are there a lack of sweet NA romances because readers want steamy or is it because writers think they do, so they write that stuff, and now the genre is fogged over with steam and everyone new just jumps on the sexy times bandwagon?

It's to the point where some books I read are more thinking about sexy times, taking care of their own overeager lust and dreaming of sexy times, then finally having sexy times and somewhere the actual romance plot is lost in this insta lust, lotsa sexy times, and then the HEA thing because 'sex sells' or something. Give me a slow burning romance story any day with maybe one 'finally get together to have sexy times' scene and I'm happy. But do the majority all really want no plot all sexy times? Dunno, seems like sweet could still make some sales here as long as the story is fulfilling.

Offline HLS

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #56 on: April 21, 2018, 06:44:35 PM »
You need to expand the topics  to write on. I myself will never  ever buy a romance novel.  Maybe see if some books can be listed under a different topic. like blend science fiction with romance and sell it as a science fiction novel
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Online Usedtoposthere

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #57 on: April 21, 2018, 07:33:59 PM »
You need to expand the topics  to write on. I myself will never  ever buy a romance novel.  Maybe see if some books can be listed under a different topic. like blend science fiction with romance and sell it as a science fiction novel
Romance is still by far the biggest market. And there are many audiences within it.

Offline writerlygal

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #58 on: April 21, 2018, 08:29:24 PM »
Shady business practices aside, this is another reason I loathe these content mills coming onto the scene and dominating like they are. They're paying ghostwriters on average $0.01-0.02 per word for 50,000-80,000 word novels. You can see the jobs all over Upwork and other freelance sites. Worse than minimum wage for the work involved. They'll happily spend more on line editors to clean up incoherent junk in some cases to make it just barely readable when the content is disgustingly cheap. Don't get me wrong. Not every small publisher employing ghostwriters pays rock bottom rates like this, but the ones pushing self-pub into a race to the bottom situation do. Publishers paying higher rates tend not to resort to dirty tricks in other areas either. It's a nasty situation for indies and whitehat publishers in romance alike if this grows like a cancer. Worse than traditional pub coming back dominant in many ways. Writers earning $500-700 per novel with no royalties is poorer than many old school advances in romance. Truly heartwrenching if many of yesterday's indie romance writers wind up choosing to slave write for these people to survive.

I don't see how this is so awful. If the ghostwriters can write fast, which I assume are the kind the content mills want, then it's not at all minimum wage for more work involved. I'm a pretty fast writer who can write 5,000 words in 2 hours, sometimes 1.5 hours. So, I'd take $0.02 a word.  I don't see what's so wrong with at least $50/hour for ghostwriting I can do any time, anywhere without having to report to a boss in the office from 9 to 5. Even at .01 a word, I'd be earning at least $25 an hour. & that is twice what I'd be making for minimum wage.

At this point I don't have to ghostwrite but sometimes it sounds tempting. I have friends who started out ghostwriting for a penny a word & now make pretty good money doing it b/c they build up a reputation & their work is in demand. Some of them write for 'content mills' although NDAs prohibit them from saying which ones so I'm not really sure who they write for but they like it b/c they don't have to worry about anything but the writing. The work that goes into marketing a book & pen name & building a following etc. is hard & if I had more of a family life or wanted to travel etc. I would trade in the hassle & stress of trying to sell the books for the ease of just only worrying about writing the story [especially if an outline is provided & I can just go on auto pilot w/ the writing]. I think that for those who are the type who enjoy writing much more than the business or marketing aspect of being self publishers, then ghostwriting can make sense. I keep hearing about how this pay is so low & bad but I disagree, especially if, like your post makes it sound, the publishers are just collecting fast first drafts from the ghostwriters & then paying editors to make it better. That is easier work for the writer & the publisher is spending more money on editing than if they were paying more for cleaner, tighter first drafts that require more of an effort & therefore slower pace while writing.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2018, 08:32:27 PM by writerlygal »

Offline writerlygal

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #59 on: April 21, 2018, 08:43:44 PM »
Are there a lack of sweet NA romances because readers want steamy or is it because writers think they do, so they write that stuff, and now the genre is fogged over with steam and everyone new just jumps on the sexy times bandwagon?

It's to the point where some books I read are more thinking about sexy times, taking care of their own overeager lust and dreaming of sexy times, then finally having sexy times and somewhere the actual romance plot is lost in this insta lust, lotsa sexy times, and then the HEA thing because 'sex sells' or something. Give me a slow burning romance story any day with maybe one 'finally get together to have sexy times' scene and I'm happy. But do the majority all really want no plot all sexy times? Dunno, seems like sweet could still make some sales here as long as the story is fulfilling.

I think there are different types of readers & books. Some just want a fast, fun, flirty story as a distraction from real life & also enjoy the sexy parts so it makes sense that books marketed to this type of reader have a lot more sex in them. Others read more for the feels & the story & characters. But in general sex always sells & I believe that some readers are addicted to the sex-filled books kind of like some people are addicted to porn. It triggers something in their brains that makes them feel good & makes their brains release happy chemicals so they want MOAR, right away. I think the instalove lots of sex heavy books cater to that type of reader. [No judgment here- people can get similar happy chemicals from & be as addicted to things like binge-watching soap operas or reality TV shows, or eating lots of fast food or ice cream, so, to me that is what that type of book is, except sex can seem like an even more powerful releasor of endorphins].

Some books kind of combine the two & give lots of sex & also a deeper, longer story. I think there is a market for all types of romance books including heavily erotic & insta-love type books as well as completely sweet & clean books & everything in between. But looking through the top 100 lists shows us that steamy sexy books definitely sell well & fulfill this itch people want scratched so to me it's why there are more of those types of books. I have friends who have tried to write clean romance & they say it's much harder to sell than books w/ sex. One of them even published clean versions & dirty versions of the same books & let the readers know which was which, & the dirty versions sold much better. To me it simply comes down to the phrase 'sex sells.' We are animals whose brains crave basic instinct releases. For women, books full of both types of sexual as well as emotional fulfillment that women fantasize about having in the perfect relationship hit the perfect 'sweet' spot & keep them coming back from more.

Offline BellaJames

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #60 on: April 21, 2018, 11:07:09 PM »
Are there a lack of sweet NA romances because readers want steamy or is it because writers think they do, so they write that stuff, and now the genre is fogged over with steam and everyone new just jumps on the sexy times bandwagon?

It's to the point where some books I read are more thinking about sexy times, taking care of their own overeager lust and dreaming of sexy times, then finally having sexy times and somewhere the actual romance plot is lost in this insta lust, lotsa sexy times, and then the HEA thing because 'sex sells' or something. Give me a slow burning romance story any day with maybe one 'finally get together to have sexy times' scene and I'm happy. But do the majority all really want no plot all sexy times? Dunno, seems like sweet could still make some sales here as long as the story is fulfilling.

The thing is 'slow burn romance' sells. One of the biggest names in slow burn romance is Mariana Zapata and I see readers loving her books.

However, there are a bunch of self-publishers who pay ghostwriters, who think people just want steamy romance. They are all over youtube selling their courses on how to publish steamy romance and make $xxxxx.

There are also quite a few ex erotica authors who think it's just about the sexy times so they write an erom which is basically a long erotic story. Those books are all over the romance charts.

I've seen people asking for more slow burn romances with less graphic sex on goodreads and reddit.



« Last Edit: April 22, 2018, 02:22:03 AM by BellaJames »

Offline jb1111

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #61 on: April 21, 2018, 11:55:31 PM »
Not a romance writer or reader here, although my erotica stories have romance in them, and most have a happy ending. Don't know why, just my nature I guess, and it comes out in my writing.

My take on it, is that the OP already has a proven track record. She has sold romance in the past, and still apparently does, and makes some money at it.

Romance will never go away. Jane Austen was apparently a romance, and Harlequin has been around forever. There always is a market for romance.

Perhaps right now is a crowded time. But perhaps that also will pass. Maybe the romance writing factories will move to another hot category, like Harry Potter imitations or some other genre that gets hot.

I wouldn't get out of what made you money. Maybe try a few different genres under a different pen name -- you already have proven you can write and sell. Maybe find a different genre you like to experiment with until the storm passes.

Offline Evenstar

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Re: Is Amazon mad at me? Because nothing else makes sense.
« Reply #62 on: May 14, 2018, 03:48:21 PM »
Hi Sparling,

I'm just here to give you a "solidarity" fist bump because your YA books and my YA books have nestled together for a few years now.

I went through this same thing a year ago and decided that YA was no longer profitable and that I had to switch genres. Well, I did, and it's been really hard! New pen name, no list etc. It's a slow process to start over, but I quickly realized something - even that $500 a month from the YA books was better than nothing. It wasn't what I used to make but it was still too much to just throw away. So now I'm running two names and it's still a lot of work and still hard, but diversifying is good and so is sticking with what you had. Are you in a position to do both? That would be my recommendation.

Either way, I really hope it works out for you, the main thing is not to give up  :-*