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Messages - Redgum

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Writers' Cafe / Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
« on: October 30, 2020, 06:06:39 am »
There's no point to it, as it's often something Amazon itself does. Whether it's through keywords, something in the blurb, or whatever reason, things end up in crazy places. Sure, people abuse the system, wanting that #1 banner somewhere, but Amazon basically doesn't care. Until it becomes a publicity issue, they probably won't ever do much about it. Just look at the history of abuses in Select/KU, and you'll understand.

Yeah, this is about it. I reported the abuse to Amazon and didn't even get a brush off - nothing.  My recommendation to authors is to put their books in any go-dd-am category just for a laugh - in fact make a meme out of it to highlight to the high/main street customer what a joke Amazon is and just how much contempt they show their book-buying customer. Anything goes because it is just a joke - noir in coming of age, action-adventure in girl's crochet, vampire porn in how to improve your indoor bowls delivery. Just go for it until we shame them into doing the right thing, if that is possible in 2020.

Writers' Cafe / Re: How to report publishers abusing category system
« on: October 23, 2020, 05:11:15 pm »
besides this being all that you described, it is also highly annoying. i am mostly a non fiction reader and cannot stand these kinds of books - there is always the clueless author who does not know better but often it is just intentional.

There is a report problem at the far end of the page and it would be a 'quality problem' which has a selection for other.
If you feel strongly, I would consider using that.

Hi Nicole

Thanks for your reply and I am glad I am not the only one annoyed by this. I will use the function you just described! :)

Writers' Cafe / How to report publishers abusing category system
« on: October 23, 2020, 04:58:06 pm »
Hey All

Finally snapped with stables abusing the category system but cannot find a way to report it. They upload fiction into totally irrelevant non-fiction categories to get a higher ranking and often a #1 which they then plaster all over their sales spiel. It also has the incredibly annoying effect of stopping writers in those categories from getting their proper rank and often costs them their genuine #1 position. The latest is a stable who shall remain anonymous uploading crime fiction into non-fiction adult education, non-fiction animal care and non-fiction music. These charts are full of genuine books on these subjects (textbooks etc) pushed down the ranks by this pathetic and dishonest little scam. It also stops customers being able to find the books they are looking for. It is also highly deceitful and misleading as it implies to potential readers the #1 was earned in a crime category when it was achieved simply by putting it into a low-selling non-fiction category such as goldfish tank care or how to clean out your budgie cage. This is unacceptable practice.

How can this be reported, or do Amazon just not give a damn about writers and readers?

Writers' Cafe / Re: How to get your choice of font into Kindle viewer
« on: September 23, 2020, 10:16:02 pm »
You will have to embed the font file into the EPUB, and modify the EPUBs CSS to use that font file for the chapter heads. Note that you will need an appropriate license for that font file.

Thanks so much for this reply - I'll have a go at this when it's time to publish :)

Writers' Cafe / How to get your choice of font into Kindle viewer
« on: September 23, 2020, 12:32:39 am »
I usually just use a basic font, but one of my series uses an art deco font for chapter numbers. However, when I saw a copy on the Kindle viewer it had been returned to whatever basic font they use. Thing is, I'm currently reading a Kindle novel which clearly has special fonts as chapter headers - so what am I doing wrong?

Many thanks to all :)

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Customer Reviews and Ratings - difference?
« on: September 20, 2020, 07:17:19 pm »
The option to leave a star rating pops up on your Kindle when you get to the end of the book. That's the only time I've seen the option to do it.

Thanks Shayne and EmberKent for the explanations which put my mind at rest a little, but it's obvious anonymous ratings are going to be abused one way or another, so problematic in the end.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Customer Reviews and Ratings - difference?
« on: September 19, 2020, 07:38:18 pm »
Ratings = Stars, Reviews = Comments

Thanks Catherine - why I'm confused here is that in the past when you get a suspicious review, i.e. one star and "awful" or whatever written in the review, and delivered an hour after the book was published, etc., I've been able to click on that reviewer's name and see their review history and determine if they are genuine or not. This time, someone delivered a one star "rating" about three hours after publication, and yet there is nothing for me to click on, no way to tell at all who this person is, what they review, nothing. It's just a one star, dumped out of nowhere by someone who has not read the book, and with total impunity. Am I missing something?  >:(

I can see the innovation of leaving a rating without a review, but surely that rating should not be totally anonymous? I for one will be emailing KDP every single time I get a critical anonymous "rating" and asking for them to verify it's an authentic purchase. And so should every other writer - flood KDP with emails demanding to verify if the reviews are genuine or not.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Amazon Customer Reviews and Ratings - difference?
« on: September 19, 2020, 06:41:48 pm »
It's a star rating. We now have the option of leaving a star rating without having to leave a review.

Thanks Shayne - I presume you have to be logged in to do this, right? If not, this is just ripe for abuse.

Writers' Cafe / Amazon Customer Reviews and Ratings - difference?
« on: September 18, 2020, 08:26:16 pm »
I have one review on my new release this week (denoted by an actual star rating), but when I scroll down to read it, it is not there, nor is it on any other Amazon territory page. I notice that down where the review should be, it says "There are 0 customer reviews and 1 customer rating"

Not noticed this before - what is a rating if it is not a review, and why can't I see this rating? Is it a new way to allow reviewers to hit and run?

Writers' Cafe / Re: How to get quality ad image on Bookbub
« on: September 15, 2020, 04:06:26 pm »
Are you using PS?

No, GIMP but it's pretty good. Reducing from 3000 pixels to 300 is just not working. Does PS do this sort of reduction?

Writers' Cafe / Re: How to get quality ad image on Bookbub
« on: September 15, 2020, 03:39:50 pm »
When you size down, don't do it all at once. Size down by a small increment - 25%, for example - then double click to accept the size, then repeat until it's the size you want. That usually works for me.

Thanks - I can get it down to around 500 x 350 but after that it just looks very fuzzy and poor quality. I must be missing something here because BB have a lot of great ads and people aren't creating brand new book covers each time they want to use them.

Writers' Cafe / How to get quality ad image on Bookbub
« on: September 15, 2020, 03:12:15 pm »
I'm trying to run an Bookbub Ad but I have run into a problem. They ask for an image size of 300 x 250 pixels, which is ridiculously tiny. All of my ad work is massively larger than this and reducing even a simple book cover for the ad destroy the quality completely. I can't create entirely new covers for an ad, so what is the solution? Am I missing something here? That's possible, I'm not tech at all.

Thank you. :) :)

Writers' Cafe / CreateSpace to KDP paperback transition question
« on: September 15, 2020, 02:39:21 pm »
Hey All

I'm trying to convert a number of paperbacks originally published with CreateSpace. I thought this would be a simple case of hitting the "Link existing titles" but this does not work, presumably because I published them with CS originally. Do I have to basically create a new paperback all over again with KDP? If so, what happens to the old CS copy on my homepage and the old ISBN number?


Writers' Cafe / I'm not sure I understand Bookbub
« on: September 14, 2020, 11:16:23 pm »
I'd like to make one of my novels free for a few days (due to KU) and advertise that fact on Bookbub, but I'm not sure how to coordinate it. I can select to make the book free for a few days whenever I want on KU, but do I have to wait while Bookbub "choose" my Ad? Is it dependent on winning a slot or something? Anyone with any experience of this?

Thanks to all!  ;)

Writers' Cafe / Is Amazon removing subtitles on books?
« on: September 10, 2020, 06:07:10 pm »
Hey all

Today I noticed a series I am following (one book only at this time) no longer has "Book 1" after it, just the title. I presumed the author had decided to abandon the series, which is not uncommon today given how hard it is to launch series on Amazon these days. But, then I checked one of my own titles which I published over 2 years ago and subtitled "Book 1", and I am working on Book 2 right now. However, the "Book 1" subtitle has magically disappeared and it now looks like a standalone.

Is this a thing?  :)

That’s only for people who’ve signed up through KDP. Trad pubs can get better deals.

Ah, I see. I knew Amazon were working hard to crush independent authors but I was unaware of this particular bias. Thanks.

Hey All

Cruising around the online books stores today and found Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Ebook on Kindle Unlimited on Amazon but also for sale as an ebook on Kobo. I thought signing your book up to Kindle Unlimited meant ebook rights was exclusive to Amazon?

Writers' Cafe / Screen Reader Supported Kindles
« on: September 05, 2020, 03:48:47 am »
I see many kindle novels on Amazon are "screen reader supported" but others are not. How do you make sure your Kindle ebook is "screen reader supported"?

Many thanks :D

Hi everyone,

Is it just me or is something strange going on with AMS ads and Amazon BSR?

I have been using AMS ads to advertise my books for years and have gotten decent results. I spend a lot of time advertising with AMS ads so I'm familiar with the platform, how it works, what to expect, etc.

However, in the last 10 days something has been way way off. All my winning campaigns stopped getting sales. Whenever I launch a new campaign (with a track record of success with proven keywords or ASINS) it flops.

AMS ads reports I get 2 or 3 sales for a book and I look at the Amazon BSR of that particular book and do not see any change, in fact I see the BSR ranking getting worse not better.

It is just not adding up. I am getting worried. As I never experienced this in years.

Can anyone relate?



I gave up with AMS a long time ago. In the early days I got a reasonable response, i.e., I'd make slightly more money from sales than ad expenses. But since around 2017/2018 it's just a great way to give Amazon some of your sales money back.

Writers' Cafe / Re: Did you ever get a one-star review removed?
« on: August 29, 2020, 08:43:45 pm »
Just received one today. No name. No comment. No 'Verified Purchase.'

I didn't even know people could do that.

On my first novel many years ago, I had a slight problem with formatting on ONE page. A reviewer took a picture of it, uploaded the picture to Amazon, one-starred the book. I saw it and fixed the problem immediately. Then I wrote to KDP and said the issue is fixed and the uploaded picture of the formatting problem is now inaccurate and gives entirely the wrong impression to potential readers. KDP told me to get lost. Because of this experience I wouldn't waste my time contacting them for this sort of thing. In fact just last month someone gave me a one star review for something which doesn't even exist in the book. It's clearly a fake review, but because of my experience I haven't contacted KDP. If they listened to Indie authors more they might find they get more sales.


Mark's removed all brag from his Twitter page.

There's lots of pictures of his hardback gracing the shelves of various countries around the world. The point has to be made - you did not bring me down, and I am stronger than ever. He's a good novelist. He should focus on producing more content and he'd get further ahead without all this garbage following him around.


If he's so worried about ebook market saturation, to the point that the only way he feels he can keep his career going is to get a trad publisher, that doesn't really say a lot for his courses, does it?

I have no idea how successful his courses are but you make a good point. You need to be a good, persistent writer to get ahead, and Mark cannot teach this. All he can teach is how to tweak keywords and get slick cover art, etc. Some people need to hear that, and I'm certain his SPF has benefited many people, as well. Mark is very hard sell - I'm thinking now that he's going to formulate a much more intelligent way to get Saint Death into the Sunday Times Top Ten list, because I just don't think he can live with the embarrassment of this and will want to tuck it into bed in a way that satisfies him. Look out for that.

I have been only at this 30 months. I have no history in the great expectations of ebooks from 6-7 years ago. I,too, believe the ebook market is super saturated. The same strategies are being repeated...

1) Write a series
2) Discount or give away (get a Bookbub).


What is happening is the people are fed up of emails/unsolicited ads.  So I think you will see more series rottng on the vine. People download the freebies but never read them. This is more likely to happen more often.

Also, if you are writing a better pump them out. Why? Because readers have a zillion choices and if you are not fast enough, they will lose interest and move on.

And here is the kicker...authors market by targeting other authors audience.

So in this landscape, maybe paperbacks are the future/past or at minimum remain very viable.

Dawson would recognize this...and his foray into hardcover..speaks volumes.


The biggest change I have seen is that these days the cost of marketing and advertising is so high  that only people bringing serious money into the game are able to get visibility quickly. It is no coincidence that so many of the most successful authors (at least in the UK) either obviously started with big bucks or have eventually let on they did (selling businesses, etc). This is frustrating because good authors with normal budgets cannot find readers, and those readers cannot find the authors. But it's fair in a free market and they're not doing anything wrong in buying their way into everyone else's shelfspace.

And this is why this Mark Dawson story has caused such a reaction. Mark has talked about how he spends something like $500 a day marketing. He can push competing authors right off the shelves and reach massive numbers of new readers. And yet he still felt moved to cheat to get on a bestseller list. For me, the Occam's Razor explanation is that he's shorting ebook futures - and if *he* is worried about it, then everyone should be. Just a theory - he might just be greedy.

Maybe Dawson is saying all his books have sold three mil, but Welbeck is saying the Milton books have sold one? Milton's a subset of the aggregate, so perhaps that's the discrepancy.

Perfectly possible, but a glance at the Amazon rank shows the 11 Rose books sell substantially less than the Milton books, as do the boxsets. I find it surprising to learn that these much less well-known books have sold twice as many copies as the flagship Milton series, but apparently, they have.

I do think Mark wants to get into brick and mortar stores to find more buyers, as he's said. But I wonder if there's more to it.

Mark is very plugged into the Kindle market, and I have said elsewhere, excluding the new release spike, his ranks possibly indicate lower sales than he once enjoyed (although still very strong sales). He has always been well ahead of the curve and his desperation to get into physical stores makes me think he has dwindling faith in ebooks.

If Dawson was willing to lose that much money--and in all likelihood more since airmail is almost twice as expensive--then Dawson believed, and must still believe, that there is a very good reason for him to gain bookstore readers.

So the question is: what's his reason?

There may be possibilities that we are so far overlooking. I'm speculating, but it might be easier to get a deal for a movie or a TV series for your books if your books are also sold in brick and mortar book shops, even if, as Dawson constantly reminds everyone, he has sold three million books. And then of course if or when the movie or series adaptation of the book premieres, then you the author sell a whole lot more books.

It's hard for me to believe that Dawson wanted a physical presence in bookstores simply out of vanity. If he was willing to subsidize bookstore launch for thousands of pounds, you can bet that somehow there is money to be made.

An interesting angle. I've already given my view on this, which is based on Mark having talked about how the ebook market is totally saturated and only going to get worse. This is probably the reason he is so keen to have a solid launch into paperbacks and 3D stores and went to such dubious lengths to achieve it. And he says he has sold three million, but Welbeck are under the impression Milton has sold 1 million. I have a hard time believing Milton has sold 1 million but the Rose books and some boxsets have sold two million. The numbers don't seem to add up.

In reply to markpauloleksiw - Mark was a barrister I believe but the story about his father being actor Keith Barron is nonsense. In fact, he recently addressed this on his FB page.

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