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Topics - Redgum

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I've been watching the share of readers borrowing my books via the KU increase steadily to the point now where they are around 65% of sales with regular purchases at around 35% in the US and around 50/50 in the UK but I expect the UK market to follow the US one in time as usual and for the UK share of KU to increase.

If your novel is $2.99, you get 70% of that, which means around $2.09 but unless your novel is around 110,000 words long, you're going to get paid a lot less for KU borrows than a straight-forward purchase. In short, writers of standard 65000 - 85,000 novels will get $1.25 and $1.64 per novel from the KU program as opposed to the $2.09 regular sale. In other words, as KU grows, writers get paid less and less. I know two who have walked away from KU exclusivity for this reason and put books out to Kobo etc.

So I'd like to raise this issue - will Amazon ever increase the KENP pay at any point to pay writers more in line with regular sales prices, or will they force us to put up our sales price to make up the difference? Do you have experience of walking away from KU exclusivity? Do you think there's an argument to be made that we get more readers because of KU and this benefits us even though pay per book is less?

Many thanks!

Writers' Cafe / Amazon Exclusivity and Free Giveaways - allowed?
« on: March 25, 2019, 04:08:06 pm »
I was wondering if it was acceptable to lock an ebook into Amazon KDP exclusivity and give away free copies of the same ebook at the same time from your website?

Thanks all, as ever :)

Writers' Cafe / Joining CWA Crime Writers Association
« on: March 20, 2019, 06:24:41 pm »
A quick question about joining the CWA. On their website it says:

"We offer full membership for those in the UK and overseas who have had published a full length work of crime fiction or non-fiction, and provisional membership for those who have a contract from a recognised publishing house but have not yet had their work published."

My questions are does this extend to self-published works of crime fiction on Amazon and what constitutes "full length"?

Many thanks to everyone :)

Writers' Cafe / Getting paperback proof copies to Australia
« on: January 02, 2019, 02:39:47 am »
I just published my first paperback with the new Amazon KDP service instead of Createspace. I ordered a proof, got a link, followed it and it took me to a nice page telling me "We are currently unable to ship items sold by third parties to Australian shipping addresses". I live in Australia and I need to see a proof copy, which was very simple with Createspace, so what am I doing wrong?

Thanks all!

Writers' Cafe / Unpublishing and republishing
« on: January 01, 2019, 04:51:36 pm »
I need to unpublish a novel and then republish it and I was wondering if this is a straight-forward process or if I will encounter any problems when republishing. The reason is that I just published it today Jan 1 2019 but it's coming up as Dec 31 2018 and I want it to be a 2019 publishing date for a number of reasons. Alternatively can Amazon change the date manually? It was Jan 1 2019 everywhere in the world when I published it so that's the accurate date.

Thanks in advance!

Hi All

As anyone who lives in Australia will know, books are ridiculously overpriced here. Increasingly so are Kindle ebooks that are offer, which are often one pound or one (US) dollar on Amazon UK or US, but can be found for the bargain price of ten AUD dollars on Amazon AU, for example, because for some reason books on Amazon AU never seem to be on offer. I refuse to pay these prices for books, and used to simply buy them from the Amazon UK store, but the Aussie Govt is nothing if not expert at crushing foreign competition and now I can no longer do this, and I'm forced to buy AU, which means just don't buy them.

I have one solution which is get UK family to by the books on UK Amazon, convert them to word and them email them to me, but this seems a tad involved - Anyone know an easier way that I can buy ebooks from UK or US Amazon stores even though I live in AU and my purchase details are all AU? I read a lot and I'm not paying ten times more for my books.

Thanks :)

Here's a puzzle I hope someone can help me with. I'm not in a good mood today, so I'm getting down on problems with Amazon that I've been ignoring for some time. These include the pollution of the sponsored products carousels, the abuse of the category system by publishing houses to push indies off the edge of the Top 100 genre bestseller lists, and now here's another one.

Many of us know that in the US, Kindle borrows via KU are trending up a lot and pushing sales down, often to the point that many authors make more money now via borrows than sales. This is a big incentive for writers to write longer books as borrows are paid via page count. So far so good, right?

After noticing something that didn't add up, I took a closer look at a few of the novels I have bought and read, many from some big names, when my "reader's instinct" told me the novels page counts weren't always reflected in how long it was taking me to read them. So, I converted them to word and took an accurate word count and then correlated them to the Kindle page count.

Studying two particular authors, I took one novel of 80,000 words and another of 122,000 words. The second novel's word count is 52% longer than the first, and yet the Kindle page count of the first is 284 and the second is 581. This means the second novel is now 104% longer. I counted through the pages manually and the pages were actually slightly different to the stated number, but still the second novel came out as 73% higher.

Now, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so if I'm way off track then someone please push me back, but the way I'm reading this is that Author No. 2 is getting more page turns and therefore more KU borrow money than the first per word, because his novel word count is 52% longer than Author No 1, but when on a Kindle it is mysteriously 104% longer = more page turns = more KENP pay per page money.


Writers' Cafe / Abuse of Amazon Categories by Publishing Houses
« on: July 14, 2018, 05:35:14 pm »
Just a quick whine here which I brought up on another thread. I have noticed an increasing abuse of the Amazon categories by publishing houses wherein they select totally irrelevant categories which they have assessed are easier to get a higher ranking in, maybe even to No 1 and get the little orange Bestseller ticker. I'm not going to name names here, but some of the worst offenders are small digital publishers with large numbers of authors who carpet bomb irrelevant categories with their books to get high ranks before shifting over to more relevant spaces, often in pre-release.

What this does is push out the books from indie authors who should actually be in those categories, and stops browsing customers from finding the actual books in the genre they're looking for in the Top 100 bestseller of their genre category. I contacted Amazon about this at least a year ago and was totally ignored, and it's still going on so they clearly have no problem with it.

As I raise on another thread, I'm starting to see a trend of sidelining indie authors for pro publishing houses in Amazon, and I feel this is a complacent attitude considering indie writers made them what they are. This can only happen because they are effectively a monopoly now and it's only going to get worse for indie writers. Should indies be talking about creating a new platform that serves indie authors and customers much better, or do we have to accept that publishers have finally worked out a way to crush indie writing and Amazon are complicit with that? We made Amazon ebooks what they are, so we can make another platform as well.

Writers' Cafe / Sponsored products related to this item
« on: July 13, 2018, 08:01:59 pm »

When I make us of this AMS facility and link my books to other related books for advertising purposes, it's usually to be found on page 65/75 etc. Others, I note, always seem to be right there on page 1/75 exactly where everyone can see them when looking at the book it's linked to.

Is this about how much you spend? How can you get your sponsored novel at the front end of the related "Sponsored products related to this item" pages?

Thanks all and have a great weekend! :)

Writers' Cafe / Removal from category on Amazon
« on: July 13, 2018, 03:01:38 pm »
As many will know, when you upload a novel you can select certain keywords to enter your book into a specific category not available on the main category selection menu. I did this on my last upload and it worked as usual, but the next day I saw my book was no longer showing as being in that category. Unlike an increasing amount of books these days that Amazon allow to be entered by publishers into totally irrelevant categories, my choice was totally relevant and correct.

Anyone have any experience of this?

And a supplemental question. I uploaded my novel the same day as another author. We're both indie publishers, we both have similar sales but I've been publishing for several years and he's been publishing for only 8 months. When I start to type his novel name into the search box it "auto-fills" immediately, but mine does not. In fact even when typed in fully mine does not auto-complete, if you know what I mean. Why is this happening?

Thank you :)

Writers' Cafe / Kindle First
« on: July 05, 2018, 01:39:45 pm »
I notice that some of the books that get picked up by the Amazon imprints don't necessarily accumulate that many reviews before being re-released by Amazon, but then a mysterious thing happens whereby they suddenly get hundreds and sometimes thousands of reviews, often before they're actually released. I read that this is because they give our thousands of free copies via something called Kindle First and just wondered how this process worked exactly.  I also notice that books under these Amazon imprints can rapidly rise to the top of the bestseller lists without accumulating any new reviews, which pretty much always accompany massive sales, so I was also wondering if Amazon give their own imprints a little algorithmic "help" to stay high in the ranks in order to gain more visibility until real sales kick in?

Writers' Cafe / Number of Categories on Amazon
« on: July 01, 2018, 04:10:57 pm »
This is a subject I've thought about before, and I'm trying to throw some more light on it. When you upload a novel on Amazon KDP you are allowed to have 7 keywords and 2 categories. If you know certain keywords, these will get your novel listed in certain categories. When all is said and done, your novel will be in three broad categories, and these will be listed in the product details.

I have noticed that some novels have their three categories listed, but at the top beside the thumbnail it will say "bestseller in x", and often X is a fourth category. When you click on that category there they are, as well as the three categories listed in the product details.

I have 20 novels and all of mine are only to be found in the three categories in the product details, no matter what keywords I use.

My question is, how are these writers getting their novels in more than the standard three categories? They can only choose two when uploading, so is it through special keywords?

Thanks as ever, R :)

Writers' Cafe / Australian ABN / Facebook Question
« on: June 25, 2018, 04:26:30 pm »

Got a nice "Update Your Tax Info" alert this morning on mt Facebook page telling me I have to provide an ABN number or get charged 10% on all ads I run. As per previous advice on this forum, I chose to stay as a sole trader and do not have an ABN. So what's the situation here? Sole traders get charged 10% on their ads by people with ABNs don't? Doesn't seem very fair to me. I rarely run ads on Facebook anyway, so this just tells me not to bother running them at all.

Have I got this right, or is a rant over nothing?

Thanks :) R

Writers' Cafe / ARCs and Netgalley
« on: June 22, 2018, 12:23:38 pm »
I set up an advanced reader team around six months ago where I give out my free copies in return for honest reviews. I do this my emailing PDFs to readers, but I wondered how others do it, including how Netgalley works?

Thanks! R :)

Writers' Cafe / Pricing question
« on: May 30, 2018, 02:12:17 am »
Is there an advantage to pricing a novel at $1 / GBP 1 rather than 0.99c . 0.99p? I can't see how it can be financially advantageous and yet several of the authors I follow occasionally raise there 99s up to $1 / GBP 1. Any reason to go to the trouble of doing this?

Thanks, R :)

Writers' Cafe / Quick question about vanishing reviews
« on: May 25, 2018, 12:32:00 am »
One of the many authors I follow had accumulated around 15 reviews with a 4.2 aggregate over the last couple of months. Today I went to buy a new release from this author and noticed that all 15 reviews on the previous novel are gone, and now it has zero reviews. Anyone know what's happened here?

Thanks R :)

Writers' Cafe / Super fast question
« on: March 24, 2018, 05:12:56 pm »
Hey all

If I have a novel on Kindle Unlimited (KDP), can I give it away free on my website?



Hi All

I have a quick question about what happens when an author gets signed to an Amazon imprint like Thomas & Mercer or any of the others. Very quickly, their novel which accumulated say 150 reviews in a year will very soon have hundreds if not thousands of reviews, often before the publishing date. I know this has something to so with sending out advance free copies to trillions of people and getting them to review it, so they are basically bought reviews, which the rest of us indie writers are not allowed to do of course.

I know so little about how this process works - anyone here been through it, or have any knowledge of how Amazon promote these writers and how they pile up so many reviews so fast? Is that what Kindle First is? Where are they getting these reviews from? I'm not trying to emulate this as I know it's impossible, but I would like to know what I'm up against so to speak.

Regards. R :)

Writers' Cafe / Pinning Amazon-link tweet on Twitter
« on: November 13, 2017, 12:54:47 pm »
Hi All

When you pin a link to your Amazon novel on Twitter, you get an image which has been retrieved via the link. This is usually just the picture of the novel cover on Amazon with a few lines of product description beneath it and the number of reviews. I'm sure most here will know what I'm describing.

I pin mine when it first goes live on Amazon and therefore has no reviews on it, but I have noticed with other authors that while their initial pinned tweet remains at the top of the page, the number of reviews beneath the image goes up. They can't be simply writing a new tweet to get fresh links to an updated version of the Amazon page, because you can see from the date of the pinned tweet that it's the original pinned tweet when they had zero reviews, yet now it has 30, then 40 then 50 reviews and so on - all on the original pinned tweet.

This way allows the reader/viewer to see more reviews on the product and helps sell it.

Anyone here know how this is achieved?

Thanks in advance, R:)

Writers' Cafe / 35% 70% royalty question
« on: November 07, 2017, 10:21:29 pm »
I was just repricing my books when I noticed that even though they were all priced in the 70% range (2.99 etc) or higher, the "royalty plan" option above said "35%". Surely it's not possible they've been paying me 35% when my prices were all in the 70% range? Surely the 70% royalty plan is automatically paid when you select $2.99? If not, Amazon are paying some authors 70% of $2.99 and others 35% of $2.99.

Writers' Cafe / Tax Return Question for Aussie Writers
« on: October 08, 2017, 05:10:13 pm »
Hi All

It's tax time in Australia, but this is my first year doing an Australian tax return as I'm from UK. I'm looking for any advice I can get - how much should a good accountant cost? I have one quote at $390 so far. What I should be submitting to my accountant for maximum benefit? (What can I claim for, etc?). I work at home. All tips welcome!

Thanks in advance,

R :)

A crime author I read has recently left Thomas and Mercer and started publishing under his own publishing company. What I've never been sure of is the difference between people who simply self-publish totally on Amazon, and those who seem to have their own publishing company name listed under publisher. My question is what are the various advantages for authors publishing under Amazon's T&M imprint versus under their own private company, vs just straight-forward "normal" self-publishing.

Thanks R :)

Writers' Cafe / Creating a "box set" series to sell
« on: August 24, 2017, 05:19:41 pm »
I'm trying to put one of my series together and sell it as a "box set", maybe all of them together, or perhaps the first three, etc. Has anyone got any experience of this because I'm not sure how to upload it or sell it in this box set format?

Thank you all

R :)

Writers' Cafe / How do you get a book into 4 categories on Amazon?
« on: August 24, 2017, 01:42:02 pm »
I was perusing the Cozy crime charts today and happened upon a novel that was listed as a bestseller in Romantic Suspense, but this perplexed me as none of its three categories were Romantic Suspense, but these:

Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Thrillers > Conspiracies
Books > Crime, Thrillers & Mystery > Action & Adventure
Kindle Store > Books > Crime, Thriller & Mystery > Mystery > Cozy

When I clicked on the bestseller in Romantic Suspense link it was there as well. I understand how an author can game the category system by adding certain keywords, but I've never seen a novel listed in four categories before, three of them specific sub-cats (Romantic Suspense, Conspiracies & Cozy).

If anyone knows how this is possible, I'd love to know, because it seems to me getting your novel in four categories like this is going increase visibility by a long way.

Thanks :)

Writers' Cafe / Quick Amazon print length/word count question
« on: July 29, 2017, 07:23:56 pm »
My last novel was 60,000 words long and Amazon listed this as having a print length of 249 pages. However, another writer's latest novel I just read has nearly the same word count (61,000) but has a print length stated as 219 pages.

How is this possible? Are they using a smaller font? Both books have a similar number of pages before and after the text. How can one 60k novel have a print length 30 pages longer than another 60k novel?

Thanks in advance! :)

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