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Topics - John Van Stry

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Basically, anyone who published between 4/20 and 4/23 had their book nixed from the 'Also Bought' promotion that Amazon lists on the page (they have fixed that, as of today).

HOWEVER, if that book was part of a series, the entire series was also removed from the 'Also Bought' banner. They haven't fixed that yet at all. I know several other authors caught by this, two of them have already stated to their fans that they are abandoning the series and moving on to something else (can't blame them really when your sales for a series suddenly drops to a third or less of what it was on the new book and sales on existing books drop almost to 0).

For me, enough of my fans found out about the new book by other means, however I'm not picking up new fans like I was prior to this disaster. As I'm only 7 books into an 18 book series, I'm not terribly thrilled with the idea of dumping it and walking away, but I may be forced to, even if Amazon ever does fix the issue.

Anyone else here get caught in this glitch?

Edit: This hit me on a series that I write under a pen name. A series that has been hugely successful. Like Michael Anderle successful (or was on that track at least). Now it's dying because it doesn't show up anymore.

Writers' Cafe / How many page reads to get into KU All Stars this month?
« on: November 15, 2017, 05:52:57 pm »
I'm just kind of curious as to how many page reads you needed to get into KU All Stars this month.
Do they post what the low end is anywhere? I had 4.8 million this month and didn't make it, so I'm curious as to where the bar is. Not that I think I'll ever pass it.


I found out today that for some authors, Audible is selling physical CD's with mp3 versions of the books on them.
It appears to only be best selling famous authors, but they're definitely doing it. However I see nothing on audible about this.

Anyone have any information? Rather curious about it.

A word of warning: Make sure someone else isn't already using that image on the cover of their book!

I say this because I was looking at a cover site advertising premade covers the other day and I saw several covers that are already in use by other authors. When I contacted one of them I was told that they had licensed the cover from an artist and that the premade site must have licensed it too.

So be sure to do a few image searches to be sure no one else is already using that cover, because if you use one another writer is using, even if you have the right to use it, the readers may think you ripped it off. And even if they don't, do you still want the same cover as another author?

So always ask where the picture came from, if anyone else is already using it, and do some searches first. It may save you some headaches later!

Writers' Cafe / On KU payouts in other countries
« on: December 23, 2016, 08:07:58 pm »
I can understand the KU per page payout being lower in countries like India, and even Australia, Canada, and Mexico, but why in the EU and the UK?

I also find it funny that the per page payout is higher in Mexico than it is in Australia, the EU, and Canada. Who knew that Mexico had a stronger economy?

Writers' Cafe / Forums from Author Central Page now missing?
« on: December 15, 2016, 11:53:52 am »
I just noticed this yesterday, forgive me if it's been mentioned before, but I noticed that the forums at the bottom of my author central page on Amazon have gone missing. Does anyone know the reason Amazon got rid of this feature?
I used mine to talk to my readers, and now they're gone.

Writers' Cafe / Did anyone else's B&N sales for Dec 1 disappear?
« on: December 03, 2016, 11:36:11 am »
I had a bunch of sales on B&N on 1 December.
On 2 December, they all disappeared. Anyone else have that problem? Wrote to B&N, no response yet (if I'll ever get one, their customer service is pretty bad.) Haven't seen a problem like this in years.

The Book Bazaar / Thanksgiving Weekend Sale, nine eBooks
« on: November 23, 2016, 11:39:53 pm »
I have put nine of my works on sale from now until Sunday at midnight. Five of them will be at 99 cents for the period, the rest are on a countdown sale, starting at a price of $1.99.
This sale is only on and Amazon UK.

if you would like to see which ones are on sale.

Writers' Cafe / So, is it Dear or dear, Hon, or hon?
« on: November 18, 2016, 11:37:11 am »
This may seem like a stupid question (and okay, maybe it is  :)  ) But I've seen both of these used, and I haven't gotten a clear response from a few editor types, so I thought I would throw it out there.

Is it:

"Well, that's okay, Dear."
"Well, that's okay, dear."

Same question

"Well, whatever you say, Hon."
"Well, whatever you say, hon."

I know if you're referring directly to a person in dialogue you normally capitalize the word. But on 'dear' and 'hon' I've seen it done both ways in a lot of books over the years. And while 'Hon' seems okay, 'Dear' seems off? So I figured I'd throw it out there and let the debate begin.

Thanks! Hopefully this won't start any wars.


Writers' Cafe / Comment / Advice from Nick Cole - Some good points.
« on: November 07, 2016, 09:17:39 am »
For those that don't know, Nick Cole was fired from Harper Collins because an editor didn't like something he used as a plot point (it went against their 'politics', and they said as much when they fired him).

So he posted this the other day, worth reading.

I'm not making this up.

I had an ad running on amazon for my new book (See 'wolf killer' below), which has an FBI agent holding a gun on the cover. It's an action book about a paranormal serial killer.

Well, this morning the ad was canceled because:
" we are unable to approve your ad if it shows products that can be identified as a realistic firearm or ammunition."

Mind you, the ad was already running. I'd submitted it over 3 days ago. It had several clicks already. And since when is an ebook a product that can be 'identified as a realistic firearm'?

Waiting to see if they pull my book next. This is just insane.

Writers' Cafe / Problems with changing categories?
« on: August 16, 2016, 01:11:23 am »
Has anyone else noticed that it's getting harder to change categories?
It used to take about a day.
Then they said 72 hours.
Then they said 72 hours, plus another 24.
Now they're saying Three to Five Business days.

Definitely something to be aware of.

Writers' Cafe / anyone know about this?
« on: June 24, 2016, 12:06:02 pm »
Tried searching, but 'Indie Writers Support' turns up way too many results.

This is a group that charges a monthly fee and offers well, support I guess?

Anyone know anything about it? Do they provide a worthwhile product / service? Or is it just another scam?


Writers' Cafe / Anyone else not get paid by B&N for May yet?
« on: May 31, 2016, 09:29:23 am »
Still haven't received my May payment from B&N. Anyone else?

Okay, I said someplace I'd come back later and talk about this, I was going to wait another month, but I can't afford the continuing loss so here it is.
In short: Lowering your price to .99 cents for the first book in a series will NOT increase sales. It may even decrease them.

To go into a bit greater length:
I have heard lots of 'experts' say that making your first novel in a series 'permafree' or lowering its price to 99 cents will increase sales. And by sales I mean paying sales, giving away a free book is NOT a sale (even if some claim it is) a sale means the author got money.

Now, what I'm about to say only applies to SF&F in my experience. Other genres may have different results.

From what I have seen permafree does not work. It hasn't worked for me, and I do not know of ANYONE for whom it has worked in the last three years. You might see a slight increase in PAYING sales (Again, I have NEVER seen this happen and know of no one who has), but in order for this to make you more money, you must sell at least TWICE as many of the next book in your series, as you were selling before you went permafree, for you to be making more money. If you don't, you're not.

That's math.

Now let us look at the 99 cents discount. I have a novel that has always been priced at 2.99, except for some promotional events. This novel has sold north of 13,000 copies since it's release 20 months ago. For the last 6 months or so, it's been floating around 60 copies a month (not counting KU sales), if you exclude promotional events, and November when I released another book in the series and it tripled that.

So, I decided in March to lower the price to 99 cents from $2.99 to see if there would be any effect on sales. There wouldn't be any new releases in the series until May, and with all of the 'experts' swearing how well this works I thought if I saw the increase they all claimed I would, then it would be financially viable as the increased readers moved through the series (and maybe bought other books).

After all, it's math, I'm an engineer, and I spreadsheet all my sales every month, and I do statistical analysis on the data. Because Engineer.

It is the end of April and I can tell you, I haven't sold anymore books than I have in the past four months this month. And that's removing ALL of the sales that took place during promotions in those previous months. And I did do promotions in April! I advertised that book more than I had in the previous four months.
Yet no increase in sales at all.

So, I went from making $127 on the book on non-KU sales, to $20. That's a loss of over $100. It's not worth bothering to analyze the numbers on the other books in the series, because as there was no increase in numbers in April, there really was no point (the other books did hold their own however). It would have taken an increase in sales of 54 books in the series to make up for that price drop, btw, to cover the $100 that I lost.

Remember, going from 2.99 to .99 means your royalty goes from $1.96 (on average after amazon removes costs) to $0.33. You're making 17 percent of what you made before, so you have to sell nearly six times as much to make the same money, or again, see almost a doubling in the sales of the next book (or an equal increase in the number of sales in all later books combined) to just make the SAME amount of money.

So, in my mind the myth of the 99 cent sales leader for a series has been laid to rest, along with permafree. The decrease in sales I saw (because the promotions did not work) I think speaks to the common perception that cheap books are not good books, and 99 cent books are just too cheap. This does not include sale events of course, those do work - but how do you do a sale when you're already at sale prices, right?

I still think that 2.99 is the price point to go at, if you want to have a 'loss leader' on your books. I have had over a dozen readers write me to say that it was the 2.99 price that caught their attention and convinced them to give the book a try. Otherwise they would never have bought it.

So, your mileage may vary, especially in other genres. However if you're going to say I'm wrong, put up your data. I saw the post Coker made, and I took issue with it and asked to see his data, because mine disagrees 100 percent. He has not been very forth coming. And again, different genres may have different results, because of different demographics with different purchasing habits. I'm only talking SF&F. Things may have been different before KU came onto the scene (and all of my books are in KU, so for 9.99 a month you can read all of me and lots of other people as well), but it sure seems to be the way things are now.

(*note: The above numbers do NOT include KU sales, which tend to be the same in units sold)

Thanks for your time,
(and yes, I have raised the price back to 2.99 if you want to get it at 0.99, better hurry.)

Writers' Cafe / What's the story on 'publishing addict'?
« on: February 23, 2016, 06:32:47 pm »
Tried a search, nothing came up. Anyone know what the story is on Publishing Addict? I seemed to have ended up on their mailing list.

The Book Bazaar / Big Sale!! Starts Tomorrow (2/19)
« on: February 18, 2016, 10:45:19 am »
This is my 'Post Valentine's Day Sale', because you were probably all too busy on Valentine's day, right?

Well, okay, the way my KU stuff is set up, couldn't start it until tomorrow (and I can't start Lost Souls until Saturday - weird 90 day boundary thing). But I know February is slow for a lot of people, and I figured this might be a good time to have a massive sale, maybe spark some interest and some new readers even!

So! All of my books are going on sale tomorrow! Most are 50 percent or more off, a couple are only 30 percent.

So, if you've ever thought of checking out some of my stories, this is the time to go have a look! (my author page on amazon)  (my home page with links to all my books)

So, with the change in KU page numbers to everyone's books on the 1st, which KU page count number do you think will be used when they do the per page payouts tomorrow? The old page numbers, or the new ones?

Wonder if they'll be cutting page counts again? Sure makes it easier to lower payouts without decreasing per page price! ;-)

Writers' Cafe / India KENP is one-third the USA KENP - Thoughts?
« on: December 17, 2015, 01:08:29 am »
So, the good news is that I've seen an upswing in my books selling in India via KENP.
The 'bad' news is that my books are generating for 1/3rd the page royalty there, because of the lower KENP payout in India. (.00161 US Dollars)

I've rarely sold books via KENP in India before, usually they were straight up sales. This month, I had zero straight up sales but quite a few via KENP. Not sure how I feel about the lower royalty rate in India, and I don't know if it is possible to opt out of selling in India, and I don't know if that would be wise in any case. But despite selling a lot more books, I'm not making any more money than before.

So, what do the rest of you think? Is this good for us, or bad for us? And should we be asking if we can opt out of India sales?

Edit: Just noticed that Brazil KENP is 67 percent of US. EU is 94 percent. Why the Euro gets a break is a rather curious question.

Writers' Cafe / Has anyone heard of or dealt with Publish Wholesale?
« on: November 09, 2015, 12:08:39 pm »
I just received an email from them on one of my novels. I'm not familiar with Publish Wholesale ( anyone here have any dealings? A search didn't turn up any hits here.

Okay, I write in SF&F market and not in romance, so these aren't the huge numbers that I always hear about from there, but the number one book in my current series has sold 11,700 copies in the last twelve months (not counting any October sales) those are all paid sales, at the current price.

Is that a good number? Is that considered to be a lot? or is that considered to be nothing impressive? Or somewhere in between? Would a publisher be impressed by an indy with those kinds of numbers? I spend about a hundred a month on advertising, if that, (I suck at marketing - I admit it).

I mean I think I'm not doing bad, but I see lots of people with 100K a year numbers, so I really have no idea what to think.

So? What do the more successful out there say?

Writers' Cafe / September KENP payout .00507
« on: October 15, 2015, 09:35:10 am »
Well the per page payout is 0.00507 this month (sept).
0.00007 down from August.

Writers' Cafe / Anyone having success with the Amazon ads?
« on: August 31, 2015, 12:13:46 pm »
I've noticed I can get clicks, but according to Amazon, none of them are leading to sales.
Add to that, they will reject an ad within minutes of it being submitted (never use the word 'bestselling' or 'bestseller' even if you can prove it) but it always takes three whole days to get one approved. So good luck trying to adjust your advertising if you see something isn't working.

So, has anyone had any success with them here? A friend of mine (who runs a guitar company) said they'd had great success selling their fairly expensive guitars here, so I thought I'd try them. But again, get lots of clicks, but Amazon says I haven't gotten a single sale (KU sales went up, I wonder if they count KU?).

Writers' Cafe / Anyone else see screwy payments from B&N this month?
« on: August 28, 2015, 08:41:38 am »
Okay, just got my payment from B&N this month. It's $2.54 -less- than what they owed me, as per their own website's charts.
And it was immediately followed by a second payment of eleven dollars, that relates to nothing that I can figure out.

Anyone else seeing this? They've never messed up like this before, wondering if it's just me.

Writers' Cafe / Grammar question, single quotes
« on: August 03, 2015, 11:16:32 pm »
I've been told by some, that this is okay, others that it is not, what do you folks say? I'm talking about the use of single quotes around 'shooing' in the sentence below. Some say you should use double, some say it's up to the author.

I looked at Dezba who made 'shooing' motions with her hands, "Go, go. I'll be cleaning this mess up for weeks.

I don't like to use double quotes for anything that isn't dialogue myself, but at this point I'm curious as to what the rest of you have to say.

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