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Topics - Seneca42

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Writers' Cafe / 2018 - let the pricing chaos begin...
« on: January 01, 2018, 09:20:51 pm »
Was just looking over the top 100 scifi chart and I have to say, I've never seen this big a range on pricing before in that list.

Books are ranging from 99c to $14.99 and all price points in between. Usually the list is dominated by $3.99 and under books.

I've been on the fence about pricing for the past few months and its good to see that the market seems to be as well. Some authors are going higher, others lower, and some staying in the middle.

Will be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Also will be interesting to see if this marks some kind of self-driven curation in the market. Are authors who are putting out high-quality work done playing the $2.99 game on zon? It's looking like some of them are.

Writers' Cafe / did amazon remove the stats on new releases?
« on: November 22, 2017, 12:29:16 pm »
Maybe I'm 'membering wrong, but when you clicked kindle ebooks> new releases last 30 days > science fiction (or any other category) you use to be able to see how many new releases there were.

I don't see those numbers there anymore.  Did zon remove that feature?

So now we have no way of knowing the number of new books coming out every month.

Writers' Cafe / A reminder that success can take a long time...
« on: October 27, 2017, 10:06:30 am »

Interesting list of authors who died and then become hugely successful.

If tough times are bumming you out, it could be worse.  :D

Writers' Cafe / What would happen if?
« on: October 24, 2017, 05:32:51 pm »
If authors started requesting of their readers to buy their books on other vendors? Not in the book matter, but web site, FB, blog, etc.

All the vendors have apps that run on tablets and what not.

Would amazon react negatively to that?

Writers' Cafe / Shall we play guess the KENP again?
« on: October 12, 2017, 02:50:53 pm »
Last month we had some fun guessing the KENP rate. Shall we do so again given its release is coming up?

I'm going to guess .00399

Writers' Cafe / Oh you silly algos...
« on: October 06, 2017, 10:43:10 pm »
We thought botting was a problem...

Amazon reviewing sales algorithm after suggestions in U.K. that bomb-making ingredients be bought together

Writers' Cafe / Prime is getting insane - top 6 books all prime
« on: October 05, 2017, 10:55:30 am »
The top 6 books in the entire zon store are all Nov 1st pre-orders, meaning they are currently being read via Prime readers.

Either zon is inflating their rank, or holy catfish there are a lot of Prime readers.

Does Prime dwarf KU now when it comes to readers? You'll never see 6 KU books in the top 6 spots. Ever.

Writers' Cafe / I think zon should derank for cats
« on: September 30, 2017, 05:40:30 pm »
The cat stuffing is out of control. There are people at the top of cats that do not belong in those cats. If they had any pride in being an author they would ask zon to remove them from those sub cats.

I hope when (if) zon ever cleans up this mess, they should derank for cat stuffing as well. These authors are basically the equivalent of someone who gets on the bus and fills up 10 seats with their junk while others are forced to stand in the aisle.

(rant over)

Writers' Cafe / AMS - any way to change bids all at once?
« on: September 27, 2017, 11:55:00 am »
Pretty sure the answer is no, but is there any way to change the bids on your keywords all at once (short of launching a new ad). Or do you have to go in an manually change each one all the time?

Writers' Cafe / Can I list my scifi book in every category?
« on: September 26, 2017, 07:11:14 am »
RR Martin's GoT book 2 and 3 are listed in science fiction now (ranks #38 in the scifi list).

I haven't read GoT's, but if it's anything like the tv show, isn't it literally the exact opposite of scifi? It's medieval fantasy or something.

Writers' Cafe / Can we talk about pricing?
« on: September 13, 2017, 09:45:07 pm »
A year ago I feel like everyone was on the same page with price. But I'm wondering what people think about pricing nowadays?

As a Canadian, just a few months ago the exchange rate USD->CAD was 1.34. Today it's 1.22. That's basically a 10% hit. In CA and AU I price my books at $5.99... but as the dollars get closer to parity, I'm starting to wonder if I should be pricing at $5.99 USD.

So in that spirit, generally speaking, what's the view on pricing? Is $2.99 still what most people publish at? I'm hearing that 99c is starting to have a negative stigma. Are readers actually starting to see lower prices as a negative?

When I first started in SP I quickly learned that $4.99 was generally the higher end of the spectrum. But I'm wondering if we're on the verge of a bump to $5.99 as an acceptable top end.

On the one hand I don't think pricing matters all that much (if people like you they'll buy) but I'm wondering if pricing trends are changing at all, or if they are still what they were a year ago. 


Writers' Cafe / Got my first US Bookbub...
« on: September 12, 2017, 02:01:49 pm »
Had an international bookbub six weeks ago and it's still performing (tail is still alive). But today got accepted for a US bookbub on the same book.

I'm pumped!  :P

After 1.5 years publishing this couldn't have come at a better time. I have 5 other novels for sell through and I'm confident in them all (reader feedback has been nothing but positive).  And it's happening in October (which I think is a good month for buyers right?). My International was during the summer and did great, but I assume summer is a bit slower in terms of sales.

All to say, never thought 1.5 years ago I'd be sitting here with six books and landing a bookbub on my flagship novel.... but here we are. Feels like a bit of a milestone that the hard work is paying off. 

Writers' Cafe / Socially inept editors, please work on your approaches...
« on: September 11, 2017, 08:41:12 am »
Not sure if anyone else ever gets these, but on occasion, I'll get an email from someone who "loves my book" but claims the editing is "atrocious" and filled with errors. They'll go on about how important editing is and blah blah blah (always ending with they are an editor in real life). 

I know my books aren't atrocious but will have the occasional error in them.

That said, the manner in which these editors approach is just ridiculous... like the thing has a hundred errors in it. 

What's funny is when you press them for errors (as I have a few) they'll come back with maybe 5-10 little tiny things. How in the world 10 small errors in 140k word novel counts as "atrocious" I'll never understand.

I get they are most likely trying to drum up business, but my god, work on your approach. Don't inflate something into being way worse than it actually is. Not only does it not make me want to consider you as an editor, I actually end up thinking you may be mentally unbalanced. I get editors are OCD and a strange bunch, but come on now, develop some degree of cordiality and/or soft touch.

Writers' Cafe / Survey apps?
« on: September 08, 2017, 06:29:07 pm »
Do any of you use any survey apps (survey monkey type stuff) to poll your readers?

If yes, any suggestions?

Writers' Cafe / What happens when I die?
« on: September 05, 2017, 09:10:31 pm »
Just curious, is there any kind of guide out there for what you should be doing to pass on your works after you die?

If I were hit by a car tomorrow, what would happen to my works? Can they be passed on to next of kin? How does Amazon handle that? Does your next of kin need your amazon login details and all that stuff.

I figure some of the folks here with serious incomes must have already taken care of this stuff just in case something were to happen.

edit: i tried searching for "die" on the forums but just got a million "indie" threads hehe.

Writers' Cafe / How to extend a stand alone into a trilogy?
« on: August 30, 2017, 05:09:52 pm »
Anyone know what the process would be to extend a stand alone into a trilogy?

The reason this confuses me is that the stand alone (which would become the first book) is locked in, in terms of titles. The ISBN and everything is tied to the title. Change the title, it's the same as relaunching the book with a new isbn.

So let's say the book was called: Speed.

And let's say book 2 and book 3 will be called: DeatRace and Final Lap

How do you fix all this so that readers know that Speed is part of a trilogy and know that Death Race is book 2. You could give the trilogy a name, but then you'd have to rename book one (which causes all kinds of headaches).

Anyway, this can't be that complicated. So hoping someone has done this and has some ideas.

Writers' Cafe / How can amazon not catch this stuff?
« on: August 20, 2017, 08:12:07 am »
I track a few books that I know are botting. Recently they started to add fake reviews.

The amazon accounts leaving the fake reviews aren't even being coy about it. The reviewers are each leaving 10+ reviews across different books every single day. None of the reviews are even verified.

No one is reading 10 books a day and leaving written reviews.

So how is it Amazon can't catch this stuff? Can the algos not detect that if someone is leaving 70 reviews a week, all unverified, that they aren't a legit reviewer?

Just curious about what the average sort of looks like with regards to attempts to get a bookbub.

5 times?
10 times?
100 times?

Writers' Cafe / What's your guess? AMS bid average...
« on: May 12, 2017, 01:31:12 pm »
What do you guys think the "average" AMS bid is. Let's assume a run of the mill keyword.

It's kind of a "how many jelly beans in the jar" question, I know, but just curious what people think.

I'm going to guess that the average AMS bid is 35c.

Writers' Cafe / AMS never fails to boggle my mind...
« on: May 06, 2017, 07:25:58 pm »
Just thought I'd share this AMS strangeness...

So I have three books in AMS. They all happen to be appearing on a particular author's book page (something i just noticed tonight). For my books let's call them Book A, B and C.

Book A - 11c bid - appears on page 7 - has 22 impressions
Book B - 21c bid - appears on page 8 - has 190 impressions (of note: Book B has 10 times the reviews of Book A or C).
Book C - 11c bid - appears on page 9 - has 280 impressions

Try not to have a stroke trying to understand how that data is possible:

* My bid for book A is half what it is for B, yet B displays behind A. 
* Book A is displayed before book B, yet somehow has 80% less impressions (given you can't get to book B without passing book A, not sure how that is possible).
* Book C, which is behind both A and B, somehow has the most impressions of all.

The only obvious explanation would be that the order in which I'm seeing the ads was either different at earlier times or appears in a different order for other users. But given book B has by far the most reviews and the highest bid, it really should never have been behind the other books regardless.

I'm absolutely convinced that there's no sound, consistent logic or rules that govern AMS.  I think at higher bid amounts it may push you to the front, but that's just a guess on my part. I think at best it's a ham-fisted system which is really designed for nothing more than generating revenue from authors (not delivering any kind of reliable results based on "bids"). 

As a general rule, I think they just spit ads out like an out-of-control machine gun. They get you onto the pages you want, but beyond that, it's pure randomness. 

So a popular author may have 100 pages of sponsored ads on their product page.

Now, are the bids for those spots all the same? Or is there a gradient?

So do the ads shown on the first page cost the same as the ads shown on the last page? Or are there different bidding segments? Because I've found with some very popular authors my click cost is like 4-6c, but there's no way that's what the bidding supports for such a popular author.

I'm guessing that the front page ads must be paying over 50c for a click easily.

This aspect confuses me because then I have to start evaluating now what it costs to simply be shown, but what my bid should be to appear in say the first three pages of ads.

Writers' Cafe / AMS question...
« on: April 07, 2017, 09:39:17 am »
When you're using keywords my understanding is that it matches them broadly.

So "The End of the World" ... tracks the phrase, but also individual words... "the" "end" "of" "the" "world".

Do I have that correct?

Also, would using quotations narrow the keyword so that it only tracks the phrase? Or would it ruin it and view the quotations as part of the keyword term?

Writers' Cafe / AMS makes no sense...the algo has gone insane!
« on: March 30, 2017, 09:19:06 pm »

Someone please explain this madness to me :)

So I have two AMS ads running for two books (to be clear, one ad per book). One is my permafree (let's call it Book A) the other is a full price book (Book B). The two ads have been running the exact same amount of time. The two books are not in the same series.

Now, the keyword of interest here is "1984". 

Book A: 6c bid. Impressions: 8,417
Book B: 11c bid. Impressions: 131  (that's right, i'm not forgetting any zeros here..131)

I mean, WTF?

Here's the thing. That keyword is modestly relevant to Book A (hence such a low bid; as well as the book being permafree so not willing to bid much). It's MASSIVELY relevant to Book B (hence higher bid).

Yet, the amazon algo gives Book A tons of impressions and Book B hardly any.

How does this make any sense?!  I'm bidding twice as much and getting 99% less impressions.

Book A has more reviews and is obviously downloaded more per day (it's free after all). But why does that matter?! 

The only thing I can think of is that Book A gets clicked a lot because it's free. So I guess the amazon algo is thinking "wow, that book gets a lock of AMS clicks, let's show it a lot! Even though we're only making 6c per click, there's lots of them so we're making money. Book B doesn't seem to get clicked as much, so even though they are willing to pay double the bid price, screw that book."

But the whole thing then becomes a chicken-and-egg scenario. How can your ad get clicks if they aren't showing it? But they won't show it unless it proves that it can get lots of clicks.

At least that's the only explanation I can think of.  It's the only thing that explains why they'd show the 6c ad over the 11c ad.

The AMS algo makes no sense.

What's interesting with this though is that it tells me BID PRICE is most definitely not the determining factor in your ad being shown. If it were then Book B would have the 8,000 impressions, not Book A.

Of further interest is I wonder how far this discrepancy goes? If Book B had 25c bids... would Book A with its 6c bid STILL get the impressions over Book B? If yes, then this means that the popularity of an ad (ie. how prone people are to click it) factors big time into the AMS algo.

It also means that bid price may have nothing to do with why you aren't getting impressions. 

Writers' Cafe / quick AMS question
« on: March 30, 2017, 09:46:38 am »
When setting keywords it says "broad" but there is no option to change that, I assume to "narrow".

Anyone know what the deal is with that?

Writers' Cafe / How long does the look inside preview take to update?
« on: March 11, 2017, 10:45:34 pm »
The look inside preview seems to take weeks to update sometimes. Anyone know, generally, how long it takes?

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