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Authors' Forum => Writers' Cafe => Topic started by: RBN on June 01, 2018, 04:44:18 pm

Title: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits, Amazon Taking Action (MERGED)
Post by: RBN on June 01, 2018, 04:44:18 pm
I didn't see this posted anywhere here yet.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960

"To provide an optimal customer experience, bonus content should make up no more than around 10% of your book."

Also prohibits gifts/rewards.

Now, to see if this is enforced...
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 01, 2018, 04:51:48 pm
Better late than never!

I suspect that enforcement of this rule, like so many rules on Amazon, may be an on-again, off-again kind of thing, but I'm at the point where I think increasing the risk factor for potential bad actors is better than nothing. At least now, there's a clearer standard that could be enforced.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: 41419 on June 01, 2018, 05:00:08 pm
10% - that's clear. Let's see what the stuffers do now...
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Dpock on June 01, 2018, 05:00:32 pm
I didn't see this posted anywhere here yet.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960

"To provide an optimal customer experience, bonus content should make up no more than around 10% of your book."

Also prohibits gifts/rewards.

Now, to see if this is enforced...

That's a reasonable percentage. Though I doubt it's the case, it would be nice if was retroactive as well. There are enough stuffed books on Amazon to fill reading appetites for the next decade.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: 41419 on June 01, 2018, 05:05:53 pm
Anyone want to bet on how long until we get the "but what if you're hopping on one foot" response?
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on June 01, 2018, 05:12:27 pm
I don't consent
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Usedtoposthere on June 01, 2018, 05:13:20 pm
Anyone want to bet on how long until we get the "but what if you're hopping on one foot" response?
I thought they'd moved on to jewelry now...
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Michaela Strong on June 01, 2018, 05:20:18 pm
Anyone want to bet on how long until we get the "but what if you're hopping on one foot" response?
"That only applies to bonus content. These 7 extra novels are 'special content,' totally different."

 Or maybe some kind of special math where 10% can be bigger than 100%.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 01, 2018, 05:24:16 pm
My guess is they'll move into sexy aliens in space-opera with ghostwriters doing the heavy lifting. Alien cuisine recipes at the back so you can make it yourself at home.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Not any more on June 01, 2018, 05:24:54 pm
I thought they'd moved on to jewelry now...
LOL!!! Diamonds!!!

10% - that's clear. Let's see what the stuffers do now...

 This also includes disruptive or unnecessary enticement to click on elements within TOCs. Continued addition of these types of elements in your titles could affect your account status, up to and including termination.

Of course, this all depends on Amazon's interpretation and enforcement. Anyone want to lay odds that someone who innocently includes a first chapter of a new book gets slammed while a stuffer figures out a way to game the system to the tune of 2K pages per novella?
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Not any more on June 01, 2018, 05:25:48 pm
My guess is they'll move into sexy aliens in space-opera with ghostwriters doing the heavy lifting. Alien cuisine recipes at the back so you can make it yourself at home.

Oh, that's rich! Kudos!!!
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 01, 2018, 05:30:41 pm
But seriously... I'd say there will be a bucket load of boxsets and anthologies so they can wring every last penny out of page reads before they're done.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Dpock on June 01, 2018, 05:32:35 pm
But seriously... I'd say there will be a bucket load of boxsets and anthologies so they can wring every last penny out of page reads before they're done.

If they box six stories, can those same six stories appear in other box sets?
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Crystal_ on June 01, 2018, 05:35:06 pm
In all seriousness, a policy is only as good as its enforcement. Unless Amazon enforces this, people will continue to use bonus books.

I really hope they do enforce it. I'd love to look at the top 100 in romance and see nothing that's stuffed. But I'm not holding my breath.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Dave Dykema on June 01, 2018, 05:35:23 pm
I wonder if books with be grandfathered. I'm currently reading a book where the actual novel is 50% of the experience, and the other 50% is short stories by the various authors and the last 30 or so percent is a "making of" the book.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: raminar_dixon on June 01, 2018, 05:42:16 pm
Whether you like this change or not, at least we can all agree that some actual, non-vague guidelines about it are nice to have.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: unkownwriter on June 01, 2018, 05:44:16 pm
I give it a day before the first post either defending stuffing, or complaining about how their 2.8KENPC book was taken down, and Amazon won't pay them their money.

There's got to be thousands of books violating these new guidelines, none of which will likely be affected in any way whatsoever, but I'm sure the algos have changed and now I can look forward to getting even less money, for doing absolutely nothing wrong.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Dpock on June 01, 2018, 05:56:07 pm
.

There's got to be thousands of books violating these new guidelines, none of which will likely be affected in any way whatsoever,

Probably not as they published before this clarification, but they'll need steel man bits to continue stuffing now that the rules are clear.

If Amazon enforces the new limit their $0.99 strategy is toast. Their books are launched with mega ad spends assuming KENP will cover costs.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: 41419 on June 01, 2018, 06:01:05 pm
In all seriousness, a policy is only as good as its enforcement. Unless Amazon enforces this, people will continue to use bonus books.

Here you go Crystal! So happy to oblige.

Quote
"Please note that prompt compliance with these new guidelines and policies is required to qualify for programs such as KDP Select All Stars Bonuses for the month of June and future months."

https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 01, 2018, 06:04:25 pm


https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en


Looks like their weekend plans just got canceled.
Title: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
Post by: X. Aratare on June 01, 2018, 06:31:25 pm
Amazon just updated their TOS with respect to bonus content (emphasis mine):

Quote
Bonus Content
If you choose to include bonus content (e.g., other stories, or previews of other books that are not part of your bookís title), it should be relevant to the customer and should not disrupt the reading experience. To meet these guidelines, we require placing additional content at the end of the book, and listing the bonus content in your book's table of contents.

To provide an optimal customer experience, bonus content should make up no more than around 10% of your book. If you would like to include multiple stories within your book, consider creating a collection of works. When selecting your bookís title, always make sure to follow the Metadata Guidelines.

Primary and bonus content must meet all program guidelines (e.g., bonus content in KDP Select titles must be exclusive). Translated content must be high quality and not machine generated. Disruptive links and promises of gifts or rewards are never allowed.

For more information, see our content guidelines and Terms and Conditions.

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960

Also:

Quote
Hello,

To improve the shopping and reading experience for customers, weíve updated our Bonus Content and eBook Metadata Guidelines.

Please ensure that the books youíve published comply with the new guidelines. Please note that prompt compliance with these new guidelines and policies is required to qualify for programs such as KDP Select All Stars Bonuses for the month of June and future months.

Thank you for choosing to publish with Amazon KDP!

Best Regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team

https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 01, 2018, 06:33:01 pm
I am curious what enforcement will look like.
Title: Re: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
Post by: ShayneRutherford on June 01, 2018, 06:34:09 pm
Yaaaaaassss! Finally, a decisive answer.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Michele_Mills on June 01, 2018, 06:35:35 pm
I'm happy that there's an actual rule now instead of the typical Amazon vagueness, along with a timeline for enforcement. Enforcement is the key here, or we're back where we started.

They even sent an email about this to Marie Force to announce. I'm super curious to see how this will effect all star bonuses in the coming months. Will it change payouts? We'll see!
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Crystal_ on June 01, 2018, 06:42:09 pm
Here you go Crystal! So happy to oblige.

https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en

You do realize that this hasn't happened yet, right? This is a promise to enforce the policy, but until it actually happens, it's just a promise.

We'll see what happens in late July. I hope KDP holds to this policy change--it would be great for me, personally; I will dance in the streets if bonus books actually disappear--but they don't have the best history of evenly enforcing policies.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: boba1823 on June 01, 2018, 07:12:34 pm
I'd love to look at the top 100 in romance and see nothing that's stuffed. But I'm not holding my breath.

Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.

Anyway, just a curiosity for me. I ended up not doing KU, and that's not going to change. And in any case, I never thought that aiming to hit the Amazon bestseller list as the primary driver of visibility sounded like a very good or sustainable business strategy. (I know that some people - maybe you? don't remember - have expressed doubt that being on Amazon bestseller lists, by itself, actually drives sales.) Not that I'd complain or anything  ;D
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: 41419 on June 01, 2018, 07:15:17 pm
Errrr do you really think these guys went to all this effort for a slight increase in sales?

And anyway, the click to the end scams are still in play. Multiple variations.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: X. Aratare on June 01, 2018, 07:20:37 pm
Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.

Anyway, just a curiosity for me. I ended up not doing KU, and that's not going to change. And in any case, I never thought that aiming to hit the Amazon bestseller list as the primary driver of visibility sounded like a very good or sustainable business strategy. (I know that some people - maybe you? don't remember - have expressed doubt that being on Amazon bestseller lists, by itself, actually drives sales.) Not that I'd complain or anything  ;D

How much they make per book is how much they can advertise it.  Meaning that they used to have the value of 3000 page reads to advertise, now they don't.  Visibility will be impacted for them, because it's hard to justify spending likely what they are in ads for 500 page reads, for example.  It makes it a lot less lucrative, too. So some who were only in it for the money, might realize that these aren't as green pastures and move on.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Crystal_ on June 01, 2018, 07:21:11 pm
Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.

Anyway, just a curiosity for me. I ended up not doing KU, and that's not going to change. And in any case, I never thought that aiming to hit the Amazon bestseller list as the primary driver of visibility sounded like a very good or sustainable business strategy. (I know that some people - maybe you? don't remember - have expressed doubt that being on Amazon bestseller lists, by itself, actually drives sales.) Not that I'd complain or anything  ;D

In my very limited experience, it makes a big difference. Somewhere between 25 and 50% of people read the bonus content. It's definitely a higher percentage than people who will go on to read content in another book, though how much higher is probably a function of quality and series contentedness.

If enforced, this could destroy all the marketing machine types.

It will hurt authors who use bonus content as well, but it will help authors who don't use bonus content. I think the All Star thing is where we'll see the biggest difference. If that is enforced, I expect to see bonus thresholds drop considerably.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Lady Vine on June 01, 2018, 07:30:04 pm
"...and other stories."

I'm with the person who said all we'll see is a title change, nothing more. They'll turn everything into boxed sets.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: boba1823 on June 01, 2018, 07:37:06 pm
Errrr do you really think these guys went to all this effort for a slight increase in sales?

And anyway, the click to the end scams are still in play. Multiple variations.

Well, that's a good question. I guess that probably depends on how much effort it actually is for them, though. If I was sitting on a backlist of a hundred something old (and ghost written) books/stories, maybe it's relatively little effort to just pick some at random and cram them in. Assuming they're already formatted, that's pretty much just a quick copy-paste job, right? If I could do something that takes 10 minutes or so, and it results in 10% higher profits, that seems like a good use of time.

I'm assuming that most of the bonus content is old stuff, of course, and that these authors (well.. publishers) aren't actually commissioning a bunch of brand new work. That almost certainly would not be worth the cost for a marginal improvement in KU revenue.

I recall you saying a month or two back that the click-to-the-back thing is still an issue. I don't know any details on that (and won't ask), so I can't really evaluate the impact of that on the overall Romance bestseller list. I have noticed, though, that lately it seems more of the bonus-stuffed books have been in the 400-500 page range rather than the thousands. (There's one on there now with like 2600+, which.. wow, lol!)

Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Shelley K on June 01, 2018, 08:06:57 pm
"...and other stories."

I'm with the person who said all we'll see is a title change, nothing more. They'll turn everything into boxed sets.

That's okay. Boxed sets don't get the pages a new book with seven old ones tacked onto the back does. Some will try to fiddle with the wording, but hopefully if Amazon enforces this they're strict about requiring collection/bundle/complete series or whatever on the cover/in the title. If collections and bundles worked half as well, nobody would have started chucking five books in the back as a "bonus."  Also, what happens in the next few months with this is the canary in the coal mine for mega-mondo bundles in KU. Watch and see if it dies.

Especially after my email exchange a while back in which the person would not name a percentage, even when I specifically asked for a guidelines, or say that entire books weren't allowed, I'm surprised they finally threw a number out. I didn't think they would, because I didn't think they wanted to have to try to enforce it.  But as skeptical as I have been about that, the fact that they named "June all-star bonuses" specifically--June, not just generally--makes me think they intend to try to enforce it.

It's not going to matter for the vast majority of us, the rate's not going to go up any more than the standard variation, but the all-star bonuses should be within easier reach for some if they enforce it and do it correctly. You know there are going to be people falsely accused in the first round of enforcement and screwed over in one way or another. Feel for those folks in advance.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: sela on June 01, 2018, 08:54:31 pm
I'm not sure how the stuffers are making their money. Is it off the page reads that occur when their hapless reader finds ten extra bonus books at the end and reads them where they might not have read them if they had to actually physically go to the website and click on the "read now" button? Is part of it from double-dipping, where a reader finds the book they love at the end of the new book and re-reads it for sh*ts and giggles, thus garnering a double-dip page read for the author? Double-dipping is against TOS outside of boxed sets. Or are the stuffer publishers hiring bot readers in Malaysia to slide through the stuffed books on the Amazon online Kindle site? According to tests, sliding through to the back in a KU book in the online reader still registers a full read through. So an enterprising warrior forum type mill publisher could hire a hundred or thousand bots to read all the books in their catalogue and their pen name catalogues online. It would generate a lot of money probably at a small cost. It will indeed be interesting to see if there are any changes to the lineups on the Amazon top 100 romance categories. Perhaps if they can't get $13.50 instead of $1.68 per book, the strategy will no longer be worth their while and not worth all the ad spend they go through to help hit the top 100.

Maybe they'll go elsewhere to find easy pickings and a loophole filled system to exploit...

One can hope.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Forgettable on June 01, 2018, 09:02:15 pm
.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: sela on June 01, 2018, 09:19:53 pm
Sela, I saw this posted on Twitter.  It is screen shot from someone allegedly showing a writer's PA explaining to readers how to go about their day while still flipping through each page of story + bonus content, before then going to buy the book so that reviews left are verified and the writer gets maximum revenue from their read and purchase...
https://twitter.com/ease_dropper/status/1002001437876944897

I guess I've been doing this wrong all along. Here I thought I should just write the best damn book I could, thinking of pleasing my reader to the best of my abilities!

I never thought of cheating the system or finding cracks and loopholes. WHAT A SUCKER!
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Forgettable on June 01, 2018, 09:22:17 pm
.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Phxsundog on June 01, 2018, 10:08:32 pm
There's a good chance this policy, if enforced, will damage many of the high spender ghostmachines clogging the romance charts with unedited books. I'm crossing my fingers knowing it hinges on enforcement.

Many of these publishers need their stuffed books to support over a thousand dollars daily spent on ads. If the stuffing is over and they can only release more normally sized works, the best they can do is try to flood the market with more books. However, I'm doubtful this will work. It'll spread their resources thinner across ads supporting many books. Plus different titles require their own covers, ads, reviews, and promotional bookings. They're going to have a harder time juggling many books and expecting the same results.

They generally don't have backlogs of hundreds of stories either. They may have half a dozen or more books in progress at any one time and there's a finite supply of ghostwriters on Upwork where they recruit. They won't go away entirely but there's a chance this tips the balance back toward authors producing quality books over volume publishers rushing out weaker content. Time will tell.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Ava Glass on June 01, 2018, 10:50:24 pm
Kudos to those who ignored the "keep your eyes on your own paper" advice* and agitated for this.

*translation: "stop talking about this. We like this status quo."
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Shelley K on June 01, 2018, 10:56:00 pm
I think there are plenty of us sharing that red-faced realisation.

Everything I have to say about that particular screenshot would be redacted here. Just one whole paragraph of [redacted] on repeat.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: mawnster on June 02, 2018, 12:27:09 am
I'll only be excited if this impacts payout per page read (probably won't, since the $/page read is set by psychologists trying to get us to stay in the KU machine), and for the all star bonus threshold. I would have qualified, easily, the last four months if this had been 2017.

If neither of those change, then the whole "wah wah book stuffers" agitating was just a nothing burger and I will go back to keeping my eyes on my own paper ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: C. Gold on June 02, 2018, 12:52:52 am
So, they can no longer hide the bonus content as a wad of 'stuff' at the end but have to create bundles. Will that really slow them down much? Or will that prevent them from duplicating content and simply rearranging the order for their other books? It's the multiple dipping into the Select reads that these stuffers take a huge advantage of. If this stops that, then good.

Also, that's only if they want to get the Select bonus... if they forgo that, they can still stuff, at least how I interpreted that.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Ava Glass on June 02, 2018, 12:55:37 am
and I will go back to keeping my eyes on my own paper

You do you. The problem is when people tell others to basically shut up about issues.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 02, 2018, 12:57:47 am
I'll only be excited if this impacts payout per page read...

Assuming that Amazon actually enforces this, I'll be excited regardless, and not even because of the KU rate or All Star bonuses. Because the stuffers have been earning up to $13 per borrow, even on a 99-cent book, they've been able to spend like drunken sailors on advertising, not to mention more nefarious promotional methods. As a result, they've made it that much harder for non-stuffers to purchase advertising, make the top 100 lists, and gain visibility. Plus, they've driven down the average purchase prices in virtually all romance genres.

Browsing through the top 100 romance lists, there's an embarrassing number of 99-cent stuffed books -- books that end at 30% of the Kindle pages, books that are poorly edited, books that feature recycled stories and misleading product descriptions. I wouldn't be surprised to discover that customer complaints played a role in this.

I've already pulled most of my books out of KU, but I still think this is a positive development. Funny, I was browsing romance books on Kobo the other day, and it really struck me how much better the other retailers are right now -- cleaner, less cluttered, more truthful in product descriptions, etc. As a reader and a writer, I think it's long past time that Amazon made this change. I just hope they enforce it.
Title: Re: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
Post by: T E Scott Writer on June 02, 2018, 02:58:59 am
Excellent
Title: Re: Amazon Limits Bonus Content in Books to No More than 10%
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 02, 2018, 03:15:05 am
Merged a couple of threads on this topic -- sorry for any confusion.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: 41419 on June 02, 2018, 03:20:18 am
Assuming that Amazon actually enforces this, I'll be excited regardless, and not even because of the KU rate or All Star bonuses. Because the stuffers have been earning up to $13 per borrow, even on a 99-cent book, they've been able to spend like drunken sailors on advertising, not to mention more nefarious promotional methods. As a result, they've made it that much harder for non-stuffers to purchase advertising, make the top 100 lists, and gain visibility. Plus, they've driven down the average purchase prices in virtually all romance genres.

Exactly. What happens to the payout won't necessarily be an indication of anything. Amazon decides the payout based on things we can only speculate about. If it removes some of this crud from the charts, and punches a hole in their skeavy business model, we all win.

Which would almost be worth the "wah" - one would think.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 02, 2018, 04:37:35 am
Lynn Is A Pseudonym, I'm sure that all the books will now be "bundles" or "collections". That's how Amazon will once again let this crap slide by. If they're looking at June payouts, that means they'd have to be going back two months to see what was in KU then, and that's going to take a lot of work. Frankly, the more I think about it, the less I believe anything will happen.

The thing I think that's missing in these new terms is twofold:  #1:  taking all bundles, collections etc. out of KU and #2:  topping the KENPC at 1K.Those two changes would have nipped this in the bud, because without a huge payout, click farming, page flipping and the stuffing won't pay. Another part would be to end the All Star bonuses. There's no gain in this from sales, because that only gets them .35, rather than upwards of $13 or more. Not to mention thousands more in bonuses. Click farms and huge ad buys (and Tiffany diamonds) are expensive when there's no big return on investment.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 02, 2018, 05:39:14 am
The thing I think that's missing in these new terms is twofold:  #1:  taking all bundles, collections etc. out of KU and #2:  topping the KENPC at 1K.
Who's to say KU3 won't be coming July 1 once these stuffed books get properly labeled? ;)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 02, 2018, 05:42:36 am
Slowly but surely we've seen Amazon plugging holes in the dike. It's not happening anywhere close to the speed legit authors need to see it today, but the hope is tomorrow will be better. As we report and report and raise a stink and report some more, Amazon has gradually changed its policies, guidelines and TOS.

Some examples:
The Top 100 Free has been fairly well cleaned up. The major offenders STILL have a couple hundred books in their catalogs and they are STILL in Select. But they've been slapped back and are no longer cycling books through the Top 20 Free daily.

Certain publishers who were dividing their box sets and putting half the stories on Instafreebie resulted in an unequivocable amendment to their 'disallowed content' that reads: Content that is either marketed as a subscription or redirects readers to an external source to obtain the full content.

Some folk who were routinely botting their books to the tops of the Free and Paid lists have been slapped back, and have lost traction overall.

Giveaways rules amended to pointedly disallow every entry being a winner.

Is it depressing, infuriating and frustrating that sooo many scammers have obtained All-Star bonuses, USAT/NYT letters and high-dollar homes -- and that none of these gains will be redacted -- based on the slowness with which Amazon is reacting? Or that some of the worst offenders are still crack-slipping? Damn right. But at least there is progress, and a bone or two occasionally thrown our way for all our yapping.

Report on.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: SuzyQ on June 02, 2018, 08:18:58 am
Got so excited until I imagined a huge wave of 'collections' coming
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GeneDoucette on June 02, 2018, 08:33:30 am
the difference is that 'bonus content' is hypothetically not subject to the double-dipping rules. There's nothing wrong with labeling a collection a collection, until it's more than Book A published standalone + featured in a Collection. If it's Book A in five collections, it's either bonus content (which is now not an option) or it's the same book in multiple collections (which is disallowed under a different rule.)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 02, 2018, 08:34:15 am
Even if machines keep publishing collections at that same rate, this will hurt. Bundles don't sell nearly as well as standalone titles.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Sam Rivers on June 02, 2018, 08:35:25 am
Quote
Slowly but surely we've seen Amazon plugging holes in the dike. It's not happening anywhere close to the speed legit authors need to see it today, but the hope is tomorrow will be better. As we report and report and raise a stink and report some more, Amazon has gradually changed its policies, guidelines and TOS.


I was planning to not renew my books in KU when they ran out next month. However, I may reconsider this since Amazon seems to be trying to fix the problems.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: boba1823 on June 02, 2018, 08:47:35 am
I'll only be excited if this impacts payout per page read (probably won't, since the $/page read is set by psychologists trying to get us to stay in the KU machine)

That's what they have been trying to do? I assumed that the $/page read rate was set with the intent of keeping authors *out* of KU, lol!

Based on my initial number crunchings, I figured that KU simply would not be workable for me at anything less than 1cent/page. Possibly not even at that... I don't have a good sense of what is typical in terms of what % of KU readers borrow a book but never actually get around to reading it, or what % start but don't complete (though that's largely related to quality, I imagine). Plus the fact that Amazon doesn't actually tell you how many people borrow your book  ??? When you're multiplying unknowns by unknowns.. well, that's more uncertainty than I can take in my own business plans.


Anyway, I'm watching the Romance bestseller list with great interest. But.. I'm not optimistic. I certainly recognize the possibility that a large portion of the revenue for the book-factory type publishers comes from various nefarious tactics. Personally, though, I doubt it. Not because I don't think that those types would use such tactics. But more because I think that KU making things crazy (with the borrow=sale for ranking purposes, etc.) is a sufficient explanation for the bestseller list looking the way it does. I suppose I have a rather low opinion of the average KU reader and his or her taste in books, ha! And yeah, I do have a KU subscription myself, so - not every KU reader, obviously  :)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 02, 2018, 09:09:55 am
Assuming it was enforced, do you think the Romance bestseller list would change much? I mean, do you think it would be basically the same sort of books (just without all the bonus content) as before, or would there be substantial changes in what's up there?

Personally, I'm skeptical that it would make much of a difference. There was the one board member on here who does the whole Romance ghost-writers thing, who I recall saying that including the bonus content only made a 10 percent or so difference in page reads. That seemed like a plausible figure to me, assuming an author isn't using click-to-the-back trickery (maybe that's a big assumption, I don't know). I would think that most KU readers are just looking to read the title work and not bonus content, especially if it's old, lower quality, etc., which I take it is often the case for books of this sort.

If that's right, and the bonus content is only marginally increasing revenues for books of this sort, then I doubt that these books would just fall off of the bestseller list without the bonus stuffing. I can't imagine that their profit margins are quite that thin - at least not for the experienced ones.


Do you really think a statement from a book-stuffer will be accurate?

But even a 10% boost in page reads is far from "marginal" except in the technical sense. If you suddenly got a 10% pay raise in your ordinary job, you'd consider that a pretty good raise.

I suspect the number is more like 100% myself. In other words, Kindle file stuffed with 9 extra books probably gets on average one of those extra books read, for a 100% increase in page reads.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 02, 2018, 09:28:58 am
Since the box set loophole is worrisome, could Amazon just say, "No box set content in KU unless the content is not available elsewhere in KU"? That would eliminate the possibility of double-dipping on box sets, and it would force an author to make a choice--does he or she want the individual titles in KU or the box set? Of course, a simpler rule that just prohibited box sets in KU completely, as suggested earlier, would be simpler and easier to enforce.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 02, 2018, 09:30:12 am
Box sets aren't the draw they used to be for a number of reasons. Most relevant here is reader behavior of KU subscribers.

Where non-KU readers still swarm multiple books in a series and buy them all at once if there are discounts across several installments, KU readers are more like dentists: they take 'em out in ones.

Box sets just aren't as attractive to KU readers because they don't really save anything by grabbing them ahead of the individual books. And box sets could be next for the chopping block anyway. Who knows? There has been enough shenanigans around them to date where that's entirely possible, especially if the scammers flood those now.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Not any more on June 02, 2018, 09:39:19 am
Box sets aren't the draw they used to be for a number of reasons. Most relevant here is reader behavior of KU subscribers.

Where non-KU readers still swarm multiple books in a series and buy them all at once if there are discounts across several installments, KU readers are more like dentists: they take 'em out in ones.

Box sets just aren't as attractive to KU readers because they don't really save anything by grabbing them ahead of the individual books. And box sets could be next for the chopping block anyway. Who knows? There has been enough shenanigans around them to date where that's entirely possible, especially if the scammers flood those now.

From my own experience, I would disagree. I have a series that completed in 2015. I also have a 5-book omnibus for that series. One third of my revenue for that series this year is the boxed set, and 90% of its revenues are page reads. I've had readers tell me they prefer the convenience. A lot of them will take the set because it only takes up 1 of their 10 KU slots.
 
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: jb1111 on June 02, 2018, 09:53:00 am
I can see (in the future) the possibility of extra material being thrown in to the romance novels in question without the massive TOC's and other links that make it obvious.

Say -- some guy or gal writes a 50 page story, and then adds a bunch of older material to it without denoting it as extra material. The reader -- who may be curious -- may just flip through a lot of it anyway. Maybe instead of the book being 80% extra material, it's only 30 or 40%. Still, the author may benefit in KU.

Can the bots automatically tell if you put older material in a new book -- without a human looking at it and comparing?

[Edited for clarity]
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 02, 2018, 09:54:04 am
Step one in the right direction. The next step should be to lower the cap on KENP and exclude collections from All Stars.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 02, 2018, 10:40:02 am
Step one in the right direction. The next step should be to lower the cap on KENP and exclude collections from All Stars.

Why? Collections are a long existing segment of the marketplace, and one that readers understand. It's only multiple iterations of the same books that's a problem, not the putting of said books into a box set. Same with the length question. Some books are just long.
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Becca Mills on June 02, 2018, 10:53:25 am
I'm thrilled with what seems to me like a much clearer set of guidelines.

In all seriousness, a policy is only as good as its enforcement. Unless Amazon enforces this, people will continue to use bonus books.

I really hope they do enforce it. I'd love to look at the top 100 in romance and see nothing that's stuffed. But I'm not holding my breath.

I am curious what enforcement will look like.

Indeed, the proof will be in the pudding. Knowing Amazon, they've come up with some automated system to detect bonus content that exceeds 10%. I really, really hope they've developed a good one.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerbiter on June 02, 2018, 10:56:30 am
This does nothing.

For Example:

Baby Bump - The Accidental Baby Collection #2

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

***

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

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

This changes nothing--just legitimizes what's already plaguing the store. 
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Rose Andrews on June 02, 2018, 11:01:04 am
Got so excited until I imagined a huge wave of 'collections' coming
This.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 02, 2018, 11:28:41 am
Like David said, bundles and collections haven't performed as well in KU for sometime. Having to identify stuffed books as anthologies will cause some readers to avoid them. That's a step up from them hiding 3000 page volumes under a single title and the vague phrase "bonus content."
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 02, 2018, 11:36:26 am
This does nothing.

For Example:

Baby Bump - The Accidental Baby Collection #2

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

***

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

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

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

Wouldn't that sort of thing strike readers as clearly manipulative and quite annoying? As a reader, I could pretty easily ignore stuff that comes after the thing I want to read, but making me search through a bunch of other books for the thing I want to read would  p*ss  me off. I think there'd be returns, and Amazon would hear complaints.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ros_Jackson on June 02, 2018, 12:06:49 pm
I can see (in the future) the possibility of extra material being thrown in to the romance novels in question without the massive TOC's and other links that make it obvious.

Say -- some guy or gal writes a 50 page story, and then adds a bunch of older material to it without denoting it as extra material. The reader -- who may be curious -- may just flip through a lot of it anyway. Maybe instead of the book being 80% extra material, it's only 30 or 40%. Still, the author may benefit in KU.

Can the bots automatically tell if you put older material in a new book -- without a human looking at it and comparing?


The way stories are labelled is going to be the key. It should be trivial for a bot to go through content and figure out chapter headings to flag whether there's more than 10% bonus content, if they're conventionally labelled. But if they're not?

However, if this creates a poor user experience it will be a competitive disadvantage for scammers.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 02, 2018, 12:12:30 pm
Why? Collections are a long existing segment of the marketplace, and one that readers understand. It's only multiple iterations of the same books that's a problem, not the putting of said books into a box set. Same with the length question. Some books are just long.

Because it prevents scammers from getting a foothold on the program. Honest to God, I'm not worried about the small fraction of authors who will take a hit with such a cap. 1000 KENP is still extremely long (150-200k words). Not everyone will be pleased with the measures it's going to take to stop the scammers, but it'll eventually be the only way for KU to sort itself out.

It's either that or a gatekeeper of sorts.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 02, 2018, 12:15:54 pm
.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 02, 2018, 12:20:05 pm
Because it prevents scammers from getting a foothold on the program. Honest to God, I'm not worried about the small fraction of authors who will take a hit with such a cap. 1000 KENP is still extremely long (150-200k words). Not everyone will be pleased with the measures it's going to take to stop the scammers, but it'll eventually be the only way for KU to sort itself out.

It's either that or a gatekeeper of sorts.

I have a thirteen book series (legit novels of 70-90K words), and I like to bundle them up into collections when I'm done. The first in this bundle series has pulled in nearly $40,000 by itself in the last couple of years from borrows, reads, and purchases. There is no ambiguity in the titling, the books are only available individually or in this single collection, and the readers appreciate getting a steep discount on purchasing the books individually.

Given that what I'm doing is completely above board, not violating the ToS in any way, and is packaged much like print collections have been for a half century, if not longer, why make a new rule to wreck a strategy that is both working for the author and providing reader value?

Instead, I would like to see Amazon simply enforce the rules they've got, drop the ban hammer on scammers and stuffers, and other rather simple measures to keep out the bad actors.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: boba1823 on June 02, 2018, 12:27:12 pm
Wouldn't that sort of thing strike readers as clearly manipulative and quite annoying?

Something like that might annoy the average reader, but I'm not sure that the average reader is the same as the kind of reader for this type of work.

For example: In general, I'd think that the average reader would be annoyed if, after buying/borrowing what appears to be a regular novel, it turns out that the title work is only 10-15k words and the rest of the book is 'bonus' material. Or if, after buying/borrowing what appears to be a Romance book, the work turns out to be.. well, basically a bunch of erotica scenes with maybe 2,500 words of added 'plot' with no character development and very few of the beats found in the typical Romance book. (Granted, I've only read a handful of these things, so maybe I'm basing this on a non-representative sample.. but these things were true of the ones I did read.)

Yet by all indications, these things that I would expect to be annoyances do not seem to be any real problem for books of this sort. So I can totally imagine "click to the back for the (actual) new story!" being something that readers of this sort would come to accept as normal.


Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 02, 2018, 12:30:23 pm
Because it prevents scammers from getting a foothold on the program. Honest to God, I'm not worried about the small fraction of authors who will take a hit with such a cap. 1000 KENP is still extremely long (150-200k words). Not everyone will be pleased with the measures it's going to take to stop the scammers, but it'll eventually be the only way for KU to sort itself out.

It's either that or a gatekeeper of sorts.

I have a thirteen book series (legit novels of 70-90K words), and I like to bundle them up into collections when I'm done. The first in this bundle series has pulled in nearly $40,000 by itself in the last couple of years from borrows, reads, and purchases. There is no ambiguity in the titling, the books are only available individually or in this single collection, and the readers appreciate getting a steep discount on purchasing the books individually.

Given that what I'm doing is completely above board, not violating the ToS in any way, and is packaged much like print collections have been for a half century, if not longer, why make a new rule to wreck a strategy that is both working for the author and providing reader value?

Instead, I would like to see Amazon simply enforce the rules they've got, drop the ban hammer on scammers and stuffers, and other rather simple measures to keep out the bad actors.

We had a lengthy thread (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?topic=262533.50) on the idea of lowering the KENP limit from 3,000 to 1,000 a couple months ago. Please revive that one rather than importing the argument to this one.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 02, 2018, 12:32:28 pm
I believe some of these scammers will go to greater extremes under the new rules. They'll try to hide extra content in books with no TOC heading and put ten lines of space between paragraphs to inflate their page count. An extension of what they're doing now. These tricks will become more obvious, more annoying to readers, and reportable to Amazon.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 02, 2018, 12:36:02 pm
I'm not convinced of anything until I see the biggest stuffers change their approach.

Currently, there are several stuffers in the top 100 romance category. Their books are stuffed to the gills with bonus books far exceeding the 10% limit. But at least now Amazon has it in writing. Whether the bots can detect it properly and whether the process for adjudicating the TOS infraction are fair is another question.

I have hope, but all the problems authors have been having with KU and their accounts being shut down, rank disappearing, reviews disappearing, etc. have made me really push to go wide again. Right now, I have only one series in KU and I am rethinking whether I should go ahead with my plan to release a new series in KU.

UGH. I hate that KU has been a scammer-magnet, making it harder for those of us who follow the rules...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 02, 2018, 01:02:01 pm
whether the process for adjudicating the TOS infraction is fair is another question.



That's my big concern. The bots can only sift and locate suspects. The new mandate is more an appeal for compliance than a hard-fast rule they can enforce without producing a lot of collateral damage.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 02, 2018, 01:05:53 pm
I have a thirteen book series (legit novels of 70-90K words), and I like to bundle them up into collections when I'm done. The first in this bundle series has pulled in nearly $40,000 by itself in the last couple of years from borrows, reads, and purchases. There is no ambiguity in the titling, the books are only available individually or in this single collection, and the readers appreciate getting a steep discount on purchasing the books individually.

Given that what I'm doing is completely above board, not violating the ToS in any way, and is packaged much like print collections have been for a half century, if not longer, why make a new rule to wreck a strategy that is both working for the author and providing reader value?

Instead, I would like to see Amazon simply enforce the rules they've got, drop the ban hammer on scammers and stuffers, and other rather simple measures to keep out the bad actors.
You are making a good point, and I don't really want to see legitimate authors lose what has been a useful strategy. However, I also think the scammers will take books with bonus content and relabel them as box sets. Maybe that will be less appealing to readers. Maybe not. But is there a way to prevent this kind of modified scam without eliminating box sets?

I'm not sure how easy it would be to get the bots to do this, but one way might be to require common subject matter (for instance, all the books are in the same series) and that each component be a certain length. A bot won't be able to judge subject matter for books that aren't in a series but that might be related in some way (like all of an author's novels under a particular pen name), but at least if Amazon had a policy, a real human might look if there were enough complaints.

Of course, there are still anthologies--but they don't have as much reader appeal, so I'm not as worried about scammers using that avenue.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 02, 2018, 01:27:20 pm
Who's to say KU3 won't be coming July 1 once these stuffed books get properly labeled? ;)

Well, I guess there's a little hope buried in my heart, but I also know that anytime Amazon tweaks something, or shakes up KU, I end up losing. I get knocked back to making a couple of dollars, and have to build back up again as best I can. I only have some niche shorts in KU now, because nothing else I have works in the program. I was gradually building up to some nice money, considering what they were (not erotica), and then the September Sobbing happened. I haven't gotten back to where I was, and actually steadily decline.

But, if this works, and more is coming down the road, I'll be happy, because I have friends who are hurt by how this mess is going, and I want them to be able to compete against real authors, not botted SEO scams.

I believe some of these scammers will go to greater extremes under the new rules. They'll try to hide extra content in books with no TOC heading and put ten lines of space between paragraphs to inflate their page count. An extension of what they're doing now. These tricks will become more obvious, more annoying to readers, and reportable to Amazon.

I'm sure some will go to the extra work, but will it gain them enough to be worth it? The majority of them aren't going after legitimate readers, they're paying click farms to bot them up in the ranks. It's expensive to stay on top and get bonuses, lots of bots and ads to run. Make it harder to make the big bucks, and many of them will move on.

Don't forget, a lot of these folks aren't like us, aren't writing because they love telling stories. They're SEO scammers out to make the easy money. Warrior Forum types, looking for that mythical passive income that will make them millionaires in a week sorts of things. They don't want too many real readers, because those people don't want to read 3K KENPC books full of junk.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 02, 2018, 01:33:50 pm
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 02, 2018, 01:40:59 pm
.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 02, 2018, 01:43:53 pm
@P.J. Post

Present it as a bona fide box set and I think you will be fine. As in clearly indicated in the cover, title, blurb.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 02, 2018, 01:55:16 pm
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...

Dude, this is the cruelest tease ever!

"I know what all your presents are. They're really ... striking. I'm not saying you won't like them. I mean, you might not. But I think you will. Probably. Do you like orange? I'm not saying they *are* orange, but orange might have something to do with them. They could be orange. Orange adjacent. Well, some people might call it puce. Colors, you know -- it's hard to say. And the shape. No, I'm just not going to go there. Can't wait for tomorrow, though. Your face when you open them -- hooboy! Yep, can't wait. That reminds me, do we have a fire extinguisher?" - David on Christmas Eve
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Usedtoposthere on June 02, 2018, 02:06:05 pm
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...
I think I may have mentioned this before, but I love you.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 02, 2018, 02:21:35 pm
What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something.

The only thing that happened over the past week is Amazon's TOS clarification on bonus material. Or did I miss something?

A couple months ago erotica rankings disappeared and reappeared a week later.

For the past two months in a row, many authors had KENP pages removed from their accounts and received threating notices. (Take deep breaths before checking your mail June 10-11 when the new round begins).

Random Amazon page layouts have been shifting back and forth for over a month now.

Another round of reviews disappearing and reappearing occurred recently. (Did they amend their TOS regarding ARCs? I don't recall.)

The AMS dash reports it'll be down for nine hours June 9.

The above could be clues to something big coming down the road.   

Tiffanygate and Cockygate are separate issues (from Amazon itself, though both are occurring on Zon's platform).


Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: levz on June 02, 2018, 03:00:53 pm
"I know what all your presents are. They're really ... striking. I'm not saying you won't like them. I mean, you might not. But I think you will. Probably. Do you like orange? I'm not saying they *are* orange, but orange might have something to do with them. They could be orange. Orange adjacent. Well, some people might call it puce. Colors, you know -- it's hard to say. And the shape. No, I'm just not going to go there. Can't wait for tomorrow, though. Your face when you open them -- hooboy! Yep, can't wait. That reminds me, do we have a fire extinguisher?" - David on Christmas Eve

LOL.  That made me laugh.  :)

Still, I'm glad to see the new verbiage Amazon's now made even more explicit and look forward to seeing any of these new/extra changes David's hinted are coming up. 
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 02, 2018, 03:02:17 pm
Still, I'm glad to see the new verbiage Amazon's now made even more explicit and look forward to seeing any of these new/extra changes David's hinted are coming up.

"Developments in this matter" would be more accurate than "changes." I wish I could be more explicit, but I can't.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 02, 2018, 03:31:23 pm
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...

No, David. You can't do this. I'm relaunching my pen name over the next three months. If it's going to be a turbulent time, I might wait.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 02, 2018, 03:38:42 pm
No, David. You can't do this. I'm relaunching my pen name over the next three months. If it's going to be a turbulent time, I might wait.

I'm in the same boat. Not worried. I don't have special knowledge of what Amazon might do, but I'm not worried about that side of things. No one knows whatever the hell Amazon might do but there's no reason to worry more than your usual base level of worry.

Now, if I was a stuffer or clickfarmer or review purchaser or whatever, I might be a little twitchy.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 02, 2018, 03:49:42 pm
I'm in the same boat. Not worried. I don't have special knowledge of what Amazon might do, but I'm not worried about that side of things. No one knows whatever the hell Amazon might do but there's no reason to worry more than your usual base level of worry.

Now, if I was a stuffer or clickfarmer or review purchaser or whatever, I might be a little twitchy.

I'm not a stuffer, a clickfarmer, or a review purchaser, and I've always played by the rules, but after the rank stripping, the page culling, and the history of KU poop-ups after every change - I'm more than twitchy - I'm bricking it because I just don't trust amazon.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 02, 2018, 04:14:11 pm
I don't want to give the mods too much work to do this weekend, so forgive me for being somewhat enigmatic.

Let me just say this. What's happened over the last day/week, this isn't the end of something. It's the start of something. Many things are in motion, and we'll see how they all play out. I'm aware of some of the pieces in play, but I don't know what the end result will be. I have my theories, and my hopes, not necessarily identical.

I think the next month or two will be interesting...

Wow. Now I need a tranquilizer, I may not make it another few weeks!

Oh, well. Going to continue in my efforts to get all my stuff not in KU wide, and some of it in print. If KU settles down and looks more friendly, I might release a new book in, see how it goes. I've got a while before I need to think about that.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 02, 2018, 06:06:21 pm
So I'm of two minds. Let's say I have an erotica pen name. A lot of money from that channel comes from bundles. Meaning, I say up front this is a bundle of shorts. That should be fine right? Second, My other pen names (aka mysteries) will only have the one novel, plus a bonus chapter or two from other books. In both cases I'm in the clear correct?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 02, 2018, 06:48:42 pm
So I'm of two minds. Let's say I have an erotica pen name. A lot of money from that channel comes from bundles. Meaning, I say up front this is a bundle of shorts. That should be fine right? Second, My other pen names (aka mysteries) will only have the one novel, plus a bonus chapter or two from other books. In both cases I'm in the clear correct?

You'll be fine. Just make sure your bonus chapters follow the 10% guideline (of the titled book, not 10% of another book your catalog).
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 02, 2018, 07:49:12 pm
You'll be fine. Just make sure your bonus chapters follow the 10% guideline (of the titled book, not 10% of another book your catalog).

That's what I figured. I do have romance pen names where I would add a bonus book in the back, simply because everyone else would do it. I have no problem changing that policy going forward.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 02, 2018, 09:19:26 pm
"...and other stories."

I'm with the person who said all we'll see is a title change, nothing more. They'll turn everything into boxed sets.

Tia Siren is already trying this. It's just a parenthesis added to the title.



Link removed. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 02, 2018, 09:53:55 pm
Tia Siren is already trying this. It's just a parenthesis added to the title.



Link removed. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)

And we're all slanderous fools out to hurt readers. Give me a [expletive]ing break, Tia.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 02, 2018, 10:47:15 pm
You are making a good point, and I don't really want to see legitimate authors lose what has been a useful strategy. However, I also think the scammers will take books with bonus content and relabel them as box sets. Maybe that will be less appealing to readers. Maybe not. But is there a way to prevent this kind of modified scam without eliminating box sets?

Require all books inside to be listed on the cover?

This will obviously be a problem for the multi-author box sets, especially the ones with 10+ books inside. And would likely limit the number which can be in them.

But it would point out to the reader exactly what is inside.

KDP could take it one step further, and for box sets have another section where title and author of each book inside has to be listed, and this has to agree with the titles on the cover. This would also allow them to list the books on the product page, perhaps even before the blurb.

For normal box sets with 3 books in them, this wouldn't be an imposition. It might make huge box sets be re-thought by those doing the work.

And it makes what's in the book totally obvious to those looking at the product page.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 02, 2018, 11:25:03 pm
Well. If people call it a compilation and list the books in the TOC... I don't see what the problem is. Like, if Tia Siren does that? So what? She's obeying the rules as laid out by Amazon.

I feel like Amazon got pestered about bonus books, put something in as a "there there" pat on the head "see we did something! loook!" knowing that it could easily be skirted by a simple addition of a few words to covers/titles, which kinda makes me feel like they don't really GAF.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 01:22:24 am
Well. If people call it a compilation and list the books in the TOC... I don't see what the problem is. Like, if Tia Siren does that? So what? She's obeying the rules as laid out by Amazon.

I feel like Amazon got pestered about bonus books, put something in as a "there there" pat on the head "see we did something! loook!" knowing that it could easily be skirted by a simple addition of a few words to covers/titles, which kinda makes me feel like they don't really GAF.

We're going to find out pretty quickly if Amazon's rules mean anything or not. If stuffers can just add (Collection) to the title of all their stuffed books then the rule is a sham.

This is why I said we don't need new rules when people were advocating for a KENPC limit of 1000. We just need Amazon to enforce the ones they already have. If they have no interest in proper enforcement, then it doesn't matter if they bring in 20 new rules.

It's an early test, and I'm interested to see what happens next.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jack Krenneck on June 03, 2018, 01:33:14 am
Amazon's notice made a special point about prompt compliance to qualify for All Star Bonuses. They didn't have to mention that. So it reads like a preemptive legal/PR thing to me. In other words, if someone loses money and kicks up a fuss Amazon can respond with "You were warned. Specifically."

So it seems promising to me. But time will tell.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 01:44:31 am
Amazon's notice made a special point about prompt compliance to qualify for All Star Bonuses. They didn't have to mention that. So it reads like a preemptive legal/PR thing to me. In other words, if someone loses money and kicks up a fuss Amazon can respond with "You were warned. Specifically."

So it seems promising to me. But time will tell.

I find that reassuring and worrying at the same time. Reassuring that they specifically said that All Stars are on the line for June onwards if people don't immediately comply. Worrying that they felt the need to say that (should be on the line anyway) and, a bigger concern, that perhaps Amazon are only going to look at who is getting All Stars and not engage in a wider sweep.

I mean, that's better than nothing but perhaps a sign this is more about PR than fixing the problem.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AuthorX on June 03, 2018, 02:24:30 am
The issue with the just adding "Collection" to a new release should be a non-issue, because there is a rule that already exists that should counteract that:

Duplicate Content

The author cited above is stuffing her new release with old books that are already in KDP. If she were releasing a new book and stuffing with with a collection of unseen books, would anyone here care? Of course not... But she's still breaking the old rule with her book packed with duplicate content.

I think Amazon is really trying to give authors a chance. They understand that people want to write six books series and then release box set of that series and have them all in KDP select without flagging them for duplicate content.

But they REALLY need to start enforcing the duplicate content rule or book stuffers simply will not learn. They'll just add "collection" to their title and pretend that their new release is somehow a collection just because they stuffed a bunch of old books in it.

This is how these guys work... Amazon releases a positive policy that only seeks to help the community, but some people try to twist it to their advantage. Don't attack Tia Siren for releasing a new book that's part of a collection. Attack her because she released a new book and stuffed it will duplicate content that's already in KDP select. It is in no way a real collection and violates the duplicate content policy.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 03, 2018, 02:31:12 am
Several more of the stuffed romances in the Top 100 now have Compilation, Collection, or Bundle in the title and on the cover (sometimes in tiny lettering). This appears to be the official Mastermind strategy going forward. Hope Amazon proves it's a poor one. This group is not giving up the bundles unless Amazon brings out the banhammer. Their entire business model depends on 3000 pages volumes disguised as single title books as much as possible.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 91831 on June 03, 2018, 02:36:08 am
... My other pen names (aka mysteries) will only have the one novel, plus a bonus chapter or two from other books. In both cases I'm in the clear correct?

See I wouldn't have said a chapter from another book by the same author was 'bonus content' I thought that was standard.  Trad books I've bought since I was a teen have often done that and never labelled it as a bonus.  I personally just thought it was with regards to extra books/additional stories/deleted scenes...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 02:52:09 am
I agree that Amazon didn't need new rules to tackle stuffing but I also hoped the simplification of those rules would help with enforcement.

I've blogged about Tia Siren's attempt at a loophole:

I think this is a crucial moment, and a real test for Amazon. If it lets this BS fly, then we know this whole thing was a sham. I think all honest authors should be asking Amazon publicly and loudly if they will apply their new rules.

I should also point out she has only bothered doing this for her new release... and that she is a Kindle All Star, because of course she is!
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 04:38:39 am
Here's why Amazon doesn't need new rules, it just needs to enforce old ones. Tia Siren is triple spacing all her books to artificially increase page count:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dew3VFGW4AAqgQy?format=jpg&name=small)




Post edited--but discussion of formatting used to artificially increase page count is allowed as germain to the discussion.  --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: D-C on June 03, 2018, 04:52:55 am
The answer is simple: donít allow duplicated content in KU.

 KDP have no interest in fixing this or any of the enormous issues with KU. Thatís the devil we know. If we want to play in KU and sell on Amazon, we basically have to agree to all these shady tactics and the way Amazon wield their ban hammer. Theyíve had ample opportunity to fix KU over the past few years and havenít. Itís time to push to iBooks, Kobo, etc.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 04:56:11 am
Amazon customers aren't fungible. They won't move to Kobo or iBooks just because we start pushing those retailers. And I'm not prepared to hand off the Kindle Store to scammers just yet...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: D-C on June 03, 2018, 05:00:35 am
And I'm not prepared to hand off the Kindle Store to scammers just yet...

The problem is, Amazon are.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Not any more on June 03, 2018, 05:02:19 am
Here's why Amazon doesn't need new rules, it just needs to enforce old ones. Tia Siren is triple spacing all her books to artificially increase page count:

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dew3VFGW4AAqgQy?format=jpg&name=small)

Edited quoted post.  --Betsy/KB Mod

If this works, then everything Amazon has been telling us about how KENP is calculated is a lie. I can't imagine that actually works. By that standard, I should boost my font to 14pt also, and use 1.5 spacing, and a bunch of other tricks that wouldn't be near as noticeable or damage the readability.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 03, 2018, 05:06:14 am
Yep, as predicted the word 'compilation' is springing up all over the place, but do they realise that they can't use duplicate material in KU, and will amazon actually care enough to sort through these sets?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 03, 2018, 05:23:38 am
If this works, then everything Amazon has been telling us about how KENP is calculated is a lie. I can't imagine that actually works. By that standard, I should boost my font to 14pt also, and use 1.5 spacing, and a bunch of other tricks that wouldn't be near as noticeable or damage the readability.

This was removed in the first KU2 fix, when they downgraded KENPC by a third for lots of people.


As I understand it now, no sort of spacing or font size has any baring on KENPC. And hasn't for a long time.

Yep, as predicted the word 'compilation' is springing up all over the place, but do they realise that they can't use duplicate material in KU, and will amazon actually care enough to sort through these sets?

I wonder if Amazon have actually triggered this, in order to have something to target?

If I was Amazon, I'd have been this devious. Set out a word where anyone trying to get around the new rule would use in a hurry. Target the word, and scrutinize the book it's used on. Catchee monkey. Nuke monkey.

But are Amazon this devious? Probably not. Or they'd have caught them during re-submission.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DonovanJeremiah on June 03, 2018, 05:39:12 am
One thing that strikes me about amazon is that they don't just burn at the source. If behavior is allowed to go 'unchecked', how do we know it's unchecked? Or can we assume that amazon is building their case. Watching what the stuffers are doing. Compiling their list to hit with the next round of adjustments.

Just like the guy they went after for clickfarming? Surely they didn't uncover the fraud and go after him in the same week. Surely, they would have built their case, double checked their numbers and then lowered the boom in one fell swoop.

Or am I being cutely naive?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PearlEarringLady on June 03, 2018, 05:49:26 am
If I was Amazon, I'd have been this devious. Set out a word where anyone trying to get around the new rule would use in a hurry. Target the word, and scrutinize the book it's used on. Catchee monkey. Nuke monkey.

But are Amazon this devious? Probably not. Or they'd have caught them during re-submission.

I think they're not that devious lol. But what they have done is to draw a clear distinction between a single title book, with up to 10% extra material, and multi-book compilations/collections/whatever. Previously there was this swamp in the middle with loads of books that looked exactly like single titles but were stuffed to the gunnels with other things.

So now they have an easy way to treat the two differently. If they should be so minded. Now it may be that all they're looking for is a way for *readers* to spot the difference between a stuffed book and non-stuffed. But it also makes it easier for *Amazon* to spot, too, if they should want to (say) ban collections/compilations/box sets altogether.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 03, 2018, 05:50:00 am
Maybe they should go back to the old KU 1.0 system, but have a tiered borrow payment.

10 page minimum for a payout.
10-50 pages = 50Ę
51-100 pages = $1.00
101-200 pages = $1.50
200+ pages = $2.00.

That lets people write shorts, novellas, etc., and caps the payout like it used to be, except for novels. You'd see more shorts, like in the old days, but for 50Ę a pop, the shorts wouldn't be eating all of the pot.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 03, 2018, 05:58:19 am
Maybe they should go back to the old KU 1.0 system, but have a tiered borrow payment.

10 page minimum for a payout.
10-50 pages = 50Ę
51-100 pages = $1.00
101-200 pages = $1.50
200+ pages = $2.00.

That lets people write shorts, novellas, etc., and caps the payout like it used to be, except for novels. You'd see more shorts, like in the old days, but for 50Ę a pop, the shorts wouldn't be eating all of the pot.
How would that stop people from stuffing to get the higher payout?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 06:05:12 am
If this works, then everything Amazon has been telling us about how KENP is calculated is a lie. I can't imagine that actually works. By that standard, I should boost my font to 14pt also, and use 1.5 spacing, and a bunch of other tricks that wouldn't be near as noticeable or damage the readability.

I have an idea about how they are doing it but not going to detail it for obvious reasons.

The key point is that it works. You may have noticed that stuffers are putting in less books now. It's 3 or 4 or 5, where it used to be 8 or 9 or 10. Same books, still hitting 2500+ in the page count (before they wipe that off by pairing with an unstuffed print edition).
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 03, 2018, 06:17:37 am
One thing about the tiered system, there would only be a $2 per book maximum. Not a lot of profit in that, when you have to pay click farms and bot firms. Ten books would get you two bucks. One book would get you two bucks. Figure out how much extra work there's going to be in making even more titles, that only get you two bucks.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 06:28:45 am
We can talk about systems, but Amazon is yet to demonstrate the will to tackle this comprehensively.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 03, 2018, 06:31:05 am
I have a couple of questions about the TOS and metadata guidelines, etc. Please humor me, as I am most definitely NOT an evil mastermind, so my brain doesn't think that way.

Question 1: Shouldn't a title be, well a title? As in all in the same place and all in the same, or very similar, font size? If you are naming your book "Love Next Door (A Romance Compilation), then shouldn't that title be one cohesive string of words on the book's cover? And not, for reference sake, LOVE NEXT DOOR as the title in large descriptive font and then up in the corner of the book in tiny little print "and Romance Compilation". When I say tiny little print--I mean it! How is that considered to be a part of the title?

Question 2: About using print books in order to show a lesser number of pages for the Kindle version. Don't paperbacks and the Kindle versions have to match up in order to be... well, matched? Surely there is something in the behemoth rule book that says that, right? How can they match a single book to a stuffed one that is, I don't know, ten times longer?

There are so many ways that Amazon could stop this, but truthfully, the easiest would be to come up with unambiguous language regarding Duplicate Content. With any hope, that will be next.

And for those who wonder, I no longer have a horse in the race, I was one of the innocent ones forced out by "illegitimate page reads". And yet, the scammers and stuffers live on...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 03, 2018, 06:31:26 am
Honestly, the only surefire way to fix things is to say content can only be in KU one time. I have omnibuses in KU, but the real appeal to an omnibus for me is audio. Just keep the omnibuses on Amazon but don't allow them in KU. I do think this is where things will end up. How soon? I have no idea. I do find it interesting that they're looking to shake things up signicantly at this time of year, though. I guess we will know in a few weeks if more changes are coming (which I'm hearing whispers about but nothing concrete). 'Tis the season.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 03, 2018, 06:34:54 am
One thing about the tiered system, there would only be a $2 per book maximum. Not a lot of profit in that, when you have to pay click farms and bot firms. Ten books would get you two bucks. One book would get you two bucks. Figure out how much extra work there's going to be in making even more titles, that only get you two bucks.
Depending on the payout, a scammer might make about $13.50 on 3,000 pages, so $2.00 is a pretty substantial drop. It removes most of the incentive to stuff. Regular novels will all be in the $1.50 or $2.00 tiers (depending on how pages are calculated). It also gives people a clear idea of what they'll be paid per unit when they sign up, rather than long after the fact.

Someone could still use click farms and bots to inflate payout, so I guess the question is whether or not that's economically feasible. None of us probably know how much those practices cost.

I actually thought counting pages read was an interesting innovation, but since Amazon can't actually do it accurately, it makes sense to return to some kind of pay per borrow model. A tiered model avoids incentivizing the creation of scamphlets.

Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 03, 2018, 06:36:11 am
We can talk about systems, but Amazon is yet to demonstrate the will to tackle this comprehensively.

They won't devote resources to enforcement, that's the number one problem. So modifying the system to make certain things impossible would be an improvement. It's like the difference between a speed limit sign and a speed bump. The speed limit requires someone to sit there with a radar gun and then hand out fines. The speed bump destroys cars that go over it too fast.

Since Amazon only invests (weakly) in speed bumps, let's see what better speed bumps we could install.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 07:38:39 am
Yeah I get that. Like the 1000 KENPC ceiling isn't an ideal solution, but it would make things a good deal better. As would several other solutions which have been mooted.

I'm taking a slightly different tack in that I think we have a pretty unique moment right now to affect change, and if that's possible, I'd like to take advantage of that window as much as possible, rather than with a half-measure (which would undeniably be an improvement, but I feel these guys would just pivot...).
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: letsgetanonymous on June 03, 2018, 07:41:27 am
As a legitimate author that routinely stuffed, this is very concerning for me.

Fact is, this is going to hurt authors like me way more than the scammers you guys get up in arms about. I write my own books and I work really hard to do it. I've built a fanbase over years and I actively give those fans what they want. When KU1 hit, I had to find a new way to stay competitive, and including one or two bonus books at the end of a new release was one way to stay afloat. That became the new norm, and I just continued the practice. Readers got used to it and nobody complains anymore, and sometimes I get readers saying that they like getting free content (big shock there).

Unfortunately, I'm going to stop stuffing my books, which means I'm going to take something like a 1/3rd paycut. That means my family makes less money. That means my hard work on every release makes less money. I don't have ghostwriters churning this stuff out for me. I'm not "triple spacing" my files or whatever David's complaining about now. I have never, ever used a link scam / click to back scam. I'm a real, hardworking author trying to make a living, and I used book stuffing to stay competitive. I don't get bonuses every month and I'm not making millions (far from it) but I am making enough to support myself and my family.

Every time this board gets up in arms about something and forces Amazon to make sweeping changes, WE ALL MAKE LESS MONEY.

KU2 was a paycut. This bookstuffing thing is going to be a paycut. The rate IS NOT GOING TO INCREASE, which is the only way this could be a good thing. Now I have to try and find a new strategy, one that may be less effective. And you know what? The scammers are still going to keep doing what they're doing, because they don't care in the end.

When are we going to be happy with what we have? Petitioning Amazon, getting up in arms, that will never solve anything. I don't know how many times we have to go through this before you all realize that Amazon always makes it harder and worse for us, never better.

The scammers will never go away, no matter how much you beg Amazon. They will keep selling. In the end, the only people you're hurting are people like me, legitimate authors just trying to keep up.

Anyway, that's all. I'm posting this anonymously because this board has a loooong history of brigading and I'm afraid to use my real author name.  I don't want to risk my career, so normally I'm quiet, but this is getting absurd. I just want everyone to stop and think about what they're doing, and really ask: has pushing Amazon for big changes ever actually benefitted anyone other than Amazon itself? If not, why do we keep doing it?

I hope I'm wrong and the rate goes up. I hope I'm wrong and the scammers slowly disappear. History tells me I'm not wrong, though.



Note that this member account has been deleted.  Secondary accounts in general are not allowed here (see Forum Decorum (https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,36.msg75.html#msg75)) and secondary accounts created for the purpose of making some posts anonymously are definitely not allowed.  Members *are* allowed to have a single anonymous account, if that's how they wish to engage here.  Either be anonymous or not, but do not create a second account to be anonymous, as it is not fair to the members who do post publicly under their author names and accept the risks therein. Also note that if we discover a member or a member's books have been attacked on Amazon as a result of posts here, and we can identify the culprit, that person will be banned permanently. --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 03, 2018, 07:45:24 am
Dude, you realize your the part of the problem right? And that you are cheating the authors on this forum? And you want sympathy.

LOL.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: letsgetanonymous on June 03, 2018, 07:48:46 am
Dude, you realize your the part of the problem right? And that you are cheating the authors on this forum? And you want sympathy.

LOL.

You're going to make it waaaay worse for all these authors. All because of this agenda you have.

I'm asking, when has making Amazon put in place big, sweeping changes EVER helped authors?

It only benefits Amazon.



Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 03, 2018, 07:49:50 am
Unfortunately, I'm going to stop stuffing my books
....
KU2 was a paycut.
:o
The only way KU2 was a paycut, was if you write short.
If you put 3 original new shorts in a book to make it up to novel size, this is not stuffing. This is bundling. It gets recommended all the time.
But if you're putting out 1 new story, with several old ones after it, then yes, you're stuffing, and sorry, but ....
In the latter case, all you need to do is shift strategy to only bundling new stories. You'll take a hit, but in time you'll build it back.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 03, 2018, 07:53:55 am
Geez guys, get a room!
I hear the patter of mod feet.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: letsgetanonymous on June 03, 2018, 07:56:47 am
Geez guys, get a room!
I hear the patter of mod feet.

I  still stand by my original post. And KU2 was a paycut-- there are a ton of blog posts out there doing the math, even for authors writing long, up to like the 100k+ range, and even then it barely breaks even until you're getting up past where most authors are writing, even in the high wordcount genres.


Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 03, 2018, 08:02:49 am
I still stand by my original post. And KU2 was a paycut-- there are a ton of blog posts out there doing the math, even for authors writing long, up to like the 100k+ range, and even then it barely breaks even until you're getting up past where most authors are writing, even in the high wordcount genres.

The only way I can see that happening is if readers are not reading the whole book. If so, that's a content problem, not a KU problem. Full book reads on 70k+ books pays more than KU1 did.


Edited quoted post.  --Betsy

Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 03, 2018, 08:06:42 am
KU2 was a pay cut for a lot of us. I wrote novellas and my income dropped by over half, but I didn't cheat to get my share of the pot back. Instead, I wrote longer, put out less but made more income that way and built it back up again.

I think it's a little rich that you admit to taking money from other authors who have a family of their own to support, and yet, you expect sympathy because your income is going to drop now that you've been caught.

There is no legitimate stuffing - it's stuffing.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 03, 2018, 08:10:49 am
I wonder if this "legitimate" stuffer ever worried about paying their ghostwriters more than a measly one cent per word. Their plates were probably thin while poor miss (or mr.) stuffed carried a hundred thousand from Amazon in a duffel buffer bag.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 03, 2018, 08:20:19 am
If this works, then everything Amazon has been telling us about how KENP is calculated is a lie. I can't imagine that actually works. By that standard, I should boost my font to 14pt also, and use 1.5 spacing, and a bunch of other tricks that wouldn't be near as noticeable or damage the readability.

Do we know that this is an attempt to increase earnings and not just bad formatting or an artifact of using the preview or look inside or whatever was used for the screen grab? Because, frankly, I saw formatting like this for years before KU existed.  Maybe this is a naive question, but I thought I'd ask. :)

And setting the font size shouldn't matter, should it? --Kindle owners set the default font and size on their devices.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 03, 2018, 08:22:26 am
Geez guys, get a room!
I hear the patter of mod feet.

And you would be right....

Folks, let's knock off the personal comments.  The folks making them know better.  I'd hate to have to start banning people from the thread, putting them on post approval or have to lock the thread

David, I thought you said you didn't want us to work too hard this weekend.  >:(

Betsy
KB Admin
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AuthorX on June 03, 2018, 08:32:13 am
As a legitimate author that routinely stuffed, this is very concerning for me.

Fact is, this is going to hurt authors like me way more than the scammers you guys get up in arms about. I write my own books and I work really hard to do it. I've built a fanbase over years and I actively give those fans what they want. When KU1 hit, I had to find a new way to stay competitive, and including one or two bonus books at the end of a new release was one way to stay afloat. That became the new norm, and I just continued the practice. Readers got used to it and nobody complains anymore, and sometimes I get readers saying that they like getting free content (big shock there).

Unfortunately, I'm going to stop stuffing my books, which means I'm going to take something like a 1/3rd paycut. That means my family makes less money. That means my hard work on every release makes less money. I don't have ghostwriters churning this stuff out for me. I'm not "triple spacing" my files or whatever David's complaining about now. I have never, ever used a link scam / click to back scam. I'm a real, hardworking author trying to make a living, and I used book stuffing to stay competitive. I don't get bonuses every month and I'm not making millions (far from it) but I am making enough to support myself and my family.

Every time this board gets up in arms about something and forces Amazon to make sweeping changes, WE ALL MAKE LESS MONEY.

KU2 was a paycut. This bookstuffing thing is going to be a paycut. The rate IS NOT GOING TO INCREASE, which is the only way this could be a good thing. Now I have to try and find a new strategy, one that may be less effective. And you know what? The scammers are still going to keep doing what they're doing, because they don't care in the end.

When are we going to be happy with what we have? Petitioning Amazon, getting up in arms, that will never solve anything. I don't know how many times we have to go through this before you all realize that Amazon always makes it harder and worse for us, never better.

The scammers will never go away, no matter how much you beg Amazon. They will keep selling. In the end, the only people you're hurting are people like me, legitimate authors just trying to keep up.

Anyway, that's all. I'm posting this anonymously because this board has a loooong history of brigading and I'm afraid to use my real author name.  I don't want to risk my career, so normally I'm quiet, but this is getting absurd. I just want everyone to stop and think about what they're doing, and really ask: has pushing Amazon for big changes ever actually benefitted anyone other than Amazon itself? If not, why do we keep doing it?

I hope I'm wrong and the rate goes up. I hope I'm wrong and the scammers slowly disappear. History tells me I'm not wrong, though.


Hopefully, I can offer you some  constructive feedback.

I hear what you're saying. Offering bonus books definitely leads to more income, but it also gives you an unfair advantage over other authors. Essentially, you are getting more page reads for producing less content and if you are stuffing your books with books that are already in KDP select, you're often getting paid multiple times for reads on the same book, which isn't allowed. A non-bookstuffing author would have to produce twice as much content or more as someone who stuffs every book with extra books.

Is that fair? No, of course not.

It's unfortunate that your family will take a little bit of a pay cut by not being able to book stuff, but it's equally as unfortunate that all the non-bookstuffers aren't getting as much money as you simply because they're not uploading duplicate content.

There's only two routes to make things fair. Not allow book stuffing, or everyone book stuffs. If every author stuffed their books, Amazon would be forced to drop the payout, and you'd lose money either way. Essentially, the only reason you're making more money by book stuffing now is because *the vast majority of authors don't do it*. For a healthy and fair store, Amazon has to put some limitations on book stuffers to make sure that KU payouts are fair and that no author has an advantage over another other than writing better content and marketing their content better.

Don't look at a book stuffing ban as a loss of well-deserved income, but look back and be happy that you were able to gain so much extra money while it was still allowed. So long as Amazon enforces their new rules, you will now be on an equal playing field with every author in your genre. You can and will earn just as much as you did before if you can write harder, faster, and produce better content. You can do it if you put your best foot forth. Don't give up just because tricks to obtain more for less are getting tightened up on. Look at it as an opportunity to up your writing game and challenge yourself to do better than everyone else that you'll be on a level playing field with from now on.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 03, 2018, 08:47:39 am
Ok, threadlock commencing in 3...2...1...

Too many personal comments.

I expect to reopen in a few hours after discussion in the smoke filled Admin caves.  PM me if you have any questions.

EDIT:  We've been pruning and discussing.  The goal *is* to reopen the thread.  Thank you for your patience.

EDIT2:  And, we're open...please keep it civil and on topic.  Next threadlock will be permanent.

Betsy
KB Admin
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 04, 2018, 12:20:15 am
Worth pointing out whatever happens this week will be the true test of the new policy. Amazon hasn't had time to react or clarify anything due to the weekend. The new compilation loophole, if it exists, won't save the megastuffers from consequences outside Amazon either. New Twitter accounts are firing up as we speak from the GetLoud movement to spotlight stuffers. Amazon is sure to review the Tia Siren book since it's been reported dozens of times already.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PearlEarringLady on June 04, 2018, 12:28:25 am
Worth pointing out whatever happens this week will be the true test of the new policy. Amazon hasn't had time to react or clarify anything due to the weekend. The new compilation loophole, if it exists, won't save the megastuffers from consequences outside Amazon either. New Twitter accounts are firing up as we speak from the GetLoud movement to spotlight stuffers. Amazon is sure to review the Tia Siren book since it's been reported dozens of times already.

It may be that the TOS changes are just laying the groundwork for bigger changes down the line, say on 1st July. It's worthy of note, I think, that Amazon has said explicitly that it expects compliance before the June All-star bonuses are dished out. So nothing significant may happen before then.

What is the GetLoud movement?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 04, 2018, 12:47:40 am
It may be that the TOS changes are just laying the groundwork for bigger changes down the line, say on 1st July. It's worthy of note, I think, that Amazon has said explicitly that it expects compliance before the June All-star bonuses are dished out. So nothing significant may happen before then.
Could be Amazon is trying to get people to self-change, and July 1, or Aug 1, are when planned enforcement's no-one is going to like will kick in if they dont.
The whole thing could be detected at the time you upload a book. They already look for spelling mistakes. Wouldn't take much programming to check for how much bonus is included.
In fact, I'd like to see this done.
"Your book was not accepted due to excessive bonus material being found. Please remove the offending material and submit again."
And do it 3 times in a row, and the book is locked and banned permanently.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 04, 2018, 12:57:28 am
It may be that the TOS changes are just laying the groundwork for bigger changes down the line, say on 1st July. It's worthy of note, I think, that Amazon has said explicitly that it expects compliance before the June All-star bonuses are dished out. So nothing significant may happen before then.

What is the GetLoud movement?

This is very possible.

#GetLoud is the hashtag on social media covering most of the book stuffing issues. It's an outgrowth of the activity around Cockygate and Tiffanygate.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: HillOnLong on June 04, 2018, 01:08:02 am
So bonus content was allowed all along. Who could have guessed?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DaniO on June 04, 2018, 01:43:05 am
So bonus content was allowed all along. Who could have guessed?

What do you mean? We all knew bonus content was allowed but most people assumed that meant a short story or a chapter of the next book. Amazon have confirmed that now by saying 10% or label it as a boxed set, which means people sticking tons of books in one file and pretending it was one title are no longer allowed to do so.

I think the formatting is interesting. I wonder when Amazon does react will it claim back money paid already?

Three books do not usually =2500 pages unless the books are an epic length. If they are knowingly inflating page count, could that be seen as fraud?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 02:56:29 am
So bonus content was allowed all along. Who could have guessed?

Yeah except for the part where Amazon has repeatedly and unambigiously stated in writing - including in court papers dude - that it is against the TOS.

Try again.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 03:01:45 am
In case anyone missed it, Chance Carter's new release has been yanked down by Amazon.

He said in a video to his readers that he will be removing all bonus content from his books and that he expects other authors to be doing likewise.

This is only beginning.


Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: C. Gold on June 04, 2018, 03:27:40 am
This is a good first step. I'd also like to see a limitation on how many times a particular book in Select can be included in a bundle in Select (like only once). Because that will probably be the next step they take to try and get double plus dipping page reads.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 04:26:45 am
Views my differ on this, but my personal opinion is that Amazon is getting serious about this and we'll see some major developments soon. The bonus content rules are getting all the attention but Amazon has also quietly redrawn a lot of metadata guidelines too to make all those much more explicit and less vague. And even in the bonus content rules you can see (what looks like, IMO) Amazon thinking ahead to what the next stuffer scam might be, and trying to close those loopholes in advance.

For example, if a hypothetical bad boy author called Pants Sharter had stuffed 10 books in one, meaning the 10% sample contained an entire book, he could, in theory, have argued that having this KU book up somewhere like BookFunnel was legit because it was part of that 10% sample. So Amazon are now making it abundantly clear that: (a) bonus content can only be 10%, (b) any "sample" displayed outside Amazon can only be 10%, and (c) any bonus content in KU books must also be exclusive.

Heading off future scams at the pass basically.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 04, 2018, 04:43:57 am
Mods: not sure why that link to news of Chance Carter's book being yanked by Amazon has been removed. Is there a list of mod-approved news sources I can consult?
Not consult, post. I found that link very interesting, and am glad I saw it.
It would be nice to know where the mines are placed. Several issues are a matter of continual links to new posts elsewhere, and knowing which ones can be linked to, and which ones not, would be useful.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DaniO on June 04, 2018, 04:57:46 am
I missed the link. :( I get that Kboards might not want the link posted here but did you post the link to Twitter, David?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 05:00:41 am
Pinned to the top of my Twitter feed... which I guess I can't link to so you'll have to search for it yourself.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 04, 2018, 06:04:32 am
Here's the screenshot showing the quality notice, but the book is currently available.(I checked.)

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180604/6368528524e7e93494b409474fcbabad.jpg)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 06:07:31 am
I don't want to link to my Twitter again, but if you look at it you will see the screenshot. It was off sale yesterday.

This is why it's important to have actual confirmation of things, rather than just someone stating something. A screenshot, a news article, a social media posting - some written/visual confirmation clears up these kinds of confusions.

So, moving on, what appears to have happened is that Amazon yanked Chance Carter's book for about 18 hours I think? And in that timeframe he has uploaded a fresh version without the problematic competition, click to the end inducement, and stuffed books. It looks clean to me.

Although all his other books are all still stuffed and on sale so I don't know what Amazon is doing here.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 04, 2018, 06:12:32 am
Although all this other books are all still stuffed and on sale so I don't know what Amazon is doing here.
Whack-a-mole? Each book has to get hit with complaints in turn? It shouldn't be like that, but it would make sense, given Amazon's reactive nature.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 04, 2018, 06:24:53 am
Here's David's screenshot of the book's status from yesterday.

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20180604/9847ce9111d9ff63c8cb8a0bf67d9af2.jpg)

So from yesterday to today, the quality notice is still there but the book is available again.




EDIT:  Just a note to clarify--If germain to the topic on hand, posting a screenshot here of a publicly available page as a direct source for news is OK in most cases and would have been allowed in David's original post.  His tweet is not the news source, the screenshot is. If in doubt, ask us.  (I should have replaced the link with the screenshot in his post, it would have saved some confusion!)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ros_Jackson on June 04, 2018, 07:00:10 am
In terms of the timescales for enforcing this, Amazon hasn't sent me an email with notification of the changes to Bonus Content and Metadata terms - I only know about it from this board and other writer circles. The first step to enforcement will usually be informing authors through official channels such as their contact emails. Has anyone had an email about this yet? Have Amazon posted a blog?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 07:02:44 am
In terms of the timescales for enforcing this, Amazon hasn't sent me an email with notification of the changes to Bonus Content and Metadata terms - I only know about it from this board and other writer circles. The first step to enforcement will usually be informing authors through official channels such as their contact emails. Has anyone had an email about this yet? Have Amazon posted a blog?

They posted an announcement to the KDP Community Forum, which is often how they do such things. An email would be better of course: https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en

Slightly o/t but you'll notice there that the Metadata Guidelines were also changed. Some really, really welcome changes that could help clean up the store considerably and reduce other annoying things like title keyword stuffing and category squatting and so on.

IF enforced of course, which is the perma-necessary caveat.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Sam Rivers on June 04, 2018, 08:46:05 am
It sounds like scammers and stuffers are bad for the rest of us. One thing confuses me though. Is a stuffer also a scammer?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 04, 2018, 09:14:30 am
It sounds like scammers and stuffers are bad for the rest of us. One thing confuses me though. Is a stuffer also a scammer?

People define the word "scam" differently but for me at least it needs to be more than just cheating or general shadiness and should involve an element of fraud or deception.

I've seen stuffers (speaking generally about the infamous circle, rather than any individual) also engaging in:

*review manipulation
*mass gifting
*incentivized purchasing
*formatting cheats

as well as various other street team shenanigans and the like, all aimed at manipulating rank and reviews and social proof to make books seem much more popular and successful, to encourage borrows and impulse buys. Probably other stuff going on we don't even know about.

Up to you what you call it.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 04, 2018, 09:43:22 am
It sounds like scammers and stuffers are bad for the rest of us. One thing confuses me though. Is a stuffer also a scammer?
Motivation may make some difference. I can imagine someone who doesn't mean to do anything unethical getting into stuffing, at least to some degree, without realizing the problems with it. I'm not talking about someone stuffing a whole bunch of old stuff repetitively to get to 3,000 pages, even with short works. I'm talking about someone who included a fairly good amount of related additional content. Come to think of that, that could be a box set that wasn't labeled properly rather than stuffing.

Newbies often make mistakes because they don't have all the background. More experienced writers have less excuse.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ros_Jackson on June 04, 2018, 09:44:50 am
They posted an announcement to the KDP Community Forum, which is often how they do such things. An email would be better of course: https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en

Slightly o/t but you'll notice there that the Metadata Guidelines were also changed. Some really, really welcome changes that could help clean up the store considerably and reduce other annoying things like title keyword stuffing and category squatting and so on.

IF enforced of course, which is the perma-necessary caveat.
Thanks, good to know. They must know however what the open rate is on their KDP emails versus how many people read their blog, and I imagine the two vary a lot.

Mind you, the stuffers are probably a fraction of a percent of authors, so perhaps they don't need to make sure everyone knows how the rules have been clarified before bringing the ban hammer down?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 04, 2018, 10:11:27 am
Thanks, good to know. They must know however what the open rate is on their KDP emails versus how many people read their blog, and I imagine the two vary a lot.

Mind you, the stuffers are probably a fraction of a percent of authors, so perhaps they don't need to make sure everyone knows how the rules have been clarified before bringing the ban hammer down?

They should email TOS updates, but imagine how many clarifications inquires they'd receive in response (it's generated seven pages of speculation in this thread alone). So they went with Plan B, assuming active KDP indies would get the message.

Stuffers are a fraction of active KDP authors, but that probably translates into thousands of stuffed books and they dominate Top Lists in several genres. They're also funking-up other genres as they roam for broader audiences. If they can no longer stuff, they can no longer survive at their cherished $0.99 price-point. Their last hurrah will likely be boxed sets, but I doubt those will serve them very well. They're already retitling the stuffed books, and I'm sure (or hopeful) Amazon is tracking the situation.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: notenoughcoffee on June 04, 2018, 11:18:42 am
This is something I'm getting confused about.

I can think of numerous instances of big name authors putting out one large book with several books inside it. Koontz comes to mind. These are all previously released books in both print and ebook format.

What makes that acceptable, but adding previously released books at the back of a new book unacceptable? On the surface, to me, it seems the same. If you've read the older books, you're probably going to skip those. You got what you paid for - the new book - so you read that book, and ignore the rest. If you haven't read them, then as a reader, you get to feel good that you got something for free. The author is actually losing a sale, as now you're reading that book for free, vs buying it at .99 or 5.99 or whatever it's listed as. How are they making more money this way? The page reads are still the same for extra content - a bonus book at the end that's 200 pages is still going to be 200 pages read, regardless if it's read in the "stuffed" book or on it's own.

At least, that's how I, as a reader, would do/see things.

Now, I have nothing but two small novellas out, so I'm nowhere near an expert in self publishing, so maybe there's some nuance here that I'm just not getting.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 04, 2018, 11:58:35 am
This is something I'm getting confused about.

I can think of numerous instances of big name authors putting out one large book with several books inside it. Koontz comes to mind. These are all previously released books in both print and ebook format.

What makes that acceptable, but adding previously released books at the back of a new book unacceptable? On the surface, to me, it seems the same. If you've read the older books, you're probably going to skip those. You got what you paid for - the new book - so you read that book, and ignore the rest. If you haven't read them, then as a reader, you get to feel good that you got something for free. The author is actually losing a sale, as now you're reading that book for free, vs buying it at .99 or 5.99 or whatever it's listed as. How are they making more money this way? The page reads are still the same for extra content - a bonus book at the end that's 200 pages is still going to be 200 pages read, regardless if it's read in the "stuffed" book or on it's own.

At least, that's how I, as a reader, would do/see things.

Now, I have nothing but two small novellas out, so I'm nowhere near an expert in self publishing, so maybe there's some nuance here that I'm just not getting.

It no longer matters, really. Amazon has a new ToS that bans the use of bonus content. That renders moral/ethical arguments pointless.

It may be right. It may be wrong. But most people who used bonus books didn't care about that. They only cared what was allowed. They're no longer allowed. If that's enforced (we'll see), people will actually stop using bonus books.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 04, 2018, 01:01:21 pm

If that's enforced (we'll see), people will actually stop using bonus books.

In all likelihood, Amazon will depend on a certain amount of vigilantism by the author community to police the new 10% bonus content rule. It's a personal choice. I won't make it a hobby, but if I come across a new release blatantly violating the 10% rule, I will probably report it.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 04, 2018, 01:43:53 pm
I just checked and it seems as if the stuffer in question has unstuffed a couple of his books. No stuffing in the first couple on his author page. No link to the back. Just an offer for a free story at the end and a link off site.

ETA: The next book in the list appears to still be stuffed.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Rose Andrews on June 04, 2018, 02:15:49 pm
In all likelihood, Amazon will depend on a certain amount of vigilantism by the author community to police the new 10% bonus content rule. It's a personal choice. I won't make it a hobby, but if I come across a new release blatantly violating the 10% rule, I will probably report it.
I've been reporting the stuffed mail-order bride books for some time now so I'm happy to finally see Amazon stepping up. Not sure how much of a banhammer they'll bring down but it's better than nothing. I mean, [crap], not just from an author pov but as a reader I've gotten burned so many times by this crap.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Desert Rose on June 04, 2018, 02:35:54 pm
Could be Amazon is trying to get people to self-change, and July 1, or Aug 1, are when planned enforcement's no-one is going to like will kick in if they dont.
The whole thing could be detected at the time you upload a book. They already look for spelling mistakes. Wouldn't take much programming to check for how much bonus is included.
In fact, I'd like to see this done.
"Your book was not accepted due to excessive bonus material being found. Please remove the offending material and submit again."
And do it 3 times in a row, and the book is locked and banned permanently.
If they're going to do that, especially if there's any kind of punishment, then they need to offer more information than, "offending material." They need to tell you, at minimum, what percentages they're showing as main content vs bonus content (and an appeals process just in case their bot declares everything after chapter 50 bonus content in a 56 chapter book). An author with an extensive glossary or appendices in their fantasy novel, for example, could get dinged over Amazon counting those things as "bonus material" while the author considers them an integral part of their novel.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 04, 2018, 02:56:41 pm
I just browsed through the also-boughts of the book under discussion. Every single also-bought that appears on my computer screen (eight books total) is a stuffed book.  And nearly all of these stuffed books are squatting in the top 100. I'm glad Amazon has changed their policy, but as many have already said, enforcement will be paramount. Just the fact that these books are squatting in the top 100 is making a mockery of Amazon's new rules.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 04, 2018, 02:57:31 pm
This is something I'm getting confused about.

I can think of numerous instances of big name authors putting out one large book with several books inside it. Koontz comes to mind. These are all previously released books in both print and ebook format.

What makes that acceptable, but adding previously released books at the back of a new book unacceptable? On the surface, to me, it seems the same. If you've read the older books, you're probably going to skip those. You got what you paid for - the new book - so you read that book, and ignore the rest. If you haven't read them, then as a reader, you get to feel good that you got something for free. The author is actually losing a sale, as now you're reading that book for free, vs buying it at .99 or 5.99 or whatever it's listed as. How are they making more money this way? The page reads are still the same for extra content - a bonus book at the end that's 200 pages is still going to be 200 pages read, regardless if it's read in the "stuffed" book or on it's own.

At least, that's how I, as a reader, would do/see things.

Now, I have nothing but two small novellas out, so I'm nowhere near an expert in self publishing, so maybe there's some nuance here that I'm just not getting.

Since you're newish, I'll recap.

Merely putting in bonus content was never the problem. The problem is stuffing of 1) multiple copies of things into a 2) KU book that 3) would get lots of extra "reads" that were never actually read, merely skipped by legitimate readers, thus creating "free" page reads and 4) creating a file that could easily be botted and 5) the file was multiplied in rearranged format in order to do the same thing repeatedly.

The core of the problem is not a retail sale. The core of the problem is KU page read manipulation via stuffing.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: notenoughcoffee on June 04, 2018, 03:03:45 pm
Since you're newish, I'll recap.

Merely putting in bonus content was never the problem. The problem is stuffing of 1) multiple copies of things into a 2) KU book that 3) would get lots of extra "reads" that were never actually read, merely skipped by legitimate readers, thus creating "free" page reads and 4) creating a file that could easily be botted and 5) the file was multiplied in rearrange format in order to do the same thing repeatedly.

The core of the problem is not a retail sale. The core of the problem is KU page read manipulation via stuffing.

I don't know what "created a file that could easily be botted" means.

I guess I'm assuming the stuffed books look like:
Beginning content is new book.
Proceeding content is older books.

If the new book was BEHIND the old books, then the issue is obvious to me. But of it's not, then...? ? ?

Let's say I buy a book that's one new book, four old books. I've read all but one of the old books. I use the Table of Contents to jump to the book I haven't read yet. Sure any pages I leaped over aren't getting counted as read?

Otherwise, some of the non fiction books I read are gonna look really wonky on page reads as I jump to the back to look up included references/explanations. Am I causing issue for the author by doing that? If so, why the puck does Amazon allow such books to be in KU?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Not any more on June 04, 2018, 03:27:46 pm
I just checked and it seems as if the stuffer in question has unstuffed a couple of his books. No stuffing in the first couple on his author page. No link to the back. Just an offer for a free story at the end and a link off site.

ETA: The next book in the list appears to still be stuffed.

All the books in his also-boughts are also stuffed. If Zon is serious, it shouldn't be too difficult to track this crap down.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Shelley K on June 04, 2018, 07:31:31 pm
Bonus. Content. Has. Not. Been. Banned. It. Was. Never. Banned.

The rule change is pretty simple. You CAN STILL have bonus content in your ebook. But keep it to 10% or less.

If your novel is 100,000 words, your bonus content should be 10,000 words or less. If your novel is 50,000 words, keep it to 5,000 words or less.

This effectively eliminates the possibility of entire novellas or novels being used as bonus content without them spelling it out. You can't fit one now, let alone five.

But if you have a short story that's less than 10% of your novel's word count, you can use that as a bonus content. You can put a few chapters of another book in there to entice people to buy. You can put a concordance, maps, whatever the heck, just don't go over 10% of the length of the title book.

But, for the people in the bleachers, bonus content was not and has not now been banned.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 04, 2018, 07:42:19 pm
Which, btw, none of The Bling Ring are following. A new release two days ago has a book, followed by a "never seen before novel from a friend". That's labeled in the sham they're (the book is co-written, presumably outing both "authors" as being the same person) calling a compilation. What's not worded (on cover or description) is that there are five more books in this "complilation". Now, you can sign up for their mailing list (again, shouldn't there be two of those?) and receive a feee book that can't be bought anywhere else, but I'd wager that book belongs to the third pen name (the one who so willingly allowed these two co-authors to use her book as bonus material).

Will they get away with it? Yes. If someone here puts bonus content totaling 15% in their book, will they have their page reads cut in half? Yes.

If the day ever comes when these "authors" finally face consequences for what they're doing (preferably being sued for millions), I'm dusting off the baking drawer and baking the most magnificent cake that'll be STUFFED with a triple layer of icing.

Edit: it seems the highest ranking member of The Bling Ring is working on branching off to her fourth name, which would explain why she so graciously offered to stuff her book into the back, 5 days after releasing a book as a co-author.

On a slightly more serious note, I notice they're all publishing much faster. Is there any hope they see the writing on the wall that Amazon is about to bring the hammer down so they're trying to collect as much cash as possible and GTFO of town? Wishful thinking I'm sure.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 04, 2018, 07:59:56 pm
If Zon is serious, it shouldn't be too difficult to track this crap down.

I doubt there's an automated, algo-driven way for Zon to police stuffers. Only a human can make the final call, and we know how Amazon feels about hiring humans.

I don't think it's as huge a job as we may think. Only the Top 100 lists need monitoring. If those are kept clean, the suffers will have no incentive to scam KU. As they only infest a few select genres, those genre's author communities can single out offenders. The question is whether Amazon will respond to their reports of abuse.

We now have evidence they will respond if the author community makes enough noise. Mr. Diamond is an isolated case. In time we may look back upon it as the tipping point. There are many reports of significant de-stuffing activity in progress. I suspect Amazon will give them some time to comply before bringing down the hammer. Any who don't ultimately comply will deserve to be treated like a nail.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 04, 2018, 08:31:52 pm
Which, btw, none of The Bling Ring are following. A new release two days ago has a book, followed by a "never seen before novel from a friend". That's labeled in the sham they're (the book is co-written, presumably outing both "authors" as being the same person) calling a compilation. What's not worded (on cover or description) is that there are five more books in this "complilation". Now, you can sign up for their mailing list (again, shouldn't there be two of those?) and receive a feee book that can't be bought anywhere else, but I'd wager that book belongs to the third pen name (the one who so willingly allowed these two co-authors to use her book as bonus material).

Will they get away with it? Yes. If someone here puts bonus content totaling 15% in their book, will they have their page reads cut in half? Yes.

If the day ever comes when these "authors" finally face consequences for what they're doing (preferably being sued for millions), I'm dusting off the baking drawer and baking the most magnificent cake that'll be STUFFED with a triple layer of icing.

Edit: it seems the highest ranking member of The Bling Ring is working on branching off to her fourth name, which would explain why she so graciously offered to stuff her book into the back, 5 days after releasing a book as a co-author.

On a slightly more serious note, I notice they're all publishing much faster. Is there any hope they see the writing on the wall that Amazon is about to bring the hammer down so they're trying to collect as much cash as possible and GTFO of town? Wishful thinking I'm sure.

If you mean Masterminds by Bling Ring, yes they are publishing faster. That started earlier this year before the bonus content changes. Some of them are trying to expand. For others it's probably desperation since their books aren't performing as well. They're slowly oversaturating their own niche of romance readers who will forgive paper thin storylines and no editing. The content mills publishing faster is good news for slower authors and publishers. It means they'll be forced to divide their promotional efforts between more books rather than putting them all behind a few large stuffed releases every month.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 04, 2018, 08:49:10 pm
They're slowly oversaturating their own niche of romance readers who will forgive paper thin storylines and no editing.

On a similar note, I signed up for one of their mailing lists over 200 days ago. During this timeframe, I've received one email a day, sometimes TWO emails a day, and that's just from one of these pen names. Unless they're adding new subscribers like crazy, this seems like a good way to burn through their lists.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Desert Rose on June 04, 2018, 08:52:40 pm
I have a hard time thinking that any book long and complex enough to need an extensive glossary would not also be long enough to offset the length of the glossary such that the glossary does not make up more than 10% of the book. And in the very unlikely event that that happened, the author would need to make a decision whether or not to put that book in KU (put it in KU without the glossary or take it out to keep the glossary in).
You can focus on the specifics of my example, but my larger point was that, if Amazon is going to be punitive about bonus content, and strict about the 10% rule, then they need to be very clear about what constitutes bonus content. They have given us a rule, and it's a good rule, but legitimate authors will still have valid reasons to need to know where the "book" stops and where "bonus" content begins.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 04, 2018, 09:12:30 pm
legitimate authors will still have valid reasons to need to know where the "book" stops and where "bonus" content begins.

A legitimate author should be able to use their good judgment. Anything after "The End" that relates to the titled content, such as an epilogue, an index, a glossary, maps, authors notes, or mailing list information should be fine.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Desert Rose on June 04, 2018, 09:43:35 pm
Things like a glossary, historical notes, or 'other books by this author' are normally called back matter rather than bonus content, but it would be nice if Amazon clarified that. I always have back matter, I can't imagine that it ever comes anywhere near 10%, but clear rules are always helpful.
The more I think about it, the more I have questions. Are "back matter" and "bonus content" going to be conflated as the same thing? How will 10% be calculated. Word count? "Page" count? KENPC, that mysterious number Amazon calculates, but nobody can figure out the criteria of? Is an epilogue bonus content? Is a prologue? Author's Notes/Author's Foreword? Glossary? Preview chapters?

It's easy to say "no legitimate author would hit 10%", but without knowing what counts and how it's calculated, I can absolutely see an author with a prologue, an epilogue, and a teaser chapter from book 2, inadvertently going over the limit.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 04, 2018, 10:15:39 pm
I can absolutely see an author with a prologue, an epilogue, and a teaser chapter from book 2, inadvertently going over the limit.
If anything is going to do it, it's the teaser chapter.
If in doubt, lop it out.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 05, 2018, 01:25:25 am

I guess I'm assuming the stuffed books look like:
Beginning content is new book.
Proceeding content is older books.

If the new book was BEHIND the old books, then the issue is obvious to me. But of it's not, then...? ? ?

Let's say I buy a book that's one new book, four old books. I've read all but one of the old books. I use the Table of Contents to jump to the book I haven't read yet. Sure any pages I leaped over aren't getting counted as read?

Otherwise, some of the non fiction books I read are gonna look really wonky on page reads as I jump to the back to look up included references/explanations. Am I causing issue for the author by doing that? If so, why the puck does Amazon allow such books to be in KU?


All of these have been answered extensively in other threads, but again, a simple recap:

Amazon never counted page reads since KU started. It only counted where you left a KU book. So if you closed the book at 87%, it counted 87% as read.

This may or may not have been fixed on some platforms, but it appears it's still the old way on the cloud reader, allowing easy botting (bot account skips to the end, counts the 3000-KENPC stuffed book as "read" in seconds).

Other stuffed books put 1 real book, a bunch of extra content (often copied from other books) and a "bonus" story at the end to get the legit reader to skip to the end and trigger a full read. This may have been fixed on some platforms, but not all. This is the essence of stuffing--putting in content never intending to be read, in order to trigger false page reads.

Why does Amazon allow such books to be in KU? We've been wondering the same thing for years.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 05, 2018, 03:13:30 am
I've said it a bunch of times but it gets lost in the noise: click-to-the-end scams are still in play, there are several varities. Not going to put the techniques in the public domain for obvious reasons, but it should be obvious it still works for one simple reason: stuffers are still stuffing and putting EXCLUSIVE FREE SHORT STORIES at the end of the stuffed content.

And for anyone going to trot out the tired lie that it is for the readers, you know what's funny? When I caught one stuffer giving out supposedly exclusive KU books on Facebook, guess how many books were stuffed inside that file when they don't get page reads for it?

None.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 9 Diamonds on June 05, 2018, 03:43:01 am
They posted an announcement to the KDP Community Forum, which is often how they do such things. An email would be better of course: https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en (https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/Updates-to-KDP-Bonus-Content-and-eBook-Metadata-Guidelines?language=en)

Slightly o/t but you'll notice there that the Metadata Guidelines were also changed. Some really, really welcome changes that could help clean up the store considerably and reduce other annoying things like title keyword stuffing and category squatting and so on.

IF enforced of course, which is the perma-necessary caveat.




I agree -- some very welcome changes here ... let's hope they have a widespread effect.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 05, 2018, 04:38:59 am
Amazon are starting to make moves. I've redacted identifying information, but an author I know about shared this in a group today. While this author had made changes to 'unstuff' the updated content hadn't yet gone live when she received this in an email.

"Hello,

On June 1st we updated our Bonus Content and eBook Metadata Guidelines:

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G201097560

During a review, we noticed book(s) in your catalog do not comply with our guidelines. Below is an example of a book that does not comply with our guidelines.

Title: REDACTED ASIN: REDACTED

Please review the new guidelines and ensure that all of the books you've published are in compliance. Compliance with our policies and guidelines is required to qualify for programs such as the KDP Select All Stars Bonus.

For any questions, please reply to this e-mail: [email protected]

Regards,

Amazon KDP"
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 05, 2018, 05:44:10 am
Compliance with our policies and guidelines is required to qualify for programs such as the KDP Select All Stars Bonus.
I wish it said....

Compliance with our policies and guidelines is required to qualify for payments for page reads.

No page reads, no bonus.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 05, 2018, 06:05:11 am
Quote
It means they'll be forced to divide their promotional efforts between more books rather than putting them all behind a few large stuffed releases every month.

Good. Make them spend more money and more time for less payout. Sooner or later, the ROI isn't worth it, and most of them will find something else to do.

I've said it a bunch of times but it gets lost in the noise: click-to-the-end scams are still in play, there are several varities. Not going to put the techniques in the public domain for obvious reasons, but it should be obvious it still works for one simple reason: stuffers are still stuffing and putting EXCLUSIVE FREE SHORT STORIES at the end of the stuffed content.

And for anyone going to trot out the tired lie that it is for the readers, you know what's funny? When I caught one stuffer giving out supposedly exclusive KU books on Facebook, guess how many books were stuffed inside that file when they don't get page reads for it?

None.

So much this. If skipping to the end didn't work, why is it still done? If there's not a click farm involved, where are these people finding readers to go through every page of the crap they're uploading? If none of the stuffing and incentives worked anymore, why is stuffing getting worse and worse?

I think the reason Amazon is saying stuff like "to qualify for All Star bonuses" is because that's a huge chunk of money, and it will hurt these people to not get it. I'm not sure what the biggest payout is, but it's like $25K, right? That's huge. Every month. Author bonuses and book bonuses. Don't forget, the majority of these people aren't writers, as we consider them, they're Internet marketers, out for the easy money. Make it harder to get it, and they'll go away.

Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GratefulWriter on June 05, 2018, 06:06:49 am
I read through most of the posts on this thread and don't think this was covered.  I am a wide author who is NOT in select/unlimited and include some bonus content at the end of my books.  From what I can see, the new policy effects me as well even though i am not being compensated on the pages-read model correct?

I had understood that as long as you were not in select the bonus book thing was kind of a non issue because you were taking the loss and not taking funds from other authors.  I used to include just a bonus chapter but after trying out a permafree book as a bonus I noticed a huge uptick in sales so I started offering a permafree bonus at the end of my books to introduce people to my other series.

Anyways, just curious if anyone had clarified whether this was just a Select thing or an everyone thing before I go emailing Amazon and and get one of their rote email responses.  Thanks, and happy Tuesday!
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 05, 2018, 06:08:27 am
Another thought I had was that there's a reason we see this almost exclusively in Romance, and that's because those readers are voracious. It's not unheard of for someone to read a book a day, every day. Maybe more. And yes, it's possible. I've done it myself, though I tend to read SF. With that amount of turnover, it's easier to hide huge page reads. But in a genre like horror? It would stand out, and the last thing they want is for Amazon to finally really look at something and begin to ask questions.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 05, 2018, 06:10:34 am
I read through most of the posts on this thread and don't think this was covered.  I am a wide author who is NOT in select/unlimited and include some bonus content at the end of my books.  From what I can see, the new policy effects me as well even though i am not being compensated on the pages-read model correct?

I had understood that as long as you were not in select the bonus book thing was kind of a non issue because you were taking the loss and not taking funds from other authors.  I used to include just a bonus chapter but after trying out a permafree book as a bonus I noticed a huge uptick in sales so I started offering a permafree bonus at the end of my books to introduce people to my other series.

Anyways, just curious if anyone had clarified whether this was just a Select thing or an everyone thing before I go emailing Amazon and and get one of their rote email responses.  Thanks, and happy Tuesday!
Nothing I've seen indicates anyone is exempt.

Interesting thing is though, will they go after people not in KU? Or will the bots not know the difference? Have to wait and see. If you get a love note from KDP, let us know.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 05, 2018, 06:27:36 am
I'm not an author so maybe I'm not understanding.

To me, the concept of 'all star bonus' is something like "wow, you sold so many books this month, you're like a rock star and we're going to give you extra money because of it, because, after all, you made us a bunch of extra money too." Seems perfectly reasonable.

That said, if it was MY money I was more-or-less giving away, I think I'd go one step beyond just letting a computer pull the top 5 books in the category or whatever and cut those folks a check. Knowing there's the possibility of jiggery pokery in the system, I'd want to actually look at those books and make sure they're 'real' books.

Further, I'd make note of any I found to be in violation of the rules and that author/publisher would be off the list of ever being allowed to get a bonus. Maybe even banned from publishing through the system, period. Sorry, 1 strike and you're out in this game. I wonder if the recent change/clarification in the rule about bonus content is in preparation for a move such as this.

Point is, they don't need to review every one of the thousands of books that are uploaded each day -- which, from a cost/benefit point of view would probably be nearly impossible anyway.They just need to look monthly at the top books and see if they got to the top by less than honorable means, and deal with those publisher/authors. Even if they're checking a hundred books a month, that shouldn't take very long for an actual human to do. A team of 10 could probably do it in about an hour.

The system gamers would pretty quickly learn that if their plan works and they get into the top spots, they're going to get a closer look and be shut out for good. Sure, they can open new accounts, but if it's harder work to get less money, at some point -- as someone else noted -- perhaps they'll move on to some other 'get rich quick' scheme.

Again, not an author, and not a KU user. Maybe not even a typical Zon/kindle customer. Anyway, I never see any of these books you all talk about recommended to me. And when I do get a book recommended, I go through to see what sort of extras there are in the back . . . . frankly, if it's more than the book and some relevant backmatter, I'm not interested. I absolutely don't want a whole 'nother book back there, or even a short of some sort. I don't ever read 'the first chapter of the next installment', which is actually pretty common. I'll read that chapter when I buy that book, thankyouverymuch. If I liked this one well enough to do that, I mean. ;) I also don't like buying more than one book in a set even on purpose, because I like to know when the end of THIS story is and it's too hard to tell when there's more than one novel in the file. :)

Anyway, just my perspective. I suspect this change is as much from reader/customer complaints as from author complaints.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 05, 2018, 06:44:44 am
If they're going to do that, especially if there's any kind of punishment, then they need to offer more information than, "offending material." They need to tell you, at minimum, what percentages they're showing as main content vs bonus content (and an appeals process just in case their bot declares everything after chapter 50 bonus content in a 56 chapter book). An author with an extensive glossary or appendices in their fantasy novel, for example, could get dinged over Amazon counting those things as "bonus material" while the author considers them an integral part of their novel.
Yes, that kind of clarification would be highly desirable.

Glossaries and appendices raise somewhat the same questions with respect to KU that nonfiction reference books do. There's a lot of jumping around. Reference books aren't read cover to cover, and not every fantasy reader is going to read all the appendices. In the latter case, it would probably make sense for Amazon to stop counting KENP when the appendices begin, but I don't know if that's really how the situation is handled.

Perhaps Amazon needs to make a distinction between bonus content (other complete works) and back matter. I would argue that back matter is an integral part of the work, not a bonus. If Amazon doesn't count the back matter for KU purposes, I'm fine with that.

I have a book on Greek mythology that I wrote for my former school. Though the text is geared for the average reader at which the book is targeted, the appendices provide additional material for students who want to know more, as well as reference aids like genealogies, Greek to Roman name conversion, and annotated bibliography. Together, the back matter is 11.3% of the total length of the paperback, though it might be somewhat less in the ebook (genealogies are omitted because they didn't work well). I guess I'll just have to wait and see if that's a problem. The book is not in KU, and the school uses the paperback, not the ebook, so I could in theory just drop the ebook if there's an issue with it. However, my situation is unusual. No fantasy author with lots of appendices is going to want to drop the ebook.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 05, 2018, 06:49:06 am
I wish it said....

Compliance with our policies and guidelines is required to qualify for payments for page reads.

No page reads, no bonus.

Yeah, this is lame. A bonus is just icing, and some of those stuffers would probably be happy to give it up if it meant taking the target off their backs. By the time you get 25 grand, you're already pulling six figures a month. Why can't Amazon go after that pile of cash? Seems it's the equivalent of saying, "Go ahead and keep the money you get embezzling from the company, but we're not going to give the employee of the month or the bonus if you do."
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 05, 2018, 06:51:20 am
If Amazon doesn't count the back matter for KU purposes, I'm fine with that.

I have a feeling they dont. There was a minor adjustment down on KENPC a fair while back, which felt like the back matter was removed.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 05, 2018, 07:06:23 am
I always get so confused when people present an example to illustrate their point, then don't want that example responded to and act as if it's irrelevant whenever anyone does.

To me, "what is bonus content" seems pretty obvious. Bonus content is anything that's not the book. Appendices, previews, a bonus short story, a glossary--these all seem pretty obviously like bonus content. Epilogues and prologues are part of the story--duh--so they're not bonus. (I can understand readers skipping these because they don't think they're relevant. I can't understand anyone trying to claim they're not part of the story.) Front and back matter shouldn't take up more than a few pages. If you've got more than a links page and maybe a newsletter sign up at the back, then whatever else you've added is probably bonus content. Copyright info, dedications, author notes--usually all accepted as part of the front/back matter. But even if Amazon wanted to count everything that's not between Prologue/Chapter One and Epilogue/last chapter as bonus content, that still shouldn't amount to more than a handful of pages, so the difference is pretty irrelevant.

See, and for me 'bonus content' is pretty obvious, too. But in my brain, relevant backmatter -- glossaries, family trees, notes on the history, etc. is NOT Bonus content. It's all something relevant to the book I just read. And it could be somewhat substantial, depending on the type of book. I see stuff like this all the time in historicals.

What's NOT relevant is a whole 'nother story, or the first few chapters of the next book, or a letter begging me to join a mailing list. To me, that is "Bonus Content". And for me, it's a bug, not a feature. ::)


AND . . . . therein lies the problem. :)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ros_Jackson on June 05, 2018, 07:07:34 am
Yes, that kind of clarification would be highly desirable.

Glossaries and appendices raise somewhat the same questions with respect to KU that nonfiction reference books do. There's a lot of jumping around. Reference books aren't read cover to cover, and not every fantasy reader is going to read all the appendices. In the latter case, it would probably make sense for Amazon to stop counting KENP when the appendices begin, but I don't know if that's really how the situation is handled.

Perhaps Amazon needs to make a distinction between bonus content (other complete works) and back matter. I would argue that back matter is an integral part of the work, not a bonus. If Amazon doesn't count the back matter for KU purposes, I'm fine with that.

I have a book on Greek mythology that I wrote for my former school. Though the text is geared for the average reader at which the book is targeted, the appendices provide additional material for students who want to know more, as well as reference aids like genealogies, Greek to Roman name conversion, and annotated bibliography. Together, the back matter is 11.3% of the total length of the paperback, though it might be somewhat less in the ebook (genealogies are omitted because they didn't work well). I guess I'll just have to wait and see if that's a problem. The book is not in KU, and the school uses the paperback, not the ebook, so I could in theory just drop the ebook if there's an issue with it. However, my situation is unusual. No fantasy author with lots of appendices is going to want to drop the ebook.

You've reminded me of something that often bugs me in non-fiction, that many traditional publishers are still doing (although they're not in KU or KDP and not the target for this action). An ebook doesn't need an index, and in fact the index numbers won't be valid for the ebook anyway. Yet they leave the index in, so that the book finishes at around 50%, then you get the notes which are needed and the index which should really be taken out. It's disappointing because you don't get a fair idea of how long the book is, and it's utterly pointless to have an ebook index - it's padding that pushes up the page count.

In theory the 10% limit on bonus content applies across the board, and what is an unneeded index other than "bonus" content? As a reader I hope this rule drives up standards.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 05, 2018, 07:10:08 am
I always get so confused when people present an example to illustrate their point, then don't want that example responded to and act as if it's irrelevant whenever anyone does.

To me, "what is bonus content" seems pretty obvious. Bonus content is anything that's not the book. Appendices, previews, a bonus short story, a glossary--these all seem pretty obviously like bonus content. Epilogues and prologues are part of the story--duh--so they're not bonus. (I can understand readers skipping these because they don't think they're relevant. I can't understand anyone trying to claim they're not part of the story.) Front and back matter shouldn't take up more than a few pages. If you've got more than a links page and maybe a newsletter sign up at the back, then whatever else you've added is probably bonus content. Copyright info, dedications, author notes--usually all accepted as part of the front/back matter. But even if Amazon wanted to count everything that's not between Prologue/Chapter One and Epilogue/last chapter as bonus content, that still shouldn't amount to more than a handful of pages, so the difference is pretty irrelevant.
I'm going to refer back to my example on the previous page. Nonfiction often has extensive appendices. They probably shouldn't count for KU, but they're part of the book, not a bonus.

To me bonus content is a standalone short story or some other kind of content that could theoretically be published on its own. The appendices in nonfiction? No one's going to publish the appendices by themselves. That's the dividing line in my mind.

It's also true, as Dragovian points out, that fantasy writers tend to do quite a bit with appendices. Ever read Tolkien? Appendices all over the place. (Tolkien invented his own languages and uses the appendices to explain their structure--he was also, among other things, a linguist.) That kind of material is only going to be read by diehard fans, but for the few people who do read it, it can add to their enjoyment of the story. If, as Timothy suggests, that kind of back matter doesn't count for KU, it should really be a non-issue.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 05, 2018, 07:12:27 am
You've reminded me of something that often bugs me in non-fiction, that many traditional publishers are still doing (although they're not in KU or KDP and not the target for this action). An ebook doesn't need an index, and in fact the index numbers won't be valid for the ebook anyway. Yet they leave the index in, so that the book finishes at around 50%, then you get the notes which are needed and the index which should really be taken out. It's disappointing because you don't get a fair idea of how long the book is, and it's utterly pointless to have an ebook index - it's padding that pushes up the page count.

In theory the 10% limit on bonus content applies across the board, and what is an unneeded index other than "bonus" content? As a reader I hope this rule drives up standards.

In the non-fiction I read, I don't often see a dedicated 'index', but the notes are often all the way in the back, though readily accessed via links within the text. That does tend to sort of 'inflate' the length of the book, but I can't see what else could be done.

An index could still be useful in an eBook, if it were properly linked and formatted. You could use the search and find terms not just in the text, but in the index which could then link you to other terms.

Anyway, the issue of the book ending well before the end of the file doesn't bother me as much in non-fiction. Still, by my previous definition, it would be 'relevant backmatter' and so not 'bonus' content.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 05, 2018, 07:57:35 am


Title: REDACTED ASIN: REDACTED

Please review the new guidelines and ensure that all of the books you've published are in compliance. Compliance with our policies and guidelines is required to qualify for programs such as the KDP Select All Stars Bonus.

For any questions, please reply to this e-mail: [email protected]

Regards,

Amazon KDP"

This is very interesting (bolded). It looks like Amazon is (why do people say "are"?) making stuffers de-stuff their backlists as well.

As for the new 10% bonus rule, the safest bet is to make sure your final epilogue doesn't end before 90% on a Kindle after you've added your back matter including any bonus previews. If you have an index or glossary related to the title, seek clarification from Zon on whether it counts toward the title's 90% or is viewed as bonus content. No one on this board can answer that question.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ros_Jackson on June 05, 2018, 08:18:34 am
In the non-fiction I read, I don't often see a dedicated 'index', but the notes are often all the way in the back, though readily accessed via links within the text. That does tend to sort of 'inflate' the length of the book, but I can't see what else could be done.

An index could still be useful in an eBook, if it were properly linked and formatted. You could use the search and find terms not just in the text, but in the index which could then link you to other terms.

Anyway, the issue of the book ending well before the end of the file doesn't bother me as much in non-fiction. Still, by my previous definition, it would be 'relevant backmatter' and so not 'bonus' content.

IMO notes are part of the book's content in non-fiction, and shouldn't be considered bonus. But the indexing I've seen included this disclaimer: "The page references in this index correspond to the printed edition..." and the suggestion that readers use the search function. The page numbers explicitly weren't linked. It's not the first time I've seen similar in a big 5 published book, and it's lazy.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Broken Monitor on June 05, 2018, 08:21:51 am
It looks like Amazon is (why do people say "are"?)
Depending on your country of origin, you may speak of corporations as plural or as singular.

Like most KU changes, this is just another compromise. It's annoying, but short of scrapping KU I don't think they can ever eliminate people figuring out ways to game the system, all they can do is continue to mitigate whatever new creative ways people come up with.

I've read a lot of books which had tons of great bonus content, and I haven't checked to see how long some of those are. I hope most people will be unaffected.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 05, 2018, 08:34:17 am
Yeah, this is lame. A bonus is just icing, and some of those stuffers would probably be happy to give it up if it meant taking the target off their backs. By the time you get 25 grand, you're already pulling six figures a month. Why can't Amazon go after that pile of cash? Seems it's the equivalent of saying, "Go ahead and keep the money you get embezzling from the company, but we're not going to give the employee of the month or the bonus if you do."

No, even if it's just All Stars that's a great start. The marketing machines run on thin profit margins and thru bed those bonuses to juice their profits.

And I need those bonuses too. I've probably lost 50k+ on All Star bonuses because of the increased thresholds (which happened because of bonus books). Sure, it's a bonus and I still make a nice profit without it, but why shouldn't the authors who actually moved more (longer) KU units get the bonuses?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 05, 2018, 09:19:30 am
I haven’t used bonus content in a good while, but I was always on the side of “who cares, it’s allowed”.

Now 10% is allowed. That’s enough for a preview or a bonus chapter to push someone to a new book. Seems fair to me. There’s no mystery here. We all know what amazon is doing and this is about as clear a policy as they have ever implemented.

Whole bonus books are gone, and that’s fine with me too.

If this also means I might start hitting all star bonuses again, all the better. I used to hit them every month, but pagereads went crazy enough that they were pushed out of reach. I suspect I’ll be back in the all star zone over the next few months. That’s a happy bonus. I miss those 1k-10k  bumps ;),

And yeah, for me all star bonuses were just that... a bonus. I never counted on them, or priced them into my marketing, because they never seemed consistent. A few big hitters could push you right out of the big money. You could never count on them, but they’re fun when you get em.

Anyway, life goes on. If your strategy required bonus content to be profitable, change strategies. There is plenty of money to make without bonus content. The vast majority of my comfortable five figure income last month came from titles that had no bonus content whatsoever. You don’t need it to make a living. I’ve already been yanking bonus content out of years-old books sitting in my back catalog. It’s not needed, and there’s no point waiting on amazon to poke me about it.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Shelley K on June 05, 2018, 09:21:45 am
If you truly need them, I'd recommend coming up with a business plan that doesn't rely on one company continuing to hand out perks which they may discontinue or hand out to other people at any time.

I agree that if they're going to hand them out, they should hand them out to people who didn't cheat the system, but it's right there in the name: bonuses. They're not your wages or rightful earnings.

I've read this three times and still can't believe it.



Edited quoted post.  --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 05, 2018, 09:24:53 am
Folks,

Let's not make personal comments about other members. That way leads to post approval or banning from the thread.  Posts have been edited.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 05, 2018, 09:27:16 am
If your strategy required bonus content to be profitable, change strategies. There is plenty of money to make without bonus content. 95% of my comfortable five figure income last month came from titles that had no bonus content whatsoever. You donít need it to make a living.

I made it onto the list for April, first time in 2 years, and only my second time. 0% bonus content. What a buzz!

Things change every 6 months. It's June, and the July/August changes are upon us. Those effected need to change strategy, the rest of us wait for the next change. This is how it is. Deal with it.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 05, 2018, 09:32:32 am
I made it onto the list for April, first time in 2 years, and only my second time. 0% bonus content. What a buzz!

That's great, Timothy!
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 05, 2018, 09:40:21 am
That's great, Timothy!
I thought so.  ;D There's even a nice little badge on the product page for the book which did most of the work, which I found today.
With all the current activity, it makes me wonder what will happen for May, which for me was actually slightly better than April. Not holding my breath or anything, but if Amazon does strip reads retrospectively in May, for any book currently being un-stuffed, and any others the author had in May, it will be interesting to see what it does to the bonus thresholds. Not holding my breath though.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Desert Rose on June 05, 2018, 09:49:21 am
But I tried to engage by responding to the example she provided, and she brushed all my comments off as irrelevant because she didn't want anyone else analyzing the example she'd provided to make her point.
Your engagement was "I don't see this specific thing happening, and if it does the author can just stay out of KU"; it didn't touch on the possibility that an author could reasonably consider material part of their book, while Amazon considers it bonus content, and without clarification in the rules, or Amazon specifically stating "we have found your book contains X% bonus content", that author would never know what the problem is. Even in this thread we've seen disagreement over what counts as part of the book vs "bonus content", and until Amazon clarifies we're all just making assumptions and guesswork about where the line is going to be drawn.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 05, 2018, 10:05:17 am
until Amazon clarifies we're all just making assumptions and guesswork about where the line is going to be drawn.

Not really. If your book and related backmatter end before 90% on your Kindle, trim any content that comes after. What is backmatter? Anything related to the title. If you're unsure whether that would include an index or glossary, check with Amazon. No one here can answer that question.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DonovanJeremiah on June 05, 2018, 01:10:22 pm
Not really. If your book and related backmatter end before 90% on your Kindle, trim any content that comes after. What is backmatter? Anything related to the title. If you're unsure whether that would include an index or glossary, check with Amazon. No one here can answer that question.

And as we've seen, Amazon customer representatives has always been able to give a straight answer that isn't ever contradicted by any other Amazon customer service representatives.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Desert Rose on June 05, 2018, 01:28:22 pm
Not really. If your book and related backmatter end before 90% on your Kindle, trim any content that comes after. What is backmatter? Anything related to the title. If you're unsure whether that would include an index or glossary, check with Amazon. No one here can answer that question.
And Amazon have chosen not to answer that question in their ToS. Which would be why I keep saying Amazon needs to clarify what they mean by bonus content.  ::)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 05, 2018, 01:45:19 pm
And Amazon have chosen not to answer that question in their ToS. Which would be why I keep saying Amazon needs to clarify what they mean by bonus content.  ::)

That's sort of my point. If you're worried, make sure your titled content and whatever back matter YOU DEEM  related is at least 90% of your entire file on a Kindle. Use the remaining 10% any way you want.

There may be a reason why Amazon hasn't clarified exceptions to the new 10% bonus rule. Stipulating them would give scammers the loopholes they need to stay in business. If Amazon said "excluding Author Notes" we'd suddenly see 400-page author bio's told in story format. That may or not may be a stretch.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 05, 2018, 03:11:44 pm
If you truly need them, I'd recommend coming up with a business plan that doesn't rely on one company continuing to hand out perks which they may discontinue or hand out to other people at any time.

I agree that if they're going to hand them out, they should hand them out to people who didn't cheat the system, but it's right there in the name: bonuses. They're not your wages or rightful earnings.



Edited.  Let's not make personal comments, thanks  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod

I think it's obvious I was making a point, but in case it's not, I don't literally need All Star bonuses to make a profit (I make six figures in profit). However, I've made a lot from them and I'd be much less inclined to be on KU of there were no All Star bonuses.

While All Stars are technically bonuses, they are a part of the KU system we agreed to. I'm absolutely entitled to a bonus if I'm in the top 100 authors/books (by pages read) for the month. It's part of my compensation package.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 05, 2018, 03:35:43 pm
I think it's obvious I was making a point, but in case it's not, I don't literally need All Star bonuses to make a profit (I make six figures in profit). However, I've made a lot from them and I'd be much less inclined to be on KU of there were no All Star bonuses.

While All Stars are technically bonuses, they are a part of the KU system we agreed to. I'm absolutely entitled to a bonus if I'm in the top 100 authors/books (by pages read) for the month. It's part of my compensation package.

Crystal, you are the bomb.com. You are totally right.

On another tack - the doxxing and outing happening on Twitter right now is every bit as gross. Bullying isn't acceptable. I'm disappointed in the author community for resorting to this. Innocent authors are already getting scooped up by a mob hungry to chase down "scammers and cheats" when these people were never scammers and cheats to begin with.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: The one with all the big dresses on the covers on June 05, 2018, 04:33:22 pm
Iím curious. For those in the know, what did the bottom threshold for All-Stars used to hang around at and what did it jump to after stuffing became widespread?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 05, 2018, 04:52:36 pm
Iím curious. For those in the know, what did the bottom threshold for All-Stars used to hang around at and what did it jump to after stuffing became widespread?

From 2015 to early 2017, you could get a low hanging bonus with as little as 1-2 million reads. The last few months authors have missed $1,000 bonuses with over four million reads. Higher up the chain, you used to be able to get $10,000 and $25,000 bonuses with as little as 8-12 million pages read. Over the past year that amount has exploded to roughly double to qualify. It's all due to the content mills pushing out tons of books stuffed to the cap and spending like crazy on ads to get the bonuses. In some cases almost half their profits come from one of the Top Twenty author bonuses. They'll take a sure hit if the collection loophole is closed and they can no longer qualify for bonuses with stuffed books vaguely re-titled collection or compilation.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 05, 2018, 05:04:45 pm
Iím curious. For those in the know, what did the bottom threshold for All-Stars used to hang around at and what did it jump to after stuffing became widespread?

Back in 2015, I'd get a US bonus every month with 3-4 million reads. The title bonus started in 1.5-2 million range. Usually, 12-15 million pages were enough for the 25k (according to a friend who regularly earned it. I've only got it once, and it was with 25 million pages 20 million US pages (Thanks BookReport), and that was Oct 2017) and 10 million pages was a lock for the 10k. The other bonuses fell somewhere in between those.

Of course, it varied by the month.

I've found UK bonuses to be much more consistent. They start around 500k pages and the top bonus goes for 2-3 million over 2-3 million. They scale much less aggressively (from 500 pounds for 50-100 to 2k pounds for the top 1-10, compared to $1k for 50-100 and $25k for 1-10), so they're likely less of a target for aggressive marketers.

That's all from memory/off the top of my head. If only BookReport told me exactly how many pages I had in each region, each month...

EDIT: OMG BOOK REPORT WILL TELL ME THIS!!!
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 05, 2018, 07:04:06 pm
On another tack - the doxxing and outing happening on Twitter right now is every bit as gross. Bullying isn't acceptable. I'm disappointed in the author community for resorting to this. Innocent authors are already getting scooped up by a mob hungry to chase down "scammers and cheats" when these people were never scammers and cheats to begin with.


Are you talking about the "when did you have your first 'o'...let's get personal" screenshot? I haven't seen a name put out.

I believe that women have the right to know there's a good chance it wasn't really "girl talk." [ETA: I've seen proof that strongly suggests it wasn't.]

ETA: I guess it's possible a paid assistant made that tweet, but how much better is that?

ETA2: thread to discuss "catfish" authors

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,259658.0.html

ETA3: This person appears to be linking page counts to paperbacks and putting "this romance collection includes" in fine print at the very bottom of descriptions. I really hope mawnster isn't talking about this person, because this looks like a cheat to me.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 05, 2018, 08:18:10 pm

Are you talking about the "when did you have your first 'o'...let's get personal" screenshot? I haven't seen a name put out.

I believe that women have the right to know there's a good chance it wasn't really "girl talk." [ETA: I've seen proof that strongly suggests it wasn't.]

ETA: I guess it's possible a paid assistant made that tweet, but how much better is that?

ETA2: thread to discuss "catfish" authors

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,259658.0.html

ETA3: This person appears to be linking page counts to paperbacks and putting "this romance collection includes" in fine print at the very bottom of descriptions. I really hope mawnster isn't talking about this person, because this looks like a cheat to me.

Not specifically that person, but it's dancing close enough to the line for me to say "that's not okay". There's someone else who got doxxed I think just yesterday on Fbook. I'm not linking to it to prevent further doxxing obvs.

I'm not okay with authors breaking the rules (I was fine with book stuffing before but now you're gonna get my side-eye if you go over the 10% mark), at the same time I am also not okay with doxxing and harassing people. Not only is it just as bad (in my mind), but it can also verge into the territories of illegality. People have died from being doxxed. A friend of a friend ended up murdered and stuffed in the trunk of his car because he was doxxed. Serious business.

I would be a heck of a lot more supportive of the #getloud and #tiffanygate movements if more care was taken by the people leading the charge.

Like... what does everyone want? For people like Chance Carter to go away and never publish a book again? The guy broke rules for SURE (not cool) and I don't like the way he does bizness at all (ugh gross) but he's cleaned up his giveaway, and he's cleaning up his back catalog (which will take awhile I'm sure).

I just want to know what the end goal is here. What do the people want? We're already getting our wish of book-stuffing going away (yay!) which is going to bring down the cost of ads as there's less money fueling their steep increase in price, and all star bonuses might be in reach for even someone like myself (a solid midlister who's starting to edge in the 5 figure a month territory on the regular).

Stuff like tiffanygate is already against the law (and it was a gross move to begin with). I think men should be allowed to write under female pens if they want, and while it's skeevy yeah, for all we know some lady is running all of that dude's social media and he has nothing to do with it. Certainly if you're publishing books 2-3 times a month, you're probs NOT running your social media. I publish once every few months, and I barely have time to run my social media anymore... so I pass that off to my PA because she is rad and does it for me.

I'm just confused. And worried. And confused and worried.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 05, 2018, 09:41:54 pm
Personally I want to see the book slammed shut on book stuffing with no more questions or loopholes. Amazon needs to come down hard against the poorly marked collections and the people using this trick to try to get around the new policy. The formatting and spacing in some of these heavy stuffed romance books was also atrocious. Books were being deliberately formatted like gunk for page reads. KDP should have zero tolerance for that. It's the mark of a bad actor. They can't plead ignorance when their earlier books were nicely formatted with Vellum, and then the spacing and font size just kept getting more extreme in a bad direction.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 06, 2018, 12:07:51 am
Personally I want to see the book slammed shut on book stuffing with no more questions or loopholes. Amazon needs to come down hard against the poorly marked collections and the people using this trick to try to get around the new policy. The formatting and spacing in some of these heavy stuffed romance books was also atrocious. Books were being deliberately formatted like gunk for page reads. KDP should have zero tolerance for that. It's the mark of a bad actor. They can't plead ignorance when their earlier books were nicely formatted with Vellum, and then the spacing and font size just kept getting more extreme in a bad direction.

So basically... "you break the rules once, banned forever"?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 06, 2018, 12:12:49 am
Personally I want to see the book slammed shut on book stuffing with no more questions or loopholes. Amazon needs to come down hard against the poorly marked collections and the people using this trick to try to get around the new policy. The formatting and spacing in some of these heavy stuffed romance books was also atrocious. Books were being deliberately formatted like gunk for page reads. KDP should have zero tolerance for that. It's the mark of a bad actor. They can't plead ignorance when their earlier books were nicely formatted with Vellum, and then the spacing and font size just kept getting more extreme in a bad direction.
So basically... "you break the rules once, banned forever"?

No, that's not what was meant at all.
The people this applies to have been doing [stuff] like this since KU began. So they have a long track record of breaking the rules. It's not a case of breaking the rules once, but finally having the hammer dropped on them for continuing to break the rules after being invited to stop.




Edited. Please don't work around our filters.  --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 06, 2018, 12:58:08 am
So basically... "you break the rules once, banned forever"?

For the repeat offenders with deliberate junk formatting, yes. The people doing it aren't stupid. They knew how to format books and clearly chose formatting designed to sacrifice readability for extra pages. Nothing else explains why they began to pad out their releases over the past few months with increasingly extreme spacing between lines, huge fonts, bonus content hidden in Tables of Contents and so on. Older books in their catalogue are cleanly formatted, yet the newer releases went up looking like a dumpster fire. You couldn't help but see it if you paid attention to the content mills in the Romance top 100. I'd have no problem with that being a bannable offense or at least worth a final warning before they're out.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Hoop on June 06, 2018, 04:09:26 am
No, that's not what was meant at all.
The people this applies to have been doing [stuff] like this since KU began. So they have a long track record of breaking the rules. It's not a case of breaking the rules once, but finally having the hammer dropped on them for continuing to break the rules after being invited to stop.

"After being invited to stop."

"Invited" by who? 

The self-appointed crusaders need to freaking STOP.

The ONLY entity that should be "inviting" authors to stop is AMAZON. It's their platform, it's their rules, it's their money.

If these vigilante crusaders spent as much time writing as they do pointing fingers, screeching, making threats and doxxing people, they'd have a nice fat backlist of their own.


Some editing done, this post is being reviewed. EDIT:  Further editing has been done to come closer to the tone we expect on this forum; this post is still under review --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Michaela Strong on June 06, 2018, 04:27:51 am
"After being invited to stop."

"Invited" by who?
Invited by Amazon. Who make the rules and have said this is not allowed.


Edited to remove quoted bit which has been deleted from the post it was in and also the response to the now deleted bit, PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 06, 2018, 04:52:16 am
Folks,

Comparisons of the current actions against "bonus content" to the Salem witch trials or other human tragedies is inappropriate.  Let's tone down the rhetoric.  Posts will be edited or removed.

Betsy
KB Admin
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 06, 2018, 05:36:24 am
Invited by Amazon. Who make the rules and have said this is not allowed.
As stated above, Amazon are already sending emails asking people to conform to the rules.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 06, 2018, 05:46:49 am

Are you talking about the "when did you have your first 'o'...let's get personal" screenshot? I haven't seen a name put out.

I have been very careful not to do that, even when people were clamoring for evidence, so I'm not sure who has been doxxed. I haven't seen anything along those lines.

Although the stuffers were screaming "DOXXING" the first time I even mentioned that many of them were men pretending to be women - without even saying which author.

Kind of funny seeing admitted cheaters suddenly cloak themselves in ethical arguments.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GeneDoucette on June 06, 2018, 05:59:14 am
are we sure we're using the phrase "doxxing" correctly? Are people's real names and home addresses and phone numbers being posted on the Internet? Because that's my understanding of what this word means.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 06, 2018, 06:05:29 am
are we sure we're using the phrase "doxxing" correctly? Are people's real names and home addresses and phone numbers being posted on the Internet? Because that's my understanding of what this word means.

It is deliberately being used incorrectly by "mawnster."

It's an emotive term and handy for smear tactics. But no, I haven't posted anyone's name or address or phone number or identifying information. I merely stated that Author X is a man pretending to be a women and linked to one of their creepy social media statements.

And for those like "mawnster" playing "devil's advocate" on that too and wondering if it was just a PA, well it's a hell of a mistake to make over and over and over again, isn't it? A coincidence that this mistake would be repeated in Facebook groups. And in emails. Repeatedly. And by many of the other men-posing-as-women in that circle o'stuffers.

By jiminy it's coincidences all the way down!




Editing--sending you a PM, David.  --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 06, 2018, 07:46:23 am
are we sure we're using the phrase "doxxing" correctly? Are people's real names and home addresses and phone numbers being posted on the Internet? Because that's my understanding of what this word means.

In one of the cases I'm thinking about, yes, absolutely.


As stated above, Amazon are already sending emails asking people to conform to the rules.

I got some info this morning that is going to be super disappointing to anyone expecting all the box sets to go away, or for there to be strict rules around them. It's basically business as usual, so this is kind of the nothingburger I thought it would be.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 06, 2018, 08:14:45 am


I got some info this morning that is going to be super disappointing to anyone expecting all the box sets to go away, or for there to be strict rules around them. It's basically business as usual, so this is kind of the nothingburger I thought it would be.


Now, if I were amazon then I'd get the stuffers to go to the trouble of renaming all their books as collections and pointing them out, and then bring in KU-2018 in July where I banned collections from KU altogether.

I wouldn't be smug just yet, but only time will tell.
 
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 06, 2018, 08:32:50 am
Now, if I were amazon then I'd get the stuffers to go to the trouble of renaming all their books as collections and pointing them out, and then bring in KU-2018 in July where I banned collections from KU altogether.

I wouldn't be smug just yet, but only time will tell.

Please don't attribute emotions to my words.

I'm not smug, I'm exasperated.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 06, 2018, 08:52:30 am
The cheaters aren't stealing from Amazon. They're stealing from other authors, who lose money in the form of lost All-Star bonuses, reduced payments for page reads, higher advertising costs, and lost visibility as stuffed books squat in the top 100, supported by artificially high advertising budgets (due to the $13-per-borrow dynamic). It's other authors, not Amazon, who are the real victims of this unethical behavior.

To expect genuine authors not to object is laughable. It's like suggesting that a farmer whose fields are raided every night should just shut up and grow more corn rather than work to stop the thieving.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 06, 2018, 08:58:39 am
Please don't attribute emotions to my words.

I'm not smug, I'm exasperated.

Exasperated at what? That Amazon is trying to do something about stuffing and other scammy behavior? To me, this is all pretty straightforward.


Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 06, 2018, 09:02:22 am
Not specifically that person, but it's dancing close enough to the line for me to say "that's not okay". There's someone else who got doxxed I think just yesterday on Fbook. I'm not linking to it to prevent further doxxing obvs.

I'm not okay with authors breaking the rules (I was fine with book stuffing before but now you're gonna get my side-eye if you go over the 10% mark), at the same time I am also not okay with doxxing and harassing people. Not only is it just as bad (in my mind), but it can also verge into the territories of illegality. People have died from being doxxed. A friend of a friend ended up murdered and stuffed in the trunk of his car because he was doxxed. Serious business.

I would be a heck of a lot more supportive of the #getloud and #tiffanygate movements if more care was taken by the people leading the charge.

Like... what does everyone want? For people like Chance Carter to go away and never publish a book again? The guy broke rules for SURE (not cool) and I don't like the way he does bizness at all (ugh gross) but he's cleaned up his giveaway, and he's cleaning up his back catalog (which will take awhile I'm sure).

I just want to know what the end goal is here. What do the people want? We're already getting our wish of book-stuffing going away (yay!) which is going to bring down the cost of ads as there's less money fueling their steep increase in price, and all star bonuses might be in reach for even someone like myself (a solid midlister who's starting to edge in the 5 figure a month territory on the regular).

Stuff like tiffanygate is already against the law (and it was a gross move to begin with). I think men should be allowed to write under female pens if they want, and while it's skeevy yeah, for all we know some lady is running all of that dude's social media and he has nothing to do with it. Certainly if you're publishing books 2-3 times a month, you're probs NOT running your social media. I publish once every few months, and I barely have time to run my social media anymore... so I pass that off to my PA because she is rad and does it for me.

I'm just confused. And worried. And confused and worried.

IMO, it's fine to post info that is publicly available or meant for consumption--like the inside of an author's book, a mailing list page, a FB group, a Twitter post, etc. That is definitely not doxxing, nor is a list of people who are publicly breaking rules. It's not okay to post people's real name or place of residence.

I do think Chance Carter types, meaning people who deliberately and frequently violate the ToS, should have their accounts closed. It's one thing to publish a lot of gw crap.  It's another to consistently try to game the system or flat out cheat with skip to the back epilogues, requests for readers to flip through bonus books they aren't actually reading, illegal lotteries inserted between chapters, etc.

Personally, I'll be happy as a clam is this change really does end stuffing. I don't need any additional take down of bad actors on top of that. But I'd also love if they all left publishing (I think they will if they can't stuff anymore because they won't make enough, but only time will tell).
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 06, 2018, 09:03:25 am
Please don't attribute emotions to my words.

I'm not smug, I'm exasperated.

Apologies, must be the internet, your answer read as smug to me.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 06, 2018, 09:40:39 am
An author whose pen surname rhymes with 'heart' is definitely testing the new mandate. Every stuffed book in her backlist is now a 'collection'. Kudos for getting those covers redone so quickly. I guess we'll see if Amazon lets it ride.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 06, 2018, 09:45:56 am
My experience is that whenever people are caught with their finger in the pie they attack and try to smear the people who found them out rather than admit error. I doubt it will change anytime soon as it seems to be a very common human failing.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 06, 2018, 09:47:55 am
An author whose pen surname rhymes with 'heart' is definitely testing the new mandate. Every stuffed book in her backlist is now a 'collection'. Kudos for getting those covers redone so quickly. I guess we'll see if Amazon lets it ride.

Apparently that's all they require. "Collection" (or box-set or whatever) in the title, and on the cover of the book. Nothing else.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 06, 2018, 09:48:00 am
I have been very careful not to do that, even when people were clamoring for evidence, so I'm not sure who has been doxxed. I haven't seen anything along those lines.

Although the stuffers were screaming "DOXXING" the first time I even mentioned that many of them were men pretending to be women - without even saying which author.

Kind of funny seeing admitted cheaters suddenly cloak themselves in ethical arguments.

Ethics are a funny thing - they must be applied in all situations. If it's not ethical for people to be nasty, demeaning & belittling towards you [general you], then it's not ethical for you [general you] to be nasty, demeaning & belittling toward them. Two rights don't make a wrong. I've seen a lot of mean-spirited, hateful comments in these Twitter hashtag movements that have caused me to lose respect for a lot of the authors & even the indie author community in general. For me, these hashtag things have done the opposite of what people intended. I'm seeing a lot of other authors & readers saying the same so I know it's not just me, although of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But people getting involved in mob mentality & being mean towards others are not ethical IMO. Illegal giveaways are bad, but so is a lot of this other stuff they're doing in response.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 06, 2018, 09:49:45 am
are we sure we're using the phrase "doxxing" correctly? Are people's real names and home addresses and phone numbers being posted on the Internet? Because that's my understanding of what this word means.

People are certainly encouraging doxxing. Yes, I have seen the address & personal information of the person on Facebook. Also the real names & identifying information posted of other pen names. [Some of what I have seen has been incorrect. I've attended conferences & have been in the indie romance community for a long time & so I know a lot of people & keep seeing completely incorrect information being spread. It is wrong to dox people but another issue is that when the information is incorrect, no one knows the truth versus fiction so it gets into very murky waters. But once in a while, the information being spread is so hilariously wrong that to me it completely ruins the credibility of those spreading it.]

Doxxing or encourage/inciting doxxing is despicable behavior, just as bad as what these people are protesting against.  Not to mention, it's illegal. So I think some of the people pointing the finger should be looking at all the other ones that are pointing back at them.

I have no problem with people bringing attention to issues & starting campaigns for change. But the methods of doing it can be very problematic & hypocritical. Also, many of the people saying that now that there is a bonus book policy, anyone who ever stuffed is against it, used to stuff themselves. So to me, that is another way it's hypocritical. I mean I just look at this stuff & see hypocrisy & despicable behavior galore, on all sides. It is not a good look for the indie author community, IMO.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 06, 2018, 09:51:42 am
An author whose pen surname rhymes with 'heart' is definitely testing the new mandate. Every stuffed book in her backlist is now a 'collection'. Kudos for getting those covers redone so quickly. I guess we'll see if Amazon lets it ride.

I personally don't care if the author in question creates a dozen collections stuffed with crappy books as long as the collections conform to the TOS about duplicate material and bonus material. If the collection is merely a reshuffled repeat of other collections, that's a TOS violation and should not be permitted.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GeneDoucette on June 06, 2018, 09:54:24 am
People are certainly encouraging doxxing. Yes, I have seen the address & personal information of the person on Facebook. Also the real names posted of other pen names. This is despicable behavior, just as bad as what these people are protesting against.  Not to mention, it's illegal. So I think some of the people pointing the finger should be looking at all the other ones that are pointing back at them. I have no problem with people bringing attention to issues & starting campaigns for change. But the methods of doing it can be very problematic.

OK.

I agree, that's terribly wrong, and potentially dangerous. At the same time, there isn't anyone here who can say "all right everyone, cut it out." It's an unintended consequence.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 06, 2018, 09:54:56 am
Ethics are a funny thing - they must be applied in all situations. If it's not ethical for people to be nasty, demeaning & belittling towards you [general you], then it's not ethical for you [general you] to be nasty, demeaning & belittling toward them. Two rights don't make a wrong. I've seen a lot of mean-spirited, hateful comments in these Twitter hashtag movements that have caused me to lose respect for a lot of the authors & even the indie author community in general. For me, these hashtag things have done the opposite of what people intended. I'm seeing a lot of other authors & readers saying the same so I know it's not just me, although of course everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But people getting involved in mob mentality & being mean towards others are not ethical IMO. Illegal giveaways are bad, but so is a lot of this other stuff they're doing in response.

So, people should not be upset when they see their colleagues breaking the rules and profiting? There's a difference between being mean in response to injustice and the injustice itself. One is far worse on the old ethical scale, at least IMO. There's righteous anger when people who play by the rules see rule-breakers profiting from their lack of ethics.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 06, 2018, 09:57:12 am
Exasperated at what? That Amazon is trying to do something about stuffing and other scammy behavior? To me, this is all pretty straightforward.


Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)

Exasperated at people who engage in scammy behavior; exasperated by people who lump non-scammy behavior in with scammy behavior and whip up Twitter mobs to harass people, report books, and encourage the doxing of people; exasperated by Amazon for finally being clear about bonus content and box sets but somehow not taking the time to be very clear about what is considered significantly differentiated content vs not significantly differentiated content.

All of it is bad.

Apologies, must be the internet, your answer read as smug to me.

No worries. I can totally understand that. Especially since I'm in a vocal minority of "please hold the horses before setting everything on fire, let's make sure we're targeting the appropriate people in the appropriate ways", I've rubbed up against more than one person who's misconstrued or misunderstood what I'm saying.

OK.

I agree, that's terribly wrong, and potentially dangerous. At the same time, there isn't anyone here who can say "all right everyone, cut it out." It's an unintended consequence.

The people shouting the loudest, in my opinion, have an ethical duty to be very clear, over and over again if necessary (and it's obviously necessary) that people shouldn't be doxxing, instead of barely containing their glee over it. Clearly they disagree with me, since they're doing a lot of the latter and barely none of the former. *shrug*

So, people should not be upset when they see their colleagues breaking the rules and profiting? There's a difference between being mean in response to injustice and the injustice itself. One is far worse on the old ethical scale, at least IMO. There's righteous anger when people who play by the rules see rule-breakers profiting from their lack of ethics.

What's the point of fighting if you just become the monster you're doing battle against? I'm assuming I've lost between 10-50k in dolla dolla bills because of book stuffers. I'm still not okay with the mass call to report every book that is still stuffed (it's been less than a week for effs sake since the new rules rolled out).


One of the quoted posts has been edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 06, 2018, 09:59:40 am
Ethics are a funny thing - they must be applied in all situations. If it's not ethical for people to be nasty, demeaning & belittling towards you [general you], then it's not ethical for you [general you] to be nasty, demeaning & belittling toward them.

If someone's stealing from their fellow authors, they certainly do deserve to be called out and yes, belittled. Calling out the cheaters is not wrong. It is just and perfectly ethical. Personally, I'd like to see the cheaters cough up their ill-gotten gains before crying that they're somehow victims.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 06, 2018, 10:02:20 am


What's the point of fighting if you just become the monster you're doing battle against? I'm assuming I've lost between 10-50k in dolla dolla bills because of book stuffers. I'm still not okay with the mass call to report every book that is still stuffed (it's been less than a week for effs sake since the new rules rolled out).

I don't see them as equivalent. There will always be those who slide into excess in every dispute or protest, but that does not negate the validity of the protest or condemn the rest of the protesters. Don't tar all those of us who are upset with the scammers with the same brush as you do the doxxers. That's a logical fallacy at best and a tactic of those who wish to divert attention away from the wrong-doers at worst.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 06, 2018, 10:06:34 am
I don't see them as equivalent. There will always be those who slide into excess in every dispute or protest, but that does not negate the validity of the protest or condemn the rest of the protesters. Don't tar all those of us who are upset with the scammers with the same brush as you do the doxxers. That's a logical fallacy at best and a tactic of those who wish to divert attention away from the wrong-doers at worst.

Yeah it would be bad to say that anyone speaking up is the same as someone who is actively trying to doxx, or encouraging doxxing, except I never said that. If I've been unclear, I apologize.

If someone's stealing from their fellow authors, they certainly do deserve to be called out and yes, belittled. Calling out the cheaters is not wrong. It is just and perfectly ethical. Personally, I'd like to see the cheaters cough up their ill-gotten gains before crying that they're somehow victims.

See this is where we diverge. If Amazon had put in this 10% rule 2 years ago and the stuffers had gotten away with their behavior the entire time? Yes, I would consider that "stealing". But Amazon didn't. Amazon left it entirely unclear as to what they meant by bonus content, and despite probably thousands of reports (if the enthusiastic bragging on Twitter is anything to go by) on these books, they never got taken down for adjustment. To me unclear TOS + no enforcement = probably not against the rules, so probably not stealing.

Now there's a clear rule: either keep the content to 10% of your file, or it must be labeled as a collection/whatever in the title and on the cover. I'm sorta mentally giving people a 1-2 week grace period before I'm like "hey, dudes, clean up your act here. Not cool."
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 06, 2018, 10:08:32 am
The cheaters aren't stealing from Amazon. They're stealing from other authors, who lose money in the form of lost All-Star bonuses, reduced payments for page reads, higher advertising costs, and lost visibility as stuffed books squat in the top 100, supported by artificially high advertising budgets (due to the $13-per-borrow dynamic). It's other authors, not Amazon, who are the real victims of this unethical behavior.

To expect genuine authors not to object is laughable. It's like suggesting that a farmer whose fields are raided every night should just shut up and grow more corn rather than work to stop the thieving.

Amazon purposefully sets up a zero sum environment & encourages this kind of infighting between authors so that less people pay attention to the real problem - Amazon & the KU program.

We are giving into Amazon every time we play its game & attack or smear other authors. Amazon sets it up to be a limited pool w/ 'prizes' going to those  at the very top & very vague & inconsistently enforced TOS it can use when they want or don't want against who it wants or doesn't want. It's Amazon's playground & they set it up so that we are all fighting w/ each other, tattling on each other &  hating each other instead of acting for real reform on very bad policies & issues with the store.

It is a lot like the current state [or maybe just the continual state, always] as politics. Politicians blame certain groups & people for the problems that it is the politician's job to fix by changing or enacting policies. The little people all fight w/ each other & blame each other instead of pointing out that the politicians at the very top control everything & that changes should be made that benefit the people.

I refuse to play this game & I am very saddened by people who are playing it. Just like I will not attack people personally w/ whom I disagree politically b/c in my view, this means the politicians win & nothing of substance gets changed & b/c I believe it is wrong to treat people in a way that I myself would not like to be treated... I will not attack authors personally or slander them or try to dox them etc. I try hard not to fight too much w/ other authors b/c that too is playing into Amazon's game & letting Amazon win instead of We the Authors. There are ways to effect change by going at the people on top who actually have the power to change things but instead many of these movements & authors are attacking others in their same position [powerless to change policies or the Amazon system], and so nothing good is going to come from it.

When I read posters saying there should be a gatekeeper or people shouldn't be allowed to publish as frequently or people who write long books should have to suffer & have a lower page read limit to stop scammers, I am saddened b/c indie authors who have benefits from the no gatekeeper system [who is to say who the gatekeepers would be or that their books would pass muster & they'd be allowed in???] are now advocating that it be closed & that steps should be taken to punish ALL authors just b/c some are behaving badly,  not to mention the horrible tactics & methods in which they are engaging to try to accomplish their goal, I shake my head thinking that they are cutting off their nose to spite their face. They are going to burn down the very system from which they benefited & could still benefit, all while screaming that other people are trying to burn it down.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 06, 2018, 10:13:33 am
Yeah it would be bad to say that anyone speaking up is the same as someone who is actively trying to doxx, or encouraging doxxing, except I never said that. If I've been unclear, I apologize.

See this is where we diverge. If Amazon had put in this 10% rule 2 years ago and the stuffers had gotten away with their behavior the entire time? Yes, I would consider that "stealing". But Amazon didn't. Amazon left it entirely unclear as to what they meant by bonus content, and despite probably thousands of reports (if the enthusiastic bragging on Twitter is anything to go by) on these books, they never got taken down for adjustment. To me unclear TOS + no enforcement = probably not against the rules, so probably not stealing.

Now there's a clear rule: either keep the content to 10% of your file, or it must be labeled as a collection/whatever in the title and on the cover. I'm sorta mentally giving people a 1-2 week grace period before I'm like "hey, dudes, clean up your act here. Not cool."

We all agree that doxxing is bad. The people on this thread who are complaining about the response to the stuffers have suggested that the protest is as bad as the thing they are protesting. That's wrong and an overreach. Maybe you intended to be narrower in your criticism, but I read it as being wider and so responded to that.

As to the "clear rule" -- it was clear to the rest of us for months and months. We've been arguing that the surfing is wrong for months and months. How is it that the suffers didn't come to the same conclusion as the rest of us non-stuffing authors? It's clear to me that there was wrong-doing taking place by the stuffers (and other scammers) long ago. It was just as unethical then as it is now that Amazon has clearly put it in writing that no one can misread or ignore. There has long been a prohibition on duplicate material and that's what we were talking about last year. Of course, scammers being who they are -- ethically challenged -- they had to wait until it was written down in absolutely crystal clear language before they would change their ways. The rest of us didn't need it spelled out that way.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 06, 2018, 10:15:07 am
OK.

I agree, that's terribly wrong, and potentially dangerous. At the same time, there isn't anyone here who can say "all right everyone, cut it out." It's an unintended consequence.

It's the natural consequence of human behavior & mob mentality, I agree. If everyone followed the Golden Rule that I believe to be a part of every religion & the better side of human consciousness, then none of these awful things would happen. I am just pointing out that those engaging in this behavior are being just as bad as the people they are trying to call out as being awful. There are two sides to every coin & the two sides need each other in order to exist. As an author I am worried about the effects of both sides of this coin for the future of self publishing. What i love about self publishing is the ability to upload my book & have people read it within a couple of hours or sometimes when Amazon is acting wonky, a couple of days. I dont' like people trying to take the simplicity & beauty of that system away from me/all authors by engaging in illegal tactics... whether that be illegal giveaways or illegal doxxing. People should be very very careful what they wish for b/c they just might get it & the self publishing platform that we love [or at least love/hate] will be closed except for those who have access to agents, publishers, contacts at Amazon and/or lots of money to pay to play. Yes, it already is like that to some extent... whoever has the money can always play more easily, but, w/ the way things are going & people shouting for gatekeepers & strict rules that limit indie publishing, it is going to be even MORE that way, instead of less.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 06, 2018, 10:17:35 am
So, people should not be upset when they see their colleagues breaking the rules and profiting? There's a difference between being mean in response to injustice and the injustice itself. One is far worse on the old ethical scale, at least IMO. There's righteous anger when people who play by the rules see rule-breakers profiting from their lack of ethics.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)

I'm pointing out bad behavior just as others are, but in a way that doesn't mock, demean or disrespect them, unlike many are doing. I have no idea why you have a problem w/ my posts, but I really don't appreciate your attitude towards me. Please treat me w/ respect as I will do for you. I am just expressing my own opinions, as are you. Thank you!

Back on subject - I never said people can't be upset. I understand people being upset. I said they shouldn't use methods & tactics that are just as despicable as the things about which they are upset. This is also bad behavior & two wrongs don't make a right. That is what I said & what I stick to.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 06, 2018, 10:21:48 am
Yeah it would be bad to say that anyone speaking up is the same as someone who is actively trying to doxx, or encouraging doxxing, except I never said that. If I've been unclear, I apologize.

See this is where we diverge. If Amazon had put in this 10% rule 2 years ago and the stuffers had gotten away with their behavior the entire time? Yes, I would consider that "stealing". But Amazon didn't. Amazon left it entirely unclear as to what they meant by bonus content, and despite probably thousands of reports (if the enthusiastic bragging on Twitter is anything to go by) on these books, they never got taken down for adjustment. To me unclear TOS + no enforcement = probably not against the rules, so probably not stealing.

Now there's a clear rule: either keep the content to 10% of your file, or it must be labeled as a collection/whatever in the title and on the cover. I'm sorta mentally giving people a 1-2 week grace period before I'm like "hey, dudes, clean up your act here. Not cool."

I agree. Even with someone like Chance who is very publicly breaking both ToS and actual laws, it's not okay to doxx or harass him. It's completely fine to call him out, as in his pen name. All the stuff he's doing is public.

There's a difference between expressing frustration and harassing someone. There's a lot of anger about bonus books and sketchy publishers out there. These people have been messing up the romance market for over a year. And bonus book hating authors have been suffering from an unfair system for two years now. But that doesn't make it okay to be a jerk.

It would have been nice if Amazon was more specific about prompt, but I agree that a week is fair. People are going to report books they consider in violation. I don't personally have an issue with it, though I wouldn't do it myself. IMO, there's no reason for people who follow rules to fear being reported.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 06, 2018, 10:29:02 am
What's the point of fighting if you just become the monster you're doing battle against? I'm assuming I've lost between 10-50k in dolla dolla bills because of book stuffers. I'm still not okay with the mass call to report every book that is still stuffed (it's been less than a week for effs sake since the new rules rolled out).

Yes, this exactly. That's what I was trying to say- that some of the people enraged at bad behavior are sinking to that level & behaving badly & becoming the very people they hate. It also happens in politics & it is happening here.

Take #Cockygate for instance. I don't think it is right to try to trademark a word & bully other authors into not using it. But nor do I think it is right for other authors to continually mock, insult & smear that author [or her fans/readers, or family members & friends, as some have done, yuck]. There is a court system in place for trademarks, where this all got started & where it is playing out & I'm glad that it looks like the trademark won't stand up.

I'm really happy to read updates about the court situation on social media, w/ some annotations or opinions about what people think of it or what will happen from here etc. But I really hate all the personal condemnation & snarkiness & meanness directed towards the author in question,  & all of this other meanness towards other authors ranging from those who are giving away diamonds to those who used bonus books to those who use ARC teams or ghostwriters etc., w/ all of it conflated as part of some kind of #gategate. To me it diminishes the importance of the focus of fighting the trademark.

Therefore, I often turn off social media when it comes to any kind of #gate now b/c it disgusts & saddens me that humans can be so awful to each other. I tell myself it is a vocal minority w/ some ringleaders & I can see how the process all works but I can't just sit there staring at all the awfulness or I will not getting anything productive done. On that note, I also wonder how these people [NOT naming names, as others have done to their fellow human beings, yuck] have so much time to be so belittling to every else 24/7; this tells me they do not have happy lives & are not happy w/ themselves & so they are just trying to cause drama & chaos. They are just as unhappy & mean as the people they are against.

On that note I am going to go about my day & I hope that all of this stops soon although I fear it is leading to the end of open & free indie publishing & that will hurt everyone.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 06, 2018, 10:32:04 am
Locking briefly to catch up with recent posts.

Edit: Sorry for the delay. Reopening this with a suggestion we move past the meta-conversation about the nature of protest that mawnster initiated in what is currently post No. 226. A number of good points have been made on both sides, IMO, but all we can really do, in a concrete sense, is maintain KB as a space for those who are interested in keeping lines of civil communication open. Perhaps, in fact, model the sort of conversation/protest we want to see. So let's get back to discussing the matter itself. Much remains to be clarified about how Amazon is applying its new language about bonus content and how authors can and should adapt to their altered sales environment.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DonovanJeremiah on June 06, 2018, 01:01:12 pm
IMO, it's fine to post info that is publicly available or meant for consumption--like the inside of an author's book, a mailing list page, a FB group, a Twitter post, etc. That is definitely not doxxing, nor is a list of people who are publicly breaking rules. It's not okay to post people's real name or place of residence.

Since I thought CAN-SPAM required a valid address for the mailing list owner...that's a chilling statement right there.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 06, 2018, 01:31:52 pm
Since I thought CAN-SPAM required a valid address for the mailing list owner...that's a chilling statement right there.

I think Crystal_ meant the landing page where you send people to sign up for your mailing list, not one of the emails sent out to to the list. If you need to display your physical address on your sign-up page in addition to the emails you send ... well ... I don't think I'm in compliance.  :-X

Now, let's please move on from the meta-discussion of how the protest is playing out. We'll mind our own house on that front.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 06, 2018, 02:06:00 pm


Now, let's please move on from the meta-discussion of how the protest is playing out. We'll mind our own house on that front.

I'm not sure I understand what this means. If we discover an author is blatantly breaking the spirit of the new bonus content TOS, can we call them out here in the forum?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DonovanJeremiah on June 06, 2018, 02:15:42 pm
I think Crystal_ meant the landing page where you send people to sign up for your mailing list, not one of the emails sent out to to the list. If you need to display your physical address on your sign-up page in addition to the emails you send ... well ... I don't think I'm in compliance.  :-X

Well, I said valid, not physical.

Now, let's please move on from the meta-discussion of how the protest is playing out. We'll mind our own house on that front.

Fair enough.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: C. Gold on June 06, 2018, 03:29:29 pm
I personally don't care if the author in question creates a dozen collections stuffed with crappy books as long as the collections conform to the TOS about duplicate material and bonus material. If the collection is merely a reshuffled repeat of other collections, that's a TOS violation and should not be permitted.
This is my concern as well. As a reader, I didn't mind ten books tacked on the end. I considered that worth spending 99c on since there was usually a story or two that was decent. What I began noticing though was the repetitive content which forced me to play a game of 'have I read these before?' which got annoying and definitely gave this reader a negative experience. So to me, stuffing wasn't bad it was the duplication that was the problem. Note that I usually shelled out 99c for these rather than read them in KU. I didn't realize while just a reader that that was even a 'thing' with double dipping. Now as an author, I realize what the goal was for these stuffed books and why there was so much duplicate content. I'm even happier I never read them in Select.

Forcing these books to be labeled a collection is a good first step, but will there be further enforcement to ensure the books aren't multiple rearrangements of the same books tacked on at the end of every other book in the author's backlog? That's what I'm waiting to see.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 06, 2018, 04:04:39 pm
I think Crystal_ meant the landing page where you send people to sign up for your mailing list, not one of the emails sent out to to the list. If you need to display your physical address on your sign-up page in addition to the emails you send ... well ... I don't think I'm in compliance.  :-X

Now, let's please move on from the meta-discussion of how the protest is playing out. We'll mind our own house on that front.

CAN SPAM requires a physical address on the emails sent out:

"Tell recipients where you're located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you've registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you've registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations."

https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

I can't find anywhere where it requires it on the website itself.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 06, 2018, 04:14:08 pm
I'm not sure I understand what this means. If we discover an author is blatantly breaking the spirit of the new bonus content TOS, can we call them out here in the forum?

If you have concerns that someone is breaking the rules of another site, the place to handle that is on that site, not here. That includes Amazon. You should contact Amazon with your concerns.  This is our WHOA (What Happens on Amazon/What Happens on Another site) policy.  KB is the place to discuss issues.

If someone is breaking OUR rules, you should use the report feature to let the moderating staff know.  You can also PM, but we all get a lot of PMs--so reports are better since a report goes to the entire mod staff, so anyone who is "on duty" can handle the report, and reports stay in the moderation center until they are handled, so are harder to miss.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 06, 2018, 04:23:25 pm
KB is the place to discuss issues.

Betsy
KB Mod

But not issues relating to Amazon authors violating TOS which affect this entire community's livelihood?
That's a shame. This forum could be a powerful voice between the indie community and Amazon.

Thanks for clearing it up.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Desert Rose on June 06, 2018, 04:25:12 pm
But not issues relating to Amazon authors violating TOS which affect this entire community's livelihood?
That's a shame. This forum could be a powerful voice between the indie community and Amazon.

Thanks for clearing it up.
We have been discussing the issues. The mods are asking that people refrain from calls to release the hounds against specific authors on this forum.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 06, 2018, 04:47:16 pm
We have been discussing the issues. The mods are asking that people refrain from calls to release the hounds against specific authors on this forum.

Got it.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 06, 2018, 05:58:00 pm
Has anyone watched ducks, when plenty of food is about?
I feed the local wild ducks every afternoon, and from watching them, I understand people a lot better now.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 06, 2018, 06:17:03 pm
Since I thought CAN-SPAM required a valid address for the mailing list owner...that's a chilling statement right there.

That actually didn't occur to me as IME 99% of authors a) don't use their (or any) home address (they'll put something like 123 No Stalkers) and b) let literally anyone who signs up for their list join, but that is true.

I share mailing list links with friends a lot because the point of the mailing list is to get more business/spread news.

I'm of two minds with this. There's absolutely no reason why you wouldn't share a business address (and that is what should be on a mailing list), but you shouldn't share a personal address. I don't really consider maling lists to be private communications, but maybe some do.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 06, 2018, 07:17:16 pm
How did this turn into a mailing list thread? lol...

Are there any Facebook groups dedicated to watch-dogging scammers and TOS offenders?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 06, 2018, 07:59:29 pm
Not that I know of, Dpock, but there are some Twitter accounts. Search the #bookstuffer hashtag and it shouldn't be too hard to find them.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 06, 2018, 08:37:43 pm
#getloud is a hashtag people are using on Twitter and Facebook. It's appropriate considering the "stop talking and mind your business" rhetoric many of us have seen.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 06, 2018, 09:54:17 pm
K.B., you may not post in this thread again.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 06, 2018, 10:09:11 pm
#getloud is a hashtag people are using on Twitter and Facebook. It's appropriate considering the "stop talking and mind your business" rhetoric many of us have seen.

Not that I know of, Dpock, but there are some Twitter accounts. Search the #bookstuffer hashtag and it shouldn't be too hard to find them.

Thanks. It's nice to see that level of activism in the broader community.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 06, 2018, 11:54:12 pm
So, how do we best lobby Amazon to implement these guidelines without allowing a collection or compilation retitling workaround? This remains the most important open question. If they don't act against the heavily stuffed books adding compilation or collection to their titles and changing almost nothing else, then this is hardly a positive change. It could empower stuffers more if the only consequence to massive stuffing is vigilante style justice on social media. Ending stuffing cleanly and quickly hinges on this question. It's the fairest and most orderly way as well. Readers and other authors shouldn't have to police the store reporting stuffed books with mangled formatting to end this.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PearlEarringLady on June 07, 2018, 12:53:49 am
So, how do we best lobby Amazon to implement these guidelines without allowing a collection or compilation retitling workaround? This remains the most important open question. If they don't act against the heavily stuffed books adding compilation or collection to their titles and changing almost nothing else, then this is hardly a positive change. It could empower stuffers more if the only consequence to massive stuffing is vigilante style justice on social media. Ending stuffing cleanly and quickly hinges on this question. It's the fairest and most orderly way as well. Readers and other authors shouldn't have to police the store reporting stuffed books with mangled formatting to end this.

The question uppermost in my mind is what is Amazon's reason for the change? Is this merely a cosmetic change, so that readers can better distinguish those books that have bonus books included? Or is there some larger intent still to be implemented, such as excluding stuffed books from All-Star bonuses, or excluding them from KU altogether? Until we know that, we won't be able to determine how (or whether) to lobby Amazon.

As for policing the store, it has always been the job of readers to report books not in compliance with the TOS, which now includes stuffed books not labelled as compilations, as well as poor formatting, disruptive links, incentivised sales and reviews and so on.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 07, 2018, 03:54:01 am
#getloud is a hashtag people are using on Twitter and Facebook. It's appropriate considering the "stop talking and mind your business" rhetoric many of us have seen.

There's a problem I can see with this. If numerous authors are all out there downloading KU books and flicking through them to see if they are stuffed - How many false positives are amazon bots going to pick up for page flipping and botting?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: C. Gold on June 07, 2018, 05:08:19 am
An author whose pen surname rhymes with 'heart' is definitely testing the new mandate. Every stuffed book in her backlist is now a 'collection'. Kudos for getting those covers redone so quickly. I guess we'll see if Amazon lets it ride.
Each book blurb lists the extra books now, so that's a start. Still need a definitive way to get rid of duplicated content for books in Select.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 07, 2018, 06:32:18 am
That actually didn't occur to me as IME 99% of authors a) don't use their (or any) home address (they'll put something like 123 No Stalkers) and b) let literally anyone who signs up for their list join, but that is true.

I share mailing list links with friends a lot because the point of the mailing list is to get more business/spread news.

I'm of two minds with this. There's absolutely no reason why you wouldn't share a business address (and that is what should be on a mailing list), but you shouldn't share a personal address. I don't really consider maling lists to be private communications, but maybe some do.
I think the problem is that CAN-SPAM didn't think about people like indie authors. Most of us don't have a business address per se. (We're not the only ones. My landscaper, for example, lists his home address, and the business number is another line in his house. He doesn't have a mailing list, though.)

Technically, someone using a fake address could get in trouble under the law. How likely that is happen I have no idea.

Fun fact: German law requires a physical address on websites. I've never heard of Germany coming after someone who didn't provide one. I suspect it's a question of wanting somewhere to serve papers in the event another law in broken, so if you stay out of trouble with Germany, it may never be an issue. (I don't know for sure, though.) As with CAN-SPAM, the law assumes that all business have a business address. Indie authors all in effect run businesses, but not necessarily in the official sense and not necessarily from a business address.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 07, 2018, 11:08:04 am
At least you're allowed to put a PO Box on a mailing list. If you want to register a DBA, you have to put your actual physical address out there where anyone on the web can find it (via public records easily searchable database). It frustrates me how many of our laws do not at all take into account the financial/safety/privacy burden to small business owners.
Apparently, no one entertained the possibility of people working out of their homes. For a lot of businesses, that wouldn't be possible because of zoning restrictions. Of course, an indie could very easily do everything on a home computer.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: boba1823 on June 07, 2018, 02:55:38 pm
If you want to register a DBA, you have to put your actual physical address out there where anyone on the web can find it (via public records easily searchable database).

Off of the main topic, but because I'm big on privacy I though it worth mentioning just for anyone who is not aware: You can establish an LLC in certain states, without being a resident, through a registered agent (ideally an attorney) such that your name, address, etc. does not appear in any public records whatsoever. Might cost a bit more than filing a DBA depending on your local fees for that, but it's not that much.

Back to the main topic:

It's day seven! I've been watching with great interest to see what, if anything, changes. Specifically with the Romance bestseller chart, which I'm looking at pretty often, but also overall in the Kindle store.

I haven't really noticed much change. Some authors have been slapping "a collection" onto their.. rather lengthy 'collections.' Overall, the Romance bestseller page looks about the same to me as it has for quite a while. Dominated by books in KU, a bit less than half of the 99cents+KU variety. Not all of these include multiple titles, of course, but looks like there are still plenty of those stuck in there.

Just a few minutes ago, I did notice that a certain rather sparkly title fell off of the map and into the abyss. Earlier this week it had become unavailable for.. maybe 24 hours or so, but then went back on sale after the author updated it and was holding rank in the 300s. Still had a quality notice box on the page, but it was available for purchase or borrow. Not sure exactly what is happening with it now, and whether or not it will be permanent. Though that one had another glaring issue that went beyond excess bonus content.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 03:05:43 pm
I haven't really noticed much change. Some authors have been slapping "a collection" onto their.. rather lengthy 'collections.' Overall, the Romance bestseller page looks about the same to me as it has for quite a while. Dominated by books in KU, a bit less than half of the 99cents+KU variety. Not all of these include multiple titles, of course, but looks like there are still plenty of those stuck in there.

Early days, I guess, but I've noticed many of those who had been stuffing in lots and lots of books have switched tricks and are now doing the multiple carriage returns thing instead. There are a few varieties going around

I haven't really noticed much change. Some authors have been slapping "a collection" onto their.. rather lengthy 'collections.' Overall, the Romance bestseller page looks about the same to me as it has for quite a while. Dominated by books in KU, a bit less than half of the 99cents+KU variety. Not all of these include multiple titles, of course, but looks like there are still plenty of those stuck in there.

I wonder if we saw the same thing. He's using one... flavor of carriage return trick now. A friend borrowed one of his other titles to see what he was up to now and he has reformatted it to take out all the extra books but now pretty much every sentence is a seperate paragraph and there are extra carriage returns between the paragraphs. The book is 30 chapters but the sample ends during chapter six, indicating perhaps that this trick has doubled the length.

Even weirder is something new (to me at least). The auto-estimated listening time for that book should just be a few hours but it's now saying 33 hours which is bizarre. Not sure what's going on there but I have some guesses...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 03:07:23 pm
All his ebooks are down, in fact. Wow.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 07, 2018, 03:37:52 pm
All his ebooks are down, in fact. Wow.

I suspect he took them down to regroup. Destuffing was probably too big a job to do piecemeal.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 07, 2018, 03:49:31 pm
I suspect he took them down to regroup. Destuffing was probably too big a job to do piecemeal.

I don't think that at all. He would have done them one by one rather than lose money for however many days it takes to do all those books.

The only things left on his page are things that wouldn't have been published through his KDP dashboard. I think they yanked his account.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Lu Kudzoza on June 07, 2018, 03:54:55 pm
His books are still there. They're not on his author page, but if you search his name you'll see them.

He's also still running AMS ads for them.

Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Monique on June 07, 2018, 03:56:33 pm
His books are still there. They're not on his author page, but if you search his name you'll see them.

He's also still running AMS ads for them.



I don't see any ebooks.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 03:56:45 pm
His books are still there.

His last release is turning up 404 doggos. A search for his name is only returning audiobooks.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 03:58:41 pm
I suspect he took them down to regroup. Destuffing was probably too big a job to do piecemeal.

I don't think that's it. The last release is a 404 and every single one of his ebooks is down, including all the stuff her wrote under that female erotica name.

Besides, he already did republish all his books (at least the ones I checked) without the extra books in the back, but with that weird spacing/formatting trick.

I think he's been shut down. That's what it looks like at least...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: munboy on June 07, 2018, 04:10:32 pm
If an author generates a lot of income for Amazon, doesn't that make them highly valuable to the company if not largely untouchable?

We get it...you got it out for Amazon. That's fine.

But here's the thing. I see this as Amazon looking out for other, less shady authors. We're talking KDP here. Amazon is going to get their money through subscriptions whether the reader reads 1 book a month or 100. The difference now is instead of a huge chunk of available author funds going to a few stuffers who have astronomical read numbers because of their nefarious methods, Amazon is trying to make it more fair to those of us who just write books and send them out to the world without trying to beat the system.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Lu Kudzoza on June 07, 2018, 04:14:01 pm
His last release is turning up 404 doggos. A search for his name is only returning audiobooks.

Yep. My mistake. Doh!
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 07, 2018, 04:18:55 pm


I think he's been shut down. That's what it looks like at least...

If so then kudos to you and yours (I Googled "Amazon Book Stuffers" -- the first result is your blog post about Amazon authors stuffing their books).
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 07, 2018, 04:29:50 pm
I was gonna post "I wonder if the RWA had a word with Amazon about this," and then I see:

Quote
We're glad to see that Amazon has taken action against book stuffing and begun to remove bad actors from KU. Thank you to everyone who has sent in information to RWA on this matter.

https://twitter.com/romancewriters/status/1004859578390056960
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 07, 2018, 04:37:16 pm
https://www.rwa.org/page/perseverance-fund

If you want to give back to the RWA for the awesome work they do, consider donating to their perseverance fund.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 07, 2018, 04:39:33 pm
"BEGUN" to remove bad actors.

Long may it continue.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 07, 2018, 04:45:00 pm
Every stuffer continuing on with barely labeled collection-compilations or playing games with bad formatting should be very afraid right now. Chance is a prime example of how far Amazon will go when books are mass reported and major wrong doing turns up. I think asking his fans to flip through pages cost him his account more than anything. However this proves Amazon will find dirty tricks if they're given a good reason to look.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 07, 2018, 04:57:41 pm
I can't wait for everyone to start reporting on compilations, not caring that Amazon only asks that the word "compilation" appear in the title and on the cover.

I've already seen the disinformation being spread far and wide across Twitter. I wish people would actually pay attention instead of just saying "I don't like this activity so it must be against the TOS!!!!"
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 07, 2018, 05:00:50 pm
I can't wait for everyone to start reporting on compilations, not caring that Amazon only asks that the word "compilation" appear in the title and on the cover.

I've already seen the disinformation being spread far and wide across Twitter. I wish people would actually pay attention instead of just saying "I don't like this activity so it must be against the TOS!!!!"

And in the metadata, and the table of contents, and that the blurb must 'accurately reflect the contents of the book'. Plus, I'm guessing they'll start enforcing the already-existing rule against duplicate content if people don't fall into line. Repeatedly stuffing the same books into the back of new ones doth not a box set make.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 07, 2018, 05:03:35 pm
I can't wait for everyone to start reporting on compilations, not caring that Amazon only asks that the word "compilation" appear in the title and on the cover.

I've already seen the disinformation being spread far and wide across Twitter. I wish people would actually pay attention instead of just saying "I don't like this activity so it must be against the TOS!!!!"

It depends on whether each compilation offers unique content or is just the same bonus content over and over. It's a bit tedious to figure out so yes, some people may jump the gun, some will get it right.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 07, 2018, 05:04:28 pm
And in the metadata, and the table of contents, and that the blurb must 'accurately reflect the contents of the book'. Plus, I'm guessing they'll start enforcing the already-existing rule against duplicate content if people don't fall into line. Repeatedly stuffing the same books into the back of new ones doth not a box set make.

The email direct from Amazon said "in the title and on the cover" specifically, and that no mention of it was necessary in the blurb. I will be very disappointed if people go on reporting sprees knowing these details - at that point its willful negligence and is very unethical.

Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 05:06:10 pm
I can't wait for everyone to start reporting on compilations, not caring that Amazon only asks that the word "compilation" appear in the title and on the cover.

You are asserting that just putting compilation in the title and on the cover will be sufficient for these guys to continue pretty much as normal but that is an assertion. You claim to have evidence to back this up but you haven't provided it, just like that email you couldn't provide last time which you swore existed.

You also said this was a big nothingburger, and yet the main stuffer is down...
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 07, 2018, 05:07:51 pm
You are asserting that just putting compilation in the title and on the cover will be sufficient for these guys to continue pretty much as normal but that is an assertion. You claim to have evidence to back this up but you haven't provided it, just like that email you couldn't provide last time which you swore existed.

You also said this was a big nothingburger, and yet the main stuffer is down...

And unless I see more money in my pocket, than yeah, it is a nothingburger. Because literally nothing is stopping any of the bookstuffers from starting up LLCs to continue publishing.



Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 07, 2018, 05:07:58 pm
The Guidelines already say that all included books must be listed in the metadata and that the blurb must accurately reflect the contents of the book, and that an accurate table of contents must be included. Nothing new there.

I, for one, wouldn't report a 'compilation' without checking to see whether the included books were already included in other 'compilations'. If they were, why buy the new one?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 07, 2018, 05:10:14 pm
The email direct from Amazon said "in the title and on the cover" specifically, and that no mention of it was necessary in the blurb. I will be very disappointed if people go on reporting sprees knowing these details - at that point its willful negligence and is very unethical.

This isn't what other authors are hearing from KDP reps on the phone. Maybe you're right because KDP doesn't always give the same answer. However I've heard several who spoke to reps who tell them there's no official rule yet on collections-complications. Only that how collections will be handled is being figured out internally in their content review teams. When people ask the reps tell them the safest option is to trim all bonus content under 10%. The reps also explicitly say don't follow anyone else into a grey area. We'll have a real answer soon after the compliance period ends.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 07, 2018, 05:11:17 pm
The Guidelines already say that all included books must be listed in the metadata and that the blurb must accurately reflect the contents of the book, and that an accurate table of contents must be included. Nothing new there.

I, for one, wouldn't report a 'compilation' without checking to see whether the included books were already included in other 'compilations'. If they were, why buy the new one?

Shuffling books and offering them in varying compilations creates multiple points of entry into a catalog. I've seen it used wide to very great success.

This isn't what other authors are hearing from KDP reps on the phone. Maybe you're right because KDP doesn't always give the same answer. However I've heard several who spoke to reps who tell them there's no official rule yet on collections-complications. Only that how collections will be handled is being figured out internally in their content review teams. When people ask the reps tell them the safest option is to trim all bonus content under 10%. The reps also explicitly say don't follow anyone else into a grey area. We'll have a real answer soon after the compliance period ends.

That's good that more clarification will come out.


Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 05:12:34 pm
And unless I see more money in my pocket, than yeah, it is a nothingburger. Because literally nothing is stopping any of the bookstuffers from starting up LLCs to continue publishing.

It's quite amusing the contortions you will go to claim nothing is happening.

1. Amazon brought four or five people to arbitration.
2. Amazon then filed suit to confirm the first award.
3. ECR stated in writing to several members here - who could actually produce their emails - that it is against TOS.
4. Amazon stated in court papers that it harms all authors and is against TOS.
5. KDP announced new rules of 10% max bonus content and a swathe of related metadata guidlines.
6. KDP further announced that those breaching these guidelines would not get All Stars starting this month.
7. One week into the new regime and the leading stuffer, previously bulletproof, looks to have had his account shut down.

That's one meaty nothingburger!


edited quoted post.  --Betsy
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: mawnster on June 07, 2018, 05:18:26 pm
It's quite amusing the contortions you will go to claim nothing is happening.

1. Amazon brought four or five people to arbitration.
2. Amazon then filed suit to confirm the first award.
3. ECR stated in writing to several members here - who could actually produce their emails - that it is against TOS.
4. Amazon stated in court papers that it harms all authors and is against TOS.
5. KDP announced new rules of 10% max bonus content and a swathe of related metadata guidlines.
6. KDP further announced that those breaching these guidelines would not get All Stars starting this month.
7. One week into the new regime and the leading stuffer, previously bulletproof, looks to have had his account shut down.

That's one meaty nothingburger!

If it doesn't result in an increase in income for me, why the heck should I think this whole circus was worth any of the time we've all spent on it.

This was, after all, because we were losing money to these bookstuffers. That's why this started, right? Cause we were all losing money? If it doesn't mean we're all getting paid more, then what was the point?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Mr. Sparkle on June 07, 2018, 05:22:42 pm
At least you're allowed to put a PO Box on a mailing list. If you want to register a DBA, you have to put your actual physical address out there where anyone on the web can find it (via public records easily searchable database). It frustrates me how many of our laws do not at all take into account the financial/safety/privacy burden to small business owners.

If you make the company LLC or Corp. from the initials or surname of the owner's name, you don't have to fill out a DBA form, at least in some states.

Honestly, enforcement of filling out the fictitious name form varies from state to state, and you should consult an attorney, but theoretical me would rather pay the state fine if I'm caught someday than bother with it, even if I wasn't already fulfilling the letter of the law (which I am).

IMHO, there is no reason why you should have to sacrifice your privacy and your safety for bureaucratic red tape. Don't scam people and pay your taxes, and no one will have reason to investigate your company.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 07, 2018, 05:25:11 pm
If it doesn't result in an increase in income for me, why the heck should I think this whole circus was worth any of the time we've all spent on it.

This was, after all, because we were losing money to these bookstuffers. That's why this started, right? Cause we were all losing money? If it doesn't mean we're all getting paid more, then what was the point?

Interesting to see your mindset. There are some people able to look beyond their own wallet.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: boba1823 on June 07, 2018, 05:36:22 pm
If you make the company LLC or Corp. from the initials or surname of the owner's name, you don't have to fill out a DBA form, at least in some states.

Right-o, mostly, I think. Except that if you have created an actual LLC or other corporate entity, whatever its name, you don't need to fill out any DBA while you are operating as that entity under its formal name. (That would only be needed if your business is Scooblaroo Publishing, LLC, but you want to operate as Scooblaroo Books - then your business entity needs to do some kind of DBA something.) If you just want to operate as Gilford Bakery, then - in some jurisdictions at least - you don't need to create a business entity or file a DBA. Assuming your name is Gilford, etc. But.. there are many, many good reasons to create an LLC. Just saying, lol.

But, to the matter at hand:

Remember that Mr. Sparkleypants had some other goings-on, in addition to the stuffing, that Amazon may well care much more about - and that may explain the disappearance of said publishing hero.

I'll believe that the disappearance is actually related to the stuffing when I see those near-3000 page 'compilations' that are still on the bestseller list getting iced. Until some of those fall off, too, I'm going to suspect that other forces were at play when it comes to the sad departure of my favourite author.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: ChristinaGarner on June 07, 2018, 05:40:04 pm
It's quite amusing the contortions you will go to claim nothing is happening.

1. Amazon brought four or five people to arbitration.
2. Amazon then filed suit to confirm the first award.
3. ECR stated in writing to several members here - who could actually produce their emails - that it is against TOS.
4. Amazon stated in court papers that it harms all authors and is against TOS.
5. KDP announced new rules of 10% max bonus content and a swathe of related metadata guidlines.
6. KDP further announced that those breaching these guidelines would not get All Stars starting this month.
7. One week into the new regime and the leading stuffer, previously bulletproof, looks to have had his account shut down.

That's one meaty nothingburger!

 Iím vegan, and even I like the meat on this nothingburger. 

The community owes you a debt of gratitude for your efforts. Thanks, DG.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 07, 2018, 05:41:46 pm
I care about my lost income. And I care that other honest authors are being cheated. At this point, it's laughable that anyone can still be defending the stuffers, unless they are one.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 07, 2018, 05:45:25 pm
Folks,

locking for just a few minutes while I catch up.  Everyone take a breath.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 07, 2018, 05:59:29 pm
Reopening thread.  Posts have been edited or removed and more pruning may happen.

Mawnster, you are banned from this thread; see my PM.

Folks, discuss the issues, not each other.  Not every post need be responded to.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 07, 2018, 06:02:54 pm
locking for just a few minutes while I catch up.

I sometimes disagree with your moderating decisions, but I do appreciate how hard you guys work.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 07, 2018, 06:09:41 pm
I sometimes disagree with your moderating decisions, but I do appreciate how hard you guys work.

Thanks, lilywhite!
 :-*
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 39416 on June 07, 2018, 06:50:19 pm
Just a quick question--My books aren't in KU. At the end of each of them, I have bonus first-chapters from some of my other books. I doubt it's more than 10% but I haven't checked them all.

Should I be worried?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 07, 2018, 06:56:50 pm


But, to the matter at hand:

Remember that Mr. Sparkleypants had some other goings-on, in addition to the stuffing, that Amazon may well care much more about - and that may explain the disappearance of said publishing hero.

I'll believe that the disappearance is actually related to the stuffing when I see those near-3000 page 'compilations' that are still on the bestseller list getting iced. Until some of those fall off, too, I'm going to suspect that other forces were at play when it comes to the sad departure of my favourite author.

I see what you mean. Carter was so blatantly violating TOS on several fronts, so a true test-case he's not. But it's a start. Earlier I  received a newsletter from a stuffer promoting her new romance, now #40 storewide, a compilation. She's changed the titles of the bonus books compilation so Amazon won't catch the recycling. I wonder how she handled the meta data.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 07, 2018, 06:57:21 pm
Just a quick question--My books aren't in KU. At the end of each of them, I have bonus first-chapters from some of my other books. I doubt it's more than 10% but I haven't checked them all.

Should I be worried?

The policy clarification is for all of KDP--not just KU--although Amazon stated a method of enforcement will be KU all-star bonuses.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 07, 2018, 06:58:11 pm
Just a quick question--My books aren't in KU. At the end of each of them, I have bonus first-chapters from some of my other books. I doubt it's more than 10% but I haven't checked them all.

Should I be worried?

I wouldn't think so, but I'd check the % to be sure.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 07, 2018, 09:03:27 pm
What kw3000 said. Oh, and here's a thing to back up that pessimism: An author who had their account terminated for cause last year and who repubbed their books under their same name through a small press account just got a Monthly Deal. So yeah, in Amazon World, you can run multiple scams, have your account terminated, and still wind up with a prize.

Now, if this happened just one time, I might be tempted to call it a fluke. But I've seen one author who botted their way to #1 Free every month for 2 years and who was reported multiple times who was also given at least one Monthly Deal spot. And I've seen an author who botted their way multiple times to #2 and #3 PAID who was reported multiple times get a face-out spot in the SFF newsletter.

Now, both of those authors were eventually rank-stripped and apparently made to realize the error of their ways, because neither of them have used bots since they were outed here on KBoards, and their books are hovering in much more mundane ranks than they were before. But it took a PUBLIC outcry before Amazon took any notice. Internal reporting with ample evidence had absolutely no effect.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 08, 2018, 03:01:38 am
Now, both of those authors were eventually rank-stripped and apparently made to realize the error of their ways, because neither of them have used bots since they were outed here on KBoards, and their books are hovering in much more mundane ranks than they were before. But it took a PUBLIC outcry before Amazon took any notice. Internal reporting with ample evidence had absolutely no effect.

Reporting never has any effect*. Ever. Amazon only acts when it gets embarrassed publicly, either through the press or social media pressure. I wish it were otherwise, but that's the way it is.

I'm glad Amazon has done something, and from the reaction of some people on this thread and elsewhere I think that action has touched a nerve. If I was a stuffer, or engaged in other black-hat-flavored shenanigans, I'd be pretty worried right now.

But I would rather they fixed the problem than put one head on a pike, even if it was the leader of the gang.



*= still very much worth doing, despite that. I don't want to give the wrong impression. Mass reports put someone on Amazon's radar and are an indication of the strength of feeling surround an issue. Amazon does care what authors think, and about the erosion of trust in the author community this issue has caused. Which is why it was important to get loud and show that to Amazon, via posts, social media, reports - all of that has been hugely effective. Keep reporting stuff! It's one of the few tools we have in this fight. Also allows us to say "I've been reporting this author for nine months and they received 7 All Stars in that period" - which is very powerful and perfectly demonstrative of Amazon's inaction.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 08, 2018, 03:41:57 am
Following some of this on twitter, one ghost-writer mentioned that she earns only $400 for a 50,000 to 75,000 word story. The turnaround time? Less than a month.

The sad thing is, before the stuffers started gaming the system, independent writers had a much better chance of building their own brand and publishing under their own pen name. However, under the current high-dollar marketing environment, it's nearly impossible to gain any visibility in romance unless you're an established name or have mega marketing bucks. I find it really sad that writers are being exploited on both ends by the stuffing debacle. On the front end, ghost-writers are being paid shamefully low rates to produce the content. On the back end, authors who are publishing their own stuff are being buried by stuffers and their inflated marketing budgets, which wouldn't even be possible without the 13-dollar borrows.

Given the fact that stuffers are responding to the 10% bonus-content guideline mostly by slapping "collection" on their covers and titles, I suspect we'll see bigger changes in July. Maybe Amazon will ban collections entirely from Kindle Unlimited. Maybe they'll limit the page counts. Maybe they'll cap the amount you can earn from a borrow at the amount you can earn from an actual sale. To me, this seems like just the beginning, especially considering how many stuffed books are still ranking.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AuthorX on June 08, 2018, 04:36:13 am
Following some of this on twitter, one ghost-writer mentioned that she earns only $400 for a 50,000 to 75,000 word story. The turnaround time? Less than a month.

The sad thing is, before the stuffers started gaming the system, independent writers had a much better chance of building their own brand and publishing under their own pen name. However, under the current high-dollar marketing environment, it's nearly impossible to gain any visibility in romance unless you're an established name or have mega marketing bucks. I find it really sad that writers are being exploited on both ends by the stuffing debacle. On the front end, ghost-writers are being paid shamefully low rates to produce the content. On the back end, authors who are publishing their own stuff are being buried by stuffers and their inflated marketing budgets, which wouldn't even be possible without the 13-dollar borrows.

Given the fact that stuffers are responding to the 10% bonus-content guideline mostly by slapping "collection" on their covers and titles, I suspect we'll see bigger changes in July. Maybe Amazon will ban collections entirely from Kindle Unlimited. Maybe they'll limit the page counts. Maybe they'll cap the amount you can earn from a borrow at the amount you can earn from an actual sale. To me, this seems like just the beginning, especially considering how many stuffed books are still ranking.

All writers are not created equal...

A ghostwriter who is charging $400 for a 50,000 book probably isn't that great of a writer. I've seen plenty of ghostwritten work, and even the ones who would charge $1000 for 50,000 words are (usually) at the very bottom of the tier when it comes to quality/creativity of writing. Any publisher buying their work is taking a risk that they'll even make that money back that they paid.

I don't agree with book stuffing at all, but I don't think it has any correlation to ghostwriters being underpaid. Ghostwriting has been around since the beginning of time, and there have always been less-skilled writers who will write for dirt cheap, because they aren't going to make that much money going at it alone. Ghostwriting is guaranteed income where the publisher assumes all the risk, cost of editing, rewriting, covers, advertising. There are many, many, many indie writers who write novels and never make any profits at all on their work, and many who are lucky to turn just a small profit after putting their lifeblood into it. So, ghostwriting is a way for them to pay the bills when push comes to shove.

In fact, if there was more demand for ghostwriting, the prices would go up, not down.

I really dislike book stuffing, but if anything, low-tiered ghostwriters will start getting paid even less now since they will be in low demand. Book stuffers aren't going to want their low quality work to stuff their books with. When you've got hundreds of book stuffers trying to find work and nobody buying their stuff, they'll be forced to write for less or forced to risk their $$ editing, buying covers, etc. on their own. And they might not make their money back.

High Quality ghostwriters who are charging thousands upon thousands for books probably aren't at too much of a risk, but the low-tiered guys charging less than a cent per word written might need to start looking for a new job.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Anarchist on June 08, 2018, 06:18:38 am
All writers are not created equal...

A ghostwriter who is charging $400 for a 50,000 book probably isn't that great of a writer. I've seen plenty of ghostwritten work, and even the ones who would charge $1000 for 50,000 words are (usually) at the very bottom of the tier when it comes to quality/creativity of writing. Any publisher buying their work is taking a risk that they'll even make that money back that they paid.

I don't agree with book stuffing at all, but I don't think it has any correlation to ghostwriters being underpaid. Ghostwriting has been around since the beginning of time, and there have always been less-skilled writers who will write for dirt cheap, because they aren't going to make that much money going at it alone. Ghostwriting is guaranteed income where the publisher assumes all the risk, cost of editing, rewriting, covers, advertising. There are many, many, many indie writers who write novels and never make any profits at all on their work, and many who are lucky to turn just a small profit after putting their lifeblood into it. So, ghostwriting is a way for them to pay the bills when push comes to shove.

In fact, if there was more demand for ghostwriting, the prices would go up, not down.

I really dislike book stuffing, but if anything, low-tiered ghostwriters will start getting paid even less now since they will be in low demand. Book stuffers aren't going to want their low quality work to stuff their books with. When you've got hundreds of book stuffers trying to find work and nobody buying their stuff, they'll be forced to write for less or forced to risk their $$ editing, buying covers, etc. on their own. And they might not make their money back.

High Quality ghostwriters who are charging thousands upon thousands for books probably aren't at too much of a risk, but the low-tiered guys charging less than a cent per word written might need to start looking for a new job.

I agree 100%.

Ghetto ghostwriting (e.g. $400 for 50,000 words) is a soft skill. Anyone can do it. As a result, ghetto ghostwriters offer no competitive advantage. No shortage of customers, but...

The one thing that works in the ghetto ghostwriter's favor is volume. As you pointed out, when stuffing goes away, so too does that circumstance.




Edited by Becca.
Title: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: MichaelRyan on June 08, 2018, 06:49:32 am
So the book stuffing and maybe more importantly --- other shady stuff is perhaps at an end?

Amazon stripped Chance's account (audio books are still up at this moment).

I'd been listening to a lot of LitRPG guys say they were leaving KU because of worries about being falsely accused of doing things against the Zon TOS.  Now, the thing is, most of these guys (in LitRPG and GameLit) were small players and I often wondered if they were being too paranoid.

A few people have had accounts terminated in which it's easy to believe they didn't knowingly do anything wrong (although I tend to be cynical).

I've been a fan of Chance and have followed his marketing (email, FB groups, newsletters, etc.) since his first book came out. But when the book stuffing got really bad (books with 1600 pages) I started thinking:  Okay, there's something hinky here.

Now from what I've heard Amazon determined that he was using some tricks to show complete reads of long books, essentially stealing money from the KU pool.  If true, it means he was stealing from other authors, and I don't see anyway getting around forgiveness here.  People work really hard at this business, so to be scamming them is horrible.

Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: PhoenixS on June 08, 2018, 07:11:09 am
We've been discussing here (starting about page 12 and already a couple of pages in). The thread has already been shut down, modded and reopened since. Perhaps the mods can merge your comment in.

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,263872.msg3674582.html#msg3674582
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: MarkParragh on June 08, 2018, 07:31:56 am
Quote
I'd been listening to a lot of LitRPG guys say they were leaving KU because of worries about being falsely accused of doing things against the Zon TOS.

Why LitRPG in particular? Is there something about the way they do things in that niche?

Or is that just where you hang out?
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AYClaudy on June 08, 2018, 07:45:31 am
I don't think that's it. The last release is a 404 and every single one of his ebooks is down, including all the stuff her wrote under that female erotica name.

Besides, he already did republish all his books (at least the ones I checked) without the extra books in the back, but with that weird spacing/formatting trick.

I think he's been shut down. That's what it looks like at least...

Do you have a screenshot of this? I know other authors were doing this, but I glanced at a couple of his books before the ban hammer dropped and it looked like normal formatting to me. Not trying to defend him or anything. I know he was doing multiple things that could get him in trouble with Amazon, but I wanted to clarify this one point.

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. 
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: MichaelRyan on June 08, 2018, 07:47:49 am
We've been discussing here (starting about page 12 and already a couple of pages in). The thread has already been shut down, modded and reopened since. Perhaps the mods can merge your comment in.

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,263872.msg3674582.html#msg3674582

I looked and didn't see anything.  Yeah, they might as well delete this one. I thought this happened only last night and nobody had posted about it.
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: MichaelRyan on June 08, 2018, 07:49:53 am
Why LitRPG in particular? Is there something about the way they do things in that niche?

Or is that just where you hang out?

It's just a hot genre to some extent, and I've written a couple of LitRPG/GameLit, so I follow things on FB.

It's also one of those genres where 50-80% of revenue can come from KU, so authors have been nervous about this issue, especially since a bunch of them got warning letters recently.

Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: Justa Nobody on June 08, 2018, 07:50:03 am
Removed 9/19/2018 - non-agreement with VerticalScope TOS
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PearlEarringLady 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.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 08, 2018, 07:52:56 am
Do you have a screenshot of this? I know other authors were doing this, but I glanced at a couple of his books before the ban hammer dropped and it looked like normal formatting to me. Not trying to defend him or anything. I know he was doing multiple things that could get him in trouble with Amazon, but I wanted to clarify this one point.

Don't have a screenshot but I can confirm that he was doing something odd with the formatting and the estimated listening time had jumped to a bizarre 33 hours for a book which only had one book in it which was maybe 250 pages long and a short author's note. Something was up there.

But who knows why Amazon took him down. The competition, organizing readers to all flip to the end, incentivizing reviews, stuffing, formatting hacks, all of it together... we can only guess.
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: 41419 on June 08, 2018, 07:55:14 am
Why LitRPG in particular? Is there something about the way they do things in that niche?

Or is that just where you hang out?

Critically underserved niches tend to attract a bad crowd looking for a quick buck. Plenty of good, fast, honest writers too,  but lots of black hats. They can hire a few ghosts and flood the niche quickly, and then move on to the next thing.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 08, 2018, 07:58:08 am
Actually, I do have some screenshots, just not permission to share. Definitely doing something funky with the formatting. Each sentence is a separate paragraph and there are extra returns between each para too. This was on one of his books right before the banhammer came down.
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on June 08, 2018, 08:02:53 am
Ok, let's just shut down the Litrpg accusations. I know a few of the authors who were hit. NONE stuff books or engage in any black hat behaviors. What does seem to be a common thread is really long books being devoured very quickly by readers. Which is why many LitRPg authors pulled their books from KU. If you want to know what's going on, please look up LitRPG Podcast's YouTube video on the issue.  He explains it well and details his reasons for leaving KU as a result.

Thanks.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: munboy on June 08, 2018, 08:04:14 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.

I would guess multiple infractions. Stuffing, formatting, and basically paying for reviews.
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: 41419 on June 08, 2018, 08:10:42 am
I know plenty who were hit too. I wasn't casting aspersions on the genre at all. I like LitRPG and have no issue with it. But this happens to any profitable, under-served niche - it attracts bad actors. The overwhelming majority - as always - are honest, rule-abiding authors. Really didn't mean to insinuate otherwise.
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on June 08, 2018, 08:34:17 am
I know plenty who were hit too. I wasn't casting aspersions on the genre at all. I like LitRPG and have no issue with it. But this happens to any profitable, under-served niche - it attracts bad actors. The overwhelming majority - as always - are honest, rule-abiding authors. Really didn't mean to insinuate otherwise.

No harm done! I just got a little nervous this thread is mixing two very separate issues.

(http://www.tour-group.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/729d53ac6b07859c758449e2e0f2b57f-happy-faces-smiley-faces.jpg)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 08, 2018, 08:40:46 am
I've merged a thread about this same topic; sorry for any confusion.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AYClaudy on June 08, 2018, 08:41:39 am
Don't have a screenshot but I can confirm that he was doing something odd with the formatting and the estimated listening time had jumped to a bizarre 33 hours for a book which only had one book in it which was maybe 250 pages long and a short author's note. Something was up there.

But who knows why Amazon took him down. The competition, organizing readers to all flip to the end, incentivizing reviews, stuffing, formatting hacks, all of it together... we can only guess.

Ah okay. It doesn't really surprise me that there was something going on. I was just checking that with all the details you weren't accidentally getting authors mixed together. Thanks for expanding!
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 08, 2018, 08:50:41 am
I don't think that at all. He would have done them one by one rather than lose money for however many days it takes to do all those books.

The only things left on his page are things that wouldn't have been published through his KDP dashboard. I think they yanked his account.

I would be really surprised if that's true. Amazon seems to give big earners a lot more slack (not complaining--I'm a big earner--just pointing it out). But if anyone deserves to lose their account it's someone who not only violated the ToS (many times) but also violated federal laws.

I've seen some people taking out their bonus books, but a lot of people have done nothing. I'm hopeful Amazon will send them quality notices then eventually remove non-compliant books from sale if they don't comply... But we'll see. If I was Amazon I'd give people a week or two to shape up before reaching for the banhammer.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 39416 on June 08, 2018, 09:08:09 am
Just out of curiosity, anybody have any guesstimates how much a ban like Carter allegedly received ends up costing an author like that in profits?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 08, 2018, 09:29:44 am
This deserves its own thread--round three of page read reductions is underway by Amazon. Authors affected in the last round are being hit again. Started last night.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 08, 2018, 09:40:50 am
An "author" like Carter? Last I heard, top tier All-Star took about 10 million pages per month, so KU money plus the bonus would amount to at least $70,000 per month.

That's per pseudonym, of which most of these people have several, so sky's the limit, really.
It takes a lot more than 10 million pages to hit the top bonus these days. I'm guessing these particular numbers are much closer to 200K a month (including bonuses)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 08, 2018, 09:41:28 am
An "author" like Carter? Last I heard, top tier All-Star took about 10 million pages per month, so KU money plus the bonus would amount to at least $70,000 per month.

That's per pseudonym, of which most of these people have several, so sky's the limit, really.

Actually that's only the beginning. You also have to figure in the massive amount they spent promoting their stuffed books. All that and absolutely NO income to offset it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 08, 2018, 10:06:09 am
An "author" like Carter? Last I heard, top tier All-Star took about 10 million pages per month, so KU money plus the bonus would amount to at least $70,000 per month.

That's per pseudonym, of which most of these people have several, so sky's the limit, really.

If only... The top bonus is more like 20 million pages now.

AFAIK, Amazon will withhold all unpaid royalties, so it would be two to three months of earnings. Closer to two since we're early in the month.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 08, 2018, 11:41:05 am
I would be really surprised if that's true.

Honestly, no one is more surprised than me, but apparently that is what happened. He was live in his group this morning and said that his account is suspended. He's mobilized his readers to email Jeff and ECR.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 08, 2018, 12:44:52 pm
Let's keep it classy, KBoards.

Personal comments have been and will continue to be removed.  If I have to do it too many times, people are going on post approval or posting timeouts.  Discuss issues.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Lydniz on June 08, 2018, 01:28:29 pm
Let's keep it classy, KBoards.

I think you're in the wrong gin joint. ;D
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MonkeyScribe on June 08, 2018, 01:50:57 pm
Just seconding that this is mostly about the illegal lottery. You can say it's x, y, and z until you are blue in the face, but that doesn't make it true.

The Illegal Lottery is the one thing that can come back and bite Amazon pretty hard.

This wasn't about stuffing (which Amazon has plainly said is okay, as long as a book is labeled as a collection), this isn't about bonus content, this isn't even about page reads or possible formatting issues (and for the record, the look inside isn't an accurate measure of whether formatting is hinky or not. One needs to actually break into the file and do a little digging).

This is all about the illegal lottery and what it means to Amazon. The incentivized reading (the PA laid it all out for the readers) and the possible review manipulation (leaving a review with a verified mark to enter the lottery) add to the issue.

But to crow that this is about bonus books and the number of bonus books involved is a perfect example of confirmation bias for any Psych 101 students out there.

You may be right, but you're engaging in the same sort of speculation as everyone else. We really don't know.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 08, 2018, 01:51:56 pm
I don't think it was about the bonus books, either, or they would have pulled one of those accounts that's still stuffing. Chance was in the process of unstuffing (for lack of a better word) his books, so I can't see that being the reason.

Of course, we'll never know what reason or combination of reasons, so folks are gonna speculate, but that's the way of things.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 08, 2018, 02:08:06 pm
Chance had more serious violations than stuffing so I agree. It's also likely the compliance period to clean up books hasn't expired yet. We should see serious consequences for bonus books within a few more weeks.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 08, 2018, 02:16:53 pm
I third the notion that CC's books were pulled -- not because of stuffing -- but because of the lottery to get reviews and the way his PAs coached and rewarded readers for flipping to the back to garner the full page reads. If other stuffers aren't using that tactic to get full page reads, their actions are less egregious, but still contravene the TOS. I imagine the tactic will wane in value and we'll see people unstuff. There are top-ranked authors who are still right there in the top 100 who don't stuff or use these tactics so it can be done. Thing is, you need a really really popular commercial book and/or deep advertising pockets to get there.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 08, 2018, 02:17:35 pm
Amazon seems to give big earners a lot more slack...

I agree this is true, but this poses an interesting question. Why has Amazon given them more slack?

A theory: In the past, Amazon has given big earners more slack because big earners made Amazon more money.
Prior to this KU stuffing debacle, high earners tended to be big-name authors with mass appeal. These high earners made Amazon money, both in the form of Amazon's cut of the royalty and in the form of mass customer-appeal. In addition to direct profits for Amazon, these authors drew people to the Amazon store and added to the book-buying experience.

But now? These KU big earners are costing Amazon, bigtime. And it's not just money. They're harming Amazon's reputation, attracting negative publicity, and eroding the book-buying experience for Amazon customers, especially those not in KU.

Kindle Unlimited subscriptions are what? Ten bucks a month? Take your average stuffer. If he's encouraging his "readers" to flip through the pages at thirteen bucks a pop, Amazon is losing money on every transaction. Sure, much of that money comes out of the communal pot (robbing honest authors), but the situation has now gotten so out-of-hand that Amazon must be losing money hand over fist. Let's say that a "reader" pages through just five "books" a month, that's 65 dollars worth of "reading." Subtract this from the ten-dollar KU subscription, and Amazon is losing 55 bucks, just from one reader in a single month. Plus, these readers are likely leafing through many more than five "books" a month. These losses have to be adding up.

Plus...

Amazon's book store is becoming a mess of stuffed, misleading titles. If you're a reader who's not in KU, it's becoming more frustrating by the day. Unlike the (non-profitable) KU-page-turning readers, the non-KU readers make Amazon money, because Amazon profits on every transaction. But now, these more profitable customers are getting frustrated, probably buying less, maybe even taking their business elsewhere, further eroding Amazon's bottom line.

When you look at this in terms of dollars and cents, Amazon would be wise to terminate the stuffers' accounts now, before the store (and Amazon's bottom line) is further damaged. Probably, the bigger the name, the more damage they're doing. I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I predict bigger changes before all is said and done.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 91831 on June 08, 2018, 02:46:16 pm
...
Amazon's book store is becoming a mess of stuffed, misleading titles. If you're a reader who's not in KU, it's becoming more frustrating by the day. Unlike the (non-profitable) KU-page-turning readers, the non-KU readers make Amazon money, because Amazon profits on every transaction. But now, these more profitable customers are getting frustrated, probably buying less, maybe even taking their business elsewhere, further eroding Amazon's bottom line.
...

Yup, I traded in Kindle for Kobo. I got fed up with not finding the things I want.  I find it much easier to shop and get what I want there than I do at Amazon (or Google.  I'll use Google if I know exactly what I want when I have credits from their 'Reward' system).
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 08, 2018, 03:37:13 pm
I agree this is true, but this poses an interesting question. Why has Amazon given them more slack?

A theory: In the past, Amazon has given big earners more slack because big earners made Amazon more money.
Prior to this KU stuffing debacle, high earners tended to be big-name authors with mass appeal. These high earners made Amazon money, both in the form of Amazon's cut of the royalty and in the form of mass customer-appeal. In addition to direct profits for Amazon, these authors drew people to the Amazon store and added to the book-buying experience.

But now? These KU big earners are costing Amazon, bigtime. And it's not just money. They're harming Amazon's reputation, attracting negative publicity, and eroding the book-buying experience for Amazon customers, especially those not in KU.

Kindle Unlimited subscriptions are what? Ten bucks a month? Take your average stuffer. If he's encouraging his "readers" to flip through the pages at thirteen bucks a pop, Amazon is losing money on every transaction. Sure, much of that money comes out of the communal pot (robbing honest authors), but the situation has now gotten so out-of-hand that Amazon must be losing money hand over fist. Let's say that a "reader" pages through just five "books" a month, that's 65 dollars worth of "reading." Subtract this from the ten-dollar KU subscription, and Amazon is losing 55 bucks, just from one reader in a single month. Plus, these readers are likely leafing through many more than five "books" a month. These losses have to be adding up.

Plus...

Amazon's book store is becoming a mess of stuffed, misleading titles. If you're a reader who's not in KU, it's becoming more frustrating by the day. Unlike the (non-profitable) KU-page-turning readers, the non-KU readers make Amazon money, because Amazon profits on every transaction. But now, these more profitable customers are getting frustrated, probably buying less, maybe even taking their business elsewhere, further eroding Amazon's bottom line.

When you look at this in terms of dollars and cents, Amazon would be wise to terminate the stuffers' accounts now, before the store (and Amazon's bottom line) is further damaged. Probably, the bigger the name, the more damage they're doing. I know I'm going out on a limb here, but I predict bigger changes before all is said and done.

Amazon wants to keep big KU earners in the store. If they didn't care, they'd discontinue All Star bonuses. The popular KU authors are the reason why a lot of readers sign up for KU. And many people who sell a lot also spend a lot on driving traffic to Amazon.

There are plenty of other reasons why Amazon would want to close accounts of certain authors who stuff, but it's not because they get a lot of pages.
Title: Re: NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 08, 2018, 04:00:47 pm
Amazon wants to keep big KU earners in the store. If they didn't care, they'd discontinue All Star bonuses. The popular KU authors are the reason why a lot of readers sign up for KU. And many people who sell a lot also spend a lot on driving traffic to Amazon. There are plenty of other reasons why Amazon would want to close accounts of certain authors who stuff, but it's not because they get a lot of pages.

I see what you're saying, and I should've clarified. Big names who stuff are a net-loss for Amazon, especially if they're engaging in questionable practices, such as publishing duplicate content, encouraging readers to flip to the end, buying reviews, and/or making use of click farms. Big names who don't stuff -- those who provide a great reader experience and rack up pages naturally -- yes, Amazon would definitely want to keep them.

I also agree about the bonuses. The problem, I think, is that lately, the bonuses haven't been going to authors who provide the most value to the KU environment, but rather to those who best game the system. By clearing out the scammers, Amazon could better attract the big earners who don't rely on questionable practices to rack up the page-reads.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 08, 2018, 05:05:24 pm
I think you're in the wrong gin joint. ;D

I have faith in y'all.  Please live up to my expectations.  :-*

(And we drink margaritas here.  The pool boys make the best ones...)

(http://simplytaralynn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/11541120_878616935518217_1838236935_n.jpg)

Betsy
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: K'Sennia Visitor on June 08, 2018, 05:09:48 pm
I have faith in y'all.  Please live up to my expectations.  :-*

(And we drink margaritas here.  The pool boys make the best ones...)

(http://simplytaralynn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/11541120_878616935518217_1838236935_n.jpg)

Betsy

  I have two pool girls, Margarita and Gyn, and they serve me cherry Pepsi.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: trixie on June 08, 2018, 05:36:59 pm
Long time reader, first-time poster.  I think.

Some things in this thread have me really confused. I think maybe ya'll can help me out.

I thought Amazon fixed the whole "flipping to the back of the book" issue inside KU. So if someone doesn't read the page, you don't get paid for it. Ergo, yes I don't like bonus books either, but if I don't read them, then the author doesn't get paid for them. I'm not so stupid I'm going to read the same book 15 times just because it shows up in the back of a new book.

If the "pot" is 14 million dollars, and let's say the only two authors left are me and one of you, and we each have, oh, I don't know, a total of 100 page reads for the month...  Do we really think Amazon is going to pay us each 7 million dollars? I mean, I guess we'd get more because of those sweet bonuses too, right? Basically, how much faith do we really have in the idea that there is a finite "pot" or do we think Amazon does one of their magic algos and decides how much they can get away with paying us and still keep us in KU?

There are a lot of voices and minds here, and people who pay close attention to this, so I wanted to bring these up and see what the general consensus is.



Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 08, 2018, 05:56:41 pm
Long time reader, first-time poster.  I think.

Some things in this thread have me really confused. I think maybe ya'll can help me out.

I thought Amazon fixed the whole "flipping to the back of the book" issue inside KU. So if someone doesn't read the page, you don't get paid for it. Ergo, yes I don't like bonus books either, but if I don't read them, then the author doesn't get paid for them. I'm not so stupid I'm going to read the same book 15 times just because it shows up in the back of a new book.

If the "pot" is 14 million dollars, and let's say the only two authors left are me and one of you, and we each have, oh, I don't know, a total of 100 page reads for the month...  Do we really think Amazon is going to pay us each 7 million dollars? I mean, I guess we'd get more because of those sweet bonuses too, right? Basically, how much faith do we really have in the idea that there is a finite "pot" or do we think Amazon does one of their magic algos and decides how much they can get away with paying us and still keep us in KU?

There are a lot of voices and minds here, and people who pay close attention to this, so I wanted to bring these up and see what the general consensus is.

Welcome to posting, Trixie!

Flipping to the back:
1) It hasn't been fixed on all devices.
2) Bots can be scripted to page through books, especially in the cloud.
3) Some authors are incentivizing real folk to actually flip page by page through each book. Read an email, flip a page.

The pot:
1) Trending helps predict what the final page count will be month to month. Amazon has enough trending data by now to be able to predict total page reads pretty well, the same as some authors who've been with the program a while can predict what their page reads will be based on how many books they have in, promotions run that month, etc.
2) Regardless whether Amazon actually divvies up the pot based on actual reads and program revenues or simply throws a dart at a board with incremental amounts ranging from $0.004 to $0.005, they have now admitted in legal documents that book stuffing and other shenanigans harm authors. For financial harm to occur, the pot needs to work the way they claim. If it doesn't, they've lied in court.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 08, 2018, 06:00:34 pm
I thought Amazon fixed the whole "flipping to the back of the book" issue inside KU. So if someone doesn't read the page, you don't get paid for it.

Amazon insists that this is the case, but it's demonstrably untrue in certain circumstances and on certain devices. Amazon has never been able to accurately count pages read, but how can they admit that? It's the basis for how they pay KU authors.

Quote
Ergo, yes I don't like bonus books either, but if I don't read them, then the author doesn't get paid for them. I'm not so stupid I'm going to read the same book 15 times just because it shows up in the back of a new book.

I believe you, and I think many if not most readers are like you. That's why these stuffed books usually contain an incentive to skip to the back or page through. 4-8 books stuffed in the back, followed by an "Exclusive short story!" or some such enticement.

Quote
If the "pot" is 14 million dollars, and let's say the only two authors left are me and one of you, and we each have, oh, I don't know, a total of 100 page reads for the month...  Do we really think Amazon is going to pay us each 7 million dollars? I mean, I guess we'd get more because of those sweet bonuses too, right? Basically, how much faith do we really have in the idea that there is a finite "pot" or do we think Amazon does one of their magic algos and decides how much they can get away with paying us and still keep us in KU?

Amazon adds to the pot every month, so I think the KU payout is exactly what Amazon wants it to be; I don't believe getting rid of stuffers will affect the per-page rate much, if at all. But All-Star bonuses are a different story. THOSE are finite, and stuffers have been stealing them every month for, what, a year now?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 08, 2018, 06:01:59 pm
I guess I could have just waited for Phoenix to post. LOL
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 08, 2018, 06:08:15 pm
I guess I could have just waited for Phoenix to post. LOL

I could have said the same in reverse! It helps to have corroboration, though. More people admitting to seeing the naked king...
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: trixie on June 08, 2018, 06:20:51 pm
I guess I don't see how the payout is going to actually change. Amazon's going to pay us what they decide to pay us and yes sometimes it moves a little, but I don't think it's going to move a lot. I mean, if I'm wrong, yay! Though they will just take away 50% of my page reads anyway, right? #sojaded

So what are the odds do you think that the actual authors on the all-star bonus list will change? The total number of pages required may drop, but the top-selling authors will still be the top selling authors, right? It's not like removing bonus books will make it so that romance isn't a big seller.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 08, 2018, 06:34:46 pm
I don't think any of us expect to get more per page read, but we'd sure like those who are cheating their way to the big money (and it is BIG money) not be getting anything per page read. Or any bonuses. Most of us want the store to be cleaned up so readers can actually find good books to read, whether they're ours or not. Because upset readers stop reading. Or reading on Amazon, at least. And that doesn't help any of us.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 08, 2018, 06:38:03 pm
So what are the odds do you think that the actual authors on the all-star bonus list will change? The total number of pages required may drop, but the top-selling authors will still be the top selling authors, right? It's not like removing bonus books will make it so that romance isn't a big seller.

I'm not sure you're understanding how out of proportion their pages read are. If Stuffed Book is at #50 in the store, and Unstuffed Book is at #49, the authors are selling about the same number of "books," but Stuffed Book's author is getting 4, 6, maybe 8 times as many pages read. So yeah, evening the field will give other people a chance.

Edited to add: Rereading your post, I wonder if you thought bonuses are based on rank or something to do with sales or borrows? They're based on pages read.

Some of these authors are spending so much on advertising to keep their ranks up that a lot of the page read income goes right back out the door, so losing the All-Star bonuses might really hurt their bottom line.

We can't really know how it will shake out, but I for one am very interested to see. And, if nothing else, it'll make the Romance category a bit less of a dumpster fire -- which, as a reader, I would appreciate a lot.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 09, 2018, 07:05:41 am
I guess I don't see how the payout is going to actually change. Amazon's going to pay us what they decide to pay us and yes sometimes it moves a little, but I don't think it's going to move a lot. I mean, if I'm wrong, yay! Though they will just take away 50% of my page reads anyway, right? #sojaded

So what are the odds do you think that the actual authors on the all-star bonus list will change? The total number of pages required may drop, but the top-selling authors will still be the top selling authors, right? It's not like removing bonus books will make it so that romance isn't a big seller.
The real problem may be lack of transparency. We have no way of knowing how many pages are read each month. The assumption in the past (that hitting scammers hard would raise the amount legitimate authors were getting) hasn't always panned out. Is that because Amazon is just hitting somewhere around an arbitrary number each month without regard to pages read? Is because the program is growing so fast that pages lost by scammers are replaced by pages read by new subscribers? There's no way to tell. We also don't know how many subscribers there are or how much Amazon gets in income from subscribers, many of whom are on one-month free trials. That means we don't know whether the size of pot is based on anything or is also an arbitrary number. Probably we will never know.

Since the authors getting all-star bonuses has changed significantly since the stuffing and other issues started, it's logical to assume it might change back if the stuffing issue is resolved.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 09, 2018, 08:26:52 am
I guess I don't see how the payout is going to actually change. Amazon's going to pay us what they decide to pay us and yes sometimes it moves a little, but I don't think it's going to move a lot. I mean, if I'm wrong, yay! Though they will just take away 50% of my page reads anyway, right? #sojaded

So what are the odds do you think that the actual authors on the all-star bonus list will change? The total number of pages required may drop, but the top-selling authors will still be the top selling authors, right? It's not like removing bonus books will make it so that romance isn't a big seller.

A lot of people say this but I don't agree. If pages dropped dramatically, Amazon wouldn't take money out of the pot, so the rate would go up. They might not add to the pot to make the rate significantly higher, but IMO, less total pages will lead to the rate increasing (or at least not decreasing). But no one truly knows how Amazon calculates these things.

I think the bigger issue is how much "shelf space" stuffed books have been able to take. Because they make more per borrow, they can spend more on ads, so they're able to push un stuffed books out of the way. Without the income boost of  bonus books, theses will get less visibility, which will be good for all the non bonus book using romance authors who were at a huge disadvantage.

I'm not sure how much it will help on other genres, but I'm confident that it will help romance authors (if it's enforced).
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Acrocanthosaurus on June 09, 2018, 08:39:57 am
The rate wonít go up. The unlimited fund is a meaningless number. They adjust the rate to be within an acceptable range on a monthly basis, they donít just let it happen. If they started paying us more without a business strategy driven reason, it would be a violation of their duty to their shareholders. They spent months experimenting to find the rate that would be best tolerate by authors and theyíre not going to let it go up.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 09, 2018, 10:00:30 am
The rate will go up slightly and thresholds for bonuses will come down if Amazon aggressively chokes off the stuffers retitling books compilations. This happened late last year after KU 3. The update temporarily reduced stuffers' pages because they lost their click to the end skipped page tricks. Too bad by December or January they figured out how to break their formatting again to get vastly more pages. Remember, it isn't just the stuffing alone driving high page reads for the group in romance. They have custom formatting inserted into their books to stretch out the page count, reduce words per page and break accurate page counting as much as possible.
Title: Re: Amazon acts against Chance Carter
Post by: Bella Breen on June 09, 2018, 11:31:28 am
I think LitRPG was being hit with the stripping of page reads (https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,262378.0.html) and threats of account loss in the last couple of months.

And the Mpreg genre. 80-90% of our income is KU page reads. I got an email yesterday that I had page read manipulation.  I released my 6th book in May, had built up a fan base with well written books, people were recommending my book in genre reader groups, my page reads were stripped by 50%.  $1,500 gone.  My marketing was posting to FB reader groups, AMS ads, a blog blitz tour.

I sure as hell didn't do any page read manipulation. I don't believe that 50% of my page reads were illegitimate, if any. Would taking them to small claims court, or contacting the FTC, state's attorney general, anything have a chance at them proving any illegitimate page reads and getting an accurate percentage of illegitimate page reads instead of a blanket 50%?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Shelley K on June 09, 2018, 11:36:54 am
And the Mpreg genre. 80-90% of our income is KU page reads. I got an email yesterday that I had page read manipulation.  I released my 6th book in May, had built up a fan base with well written books, people were recommending my book in genre reader groups, my page reads were stripped by 50%.  $1,500 gone.  My marketing was posting to FB reader groups, AMS ads, a blog blitz tour.

I sure as hell didn't do any page read manipulation. I don't believe that 50% of my page reads were illegitimate, if any.

I don't believe that, either. It's no coincidence that the genres they keep stripping reads from are popular in KU and get a ton of reads. I think they're flagging success as questionable, and automatically taking a certain number of reads from people based on some math formula.

Sure, there are cases that are legitimate. But the simple fact that it works out to be 50% of so many different people's reads in a given month when their reads have been pretty steady or gone up appropriately with something like a new release's sales is a dead giveaway that there's an equation at work here, not actual fraud-busting activities.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Justa Nobody on June 09, 2018, 01:12:41 pm
Removed 9/19/2018 - non-agreement with VerticalScope TOS
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: LL2018 on June 09, 2018, 01:54:40 pm
Deleted.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 09, 2018, 02:02:45 pm

I think the bigger issue is how much "shelf space" stuffed books have been able to take. Because they make more per borrow, they can spend more on ads, so they're able to push un stuffed books out of the way. Without the income boost of  bonus books, theses will get less visibility, which will be good for all the non bonus book using romance authors who were at a huge disadvantage.

I'm not sure how much it will help on other genres, but I'm confident that it will help romance authors (if it's enforced).

This is the point a lot of people are missing. Facebook ads are absolutely dominated by stuffers, who spend 10-20 thousand a month there. AMS ads are crazy too... look at Sponsored Products for basically every book in the entire romance category and it's the same names, over and over again. Cut the $12 or whatever they're making per KDP borrow to the standard $2-3 the rest of us get, and suddenly the bid rate and CPC is gonna go waaaay down for everyone else.

The playing field will get a lot more even for everyone struggling for visibility once this all gets cleared up.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Sam Rivers on June 09, 2018, 02:06:22 pm
Quote
If you imagine those botters and schemers as thieves who've infiltrated and are emptying the vault at the casino, you could see that they'd want to cover up the cameras inside the vault or provide an alternate feed to hide what they're up to...that would be them using bots to spread non-legitimate page reads to random innocent authors, a masking activity, i.e. their version of covering up the cameras.

If the money to be made is vast enough - and it appears to be - I could see people being incentivized enough to want to mask their activities in the extreme. There's too much money to be had to NOT do that. We may come to find out that something crazy, like two-thirds or more of all page reads in KU are the result of bots or other efforts to cover up the vault thievery.

Having the majority of all page reads in the program coming from masking activities, bots etc, would mean Amazon isn't lying when they tell innocent authors that they've received non-legitimate page reads on their titles. If the manipulation was that widespread and there was some level of automation involved, I could see it effecting a great number of authors randomly across multiple genres - it would make sense.

I think Amazon comes across as lying because of their clear-as-mud methods of communication which is likely on purpose because they want to avoid litigation and as a business I don't think they'd want to admit how deep the rot goes and they wouldn't want to level with vendors about just how severe and widespread the manipulation has gone.

It doesn't help Amazon, in the eyes of indies, that they're only capable of assessing much of the non-legit page-read damage with their own bots until well after the fact. That delay makes the removal of all these page reads all the more painful and hard to accept as the truth because it comes out of left field for innocent authors who'd believed the numbers they'd been seeing themselves and had believed were coming from legitimate page reads given there's no real way for the average indie to tell the difference.

We're deep in the fog of war here, so this is all theory I realize. But just thought I'd toss this out here as a possibility of what's going on.

What you are saying makes sense. A lot of writers will be uncomfortable if you are right.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 09, 2018, 02:19:56 pm
What you are saying makes sense. A lot of writers will be uncomfortable if you are right.

I think that this explanation makes the most sense. There are too many apparently innocent authors getting hit by the page-read removal to be otherwise. Botters / scammers were targeting innocent books as a way to mask the real targets of their scams. How sad if so. It makes KU dangerous because none of us in the targeted genres and categories can know if our page reads are legit or due to the scammers covering their tracks. UGH!

That's the problem with KU. It's totally opaque. We are blind going in. All we know is what KENP our books are assigned and whatever Amazon tells us are the page reads. We have no idea how the system really works and have to rely on Amazon to make all the decisions on how to pay us -- finding out only after the fact what our work is worth.

It's no way to do business. It may work well for many authors, and of course readers, but to me, it's a risk.

My last series is out of KU at the end of the month and that's it. I'm done with KU at least in terms of the romance genre until Amazon gets its act together and the scammers no longer pollute the ranks. For non-romance? It's probably still pretty safe. I'm branching into suspense and thrillers so I hope to eventually escape the perils of the romance genre in KU altogether.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Sam Rivers on June 09, 2018, 02:29:09 pm
Quote
Innocent authors in KU were caught up in the scam and then were hit along with the scammer when page readers from that source were removed. How sad if so. It makes KU dangerous because none of us in the targeted genres and categories can know if our page reads are legit or due to the scammers covering their tracks. UGH!

Most of my books in KU are due to run out early next month. I have to make a decision at that time to keep taking a chance or run like Hell.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: boba1823 on June 09, 2018, 02:29:32 pm
the standard $2-3 the rest of us get

Isn't the standard for a full read more in the range of $1 or so?

Maybe I'm off, but this is one (of many) of the reasons I never signed up for KU. I'd heard that it might be something like 250 words per one KENPC - but that it varies - which would mean 280 KENPC for a 70,000 word book, so $1.26 if the rate is .45 cents / page. Does everyone else just write really, really long books, or is Amazon much more generous with the page calculation?


Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 09, 2018, 02:35:19 pm
Isn't the standard for a full read more in the range of $1 or so?

Maybe I'm off, but this is one (of many) of the reasons I never signed up for KU. I'd heard that it might be something like 250 words per one KENPC - but that it varies - which would mean 280 KENPC for a 70,000 word book, so $1.26 if the rate is .45 cents / page. Does everyone else just write really, really long books, or is Amazon much more generous with the page calculation?
My 60K books are between 350-400 KENPC generally. At .0045, that's about $1.57 for a full read. My 90K books are usually between 500 and 600 KENPC. At the low end, that gets me $2.25 and the high end $2.70. I used 90K as a baseline but they actually vary between 80-95K depending on the book. More are closer to 90K than 80K.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 09, 2018, 02:37:55 pm
Isn't the standard for a full read more in the range of $1 or so?

Maybe I'm off, but this is one (of many) of the reasons I never signed up for KU. I'd heard that it might be something like 250 words per one KENPC - but that it varies - which would mean 280 KENPC for a 70,000 word book, so $1.26 if the rate is .45 cents / page. Does everyone else just write really, really long books, or is Amazon much more generous with the page calculation?

Based on my numbers, I get an average of 189 words per KENP page.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Shelley K on June 09, 2018, 03:11:51 pm
I think botters are spreading it around to innocent books and authors to try to cover up their real agenda, absolutely. We've seen evidence of that when people's reads have spiked. But it's pretty amazing how when they hit someone without a major spike it almost always accounts for 50% of their total pages read. Authors with wildly different numbers of reads across different numbers of books in different genres, yet for so many people hit, it's 50% of their total. I call BS.

That's Amazon's algo and has nothing to do with removing pages from bot accounts or counting or any kind of investigative work at all. That's punishing an account that was affected with a set penalty which, in this case, is theft.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 09, 2018, 04:24:35 pm
Considering the likelihood that at least one of the major players in the scam operations is someone on the inside at Amazon running a little side business...

Now that's a terrifying thought. At first, I want to say, "No way!" And then, I pause to consider how many things turn out to be rigged by insiders with special access. (An example: the McDonald's monopoly game pieces.) The sad thing is, if Amazon ran the program better, we'd have no reason to consider that insiders could be gaming this flawed system for their own benefit. It wouldn't be that hard. They'd just need to pass along their insider information to a girlfriend, friend, relative, whatever.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on June 09, 2018, 04:55:02 pm
There's one thing to remember. All those scammers we hate so much = traffic to Amazon. You see those guys spend THOUSANDS a month in advertising. And where does there ads point to? You guessed it, Amazon. On top of that, all the big earners (not just scammers) also spend $$$$ using AMS monthly.

But just think about it. All those FREE advertising dollars for Amazon and they get to double dip by also getting AMS revenue. KU pulls us into an entirely Amazon controlled system. One where authors not only provide the content but also pay the advertising bill. And with AMS Amazon get's to take a cut of those dollars directly. All this and a never-ending line of new authors streaming int (along with their advertising dollars) every day.


Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 09, 2018, 06:08:11 pm
There's one thing to remember. All those scammers we hate so much = traffic to Amazon. You see those guys spend THOUSANDS a month in advertising. And where does there ads point to? You guessed it, Amazon.

Bots aren't traffic. If the ads are AMS, scammers are just pulling from an audience Amazon has already captured. If they're advertising in paid newsletters, they're competing with other Amazon authors already driving traffic.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 09, 2018, 06:11:32 pm
Considering the likelihood that at least one of the major players in the scam operations is someone on the inside at Amazon running a little side business, I'd say there's someone making it hella difficult for the bot operations to be found and shut down. Find one, you'll find a lot more. So what do you do? You interfere as much as possible so that as few as possible are found. You create "solutions" that aren't really solutions at all. You hem and haw and stall and put up roadblocks and you keep the gravy train rolling for as long as you possibly can because it's like printing your own money.


I've had the exact same thought.


The easiest way to scam is be part of the coding team. The easiest way to avoid being caught is be part of the coding team. The easiest way to put blame on others is to be part of the coding team.

But here's the really stupid thing:

The numbers I've been seeing over the last few days, do NOT show bot activity. They show BELOW NORMAL read numbers in relation to sales figures. I dont know what is going on, but bot activity to me is reads without corresponding sales. How can anyone claim bot activity when the reads are well below normal?


Something else is going on here, and no-one has yet identified it. But....if the real scammers are inside Amazon, nothing which comes out of Amazon is reliable, and all we are chasing is red herrings.


Mr Bezos, you need a witch hunt inside your own organization. And you need it last year! Because the only thing which makes any sense now, is the major scammers of KU are your own employees. And until you find them or prove otherwise, no-one will trust you.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: boba1823 on June 09, 2018, 07:11:09 pm
The numbers I've been seeing over the last few days, do NOT show bot activity. They show BELOW NORMAL read numbers in relation to sales figures. I dont know what is going on, but bot activity to me is reads without corresponding sales. How can anyone claim bot activity when the reads are well below normal?

Unless the idea of what is 'normal' turns out to have been based on a high portion of bot activity all along...
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 09, 2018, 08:08:06 pm
Unless the idea of what is 'normal' turns out to have been based on a high portion of bot activity all along...

Then KU is all bot activity.

Which makes targeting a few measly thousands of reads even more ridiculous.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: double head on June 09, 2018, 09:06:41 pm
Once we accepted the concept of page reads, with Amazon doing the counting, I think we started down this long road:
Amazon bot picks up that we described a colorful sunset in the first chapter
Yet our characters in chapter 3, hold hands and snuggle as they admire ANOTHER sunset, this time over a golden beach.
The Amazon bot screams: you're padding to increase the page count. One sunset is enough. SCAM! SCAM! SCAM!

And we thought we were free of gatekeepers.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 09, 2018, 09:52:54 pm
Most of my books in KU are due to run out early next month. I have to make a decision at that time to keep taking a chance or run like Hell.

Or start gradually transitioning them out for minimum disruption.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 10, 2018, 08:16:43 am
Considering the likelihood that at least one of the major players in the scam operations is someone on the inside at Amazon running a little side business, I'd say there's someone making it hella difficult for the bot operations to be found and shut down. Find one, you'll find a lot more. So what do you do? You interfere as much as possible so that as few as possible are found. You create "solutions" that aren't really solutions at all. You hem and haw and stall and put up roadblocks and you keep the gravy train rolling for as long as you possibly can because it's like printing your own money.

*wildly speculating now* (I will not deny)

(But seriously, you know someone's doing it.)

Really? Have you got any actual proof that's happening? If so, what is it? If not, maybe it's time to dial back the wild speculation. I still haven't seen anything with regard to the latest KU scandal that can't be explained by simple incompetence. Amazon is playing whack-a-mole, and not very well.

Despite the ever-increasing fury on Kboards, I don't see any evidence that big KU authors are leaving or that significant numbers of other authors are either. Maybe that's because, for most KU authors, this is still the best thing going. And if that changes, getting out is easy.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 10, 2018, 08:32:06 am


Despite the ever-increasing fury on Kboards, I don't see any evidence that big KU authors are leaving or that significant numbers of other authors are either. Maybe that's because, for most KU authors, this is still the best thing going. And if that changes, getting out is easy.


Define big? I know a lot of six figure authors that are slowly pulling their books out, and we are doing well in KU and haven't been caught up in the 50% cull yet. 

Better to jump before being pushed or before the program either collapses under the weight of the scammy crud that's in it or you have a mass exodus for whatever reason. You might not be looking in the right places.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Sam Rivers on June 10, 2018, 08:41:57 am
Quote
Better to jump before being pushed or before the program either collapses under the weight of the scammy crud that's in it or you have a mass exodus for whatever reason.

The sky is falling; the sky is falling.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Anarchist on June 10, 2018, 09:17:55 am
If not, maybe it's time to dial back the wild speculation.

That'd probably reduce post volume on Kboards by half. lol
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 10, 2018, 09:32:56 am
Despite the ever-increasing fury on Kboards, I don't see any evidence that big KU authors are leaving or that significant numbers of other authors are either. Maybe that's because, for most KU authors, this is still the best thing going. And if that changes, getting out is easy.

Well, you obviously don't follow romance, because many, MANY big names have dropped out of KU. And here's a data point for you. During my best month in KU 2.0, I netted nearly 70K, in a single month. With no stuffing, trickery or click farming. So you'd say that KU has been very good to me. Well, guess what? I'm mostly out.

Slowly over time, the payment per page dropped. Okay, I guess I can deal with that if I make up for it in other ways, such as through All Star bonuses or increased visibility on the top 100 lists. But then the masterminds and stuffers moved in. Soon, it became nearly impossible to compete for those top spots unless I was willing to add a few bonus novels, because a measley $1.75 per borrow was drop in the bucket compared to the $13 bucks per borrow the stuffers were raking in. (The stuffing enabled them to pay for mega-advertising, which of course grew even more expensive for non-stuffers as a result.)

Soon, I realized that there was no longer any benefit to being in KU. Oh sure, my rank was higher due to the borrows, but not so high that I made a dent in the best-seller lists compared to the 99-cent stuffed monstrosities. So what was the point? Now, I'm mostly out of KU and have taken my books wide. Yes, I'm making less money than I did in KU before stuffing became such a problem. But I'm still making more money than I was in KU after the stuffers took over.

Plus, I came to the realization that by keeping my high-quality non-stuffed books in KU, I was only subsidizing the stuffers. No more. Now, I doubt I'd ever go exclusive with Amazon again. And I'm far from the only one.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 10, 2018, 10:40:16 am
Well, you obviously don't follow romance, because many, MANY big names have dropped out of KU. And here's a data point for you. During my best month in KU 2.0, I netted nearly 70K, in a single month. With no stuffing, trickery or click farming. So you'd say that KU has been very good to me. Well, guess what? I'm mostly out.


You're right, I don't follow romance, and maybe there are "many, MANY big names" who have dropped out of KU recently. If so, I hope Amazon is noticing and starts to work harder to clean up KU. You've obviously decided KU isn't worth it anymore, and that's perfectly fine. Everyone should make their own decision based on their own best interests.

But I'm still not persuaded that enough KU authors are leaving to get Amazon's attention. I just took a look at the Kindle Romance best sellers, and out of a those 100, 94 are in KU or were published by one of the big traditional publishers (only a handful). And I do follow urban fantasy, and by a wide margin, most bestselling authors in that genre are in KU as well.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 10, 2018, 11:00:05 am
.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 10, 2018, 11:00:56 am
Now that's a terrifying thought. At first, I want to say, "No way!" And then, I pause to consider how many things turn out to be rigged by insiders with special access. (An example: the McDonald's monopoly game pieces.) The sad thing is, if Amazon ran the program better, we'd have no reason to consider that insiders could be gaming this flawed system for their own benefit. It wouldn't be that hard. They'd just need to pass along their insider information to a girlfriend, friend, relative, whatever.

Yeh. Find the bottle top with the right code and win $1 000. Does anyone think the people who work at the company that make the bottle tops, and the people who feed them into the machines won't be looking out for those tops and giving them to family members or friends?  ::)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 10, 2018, 11:03:36 am
Point of fact: we're already knee-deep in sky.

You really are going to have to use that line in a book, P.J.  :)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 10, 2018, 12:03:05 pm
I'm still not persuaded that enough KU authors are leaving to get Amazon's attention. I just took a look at the Kindle Romance best sellers, and out of a those 100, 94 are in KU or were published by one of the big traditional publishers (only a handful). And I do follow urban fantasy, and by a wide margin, most bestselling authors in that genre are in KU as well.

You may be right in that not enough are leaving to get Amazon's attention. It's hard to say. But one thing to consider is that the top 100 is no longer a list of best-sellers. It's a list of most-borrowed or most-stuffed, because those are the things driving rank these days. With one borrow (even if it's a bot-borrow or phantom-borrow) equaling one sale, the lists are no longer a true measure of what readers are spending their money on or which romance authors have the most genuine fans.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 10, 2018, 12:26:54 pm
Well, you obviously don't follow romance, because many, MANY big names have dropped out of KU. And here's a data point for you. During my best month in KU 2.0, I netted nearly 70K, in a single month. With no stuffing, trickery or click farming. So you'd say that KU has been very good to me. Well, guess what? I'm mostly out.

Slowly over time, the payment per page dropped. Okay, I guess I can deal with that if I make up for it in other ways, such as through All Star bonuses or increased visibility on the top 100 lists. But then the masterminds and stuffers moved in. Soon, it became nearly impossible to compete for those top spots unless I was willing to add a few bonus novels, because a measley $1.75 per borrow was drop in the bucket compared to the $13 bucks per borrow the stuffers were raking in. (The stuffing enabled them to pay for mega-advertising, which of course grew even more expensive for non-stuffers as a result.)

Soon, I realized that there was no longer any benefit to being in KU. Oh sure, my rank was higher due to the borrows, but not so high that I made a dent in the best-seller lists compared to the 99-cent stuffed monstrosities. So what was the point? Now, I'm mostly out of KU and have taken my books wide. Yes, I'm making less money than I did in KU before stuffing became such a problem. But I'm still making more money than I was in KU after the stuffers took over.

Plus, I came to the realization that by keeping my high-quality non-stuffed books in KU, I was only subsidizing the stuffers. No more. Now, I doubt I'd ever go exclusive with Amazon again. And I'm far from the only one.

Really? I've seen one big romance author leave, but then I don't really follow "BookBub Contemporary,Ē only "BookBub New Adult," which is much more KU centric.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 10, 2018, 12:36:42 pm
The sky is falling; the sky is falling.

I'm guessing you weren't around for the carnage that happened from KU1 to KU2. A lot of really good authors went to the wall and lost everything.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 10, 2018, 12:39:29 pm
I suspect this is kind of a confirmation bias thing. Indie authors writing UF put their books in KU because they believe that's where the primary UF audience is and that they kind of have to put it in KU. That doesn't necessarily mean that KU is actually necessary for UF books to succeed. (Speaking as someone who doesn't use KU, mostly prefers to buy from Kobo, and really enjoys UF.)

Off of the top of my head, I can think of two big authors in UF that are pulling their books, Izzy Shows and May Sage are both going/gone wide.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 10, 2018, 01:00:04 pm
I'm guessing you weren't around for the carnage that happened from KU1 to KU2. A lot of really good authors went to the wall and lost everything.



But, they were erotica authors! Nobody cares about them, they're what broke Amazon to begin with! Them and those other uppity short story writers. The nerve, thinking they should be allowed to be anywhere near the real books. At least they finally got what was coming to them.

/sarcasm

Sadly, there are some who actually said stuff like the above, one in particular who has been venerated as a god among indie publishers by some.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 10, 2018, 01:04:55 pm
I suspect this is kind of a confirmation bias thing. Indie authors writing UF put their books in KU because they believe that's where the primary UF audience is and that they kind of have to put it in KU. That doesn't necessarily mean that KU is actually necessary for UF books to succeed. (Speaking as someone who doesn't use KU, mostly prefers to buy from Kobo, and really enjoys UF.)

Right now, there are only four books in the bestseller ranking for Paranormal and Urban Fantasy that are self-pub and aren't in KU. Now, maybe some bestselling authors simply follow the crowd, or maybe, like me, they don't want to mess with going wide. Nevertheless, in my experience, the average UF author is a rational creature. He puts his books in KU because it pays off, and he stays in because it keeps paying off.

That doesn't mean every UF author is in KU, but the fact that almost all of the bestselling UF self-pub authors are there is a lot more persuasive to me than a theory that says they are acting against their own self-interest.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Anarchist on June 10, 2018, 01:10:07 pm
I'm guessing you weren't around for the carnage that happened from KU1 to KU2. A lot of really good authors went to the wall and lost everything.

But, they were erotica authors! Nobody cares about them, they're what broke Amazon to begin with! Them and those other uppity short story writers. The nerve, thinking they should be allowed to be anywhere near the real books. At least they finally got what was coming to them.

/sarcasm

Sadly, there are some who actually said stuff like the above, one in particular who has been venerated as a god among indie publishers by some.

I was under the impression that Amazon transitioned from KU1 to KU2 in response to customers' demands. The action was not a value statement about erotica authors nor short story writers.

Those two groups happened to comprise a large portion of the collateral damage because their products were out of alignment with what Amazon's KU subscribers wanted.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 10, 2018, 01:31:14 pm
Really? I've seen one big romance author leave, but then I don't really follow "BookBub Contemporary,Ē only "BookBub New Adult," which is much more KU centric.

What's funny is that the romance writers I've been following didn't really make a big deal out of leaving. It's just that a year ago, the majority of them seemed to be in KU, and now, the majority of them seem to be out. Even with myself, when I left KU, I didn't make a big deal out of it. I just let my books expire and began publishing  wide again. These days, very few of these "big names" hit Amazon's top 100, partly because they don't get the rank boost through borrows, but they're still out there -- just lower in the Amazon charts and of course, publishing on other outlets.

Don't get me wrong. There are still a TON of romance writers on Amazon, and many more waiting in the wings. It's just that I've seen quite a few best-selling veterans quietly pull their books from KU.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 10, 2018, 01:33:04 pm
My point was that just because KU is working for those authors doesn't mean that wide wouldn't work for them. If few UF authors are trying wide, how do they really know wide would work? I didn't suggest they're "acting against their own self-interest". That wasn't my point at all. Saying, "We're all in KU and KU is working well for us, so KU must be the only place where UF can succeed, and if you write UF and want to succeed, you have to do be in KU" is short-sighted and circular reasoning.

I don't think UF authors are unwilling to try new things like going wide. You would know better than me how many self-pub UF authors are on Kobo, but there have to be some. Same with Apple and B&N and Google. There have to be UF authors trying to be successful outside of KU.

But I've been following Kboards pretty regularly for years, and I haven't seen any threads from UF authors saying they're having great success with going wide. In fact, most of the posts I see about authors  going wide in general say that it isn't working out so great. Whereas, KU is a natural environment for UF readers who love to read a lot.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 10, 2018, 01:36:41 pm
Right now, there are only four books in the bestseller ranking for Paranormal and Urban Fantasy that are self-pub and aren't in KU. Now, maybe some bestselling authors simply follow the crowd, or maybe, like me, they don't want to mess with going wide. Nevertheless, in my experience, the average UF author is a rational creature. He puts his books in KU because it pays off, and he stays in because it keeps paying off.

That doesn't mean every UF author is in KU, but the fact that almost all of the bestselling UF self-pub authors are there is a lot more persuasive to me than a theory that says they are acting against their own self-interest.

And yet, you're looking in the wrong place. Those authors get the ranking boost from being in KU and doesn't actually reflect the top 100 authors by earnings or popularity because wide sales aren't taken into account. That's like saying JK Rowling writing under a pen name for infants is doing badly because you can't see the big picture.

ETA - Read your last post and wanted to add that Izzy Shows posted on another forum the other day to say that in the first eight days of going wide, she'd made up lost KU reads and had gotten her first bookbub. Yep, wide is bad.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 10, 2018, 01:46:15 pm
And yet, you're looking in the wrong place. Those authors get the ranking boost from being in KU and doesn't actually reflect the top 100 authors by earnings or popularity because wide sales aren't taken into account. That's like saying JK Rowling writing under a pen name for infants is doing badly because you can't see the big picture.

ETA - Read your last post and wanted to add that Izzy Shows posted on another forum the other day to say that in the first eight days of going wide, she'd made up lost KU reads and had gotten her first bookbub. Yep, wide is bad.

On Amazon, I can see for myself how successful UF authors are in KU. If you think there's actual proof of success on other forums, I'd love to see it. KU and Author Earnings say Amazon is where people are finding success. If there's other evidence even remotely comparable, I'd love to see it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 10, 2018, 02:03:42 pm
On Amazon, I can see for myself how successful UF authors are in KU. If you think there's actual proof of success on other forums, I'd love to see it. KU and Author Earnings say Amazon is where people are finding success. If there's other evidence even remotely comparable, I'd love to see it.

There are plenty of closed groups for 6 figure authors around where people share screen shots of income, tactics and collaborate. If you're in that bracket then I'm sure you'll be welcomed in, but if you go in with the attitude of only KU works for authors then you'll be laughed right back out again.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Mr. Sparkle on June 10, 2018, 02:04:15 pm
But I've been following Kboards pretty regularly for years, and I haven't seen any threads from UF authors saying they're having great success with going wide.

It may be shocking to hear this, but many successful indies don't post on KBoards once they become successful. Some never did.

There's a lot of information out there shared directly between authors via FB and private forums, friends-locked and behind paywalls, and people who hear it don't usually have permission to post it elsewhere for obvious reasons. I realize that may not be sufficient for you to gather info, and that's fine.

I can personally attest to seeing several big hitters deciding to pull out of KU in the past week.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 10, 2018, 02:16:46 pm
UF is a subgenre where a lot of scammers authors who play loose with the rules also hang out. Many high-ranking UF authors are in KU for the same reason many romance authors who play loose with the rules are: Because they've set up the infrastructure to game KU and it's paying off for them.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 10, 2018, 02:19:29 pm
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Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 10, 2018, 05:37:39 pm


I was under the impression that Amazon transitioned from KU1 to KU2 in response to customers' demands. The action was not a value statement about erotica authors nor short story writers.

Those two groups happened to comprise a large portion of the collateral damage because their products were out of alignment with what Amazon's KU subscribers wanted.



Nowhere did I say it was anything to do with Amazon. That was the response many people -- here and elsewhere -- had in response to KUv2 rolling out. There was a thread celebrating that many fellow authors, who had done nothing wrong but simply participated in the program AS AMAZON CREATED IT, were suddenly and without any warning (despite people saying there were emails, not a single one was anything more than a mild suggestion that readers like longer books, though erotica readers were thrilled with the shorts) being punished for providing what their readers wanted IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE BLASTED PROGRAM.

People like to forget how it's been for erotica writers, even here on the great Writer's Cafe, and how short story writers have also been snickered at and called scammers. But some of us don't forget. I swear, I think there are some who wouldn't mind if the scamming and book stuffing went on, so long as they can get in on the action.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 10, 2018, 06:17:29 pm
Arguments about the KU1/KU2 transition are out of place in this thread, folks. Let's keep the focus on how the new bonus content rules are playing out.
Title: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: ImaWriter on June 11, 2018, 04:37:26 am
TechCrunch article on Chance Carter. (https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29)
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: alawston on June 11, 2018, 04:39:45 am
We do live in interesting times  ;D
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: unkownwriter on June 11, 2018, 04:48:51 am
Talking about this in the big thread:

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,263872.0.html
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Gertie Kindle on June 11, 2018, 05:12:18 am
Did you read the one comment at the end of the article? Very vocal defense of Carter and his wonderful books.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: PhoenixS on June 11, 2018, 07:03:25 am
Not gonna comment about Chance and the scamming, since that's being covered elsewhere. Just want to say how disappointed I am in the TechCrunch article. What a mess and mishmash of the facts. Could the writing and fact-checking be any lazier? We want and need a spotlight on all this -- publicity is a good thing -- but is it also too much to ask that those spotlights be professional in nature? And that aggregators of content, such as TechCrunch, also do a minimum of reading and fact-checking before pulling the content in?
Title: Re: KDP Issues "Bonus Content" Guidelines
Post by: Kathy Dee on June 11, 2018, 07:54:26 am
I'd love to look at the top 100 in romance and see nothing that's stuffed.

Hmm ... far too much erotic romance in the store thee days. ;)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 11, 2018, 08:34:22 am
Yes they are, but they are most prominent in Romance / UF because that's where the "easy" money is.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on June 11, 2018, 08:36:14 am
UF is a subgenre where a lot of scammers authors who play loose with the rules also hang out. Many high-ranking UF authors are in KU for the same reason many romance authors who play loose with the rules are: Because they've set up the infrastructure to game KU and it's paying off for them.

I'm in a few private groups and while I can't name names -- there are a good percentage of well-known authors who have quietly gone wide. Either they got scared after Amazon threatened to close their accounts. Or they got sick of competing with book stuffers. There were even a few posts I read, where folks were fine with making a little less, in exchange for reduced stress and peace of mind.

Quote
Plus, I came to the realization that by keeping my high-quality non-stuffed books in KU, I was only subsidizing the stuffers. No more. Now, I doubt I'd ever go exclusively with Amazon again. And I'm far from the only one.

I walked away from a 70k a year job due to what I considered to be questionable business practices. At the time I regretted it, but a few months later they crashed and burned dramatically. While it meant a significant pay cut I also dodged a bullet. I've never regretted it. I'm a risk taker, always have been. So right now I'm pledged to spend the rest of the year creating a backlist. I'll start 2019 fresh and wide, with a catalog ready to go. Amazon KU may be the easiest way, but it's not the only way.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on June 11, 2018, 10:35:31 am
I ignored KDP Select when it first came out, and likewise KU1.  However, with KU2, I decided on a change and went all in with Amazon.  I've been exclusive since and I have to admit KU has been pretty good to me.  On any given month I find about a 50/50 split between sales and reads, which has been pretty steady since I've joined.  My KU income has never fallen below the threshold I originally set to make me consider going wide again.

That said, I am beginning to tire of the drama.  Between scammers, stuffers, and people churning out puppy-mill books once a week or more*, it feels like KU is an overflowing bathtub ... and unless you resort to one of those methods, you're going to be swept out the moment you think you hit the top.   

I always considered KU to be a short term strategy.  Beginning to wonder if wide is once more calling my name.

*disclaimer, no I'm not saying everyone who writes super fast churns out crap. 
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Lydniz on June 11, 2018, 10:44:27 am
I ignored KDP Select when it first came out, and likewise KU1.  However, with KU2, I decided on a change and went all in with Amazon.  I've been exclusive since and I have to admit KU has been pretty good to me.  On any given month I find about a 50/50 split between sales and reads, which has been pretty steady since I've joined.  My KU income has never fallen below the threshold I originally set to make me consider going wide again.

That said, I am beginning to tire of the drama.  Between scammers, stuffers, and people churning out puppy-mill books once a week or more*, it feels like KU is an overflowing bathtub ... and unless you resort to one of those methods, you're going to be swept out the moment you think you hit the top.   


All of this. I decided to risk a pay cut to go wide about a year ago and I'm pleased I did. It's a lot more work, but in the end the pay cut never materialised and I feel safer having my eggs in lots of baskets.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: 91831 on June 11, 2018, 10:48:11 am
[Re the TechCrunch article:]

Probably best that I can't access it then (they're not letting people on it without giving consent for cookies, browsing history, and location for advertising use only, and as an EU member, I'm refusing to give it simply for advertising use.). 



Bracketed insertion added following thread merge, for clarity. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Aderyn Wood on June 11, 2018, 10:51:56 am
Not gonna comment about Chance and the scamming, since that's being covered elsewhere. Just want to say how disappointed I am in the TechCrunch article. What a mess and mishmash of the facts. Could the writing and fact-checking be any lazier? We want and need a spotlight on all this -- publicity is a good thing -- but is it also too much to ask that those spotlights be professional in nature? And that aggregators of content, such as TechCrunch, also do a minimum of reading and fact-checking before pulling the content in?

Good journalism is so last century ;)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 11, 2018, 11:31:51 am
Between scammers, stuffers, and people churning out puppy-mill books once a week or more*, it feels like KU is an overflowing bathtub ... and unless you resort to one of those methods, you're going to be swept out the moment you think you hit the top.   

Oh yeah. That sums it up perfectly. And this is especially true if you're in a genre (such as romance) that's overpopulated by stuffers and scammers. It got to the point where I felt that I had to choose -- stuff or drop out of KU.

Now that Amazon has issued clearer guidelines against stuffing, it will be interesting to see how this plays out. If you can skirt the rules by slapping "collection" on your cover and title, we're pretty much back where we started.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 11, 2018, 11:45:28 am
I'm in a few private groups and while I can't name names -- there are a good percentage of well-known authors who have quietly gone wide. Either they got scared after Amazon threatened to close their accounts. Or they got sick of competing with book stuffers. There were even a few posts I read, where folks were fine with making a little less, in exchange for reduced stress and peace of mind.

I walked away from a 70k a year job due to what I considered to be questionable business practices. At the time I regretted it, but a few months later they crashed and burned dramatically. While it meant a significant pay cut I also dodged a bullet. I've never regretted it. I'm a risk taker, always have been. So right now I'm pledged to spend the rest of the year creating a backlist. I'll start 2019 fresh and wide, with a catalog ready to go. Amazon KU may be the easiest way, but it's not the only way.

I kinda feel the opposite. Being in KU is so much easier than being wide and dealing with multiple stores. I could probably make more with my backlist permafree first in series and wide, but it makes enough in KU.

I've seen a lot of people say they're going wide because of some KU issue that is yet to effect them and I wonder why. Amazon won't notice you leaving. You should only leave if you think it will somehow be better for your career, not if you take issue with cheap and quick books making a lot, or whatever. Those books will only make more of you leave KU, because there will be more pages to go around.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Crystal_ on June 11, 2018, 11:52:56 am
Yeah, there's a lack of facts in that article.

I've seen some authors defending Chance and, beyond a knee jerk reaction against the witch hunting, I don't get it. Shady and illegal tactics being everyone down. This is a community. A rising tide helps all boats and a sinking one hurts everyone.

This isn't an issue where the policy wasn't clear either. Dude straight up broke the law. We can't claim to be professionals then turn around and say "aw, but the poor author who's just trying to feed his family didn't know better."
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Speaker-To-Animals on June 11, 2018, 12:07:34 pm
Quote
I've seen a lot of people say they're going wide because of some KU issue that is yet to effect them and I wonder why. Amazon won't notice you leaving. You should only leave if you think it will somehow be better for your career, not if you take issue with cheap and quick books making a lot, or whatever. Those books will only make more of you leave KU, because there will be more pages to go around.

While I agree with the sentiment that a few people leaving isn't going to make Amazon care, there's no issue in KU that doesn't effect every other author in KU because unlike writing as a whole, KU is a zero sum game. For ever dollar a scammer makes, it's one less dollar that other people make.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Rose Andrews on June 11, 2018, 12:51:04 pm
Yeah, there's a lack of facts in that article.

I've seen some authors defending Chance and, beyond a knee jerk reaction against the witch hunting, I don't get it. Shady and illegal tactics being everyone down. This is a community. A rising tide helps all boats and a sinking one hurts everyone.

This isn't an issue where the policy wasn't clear either. Dude straight up broke the law. We can't claim to be professionals then turn around and say "aw, but the poor author who's just trying to feed his family didn't know better."
We're all trying to feed our families. You'd think that they could come up with a better excuse than that. Every author wants to be read and make money (the amount depends on other factors) BUT, for the most part, it's pretty safe to say that if you're writing and publishing books you want to be read. We're only read if people buy our books. So saying [crap] like "oh, he just wants to feed his family" is making it seem like his family is more important than the rest of ours. It's a BS excuse, is what I'm saying.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Crystal_ on June 11, 2018, 01:01:36 pm
We're all trying to feed our families. You'd think that they could come up with a better excuse than that. Every author wants to be read and make money (the amount depends on other factors) BUT, for the most part, it's pretty safe to say that if you're writing and publishing books you want to be read. We're only read if people buy our books. So saying [crap] like "oh, he just wants to feed his family" is making it seem like his family is more important than the rest of ours. It's a BS excuse, is what I'm saying.

Totally agree. I can't stand when people say that. Guys who were doing insider trading were also trying to feed their families.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 11, 2018, 01:07:02 pm
Not gonna comment about Chance and the scamming, since that's being covered elsewhere. Just want to say how disappointed I am in the TechCrunch article. What a mess and mishmash of the facts. Could the writing and fact-checking be any lazier? We want and need a spotlight on all this -- publicity is a good thing -- but is it also too much to ask that those spotlights be professional in nature? And that aggregators of content, such as TechCrunch, also do a minimum of reading and fact-checking before pulling the content in?

speaking as the original source - Ouch
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: David VanDyke on June 11, 2018, 01:10:04 pm
Yeah, there's a lack of facts in that article.

I've seen some authors defending Chance and, beyond a knee jerk reaction against the witch hunting, I don't get it. Shady and illegal tactics being everyone down. This is a community. A rising tide helps all boats and a sinking one hurts everyone.

This isn't an issue where the policy wasn't clear either. Dude straight up broke the law. We can't claim to be professionals then turn around and say "aw, but the poor author who's just trying to feed his family didn't know better."

People rally around their tribe, right or wrong. I'm not trying to start a political argument about specifics, but you can see it in all walks of life, usually with celebrities of some sort--sports figures, politicians, actors, celebrities that are famous for being famous, yes, even authors. These people are lightning rods for both haters (legit or not) and defenders (sincere or not).

That's just how things work. People put "I like them" ahead of "They're destructive."
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 11, 2018, 01:13:13 pm

I always considered KU to be a short term strategy.  Beginning to wonder if wide is once more calling my name.

The time to go wide is before you're forced into it. Worst case scenario, you're innocent but get your account terminated and your last couple months of money confiscated. Now you're scrambling.

The best way to go wide is gradually, which is also easier to do before you're forced into it.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Sam Rivers on June 11, 2018, 01:32:12 pm
His audio books are still there. I wonder why they weren't deleted.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Gone 9/21/18 on June 11, 2018, 01:41:54 pm
It's amazing how much some families eat.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Lydniz on June 11, 2018, 01:42:27 pm
It's amazing how much some families eat.

 ;D ;D
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: EllieDee on June 11, 2018, 01:48:56 pm
Quote
His audio books are still there. I wonder why they weren't deleted.

Weird.  Maybe because the audiobooks are a slightly different ecosystem from kindle ebooks?  Or it could be in the works, but they're more sluggish on that side of the company.
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Rose Andrews on June 11, 2018, 01:55:43 pm
It's amazing how much some families eat.
Damn, right? They eat so much the only way to continue feeding them is by stealing.  ::)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 11, 2018, 01:59:31 pm
While I agree with the sentiment that a few people leaving isn't going to make Amazon care, there's no issue in KU that doesn't effect every other author in KU because unlike writing as a whole, KU is a zero sum game. For ever dollar a scammer makes, it's one less dollar that other people make.

Absolutely, but there's really nothing we can do about anaconda unwillingness to take on scammers (outside of pleas to the KDP team). The decision should be is my career better in KU or it of it? Scammers might be taking money from me, but if I'm earning more in KU than I would out of KU, I'm not leaving out of hate for scammers. (Of course, there is more to career planning than money, but that is the metric I use).
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Usedtoposthere on June 11, 2018, 02:02:15 pm
Absolutely, but there's really nothing we can do about anaconda unwillingness to take on scammers (outside of pleas to the KDP team). The decision should be is my career better in KU or it of it? Scammers might be taking money from me, but if I'm earning more in KU than I would out of KU, I'm not leaving out of hate for scammers. (Of course, there is more to career planning than money, but that is the metric I use).
I feel similarly to you, but I had to laugh at ďanacondaĒ for Amazon. :)
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 11, 2018, 02:17:52 pm
His audio books are still there. I wonder why they weren't deleted.

Because they are delivered via a different channel that KDP, and Carter was booted from KDP.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 11, 2018, 03:02:31 pm
I've merged in a separate thread, and I see its posts are now interspersed with what was already here in a not-ideal way. Sorry for any confusion.

I've also deleted a post that referred to Chance Carter in a way not in keeping with KB's ethos. Please keep in mind that we treat everyone with civility around here. Civility does not preclude rigorous criticism; it does preclude name-calling, snarky or sarcastic nastiness, and piling on.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 11, 2018, 06:59:17 pm
I feel similarly to you, but I had to laugh at ďanacondaĒ for Amazon. :)

Oops, new phone, auto-correct isn't trained yet!
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: C. Gold on June 11, 2018, 07:06:31 pm
Oops, new phone, auto-correct isn't trained yet!
I absolutely adore phone autocorrect typos!  ;D
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 12, 2018, 04:21:57 am
I'm also disappointed with the TechCrunch article. Did they even speak to any authors? It doesn't seem like it. It has a bunch of pretty critical inaccuracies, and is pretty much exclusively focused on Chance Carter. Which is also unfortunate, as there is quite obviously a wider issue here I would rather journalists focus on. The piece here if anyone wants to see it: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore

Much more welcome is this more properly researched piece from Pajiba. It's very well done, calls out a few of the major stuffers (there are many more of course), and it documents a few aspects of the entire scheme with screenshots and the like. It's a great piece overall: http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/book-stuffing-bribery-and-bullying-the-selfpublishing-problem-plaguing-amazon.php

I didn't have anything to do with either of these particular articles but all I'll say is... lots more to come! There is also a big meeting happening in Seattle today about all of this. Can't wait to hear the outcome.

For the stuffers who still are stuffing: you really want to call that formatter of yours. This might be your last chance. And drop the formatting hacks too. We see those...
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 12, 2018, 05:29:22 am
Quote
For the stuffers who still are stuffing: you really want to call that formatter of yours. This might be your last chance. And drop the formatting hacks too. We see those...

The wise will listen. The others? Expect more moaning. And excuses.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 12, 2018, 09:02:15 am
I'm also disappointed with the TechCrunch article. Did they even speak to any authors? It doesn't seem like it. It has a bunch of pretty critical inaccuracies, and is pretty much exclusively focused on Chance Carter. Which is also unfortunate, as there is quite obviously a wider issue here I would rather journalists focus on. The piece here if anyone wants to see it: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore

Much more welcome is this more properly researched piece from Pajiba. It's very well done, calls out a few of the major stuffers (there are many more of course), and it documents a few aspects of the entire scheme with screenshots and the like. It's a great piece overall: http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/book-stuffing-bribery-and-bullying-the-selfpublishing-problem-plaguing-amazon.php

I didn't have anything to do with either of these particular articles but all I'll say is... lots more to come! There is also a big meeting happening in Seattle today about all of this. Can't wait to hear the outcome.

For the stuffers who still are stuffing: you really want to call that formatter of yours. This might be your last chance. And drop the formatting hacks too. We see those...

Thanks, David, for keeping on top of this issue for everyone while trying to keep your own publishing empire growing.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Usedtoposthere on June 12, 2018, 09:24:27 am
I'm also disappointed with the TechCrunch article. Did they even speak to any authors? It doesn't seem like it. It has a bunch of pretty critical inaccuracies, and is pretty much exclusively focused on Chance Carter. Which is also unfortunate, as there is quite obviously a wider issue here I would rather journalists focus on. The piece here if anyone wants to see it: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore

Much more welcome is this more properly researched piece from Pajiba. It's very well done, calls out a few of the major stuffers (there are many more of course), and it documents a few aspects of the entire scheme with screenshots and the like. It's a great piece overall: http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/book-stuffing-bribery-and-bullying-the-selfpublishing-problem-plaguing-amazon.php

I didn't have anything to do with either of these particular articles but all I'll say is... lots more to come! There is also a big meeting happening in Seattle today about all of this. Can't wait to hear the outcome.

For the stuffers who still are stuffing: you really want to call that formatter of yours. This might be your last chance. And drop the formatting hacks too. We see those...
Canít wait. Great work, David.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Gentleman Zombie on June 12, 2018, 09:27:47 am
Absolutely, but there's really nothing we can do about anaconda unwillingness to take on scammers (outside of pleas to the KDP team). The decision should be is my career better in KU or it of it? Scammers might be taking money from me, but if I'm earning more in KU than I would out of KU, I'm not leaving out of hate for scammers. (Of course, there is more to career planning than money, but that is the metric I use).

Business decisions are not always about profit. Ethics and personal beliefs matter too.

The entire KU system is basically the Hunger Games. Authors are pitted against one another to fight over a finite pile of money in an arbitrary pool. I've never liked the idea, I miss the old days when everyone was wide. Those days aren't coming back, but I also know too many authors who've made wide work. So why not try it myself? I'll just be over here quietly and slowly building my house out of bricks. Oink Oink.

So today's big issue is stuffing, what's next? Because as long as the KU ecosystem works the way it does, it provides a tempting target for scamming. There's always something new, always.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BellaJames on June 12, 2018, 09:34:15 am
I'm also disappointed with the TechCrunch article. Did they even speak to any authors? It doesn't seem like it. It has a bunch of pretty critical inaccuracies, and is pretty much exclusively focused on Chance Carter. Which is also unfortunate, as there is quite obviously a wider issue here I would rather journalists focus on. The piece here if anyone wants to see it: https://techcrunch.com/2018/06/11/notorious-kindle-unlimited-abuser-has-been-booted-from-the-bookstore

Much more welcome is this more properly researched piece from Pajiba. It's very well done, calls out a few of the major stuffers (there are many more of course), and it documents a few aspects of the entire scheme with screenshots and the like. It's a great piece overall: http://www.pajiba.com/think_pieces/book-stuffing-bribery-and-bullying-the-selfpublishing-problem-plaguing-amazon.php

I didn't have anything to do with either of these particular articles but all I'll say is... lots more to come! There is also a big meeting happening in Seattle today about all of this. Can't wait to hear the outcome.

For the stuffers who still are stuffing: you really want to call that formatter of yours. This might be your last chance. And drop the formatting hacks too. We see those...


Thank you David for pointing out these articles.

 I kept talking about [one of these publishers] without mentioning her name (hope it's ok to mention her name now [We'd prefer not, thanks. - Becca]) who has been stuffing and misplacing her books for a long time now. She writes erotica and keeps putting them under contemporary romance and I am tired of seeing her books all over the romance chart and now on the main top 100.

There are some good romance books and authors out there being kept out of the top spots because of these [publishers]. I read Carters first book a couple years ago  :o and I am surprised that he started doing this because he was releasing full length novels (no stuffing) at the start and getting some ok reviews on goodreads.

I also didn't realise he was writing under a couple other names or getting them ghostwritten.


Someone's started a petition to bring back his books.
Reading some of the comments, it's sad that some readers don't understand the impact these authors actions have on other authors and on the way this damages the self-publishing industry/community.
 


Edited; please don't use "scammer" in reference to particular a individual(s), per our rules against name-calling. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 12, 2018, 09:52:00 am
[
The entire KU system is basically the Hunger Games. Authors are pitted against one another to fight over a finite pile of money in an arbitrary pool.

That was certainly the case before the 10% ruling. I'm sure Amazon will soon also realize they have to eliminate box-sets, collections, and compilations from KU (the boldness of stuffers intent on monetizing the grey-zones is amazing). The KU marketplace will only truly be fair when one book equals one book. Period.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 12, 2018, 09:58:45 am

So today's big issue is stuffing, what's next? Because as long as the KU ecosystem works the way it does, it provides a tempting target for scamming. There's always something new, always.

I think the next big issue has already started being discussed. Collections and bundles.

Scammers will adjust. Everything will be labeled correctly. The toc, blurb, contents will be exactly as described.

Huge bundles & collections will appear at the top of the charts stealing the positions of legitimate authors.

Per page rates will not rise. They will remain as they currently are. Indies will blame bundles.

There will be calls for a harder cap.

There will be demands for only single novel works.

With enough outcry the cap will be lowered.

Then collections will be banned.

The per page rate will still not rise.

Inferior novels will appear at the top of the lists.

Finally, there will be stronger calls against botting and click farms.

Amazon will raise the amount of pages they will redact from previous months.

The per page rate still will not rise...
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BellaJames on June 12, 2018, 10:17:32 am
I'm sick of seeing authors saying 'you shouldn't call out others authors, karma and all that'.
I know I cannot mention where I read this.

If these stuffers are doing nothing wrong by giving readers a few more books to read and a chance to win a prize, then why don't they just say upfront:

1."This book that you think is a novel is a bundle of page turning novellas"
2. "This book features previously published hot novels, look at this bargain you are getting".
3. "I need you to give me a positive review, cause it helps me sell more books"

One of the books on the main 100 today still appears to be one romance novel but it's a collection of erotic novellas.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 12, 2018, 11:05:59 am
I'm sick of seeing authors saying 'you shouldn't call out others authors, karma and all that'.


I think bad karma is associated more with not doing the right thing. Also, there's no need to call out authors. Their books speak for themselves.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 12, 2018, 11:25:31 am
The per page rate still will not rise...

I don't think most people who want to see KU better policed believe the rate will rise if that policing happens. People may not like the rate, but they see it as a separate issue; it's not what's bothering them about this situation.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BellaJames on June 12, 2018, 11:50:01 am
I think bad karma is associated more with not doing the right thing. Also, there's no need to call out authors. Their books speak for themselves.

Then why were some of these authors stuffing for weeks or months or putting their erotic books in contemporary romance? Amazon didn't spot these [publishers] and stop them. Their readers just think they are getting a great deal when they buy one book for 2 bucks and get 20 smutty stories.
 They have some decent to glowing reviews and most readers don't mention the blank pages, poor editing or old books that are included in the back.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Arches on June 12, 2018, 12:28:49 pm

The entire KU system is basically the Hunger Games. Authors are pitted against one another to fight over a finite pile of money in an arbitrary pool.

Actually, it's not at all like the Hunger Games. I can't remember the last time somebody snuck up on me in KU and put an arrow in my back. When you have to exaggerate so much to make a point, it's a sign that your underlying argument is weak.

KU is just a different kind of business option. Lots of companies use subscription services, particularly when it comes to electronic media. KU has pluses and minuses, and everybody can judge for themselves whether they'd like the option. If not, fine.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 12, 2018, 12:56:41 pm
Business decisions are not always about profit. Ethics and personal beliefs matter too.

The entire KU system is basically the Hunger Games. Authors are pitted against one another to fight over a finite pile of money in an arbitrary pool. I've never liked the idea, I miss the old days when everyone was wide. Those days aren't coming back, but I also know too many authors who've made wide work. So why not try it myself? I'll just be over here quietly and slowly building my house out of bricks. Oink Oink.

So today's big issue is stuffing, what's next? Because as long as the KU ecosystem works the way it does, it provides a tempting target for scamming. There's always something new, always.

For sure. It's not just about profit. But it should still be a business decision, not a spite decision. Everyone values different things. That might be the ease of being Amazon exclusive or it might be the feeling of security that comes with being wide and not relying so heavily on Amazon or that might be money. It's great to make decisions based on your mental health (we are the main employee of our businesses; morale is important). But, to me, it's silly to make  a decision about being in KU or not because of how much other KU authors make. The decision should be based on how KU affects you and your business. It's irrelevant the stuffers are making mad monies if it doesn't affect your metrics.

Actually, it's not at all like the Hunger Games. I can't remember the last time somebody snuck up on me in KU and put an arrow in my back. When you have to exaggerate so much to make a point, it's a sign that your underlying argument is weak.

KU is just a different kind of business option. Lots of companies use subscription services, particularly when it comes to electronic media. KU has pluses and minuses, and everybody can judge for themselves whether they'd like the option. If not, fine.

It's like THG in that Amazon gets authors to see each other as competitors rather than allies the same way the capitol gets the districts to see each other as enemies. It's not literally like the games themselves.

THG is useful for all sorts of real life comparisons. It's really thematically rich. Also, it's awesome. (End fangirling).
Title: Re: Notorious KU abuser booted...
Post by: writerlygal on June 12, 2018, 12:57:13 pm
Not gonna comment about Chance and the scamming, since that's being covered elsewhere. Just want to say how disappointed I am in the TechCrunch article. What a mess and mishmash of the facts. Could the writing and fact-checking be any lazier? We want and need a spotlight on all this -- publicity is a good thing -- but is it also too much to ask that those spotlights be professional in nature? And that aggregators of content, such as TechCrunch, also do a minimum of reading and fact-checking before pulling the content in?

I agree. There is a lot of fake news going on left & right. The articles are full of false information & things being tweeted are completely incorrect. I saw someone on Facebook accuse a big name author of stealing covers & they contacted  the cover company AFTER posting slanderous info about the author, only to find out the covers had been paid for. Also a lot of authors are being misidentified & a lot of false information being spun so that innocent authors are saying hey readers stop reporting my legitimate box sets or hey Amazon put me in this category & I had nothing to do with it or people are reporting my books with sponsored ads when I never told Amazon to advertise them on historical fiction book pages etc.

This derails the message & makes all of us in the indie writing community look like a bunch of immature people who like to fight w/ each other & attack our competitors, or like a bunch of monkeys throwing our poop all over each other. There are some real issues that need to be honed in on but the only people w/ the power to fix them are at Amazon so it saddens me that people are divided & ganging up on each other & starting & spreading fake news instead of working together towards a solution that will truly benefit authors.

This is just as bad as the current state of politics so I have refused to participate in smear campaigns or social media fights & bashing. Just like I refuse to fight w/ those of a different political ideology because the people who can change things are the rich powerful people on top, not the little people on the bottom, but they often don't because none of us little people can get their crap together & unite enough to get anything of real import done.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 12, 2018, 01:02:14 pm
Actually, it's not at all like the Hunger Games. I can't remember the last time somebody snuck up on me in KU and put an arrow in my back. When you have to exaggerate so much to make a point, it's a sign that your underlying argument is weak.

Your view might be influenced by the fact that your genre isn't polluted by 99-cent stuffed books. Browsing through some of the categories where your books are placed, the top 100 titles show a healthy mix of KU and non-KU books. And the books that are in KU tend to be priced at fair market value, usually $3.99 or $4.99. This suggests that your genre has seen only moderate disruption from the stuffing.

In contrast, my genre is new adult romance, ground zero for 99-cent stuffers. And yes, it does feel like an arrow in my back when my livelihood is threatened by cheaters.

I always find it amusing when those who haven't been personally impacted by unethical behavior mock the justifiable outrage of those who have been impacted.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 12, 2018, 01:10:58 pm
I'm not defending Tiffany giveaways & page flip instructions. But the article is full of false facts when it claims that the Chance Carter books were full of nonsense & not real books. They were full length romances w/ plots & HEAs. A lot of readers legitimately liked them.


Edited.  Let's not divert the conversation into the lack of respect that romance writers have seen  for their genre nor whether erotica should be in romance.  We've had those discussions in other threads.

PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 12, 2018, 01:16:49 pm
Then why were some of these authors stuffing for weeks or months or putting their erotic books in contemporary romance? Amazon didn't spot these scammers and stop them.

Amazon could have responded much earlier by issuing the 10% guideline. It's hard to know if there's a link between David and others sounding the alarm on Carter and, five days later, Amazon imposing the new guideline, but I think there might be. Things of this nature often have to reach various thresholds before authorities will react.

 
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 12, 2018, 01:40:01 pm
That was certainly the case before the 10% ruling. I'm sure Amazon will soon also realize they have to eliminate box-sets, collections, and compilations from KU (the boldness of stuffers intent on monetizing the grey-zones is amazing). The KU marketplace will only truly be fair when one book equals one book. Period.

We already had the KU 'one book equals one book' version. That was the original version. Previous to KU, erotica authors had developed markets for their books -- mostly short stories -- where their fans (and fans of that genre) were not adverse to paying $2.99 for these stories.

NOTE in especial that this was before KU. This short story market had been developed by hard-working legitimate authors. They made money -- sometimes lots of money -- for selling their goods on Amazon. And many of these authors wrote serials -- yes, BEFORE KU. Serials weren't a KU invention to scam money.

Then along came KU 1.0 where one book equaled one book. Novel writers were incensed that a 6000 word short story equaled their 100,000 word novel and b*tched and complained about that. I can see the point, as I also wrote novels. It doesn't seem fair, does it? But, then again, they had often priced their 100k novels at $2.99, same as the erotica authors priced their 6k short stories. Whose fault was that? Nobody's. But if a KU subscriber read -- what was it? -- 10%? 15%? of the book each author got paid the same whether epic saga, novel or short story. One book equaled one book.

Of course, the scammers came along and started putting up books so short that if you even opened it you'd have read the required percentage and they collected their fee.

Point is, no version of KU is EVER going to be fair. It is a diseased and corrupt format and has been from the beginning. It is almost as if it were made for scammers to take advantage of. I can't see any set of rules changing that.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 12, 2018, 01:46:22 pm
For those who know what's up w/ Amazon: KU is optional & is giving into Amazon's growing monolopy. Going wide on other platforms is a way you can have more power instead of only complaining about other authors on forums & social media all the time. Rise up & take back some of your power instead of handing it over to Amazon.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: S.R. on June 12, 2018, 01:55:26 pm
[My posts have been deleted in response to the unannounced KBoards TOS change that was made by the new forum owner (VerticalScope) -- I do not agree to the new terms and have requested that my account be deleted as well]
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 12, 2018, 01:59:49 pm
I agree. There is a lot of fake news going on left & right. The articles are full of false information & things being tweeted are completely incorrect.

And yet, there's a difference between fake news and lazy reporting. Please don't conflate them or make it seem like you're agreeing that I said anything about fake news. Chance Carter is not fake news. Stuffers and scammers on Amazon are not fake news. What derails the message is folk suddenly crying 'fake news.'

I'm not defending Tiffany giveaways & page flip instructions. But the article is full of false facts when it claims that the Chance Carter books were full of nonsense & not real books. They were full length romances w/ plots & HEAs. A lot of readers legitimately liked them.

I have a pen name with erotic romance menage books. Much of what I've seen with the stuffing group under discussion I would classify as erotica trying to pass at its barest minimum -- and yet, still unsuccessfully -- as romance. Simply slapping on the tropes doesn't turn one thing into another.

No reason women can't like erotica or erotic romance. But also classifying it as Classic Literature, Women's Fiction, and all the other categories where they're squatting goes back to an intent to scam.

But in the event ya'all think there is any hope, focus your wrath on Amazon & don't give into Amazon's divide & conquer tactics by attacking other authors instead of pointing at Amazon's greed at all cost profit model.

And yet I can manage to call out bad actors right along with calling out Amazon for enabling them. Personally, I have the time on my hands.



Edited quoted post and response to the now edited bits.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 12, 2018, 02:17:07 pm
I don't think the "one book equals one book" that people are suggesting is the same as KU1. They just mean that one book is one book, not that every book will be paid the same as happened in KU1. My understanding of today's one book equals one book idea is that payout is calculated based on percentage of the book read (as it is, or nominally is, today), but each title has to be only one book/story. If a 5,000 word short is published as one story, it gets a payout of (pulling numbers out of the air) $0.15 for a read, and a 100k word novel is one story in one title (one book is one book) but gets a payout of $3 for a read. Same rate, based on length, but still only one story for one title.

Yes, I realize that. But that would just shift the scammers to a different level. I put out a 150k book -- a legitimate 150k book -- and others have written longer. You figure that a stuffer who uses ghost writers couldn't, wouldn't just have say a dozen ghost writers each write one 'part' of a 3000 KENP book, with each section only having minimal continuity with the others, and then publish it? And there you are, one poorly written, trickily formatted 500k book that the click farms would go crazy for, ranking high do to these borrows and the spending of tons on advertising to get them into the heights. New rules; same game. And then those who want one book to BE one book (not EQUAL one book) would complain about this, 'cause it's not fair.

KU is a broken dysfunctional model.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 12, 2018, 02:22:00 pm
For those who know what's up w/ Amazon: KU is optional & is giving into Amazon's growing monolopy. Going wide on other platforms is a way you can have more power instead of only complaining about other authors on forums & social media all the time. Rise up & take back some of your power instead of handing it over to Amazon.


Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)

No. I'll call out the person, people, or organization who deserves blame. In some cases, that's Amazon. In many cases, it's authors. We shouldn't need Amazon to give us spankings in order to behave. We should be able to police ourselves--to accurately label our content and put out quality content--without the threat of action from Amazon. When that doesn't happen, we're messing up indie pubbing for everyone.

Romance and erotica authors often get the worst end of it, but we're also particularly bad about this. There is so much erotica with a tacked on HEA in romance that does not belong there. At some point, customers will complain, and Amazon will bring down the hammer, and it will hurt everyone, not just the bad actors. That goes the same for any other issue that publishers are creating.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BellaJames on June 12, 2018, 02:30:22 pm
For those who know what's up w/ Amazon: KU is optional & is giving into Amazon's growing monolopy. Going wide on other platforms is a way you can have more power instead of only complaining about other authors on forums & social media all the time. Rise up & take back some of your power instead of handing it over to Amazon.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)


You can highlight the problems with Amazon all day long or year long. However don't take the blame away from these authors.

There will always be people who feel the need to cut corners and find a way to make a quick buck. These authors especially Carter know what he is doing is wrong. Carter started off writing full length novels and publishing them just as that, no bonus books, no blank pages, no gifts and no links to the back of the book. I have one of his early novels on my kindle.

Why did he start doing this? Because of changes to KU? So why hasn't every romance author who started around 3 or 4 years ago doing the same thing. Most of them are writing engaging books and working hard to promote them and build a tribe of loyal fans. Some are writing in several genres/sub-genres.

He was the first author that I saw with over 200 5 star reviews in the first week of publication. I wondered how he was doing that. Then I heard him explain how.

These authors who stuff, add blank pages, put their books in the wrong category and then go and teach others how to do the same thing are cheating the system.

His followers and readers defending him today are completely blind to how much this affects other authors, maybe even other authors they love.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 12, 2018, 02:34:45 pm
You figure that a stuffer who uses ghostwriters couldn't, wouldn't just have say a dozen ghost writers each write one 'part' of a 3000 KENP book, with each section only having minimal continuity with the others, and then publish it?

I'm sure stuffers are already pursuing that course. For that matter, they could just do a "find and replace" on character names and republish five books into one (though they won't bother making sure their heroine's hair colors, professions, circumstances, etc., all match up. They're not that smart.).

So what do we do? Speaking for myself, if I see a suspect book in the top twenty of my category, I'll investigate.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 12, 2018, 02:44:57 pm
No. I'll call out the person, people, or organization who deserves blame. In some cases, that's Amazon. In many cases, it's authors. We shouldn't need Amazon to give us spankings in order to behave. We should be able to police ourselves--to accurately label our content and put out quality content--without the threat of action from Amazon. When that doesn't happen, we're messing up indie pubbing for everyone.

Romance and erotica authors often get the worst end of it, but we're also particularly bad about this. There is so much erotica with a tacked on HEA in romance that does not belong there. At some point, customers will complain, and Amazon will bring down the hammer, and it will hurt everyone, not just the bad actors. That goes the same for any other issue that publishers are creating.

I like this. I'm all for reigning in anyone getting carried away pointing fingers or slinging false accusations. At the same time authors truly behaving badly like Chance should get called out. Same goes for the stuffers who were using formatting code and putting ten lines of space between their text up until recently to gain pages. Part of the reason we're in this mess is because publishers with extremely loose ethics started getting high visibility and taking over. Back in 2015 and 2016 stuffing was a lot more self-controlled. Many top romance authors in KU didn't stuff at all. Others might use one or two bonus books or put out a clearly marked boxed set for extra pages. They weren't stuffing up to 3000 pages or taking formatting techniques to extremes to game pages and make their books hard to read. They weren't disguising collections of ten books to look like single novels. In 2017 the brakes were cut by the Mastermind group and other authors like them. These publishers thought nothing of running stolen images as Facebook ads, using exotic formatting hacks, spamming their email lists aggressively up to several times per day every day, stuffing unrelated books to the limit and doing other shady things. If they'd had any restraint they wouldn't be getting the flak they are now across social media. You don't see anyone jumping to their defense because their blackhat tactics destroyed their reputation with other romance authors.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 12, 2018, 02:51:39 pm
Folks, I've just edited a number of posts for name-calling. FYI, it's not okay to call an identifiable person or group of people scammers (or other pejorative terms) here. You can certainly detail and analyze activities that strike you as problematic, and scamming, as a general activity, can be mentioned ("Phishing is a type of scam in which someone ...," "Subscription services are vulnerable to scamming because ..." -- no problem). But bringing an insulting label together with an identifiable individual -- that's not the kind of discourse we want here. I realize the line can seem a bit unclear, especially for newer members. If you're at all uncertain when writing a post, please err on the side of caution and use a neutral place-holder. The moderation load becomes too heavy if we have to comb through multiple posts replacing words. Thanks.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Acrocanthosaurus on June 12, 2018, 03:10:27 pm
Amazon should structure their policies so there's no need for authors to "call each other out". What they've done from day one with KU, ever since they made it a zero-sum game thanks to payment based on distribution from a "set"* amount, is put authors at each other's throats. We shouldn't have to police ourselves. Amazon should do more to fix the broken system. Just simple stuff like logical limits on maximum KENPC per book and publishing/enrollment frequency. Stuff that they've already done that needs more tweaking.

The "calling each other out" stuff -and I'm not saying Chance didn't deserve it, make no mistake- is Amazon tricking you into doing their work for free.

Their response to the "stuffing" issue has amounted in sum total to editing some words on an obscure webpage in the TOS that no one reads. They didn't even bother sending out an email to alert the community, as they have with past changes. They are *not* going to crack down on stuffed books. If anything they've given them official sanction by altering the guidelines so that "collections" are fine. They probably don't care if a "collection" has new content in the back, since that's an established publishing practice from when books were still dead tree format only.

This isn't going to stop unless the KENPC count for a book is maxed out lower, and collections/bundles/anthologies of novels are banned from KU.

There's no reason to have a bundle in KU in the first place, other than to double dip. Bundles are a discount proposition for *readers* who want to buy a set of books at a discounted price. They appeal to bargain hunters. There's no bargain hunting in a 'sales' ecosystem where $10 a month gets the reader all the books they want for free. Having the novels of a series in a bundle all together doesn't give any advantage to a KU reader. It only gives the publisher the advantage of double dipping and putting out a file with a higher KENPC.

Bundles should be allowed in the paid store only, not KU. They don't belong there. This is a pretty simple thing, it needs to be either/or and Amazon needs to take steps with the way the program operates that can't be circumvented and don't depend on Amazon listening when an author/reader identifies a book and complains. They keep making these issues into subjective decisions, because subjective, decision-based TOS changes give Amazon legal coverage to give the boot to someone screwing them if they feel like it without any obligation to make the program fair to us, the users.

The only way to solve this problem is to put the users on an equal footing with one another and take reliance on Amazon acting on reports and making subjective judgements about what's a valid "bundle" or "bonus book" out of the equation.

*The Select fund is not set in any way. I'm sure there's a maximum budget that they can't exceed, but they tailor the exact number they give us on the 15th of the month to whatever it needs to be to keep the per page rate to a .0044 to .0052 range. When they say they don't know what it is, they're telling a technical, half truth. They know that it will be enough to set the per page rate where they want it, but they also don't know exactly what that number will be in advance. It's a half truth, buyoed by their refusal to talk about the system in terms of per page rate, favoring explaining it terms of "shares" and "proportions" of a meaningless number.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 12, 2018, 03:27:56 pm
I followed your train of logic through most of that, but where on earth do you get "Inferior novels will appear at the top of the lists"? I don't see how that's a rational next step as you've laid it out.

Writers will look at the books dominating the lists--if they think the writing is good, as in legit, there will not be any problems. If they think the writing is terrible they will say: "That book can't be ranked that high. They must have cheated."

Those books they view as 'inferior' will be believed to have been artificially boosted. (Click farmed or botted)

Quote
Also, I agree with what Becca said about the page rate not being the primary concern, as you portray it to be.

OK. What is the primary concern?

Stuffing? Fixed, right?

Bonus content? Problem solved, right?

Stuffed books unrightfully earning the bonus award?

Stuffed books taking the majority of the pot because of their size?

Stuffed books earning so much from a single read through?

Stuffed books stealing money from legitimate authors?

The page rate is about money. If money isn't or wasn't the major concern of stuffing, then what was?

Ethics? Morals? The TOS? Reader experience? Visibility?

If those were the concerns why are people already starting to gripe about collections?

It's all about money.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 12, 2018, 04:02:17 pm
It's far too early to say what Amazon's response will be to bonus content and how it's packaged. The tone is very different with reps over the phone. Several authors have been told direct by KDP reps that their safest option is to cut all bonus content under 10%. These are higher level KDP supervisors and Executive Customer Support. The reps also say the compliance period hasn't expired but they don't give a specific date. In a few months it might be obvious the response is underwhelming. I wouldn't bet on it just yet. Wait a few more weeks.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Acrocanthosaurus on June 12, 2018, 04:10:27 pm
An Amazon rep would have no problem saying "you'd better cut your bonus content to 10%" and omitting that the same practice with "collection" in the metadata and cover is perfectly fine. The never volunteer information or clarify anything that hasn't been clarified to them from above.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Shelley K on June 12, 2018, 07:32:58 pm
I never agreed to VerticalScope's rights-grabbing TOS.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: writerlygal on June 12, 2018, 07:53:13 pm
God but I want the phrase "fake news" to go away in any context.



The reason I used the term fake news was b/c we were talking about the specific context of the techcrunch article. In the opinion expressed by many here & elsewhere, it is arguably fake news & it is why so many people don't trust journalism anymore. The reporters put their own spin & subjective opinion on things rather than actually checking & reporting on neutral facts.

As far as other things are concerned- I'm not on social media much but I have jumped on to watch this circus a bit & I have actually seen lot of defense of authors & also people calling out what they consider to be bad tactics of those making accusations. When it comes to Chance Carter specifically, as I said I'm not defending him for any wrongdoing but I have seen a lot of his fans speaking out on his behalf & saying they truly love his work. Even some authors here have said they read his books - which is why I think the article should not have portrayed them as full of garbage or fake books etc. My issue was w/ defending the romance genre & romance fans themselves & not w/ defending Chance himself. The readers are being dragged into this & made fun of on social media & that is not right. Without readers none of us would sell any books.  It is not a good look to be attaching readers online no matter what genre or preference of reading material they enjoy.

I think that social media is in the eye of the beholder & people see the side they want to agree with & block the rest out. I have definitely seen a division & infighting among authors everywhere I look, which is why I said we are giving into Amazon's divide & conquer tactics. Some parts of my post about Amazon were edited out so I think my posts are being read out of context. I'm not sure what I said wrong about Amazon but I think I'm allowed to say that Amazon is a corporation looking out for its own interests above all else. I feel that most of the vitriol aimed at people is probably better reserved for those corporations who are truly the ones in power. I am not saying not to point out wrongs but I would advise people to keep your dignity while you do it so as not to disgrace the indie writing community as a whole, & try to keep in perspective that it's Amazon's playground & rules , & we shouldn't expect much to change when it comes to a very capitalist company in a very capitalist country.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 12, 2018, 08:28:20 pm
You say to take the fight to Amazon, but also that they're not going to do anything. As for your, admiringly limited exposure to the social media campaign, thoughts on the behavior of those in the #getloud campaign, you're missing context. Nobody is attacking readers and saying otherwise is disingenuous. If you believe that what you say is the truth then I'd ask for you to read the entire threads and not one comment taken out of context.

What I've seen is the scammers and stuffers fighting back under the guise of being readers, the majority of which now proven to not be who they claim to be, operating under new accounts.

There were two authors who were called out for stuffing books and then threatened lawsuits because they were in the process of editing their content. That's not a false accusation. That's someone being called out and rushing to fall in line.

The way I see it is that while you indicate that you're looking at this mess from both sides, you're not. You are arguing for what amounts to silence. I, too, am looking st this from one side. I'm not interested in the side of these people who are knowingly violating the rules for their own gain without care for the wreckage they've brought to the Kindle store.

This fight is about so much more than money as well. I've seen people argue that the fight is pointless because it's not going to change the rate. That's fine. I don't care about that. What I do care about is that this plague has left a stain on Indie publishing that's only going to become worse with the passing of time. I care that if I were to spend money on AMS ads, I have to spend a whole lot more because these stuffers are able to outspend legitimate authors, therefore limiting visibility.

As for the quality of Chance Carter's books, that's debatable but it's not a debate I feel we should be having. I personally think they're terrible books but that doesn't mean others don't enjoy them. Readers are allowed to have the space to make their own decisions on the matter. This also shouldn't be a debate about ghostwriters.

Maybe Amazon has done all they're going to do. Maybe they'll finally bring the hammer down. In a fight for the soul of indie publishing, we all know they eventually have to. I'm not going to stay silent and hope for that to happen. The louder we get (authors, readers, the media), the less choice they'll have but to listen.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 12, 2018, 09:08:57 pm
Considering it's 2018, yeah, you almost have to be the last/only person on earth who still buys DVDs. Sorry.

Not the last. In the US perhaps.

In Australia, our internet is so bad, and so expensive, dvd's make a much better choice. Streaming works for those who watch something once, and not all that often. But for those like me who re-watch year after year, the download costs would be prohibitive. We dont get super fast cable. Even the new NBN is fiber optics grafted to copper wire, and a fraction of the speed it should be, not to mention it's taking forever to be completed.


I was in Miami last year, and the hotel wifi was about 100 times faster than our cable.

Until such time as the Australian cable system is taken out of the 19th century, its DVD's, Blue-rays, and 4K's which keep me entertained.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 12, 2018, 09:39:44 pm
Chiming in with others...I still buy DVDs too, quite frequently, in fact.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Confused Fairywren on June 12, 2018, 09:48:38 pm
The next step won't be curbing maximum KENPC or prohibiting duplicate content, it will be disallowing any external links.

This is a chilling idea. That would curtail a lot of mailing list building. And unfortunately I think you're right that this would be Amazon's 'quick and easy' solution to things like the illegal lottery link.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 13, 2018, 03:36:03 am
Let's not turn this conversation into one about the lack of respect romance writers see for their genre.  That's a whole 'nother conversation that's been discussed (and shown) many times on these boards.  Respect each other and the genres they write in.  Posts may be edited or removed.

And let's drop the whole fake news thing...thanks.

PM me if you have an issue with the moderation of this thread so as to avoid derailing this thread.  Posts discussing the moderation will be removed without comment.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 13, 2018, 04:23:04 am
Writers will look at the books dominating the lists--if they think the writing is good, as in legit, there will not be any problems. If they think the writing is terrible they will say: "That book can't be ranked that high. They must have cheated."

Those books they view as 'inferior' will be believed to have been artificially boosted. (Click farmed or botted)

OK. What is the primary concern?

Stuffing? Fixed, right?

Bonus content? Problem solved, right?

Stuffed books unrightfully earning the bonus award?

Stuffed books taking the majority of the pot because of their size?

Stuffed books earning so much from a single read through?

Stuffed books stealing money from legitimate authors?

The page rate is about money. If money isn't or wasn't the major concern of stuffing, then what was?

Ethics? Morals? The TOS? Reader experience? Visibility?

If those were the concerns why are people already starting to gripe about collections?

It's all about money.

I don't know about you, but I can focus on more than one motivation for doing something. Of course it's about money. These people are raking it in and stopping legitimate books from achieving the payments they would normally get. They're hurting innocent authors by targeting them with their click farms, making their actions look more legit. This is costing people their accounts, making them think they're making more than they are, and causing huge amounts of stress worrying over getting the account back.

They're also offending my sense of morals, and apparently those of a lot of other people. YMMV But don't forget, when one defends the indefensible, one might come out covered in the same... blanket.

Quote
During a period when reviews were being blocked due to a glitch, Chance panicked and broke the law. What happened to Chance wasn't about book stuffing. What happened to Chance was about the things people do when they panic.

Seriously? Panic over a temporary glitch to the point of breaking Federal law? He's been around Amazon long enough to know these things happen. You don't start cheating and scheming over something that will be fixed in a few days. Besides, from all I've seen, this is something he's been working for a while, he just got bolder because Amazon didn't stop him. I thought I'd heard every possible defense of this behavior. Now I know it only gets worse.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 13, 2018, 04:37:00 am
Seriously? Panic over a temporary glitch to the point of breaking Federal law? He's been around Amazon long enough to know these things happen. You don't start cheating and scheming over something that will be fixed in a few days. Besides, from all I've seen, this is something he's been working for a while, he just got bolder because Amazon didn't stop him. I thought I'd heard every possible defense of this behavior. Now I know it only gets worse.

I have evidence that Chance Carter repeatedly broke the rules against review manipulation. This was no one off, it was a permanent part of his approach to "marketing."
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MissingAlaska on June 13, 2018, 04:43:19 am
Not the last. In the US perhaps.

In Australia, our internet is so bad, and so expensive,

I'm in the US and still use DVDs. I live in a rural area and rely on a cellphone connection for internet. While I am able to stream video, it eats up data pretty quickly.  A large percentage of the rural US has ZERO access to true broadband. People often forget that.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on June 13, 2018, 05:33:05 am
I don't consent
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 13, 2018, 05:38:41 am
A friendly reminder that this thread is not about DVD sales, thanks.  Though that would be a great discussion in Not Quite Kindle (https://www.kboards.com/index.php/board,4.0.html).
 ;)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 13, 2018, 03:36:37 pm
More news stories. This is why talking is so important.

Not surprisingly, Amazon didn't respond to Inc's request for comment.

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/amazon-book-stuffing-authors-scam-chance-carter-romance-kindle-unlimited.html

Quote
The most intelligent suggestion I've seen is to cap the payout per book at the (non-Unlimited) price of the book. There is no other situation--not even on Amazon--where authors take in 100 percent of what readers pay for a book. So it's particularly absurd to have an author make $13.50 when someone reads a book that they paid 99 cents for.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 13, 2018, 04:32:14 pm
I have evidence that Chance Carter repeatedly broke the rules against review manipulation. This was no one off, it was a permanent part of his approach to "marketing."

That's my understanding of how he's been working. He's not the only one, just the one who got caught doing illegal things, not just acting against TOS.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 13, 2018, 04:44:34 pm
That's my understanding of how he's been working. He's not the only one, just the one who got caught doing illegal things, not just acting against TOS.

If Amazon really wants to make an example of someone like CC, they could report him to all 50 states' attorneys-general, as well as the feds, and lobby to get them to take action. Depending on the laws, he could be viewed as running an illegal lottery in all 50 states, and even other countries too, perhaps.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 13, 2018, 07:38:50 pm
Well first, it isn't that difficult to get a profile on Inc. This isn't a magazine where they should be a fact checker and an editor checking on sources. This is essentially no different than Huff Post. If I ran a business, I wouldn't comment for an Inc "author" either. Having the ability to post on any of those sites is not an assumption of authority. It's a self ascribed status, not achieved and not given.

Also, the idea that the removal of the books is because of the bonus books had been demonstrably shown to not be likely at all. First, the tos says as long as the duplicate content is correctly labeled, they're okay with it. Books advertised as single title books cannot exceed 10% bonus content and Amazon has given authors time to update their books.

Correlation doesn't mean Causation. Just because this happened when the notices came out about bonus books doesn't mean bonus books caused the removal of the catalog. The books were likely removed because of the illegal lottery, potential review manipulation, and incentivized reviews.

Inc isn't Medium. "Create your profile" isn't for writers, but businesses. This is the staff:

https://www.inc.com/staff/a/h

Also, nowhere does the article state Carter was booted for stuffing. The article in fact says that Amazon's exact reasons for booting Carter are unknown.

ETA: and I happen to think reporters bugging Amazon about this is a good thing. May there be more.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 14, 2018, 08:20:28 pm
Chiming in with others...I still buy DVDs too, quite frequently, in fact.

If I truly love the content I buy it on blu ray/digital/4k/dvd package that I like. Yes, streaming works most of the time, but when it doesn't, I want to be able to access great films and shows. I will say since Netflix Hulu Amazon I will now buy way less shows. Movies though I still like to have a physical copy of.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 14, 2018, 09:16:47 pm
Just heard more authors are getting emails from Amazon asking them to remove bonus content in five days or books will be taken off sale. One person received notice for a clearly labeled boxed set. Hard to believe collections and compilations will be allowed. We'll find out next week when the purge starts.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 14, 2018, 09:40:17 pm
Just heard more authors are getting emails from Amazon asking them to remove bonus content in five days or books will be taken off sale. One person received notice for a clearly labeled boxed set. Hard to believe collections and compilations will be allowed. We'll find out next week when the purge starts.

That's great to hear. I hate to get my hopes up, but this is the most encouraging news we've had in a while. I can't help but wonder how much of this stems from bad publicity.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 14, 2018, 10:33:29 pm
Hard to believe collections and compilations will be allowed.

Allowed in KU or KDP?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 14, 2018, 11:02:27 pm
Allowed in KU or KDP?

KU I think. Soon we'll know for sure or if this is just a one off.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 14, 2018, 11:27:21 pm
KU I think. Soon we'll know for sure or if this is just a one off.

Potential dates for KU announcements: June 15, July 1 (June 29 or July 2 this year), July 15 (14 this year), Aug 1.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 15, 2018, 08:06:06 am
If they say no more collections/bundles/compilations/box sets in KU, I will gladly remove mine. If it will help to drain the swamp, no problem. If they're still allowing stuffed books, click farms and paid reviews, then I'll not be a happy camper. I suspect it will be the latter reaction. Prove me wrong, Amazon.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 15, 2018, 08:11:40 am
If they say no more collections/bundles/compilations/box sets in KU, I will gladly remove mine. If it will help to drain the swamp, no problem. If they're still allowing stuffed books, click farms and paid reviews, then I'll not be a happy camper. I suspect it will be the latter reaction. Prove me wrong, Amazon.

#ProvemewrongAmazon
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 15, 2018, 09:36:34 am
If they say no more collections/bundles/compilations/box sets in KU, I will gladly remove mine. If it will help to drain the swamp, no problem. If they're still allowing stuffed books, click farms and paid reviews, then I'll not be a happy camper. I suspect it will be the latter reaction. Prove me wrong, Amazon.
Amazon isn't known for its consistency. That said, if they're expanding the "no more than 10% bonus content" restriction to prohibit compilations and collections, they might actually be able to do that consistently. Even bots could be fairly good at weeding out box sets and compilations, and excess bonus content (the exceptions being things that are grossly mislabeled). If Amazon is willing invest a little human effort in weeding those out, the system could actually be fairly evenly administered. In the beginning, books would probably have to be reported for mislabeling, but cleanup could still be relatively rapid.

Amazon doesn't actually allow click farms or paid reviews. It just isn't very good at differentiated real activity from fake activity, as we know from the people who get hit with false positives while obvious scammers don't get hit. I'll predict getting rid of click farms in particular is going to be a long process.

I see some hope, though, in the fact that Amazon is pursuing bonus content with some degree of vigor. At times in the past, there's been a high profile strike or two when an issue came up, and then activity more or less ceased--more keeping up appearances than changing the underlying reality. With so many authors getting notices, it appears to me that this time might be different. Of course, only time will tell...

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Dpock on June 15, 2018, 11:36:36 am
Just heard more authors are getting emails from Amazon asking them to remove bonus content in five days or books will be taken off sale. One person received notice for a clearly labeled boxed set. Hard to believe collections and compilations will be allowed. We'll find out next week when the purge starts.

Can anyone else confirm this? I haven't been able to. Not questioning Phxsundog--just wondering if others can chime in.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 15, 2018, 07:14:54 pm
http://www.cracked.com/article_25681_the-stupid-stupid-way-scammers-are-ripping-off-amazon.html

More press.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 16, 2018, 01:44:58 am
http://www.cracked.com/article_25681_the-stupid-stupid-way-scammers-are-ripping-off-amazon.html

More press.

Thanks for the link. The word is spreading.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 16, 2018, 04:53:07 am
I've seen the contents of an email elsewhere (not giving any details to protect where), so they are definitely coming. As usual, some people who aren't stuffing are going to get them, but that's how it works with bots.

Amazon may not actually "allow" click farms and fake reviews, but by not acting on these issues when they were reported multiple times, with evidence, they've certainly turned a blind eye to it. Result is the same, people taking advantage of a system that was so easily gamed, you might think the scammers came up with it. All of this could have been avoided it Amazon had simply set in place some strict rules when they rolled out Select, like no short stories, no entry unless the author demonstrated a certain level of sales, no entry for books that were badly formatted, poorly written (not content but logistics, like spelling errors). Something "Select" should be, well select. It's like me trying to sell a dog food patty as filet mignon, and at the price for it. No one with any sense would think that's a good idea.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PearlEarringLady on June 16, 2018, 07:48:24 am
Something "Select" should be, well select.

It's 'select' for authors, but for readers, it's 'unlimited'. Quantity not quality. Somewhat different emphasis.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 16, 2018, 10:49:57 am
I've seen the contents of an email elsewhere (not giving any details to protect where), so they are definitely coming. As usual, some people who aren't stuffing are going to get them, but that's how it works with bots.

Amazon may not actually "allow" click farms and fake reviews, but by not acting on these issues when they were reported multiple times, with evidence, they've certainly turned a blind eye to it. Result is the same, people taking advantage of a system that was so easily gamed, you might think the scammers came up with it. All of this could have been avoided it Amazon had simply set in place some strict rules when they rolled out Select, like no short stories, no entry unless the author demonstrated a certain level of sales, no entry for books that were badly formatted, poorly written (not content but logistics, like spelling errors). Something "Select" should be, well select. It's like me trying to sell a dog food patty as filet mignon, and at the price for it. No one with any sense would think that's a good idea.
There's no doubt the system could be run much better than it is. Entry requirements to put books in KU would have been a good start, though, as Pauline says, the emphasis in advertising the program to readers often mentions the number of books available. As a reader, I'd be happier with a smaller selection of high-quality books than a larger one exploited by scammers.

All of that said, Amazon hasn't exactly turned a blind eye to the problems. What it has done is overuse bots and underuse human beings. Every time it tries to crack down on click farms--which, it has, many times--it catches so many innocent people in the net and has to deal with so many complaints that it quickly backs down. Given the fact that click farms target legitimate books as well as scam books to camouflage their activities, that's a hard thing to control from the author side, even with human beings looking at the results. To control it from the customer side, Amazon would have to make it harder to open new accounts, which I'm sure it's reluctant to do. That gives it a limited range of options.

The more I think about it, the more I think you have the right idea: some kind of TOS curation of KU. If every book is examined to be sure it meets the TOS before it enrolls, that would make like more difficult for scammers. They could still work within a system like that, but they'd have to have genuine books to do it with. If some kind of sales minimum were added to qualify, as you suggest, that would make it even harder for scammers (and for authors just starting out, though). I'd like such a sales minimum to be per author rather than per book. You don't want to have to twiddle your thumbs every time you release a new book in a series for it to work its way into KU. Such a restriction would force scammers to work for outright sales or find another area to exploit. It would take a long time to screen all the books currently in KU, but it may be a necessary step at some point if Amazon truly wants to have a viable system.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 16, 2018, 11:47:29 am


The more I think about it, the more I think you have the right idea: some kind of TOS curation of KU. If every book is examined to be sure it meets the TOS before it enrolls, that would make like more difficult for scammers. They could still work within a system like that, but they'd have to have genuine books to do it with. If some kind of sales minimum were added to qualify, as you suggest, that would make it even harder for scammers (and for authors just starting out, though). I'd like such a sales minimum to be per author rather than per book. You don't want to have to twiddle your thumbs every time you release a new book in a series for it to work its way into KU. Such a restriction would force scammers to work for outright sales or find another area to exploit. It would take a long time to screen all the books currently in KU, but it may be a necessary step at some point if Amazon truly wants to have a viable system.

Having someone check the books would be ideal. But authors get impatient waiting 2 - 3 days for their books to become 'live'. I can't imagine them enjoying waiting weeks or months waiting for a human to give the ok.
Authors also use KU to gain visibility. If they have to wait for sales before they can enrol in KU it could be a long wait.  ::)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Viper Spaulding on June 16, 2018, 12:11:22 pm
"Having someone check the books would be ideal. But authors get impatient waiting 2 - 3 days for their books to become 'live'. I can't imagine them enjoying waiting weeks or months waiting for a human to give the ok."

Maybe only have the books that are 500+ pages checked by a human (or some other reasonable limit).  Then, all the legitimate single books would be published as usual, with only the potentially stuffed books being checked to verify content. 
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 16, 2018, 12:29:17 pm
Having someone check the books would be ideal. But authors get impatient waiting 2 - 3 days for their books to become 'live'. I can't imagine them enjoying waiting weeks or months waiting for a human to give the ok.
Authors also use KU to gain visibility. If they have to wait for sales before they can enrol in KU it could be a long wait.  ::)
Checking doesn't have to mean reading the whole thing--or even close. How long does it take a human to determine if a book meets the TOS? I'd say a few minutes at most. And it isn't a question of waiting for the book to go live. It's a question of waiting for the book to be enrolled in KU.

It's true that KU can help with visibility--but not so much in its present condition, with scammers seizing more and more slots on the bestseller list. The way I see it, KU as presently constituted will just become more and more dysfunctional for the average author.  Unless we all want to see KU die or remain as a scammer's paradise, some changes need to be made. Amazon is taking some steps, but, as she-la-ti-da points out, scammers can still operate without bonus content.

My experience may not be typical, but I notice new releases typically don't pick up in KU right away. I get some sales, and then KU readers start to notice the book. I've yet to have a release that took off in KU without having a fair number of sales first. If that's typical, requiring some sales prior to entry in KU might not be as much as a handicap as you think. A small delay in a scammer-free environment might actually produce more visibility than instant enrollment in a jungle where the visibility is largely being soaked up by scammers.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Becca Mills on June 16, 2018, 01:02:59 pm
Welcome to KBoards, Viper Spaulding. :)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 39416 on June 16, 2018, 02:03:03 pm
Just a quick question --when I type in "top romance in Kindle Store" the first and fourth book appear to me to be the same book (a collection of the original book and five added books). How does that work? And the first one says "Sponsored." What is that?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 16, 2018, 02:10:34 pm
Just a quick question --when I type in "top romance in Kindle Store" the first and fourth book appear to me to be the same book (a collection of the original book and five added books). How does that work? And the first one says "Sponsored." What is that?

Sponsored is an AMS ad. Many authors bid for ads on their own titles. That's probably why you're seeing it twice.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 39416 on June 16, 2018, 02:36:57 pm
Sponsored is an AMS ad. Many authors bid for ads on their own titles. That's probably why you're seeing it twice.

Thanks. I didn't know that.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 101569 on June 16, 2018, 05:38:21 pm
I don't know if this has been suggested yet or not. Now that Amazon is limiting content added or required a book to be labelled collection etc, what if they made it is own group. The best sellers in collections etc wont show within the single title lists. They can still be romance collections adding sub genres to find what you are looking for, but they wont block all the single titles from best sellers lists. They could do that for all other genres as well.

This way they can keep the KNEP limits the same which is good for doorstop books, and collections can still be in KU.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 16, 2018, 06:31:36 pm
Was amazed to find a habitual stuffer that seemed to have a book following ALL the rules. One book and only two "samples" in the back. So I borrowed the book in KU to check it further.

First of all the file size is almost 3500 kb. Dang big file for 320 printed pages, huh? So the main book does end after 90%, so totally legit, right?

Then why is the print so much larger than any other book I've read from KU? And the spaces between paragraphs are there too.

The thing is, I know I'm a slow reader, but Amazon estimates it will take me more than 25 hours to read this 320 page book. I ain't that slow!

So even if they look like they are compliant, they've just moved on to a new way to cheat. I'm betting the KENP for that 320 page single book is about 2500 pages. Of course, can't prove that, can we?

Cheaters are gonna cheat. Now they don't even have to pay for incentives to get their readers to do the page flip.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 16, 2018, 06:32:38 pm
Was amazed to find a habitual stuffer that seemed to have a book following ALL the rules. One book and only two "samples" in the back. So I borrowed the book in KU to check it further.

First of all the file size is almost 3500 kb. Dang big file for 320 printed pages, huh? So the main book does end after 90%, so totally legit, right?

Then why is the print so much larger than any other book I've read from KU? And the spaces between paragraphs are there too.

The thing is, I know I'm a slow reader, but Amazon estimates it will take me more than 25 hours to read this 320 page book. I ain't that slow!

So even if they look like they are compliant, they've just moved on to a new way to cheat. I'm betting the KENP for that 320 page single book is about 2500 pages. Of course, can't prove that, can we?

Cheaters are gonna cheat. Now they don't even have to pay for incentives to get their readers to do the page flip.
what's the title?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 16, 2018, 06:42:54 pm
Nate, sent you a PM. Don't want to make it too hard on the mods here.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 16, 2018, 06:48:54 pm
Got the PM, and thank you for sending it.

FYI: The 320 page count is based on the print edition.

I am looking at the file now; I think it really is only a standard novel length; Kindle Cloud Reader says it is 315 pages long.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 16, 2018, 06:52:10 pm
First of all the file size is almost 3500 kb.
3.5mb. Quite normal, assuming the cover is about 1mb. It's odd how KDP turn less than a meg of text into several, but 3.5mb file size for a mobi is quite normal. 
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 16, 2018, 06:57:00 pm
Got the PM, and thank you for sending it.

FYI: The 320 page count is based on the print edition.

I am looking at the file now; I think it really is only a standard novel length; Kindle Cloud Reader says it is 315 pages long.

Weird. Amazon usually does a much better job at guessing my reading speed. I just surfed another scammer and found one with over 1,000 print pages and a file size of only around 2250 kb.

You sure the cloud reader is an accurate judge of pages-- comparible to KENP?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 16, 2018, 07:16:06 pm
Just for the record, according to Amazon, the other writer's 1056 page book (with the extra spaces too btw) should take me 24 and a half hours to read.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 16, 2018, 07:26:58 pm
Weird. Amazon usually does a much better job at guessing my reading speed. I just surfed another scammer and found one with over 1,000 print pages and a file size of only around 2250 kb.

You sure the cloud reader is an accurate judge of pages-- comparible to KENP?

I think it is reasonably accurate, yes. And just to be clear, page 315 was actually the end of the file. Fire tablet concurs.

In comparison, I just checked one of Carter's stuffed books; the page count in KCR stopped at 249 when it was 26% of the way through the file. Everything after that was still on page 249, LOL.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 16, 2018, 07:31:26 pm
Thanks for checking, Nate. I'll have to check out that kcr sometime. Sounds like a handy tool.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 17, 2018, 03:38:35 am
3.5mb. Quite normal, assuming the cover is about 1mb. It's odd how KDP turn less than a meg of text into several, but 3.5mb file size for a mobi is quite normal.

Not really - I just sorted my decade old collection and found that well over half the Mobi files were under one megabyte. 3.5MB would put a file in the largest 8% or so (106 out of 1,258). And most of the files in my collection that large are exceptions of some kind - dictionaries, help files, or comic books.

So 3.5MB is pretty big for a Mobi.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 75845 on June 17, 2018, 04:51:38 am
Not really - I just sorted my decade old collection and found that well over half the Mobi files were under one megabyte. 3.5MB would put a file in the largest 8% or so (106 out of 1,258). And most of the files in my collection that large are exceptions of some kind - dictionaries, help files, or comic books.

So 3.5MB is pretty big for a Mobi.

I just checked and the last book I published was 95,000 words and the full size high quality cover Amazon requests nowadays and the Jutoh/KindleGen generated file was 1.1MB.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 17, 2018, 05:05:11 am
I must be using a way too big cover size then. All of mine are over 3mb.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 17, 2018, 05:35:43 am
Weird. Amazon usually does a much better job at guessing my reading speed. I just surfed another scammer and found one with over 1,000 print pages and a file size of only around 2250 kb.

You sure the cloud reader is an accurate judge of pages-- comparible to KENP?
KENP pages aren't visible to anyone except the author. The readers and apps calculate pages on a different basis than the one used to calculate KENP.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 17, 2018, 05:38:30 am
Was amazed to find a habitual stuffer that seemed to have a book following ALL the rules. One book and only two "samples" in the back. So I borrowed the book in KU to check it further.

First of all the file size is almost 3500 kb. Dang big file for 320 printed pages, huh? So the main book does end after 90%, so totally legit, right?

Then why is the print so much larger than any other book I've read from KU? And the spaces between paragraphs are there too.

The thing is, I know I'm a slow reader, but Amazon estimates it will take me more than 25 hours to read this 320 page book. I ain't that slow!

So even if they look like they are compliant, they've just moved on to a new way to cheat. I'm betting the KENP for that 320 page single book is about 2500 pages. Of course, can't prove that, can we?

Cheaters are gonna cheat. Now they don't even have to pay for incentives to get their readers to do the page flip.
The good news is that something like forcing large type in a file is pretty easy for a bot to spot--which means Amazon can crack down on that relatively quickly.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 18, 2018, 03:56:33 pm
June 18 announcement:


Quote
In response to concerns weíve heard from authors, we wanted to take a moment to clarify in more detail how we measure pages read to calculate the monthly allocation of the KDP Select Global Fund.
 
We have worked steadily over time to improve the fidelity of the KENPC system that measures the number of pages read. For the vast majority of cases, KENPC v3.0 records actual pages read with a high degree of precision. For the few remaining cases, such as very old devices, we employ several processes and technologies (both manual and automated) to accurately measure pages read. In addition, we regularly audit the pages read of top titles.
 
Our commitment to the fair allocation of the KDP Select Global Fund remains a top priority. That includes addressing attempts to manipulate our services. If you have direct evidence of these types of activities, we will review every single example provided to us at [email protected]

https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/How-we-measure-pages-read
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 39416 on June 18, 2018, 04:12:57 pm
June 18 announcement:


https://www.kdpcommunity.com/s/article/How-we-measure-pages-read

People have PROVEN over and over that Page Flip causes their page reads not to be reported to them. And yet Amazon can post a message like this. Amazing.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 18, 2018, 04:32:50 pm
It's 'select' for authors, but for readers, it's 'unlimited'. Quantity not quality. Somewhat different emphasis.

Well, sure. Two different things. But how long was it before Amazon was complaining about the stuff in Select? Less than a year, if I'm remembering correctly.

Would it have taken a bit longer to build up a good selection of books if they had been vetted? Sure. Despite their usual let's build this thing slower attitude, Amazon wanted to have an instant collection of books to entice readers. Despite people here and elsewhere sounding the warning that it was going to be full of junk. Despite people telling Amazon over and over again how the system could be and was gamed by the cheaters.

Of course, now they've got this huge mess, half of them don't know how to spot the scammers and the other half doesn't know how to fix it. But, hey. Susie Q. Author ran a legit promo last week, so she must be doing something shady, so lets' just terminate her account. And, look at that! Someone with the same 3K KENPC books will get another bonus! Wheeeeeeeeee! Ain't life grand?

Frankly, if it took a bit longer to get my stuff uploaded to get rid of this crap, bring it. If it means real live people have to look at books to be considered for Select, bring it. If it costs me a penny or two per book (and frankly it shouldn't cost us a darned thing), bring it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: My Dog's Servant on June 18, 2018, 04:44:29 pm
Quote
Our commitment to the fair allocation of the KDP Select Global Fund remains a top priority. That includes addressing attempts to manipulate our services. If you have direct evidence of these types of activities (other than our own bestseller lists with books that are stuffed, obviously mis-categorized, blatantly formatted to force more pages per read, or otherwise in open violation of TOS) , we will review every single example provided to us at [email protected]

There. Fixed it for you. You're welcome!
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 18, 2018, 05:25:26 pm
Quote
Our commitment to the fair allocation of the KDP Select Global Fund remains a top priority. That includes addressing attempts to manipulate our services. If you have direct evidence of these types of activities, we will review every single example provided to us at [email protected]

There. Take this as an open invitation to report every barely labeled "collection" or "compilation" springing up with the same duplicate content the megastuffers are now using. If Amazon doesn't already plan to crack down on this, they'll get the idea we want it gone fast.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 05:32:08 pm
People have PROVEN over and over that Page Flip causes their page reads not to be reported to them. And yet Amazon can post a message like this. Amazing.

Page Flip was fixed, back at the end of January. When they brought in the "close book" option at the top of the menu, replacing the 'go to library' option.


There might be some odd issues still, but the force closing of books when you change, seems to have fixed things. Until close book is pressed, you dont get paid. But as soon as it is, the next sync uploads the reads.


I had a test going to see if it was fixed, and while it wasn't completed, the exact number of read pages turned up about a week later, which I suspect was when the person picked up his reader again, and changed books. Not conclusive, but when I returned to KU late in March, I saw none of the page flip indicators.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 18, 2018, 07:45:31 pm
I must be using a way too big cover size then. All of mine are over 3mb.

You're not alone. All my designer covers are between 3-4mb, but my designer also sends me a low-res cover that's 1mb as well. 
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 18, 2018, 07:49:15 pm
Amazon's amazing ability to calculate exactly how many pages are read in my catalog still seems to end up creating quite a few oddball 1-page-read situations.

Which wouldn't be a big deal if it was an old book (maybe they opened and closed it), but it's pretty weird when it happens on a newer release in the middle of a decent-sales-cycle. Meanwhile, the page-flip situation (where pages read in page-flip don't count toward KENPC) is still happening (which I suspect results in many of these 1-page-reads).

Long and the short of it? I have little faith in Amazon's ability to properly calculate my pagereads.

Anyway, I do know this: Come July 15th, the KENPC rate is going to be similar to what it was this month, because Amazon determines the rate and juices the pot accordingly. People who are good at selling books will still be good at selling books (with or without bonus content), and people who are bad at selling books will still be bad at selling books. Modifying the bonus-content rule or shouting at dudes publishing as women or people doing compilations or people using ghostwriters or whatever else this crazy situation has led to won't change that.

If you need me, I'll be busy writing/editing/publishing my next bestseller while other people are out scouring the store trying to play Amazon Mall-Cop.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 07:59:44 pm
You're not alone. All my designer covers are between 3-4mb, but my designer also sends me a low-res cover that's 1mb as well.

A lot of my new covers are coming in around 5-6mb.

But I suddenly realized why my books are larger. I put maps in some of them, which have to be big in order to not go bad quality on the device, and I also use book posters in the back matter, which used to be all individual book cover thumbnails. All adds up. Those using no images at all, would of course see a much smaller file size.

So update what I said before: A 3.5mb file size is common when there are maps, book thumbnails, or other images included.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 08:05:30 pm
Amazon's amazing ability to calculate exactly how many pages are read in my catalog still seems to end up creating quite a few oddball 1-page-read situations.

Which wouldn't be a big deal if it was an old book (maybe they opened and closed it), but it's pretty weird when it happens on a newer release in the middle of a decent-sales-cycle. Meanwhile, the page-flip situation (where pages read in page-flip don't count toward KENPC) is still happening (which I suspect results in many of these 1-page-reads).

1 page reads indicate the book was downloaded, and opened to ensure it was downloaded ok. Then closed again. A lot of people check the book is fine, but go back to whatever they were reading at the time. Your book in fact may not be read for days, weeks, months, never.

Page flip changed this into a real problem, because the actual reads when it was read, were never counted. But this has been fixed.

If all you see is 1 digit reads, you have to ask yourself what might be stopping the book being read at the time it was downloaded. It might or might not indicate a problem with the attractiveness of the book. Or it might just be too many downloads in a short time, put yours on hold.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 18, 2018, 08:25:24 pm
Amazon's amazing ability to calculate exactly how many pages are read in my catalog still seems to end up creating quite a few oddball 1-page-read situations.

Which wouldn't be a big deal if it was an old book (maybe they opened and closed it), but it's pretty weird when it happens on a newer release in the middle of a decent-sales-cycle. Meanwhile, the page-flip situation (where pages read in page-flip don't count toward KENPC) is still happening (which I suspect results in many of these 1-page-reads).

Long and the short of it? I have little faith in Amazon's ability to properly calculate my pagereads.

Anyway, I do know this: Come July 15th, the KENPC rate is going to be similar to what it was this month, because Amazon determines the rate and juices the pot accordingly. People who are good at selling books will still be good at selling books (with or without bonus content), and people who are bad at selling books will still be bad at selling books. Modifying the bonus-content rule or shouting at dudes publishing as women or people doing compilations or people using ghostwriters or whatever else this crazy situation has led to won't change that.

If you need me, I'll be busy writing/editing/publishing my next bestseller while other people are out scouring the store trying to play Amazon Mall-Cop.

Reporting is probably what brought Chance Carter's illegal giveaway to Amazon's attention. It also got two Cassandra Dee books yanked for bad formatting. This caused more of the megastuffers to clean up their own formatting issues like putting five lines of space between every paragraph. Can it be overdone or abused? Yes. However it's far from useless. Reports are slowly getting KDP's attention and forcing bad actors into line. Anyone who wants to see changes should continue while people are motivated to do it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 18, 2018, 08:40:43 pm
Amazon's amazing ability to calculate exactly how many pages are read in my catalog still seems to end up creating quite a few oddball 1-page-read situations.

Which wouldn't be a big deal if it was an old book (maybe they opened and closed it), but it's pretty weird when it happens on a newer release in the middle of a decent-sales-cycle. Meanwhile, the page-flip situation (where pages read in page-flip don't count toward KENPC) is still happening (which I suspect results in many of these 1-page-reads).

Long and the short of it? I have little faith in Amazon's ability to properly calculate my pagereads.

Anyway, I do know this: Come July 15th, the KENPC rate is going to be similar to what it was this month, because Amazon determines the rate and juices the pot accordingly. People who are good at selling books will still be good at selling books (with or without bonus content), and people who are bad at selling books will still be bad at selling books. Modifying the bonus-content rule or shouting at dudes publishing as women or people doing compilations or people using ghostwriters or whatever else this crazy situation has led to won't change that.

If you need me, I'll be busy writing/editing/publishing my next bestseller while other people are out scouring the store trying to play Amazon Mall-Cop.

And you, as well as every other author, will benefit from those attempting to help clean up the Amazon store. Your snark is misguided and misplaced considering you don't even have a clear understanding of the goal here.

It's not about raising the pay rate in KU. It has never been about that. It's about visibility. It's about negative reader experiences. It's about reclaiming AMS ads from the stuffers who dominate all ad placements and drive up the costs for everyone in the romance genre.

And yet you choose to pretend as if it has ever been about the page rate. So no, the movement doesn't need you. But you're welcome.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 18, 2018, 09:21:47 pm
1 page reads indicate the book was downloaded, and opened to ensure it was downloaded ok. Then closed again. A lot of people check the book is fine, but go back to whatever they were reading at the time. Your book in fact may not be read for days, weeks, months, never.




Not necessarily. Try this experiment.

1. Download a book. (It can be a free book, or any book that you are interested in -- or not.)

2. Turn OFF your wi-fi, so that your kindle can't sync with Amazon.

3. Page through your new book (either reading or not reading) to a certain point, perhaps the beginning of Chapter 3.

4. Page backwards to a different point, say the beginning of Chapter 2.

5. Turn your wi-fi back on.

6. Go back to the beginning of the book.

7. use the 'go to' function to 'sync to the furthest page read'.

8. look at where it takes you -- it will take you to the furthest page you've read: the beginning of Chapter 2. That's right, the beginning of Chapter 2, not Chapter 3.

So, Amazon only knows the furthest page that you left the book open to WHILE SYNCED to Amazon.

Now, make a supposition. Suppose you borrow a book from KU. You download it to your Kindle and you then TURN OFF your wi-fi. (After all, who keeps it on while reading? That just uses up the battery.) Now, suppose further that you finish the book, return to the beginning to look at the cover once again, and THEN leave the book. NOW you TURN ON the wi-fi, and Amazon counts the pages read as they appear to do by looking at the last page read (which we now know is the furthest page that you have left the book open to when you sync with Amazon): ONE PAGE READ.

Authors I know have done this experiment on books in KU that haven't had reads in ages. The result: 1 page reported read by Amazon.

Above experiment (Steps 1-8) done today using a Kindle Fire.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 09:27:33 pm
Now, make a supposition. Suppose you borrow a book from KU. You download it to your Kindle and you then TURN OFF your wi-fi. (After all, who keeps it on while reading? That just uses up the battery.) Now, suppose further that you finish the book, return to the beginning to look at the cover once again, and THEN leave the book. NOW you TURN ON the wi-fi, and Amazon counts the pages read as they appear to do by looking at the last page read (which we now know is the furthest page that you have left the book open to when you sync with Amazon): ONE PAGE READ.

That was what was happening. I do believe its been fixed.

You'd have to test it and provide proof.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 18, 2018, 09:33:58 pm
It's not about raising the pay rate in KU. It has never been about that. It's about visibility. It's about negative reader experiences. It's about reclaiming AMS ads from the stuffers who dominate all ad placements and drive up the costs for everyone in the romance genre.

Exactly! I'm mostly out of KU, and even I can see the benefit of cleaning up the store, discouraging scammers, and returning some sanity to the bestseller lists. These stuffers are hurting all honest authors, whether they're in KU or not. The time to report them is now while Amazon is focused on this issue.

And sheesh, they're not even hard to find. Just this morning, I spotted several in the top 100. They need to go.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 18, 2018, 09:39:16 pm
That was what was happening. I do believe its been fixed.

You'd have to test it and provide proof.


I did the steps 1-8 today. That's what happened. I don't subscribe to KU, and I don't have books in KU that you can test -- well, I have 2 left -- coming out in a couple of days, but they both get reads now and again.

However, if you do have a subscription to KU, we can run the experiment. I haven't yet gone wide on all my books, and I can drop one into KU for an hour, you can borrow it, and follow the supposition. The book will be ranked at about 3 million in the store -- no one has bought it in over a year. It'll be a short story, but it's in the erotica section (though it actually isn't erotica), so you might have qualms. If you wish to do the experiment, PM me and we'll do it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 09:44:32 pm
I did the steps 1-8 today. That's what happened. I don't subscribe to KU

Which negates any test.

Quote
However, if you do have a subscription to KU, we can run the experiment. I haven't yet gone wide on all my books, and I can drop one into KU for an hour, you can borrow it, and follow the supposition. The book will be ranked at about 3 million in the store -- no one has bought it in over a year. It'll be a short story, but it's in the erotica section, so you might have qualms. If you wish to do the experiment, PM me and we'll do it.


I'm not in KU. I'm a buyer, not a one time reader.


You'd need to find someone who is. And is reliable enough to do the whole test, and know how to prove it.

8. look at where it takes you -- it will take you to the furthest page you've read: the beginning of Chapter 2. That's right, the beginning of Chapter 2, not Chapter 3.

Its taking you back to where you left off. Not the same thing as how many pages have been read.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 18, 2018, 09:53:18 pm
Which negates any test.


I'm not in KU. I'm a buyer, not a one time reader.


You'd need to find someone who is. And is reliable enough to do the whole test, and know how to prove it.

Its taking you back to where you left off. Not the same thing as how many pages have been read.


No, it's not taking you back to where you left off. It's taking you back to the last page you were on WHILE YOU WERE SYNCED to Amazon.

Try it for yourself. Pick up a book. Read the first few chapters (say to chapter 3). Return to the beginning. Then sync with Amazon and 'sync to last page read'. You'll get sent to page 1. Continue to read with WiFi on -- say up to Chapter 4. Then turn WiFi off, and continue to read to chapter 5. Return the the beginning. Turn WiFi on and 'sync to last page read' again. (you can't do this operation with WiFi off.) You'll get sent to where you were when you were last synced with Amazon -- Chapter 4, even though you left off reading at the end of chapter 5 and you left the book on page 1. Try it for yourself. Amazon has no idea how many pages we read, only where the book was left open when we have the WiFi on.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 09:57:32 pm
Amazon has no idea how many pages we read, only where the book was left open when we have the WiFi on.

You're making an assumption, with only half the test done.

As an ex-programmer, the 2 functions would be totally separate. And I think this was part of what they fixed.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 18, 2018, 10:07:08 pm
You're making an assumption, with only half the test done.

As an ex-programmer, the 2 functions would be totally separate. And I think this was part of what they fixed.


That's correct. I'm making that assumption. And you are making an assumption that they fixed it. What proof have you? I have none either way. On another forum I've made a request for someone to help me with this. Don't know if anyone there subscribes to KU, we're pretty down on that at the moment.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 10:34:27 pm
That's correct. I'm making that assumption. And you are making an assumption that they fixed it. What proof have you?

Observation. I left KU over page flip. I observed full reads return at the end of Jan, instead of 1 digit numbers, where no books were in KU and so it couldn't be download 1's. I didn't see the same problem when I returning in March.

I also had someone do a test on a book which hadn't any reads, and what was read, was paid about a week later.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 18, 2018, 10:51:51 pm
Observation. I left KU over page flip. I observed full reads return at the end of Jan, instead of 1 digit numbers, where no books were in KU and so it couldn't be download 1's. I didn't see the same problem when I returning in March.

I also had someone do a test on a book which hadn't any reads, and what was read, was paid about a week later.


However, we're not talking about page flips here.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 18, 2018, 10:55:48 pm
However, we're not talking about page flips here.

Yes, we are. Books read entirely using page flip mode, and books returned to the start position before being closed, using page flip.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 19, 2018, 12:04:25 am
Yes, we are. Books read entirely using page flip mode, and books returned to the start position before being closed, using page flip.


No, I'm talking about reading a book normally. not using page flip mode. Nowhere have I mentioned page flip. And you only mentioned it later in saying why you left KU. Remember you started off saying:

"1 page reads indicate the book was downloaded, and opened to ensure it was downloaded ok. Then closed again."

Obviously, you weren't referring to page flip mode, because in your opinion the downloader never got around to reading the book, only opened and closed it.

I then said that that wasn't necessarily the only way to get a one-page-read.

The problem I brought up was extant (I believe, but am not entirely sure of -- I'd have to go digging into archives, which I'm not going to do) before page-flip came about.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 12:05:47 am
Reporting is probably what brought Chance Carter's illegal giveaway to Amazon's attention. It also got two Cassandra Dee books yanked for bad formatting. This caused more of the megastuffers to clean up their own formatting issues like putting five lines of space between every paragraph. Can it be overdone or abused? Yes. However it's far from useless. Reports are slowly getting KDP's attention and forcing bad actors into line. Anyone who wants to see changes should continue while people are motivated to do it.

I think we disagree a bit on the usefulness of this sort of thing. Nothing that has happened has had any real perceptible positive or negative effect on my own income or catalog, and it's a lot of wheel spinning to accomplish empty victories. Nobody "won" when chance went away. Nobody "wins" when you get a book taken down for bad formatting. All the bad actors can get in line and the KU page rate will still be 0.00449 next month if that's what Amazon wants.

And you, as well as every other author, will benefit from those attempting to help clean up the Amazon store. Your snark is misguided and misplaced considering you don't even have a clear understanding of the goal here.
It's not about raising the pay rate in KU. It has never been about that. It's about visibility. It's about negative reader experiences. It's about reclaiming AMS ads from the stuffers who dominate all ad placements and drive up the costs for everyone in the romance genre.
And yet you choose to pretend as if it has ever been about the page rate. So no, the movement doesn't need you. But you're welcome.

I disagree. The removal of bonus content hasn't and won't end up making any real change to the page rate (I'd love to be proven wrong), and since I'm not currently gunning for all-star bonuses due to the way my catalog is structured, I'll see little benefit if those bonuses become slightly more attainable in the wake of these changes. Visibility won't change in any meaningful way either. The people who were all over the top list a month ago are still all over the top list today, most with no bonus content, some with compilations. The lack of bonus content doesn't prevent them from achieving top list visibility and sales. Most of them have a following, large mailing lists, and are effective at marketing their book to readers. If you think bonus content was giving them those ranks you're mistaken. It certainly helped them make a bit more money than they otherwise would have, but removing it isn't going to remove their ability to buy their way onto the toplist and crowd people out in a profitable way.

After Amazon largely fixed the full-read bug, bonus content didn't lead to some kind of massive income difference. Sure, it was statistically better than no-bonus-content, but we're not talking about a massive bump to earnings like it worked on day 1 of KU 2.0. In other words, the people jacking up AMS and FB ads with high-bids are still able to pay high bids in the aftermath. They're still going to dominate ad placements, and if you think any different you're daft. Have you looked at CPC lately? I have. I run ads all day long, every day. CPC hasn't changed one red cent in my favor. It won't change. I'm profitable. So are they. The authors with followings and the money to push books are going to continue to be all over those top lists.

If you want to pretend tearing down and attacking authors/books all over Amazon is going to accomplish lower ad prices or better visibility for people who aren't already dominating the top-charts, you're going to be disappointed.

Like I said, I won't bother participating in it. I've got books to write and sell, which has proven to be the best way to increase my daily income.


Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 19, 2018, 01:37:24 am
We do disagree. Amazon draws clear boundaries everytime they respond to these bad actors. If Chance still had his KDP account and another top bonus for June after running an illegal giveaway, then what would stop anyone else from doing the same thing? Same logic with the bad formatting. Many of the stuffed books with extreme spacing issues were starting to collect bad reviews before they were reported. It was a poor reader experience. Readers won when Amazon sent the stuffers a message to stop making their books look like garbage or risk having them pulled.

Let's go back further. Imagine if Amazon had done nothing about the rampant clickfarming last year. Do you really think a large section of the Top 100 wouldn't be clickfarmed books today? Yes they wrongly rank strip people all the time which is wrong. The alternative, complete inaction, would have been worse.

And it's too early to assess the recent changes. The stuffers who unbundled have pages continuing to come in from old editions. So they can test higher priced new releases with large ad budgets. The others are leaning on the collection loophole Amazing might yet slam shut. Obviously I don't expect these people to disappear overnight but they're not going to be running $2000 per day ad spends in a couple months if they don't have the pages to support them anymore. It's impossible. Their hardcore fans are fewer than the average romance author who succeeds at marketing because their quality on average is so low. They have huge lists and Facebook groups of soft support built mostly from giveaways and free book offers. If you want proof how disengaged their support really is, look at Chance. It took him more than a week to get a thousand petitions from fans who want him reinstated. Yet his Facebook page shows over a hundred thousand Likes and thousands more across several groups plus a large email list. On paper he should be a star. The reality is very different.

The megastuffer group succeeds off huge ad spends supported by bonus content. They'll face a harder time when Amazon cuts off stuffing and crashes their ability to use ad budgets far larger than the author who doesn't stuff, but is just as competent at marketing. There's no shortage of romance authors just as good at marketing and producing better content. The only difference is visibility due to refusal to stuff to reach the kind of ad budgets they use.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 05:58:15 am
Again, bonus content was a ďwin moreĒ strategy, and is unnecessary to support ad spend.

Ad prices arenít coming down because people finally found something concrete to attack Chance with.

As someone who runs ads every day, there has been no effect on ad prices by amazon mall cops tearing people and their books down.

No effect on kenpc, no effect on CPC.

The same crowd is going to continue to dominate the lists. Hell, Chance will probably be back with a new account and corporation and end up right back up there like nothing happened (probably under a new name, but you get my point).

I donít think anything particularly good comes from these pitchfork and torch moments. People get hurt, the damage inevitably spreads to those who donít deserve it, and many hours of productivity are wasted chasing tails for little to no tangible benefit. The straw man youíre building about a world where amazon doesnít care about people abusing their system is silly. Amazon polices their store without my help. And even those old changes didnít particularly help us. I donít remember CPC going down or kenpc value going up in the wake of clickfarmers being stopped.

Amazon sets the page rate. They juice the pot to whatever number they want. Amazon has added extra cash to the KU pot every single month, in varying amounts. People abusing the system hurt amazon, not me. If taking down carter or stuffing causes the pages read to drop by some tiny fraction of a percent, amazon will reduce their month-end juice and the end result is the KENPC rate amazon decides to pay regardless.

If tearing peoples books and accounts down over relatively minor infractions makes you feel good I guess carry on.




Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: TaraCrescent on June 19, 2018, 06:19:02 am
Again, bonus content was a ďwin moreĒ strategy, and is unnecessary to support ad spend.

Ad prices arenít coming down because people finally found something concrete to attack Chance with.

As someone who runs ads every day, there has been no effect on ad prices by amazon mall cops tearing people and their books down.

No effect on kenpc, no effect on CPC.


I can't tell if you're being deliberately hand-wavy or not, but come on.

The rules clarifying bonus content came into effect came into effect June 1. Chance's account got shut down a few days ago. Almost all the other relevant actors have just renamed their books 'collections'. Of course there's going to be no effect on CPC - ad patterns are largely unchanged, almost all the relevant players are still stuffing their books, and everyone's still doing business as usual until they know how much enforcement Amazon's going to do.

As for KENPC, I'm not holding my breath assuming the rate will be higher either, but given that the explicit 10% bonus content rule came into effect June 1, we have no idea if the rate's going to rise. June's rate isn't out yet.


Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Anarchist on June 19, 2018, 06:20:14 am
bobfrost speaketh the truth.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 07:09:58 am
I can't tell if you're being deliberately hand-wavy or not, but come on.

The rules clarifying bonus content came into effect came into effect June 1. Chance's account got shut down a few days ago. Almost all the other relevant actors have just renamed their books 'collections'. Of course there's going to be no effect on CPC - ad patterns are largely unchanged, almost all the relevant players are still stuffing their books, and everyone's still doing business as usual until they know how much enforcement Amazon's going to do.

As for KENPC, I'm not holding my breath assuming the rate will be higher either, but given that the explicit 10% bonus content rule came into effect June 1, we have no idea if the rate's going to rise. June's rate isn't out yet.

I specifically said a few posts back that I look forward to Juneís rate coming out and the kenpc rate being the same (or slightly worse).

So far, no change or righteous crusade has resulted in higher KU rates.

If Iím wrong, Iíll eat my hat.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 19, 2018, 08:07:47 am
Again, bonus content was a ďwin moreĒ strategy, and is unnecessary to support ad spend.

Ad prices arenít coming down because people finally found something concrete to attack Chance with.

As someone who runs ads every day, there has been no effect on ad prices by amazon mall cops tearing people and their books down.

No effect on kenpc, no effect on CPC.

The same crowd is going to continue to dominate the lists. Hell, Chance will probably be back with a new account and corporation and end up right back up there like nothing happened (probably under a new name, but you get my point).

I donít think anything particularly good comes from these pitchfork and torch moments. People get hurt, the damage inevitably spreads to those who donít deserve it, and many hours of productivity are wasted chasing tails for little to no tangible benefit. The straw man youíre building about a world where amazon doesnít care about people abusing their system is silly. Amazon polices their store without my help. And even those old changes didnít particularly help us. I donít remember CPC going down or kenpc value going up in the wake of clickfarmers being stopped.

Amazon sets the page rate. They juice the pot to whatever number they want. Amazon has added extra cash to the KU pot every single month, in varying amounts. People abusing the system hurt amazon, not me. If taking down carter or stuffing causes the pages read to drop by some tiny fraction of a percent, amazon will reduce their month-end juice and the end result is the KENPC rate amazon decides to pay regardless.

If tearing peoples books and accounts down over relatively minor infractions makes you feel good I guess carry on, but donít fool yourself into thinking itís going to help your catalog unless youíre using your righteous indignation as a sales pitch for some how-to books.

:)

No, bonus content makes a huge difference in profits. I made 25-50% more with a single title as bonus. With four or five, it's probably double or triple that. I don't know where you're getting this information but every author I know who previously used bonus content is preparing to move away from 99 pricing because it's not profitable with a single title. If the marketing machines are forced to use good forgetting and a single title, so their books have 400-600 KENPC, there's no way their current strategy will stay profitable. It might take awhile for them to figure that out, but it will happen, and it will be great for visibility for other romance authors.

And if I'm wrong, I'm still happy about the changes because they make the system fairer which is good for everyone who would rather not use bonus books or or see them polluting the store. The All Star bonus thing will make a big difference to my bottom line, so that's a boon too.





edited quoted post -- Ann
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 08:11:26 am
I specifically said a few posts back that I look forward to Juneís rate coming out and the kenpc rate being the same (or slightly worse).

So far, no change or righteous crusade has resulted in higher KU rates.

If Iím wrong, Iíll eat my hat.

NOBODY is claiming the page rate is going to change. Yet, you keep running in circles about it to make a point that NOBODY is disagreeing with. You call people daft, yet refuse to understand simple math. The difference between $4 and $13 for a KU read is huge, and it affects the scammers abilities to dominate the AMS Ads. Nobody but scammers are paying $1.50 per click.

And then further up, you say people are going to get hurt. Yes, the scammers will and I don't give two [crap]s about them. You shouldn't either, and if you do, you're probably one of them. To continue to deny that cleaning up the store wouldn't have a positive impact for all of us is asanine, and yes, daft.

Next time you venture to respond, please stop arguing against talking points nobody else is even mentioning.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Michaela Strong on June 19, 2018, 08:45:56 am
NOBODY is claiming the page rate is going to change. Yet, you keep running in circles about it to make a point that NOBODY is disagreeing with.
Exactly this. Those without a good argument love to create strawmen to fight.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 19, 2018, 09:42:23 am
 
Observation. I left KU over page flip. I observed full reads return at the end of Jan, instead of 1 digit numbers, where no books were in KU and so it couldn't be download 1's. I didn't see the same problem when I returning in March.

I also had someone do a test on a book which hadn't any reads, and what was read, was paid about a week later.


Well, I found someone to do the experiment, and it looks as if you were correct. The person in question agreed to borrow a book I put into KU and follow my directions. I put one in that had 13 KENP. After I got the following message, I pulled the book out of KU (It sat in KU for less than one hour):

Quote
1: borrowed it
2: Checked that it downloaded, but did NOT open it.
3: Turned off both Kindle Wi-Fi and house Wi-Fi. (Overkill, overkill, I know.)
4: Read story, spending a little extra time on each page. No Page Flip.
5: Scrolled back to the first page after the cover.
6: Turned on Wi-Fi.
7: Figured out how to return a KU borrow.
8: Checked that it now shows as returned.
9: Let you know.

That was 8 hrs ago.

This morning, I checked and I indeed have 13 Pages read for that book.

For all that work, I'm now about 6 cents richer!
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: ElisaBlaisdell on June 19, 2018, 10:41:58 am
I'm the other half of Delta's experiment. It was my first day of a trial KU account--I got it for the experiment.

Note that I'm running Fire OS 5.6.1.0, installed April 12, 2018. It's still possible that some of the older Kindles out there don't save the necessary information. But that's a problem that will keep getting smaller as time goes by.

The experiment didn't address page flip. I'm available for that experiment, also. ;) I prefer short stories, so we're not cheating anyone out of money. (Delta earned his 7 cents honestly--I read every page.)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 75845 on June 19, 2018, 11:04:11 am
Note that I'm running Fire OS 5.6.1.0, installed April 12, 2018. It's still possible that some of the older Kindles out there don't save the necessary information. But that's a problem that will keep getting smaller as time goes by.

It will be a long wait in England as the Kindle Wifi is by far the most popular Kindle in daily use (e.g., seen being used by colleagues and fellow commuters). This is because it was sold by our biggest bookchain Waterstones and biggest catalogue store Argos. Then are long lasting although I bricked my recently by having it in the same bag as a leaky water bottle. The Kindle Wifi has not had a software update since well before Page Flip was launched, so long before the return to start error was fixed. Of course that would effect repetitive bonus contenters as much as anyone else.

Prior to the return to start error being discovered I would typically go and view the cover or contents after finishing the book. Page Flip not required to trigger the error when you have a GoTo menu and going to the start via Page Flip would be far too much of a waste of time for me. Of course the Page Flip bug (Amazon's intended design) would also affect bonus contenters.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 19, 2018, 11:06:11 am
I'm the other half of Delta's experiment. It was my first day of a trial KU account--I got it for the experiment.

Note that I'm running Fire OS 5.6.1.0, installed April 12, 2018. It's still possible that some of the older Kindles out there don't save the necessary information. But that's a problem that will keep getting smaller as time goes by.

The experiment didn't address page flip. I'm available for that experiment, also. ;) I prefer short stories, so we're not cheating anyone out of money. (Delta earned his 7 cents honestly--I read every page.)

I've got a book of short stories, and also children books that are obviously short. I haven't had any reads for yonks, so if you'd like to try mine I'd be grateful. They are in my signature.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 19, 2018, 11:06:45 am
There were even a few posts I read, where folks were fine with making a little less, in exchange for reduced stress and peace of mind.

^^ This.

If your goal is to maximize income and everything else is secondary, then KU is probably for you (at least in the biggest genres). But if you're content to make a comfortable living, wide is more secure. I know I saw Annie say once that if Amazon closed her account tomorrow it would hurt, but she made enough on the other platforms to support her and her husband. In an environment where that 100K you made last month might never materialize, because Amazon might close your account THIS month, so you're not getting paid at the end of NEXT month, being able to support myself on the income from the other platforms is heavenly. It matters way more to me than the potential 6 figures a month, and I mean that sincerely.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 19, 2018, 11:09:51 am
I've seen a lot of people say they're going wide because of some KU issue that is yet to effect them and I wonder why.

I can't speak for everyone, obviously, but I know several LitRPG authors, as an example, who are going wide because there was a wave of people we KNEW to be ethical getting their accounts pulled. It was too scary.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 19, 2018, 11:14:27 am
Per page rates will not rise.
...
The per page rate will still not rise.
...
The per page rate still will not rise...

Bingo. I hate the stuffers and I hope they all get their accounts pulled, but the page rate is exactly what Amazon wants it to be.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 19, 2018, 11:18:24 am
I specifically said a few posts back that I look forward to Juneís rate coming out and the kenpc rate being the same (or slightly worse).

So far, no change or righteous crusade has resulted in higher KU rates.

If Iím wrong, Iíll eat my hat.

The best arguments are when both sides are right.

Bob's right in that the payout rate is unlikely to change. KDP won't adjust the rate so legit authors get more of the pie.

But others are right in that, outside the narrow-but-important measure of payout rate, enforcement actions are good for the ecosystem. Everyone except the abusers benefit when everyone follows the rules. Legit authors know what the terms are and can plan strategy accordingly based on known measures and outcomes. They and the customers have higher confidence in the system. It runs smoother. The customer has a better experience. More people are happier to read ebooks (the indie advantage) if the Kindle ecosystem works properly, and if they don't run into scammers, stuffers and repeated content. And the bonus system will be more fair.

It's not so different from cleaning up the city streets. Core businesses may not make more money right away, but everyone benefits in the long run with better quality of life.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Rick Gualtieri on June 19, 2018, 11:19:04 am
Bingo. I hate the stuffers and I hope they all get their accounts pulled, but the page rate is exactly what Amazon wants it to be.

I tend to agree.  Thinking this will magically increase page reads to a cent and open the money gates up for everyone is ... probably unrealistic.  Instead, focus on the good of ridding the Amazon store of those who are unfairly gaming the system.  Cleaning up the slush pile and evening the playing field benefits us all (and by all, I mean those playing by the rules).
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 19, 2018, 11:21:36 am
No. I'll call out the person, people, or organization who deserves blame. In some cases, that's Amazon. In many cases, it's authors. We shouldn't need Amazon to give us spankings in order to behave. We should be able to police ourselves--to accurately label our content and put out quality content--without the threat of action from Amazon. When that doesn't happen, we're messing up indie pubbing for everyone.

We disagree a lot, but credit where it's due: This made me want to jump up and cheer. EXACTLY.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 19, 2018, 11:29:27 am
Bingo. I hate the stuffers and I hope they all get their accounts pulled, but the page rate is exactly what Amazon wants it to be.

agreed - but if we could get rid of the cheats then real authors would get more of the KY bonus money
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 11:57:07 am
Well, as someone who follows the rules I have no issues with the rules being enforced.

I just donít feel that Iím the one who needs to be doing the enforcing, and itís a little silly when people start making up imaginary new rules that arenít in the TOS and trying to force people to adhere to them.

And at the end of the day, I donít think it really benefits me when people do exactly that, as I was trying to point out. People have talked about how scammers were stealing page reads and visibility, and trying to point out that theyíd earn more if those people were stopped. I disagree with the sentiment, but all I can really do is share my thoughts and keep on keeping on :).
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 19, 2018, 12:08:37 pm
NOBODY is claiming the page rate is going to change.

I don't know where you're hanging out, but LOTS of people are saying the page rate will go up. It's a very common misconception that getting rid of scammers will mean more money for other authors.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 19, 2018, 12:10:33 pm
agreed - but if we could get rid of the cheats then real authors would get more of the KY bonus money

That's a great point, and I often forget it when I start ranting. I should put a Post-It on my computer or something.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 19, 2018, 12:39:13 pm
I don't think the rate will necessarily go up--it might, it might not--but I do think this will help slow the rate drop.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nate Hoffelder on June 19, 2018, 12:45:01 pm
That's a great point, and I often forget it when I start ranting. I should put a Post-It on my computer or something.

no worries - I just realized it myself a few weeks ago
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 03:47:35 pm
Well, as someone who follows the rules I have no issues with the rules being enforced.

I just donít feel that Iím the one who needs to be doing the enforcing, and itís a little silly when people start making up imaginary new rules that arenít in the TOS and trying to force people to adhere to them.

And at the end of the day, I donít think it really benefits me when people do exactly that, as I was trying to point out. People have talked about how scammers were stealing page reads and visibility, and trying to point out that theyíd earn more if those people were stopped. I disagree with the sentiment, but all I can really do is share my thoughts and keep on keeping on :).

If you're referring to stuffing, even labeled as compilations or whatever the scammers are calling them, then they are against the TOS. Amazon's lawsuit proves that point.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 19, 2018, 03:54:15 pm
If you're referring to stuffing, even labeled as compilations or whatever the scammers are calling them, then they are against the TOS. Amazon's lawsuit proves that point.

In theory these collections should be violating Amazon's duplicate content rule. However we keep getting mixed responses from KDP about whether or not they're allowed under the new rules.  One day someone gets a compliance email about a clearly marked boxed set. The next, we hear about stuffers having one-on-one reps helping them re-title their stuffed material collections. If Amazon considers this acceptable it's something people should continue to apply pressure on. The collections and compilations being published by scammers are barely marked bundles of duplicate content. They're nothing but slightly re-titled books stuffed with the same revolving bonus content across volumes. I'm holding out hope KDP sees the problem with this quickly and slams the loophole shut. I just wouldn't bet on it one way or another.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 04:00:09 pm
The only hope is that they are building a case behind the scenes, or they're implementing tools to prevent them from returning to the system once they bring the hammer down. Maybe either of those scenarios are a stretch, but I choose to believe Amazon has to know this is a huge problem and has to be taking steps to rectify it. Unfortunately, they've had a list of scammers for 9 months and only one of them has been given the axe.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 19, 2018, 04:08:45 pm
The collections and compilations being published by scammers are barely marked bundles of duplicate content. They're nothing but slightly re-titled books stuffed with the same revolving bonus content across volumes.

Exactly. From David Gaughran's blog, here's an illustration of how this is done. Look at all of the duplicate content. As merely one example, [a particular book] is used as stuffing for at least ten books.



Edited to delete image. We generally don't name names here, whether of books or authors. What you could say is that people can visit David's blog to see a table illustrating how particular stories appear in multiple books. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 19, 2018, 04:49:08 pm
In theory these collections should be violating Amazon's duplicate content rule. However we keep getting mixed responses from KDP about whether or not they're allowed under the new rules.  One day someone gets a compliance email about a clearly marked boxed set. The next, we hear about stuffers having one-on-one reps helping them re-title their stuffed material collections. If Amazon considers this acceptable it's something people should continue to apply pressure on. The collections and compilations being published by scammers are barely marked bundles of duplicate content. They're nothing but slightly re-titled books stuffed with the same revolving bonus content across volumes. I'm holding out hope KDP sees the problem with this quickly and slams the loophole shut. I just wouldn't bet on it one way or another.

I actually think Amazon was pretty clear on the duplicate content rule. It was that you couldn't ever have the exact same content, reordered. So you couldn't have Bundle A, B, C then Bundle A, C, B, but you could have Bundle A, B, C then Bundle A, B, D, and so on.

They've now clarified the rules about bonus content. That still leaves room for a lot of collections of books, so long as they aren't the exact same content.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: sela on June 19, 2018, 05:23:33 pm
Well, as someone who follows the rules I have no issues with the rules being enforced.

I just donít feel that Iím the one who needs to be doing the enforcing...


So let me try this attitude in RL:

- I live in a bad part of the town where there are few police patrols.

- I see a stranger enter my neighbour's house. I know my neighbour is out of town.

- I see the stranger leaving with TVs, VCRs, microwaves and other possessions.

- I don't bother to call the police because I don't break, enter and steal. Besides, I don't feel like I'm the one who has to enforce the "don't break/enter and steal" laws.

Nope. That rationale doesn't work for me.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 19, 2018, 05:37:39 pm
This morning, I checked and I indeed have 13 Pages read for that book.

I'm very happy to have it confirmed.

I'm the other half of Delta's experiment. It was my first day of a trial KU account--I got it for the experiment.
The experiment didn't address page flip. I'm available for that experiment, also.

Yes please, but you cant do it on the same book.


I've got a book of short stories, and also children books that are obviously short. I haven't had any reads for yonks, so if you'd like to try mine I'd be grateful. They are in my signature.


Here you go. Check with Jan for which book to read. If you could read one all in page flip, with the book closed at the end. And just to double check, another one in page flip, with the book closed at the beginning.  My as well dot the i's and cross the t's.


If a 3rd book is available, try reading half of it in page flip, and closing the book. Leave it for 2 days, or after Jan says the pages showed up, and read the rest. Be interesting to see what pages do show up, and when.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 05:47:49 pm
If you're referring to stuffing, even labeled as compilations or whatever the scammers are calling them, then they are against the TOS. Amazon's lawsuit proves that point.

No it doesnít.

It wasnít a lawsuit, and the arbitration wasnít about book stuffing or compilations.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 05:54:10 pm
No it doesnít.

It wasnít a lawsuit, and the arbitration wasnít about book stuffing or compilations.

We're playing semantics now. Don't you have a bestseller to write? For not being bothered with the ordeal, you're very involved. And the ARBITRATION was about book stuffing when Amazon VERY clearly stated that book stuffing was against the TOS.

That's not up for debate. It's a fact. To try and continue to dance around the issue masks your point with questionable intentions.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 05:54:17 pm
So let me try this attitude in RL:

- I live in a bad part of the town where there are few police patrols.

- I see a stranger enter my neighbour's house. I know my neighbour is out of town.

- I see the stranger leaving with TVs, VCRs, microwaves and other possessions.

- I don't bother to call the police because I don't break, enter and steal. Besides, I don't feel like I'm the one who has to enforce the "don't break/enter and steal" laws.

Nope. That rationale doesn't work for me.

Thatís not really what happened though.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 05:58:52 pm
We're playing semantics now. Don't you have a bestseller to write? For not being bothered with the ordeal, you're very involved. And the ARBITRATION was about book stuffing when Amazon VERY clearly stated that book stuffing was against the TOS.

That's not up for debate. It's a fact. To try and continue to dance around the issue masks your point with questionable intentions.

I read the information posted about this, and I donít see how anyone who read that could draw the conclusion you have unless they went into it with some clear bias.

That arbitratuon was very obviously attacking someone whoíd done a very specific exploit against amazon (using click incentives) to maximize income and was not an inditement against having bonus content.

Which is why bonus content continued to be allowed until recently, and itís also why compilations still exist happily on the top 100 list.

Read into that whatever you want, but if weíre going to be truthful we should start with being honest and not trying to read the wrong  motivations into a random arbitration.

Nobody, to my knowledge, was banned for bonus content.

But it doesnít matter. Bonus content is gone now. Compilations are specifically allowed. Ask amazon and they will confirm this.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 06:01:59 pm
I read the information posted about this, and I donít see how anyone who read that could draw the conclusion you have unless they went into it with some clear bias.

That arbitratuon was very obviously attacking someone whoíd done a very specific exploit against amazon (using click incentives) to maximize income and was not an inditement against having bonus content.

Which is why bonus content continued to be allowed until recently, and itís also why compilations still exist happily on the top 100 list.

Read into that whatever you want, but if weíre going to be truthful we should start with being honest and not trying to read the wrong  motivations into a random arbitration.

Nobody, to my knowledge, was banned for bonus content.

But it doesnít matter. Bonus content is gone now. Compilations are specifically allowed. Ask amazon and they will confirm this.

For your sake, I hope you're right. For everyone else, we will see in the next few weeks. You hve a wildly different view of what a 'compilation' is. And having the same 'book' in ten different books violates the TOS.

I'm going to write now ;)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 06:09:12 pm
Anyway, no use arguing over old news. Bonus content is dead, welcome to the new age :).

I got involved because I dislike author on author attacks. I think theyíre crab mentality and run counterproductive to our efforts to succeed. I think things can often turn into an echo chamber, and a dissenting view isnít always a wrong view. I wish this whole situation hadnít ended the way it did. My interests arenít just self motivated. I want all of us to operate in as unrestricted a publishing environment as we can. Building extra walls around us does authors no favors. :)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 06:09:53 pm
But first...

(http://i64.tinypic.com/35kshuf.jpg)

No bias. Amazon's words.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 06:11:21 pm

I got involved because I dislike author on author attacks.

Most of them aren't authors.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 06:11:56 pm
For your sake, I hope you're right. For everyone else, we will see in the next few weeks. You hve a wildly different view of what a 'compilation' is. And having the same 'book' in ten different books violates the TOS.

I'm going to write now ;)

I have no compilations and not a single bonus book, so I have literally nothing to worry about. Donít worry about ďmy sakeĒ, worry about all of our ďsakeĒ.

Keep closing the walls and soon youíll find weíre all in a tiny uncomfortable box.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 06:13:02 pm
Most of them aren't authors.

I disagree with this sentiment.

You can keep attacking them like that, but I know for a fact that many of these people have and continue to write their own books. Buying a few ghostwritten titles along the way doesn’t make you “not an author”.

:)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 06:17:39 pm
Quote
I disagree with this sentiment..

You can keep attacking them like that, but I know for a fact that many of these people have and continue to write their own books. Buying a few ghostwritten titles along the way doesn�t make you, as DG called me earlier today, �subhuman�.

There is nothing wrong with ghostwriting. Not what the conversation is about. But the BIG guys, the ones we are actually talking about, don't write their own books. Ever. Now, I don't know who 'ME' is, but that's not my concern.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Usedtoposthere on June 19, 2018, 06:35:00 pm
I disagree with this sentiment.

You can keep attacking them like that, but I know for a fact that many of these people have and continue to write their own books. Buying a few ghostwritten titles along the way doesnít make you ďnot an authorĒ.

:)
Yeah, nah. They (and you, from what I know) are marketers. It's a job. It's just not the same job.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 07:03:53 pm
Yeah, nah. They (and you, from what I know) are marketers. It's a job. It's just not the same job.

I’m good at marketing. I’m talented at selling books.

But I’m also an author. I’ve personally written and published an absolutely staggering amount of novels. I banged out 8000 words today. I haven’t had a break in my daily writing streak for six hundred fourteen work days (I only work 5 days a week).

Maybe there’s a marketing nut out there who doesn’t write, but I haven’t met them. Some of them dabble in ghostwriters (as I did for a few years), but they usually do that to supplement their writing.

And hell, even ghostwritten books require authorship. I typically rewrite more than 1/5th of a ghostwritten title to fix it and bring it up to quality that matches the catalog I’m publishing on.

Those ten thousand words don’t write themselves :).

Anyway, what can I say. You can vilify them all you want, but the “marketers” I’ve met are also fantastic authors (and you have to be pretty good to bang out books as frequently and consistently as they do). Go read their books and you’ll see the evidence. They aren’t building followings on trash.

Tooting my own horn, but I love my books, and judging from their success, people seem to love them too.

Some authors aren’t starving artists, and that’s ok.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 07:16:27 pm
Quality is always subjective, but I've read a few of these books written by scammers and to say they are great books is not something most would agree with. That's not coming from a place of disliking romance, either. Obviously. They are littered with grammatical and consistency errors, have rushed endings, stories that don't make sense, and random tropes thrown together to hit all the right marketing spots.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 19, 2018, 07:30:17 pm
Yeah, nah. They (and you, from what I know) are marketers. It's a job. It's just not the same job.

I'd say they're publishers, which is a completely fine job, but a different job. Authors and publishers have different concerns and goals, so we won't always have much to talk about or many areas of agreement.

Still, publishers or authors who mess up the system for everyone should be called out. Clear, fair rules are good for everyone who plays by the rules. Though we'll never agree on what fair is.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 19, 2018, 08:59:34 pm
They are publishers, and the group that often gets discussed so much for mass stuffing and shady marketing practices is no bigger than a couple dozen people. Most of them have their origin in the underbelly of the internet marketing world, which has never had the most sterling reputation. It shows in their strategies, their short-sighted marketing and their (lack) of quality control with books. The fact that their names keep showing up in every sketchy looking Kindle money making master course exposes who they are and where they came from. Three of the heaviest most underhanded stuffers in Top 100 romance gave glowing testimonials on the sales page for the Karla Marie Self-Pub course being discussed today. Make no mistake, this is a blackhat internet marketer invasion. It's poisoning the well for legitimate indie authors and publishers alike.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 19, 2018, 09:23:54 pm
Okay. Once and for all. There. Was. No. Lawsuit.

Amazon filed to verify an award from Arbitration. The verification of said award is not based on any of the claims Amazon made during the arbitration. They could have put whatever they wanted in that filing, as long as it was part of the award settlement. If they hadn't made that filing, the award wouldn't have been valid.

There was no law suit. Nothing is public record except for that filing, which isn't a law suit. It's no different than going to the DMV and transferring your title from one state to another, except that the judge is looking at the arbiter and not any other parties. The judge is looking for any potential corruptness on the arbiter's part.

Amazon could have attached a grocery list to that filing, they could have put in the contents to the Rosetta stone.

Please, stop the myth that Amazon filed a lawsuit. They didn't and they likely never will. A lawsuit means lots of depositions and that all of those depositions will be public record. It is in Amazon's best interest to not be involved in a lawsuit. Ever.

Actually, it's not semantics. Arbitration and Law suits are very different animals and even a first year law student will say as much.

Also, in the claim filed, it didn't say that several bonus books went against the TOS, it said posting the same content under different titles went against the TOS.

I have always been against bonus content, mostly because it trained readers to expect more for less and undervalued the worth of a book in general (those were the objective reasons, I also had personal reasons and my feeling is that they were skeevy in the way the guy with the 70s porn mustache driving the van with the bed in the back is skeevy). However, that arbitration award filing did not say bonus content was against the TOS. Additionally, the filing, as stated above, could have included anything Amazon wanted it to. All the judge did was sign off that it was a fair arbitration, not that any of the claims made by either party had any standing.

Not calling anyone out specifically, but just referenced this post because it was the most recent. Can we please not use the terms scammer and stuffer as though they are the same. They aren't. Yes, there might be some overlap, but some of the people who included a large amount of bonus content are not scammers. In a Venn diagram they are two separate circles with a portion meeting in the middle. They are not in the same circle.

They're the same. Deal with it. Or don't. Maybe you're a "legitimate author who stuffs." I'd call that person a scammer. Most people would. Some of you are hellbent on diluting this, and the question is, why?  It's certainly interesting that Bob was screaming from the rooftops about scammers and stuffers in October. And now they've changed their tune. Did they take an online course? That's certainly a possibility.

And as Phoenix said above; we're talking about a VERY specific set of people here. People we're not allowed to name but maybe that would help clear things up. Because maybe you think this is about something more widespread than it is. It's not.

These people have a history in other industries and schemes. They didn't drop their black hat strategies to become writers because it's something they loved. They brought their unethical practices from other businesses and incorporated them into the Kindle platform.

It is of my opinion that no true artist would defend what these people are doing. Especially because of the irreparable damage they are doing to indie publishing and legitimate authors.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 19, 2018, 10:14:23 pm
They're the same. Deal with it. Or don't. Maybe you're a "legitimate author who stuffs." I'd call that person a scammer. Most people would. Some of you are hellbent on diluting this, and the question is, why?  It's certainly interesting that Bob was screaming from the rooftops about scammers and stuffers in October. And now they've changed their tune. Did they take an online course? That's certainly a possibility.

And as Phoenix said above; we're talking about a VERY specific set of people here. People we're not allowed to name but maybe that would help clear things up. Because maybe you think this is about something more widespread than it is. It's not.

These people have a history in other industries and schemes. They didn't drop their black hat strategies to become writers because it's something they loved. They brought their unethical practices from other businesses and incorporated them into the Kindle platform.

It is of my opinion that no true artist would defend what these people are doing. Especially because of the irreparable damage they are doing to indie publishing and legitimate authors.

My position hasn’t changed, and I certainly wasn’t “screaming from the rooftops”.

I was very clear, months ago, that I felt bonus books were fine and that I’d had numerous conversations with amazon where they indicated they were fine. I didn’t think attacking authors back then was a good thing. Pointing out that I believe (backed by evidence) that those authors weren’t breaking rules isn’t the same as “defending” them.

When people finally got amazon to release the 10% rule, I said that was fine. It’s not an unreasonable rule and it’s easy enough to play by that rule. I can “not care” that people used bonus books, while still feeling that a 10% bonus rule is fair and probably a good thing overall. I’m pragmatic.

And I can agree with the new rule while not wanting people to push amazon to go further, because it tends to lead to a more restrictive environment for all of us without any tangible benefit. Sure, I’ll still thrive if amazon gets rid of compilations or something, but given the fact that it won’t likely effect my visibility or page income, why should I wish harm on the authors it would effect?

That’s not a changed opinion, that’s just adaptation to the new rule. It doesn’t mean I suddenly thought people who used bonus books six months ago were evil scammers. I’m not really certain what you’re trying to accuse me of.

Anyway, I am no true artist. I am an author who puts out quality work and treats  my writing (and publishing) as a business venture. I do what’s best for my business, and encouraging authors to play amazon mall cop is not conducive to my efforts to sell books.

That opinion didn’t come from a “course”. It came from my practical and well-meaning nature. I’d rather build than try to tear down.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 20, 2018, 02:24:05 am


Here you go. Check with Jan for which book to read. If you could read one all in page flip, with the book closed at the end. And just to double check, another one in page flip, with the book closed at the beginning.  My as well dot the i's and cross the t's.


If a 3rd book is available, try reading half of it in page flip, and closing the book. Leave it for 2 days, or after Jan says the pages showed up, and read the rest. Be interesting to see what pages do show up, and when.


I don't know if anyone tried to read any of my books but here is what I'm seeing today 20th.
Something to Read on the Plane went up 458,999 in rank. There is no sale, so it must have been borrowed. I'm seeing 4 page reads for yesterday. (this could be entirely unconnected to any experiment, but they are the only page reads I've had for the entire month.)

Leon/eggs went up 171
Leon/mouse went up 300
Bheki went up 354
Bheki in Chinese went up 659
The Race went up 95.

These rises in rank really mean nothing as they could be due to all sorts of reasons and would be higher if the book had been borrowed.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 20, 2018, 02:33:09 am
My position hasnít changed, and I certainly wasnít ďscreaming from the rooftopsĒ.

I was very clear, months ago, that I felt bonus books were fine and that Iíd had numerous conversations with amazon where they indicated they were fine. I didnít think attacking authors back then was a good thing. Pointing out that I believe (backed by evidence) that those authors werenít breaking rules isnít the same as ďdefendingĒ them.

When people finally got amazon to release the 10% rule, I said that was fine. Itís not an unreasonable rule and itís easy enough to play by that rule. I can ďnot careĒ that people used bonus books, while still feeling that a 10% bonus rule is fair and probably a good thing overall. Iím pragmatic.

And I can agree with the new rule while not wanting people to push amazon to go further, because it tends to lead to a more restrictive environment for all of us without any tangible benefit. Sure, Iíll still thrive if amazon gets rid of compilations or something, but given the fact that it wonít likely effect my visibility or page income, why should I wish harm on the authors it would effect?

Thatís not a changed opinion, thatís just adaptation to the new rule. It doesnít mean I suddenly thought people who used bonus books six months ago were evil scammers. Iím not really certain what youíre trying to accuse me of.

Anyway, I am no true artist. I am an author who puts out quality work and treats  my writing (and publishing) as a business venture. I do whatís best for my business, and encouraging authors to play amazon mall cop is not conducive to my efforts to sell books.

That opinion didnít come from a ďcourseĒ. It came from my practical and well-meaning nature. Iíd rather build than try to tear down.

So, if you had a pension pot to invest then you'd rather nobody blew the whistle on a pyramid scheme before you put your money into it? You'd be quite happy to be the last one in where the good money had all been shared out by the guys at the top?

That seems like a strange way to do business.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: DonovanJeremiah on June 20, 2018, 04:15:40 am
Some of you are hellbent on diluting this, and the question is, why? 

Seems to me the people diluting the issues are the ones not using precise language to explain what they mean. Instead, they depend on broad brushstrokes to define very specific issues and paint everyone who appears to be standing close with the same accusations.

It makes it very hard to have any meaningful discourse when people are intent on muddying the waters in their righteous indignation, and accusing anyone who does business differently than them as being a scammer, as I have seen on twitter.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 20, 2018, 05:39:42 am
I don't know if anyone tried to read any of my books but here is what I'm seeing today 20th.
Something to Read on the Plane went up 458,999 in rank. There is no sale, so it must have been borrowed. I'm seeing 4 page reads for yesterday. (this could be entirely unconnected to any experiment, but they are the only page reads I've had for the entire month.)

Leon/eggs went up 171
Leon/mouse went up 300
Bheki went up 354
Bheki in Chinese went up 659
The Race went up 95.

These rises in rank really mean nothing as they could be due to all sorts of reasons and would be higher if the book had been borrowed.

Interesting. I borrowed the plane book yesterday and read the front matter in regular fashion, about four pages as I recall. Then I switched to page flip mode and read (yes really read--cute stories btw) up to page 25. Unless you get credited with another 20 pages or so in the next few days, I'd say the page flip issue hasn't been fixed after all.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 20, 2018, 05:50:28 am
So, if you had a pension pot to invest then you'd rather nobody blew the whistle on a pyramid scheme before you put your money into it? You'd be quite happy to be the last one in where the good money had all been shared out by the guys at the top?

That seems like a strange way to do business.



Thatís ridiculous and you know it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 20, 2018, 06:01:21 am
Interesting. I borrowed the plane book yesterday and read the front matter in regular fashion, about four pages as I recall. Then I switched to page flip mode and read (yes really read--cute stories btw) up to page 25. Unless you get credited with another 20 pages or so in the next few days, I'd say the page flip issue hasn't been fixed after all.

Thanks so much. It's still showing only 4 pages. If the 4 pages showed up so quickly, then so should the other 25. I'll keep checking (always do anyway). I've had my suspicions that something was amiss as I used to have regular (but small) page reads and then they just seemed to dry up. If Amazon are genuine in wanting us to let them know about these sort of problems, then I shall begin what could become a lengthy list.  >:(

What device are you using?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 20, 2018, 06:25:10 am
I have a Kindle Fire HD. About a year old now.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Anarchist on June 20, 2018, 06:34:24 am
That's ridiculous and you know it.

I'm not sure she does.

Everyone is scrambling to come up with quaint analogies that validate their positions, and nearly all of them are total misfires.

Fun to watch though. :)

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 20, 2018, 06:37:09 am
Locking this thread temporarily: Betsy and Becca are both OOC until tomorrow at the earliest, and I have some Real Life things to do this morning. To avoid an explosion while the bomb squad is busy elsewhere, I'll leave this locked until later today when I have time to keep an eye on things.



apologies for not re-opening sooner; real life took a bit longer than expected. PLEASE NOTE: we will monitor this thread and if there's trouble people *will* be banned from the thread -- at the least. Let's keep it civil, eh. This is not a schoolyard and y'all aren't 10 any more.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on June 21, 2018, 05:46:23 am
I don't consent
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 21, 2018, 05:59:40 am
I'm telling!  :P

There's a 'report' button right . . . . . . . . . . . . . down . . . . . . . . . . . . . there . . . . . . . . . . . . . vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

:D
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on June 21, 2018, 06:01:20 am
I don't consent
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ann in Arlington on June 21, 2018, 06:17:06 am
I stand corrected: apparently some of you ARE 10. ::)


Still . . . . try to behave like young ladies and gentlemen, eh?

:)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 21, 2018, 06:34:54 am
I have a Kindle Fire HD. About a year old now.

I've PMed you about another 11 page reads yesterday. But no sign of the 25 you read in page flip.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on June 21, 2018, 06:43:22 am
I don't consent
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 75845 on June 21, 2018, 06:59:09 am
I've been updating my websites and came across a very dated article I wrote on the Scribd booting out of romance novels. At the time the common consensus (not shared by me) was that Scribd did not have a viable business model. There would be no point in book stuffing when a reader had to read 30% of the novel before a publisher gets paid However in the light of how KU was gamed maybe it was not voracious romance readers that caused problems for Scribd, but an earlier form of marketers targeting an easy pay day. At that stage all books submitted to Scribd appeared in their catalogue unlike the curated version that exists today.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 10:16:45 am

That's the problem with rhetoric and ad hominem attacks. Eventually you'll target someone who has shown no evidence of any of the behavior you're describing and you will lose all credibility.

Right. Except that's not going to happen. Unlike some in the GetLoud movement, I'm not targeting anyone. I'm not searching the depths of the Kindle Store for scammers because I don't need to. We all know who they are. We're just not allowed naming them here. And the only ones I care about are the ones I know, you know, and everyone in the romance community knows.

Quote
No we are not. Anyone who included any amount of bonus content, from a novella or short story to 10 novels has been tarred and feathered as a scammer. Again, the logical fallacies abound.

Not here. On Twitter, some people have been falsely accused. I've spoken up about that. But to include the innocent with someone who stuffs 10 books at the back of a book is asinine. Those people are scammers. You can call them smart. Whatever. They're still gaming the system.

Quote
These people? That's a pejorative phrase and is usually code for someone I think to be less than me. You are also making an assumption about a lot of authors without actually knowing who some of them are. I'm not saying that there aren't people who are gaming the system, they absolutely are. And who says anyone has to love writing? Is that a requisite to publishing? I don't see it anywhere in any retailer's TOS. Love or Art or Craft is not included anywhere. It's a business. I don't agree with the all of the tactics of everyone. But. It's. A. Business.

Yes, the people I was referring to are absolutely less than. The people I was ACTUALLY talking about; the one who threatened another author's life, the one who appropriated sexual stories of assault for his own financial gain, the one who iinformed his readers that every author on the planet is jealous of them because of how amazing they are. It's systematic and I'm taking about EIGHT people in particular. Eight people a part of a group who got together and decided to destroy the Kindle market for their own gain. Eight people. Eight black hat marketers who do not deserve your respect or mine. Or anyone's. Eight people who took a course that was labeled with content such as "how to steal sales and readers from legitimate authors." Who were given access to 50,000 emails for a few (illegal).

I've made it clear that my ire is directed at a very small subset of people. You continue to conflate that issue to paint a broad brush.

Quote
Do you think trad publishers only put out books that are lovingly written by an author and nurtured by a doting editor? No. That'd be silly. So why is it anathema for independent authors to treat publishing as a business?

Never even came close to saying that. Of course, it's a business. It should be treated like a business.

Quote
Wait, so now a legitimate author is a true artist? Pretty sure Patterson might take offense to that. So would the ghostwriters writing under the pen Carolyn Keene. If you want to treat this as art, go ahead, you do that. But do not disparage others who choose to take a more practical approach and run their business like a business.

Yes, someone who writes their own books is a true artist. Someone who ONLY uses ghostwriters is not. How is that up for debate? Running a business isn't art.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 101569 on June 21, 2018, 10:40:45 am
What I see is a lot of people knocking down any idea instead of offering up a better one. It's very easy to say another's idea stinks. It's much harder to actually come up with a good idea.

Here's my viewpoint... If Amazon doesn't do something to get rid of the junk in KU and blocking the best seller list, readers will start leaving Amazon for other platforms. Maybe not today maybe not tomorrow but eventually. You can have a platform that isn't user friendly for patrons especially in this day and age. Shoppers want to be able to look, click and buy in a very short time. If it takes a while to find a book that's worth buying or isn't well marketed garbage, they are going to get irritated. Point blank.

Several people say build other authors up leave a free market. How do you suggest making the market better? It seems like your only point is to squash any idea that people come up with and not make for a better community.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 10:53:34 am
I'm bowing out.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 21, 2018, 01:24:49 pm
Amazon's amazing ability to calculate exactly how many pages are read in my catalog still seems to end up creating quite a few oddball 1-page-read situations.

Which wouldn't be a big deal if it was an old book (maybe they opened and closed it), but it's pretty weird when it happens on a newer release in the middle of a decent-sales-cycle. Meanwhile, the page-flip situation (where pages read in page-flip don't count toward KENPC) is still happening (which I suspect results in many of these 1-page-reads).

Long and the short of it? I have little faith in Amazon's ability to properly calculate my pagereads.

Anyway, I do know this: Come July 15th, the KENPC rate is going to be similar to what it was this month, because Amazon determines the rate and juices the pot accordingly. People who are good at selling books will still be good at selling books (with or without bonus content), and people who are bad at selling books will still be bad at selling books. Modifying the bonus-content rule or shouting at dudes publishing as women or people doing compilations or people using ghostwriters or whatever else this crazy situation has led to won't change that.

If you need me, I'll be busy writing/editing/publishing my next bestseller while other people are out scouring the store trying to play Amazon Mall-Cop.

just caught up with the thread, and this writer gets it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 21, 2018, 02:58:12 pm
Quote from: bobfrost on June 18, 2018, 07:49:15 PM
Anyway, I do know this: Come July 15th, the KENPC rate is going to be similar to what it was this month, because Amazon determines the rate and juices the pot accordingly. People who are good at selling books will still be good at selling books (with or without bonus content), and people who are bad at selling books will still be bad at selling books. Modifying the bonus-content rule or shouting at dudes publishing as women or people doing compilations or people using ghostwriters or whatever else this crazy situation has led to won't change that.

If you need me, I'll be busy writing/editing/publishing my next bestseller while other people are out scouring the store trying to play Amazon Mall-Cop.


just caught up with the thread, and this writer gets it.

No, he doesn't. He keeps pounding on one dead horse: that cleaning up the system won't change (in and of itself) the page read rate. That's true, but that's like saying cleaning up the city won't change the average worker's wage.

It's just one piece of the pie. He keeps trying to claim that's the only piece that matters. It's not.

Cleaning up the ecosystem will help in many direct and indirect ways.

One big direct way IMO is the elimination of black-hatters and gray-hatters getting bonuses, which 1) directly incentivizes bad behavior and 2) crowds out legit authors from the chance of getting those bonuses. Frankly, I think bonuses should be done away with, but if they are given out, they should be carefully vetted to only reward those who stick to the law, the TOS, and provide their readers with the best customer experiences. Note that none of that will change the page read rate, but that's moot.

Another big direct benefit will be a reduction in false positives and authors suffering false accusations.

One indirect way cleaning up the ecosystem with permanent fixes will help is that Amazon itself will expend less effort on fielding complaints related to that situation, and should have more available to address other issues. Until now we've been in a Prohibition-type situation, where lax enforcement and wink-wink-nudge-nudge acceptance has corrupted the whole system, rendering policing efforts almost irrelevant.

Other indirect benefits include more confidence in Amazon, more consistency in all Amazon-using authors' production and marketing plans, and less stress on everyone. Everything works better when rules are just and fair, and the rules are followed. Both are needed, neither will change the payout directly--but everyone will be happier.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 21, 2018, 03:52:31 pm
I don't know where you're hanging out, but LOTS of people are saying the page rate will go up. It's a very common misconception that getting rid of scammers will mean more money for other authors.

It will, but not in the rate, only in the bonuses, and possibly in general because improving the ecosystem will please buyers more and they will buy/borrow/read more Kindle books.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 21, 2018, 04:56:28 pm
The 3PO (per-page-payout) is important. It's what all the angst and vitriol and mud-slinging over the past several months has been about. Now, some people act as if it's not important.  It's an after thought a non sequitor.

But it is important.

Are we to believe all the fighting over the past several months was for a make Amazon beautiful again campaign? A puritan belief in the sanctity of the ebook?

It wasn't.

It was about money, pure and simple.

"They stealing my money!!!"

That's what it was about.

But here's the funny thing--we were all wrong. And the proof was right before our eyes and we talked about it, and glossed over it, and batted it back and forth.

But we never understood it.

The truth is--scammers never stole anything from legitimate authors.

The truth is there is no pot.

The truth is there is no formula.

Scammers never stole anything from legitimate authors. They stole it from Amazon.

The reason the 3PO will not change is because Amazon determines the payout. You get paid what Amazon wants to pay you. Period.

Scammers click farm 10 million page reads--Amazon kicks in extra money to get the 3PO they want.

Amazon removes 10 million illegitimate page reads--Amazon sets the 3PO they want.

Click farming doesn't matter.

Botting doesn't matter.

Book stuffing doesn't matter.

Collections and bundles and anthologies don't matter.

There is no spoon.

Amazon sets the 3PO they want you to get. You never lost anything to scammers because despite all our beliefs, KU is NOT a zero sum game.

The payout is what Amazon makes it.

So go out #MAGA (Make Amazon Great Again) if you want to. You won't get a penny more.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 21, 2018, 05:03:22 pm
Quote from: bobfrost on June 18, 2018, 07:49:15 PM
Anyway, I do know this: Come July 15th, the KENPC rate is going to be similar to what it was this month, because Amazon determines the rate and juices the pot accordingly. People who are good at selling books will still be good at selling books (with or without bonus content), and people who are bad at selling books will still be bad at selling books. Modifying the bonus-content rule or shouting at dudes publishing as women or people doing compilations or people using ghostwriters or whatever else this crazy situation has led to won't change that.

If you need me, I'll be busy writing/editing/publishing my next bestseller while other people are out scouring the store trying to play Amazon Mall-Cop.


No, he doesn't. He keeps pounding on one dead horse: that cleaning up the system won't change (in and of itself) the page read rate. That's true, but that's like saying cleaning up the city won't change the average worker's wage.

It's just one piece of the pie. He keeps trying to claim that's the only piece that matters. It's not.

Cleaning up the ecosystem will help in many direct and indirect ways.

One big direct way IMO is the elimination of black-hatters and gray-hatters getting bonuses, which 1) directly incentivizes bad behavior and 2) crowds out legit authors from the chance of getting those bonuses. Frankly, I think bonuses should be done away with, but if they are given out, they should be carefully vetted to only reward those who stick to the law, the TOS, and provide their readers with the best customer experiences. Note that none of that will change the page read rate, but that's moot.

Another big direct benefit will be a reduction in false positives and authors suffering false accusations.

One indirect way cleaning up the ecosystem with permanent fixes will help is that Amazon itself will expend less effort on fielding complaints related to that situation, and should have more available to address other issues. Until now we've been in a Prohibition-type situation, where lax enforcement and wink-wink-nudge-nudge acceptance has corrupted the whole system, rendering policing efforts almost irrelevant.

Other indirect benefits include more confidence in Amazon, more consistency in all Amazon-using authors' production and marketing plans, and less stress on everyone. Everything works better when rules are just and fair, and the rules are followed. Both are needed, neither will change the payout directly--but everyone will be happier.

Couple of things. First, whenever someone on here starts arguing about what's "fair," it's usually not somebody who's the strongest at business or being an entrepreneur. I don't mean that as offense, but in general I see a lot of author's who haven't written dozens and dozens of books (and are making a living) complaining about it.

Second, if the page rate doesn't go up drastically in July, you going to say "oops, maybe I was wrong?" I don't think so. You mentioned there are a lot of different pieces of the pie, and that's true. But everyone on here claiming that kicking Chance off (and comparing him to bad actors,) was a great victory or something is kidding themselves. When Chance was called on the diamond program, he stopped it. But the mob went after him after the 10% rule changed that day and so he's gone for the moment. But here's what people are missing. Chance, and many other author's aren't successful because of the page stuffing. I'm sure it pushed his bottom line up an amount, but that wasn't the main reason. They were successful because they were better marketers and wrote books that their readers really wanted to read. So when he comes back with books that are stand alone and are 85K each, under a different name, with only 10% bonus content, is everyone who was in that mob (and those on twitter that doxxed innocent authors and never apologized about it,) going to say, congrats now it's fair that you're still at the top of the list? I doubt it.

Cleaning up the bots and scam stuff is a good thing, I support it. If you're copying the same ten pages for a thousand pages and putting up a hundred version of that book with a hundred bots borrowing it over and over, yes you should be reported and have your stuff shut down. But the amount that Chance and other author's who were big for legitimate reasons, actually effecting and hurting author's who aren't writing to market (or writing to market poorly) from making more money, when all is said and done... I doubt it's going to make a big difference. The people who spend so much time hunting these people down would do better for their own business by focusing on their work. Which again, was why I quoted the other poster.
Winner's worry about their own game, they don't worry so much about what others are doing. Unless they are studying other winners to see how they're doing that, and adding it to their game.

Last note on the fair. I mean that exclusively about business stuff. If we're talking healthcare or tax rate or any of that junk it's totally not fair, and I agree it needs to be changed. But that's another conversation.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 21, 2018, 05:12:50 pm
Why does everyone insist they know how the page rate is calculated? Unless you have insight I'm not aware of, you have no idea how Amazon calculates the rate. Maybe they roll a d20 to decide it. Maybe they carefully calculate what will do the most psychological damage to authors while keeping them in the program. Maybe the KDP Select team begs their bosses for a bit more money every month to juice the pot and make their program successful.

Any of them are possible.

IMO, the latter is the most likely. But I don't know if that's the case. It may be. It may not.

You don't know if the rate will go up. You don't know how it's calculated. Stop stating these things like they are facts.

(General you for all you's in this message).

Also, even if scammers are "only" stealing from Amazon, they're still stealing. How is stopping them a bad thing?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 21, 2018, 05:32:37 pm
The 3PO (per-page-payout) is important. It's what all the angst and vitriol and mud-slinging over the past several months has been about. Now, some people act as if it's not important.  It's an after thought a non sequitor.

But it is important.

Are we to believe all the fighting over the past several months was for a make Amazon beautiful again campaign? A puritan belief in the sanctity of the ebook?

It wasn't.

It was about money, pure and simple.

"They stealing my money!!!"

That's what it was about.

But here's the funny thing--we were all wrong. And the proof was right before our eyes and we talked about it, and glossed over it, and batted it back and forth.

But we never understood it.

The truth is--scammers never stole anything from legitimate authors.

The truth is there is no pot.

The truth is there is no formula.

Scammers never stole anything from legitimate authors. They stole it from Amazon.

The reason the 3PO will not change is because Amazon determines the payout. You get paid what Amazon wants to pay you. Period.

Scammers click farm 10 million page reads--Amazon kicks in extra money to get the 3PO they want.

Amazon removes 10 million illegitimate page reads--Amazon sets the 3PO they want.

Click farming doesn't matter.

Botting doesn't matter.

Book stuffing doesn't matter.

Collections and bundles and anthologies don't matter.

There is no spoon.

Amazon sets the 3PO they want you to get. You never lost anything to scammers because despite all our beliefs, KU is NOT a zero sum game.

The payout is what Amazon makes it.

So go out #MAGA (Make Amazon Great Again) if you want to. You won't get a penny more.

What about when Dave Koziel had the link scam going and we had the lowest payout we'd ever seen and he and his buddies were kicked out of the store and we had the huge recovery a month later? I'm not saying we're going to see a big bounce back, but pretending scammers haven't effected the payout on more than one occasion is false. There have been several instances of the pot going extremely low, Amazon swatting scammers and it bouncing back a bit. So, do I think we're going to see some huge number? Absolutely not. Do I think cleaning up the store is important for all over us over the long haul? Pretty much.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 21, 2018, 05:35:28 pm
Why does everyone insist they know how the page rate is calculated? Unless you have insight I'm not aware of, you have no idea how Amazon calculates the rate. Maybe they roll a d20 to decide it. Maybe they carefully calculate what will do the most psychological damage to authors while keeping them in the program. Maybe the KDP Select team begs their bosses for a bit more money every month to juice the pot and make their program successful.

Any of them are possible.


Seriously? Is that wahat you believe?

Quote
You don't know if the rate will go up. You don't know how it's calculated. Stop stating these things like they are facts.

How do people figure out the 3PO on the 15th?

Somehow they do, even though Amazon doesn't tell them.

I don't know.

Maybe it's not based on fact? Maybe they pull it out of Smurf poop.

So, can anyone tell me how you guys figure out the monthly page rate?
.
Quote
Also, even if scammers are "only" stealing from Amazon, they're still stealing. How is stopping them a bad thing?

It's not.

But you don't need to worry about bonus content.

You don't need to worry about box sets.

You don't need to worry about collections.

You don't need to worry about someone stealing your money.

You don't need to worry about getting paid unfairly.

You don't need the angst, the anger, the bitterness, the BS.

Take a deep breath

[INHALE]

Let all the worry go.

[EXHALE]

AHHHHHHHHHHH....

Now, don't you feel better?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 21, 2018, 05:37:23 pm

So, can anyone tell me how you guys figure out the monthly page rate?
.
You go through the report and find a line with one page listed, or a round number like 100 to divide.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 21, 2018, 05:39:39 pm
What about when Dave Koziel had the link scam going and we had the lowest payout we'd ever seen and he and his buddies were kicked out of the store and we had the huge recovery a month later? I'm not saying we're going to see a big bounce back, but pretending scammers haven't effected the payout on more than one occasion is false. There have been several instances of the pot going extremely low, Amazon swatting scammers and it bouncing back a bit. So, do I think we're going to see some huge number? Absolutely not. Do I think cleaning up the store is important for all over us over the long haul? Pretty much.

The page rate dropped because Amazon said:

"F' that! We ain't worrying about that bull**** this month."
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 21, 2018, 05:42:48 pm
The page rate dropped because Amazon said:

"F' that! We ain't worrying about that bull**** this month."
Right. That's exactly how I remember it. Except ... not.
Oh, and it was a downward trend for months and then a huge drop, with Amazon finally stepping in after the huge drop so ... no, it didn't happen how you're saying.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 21, 2018, 05:47:12 pm
Seriously? Is that wahat you believe?

How do people figure out the 3PO on the 15th?

Somehow they do, even though Amazon doesn't tell them.

I don't know.

Maybe it's not based on fact? Maybe they pull it out of Smurf poop.

So, can anyone tell me how you guys figure out the monthly page rate?
.
It's not.

But you don't need to worry about bonus content.

You don't need to worry about box sets.

You don't need to worry about collections.

You don't need to worry about someone stealing your money.

You don't need to worry about getting paid unfairly.

You don't need the angst, the anger, the bitterness, the BS.

Take a deep breath

[INHALE]

Let all the worry go.

[EXHALE]

AHHHHHHHHHHH....

Now, don't you feel better?

The attitude is unnecessary.

I stopped angsting about bonus books many months ago, when I realized that all the angst did was make me feel bad.

But saying pulling bonus books won't make a difference is ridiculous. We've outline a bunch of ways it will make a difference, even if it doesn't increase the rate.

Personally, I believe the KDP team tries to get extra money to add to the pot to bring the rate up, because, like most people, they want to keep their jobs. They want their program to succeed. That seems like the most likely scenario to me. There is a pot, which Amazon announces in advance of every month. They've never taken from the pot. Only added to it.

If pages drop, they might not add to the pot, but they're certainly not going to take away from the pot. If pages drop enough, the rate will go up. That's math.

Will that happen in June? Maybe. IME, pages come in pretty slowly, so we're probably still seeing a ton of bonus book pages. July will be a better judge.

But even if it doesn't happen, I'm going to be really happy about these new rules, because they're good for people who don't want to use bonus books. The complication loophole is concerning. I do hope Amazon pulls the titles that are not clearly labeled (stuff like "Sexy Billionaire: A Complication: A Billionaire Romance" <- made up title is not clearly labeled. Is it a compilation or a single romance?), but I never know what to expect with Amazon.



Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 21, 2018, 05:48:34 pm
You go through the report and find a line with one page listed, or a round number like 100 to divide.

Thanks. :)

Ok, there is a formula.

But...

Amazon uses it to find out how much to add to the pot.

Here it is:

"THE POT" divided by PAGE READS = 3PO

Amazon says:

"This month we want the 3PO to be .0045."

They use the formula to adjust the pot. They don't remove pages.  But by adding to the pot they can change the 3PO to what they want.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 21, 2018, 05:51:48 pm
Thanks. :)

Ok, there is a formula.

But...

Amazon uses it to find out how much to add to the pot.

Here it is:

"THE POT" divided by PAGE READS = 3PO

Amazon says:

"This month we want the 3PO to be .0045."

They use the formula to adjust the pot. They don't remove pages.  But by adding to the pot they can change the 3PO to what they want.


Maybe you should take your own advice and take a breath. As for me, I'm hitting the pool for some laps and then bed. I have a whole new day of writing and editing tomorrow.



Edited.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: A.R. Williams on June 21, 2018, 05:52:41 pm
The attitude is unnecessary.

I stopped angsting about bonus books many months ago, when I realized that all the angst did was make me feel bad.

But saying pulling bonus books won't make a difference is ridiculous. We've outline a bunch of ways it will make a difference, even if it doesn't increase the rate.

Personally, I believe the KDP team tries to get extra money to add to the pot to bring the rate up, because, like most people, they want to keep their jobs. They want their program to succeed. That seems like the most likely scenario to me. There is a pot, which Amazon announces in advance of every month. They've never taken from the pot. Only added to it.

If pages drop, they might not add to the pot, but they're certainly not going to take away from the pot. If pages drop enough, the rate will go up. That's math.

Will that happen in June? Maybe. IME, pages come in pretty slowly, so we're probably still seeing a ton of bonus book pages. July will be a better judge.

But even if it doesn't happen, I'm going to be really happy about these new rules, because they're good for people who don't want to use bonus books. The complication loophole is concerning. I do hope Amazon pulls the titles that are not clearly labeled (stuff like "Sexy Billionaire: A Complication: A Billionaire Romance" <- made up title is not clearly labeled. Is it a compilation or a single romance?), but I never know what to expect with Amazon.

You're right. The attitude wasn't called for. I apologize.



Edited, and edited quoted post.  PM me if you have any questions.  --Betsy/KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 21, 2018, 06:02:27 pm
Scammers are stealing from other authors every time they receive an All Star bonus. They're also stealing when they make the top 100, denying sales-boosting visibility from someone who's not cheating. And yes, I do believe they do contribute to a low page rate. I honestly don't get why this is so hard to understand.

I'm also noticing a correlation here. Writers in non-romance genres seem more inclined to suggest that this isn't a problem. I guess it's easy to tell others to "chill out" when your own genre has been only minimally impacted. I can't help but wonder how "chill" these other authors would be if it was their genres getting buried under a pile of stuffed 99-cent "books."

(Also, I should add a sincere thanks to all the writers in non-romance genres who do seem to care and to realize that eventually, this will impact us all. Your foresight and kindness is really appreciated. It helps more than you know.)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 21, 2018, 06:19:51 pm
In all fairness, part of the strategy was specifically about pushing people out of the market by increasing add spends and saturating the first few pages with similar books.

It's valid, but it doesn't mean it's good for a sustained market.

Part of the reason for the vitriol is that the same authors that group might have stepped on with their increased bids and overspending on marketing and devaluation of books, are watching at least one of that group fall. The reactions aren't pretty, but they are understandable.

I wouldn't call Chance an above board business man with impeccable ethics. That doesn't make him evil or bad, it just means that people will laugh and point when they see him trip and fall.

That's a very valid point. I did not have any encounters with him, or have his group hurt my sales, so that aspect of the schadenfreude is something I didn't account for.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 21, 2018, 06:28:20 pm
The 3PO (per-page-payout) is important. It's what all the angst and vitriol and mud-slinging over the past several months has been about. Now, some people act as if it's not important.  It's an after thought a non sequitor.

But it is important.


Nobody says it's not important. We're saying it's a settled point. We got it. We all agree. You're beating a dead horse.

What we're saying is, that settled point is not a reason to shrug and not care, not talk about it, and not try to get Amazon to change.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 21, 2018, 06:29:20 pm
Seriously? Is that wahat you believe?

How do people figure out the 3PO on the 15th?

Somehow they do, even though Amazon doesn't tell them.

I don't know.

Maybe it's not based on fact? Maybe they pull it out of Smurf poop.

So, can anyone tell me how you guys figure out the monthly page rate?
.
It's not.

But you don't need to worry about bonus content.

You don't need to worry about box sets.

You don't need to worry about collections.

You don't need to worry about someone stealing your money.

You don't need to worry about getting paid unfairly.

You don't need the angst, the anger, the bitterness, the BS.

Take a deep breath

[INHALE]

Let all the worry go.

[EXHALE]

AHHHHHHHHHHH....

Now, don't you feel better?

Translation: "stop rocking the boat."

This fake concern talking point is tired.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 21, 2018, 06:37:00 pm

Winner's worry about their own game, they don't worry so much about what others are doing. Unless they are studying other winners to see how they're doing that, and adding it to their game.

Last note on the fair. I mean that exclusively about business stuff. If we're talking healthcare or tax rate or any of that junk it's totally not fair, and I agree it needs to be changed. But that's another conversation.

I'm making a living, so I'm not coming at this from a position of failure and whining about success.

I'm also not saying CC is not a good author. However, he's the poster boy for pushing beyond the legal limits of the situation. He's the guy who got caught with the steroids--metaphorically, not saying he wasn't a great athlete, but he exemplified a pattern of pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules and he deserved to get busted for what he did. Hopefully that will deter others.

In any endeavor, there are those who go beyond the boundaries of the law or the TOS or the rules, whatever you want to call it. None of that is whining about "fairness." It's about competing within the bounds of the spirit of the rule of law.

"People are getting away with it" is not a credible defense. "Other people do it" is not a credible defense. The fact that Amazon doesn't do a good job of policing is no defense.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 39416 on June 21, 2018, 06:42:11 pm
Just out of curiosity, does anyone know whatever happened to those very-successful KU writers of past who got kicked out? What became of them? I only know of two (RH and Chance Carter) but I remember there have been more over the years. I'm just wondering if they went wide, created a new persona, I mean, where are they now? Anybody ever hear whatever happened to these writers after the fall?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 21, 2018, 06:46:50 pm
Winner's worry about their own game, they don't worry so much about what others are doing. Unless they are studying other winners to see how they're doing that, and adding it to their game.

This is another tired talking point.

Let me turn it around on you. Why are you so concerned about what other authors do with their time and energy? People want to change the status quo, why do you care?

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 21, 2018, 07:05:56 pm
Cleaning up the ecosystem will help in many direct and indirect ways.

Agreed!
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 07:08:09 pm
Seriously? Is that wahat you believe?

How do people figure out the 3PO on the 15th?

Somehow they do, even though Amazon doesn't tell them.

I don't know.

Maybe it's not based on fact? Maybe they pull it out of Smurf poop.

So, can anyone tell me how you guys figure out the monthly page rate?
.
It's not.

But you don't need to worry about bonus content.

You don't need to worry about box sets.

You don't need to worry about collections.

You don't need to worry about someone stealing your money.

You don't need to worry about getting paid unfairly.

You don't need the angst, the anger, the bitterness, the BS.

Take a deep breath

[INHALE]

Let all the worry go.

[EXHALE]

AHHHHHHHHHHH....

Now, don't you feel better?

EDIT: Nevermind. Trying to be a better person, but this was a very [poopy] thing to say.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 21, 2018, 07:08:18 pm
This is another tired talking point.

Let me turn it around on you. Why are you so concerned about what other authors do with their time and energy? People want to change the status quo, why do you care?

Several people have pointed out cleaning house is overall good for the store, and I once again am saying I agree with that. Amanda made a great point up thread about a known spoofer getting taking down and the payout bouncing up afterwards. That's totally valid. Those practices should be removed from the store. I'm saying the mob mentally is lumping those people in with Chance, and it's not the same thing. I'm also not saying CC was some golden god, or even someone to be a role model to other writers. He pushed things too far, but at the same time, having everything he had up being completely removed is not a win. That's my concern. I don't mind people changing the status quo, I don't like author's taking down other author's, and having a mob mentality about it. Doxxing author's, which plenty of people in these threads always skate over. As for other author's in how they spend their time and energy? I'm not concerned at all. That's a bunch of people who would rather be wasting their time and energy on being amazon police than doing the work. I'm fine with that. My only concern is continuing to produce solid books and pleasing readers.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 21, 2018, 07:18:10 pm
As for other author's in how they spend their time and energy? I'm not concerned at all. That's a bunch of people who would rather be wasting their time and energy on being amazon police than doing the work. I'm fine with that.

I shall quote you again:


Quote
The people who spend so much time hunting these people down would do better for their own business by focusing on their work.

Winner's worry about their own game, they don't worry so much about what others are doing. Unless they are studying other winners to see how they're doing that, and adding it to their game.

You said losers care, and winners mind their own business.


If you had simply said that you don't think Chance and his buddies are that bad, and people should leave them alone, it would be more honest than "winners mind their own business."
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 21, 2018, 07:31:57 pm
I shall quote you again:


You said losers care, and winners mind their own business.


If you had simply said that you don't think Chance and his buddies are that bad, and people should leave them alone, it would be more honest than "winners mind their own business."

You're trying to mince my words here, or focusing on one point and still missing the larger one. But I've said it several times, clearly, and it feels like you're choosing not to hear it. That's fine. Pointing out that I have noticed a general trend of the most successful people in whatever field focus on their own stuff instead of attacking others (whether it's writers, or any other field I've studied) generally do better than the people who get stuck in the muck attacking others is not calling those other people losers. They just aren't at the top of the game usually.  To put it simply, I believe that positivity, always, always beats out negativity in the long run. I don't think that Chance or his buddy's were great. I never said that. The diamond thing was a bridge too far, and plenty of the other stuff also needed to be curbed. But the fact that he was removed, and others were attacked, including innocent authors (doxxing and so on) is what I'm calling out. I also stated earlier that in the end this part, the cc part, probably won't have a big impact on the store. I could be wrong about that. If I am, okay, good on Amazon on fixing it. But that doesn't change my point, or make it any less valid. The people who focused on the negative will long term never beat the people who focus on the positive (namely writing a ton and doing the work.)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 07:42:06 pm
Nobody has been doxxed. It's a point that's been proven patentky false over and over again. It takes away your credibility when you keep saying it. And to imply that only "losers" are p*ssed off about the entire situation is absurd. Some big name people are talking; they're just doing it behind closed doors.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Betsy the Quilter on June 21, 2018, 07:51:31 pm
Folks,

right now, based on the way this thread is headed, I thinking I might lock it when I retire and let y'all cool off and reopen in the morning.  We don't have anyone here for the night shift.

OR, y'all could stop making personal comments about each other and just discuss issues.

Just sayin'.

EDIT:  Those of you who think discussion of these issues is not a worthwhile use of one's time, don't discuss.  This is not the thread for you.  Lots of other threads.

Betsy
KB Mod
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 21, 2018, 08:21:44 pm
Without getting personal, a lot of the anger over this situation is coming from a place of justified fear and extreme frustration among indie authors. Romance has never seen anything like the invasion that's taken place over the past year. A small internet marketer group has gotten a powerful stranglehold on KU. This group has shown they don't care about producing quality content or being good actors in the indie community. They create new pen names constantly and rely on heavy stuffing to support ad spends no author with an unstuffed book can match. They take a disproportionate number of bonuses by stuffing to the max. This book stuffing exploit strategy is what's enabled them to become so prominent and hard for other romance authors to hold their ground against. Very little keeps them accountable, including social media shame, because if one pen name gets burned, they just jump to a new one.

It's also encouraged them to push the lines further with bad formatting tricks, breaching copyright in ads by running stolen images and other jaw dropping behavior almost no ordinary author or publisher would ever do. They don't think like authors or sensible publishers because they never were. There's no doubt about their origins. The ones who are constantly in the Top 100 stuffing to the limit and causing problems originated in Warrior Forum world. It's proven by the sketchy looking master courses showing up lately on social media. They're either the instructors of these $1000 classes or giving testimonials for each other, inviting even more marketers to storm Kindle publishing. These are not indie authors or publishers who play by ordinary operating rules. They don't change strategy or listen to the frustrations others are experiencing. They only care if Amazon makes them or they get tarred and feathered publicly.

I don't want to see indie authors buried by blackhat internet marketers. That's my issue. It's taking the entire industry in a really ugly direction where content quantity and bad ethics win. The only way to make sure it doesn't get worse is to continue applying pressure on Amazon to shut down the lopsided financial advantage page stuffing brings. I'd much rather see Amazon fix KU versus leaving authors policing this situation in a messy, unfocused way.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 21, 2018, 08:29:11 pm
Without getting personal, a lot of the anger over this situation is coming from a place of justified fear and extreme frustration among indie authors.
...
I don't want to see indie authors buried by blackhat internet marketers. That's my issue. It's taking the entire industry in a really ugly direction where content quantity and bad ethics win. The only way to make sure it doesn't get worse is to continue applying pressure on Amazon to shut down the lopsided financial advantage page stuffing brings. I'd much rather see Amazon fix KU versus leaving authors policing this situation in a messy, unfocused way.

*slow clap*

Thank you.

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know whatever happened to those very-successful KU writers of past who got kicked out? What became of them? I only know of two (RH and Chance Carter) but I remember there have been more over the years. I'm just wondering if they went wide, created a new persona, I mean, where are they now? Anybody ever hear whatever happened to these writers after the fall?

I've been following a few who were botting their way up the paid and free lists who've been slapped back. And by 'following,' I mean I have some of their more successful books in my Tracker account where I can take a few seconds every week or so to peek at their rank trends for the last 30 days. Pointing this out since some people apparently think those of us on neighborhood watch spend an inordinate amount of time documenting and reporting.

A couple of examples:

One guy who was botting to #1 Free every month with the same book, and botted a couple of hundred borrows while free, and who managed to keep a paid rank under #10K the rest of the time has taken to using non-botted ad promos, rarely breaks the Top 100 Free, and generally has a paid rank now of #30K+. He was busted last fall, and is still in Select.

Another guy who was botting to the Top 5 Paid every month -- and sometimes 2 to 3 times a month -- with a different book each time was busted late last summer. He slowly went wide with his titles and put a couple permafree, where they typically hang in the #2K-3K Free range. I saw he ran a couple of 99 cent Countdowns, and didn't get better than about #12K with promo with them. His new releases -- he'd just started pubbing a new series when he was busted -- tanked hard. I don't know how he's doing off-Amazon.

Gotta say, while these guys were slapped back and their incomes decimated, I'm disappointed they were allowed to stay in Select (possibly because they weren't botting page reads?), but mostly disappointed that their accounts weren't terminated, although the Paid Rank botter had his suspended for a few days. They were multi-, multi-repeat offenders and were obviously actively engaged in scamming the system.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 08:50:47 pm
Without getting personal, a lot of the anger over this situation is coming from a place of justified fear and extreme frustration among indie authors. Romance has never seen anything like the invasion that's taken place over the past year. A small internet marketer group has gotten a powerful stranglehold on KU. This group has shown they don't care about producing quality content or being good actors in the indie community. They create new pen names constantly and rely on heavy stuffing to support ad spends no author with an unstuffed book can match. They take a disproportionate number of bonuses by stuffing to the max. This book stuffing exploit strategy is what's enabled them to become so prominent and hard for other romance authors to hold their ground against. Very little keeps them accountable, including social media shame, because if one pen name gets burned, they just jump to a new one.

It's also encouraged them to push the lines further with bad formatting tricks, breaching copyright in ads by running stolen images and other jaw dropping behavior almost no ordinary author or publisher would ever do. They don't think like authors or sensible publishers because they never were. There's no doubt about their origins. The ones who are constantly in the Top 100 stuffing to the limit and causing problems originated in Warrior Forum world. It's proven by the sketchy looking master courses showing up lately on social media. They're either the instructors of these $1000 classes or giving testimonials for each other, inviting even more marketers to storm Kindle publishing. These are not indie authors or publishers who play by ordinary operating rules. They don't change strategy or listen to the frustrations others are experiencing. They only care if Amazon makes them or they get tarred and feathered publicly.

I don't want to see indie authors buried by blackhat internet marketers. That's my issue. It's taking the entire industry in a really ugly direction where content quantity and bad ethics win. The only way to make sure it doesn't get worse is to continue applying pressure on Amazon to shut down the lopsided financial advantage page stuffing brings. I'd much rather see Amazon fix KU versus leaving authors policing this situation in a messy, unfocused way.

Co-sign. This is a much better wording of what I've been trying to say, so thank you.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Ava Glass on June 21, 2018, 09:08:58 pm
Just a reminder that the RWA called these people "bad actors" and seemed quite pleased at Chance's removal.

https://twitter.com/romancewriters/status/1004859578390056960

The RWA also thanked those who sent them info, so those here who think authors should focus on something else can move along.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 21, 2018, 09:25:49 pm
Just a reminder that the RWA called these people "bad actors" and seemed quite pleased at Chance's removal.

https://twitter.com/romancewriters/status/1004859578390056960

The RWA also thanked those who sent them info, so those here who think authors should focus on something else can move along.

This. Their full history is only known to a few like David Gaughran and there's a bigger issue at work here. This is a hostile takeover of indie romance by pseudopublishers who don't care what kind of product they produce, as long as they have a lot of it. Page stuffing is just their lifeblood. Closing off bonus content and thinly marked collections in KU will at least force them to compete without the unnatural advantage they have now.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow on June 21, 2018, 10:05:25 pm
Without getting personal, a lot of the anger over this situation is coming from a place of justified fear and extreme frustration among indie authors. Romance has never seen anything like the invasion that's taken place over the past year. A small internet marketer group has gotten a powerful stranglehold on KU. This group has shown they don't care about producing quality content or being good actors in the indie community. They create new pen names constantly and rely on heavy stuffing to support ad spends no author with an unstuffed book can match. They take a disproportionate number of bonuses by stuffing to the max. This book stuffing exploit strategy is what's enabled them to become so prominent and hard for other romance authors to hold their ground against. Very little keeps them accountable, including social media shame, because if one pen name gets burned, they just jump to a new one.

It's also encouraged them to push the lines further with bad formatting tricks, breaching copyright in ads by running stolen images and other jaw dropping behavior almost no ordinary author or publisher would ever do. They don't think like authors or sensible publishers because they never were. There's no doubt about their origins. The ones who are constantly in the Top 100 stuffing to the limit and causing problems originated in Warrior Forum world. It's proven by the sketchy looking master courses showing up lately on social media. They're either the instructors of these $1000 classes or giving testimonials for each other, inviting even more marketers to storm Kindle publishing. These are not indie authors or publishers who play by ordinary operating rules. They don't change strategy or listen to the frustrations others are experiencing. They only care if Amazon makes them or they get tarred and feathered publicly.

I don't want to see indie authors buried by blackhat internet marketers. That's my issue. It's taking the entire industry in a really ugly direction where content quantity and bad ethics win. The only way to make sure it doesn't get worse is to continue applying pressure on Amazon to shut down the lopsided financial advantage page stuffing brings. I'd much rather see Amazon fix KU versus leaving authors policing this situation in a messy, unfocused way.

I found this immensely informative and helped put the argument into perspective. Thank you.

Part of the subtext is that this behavior isn't a major concern for authors in other genres. Which doesn't mean it shouldn't be fixed but I'd like you to try to see it from our perspective as you'd like us to see it from yours. I can't say I understand what it's like to be under siege like this. And I won't belittle the invasion of a genre you both love and rely on to make a living.

Many of us write long books. We buy and borrow long books. And our genres haven't developed any of these problems. To come out and hear people demanding caps on pages, limits to box sets, and a host of regulations for problems we don't have is jarring to say the least. And please understand the sea of rules will affect both our enjoyment of an art we love and the way we put food on the table. Taking from us and giving to you can't be the answer your looking for. And why would you seek such a binary choice?

Have you thought of making these rules dependent on your genre? I can guess that you have and given it up as a snows balls chance Amazon would do it. You have thought on this issue far longer than I have but these answers won't get you what you want. If you destroy other genres to fix your problem your not really fixing anything. All your doing is hurting others for doing nothing but enjoying the books they love and making a living.

I think we can agree on the following.
Ban stuffers.
Get them out of the top 100.
Fnd a way that they can't come back without maiming other genres.

Weíd be glad to help you. Many of us donít want you to suffer but few of us want to take your place. I refuse to believe the choices set out are the only ones. I refuse to sign onto a solution that only hurts other authors. Surely we can find a better solution. On this forum are thousands of people, are we saying that out of all those people the best we can do is to feed on each others flesh, to cannibalize each other.

I'd be glad to talk with you, to fight beside you, and to champion your cause. But I'm done fighting with you. Can't you understand I just don't want to be hurt by you? Must that be the only way that we can fix this?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 21, 2018, 10:17:39 pm
Yes, OnlytheGrotesqueKnow, that's fair. I'm open to solutions on how best to handle this. You're right about shared goals. I just want to see this takeover by sleazy marketers end. Plus harsh penalties for the stuffers who are still doing it after June 1st. I'd welcome romance specific rules by Amazon although it would be unlikely. Whatever chops the cheating marketers down and the advantages they get from inflated pages is a good thing. If it doesn't affect authors across genres much then all the better.

I'll add the same marketers have tried weaseling their way into other genres. People have seen evidence of them starting up names in postapocalyptic survival fiction and cozy mysteries. Fortunately they've had a harder time expanding beyond romance. I think this is partly because they don't have Warrior Forum type teachers standing by to hand them a mystery book producing formula as they did in romance. They're also not able to rapidly build the huge email lists with giveaways and pull ordinary authors into swaps. Both were commonplace practices in romance last year and helped them get off the ground. Page stuffing might not work as well outside romance either but I'm unsure.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 10:35:13 pm
As a romance author, I just want to say that I would be completely fine with a romance-only cap. Whenever I've talked about a 750 KENP, it has gotten mixed reviews between people who agree and people who disagree. Most of the people disagreeing are outside the genre. 750 KENP is still 125,000 words (estimated). That's a long romance, and the problem mostly seems relegated to Romance, where most of the scamming is.

Someone on twitter mentioned that someone who routinely stuffed had a "READ" flag once the first story ended, giving the reader the option to do normal 'end of book' activities such as reviewing or checking out other titles. I haven't seen proof of this myself, but if that's the case, then maybe Amazon is implementing something as we speak.

And I do appreciate how we've calmed down somewhat, myself included. I've all ready apologized for my tone to people privately. I have personal reasons about why I seem to be angrier about this than others, but I don't feel comfortable repeating those reasons in a public forum.

ETA: This isn't about the pay rate for me. I don't suspect it'll change much. It's never been about that. It's about visibility. It's about being crushed by ads. It's about not being able to find books I want to read anymore without recs because of category abuse. It's about mailing list abuse, and now their actions affect reader trust across the board. It's about the disrespect they have for the genre they are dominating. It's about authors being pushed out and smothered, and it's about the underhanded tactics they use to make competing authors not feel safe.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 21, 2018, 10:44:38 pm
Have you thought of making these rules dependent on your genre?

As a romance writer, I'd welcome this. After all, romance is ground zero for book-stuffing, so that idea has a lot of merit. One thing concerns me though... I suspect that these guys would just pick up their party and move to another genre. That would be wonderful for romance writers, but potentially awful for whatever new genre these guys target.

It really is awful when they invade your genre. I wouldn't wish that on my fellow authors, as much as I'd love to see them booted out of romance.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 21, 2018, 10:50:35 pm
As a romance author, I just want to say that I would be completely fine with a romance-only cap. Whenever I've talked about a 750 KENP, it has gotten mixed reviews between people who agree and people who disagree. Most of the people disagreeing are outside the genre. 750 KENP is still 125,000 words (estimated). That's a long romance, and the problem mostly seems relegated to Romance, where most of the scamming is.

You make a good point. Most of the people disagreeing do seem to be outside the genre. This isn't terribly surprising, especially in genres like Fantasy. Speaking as a romance writer, I'd vote for an even lower cap, like 500, but heck, I'd jump for joy at a cap of 750. That would make it a lot harder for the stuffers to game the system.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 10:52:45 pm
As a romance writer, I'd welcome this. After all, romance is ground zero for book-stuffing, so that idea has a lot of merit. One thing concerns me though... I suspect that these guys would just pick up their party and move to another genre. That would be wonderful for romance writers, but potentially awful for whatever new genre these guys target.

It really is awful when they invade your genre. I wouldn't wish that on my fellow authors, as much as I'd love to see them booted out of romance.

I think they'd have a much harder time in other genres. For one, they'd need to build up new mailing lists. Also, the sheer number of romance readers and how voracious they are gave them the opening they needed. The books they are selling are extremely formulaic, and that's not as easy to do on other genres. That's not to say one is more difficult to write than the others, but I do believe adapting to romance is easier.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 21, 2018, 10:56:32 pm
I think they'd have a much harder time in other genres. For one, they'd need to build up new mailing lists. Also, the sheer number of romance readers and how voracious they are gave them the opening they needed. The books they are selling are extremely formulaic, and that's not as easy to do on other genres. That's not to say one is more difficult to write than the others, but I do believe adapting to romance is easier.

Yeah, I'm fine with even lower. 500 sounds GREAT to me. That's still 83,000 words, however I think that begins to push what people would be willing to agree to. I've noticed many authors trending around 80K words, and some even going as high as mid 100's.

It's not unheard of though. Didn't Scribd (or another subscription service limit romance on some level?)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 21, 2018, 11:03:56 pm
I think they'd have a much harder time in other genres. For one, they'd need to build up new mailing lists. Also, the sheer number of romance readers and how voracious they are gave them the opening they needed. The books they are selling are extremely formulaic, and that's not as easy to do on other genres. That's not to say one is more difficult to write than the others, but I do believe adapting to romance is easier.

Those are really good points. I'm sure they'd try to invade other genres, but you make a compelling case that it might not be nearly as easy as I thought.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 21, 2018, 11:04:31 pm
I share the concerns about the stuffers trying to creep into other genres if romance only rules are imposed. We've seen them miscategorizing books before. They try to drop books into Westerns and Crime categories now because they can hit the #1 slot with a lower rank to get the bestseller flag on their books. Better enforcement of categories by Amazon would have to go along with regulating romance. These marketers will always try to find any loophole they can to maximize their pages because they know the advantage it brings.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 21, 2018, 11:09:52 pm
Yeah, I'm fine with even lower. 500 sounds GREAT to me. That's still 83,000 words, however I think that begins to push what people would be willing to agree to. I've noticed many authors trending around 80K words, and some even going as high as mid 100's.

It's not unheard of though. Didn't Scribd (or another subscription service limit romance on some level?)

True on the 500. That might be lower than a majority would agree to. My last book was 100K, so I'm one of those longer writers myself. Probably, I'm just so desperate to boot the scammers that I'd probably agree to a 250-page limit, if that's what it took -- anything to clean up the romance market. It's just so godawful right now.

About Scribd, I might not be remembering it correctly, but I think they ended up removing romance from their subscription offerings entirely. The way it sounded, romance readers were reading them out of house and home. :)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: lilywhite on June 21, 2018, 11:13:04 pm
It really is awful when they invade your genre. I wouldn't wish that on my fellow authors, as much as I'd love to see them booted out of romance.

^^ Seconded. They have absolutely destroyed my favorite genre -- both as a reader and as a writer. And I know romance writers who couldn't pivot to a new genre or ramp up releases enough to compensate; some of them don't publish anymore. That's a tragedy, IMO.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Delta on June 22, 2018, 12:35:22 am
As a romance author, I just want to say that I would be completely fine with a romance-only cap. Whenever I've talked about a 750 KENP, it has gotten mixed reviews between people who agree and people who disagree. Most of the people disagreeing are outside the genre. 750 KENP is still 125,000 words (estimated). That's a long romance, and the problem mostly seems relegated to Romance, where most of the scamming is.



I put out a 157k LitRPG -- 763 KENP (And, no, no stuffing. It took me 157k to tell the story I wanted to tell.)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 22, 2018, 04:32:16 am
Quote
In any endeavor, there are those who go beyond the boundaries of the law or the TOS or the rules, whatever you want to call it. None of that is whining about "fairness." It's about competing within the bounds of the spirit of the rule of law.

"People are getting away with it" is not a credible defense. "Other people do it" is not a credible defense. The fact that Amazon doesn't do a good job of policing is no defense.

Thank you, David.

For the record, I do not write romance, but I understand the genre and those who love it and want to write it. When you're looking at increasing competition, you can up your game and compete. When you're looking at people who are cheating their way to the top spots, and getting bonuses to do it, while making it almost impossible to market due to their huge ad spends, it makes it very hard to want to try.

Don't forget, those bonuses aren't tied to a genre, but to sales/page reads of any book in the program. So, if you write SF, but a romance scammer has taken a bonus you normally would have qualified for, that's okay? I know a few people in the situation.

As to the thing about it being the "unsuccessful" people doing all the complaining? Really? Do you people not know who most of those who are in the forefront of this? I may not be one of those people, but I hope to be someday. It would be a lot easier if I didn't have to battle the black hat SEO folks.

And I have plenty of time to read a few blog posts and articles, and get my word count for the day, thanks for everyone's concern. snort

For those who don't understand the basic issues:

It's not about long books.

It's not about reasonable bonus content.

It's not about hiring ghostwriters.

It's not about having happy readers who pounce on every word you write.

It's about those who have overrun indie publishing with bloated books, books stuffed with ten or more of the same files of individual content, rearranged, sometimes with a "new" story at the end and still ways to get people to click past all the junk they've seen before so the entire book is "read". This is to the tune of about $14 per "read". And before the KENPC was capped at 3K, it was more than that, often $20 or more.

And to think, people used to complain about people getting $1.30 per 10% read, though that was usually laid on the short story writers. Yes, there were scammer then, too, but at least they weren't getting 10% more money. Now the scamming is worse, because there's more money in it.

Now, get this. This isn't about those people who just love a certain author's work, and will happily reread the same content over and over. (This "reshuffling" comes about because you can only be paid once per borrow for content, so somebody re-borrowing your book gets you nothing.) It's about people using incentives -- raffles, other "free" stuff, gift cards and so on -- to get people to click through a book so the full payout is reached.

It's about people who hire click farms to "read" a book completely, to get the full payout. These people have the click farms borrow other author's work in order to mask their behavior, thus getting innocent authors' accounts terminated.

Put limits only on romance, and I'm sure we'll see this crap move on to other genres. It might be a little more work, but on the back end, the payout would still be huge. And that's all that matters to these people. They aren't writers, they aren't publishers, they're black hat marketers who don't care about anyone but themselves. They aren't our friends. They aren't our fellow writers trying to follow a dream and tell our stories. They're cheaters, plain and simple. Don't spare any of them a moment's concern, because they don't have any for you.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 22, 2018, 08:09:30 am
I agree with everything you said, especially the last paragraph. I don't know how anyone can look at this very specific subset of people with anything other than disgust.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow on June 22, 2018, 08:38:50 am
I think a lot of authors would be able to not only stand aside but support rules that govern the romance genre. I understand the worry that they may invade other genre's but if they do and we already have a way to govern them we can port it over. Personally I'm more focused on fixing the issue of them destroying your genre while insuring your supported than I am of their next scam. Don't fight tomorrow's battle today.

Here are some of my thoughts, please understand I don't know what has been done and that these are only my first impressions.

1: A cap of 750 seems reasonable. While it is longer than what some would recommend it insures that innocent authors are not caught up in the net. And it still inserts a cap that stops the 90%, plus I think it will sooth any worried authors.

2: When a stuffer is found ban their I.P. Address and Bank Account. If your account is terminated, your done anyway so adding the I.P. Address and Bank Account only affects those that are trying to cut around the rules. It shouldn't affect innocent authors anymore than their current bans 'which I think should be overseen by a human being you're able to talk to.'

3: Create a website that lays out your case and the books that are stuffing. Part of the reason why this argument went sidewise is simple ignorance. If I could of gotten a link to a website that outlines the books that are violating the genre and excerpts of the books, as well as the tactics they use, I would of been all about helping. The sooner a man is educated the sooner they can start making good decisions.

You have a lot of people here who create websites, they might do it for free or at least at a discount. And Wordpress is relatively cheap to get stuffers out of your genre and Amazon listening.

4: Review their books. I'm not saying give them a bad review or to tank their rank. What I'm saying is that you have the legal right to read a book and post a honest review. You also have the right to ask those in the Vine program who have thousands of followers to review them as well. These reviews can be reposted on your website.

5: Start an email program. Once you have a website to educate ask people to email an address in Amazon and in their PERSONAL words to complain and ask for a case to be open. I would be glad to be part of this and I think a lot of other authors would as well.

6: Seek out other people in the romance genre that are reviewers with their own blogs. Again once you have a website you can send them to it and they can decide on their own.

7: Hit Amazon up on Twitter once you have a website to link to. It's easy to dismiss the words of others but with a website with graphs, excerpts and timeline's. Well those are far more convincing.

I see the main problem's to be two pronged. Education, I wasn't aware this was going on and so the talk scared me. If I would of known that you were being hurt, I would of jumped in and tried to help. I would of talked about it across my media and informed those people in my life. The second one is for you to relax away from talking about regulating other genre's until their is a problem. Authors in other genres hear what you say and it scares us. It makes us defensive and instead of looking at you as our tribe we look at you as a lion coming to take our babies. I've written three books, each is over 250,000 words. When a person tells me I have to cut them in half to make them work, I get antsy. When they tell me that I won't get paid for pages after a certain point, I get angry. That's not conducive to getting me to bleed for you.

People will start to listen. People will fight for you. Let us help you and stop scaring me so much, I'm not as young as I used to be. I'd be willing to help with EVERY step I have outlined up to and including putting money into the pot for the website and reviewing the books.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 22, 2018, 08:46:55 am
The second one is for you to relax away from talking about regulating other genre's until their is a problem.
This is a problem in multiple other genres. Romance is definitely the hardest hit. It's hardly the only genre hit, though. Instituting one group of rules for one genre and ignoring the others makes no sense. These should be across-the-board rules. In truth, 750 KENPC is low for some fantasy. 1,000 KENPC is probably better. Then omnibuses, anthologies, boxed sets, etc. should be banned to cut down on abuse. A title can be in KU once. Period. Institute those two things and most of the scammers couldn't afford to stay.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: RPatton on June 22, 2018, 09:31:59 am
So, I just want to say that there's a huge part of me jumping for joy because the discussion has turned away from "You're either with us or against us" and is back to the valid points that not only should be discussed, but have a relatively decent chance of helping things.

However, this doesn't include behavior and acts happening off of a retailer's site. Bad acts should be called out regardless of who is doing the bad act. It's really not an us or them issue. It's a sustainability issue. And every time someone behaves unprofessionally, it makes it that much more difficult for those behaving professionally to be taken seriously.

I'm going to deliver a dose of realism and it's going to be painful. Correlation is not Causation. Chance probably wasn't removed from the Amazon storefront because of stuffing or compilations or crappy formatting. He was likely removed because he involved Amazon in what amounted to an illegal lottery. That it happened the same time as the 10% bonus rule is correlation, not causation. Do not think of his removal as a "win" because I am fairly certain, in that I would wager my entire back catalog and future catalog on the belief that Amazon didn't remove him for any of the reasons people would like to believe they did. And I get why they want to believe that. It's validation, but it's validation based on a false premise.

Second does of reality, and this one is even more painful. None of us has the connections to actually effect change. You need to be on a first name basis with senior executives. You need to know their kids' birthdays and they need to know your kids' favorite activities. A rep at KDP isn't a connection, it's a contact. And they just don't have the political power of good-will to be able to say, "Hey, this is the way we're going to do this from now on." It would be nice if we did, but this is going to be someone who has been part of the publishing industry for decades, and not as an author, but as an editor at the Big 5 who's transitioned to being an agent or has stepped into the indie sphere. They have the ability to make a few calls and get the ear of someone who will listen.

Third painful reminder of reality, Amazon isn't against compilations, bonus content, or box sets. They just want it advertised as what it is and they won't count those books towards an all-star bonus. You are never going to get them removed from the store, because Amazon doesn't mind them. What they mind is readers not getting what they expect. If they expect a book full of 15 different novels, fine. If they expect a single novel, they shouldn't get 14 more novels. Truth in advertising. Don't do a bait & switch and Amazon is happy.

And finally, the fourth dose of reality. Let's say that there's a page cap for Romance. In theory it's nice. In practice not some much. Women's fiction will get hit with all the romances and miscatting will be a huge problem. If there's a punishment for being in romance (the page cap), but none elsewhere, then people are going to go where there isn't a punishment.

In the interest of not just pointing out the problems or issues, but offering suggestions...

You don't need to install a page cap. You need to install a max payout. Have it cap out at 3.49. Regardless of how many pages, the most an author can get paid is 3.49. This is what a book at 4.99 would earn. There is absolutely no incentive to add extra pages for the extra payout and while authors writing longer books might feel a bit of a pinch, 4.99 seems to be the highest price point with a larger number of authors. Yes, people price at 5.99 and higher, but not as much.

The carrot of maxing out KENPC is gone.

This doesn't solve the actions outside of retailers, but this would at least remove some of the reason for pumping a single book full of additional content.

I'd also like to see borrows count for less in the ranking or even better, create a separate ranking for bought and borrowed (and if a book is in KU it could be in both). But that's pretty much a pipe dream and Select author would lose their collective poop. :)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow on June 22, 2018, 09:42:20 am
This is a problem in multiple other genres. Romance is definitely the hardest hit. It's hardly the only genre hit, though. Instituting one group of rules for one genre and ignoring the others makes no sense. These should be across-the-board rules. In truth, 750 KENPC is low for some fantasy. 1,000 KENPC is probably better. Then omnibuses, anthologies, boxed sets, etc. should be banned to cut down on abuse. A title can be in KU once. Period. Institute those two things and most of the scammers couldn't afford to stay.

And this is where you lose people. A 1,000 KEN PC comes out to about a 200,000 word count. None of my books would qualify. If I can't publish what I want, why would I support you? Your cap is about 560 pages in trade paperback. While that would be long in some genres my top 10 books all go above that mark.

Wheel Of Time
Game of Thrones
The Last Four Harry Potter Books
Black Jewels Trilogy

I went to Amazon and went to Fantasy. Not the top 100 but just Fantasy and almost every book was over the cap. My search was only mine. But I recognized Brandon Sanderson, and a few titles I'd been looking at. While the Top 100 are owned by the under 500 page count. Only 6 were boxed sets... Out of a 100. All of them are series I've seen people talk about and all of them have reviews. If this is an issue in the genre, I'm not seeing it.

This is nuanced. But creating a cap that would make it hard for my favorite books to be published can't be good and won't make for a better system. Are you willing to tell authors they can't write the stories they want? Because you think they are too big? So that you can fix a problem they don't see in their genre? You will be gutting some genre's, I know because I read them. Authors will simply not write in them and those authors that suffer through it will turn their back on this discussion and you.

You can't ask for help while saying you don't care. Either its a partnership with respect where we face the world together or its every writer for themselves.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PearlEarringLady on June 22, 2018, 09:55:40 am
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.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 22, 2018, 10:08:49 am
In the interest of not just pointing out the problems or issues, but offering suggestions...

You don't need to install a page cap. You need to install a max payout. Have it cap out at 3.49. Regardless of how many pages, the most an author can get paid is 3.49. This is what a book at 4.99 would earn. There is absolutely no incentive to add extra pages for the extra payout and while authors writing longer books might feel a bit of a pinch, 4.99 seems to be the highest price point with a larger number of authors. Yes, people price at 5.99 and higher, but not as much.

The carrot of making out KENPC is gone.

This doesn't solve the actions outside of retailers, but this would at least remove some of the reason for pumping a single book full of additional content.

I'd also like to see borrows count for less in the ranking or even better, create a separate ranking for bought and borrowed (and if a book is in KU it could be in both). But that's pretty much a pipe dream and Select author would lose their collective poop. :)
The maximum payout idea has a lot of merit. At the very least, click farms and bots would have to work a lot harder. The only reason stuffing started in the first place must be that it's a more efficient use of scamming resources to get a $13 payout on one long book that to have to do almost four reads of shorter books to get the same effect. Writers with longer books (above 750 KENP) will lose some of their borrow money, though the payout you propose is higher than what people got under KU 1, and getting rid of the scammers might be worth it, even financially. Moving to a healthier ecosystem will in the long run attract more readers, and at minimum the program will be at less risk of collapsing.

The key selling point for Amazon would that it would be much easier to enforce than some ideas we've seen. That means it might actually happen.

I'm not sure all Select writers would be upset if there were a separate ranking for borrowed books--I wouldn't be if it solved a problem. Amazon, however, would have a problem with it. KU is the only really compelling thing Select has to offer. (Notice how many people in these threads say KU when they mean Select.) If KU books lost some or all of the visibility they get from borrows, I'd imagine that could lead to an exodus from Select. However, if other changes reduced or eliminated scamming, the ranking bump would no longer be as much of an issue. If one thinks of the rankings as a measure of audience size, rather than sales, there's really nothing wrong with a borrow counting the way a sale does. We worry about it because click farms and bots can game borrows. Sales aren't as easy to manipulate, except for incentivized buying or the quick buy-and-return (because returns don't affect ranking).
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 22, 2018, 10:11:22 am
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 agree, but RPatton's original suggestion was not to cap the borrow at the same as the royalty for a read. It was to have flat $3.49 cap on the assumption that most indie books aren't priced more than $4.99. A floating cap based on retail price could be a nightmare.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: RPatton on June 22, 2018, 10:20:21 am
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.

It's not based on what they are listed at. It's a hard cap of 3.49. No matter if the book is listed at .99 or 9.99, it can never earn more than 3.49 from page reads. It can earn less though. so a book at 1000 KENPC would earn the page rate per page read, up to 3.49. If someone only reads 20 pages, then an author earns 20 page reads. If someone reads all 1000 pages, the author earns 3.49. If someone reads 900, the author earns 3.49. Amazon knows the borrows and the page reads from borrows.

Whether or not it could be practically implemented is another thing. It's basically a hybrid approach to KU 1 and KU 2. Count page reads until the amount hits 3.49, at which point, that's when page reads don't matter. Of course, that causes a problem with all-stars.

However, this has an indirect benefit. With the cap on what a book could earn from a single reader, the benefit from inflating a book's page reads goes away because it no longer can subsidize the inflated ad spends. Without the inflated ad spends to push everyone out of the front page of the top 100, the cost-benefit ratio to underpricing a book. So without the swath of .99 books inflated with additional content, the all-stars threshold would naturally sink. Although it will naturally sink now that compilations and box sets don't count towards all-stars.

Okay, beautiful minding it right now.

Two-pronged. First prong, Amazon already implemented. Compilations and Box sets won't count towards All-stars. So you can put them out, but there's no chance of getting a bonus from them.

Second prong, put a hard cap on what a book can earn, not a flat rate though. So a book still earns per page read, but there's a hard cap at 3.49, which is close to what Amazon pays for a book priced at 4.99. So, even if a book gets inflated, the page reads will never be able to offset the cost of marketing a book with the intent of pushing everyone else out of the marketplace. (If you take a look at Romance as a case-study, this is what happened. Inflated pages subsidized inflated ad spends so that others couldn't afford to advertise, leaving the first pages of the top 100 of romance filled with the books whose authors/publishers spent large amounts of money advertising.)

By removing the two keystones (all books could count towards All-stars, whether compilations or single titles and maxing KENPC to subsidize increased add spends), people will have to work a lot harder to manipulate the system. Not that they still can't, but it's more work.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 22, 2018, 10:22:12 am
Any cap would be useful, whether by pages or payout. The 3000 cap was useful. A payout cap at the equivalent of a 9.99 retail sale (about 6.99) would be useful, cutting in half the $13-14 possible under the current system, while hitting (I bet) almost no indies at all (who prices an ebook above $20?). The tradpubs get different terms anyway.

Again, even a slightly lower cap would be welcome.

There's a sweet spot somewhere.  can't believe all these quants at Amazon haven't thought of testing out different caps to find it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 22, 2018, 10:27:53 am
Considering the reps I've spoken to or met in person, this is 100% true. Many struggle to understand the issues at all and defer to others. You might have a faster response going through a rep than through the KDP dashboard contact page, but that's about it.

KDP employees trawl this board. We've seen action taken against specific people and practices when they were called out here when no action was taken despite the same evidence being sent through the "proper" channels.

Amazon "does" listen, despite how infuriating their inconsistency in acting might be. So speaking out here is often a good way to bring attention to issues and for Amazon to gauge reactions to proposed suggestions and solutions.

Just sayin' ...
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 22, 2018, 10:29:29 am
Isn't a page cap and payout cap the same thing? That being said, I think a payout cap would 'read' better in terms of PR, and would halt any confusion. For example, when a page cap is talked about, there seems to be confusion about what that would mean. Nobody would be advocating to ban books from KU that are longer, they just wouldn't get paid past a certain point.

Any way you cut it, $3.49 is still a lot of money to earn for something that's nothing more than a borrow from a lobrary.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: EthanRussellErway on June 22, 2018, 10:29:52 am
I like it. A rising tide lifts all ships.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 22, 2018, 10:48:43 am
I'm going to deliver a dose of realism and it's going to be painful. Correlation is not Causation. Chance probably wasn't removed from the Amazon storefront because of stuffing or compilations or crappy formatting. He was likely removed because he involved Amazon in what amounted to an illegal lottery. That it happened the same time as the 10% bonus rule is correlation, not causation. Do not think of his removal as a "win" because I am fairly certain, in that I would wager my entire back catalog and future catalog on the belief that Amazon didn't remove him for any of the reasons people would like to believe they did. And I get why they want to believe that. It's validation, but it's validation based on a false premise.

Most everyone I've discussed CC with agrees his books were removed because of the lottery. But I still see that as a win, because that is the kind of behavior that hurts all authors. An illegal lottery opens Amazon up to legal trouble. If that kind of things continues to happen, Amazon might decide KDP isn't worth the effort, or that authors can't be trusted with current restrictions and tighten the publication process.

It's a win solely because unethical and illegal behavior should be removed from the store. And it's a win because it shows Amazon can actually enforce its rules. And it's a win because it stops a behavior that hurts the industry.

I dislike Chance. I dislike his persona and find his tactics unethical. He's done a lot to screw up romance and he is a spammer (as in he breaks SPAM laws all the time). But that isn't why I was happy to see his books removed.

Second does of reality, and this one is even more painful. None of us has the connections to actually effect change. You need to be on a first name basis with senior executives. You need to know their kids' birthdays and they need to know your kids' favorite activities. A rep at KDP isn't a connection, it's a contact. And they just don't have the political power of good-will to be able to say, "Hey, this is the way we're going to do this from now on." It would be nice if we did, but this is going to be someone who has been part of the publishing industry for decades, and not as an author, but as an editor at the Big 5 who's transitioned to being an agent or has stepped into the indie sphere. They have the ability to make a few calls and get the ear of someone who will listen.

Most of us don't have sway as individuals. But reaching out to reps about issues does help push things along. We do have power as a group.

Personally, I don't see a need for a cap if the bonus content rules are enforced (and compilations really do need to be carefully and clearly labeled). When I spoke to a rep, he gave me a hard no on the idea of a cap or the idea of removing box sets from the store. So I don't expect that to happen. But you never know.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 22, 2018, 11:39:49 am
When I spoke to a rep, he gave me a hard no on the idea of a cap or the idea of removing box sets from the store. So I don't expect that to happen. But you never know.

Just a point of clarification... I don't believe anyone has seriously advocated for removing box sets from the store, but rather making them ineligible for Kindle Unlimited. As far as the page cap, I think the idea is to limit the number of KU pages they could be paid for.  When you talked with the rep, do you know if he/she meant a hard no on no box sets in the whole store, or rather in the kindle unlimited program?

This, I think, is where the idea of a dollar-limit per borrow has a lot of merit. My first choice would be to limit the amount per borrow to the amount the author would earn on a buy -- simply because the current system makes no sense and results in a seriously skewed market. But I'd definitely be receptive to a dollar-cap, because anything that discourages the scamming and stuffing is a step in the right direction.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 22, 2018, 11:56:20 am
Just a point of clarification... I don't believe anyone has seriously advocated for removing box sets from the store, but rather making them ineligible for Kindle Unlimited. As far as the page cap, I think the idea is to limit the number of KU pages they could be paid for.  When you talked with the rep, do you know if he/she meant a hard no on no box sets in the whole store, or rather in the kindle unlimited program?

This, I think, is where the idea of a dollar-limit per borrow has a lot of merit. My first choice would be to limit the amount per borrow to the amount the author would earn on a buy -- simply because the current system makes no sense and results in a seriously skewed market. But I'd definitely be receptive to a dollar-cap, because anything that discourages the scamming and stuffing is a step in the right direction.

Oh, sorry, that's what I meant. The rep was very pro box sets in KU.

If the choice is Amazon actually policing content or a cap, the former is so much better for authors. But if the choice is a cap or nothing, I'd much rather have a reasonable cap (something like the $6 or $7 David suggested).
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Michaela Strong on June 22, 2018, 12:20:28 pm
I don't disagree with anything you've said, but you've said this twice now, and it's news to me. I may have missed an update or something, but I can't find where it says box sets aren't eligible for bonuses. It's certainly not on the bonus page I'm looking at.  Can you link or point me toward this info please?

I believe it is multi-author box sets that don't qualify for individual bonuses.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: RPatton on June 22, 2018, 01:02:18 pm
I don't disagree with anything you've said, but you've said this twice now, and it's news to me. I may have missed an update or something, but I can't find where it says box sets aren't eligible for bonuses. It's certainly not on the bonus page I'm looking at.  Can you link or point me toward this info please?

It was in the first part of the announcement, if you don't comply you won't qualify for bonuses for June and going forward.

I swore it included that books labeled as a compilation wouldn't qualify for the bonus, but I can't find my source. (I know I didn't make it up out of whole cloth, but it's totally possible that I misread it.) Still looking, but I am pretty sure not including compilations in the all-star bonus was part of the end goal.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 22, 2018, 01:23:56 pm
I'll add that it's extremely unclear what exactly Amazon thinks about re-titled collections or compilations. There are still plenty glutting up the Top 100, however authors are receiving compliance notices for collections labeled more clearly than the romance stuffers. There's a chance Amazon is refining policy internally or planning case-by-case actions against the abusive mega-stuffers in romance. However I don't feel 100% confident predicting anything right now.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 22, 2018, 01:34:59 pm
My vote goes for a flat fee max, with a per page read minimum.

Wait. I don't get a vote. Damn you Amazon.

The only reason Amazon moved to the per page read payment instead of tweaked the per borrow rate anyway was to stop people from having access to borrow information. Otherwise, it would have been so easy to just set a sliding scale rate based on length and say a 25% rule (instead of 10%) to stop a lot of the people who were just publishing shorter books/stories for a quick payout. Instead, they went to all the trouble to put into place an entirely new way to pay, had to update so many old devices and put in so much development time just to find a way to count pages and even more when they realized their current methods were falling short... It's just impossible to deny. They did it ALL to get rid of people having those borrow numbers.

I think it's insane that there hasn't been a payment cap put into place before now anyway. It's never made sense.
You could well be right, but I don't understand Amazon's motivation in such a case. What difference does it make to Amazon whether we know our borrow numbers or not? There would actually be some advantage to Amazon if we did--then the borrows could be linked to AMS ads that generated them. Omitting that information causes the ads to appear to be performing worse than they are sometimes, and I don't see any upside for Amazon.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: RPatton on June 22, 2018, 01:40:55 pm
You could well be right, but I don't understand Amazon's motivation in such a case. What difference does it make to Amazon whether we know our borrow numbers or not? There would actually be some advantage to Amazon if we did--then the borrows could be linked to AMS ads that generated them. Omitting that information causes the ads to appear to be performing worse than they are sometimes, and I don't see any upside for Amazon.

Customer data is money. The more customer data externally available, the less valuable it becomes. Knowing the borrows made their data less valuable.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 22, 2018, 02:04:00 pm
It was in the first part of the announcement, if you don't comply you won't qualify for bonuses for June and going forward.

I swore it included that books labeled as a compilation wouldn't qualify for the bonus, but I can't find my source. (I know I didn't make it up out of whole cloth, but it's totally possible that I misread it.) Still looking, but I am pretty sure not including compilations in the all-star bonus was part of the end goal.
It didn't say anything about box sets, just bonus books.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jack Krenneck on June 22, 2018, 02:22:26 pm
You don't need to install a page cap. You need to install a max payout. Have it cap out at 3.49. Regardless of how many pages, the most an author can get paid is 3.49. This is what a book at 4.99 would earn. There is absolutely no incentive to add extra pages for the extra payout and while authors writing longer books might feel a bit of a pinch, 4.99 seems to be the highest price point with a larger number of authors. Yes, people price at 5.99 and higher, but not as much.

Obviously, a lot less people price above 4.99 than below it. But that doesn't mean that many, many people don't price above that threshold and would be hit hard by this suggestion. All of my boxed sets are at the 7.99/8.99 mark. Lots of other authors price similarly for a boxed set. Some price at 9.99. There are even authors with single books at 6.99. All of this is just in epic fantasy, one small slice of the store.

The golden rule when solving problems is not to create other problems. Apart from the hit to authors such a low borrow payout would produce (a big enough problem in itself) what else could this trigger? KU already has a low pay out per page, this would probably force more and more authors wide. KU would have less books in it, especially from the top ranks of authors, and therefore consumers would find KU less appealing. This is not a situation amazon wants. And with less readers, income for borrows for all authors would probably drop, no matter the length of their books.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 22, 2018, 03:07:21 pm
Quote
You don't need to install a page cap. You need to install a max payout.

No, we had this in KUv1, and Amazon didn't like it, long form authors didn't like it, and now we have the ultimate black hat cheaters competition. Thanks, Amazon. There needs to be a page cap, beyond which no further money will be paid per borrow. I'd say 1K, but I can see where 750 would work.

For a 1K KENPC book, paying out at .0045, that would be 4.50 per full read. Anyone who thinks that isn't enough needs to take a step back and look at what the current situation is doing to honest writers who are simply trying to earn some money. (I love how some excuse bad behavior as a writer trying to support his/her family.)

Again:  This would in no way stop anyone from writing books as long as they want. It would only limit the payout per borrow in KU. No one has ever, never ever, said that anyone should not be able to write a book the length they want. Never. Ever.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: caitlynlynch on June 22, 2018, 03:13:48 pm
Actually, I think the payout per borrow in KU should be capped at the same price the ebook is for sale for. Might actually stop the 99cent books glutting the market and get authors paid a fair rate for good work.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 101569 on June 22, 2018, 03:48:53 pm
Actually, I think the payout per borrow in KU should be capped at the same price the ebook is for sale for. Might actually stop the 99cent books glutting the market and get authors paid a fair rate for good work.

The problem would be then people setting their book at $25+. Some trade pubs get in the teens. If there is no cap on price or payout then people are at the same place they are now.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 22, 2018, 04:41:54 pm
Let's get rid of the all-star bonus for a start, that takes away 25k worth of incentive, and any author hitting page numbers to get a bonus should be financially happy with what they are getting anyway. When the bonus programme was rolled out it said they may stop paying it in future - so stop.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 22, 2018, 05:50:02 pm
.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 22, 2018, 06:03:58 pm
P.J. wins.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Amanda M. Lee on June 22, 2018, 07:38:52 pm
Actually, I think the payout per borrow in KU should be capped at the same price the ebook is for sale for. Might actually stop the 99cent books glutting the market and get authors paid a fair rate for good work.
Since the majority of scammers don't get purchases, all that will do is make them move their prices to $9.99.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow on June 22, 2018, 07:42:16 pm
2. Some of us have been pushing for the lower cap for a long long time, but it was never about the length of books - it was always about a Pay-Out Cap based upon a lower KENPC. I prefer a 750 KENPC setting, (which is approximately $3.50 per read through), because it's short enough to have a significant impact on shady-hat shenanigans, and yet long enough to allow for publishing flexibility.

Your flexibility, your way. What you think's right. I don't see any reach out to the authors that are against this. I seem to be running into the same wall and it must be me. I believe in compromise and that a community finds a way to do what's right for all it's members. Instead, I feel that it comes down to simply do it my way or I'll yell at you.


3. Unlike a page cap, this allows authors to continue to publish box sets and provide as much bonus content as they feel appropriate, because it doesn't affect Pay-Out. This is especially important for writers who specialize in short fiction.

I agree. This was never debated except by one post that I know of.

4. It allows us the freedom to experiment with formatting and content and promotions and how we tell our stories, without worrying about getting banned.

I have no need for this. Nor do I see a great consensus that this is something people are actually interested in.

5. Becasue the Pay-Out is set at a 750 KENPC level, it provides authors the flexibility to decide how much over that Cap they want their titles to go. 250 KENPC is about $1.17. So is getting that third novel in the box set worth losing a $1.17? It becomes a marketing decision. And for me, the answer would be Yes, every time. Short-term greed is always the enemy of long-term strategic thinking.

Again your flexibility, your way. What you want. A predetermined number that you decided on because of the books you write. Not the books I write. With no input from other genre's or way's of writing.

6. Dear Fantasy writers: I don't know why you are so set on the traditional publishing model of the 80s and 90s, one, I might add, that wasn't developed by writers or their marketing teams, but by accountants. Readers have clearly communicated to the market that they are totally fine with shorter books at lower prices and serialized stories/content - this is true across all genres. Of Tolkien's books, only Fellowship goes over the 750 Cap, and just barely at that, 40 pages or so, about 20 cents per read through. The other's are well below. And his publishers were right, LOTR is not a single novel, it really is a trilogy. The reality is that most of these super long books combine a number of shorter novels and side stories (novellas) into a single title. The Stand is another one that should have been a trilogy. It's one story, sure, but not one book. To an extent, these are packaging decisions, not literary choices.

Dear person who I've never met,

I'm not interested in the model of publishing. I'm interested in the books I'd like to write. I'm not writing for your audience but my own. I don't believe that I enjoy a person telling me to basically write shorter books, at a lower price, or to branch out. You keep bringing up Tolkien as a base line. Sorry, but I don't agree with your example. How about Wheel of Time? Game of Thrones? The last three Harry Potter books? Regardless, this argument comes down to you telling me to write it your way or get out of KU. I'm wondering if you'd appreciate that kind of sentiment being directed at you. Would you appreciate someone telling you to write different? That you are behind the times? Or that you need to write their way for you to care about them?

A 750 KENPC Cap is about 175k words, or somewhere between 500 and 700 actual print pages depending on formatting. I grew up reading series, they're a staple in SFF. I mean, ignoring my preference for tight narratives, I don't get the need or want for super long books from a business perspective, an artistic perspective or a work-flow perspective. I just don't get it. I'm pretty sure the digital world has moved on to a content-based literary model. But that's okay, I don't have get it. You do you.  :)

350 words per page is a trade paperback, divided by 350 = 500 pages. Appreciate the approval. I know this was intended to be an olive branch but after you just get done insulting the genre I write in, well, lets just say it didn't come off. I mean once you've told someone you don't get why they write, it's artistic merit, and that its old fashioned, what's not to be happy about.

As for super long TP books, they're not in KU; they have a completely different marketing strategy. Direct comparisons with TP books can only be made on the Store side of Zon. Which means Sanderson and Rowling are irrelevant to this conversation.

Yes, why should we compare to other titles of books that write to market, do well, and are published wide.


8. The lower Pay-Out Cap will reduce the revenue stream per shady-hat title by 75%.

9. To compensate, they'll have to publish four times as many books (won't that much duplication be noticeable?), which meas their AMS spend will increase by 400%. Is that sustainable?

10. A Pay-Out Cap is pretty much a single line of code. Let's face it, Zon isn't going to put much effort into implementing a workable solution. Any solution needs to be simple.


Frankly this is supposition. You don't know how much code goes into it. I'm a code monkey on the side, you simply haven't seen it so anything on that front is guess work. You can't predict the new model because it is a new model. All you can do is guess at what they'd do. Your benefits also don't touch anything that I care about and take away things I do. This is a deal that benefits you while cutting into what I love.

11. And for those on the fence, Romance writers, and a few other genres, have been dealing with this for the last year plus. How is that okay?

How is it right for you plan to not even once take into account the real concerns of other writers?

12. Let's also accept the fact that Zon is extremely unlikely to do anything we suggest, but it would be nice to see us get on the same page for once, thinking and planning for a better path for ALL of us. And while a lower Cap isn't a perfect solution, it provides the most benefit with the least harm. We even get to keep the All-Star bonuses (of which, I've never remotely qualified for).

I'll say this again. You don't ask for help while telling people you don't care what they think. The benefit is for things you care about while maiming the things I do.


I guess it comes down to whether or not cleaning up KU and leveling the AMS playing field is really all that important, if it's worth the sacrifice. I'd be happy to lose a buck or two, or whatever on my box sets if it meant my AMS spend could be competitive again, or if the pop lists were reflective of actual reader preferences again. I'll trade a few short-term pennies for long-term stability any day - we'll all make way more money that way. It's been proven in other industries - it's why the leaders of those industries created standards and certifications, so that manufacturing and services would remain professional and consistent with consumer expectations.

Oh, and it helps out our fellow writers, too. Win - Win.  ;)


My pop lists are indicative of what readers enjoy. It's good of you to give up some money, but then you get to keep writing the way you want, its other writers who will have to suffer for this. The writers that have said from the beginning that this wouldn't work for their books.

It's not a Win - Win for this author. In fact I'd lose, but then I'm writing in a way behind the times, with no artistic merit.

This will be my last time on this thread. I offered to help, wanted to compromise, was willing to work with you to actually get a change so that I could help out a genre I neither read nor write in. Since you force me into a binary of your way or their way. I'll say I'm their way.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Forgettable on June 22, 2018, 07:56:10 pm
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Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 22, 2018, 10:24:05 pm
Since the majority of scammers don't get purchases, all that will do is make them move their prices to $9.99.

Mejor que nada. At least their take would be halved.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jan Hurst-Nicholson on June 23, 2018, 12:17:32 am
Let's get rid of the all-star bonus for a start, that takes away 25k worth of incentive, and any author hitting page numbers to get a bonus should be financially happy with what they are getting anyway. When the bonus programme was rolled out it said they may stop paying it in future - so stop.

I agree with this. A bonus payment makes for a great incentive to 'manipulate' the system.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jack Krenneck on June 23, 2018, 02:16:15 am
It's easy in all this to come up with a solution that works for group A. Or B. Or C. But a true solution is much harder. A true solution will work for everyone from A to Z.

Unless some groups think they're more worthy than other groups, and that friendly fire serves the greater good, and that the end justifies the means.

This is why I think it best to target the scammers directly. They're not authors. They're running a scam. A true solution will hone in on them, and them alone.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: 41419 on June 23, 2018, 02:22:46 am
It's easy in all this to come up with a solution that works for group A. Or B. Or C. But a true solution is much harder. A true solution will work for everyone from A to Z.

Unless some groups think they're more worthy than other groups, and that friendly fire serves the greater good, and that the end justifies the means.

This is why I think it best to target the scammers directly. They're not authors. They're running a scam. A true solution will hone in on them, and them alone.

I agree with this. While removing bonuses might be effective (emphasis on "might") it harms innocent authors. A better solution wouldn't harm any authors playing by the rules. This is why I'm not wild about caps or bonus removal or many of the mooted suggestions.

Really, IMO, it comes down to enforcement rather than rules. We can have all the rules we like, but if Amazon doesn't enforce them, or only does so selectively, then it's kind of pointless dreaming up new ones.

I do understand the argument that a 1000 KENPC limit (or 10% bonus content limit) will curb the worst abuses, but I'd also argue that scammers and cheaters will find away around that roadblock and come up with a new wheeze - as they have done consistently since 2014/5.

Unless there is real will at Amazon to tackle this problem comprehensively, we'll just continue to kick the can down the road. It's no accident that many of the big guys breaking the rules today started as small time scammers pumping out 8-page wikipedia non-fiction books under KU1.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: David VanDyke on June 23, 2018, 07:52:27 am
It's easy in all this to come up with a solution that works for group A. Or B. Or C. But a true solution is much harder. A true solution will work for everyone from A to Z.


In the real world, that seldom happens. Most solutions are "best that can be done" type of things, which help the majority but disadvantage some minority, for the sake of the common good.

The perfect is often the enemy of the good.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Used To Be BH on June 23, 2018, 08:11:15 am
In the real world, that seldom happens. Most solutions are "best that can be done" type of things, which help the majority but disadvantage some minority, for the sake of the common good.

The perfect is often the enemy of the good.
I have to agree with this. It's always possible there is no perfect solution, and searching one just results in there being no solution.

In some alternate universe in which Amazon actually cared what we thought and sometimes took our advice, on this topic we'd have no advice to give. We as a community don't seem to be able to reach agreement on what we want, except that we want the scammers stopped--somehow.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 23, 2018, 08:58:14 am
In the real world, that seldom happens. Most solutions are "best that can be done" type of things, which help the majority but disadvantage some minority, for the sake of the common good.

The perfect is often the enemy of the good.

I agree with this, too.  The truth is, Kindle Unlimited has introduced unnatural elements into the book-selling business. Take KU 1.0. Authors were paid $1.35 for a 5-page "book" of useless junk. Take KU 2.0. Authors are being paid $13 for a stuffed collection of previously published ghost-written stories. Under both of these scenarios, payment per borrow far exceeded the natural selling price.

Unfortunately, these incentives have caused honest authors to adjust their businesses accordingly. Under KU 1.0, authors of longer books started breaking up their stories into serials. Under KU 2.0, even honest authors started adding bonus content to compete.

All of these problems stem from the simple fact that KU has introduced unnatural market incentives that enable authors to earn more from a borrow than from a sale. I'm sorry to say that this also applies to authors of very long stories. Please don't be angry with me for pointing this out, because I mean no offense. But right now, fantasy authors are enjoying a situation where they can price their books in-line with the natural selling price, say $5.99, but earn much more than that through a borrow. The current system benefits them similarly to how KU 1.0 benefited honest authors of short stories, so I understand and sympathize with the resistance to any page-count limits.

However, the current environment is an unnatural one. It's unsustainable, and thus, it will not last. If you're a fantasy author and your business depends on getting ten dollars a borrow, for example, you're building your empire on some seriously shaky ground. Aside from the scammers, I believe you're the most vulnerable to whatever changes Amazon makes next, and you have my sympathy, because you didn't cause this problem, and you've built your business plans around the current KU system. You've played by the rules, and now you see your livelihood threatened by scammers and honest authors alike -- scammers because they caused this problem in the first place, and honest authors, because we're desperate for something -- anything -- to stop the scamming. It has to be really frustrating, just like it's frustrating for honest romance authors who've been suffering for months due to all the scamming and stuffing.

In truth, it sucks for all of us, because speaking as a romance author, I really do wish there was a way to protect fantasy authors from the garbage going on in romance. Sadly, I think this is unlikely.

I do believe changes are coming. In fact, if I were a betting person, I'd bet that we will see the KU page-limit reduced to 1,000 and/or the elimination of box sets/collections from KU, because for whatever reason, Amazon seems incapable of stopping the scamming in any other way. It really is sad and pathetic, but there we have it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 23, 2018, 09:12:14 am
People are seriously advocating for amazon to remove all star bonuses?

I bet the vast majority of those things are won by legitimate authors. Do you really want those authors to eat a pay cut?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 23, 2018, 09:28:03 am
People are seriously advocating for amazon to remove all star bonuses?

I bet the vast majority of those things are won by legitimate authors. Do you really want those authors to eat a pay cut?

If the vast majority were won by legitimate authors, Amazon would still be publicizing the winners. Just the fact that they seem reluctant to tell us who's winning these things is a huge red flag. I might be mistaken, and please feel free to correct me, but I don't believe we even know who's winning anymore. If this is the case, I highly doubt that we'd find many legitimate authors on the list.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 23, 2018, 09:59:20 am
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Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Avery342 on June 23, 2018, 10:13:28 am
People are seriously advocating for amazon to remove all star bonuses?

I bet the vast majority of those things are won by legitimate authors. Do you really want those authors to eat a pay cut?

If by vast majority, you are talking about the very lower rungs of the awards, then perhaps you are almost right. I still don't think legitimate authors are in the VAST majority stage, though.

As was said before, if that were the case, Amazon would still have a list of all star available. Now, you can do a search for Kindle all stars and 3000 books will come up. I sorted them by newest release and yes, several of the best known stuffers magically appeared!

But there were honest and very hard working authors sprinkled in too. I'd hate to see Amanda Lee take a pay cut because of stuffers. She's the real deal.

In my mind, the best solution is for Amazon to take a stand on Duplicate Content. Give us a better description of "Differentiated Content", make it one book published ONCE in KU only (with the possible exception of also being put in ONE box set). And then actually, you know, enforce that.

Until they do that, I'm afraid nothing is going to change. Amazon simply doesn't care.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 23, 2018, 10:29:46 am
There's no reason why Amazon would get rid of All Star bonuses. That makes no sense from their POV. Why would they want to discourage the top earning KU authors from staying in KU?

This discussion is going in circles, so I'm going to bounce. We've discussed the idea of the cap to death and there's  no new points on either side. I don't think Amazon is interested in a lower cap and I don't see why that's necessary if they actually enforce the new ToS, but it's hard to know what they'll do. I'd rather have a cap than nothing, but it needs to be high enough to actually encourage people to stay in KU. Three dollars is way too low--that's less than the royalty on a 4.99 title.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Atlantisatheart on June 23, 2018, 10:37:44 am
People are seriously advocating for amazon to remove all star bonuses?

I bet the vast majority of those things are won by legitimate authors. Do you really want those authors to eat a pay cut?

The all star bonus wasn't meant to last, at least, that's what amazon said, and when I was getting them I never counted them into my earnings - they were a BONUS. Take the bonus away and it hurts the stuffers in the pocket, ad spend becomes less. Cut bundles and collections, one book per cover, and they are stuffed.

Big names getting big page reads aren't going to pull out because the bonus is cut. This just spreads the pain over everyone in KU and hopefully kills the KU3 version of their business plan.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 23, 2018, 11:01:01 am
I think almost everyone here agrees on Amazon enforcing and clarifying the recent rules. Encouraging them to do that is something you can take action on today. Personally I've decided to report every new collection or compilation I see coming from the serial stuffers to [email protected]

This is the email they've given us specifically for reporting scammer related violations. You get a reply back when you write it, unlike filling out the report form on the product page.

Whether doing this gets the collections stuffed with duplicate content taken down or not, I think it sends a message. If enough people do it often enough on these monster bundles then KDP should get the idea quickly that we want this to end by aggressively going after the bad actors or changing policy.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 23, 2018, 11:35:00 am
There's no reason why Amazon would get rid of All Star bonuses. That makes no sense from their POV. Why would they want to discourage the top earning KU authors from staying in KU?

Normally, I'd agree, because in a normal market, the top-earning authors would be the most popular. They'd satisfy the most customers. They'd make Amazon the most money. They'd act as a draw to the KU program and to the Amazon store. However...

In today's Kindle Unlimited, the exact opposite is likely true. Recent bonus recipients probably frustrate more customers than they satisfy. They probably cost Amazon the most money, because they're leading to over-inflated payouts. They're pushing customers away from not just KU, but also the Amazon store entirely, because they're making it hard for customers to find books they actually want to read.

If Amazon was smart, they'd, at the very least, revamp how they select the All Star bonus recipients so stuffed books were excluded in the calculations.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MmmmmPie on June 23, 2018, 11:41:13 am
I think almost everyone here agrees on Amazon enforcing and clarifying the recent rules. Encouraging them to do that is something you can take action on today. Personally I've decided to report every new collection or compilation I see coming from the serial stuffers to [email protected]

This is the email they've given us specifically for reporting scammer related violations. You get a reply back when you write it, unlike filling out the report form on the product page.

Whether doing this gets the collections stuffed with duplicate content taken down or not, I think it sends a message. If enough people do it often enough on these monster bundles then KDP should get the idea quickly that we want this to end by aggressively going after the bad actors or changing policy.

This is an excellent point. And for any writer who agrees that the stuffing is a problem, but doesn't want to see the program changed, this is a good opportunity to help stop the stuffing before Amazon takes more drastic measures, such as a page-limit.  Heck, if nothing else, browse the top 100, or the top 100 in romance. These books aren't hard to find. Start with anything priced at 99-cents and look at the TOC, look at where the excerpt ends, and report the books that violate the rules. If we all work together, maybe we can solve this with minimal disruption to honest authors.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 23, 2018, 12:50:55 pm
You know what? I'm literally at the point where I'm comfortable saying [expletive] Amazon. So many of us have championed them over the years, going to bat for them because they opened these doors for us. No more. I've seen countless readers fleeing the store and countless authors saying they've had enough. 90% of their problems circle back to this one issue.

They want to continue doing nothing? They want to continue lining the scammers pockets? Fine. They want to destroy organic visibility and make us pay for placement? Fine. Let them. I'll enjoy watching the goodwill they've developed crumble and it's happening fast.

None of this is good for writers, readers, or consumers. Readers are p*ssed they can't find anything they want anymore. Writers are p*ssed about visibility and watching their genre being destroyed from the inside.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 23, 2018, 01:55:50 pm
I think almost everyone here agrees on Amazon enforcing and clarifying the recent rules. Encouraging them to do that is something you can take action on today. Personally I've decided to report every new collection or compilation I see coming from the serial stuffers to [email protected]

This is the email they've given us specifically for reporting scammer related violations. You get a reply back when you write it, unlike filling out the report form on the product page.

Whether doing this gets the collections stuffed with duplicate content taken down or not, I think it sends a message. If enough people do it often enough on these monster bundles then KDP should get the idea quickly that we want this to end by aggressively going after the bad actors or changing policy.

While youíre busy scouring the store reporting books that amazon has specifically blessed and allowed in their TOS, Iím going to finish another chapter in my work in progress.

Something tells me writing and building my audience is going to get more done than being upset that amazon is specifically and explicitly allowing compilations in KU.

Even if you succeed and get them to pull their compilations some day, nothing will really come of it. The KU rate wonít suddenly jump. Your books wonít instantly find traction in the absence of those titles. The people on top will continue to work hard to be on top. I've said it before and I'll say it again: compilations are a ďwin moreĒ aspect of their publishing efforts. They donít need them to toplist.

The only thing that really makes a difference is fingers on a keyboard banging out words. Actively trying to get amazon to clamp down on us even tighter does us no favors.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)



Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Jack Krenneck on June 23, 2018, 02:32:16 pm
I think almost everyone here agrees on Amazon enforcing and clarifying the recent rules. Encouraging them to do that is something you can take action on today. Personally I've decided to report every new collection or compilation I see coming from the serial stuffers to [email protected]

This is the email they've given us specifically for reporting scammer related violations. You get a reply back when you write it, unlike filling out the report form on the product page.

Whether doing this gets the collections stuffed with duplicate content taken down or not, I think it sends a message. If enough people do it often enough on these monster bundles then KDP should get the idea quickly that we want this to end by aggressively going after the bad actors or changing policy.

This is something that I agree with, and may well be some common ground among all of us. Common ground has been a rarity.

I also see it working. It's not a way to try to change Amazon's TOS, and complaints against books that don't breach the TOS would be ignored by Amazon and dilute the effectiveness of the complaint mechanism. But multiple and consistent reports to them of books that clearly violate their TOS via the method they've designated to do so will surely produce an effect.

And if it doesn't, then at least it would provide a single focus that authors could rally around, publicize and use to encourage reader pressure on Amazon. If they won't act for authors, they may well act for readers. 
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 23, 2018, 03:02:05 pm
Quote
I'll trade a few short-term pennies for long-term stability any day - we'll all make way more money that way.

Yes. The pay per page might not go up, but there would be more opportunity to actually be seen in the store once the crap was cleaned out. It's like driving with a dirty windshield, think how amazing it is when you wash it.

While youíre busy scouring the store reporting books that amazon has specifically blessed and allowed in their TOS, Iím going to finish another chapter in my work in progress.

Something tells me writing and building my audience is going to get more done than being upset that amazon is specifically and explicitly allowing compilations in KU.

Even if you succeed and get them to pull their compilations some day, nothing will really come of it. The KU rate wonít suddenly jump. Your books wonít instantly find traction in the absence of those titles. The people on top will continue to work hard to be on top. I've said it before and I'll say it again: compilations are a ďwin moreĒ aspect of their publishing efforts. They donít need them to toplist.


The only thing that really makes a difference is fingers on a keyboard banging out words. Actively trying to get amazon to clamp down on us even tighter does us no favors.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)

Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

One has to wonder why what any of us does with our time is so important to you that you continue to exhort us to spend it more productively, as per your fine example. I can multitask. It's an amazing skill and truly a wonder to behold how much I can actually fit into my day on top of writing all the wordz.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: BGArcher on June 23, 2018, 03:05:56 pm
I think almost everyone here agrees on Amazon enforcing and clarifying the recent rules. Encouraging them to do that is something you can take action on today. Personally I've decided to report every new collection or compilation I see coming from the serial stuffers to [email protected]

This is the email they've given us specifically for reporting scammer related violations. You get a reply back when you write it, unlike filling out the report form on the product page.

Whether doing this gets the collections stuffed with duplicate content taken down or not, I think it sends a message. If enough people do it often enough on these monster bundles then KDP should get the idea quickly that we want this to end by aggressively going after the bad actors or changing policy.

Yesterday I saw a lot of people seeming to calm down and make some general suggestions. I'm leery about putting a max payout at $3.50, but sure, some of the ideas yesterday were fine. And then today somebody starts talking about getting rid of all star bonus, and unless I'm misreading you, you're suggesting we should band together, and play mall cop. Someone else mentioned it seems more productive to maybe just write another chapter, and that just seems like the "yes, of course" answer. Amazon moves slowly, but why don't we let them do their job, and we just do ours? Which is namely, writing novels.

A lot of the pushback in this thread seems to be from people who don't get that we're in late stage capitalism, and what do in that arena. I'm not saying I love it, or amazon. I really don't. But instead of complaining about it, or making suggestions that would in general just hurt a lot of perfectly legitimate authors, I'm going to go publish another book. Because that's not negatively effecting other author's, but will positively effect my bottom line. If I saw a book that was obviously spoofing, (see jack run for five hundred pages, and five different versions of the same book with a different cover) of course I would report that. But comb through the top 100 of any list looking for people putting out bundles? That's not just a waste of my time, it feels borderline unethical to me. But you all do you.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: GoneToWriterSanctum on June 23, 2018, 03:16:06 pm
I don't consent
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 23, 2018, 03:28:11 pm
While youíre busy scouring the store reporting books that amazon has specifically blessed and allowed in their TOS, Iím going to finish another chapter in my work in progress.



Edited. Drop me a PM if you have any questions. - Becca (https://www.kboards.com/index.php?action=pm;sa=send;u=59615)

Every time I hear someone ask why an author is engaging in activity that isn't directly related to writing, I think about those hopefuls who berate literary agents for spending time on social media instead of spending every spare minute they have plowing through their never-ending pile of queries. Usually because the hopeful's own query is buried somewhere in that pile. That always told me more about the motive of the person doing the berating -- who is, you know, also hanging out on social media -- than about an agent taking a break from the grind.

Personally, I've fulfilled my career goals, and I haven't required steering from some anonymous screen name since ... well, never. I also currently have time on my hands, so I can afford that minute it takes to find and report a scambook while listening to a podcast or waiting for a game to load. But thank you for your concern.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 23, 2018, 03:31:03 pm
I have to disagree with Bobfrost. It's not clear whether or not these retitled collections are allowed. If they are, then why are authors with better marked anthologies than the serial stuffers receiving compliance emails? I know at least three people who have.

Another consistent Top 100 romance stuffer also had many of her books pulled for several days this week after calling them compilations. Guess what, the books are back today and they're no longer stuffed. Clearly in her case retitling the stuffed books compilations had serious consequences.

So again, if retitling books collections is completely fine then why is Amazon sending mixed signals with threats and sometimes removals of rebranded bonus books?

Even if you think the collections should be allowed, you have to admit their message so far is confusing and inconsistent.

This is another benefit to reporting these collections, which are reshuffled duplicate content. If enough of us do it then KDP will be forced to clarify or refine what their new policy really is.

If adding collection to the end of a title and stuffing is truly sanctioned by Amazon, then every romance author who doesn't want the stuffers to have an unfair advantage should start doing it.

This isn't the solution I want. Ideally these collections should be banned because they are in many cases 70% or more duplicate content. The same bonus books reordered with a new lead story.

What I think and what Amazon does may be two different things. I'll admit that. I just want a hard answer from Amazon either way and consistent enforcement if the collections are off limits.

Reporting works to take out bad actors and bring others into line. It shutdown Chance Carter and it has also forced several stuffers with abusive formatting to clean up their books. Anyone who wants to see a cleaner Kindle store with more clarity on what the bonus content policy truly is should keep doing it.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: MyraScott on June 23, 2018, 03:33:31 pm
We are not a bloc with any control or influence over a private business.

If half of all indie authors removed all their books from Amazon tomorrow, it would have the effect of removing a swimming pool's worth of water from the ocean. 

Your dedicated readers would find your new books wherever you direct them to go but people who aren't as established would be cutting off their own income.  And the void left would be instantly filled with all the books that are already there- they might get more attention.

Sure, make yourself heard, lodge your complaints, offer ideas of what you would do if you were in charge... maybe someone from Amazon in a decision-making capacity will see one and be inspired. But you still have to work with things the way they are today or walk away.

Scammers suck.  Call me a mall cop if it makes you feel better, but when I find them, I report them.  Simple and easy and might help, might not, but it only costs me a few keystrokes. I don't get the contempt about reporting scammers- it feels like maybe it strikes too close to home?

When you see bad things going on and you look the other way, you're helping the bad things.  If you think Amazon is the bad thing, walk away.

The sand worms make the spice. You can get eaten by them or you can learn how to hitch a ride.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 23, 2018, 03:49:39 pm
Right, MyraScott. Some people are overestimating how much time and effort it takes to report high visibility stuffers. A person could easily spend no more than a half hour every week looking at the Top 100 and sending [email protected] a list of ASINs to look at. Save the message as boilerplate language to reuse every time. Done.

I personally focus on the dozen or so megastuffers in romance who consistently rank high. It's most relevant to me and I know these are the stuffers screwing things up the most. I'm not spending hours chasing down every scammer in noir or nonfiction sitting at a 10,000 rank.

It's obvious there are several hundred indie romance authors who care deeply about this issue. I don't think they'd be sacrificing any real productivity spending the same time on reporting that it takes them to knock out a few posts debating bonus content here.

I'll add that Amazon has specifically invited us to report possible offenders. They've given everyone who wrote them on the book stuffing issue over the past few months the Content-Review address and said they welcome the reports.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 23, 2018, 03:53:50 pm
If it makes you feel better, go nuts.

Just donít let yourself and you mood get dragged down into the mud when little to nothing happens.

I prefer to focus on positive endeavors, but thatís just me. Iím not into author-on-author attacks. Never have been.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: JWright on June 23, 2018, 03:54:05 pm
Well, "bonus content" may be out or on the way out but "compilation" looks to have just taken it's place - just another word for box set.  In a lot of cases things have been made clearer for readers though. Nothing wrong with a box set or collection if readers know what they are getting, but to me these books are stilled "stuffed" but using different words.

I think no duplicate content in KU would help - although there is plenty of content spinning software that might make it fairly easy to get around that too.  If there was a real no duplicate content rule people could still have box sets or single novels if they wanted to just - just not both at the same time.  You could always release the single novels in a series and then box them up in a set and then have that in KU instead of the single novels and still have the single novels for sale on Amazon or vice versa. 

BobFrost, in the time it took you to write your last post someone could report 1-3 books and like you still have finished their writing for the day, lol.

Whether or not Amazon really enforces things is still not clear but they do appear to at least be listening to some concerns.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 23, 2018, 03:58:31 pm
Reporting books and authors for publishing compilations that are specifically allowed by the current TOS.

I wonder what the next scapegoat will be when amazon bans compilations? :)
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: JWright on June 23, 2018, 04:02:56 pm
Personally I think it would be a waste of time to report books that weren't violating the TOS.

Nothing wrong with a good collection - whatever name it goes by, but yes the workarounds didn't take long, lol.  We'll see how long it all lasts.  If people want to have multiple books together and it doesn't deceive the readers then I say have at it.  Some of them still definitely seem "stuffed" but hey I'm not the audience for them.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 23, 2018, 04:06:19 pm
Reporting books and authors for publishing compilations that are specifically allowed by the current TOS.

I wonder what the next scapegoat will be when amazon bans compilations? :)
]

Two questions for you:

If they're specifically allowed, then why are they being unevenly pulled from sale while other authors receive compliance emails for clearly marked anthologies?

If they're specifically allowed, then why do you care if they get reported?
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Nope on June 23, 2018, 04:14:47 pm
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Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 23, 2018, 04:35:30 pm
Pragmatism, yes. I want to add Amazon is making this situation worse over the past few weeks by sending conflicting messages.

No one except Amazon can clarify whether the newly retitled collections stuffed with duplicate content are okay or not. Their existence at high ranks doesn't mean they're kosher while authors with series anthologies are getting hit with emails for bonus content violations.

I think they're not okay but I don't know that for sure. By calling for more reporting I'm doing exactly what Amazon has asked us to do: report these books to [email protected] so KDP itself can determine TOS violations.

I want answers. Reporting is the best way to get them and turns in stuffers if they're breaking TOS. This isn't the only way. If I knew a thousand indie authors were planning to email Bezos the same week asking for clarification on the new policy, I'd join that effort too.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 23, 2018, 07:20:06 pm
Yes. The pay per page might not go up, but there would be more opportunity to actually be seen in the store once the crap was cleaned out. It's like driving with a dirty windshield, think how amazing it is when you wash it.

Me thinks thou doth protest too much.

One has to wonder why what any of us does with our time is so important to you that you continue to exhort us to spend it more productively, as per your fine example. I can multitask. It's an amazing skill and truly a wonder to behold how much I can actually fit into my day on top of writing all the wordz.

They've literally admitted to hiring ghostwriters and stuffing. There's a reason they protest too much, tell us we all have better use for our time, and say they can't be bothered to waste time on the matter because they're too successful. Yet here they are again.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 23, 2018, 07:35:55 pm
I'd like to make a couple of general comments.


1. I'm bored. And have been for days as far as this thread is concerned. The horse is dead, until Amazon actually do something. Flogging it has been reduced to watching grass grow.



2. I notice most of the activity is coming from people who wont show their books. I'm sure you are all writing the next book, but if I cant see your books, I cant see where you truly come from. And without that, in this thread, nothing you say carries any weight.



Which makes this thread hot air. Just saying.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 23, 2018, 07:46:32 pm
Then don't read it. Don't post in it. Simple.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: AltMe on June 23, 2018, 07:50:09 pm
Then don't read it. Don't post in it. Simple.


I'm waiting for when Amazon does do something. I'm most likely to hear about it here first.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: bobfrost on June 23, 2018, 08:20:12 pm
They've literally admitted to hiring ghostwriters and stuffing. There's a reason they protest too much, tell us we all have better use for our time, and say they can't be bothered to waste time on the matter because they're too successful. Yet here they are again.

I've used ghostwriters. I run a publishing company. I write books, I do royalty sharing with other authors, and I have (in the past) bought many ghostwritten books. It's not part of my current business strategy but it was successful in its day. Nothing wrong with that. I'm proud of every book I've published and I've paid people fairly for their work.

I used bonus content on books ages ago when it was allowed, but I have no bonus content on any live title these days, and haven't done a bonus book, box set, or compilation at all this year. I've moved in a more profitable long-term direction in my quest for my next million. I couldn't care less that bonus content is gone.

No conspiracy here. I just happen to enjoy an open and relatively unrestricted publishing environment.

I'm not purely self interested. If you want to clamp things down, I'm not the one who hurts on the tail end of that.

Anyway, I think I'll just step away from the fun for now. There's nothing more for me to say here. Do as you will.

Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: RPatton on June 23, 2018, 08:39:20 pm
Reporting works to take out bad actors and bring others into line. It shutdown Chance Carter and it has also forced several stuffers with abusive formatting to clean up their books. Anyone who wants to see a cleaner Kindle store with more clarity on what the bonus content policy truly is should keep doing it.

I just want to make this point again, because I personally feel that it's important to remember that correlation isn't causation.

Chance's account suspension was likely caused because he (inadvertently) caused Amazon to be complicit in a sweepstakes that was in actuality an illegal lottery. I would bet my entire catalog and future catalog that the reason for the removal was because someone in the legal department said, "Oh crud, we can't have this, take it down. Now. Do not pass go, do not collect $200." (Except you can add a bunch more curse words.)

In all probability, Compilations or Collections or Box Sets had nothing to do with the suspension of his account. I don't even think the possibility of review manipulation or incentivized page reads caused the suspension, although I do think it added to the ammunition.

Just because it happened at the same time doesn't mean it's causation.

I also firmly believe that the next baseball bad to the kneecaps from Amazon will be related to external links in book files. It's important to remember that Amazon is a business first and their business encompasses a lot more than KDP. By ascribing our own views on what they should be doing to their reactions, we're ignoring all the other variables that may be (and in this case likely are) the actual catalysts that caused their reaction.

It's like the belief that sugar causes kids to be hyper. All scientific evidence says it doesn't, it's usually the situation surrounding the consumption of the sugar that causes the increased levels of excitement. Correlation is not causation.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: KelliWolfe on June 23, 2018, 08:49:04 pm
The thing is that even if Amazon by some miracle does do something to address this particular problem, the scammers will simply find another way to scam. As long as they can essentially make free money by gaming the KU casino using bots and clickfarmers with free KU subscriptions and cheaply produced content, nothing is going to change. Just as has happened every single other time so far, the scammers will adapt to the new changes far more quickly than the legitimate authors do and end up right back on top. For the most part the only people who truly get hurt when Amazon "does something" is us. That's is how it has played out since the very first days of KU 1.0, when a bunch of us right here on kboards predicted exactly what was going to happen because of the way the system is designed.

The only way it ever stops is if Amazon limits the borrows allowed for each monthly subscription like Scribd did and/or substantially increases the price of a monthly subscription. They aren't going to do either, which means that the scammers have every incentive to keep right on going. It's simple mathematics. If you can get more cash out of the machine than you put in every single time, you keep playing. Amazon doesn't care, because they don't care whether KU ever makes them a dime. KU isn't about making money, it's about bringing people into the store, destroying the market share of their competitors through dirt cheap content and exclusivity, and preventing new competitors from getting any traction.

PS: For those who believe that KU is somehow making money, I suggest you look at how Scribd and the other subscription services have had to limit their offerings in order to keep from going under, especially when it comes to romance and erotica where the readers are particularly voracious. Yet those are by far the two largest components of KU.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crime fighters on June 23, 2018, 08:58:47 pm
I see the argument that they will continue finding ways to scam the system. That's true. But in the first iteration of KU, it wasn't this bad. They weren't dominating an entire genre. They were making their money but it wasn't hurting our bottom line or visibility.

KU2 has a perfect design for scammers. Address that problem and it takes away 90% of their power.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: KelliWolfe on June 23, 2018, 09:10:14 pm
I see the argument that they will continue finding ways to scam the system. That's true. But in the first iteration of KU, it wasn't this bad. They weren't dominating an entire genre. They were making their money but it wasn't hurting our bottom line or visibility.

KU2 has a perfect design for scammers. Address that problem and it takes away 90% of their power
The fixed payouts for KU 1.0 were what encouraged the scammers to get into short erotica, which they quickly dominated, and publishing scamlets so scraped content that were read by bot and click farms. KU 2.0 was supposedly implemented to address those issues.

As long as you offer unlimited content for a fixed price, scammers can ALWAYS get more money out of the system than they have to put in. It is a free money machine. It's called math.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Phxsundog on June 23, 2018, 10:22:09 pm
RPatton, I agree with you on Chance. Probably wasn't stuffing that got him banned. However the hundreds of reports against him helped bring his page manipulation and giveaway to Amazon's attention. Reporting worked in this case to take down a bad actor. It could happen again if the other megastuffers are engaging in further shady practices that come to KDP's attention.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: Crystal_ on June 23, 2018, 10:46:09 pm
Normally, I'd agree, because in a normal market, the top-earning authors would be the most popular. They'd satisfy the most customers. They'd make Amazon the most money. They'd act as a draw to the KU program and to the Amazon store. However...

In today's Kindle Unlimited, the exact opposite is likely true. Recent bonus recipients probably frustrate more customers than they satisfy. They probably cost Amazon the most money, because they're leading to over-inflated payouts. They're pushing customers away from not just KU, but also the Amazon store entirely, because they're making it hard for customers to find books they actually want to read.

If Amazon was smart, they'd, at the very least, revamp how they select the All Star bonus recipients so stuffed books were excluded in the calculations.

I'm not a KU superstar, but I'm probably B-list (maybe C+ lol). I made somewhere between 10-20% extra last year from All Star bonuses and I would be much more inclined to go wide if bonuses don't exist. Thinking with my practical, business owner hat, I'm not sure bonuses make a huge difference in my bottom line (I had an especially great month last year and earned the top title and author bonus in the UK and US. I don't see that happening again, but the second tier bonuses are certainly in the realm of possibility. Yay for writing especially long romances), but they're so psychologically enticing. Thinking that I can prove myself one of the top ten authors of the month by earning the 25k. And that I can make an extra 25k if I just advertise my books on Amazon well enough. (or an extra 10k, or 5k, or $2500, plus the UK bonuses). It really encourages high spend strategies, which encourages me to send traffic to Amazon.

There are downsides to KU. Losing a huge upside like All Stars would really discourage big authors from staying in the program. The All Stars are a classic corporate motivation technique and they really do work. I'm not saying they should go because I like them. I'm saying Amazon would be foolish to cut them and I think they know that.

But now I really am out of this thread. Because I see a lot more talking in circles and I think the conversation has become unproductive.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: unkownwriter on June 24, 2018, 05:59:05 am
Quote
I don't get the contempt about reporting scammers- it feels like maybe it strikes too close to home?

I do. It's because no one wants us to take away the gravy train. It's work and extra money to work around the limits, and it knocks profit off for a while. I'm not specifically accusing anyone, so leave the torches and pitchforks at home, but it makes you wonder why some people are so concerned with what any of us do or don't do. Add to that the ones who invariably pop in and defend the bad actors, or try to turn our eyes away from what they didn't get caught for (supposedly). I don't think any of us worried over this BS really cares why someone is gone, just that they're gone and their buddies are following right on their heels.
Title: Re: Amazon Actions re NEW Bonus Content Limits -- threads MERGED
Post by: PhoenixS on June 24, 2018, 06:44:21 am
I've been reporting a long time, so I have some trend data to call on. Here's a thing about reporting that may go unnoticed: Some of us are not simply reporting Top 100 Paid books and authors. We're reporting general practices. We're reporting obvious botting and the services that provide them. We're reporting posts and newsletters that encourage incentivization and other ways to manipulate reviews/rank/sales/borrows. We're reporting multiple box sets that contain multiple iterations of duplicated titles that aren't sitting in the Top 100.

It's true that correlation doesn't always mean causation. But guess what? Sometimes it does. Let's not forget that. We've seen individual bad actors get slapped down. We've seen a website botting service shut down (yep, a 3rd-party website that Amazon had no contractual relationship with -- we had to get creative with that one ;) ). We've seen the TOS/T&Cs quietly amended several times to either explicitly forbid or at least strongly suggest a forbidding of specific practices. And we've seen the occasional broad sweep of bad actors booted from the store. Thousands of books gone in a single purge. There's a reason some scammers have left the store or have had to change their practices or spend a lot more money to stay in the game. A casual glance may not surface the results reporting has had, but the trend is there for those in the know.

When it's one person reporting, Amazon backburners the report and doesn't act as fast on it. When multiple people report, they start taking a bit more interest. And when there's a social media or regular media storm that explodes around