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Jacks Full of Aces. My latest novel. 59000 words. According to Amazon it's "183 pages." They allegedly estimate page count by the number of words that appear on the screen after each page turn. That would mean 327 words on each Kindle screen. On my Kindle, it's actually about half that. (Yes, I counted)

Strike Battleship Argent. My first military sci-fi novel. Same series. 97000 words. According to Amazon it's "591 pages." Presumably both books have their page counts estimated the same way. (Or not, apparently) You can check for yourself. Both books are linked in my signature.

There's a math problem here. Argent works out to 164 words on a screen. About half the number for Jacks Full of Aces. Interesting that number also matches the number I came up with on my Kindle. Based on these numbers we can conclude Argent is being estimated correctly, while Jacks is being penalized for some reason.

Why the different criteria for page count? Nobody will ever know. What I do know is my book is dead. We're six days in and it's all over but the shouting. All the mailing lists and ads in the world can't help it. When people arrive at the page they think they are being sold half a book at full price. Result? Jacks Full of Aces sank like a rock. In fact, it's sales rank steadily dropped even when it was selling. I know. It's shocking. Had a two-week schedule of launch events for this book. All wasted.

Jacks Full of Aces still isn't part of my series page. I requested that a week ago. Oh sure there's an empty space where my book should be, but my book isn't linked. So now it looks like there's something wrong with the fifth book in the series. How is that going to affect sales? How to people usually respond to broken windows web pages where they are being asked to spend money? More sales lost.

There's no look inside, so nobody will be able to sample the story. (I have a hell of a first chapter) Even more sales lost. Just a few little details is all it takes to make my work look inferior and cheap. I believe even if I tried I couldn't come up with more effective ways to drive readers away.

Competing books, on the other hand, come out of the gate with dozens of reviews and all the details on their buy pages in perfect working order. Here's a good example. Brand new book. Brand new series. Page count looks accurate. Six reviews in three days. Has a series page even though there isn't a series yet. Top 300 book. Best seller. Clearly J N Chaney is just a better writer. Well, Exodus Ark is in KU (alongside 100 other J N Chaney titles) with a $25 paperback and already has 17 pages of also-boughts after three days but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

Why is book five being treated differently from book one? Is it deliberate? Nobody will ever know. Might it be because I'm not in KU any more? Might it be because I'm not spending enough on AMS ads? (I'm spending zero). Is that why the buy page for Jacks looks so empty and unappealing and broken and half-finished? How is this going to affect reviews, if any? Not much danger of it affecting the "algorithms," is there?

The truth is my book was suffocated in its crib. This isn't the first time either.
 

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Sorry to hear your launch didn't go as well as hoped. I agree Amazon can be fickle, but it's not vindictive, and not targeted, and there are things within your control that can help mitigate its eccentricities. Sometimes...

Shane Lochlann Black said:
Jacks Full of Aces. My latest novel. 59000 words. According to Amazon it's "183 pages." They allegedly estimate page count by the number of words that appear on the screen after each page turn. That would mean 327 words on each Kindle screen. On my Kindle, it's actually about half that. (Yes, I counted)
Who alleged this? (It's nonsense, and demonstrably untrue as different Kindle devices don't even have the same number of words per screen by default.) The simple fact is no one knows how pages are calculated but word count alone isn't it.

If you want a more accurate page count, the power is in your hands. Create a paperback, and link the ebook.

When people arrive at the page they think they are being sold half a book at full price.
I agree, the value proposition here doesn't look great, but how can you know? There are other short books that still do fine at prices that seem on the high side to me. I'd fix it, but I wouldn't expect it would be a panacea afterwards. Just a piece of the puzzle.

Competing books, on the other hand, come out of the gate with dozens of reviews and all the details on their buy pages in perfect working order. Here's a good example. Brand new book. Brand new series. Page count looks accurate. Six reviews in three days. Has a series page even though there isn't a series yet. Top 300 book. Best seller. Clearly J N Chaney is just a better writer. Well, Exodus Ark is in KU (alongside 100 other J N Chaney titles) with a $25 paperback and already has 17 pages of also-boughts after three days but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.
Not a coincidence at all. J N Chaney does a pre-order so he can make sure all this stuff has time to propagate through Amazon's system prior to release day. Did you?

Why is book five being treated differently from book one? Is it deliberate? Nobody will ever know. Might it be because I'm not in KU any more? Might it be because I'm not spending enough on AMS ads? (I'm spending zero). Is that why the buy page for Jacks looks so empty and unappealing and broken and half-finished? How is this going to affect reviews, if any? Not much danger of it affecting the "algorithms," is there?
It's true that we'll never know why book A has issues with the sales page while book B doesn't, but it wouldn't be hard to find cases where a book 1 had trouble, and a book 5 doesn't if we asked around and same about KU/wide so we can probably rule out both of those theories as the cause.

To paraphrase/corrupt Hanlon: never attribute malice where apathy will suffice.
 

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J. Tanner said:
Sorry to hear your launch didn't go as well as hoped. I agree Amazon can be fickle, but it's not vindictive, and not targeted, and there are things within your control that can help mitigate its eccentricities. Sometimes...

Who alleged this? (It's nonsense, and demonstrably untrue as different Kindle devices don't even have the same number of words per screen by default.) The simple fact is no one knows how pages are calculated but word count alone isn't it.

If you want a more accurate page count, the power is in your hands. Create a paperback, and link the ebook.
Creating a paperback and linking them together may not solve the problem. I have only one book. I have a paperback and a kindle version, and they've been linked together since the beginning. Mine is a longer book with a word count of 113K words (including the back and front matter, of which I probably have ~1K words worth). At 6x9" trim size, the paperback is 387 pages. Amazon claims the Kindle version, on the other hand, is 273 pages. Given my book is plenty long, I don't really care, but it's a considerable discrepancy.
 

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I just put out a trilogy in one volume, and noticed the page count Amazon gave was 744 pages! I started sweating, because I thought I must have inserted one story twice or something...but no. It is a mystery.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Who alleged this?
Amazon. It's linked from the inaccurate page count.

If you want a more accurate page count, the power is in your hands.
Well that's good news. Is there an official list put out by Amazon? "Ten things you must do to make sure your book is presented to the buying public in a manner that doesn't make you look like a gold-plated jackass?"

There are other short books that still do fine at prices that seem on the high side to me.
I published a full-length novel. Not a short book.

J N Chaney does a pre-order so he can make sure all this stuff has time to propagate through Amazon's system prior to release day. Did you?
Is that item seven or eight on the jackass list?

Look, I know you're desperately trying to swerve the discussion to "you're a [poopy] writer and nobody wanted to buy your book in the first place," but the problem is there's no look inside either, so there's no way to tell how [poopy] the writing is.

Ten years ago, we thought self-publishing would be a great opportunity for authors. The results were as predictable as the Rose Parade. The "self publishing revolution" produced a couple thousand millionaires and put up a CLOSED sign for everyone else. They turned writing into a hobby for bored rich people. They're also turning publishing and books themselves into dumbed-down, crippled products because of their half-assed outsourced stagnant technology.

It should be crystal clear at this point Amazon doesn't give even half a damn about books. When they aren't telling you what you can and can't write about (or which five narrow genres of fiction they'll let you sell), Amazon treats e-books like party favors. Print books are the gag gifts. (You too can read this gripping PAPERBACK NOVEL for only $25 plus shipping! Wow, this author must be completely retarded! Why buy from him when you can get a paperback at the grocery store for five bucks? What an [Uranus]!) E-books are little wrapped candies given away as customers are led to the real products Amazon monetizes with your ad dollars. Like a Mercedes dealership.

Oh sure, they don't make it quite that blunt, but it's clear which books and authors are favored and which aren't. Amazon itself has confirmed on multiple occasions there are "two piles" (their words, and appropriate words at that). Just look at the discussion over the weeks-long delays with audiobooks.

All they've done is appropriate the traditional publishing business and install a robot to monitor it. That robot has instructions to make some books winners and to defeat others. If you're paying attention it isn't hard to guess what criteria the robot uses to decide. That robot works 24 hours a day at light speed and is constantly adapting to any attempt by authors to save themselves and their careers. If you're really paying attention, you'll notice corporate America has a similar robot deleting your resume when you apply for a job.

P.S. Since this thread will end up in [poopy] writer territory anyway, I'm making my standard offer. I'll post the first chapter of Jacks right here in this thread on one condition: You agree to use it to either a) prove I'm a [poopy] writer line-by-line or b) admit you can't. If you don't accept my challenge. every time you imply there's something wrong with the quality of my writing, I'll remind you of it.
 

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alcyone said:
Creating a paperback and linking them together may not solve the problem. I have only one book. I have a paperback and a kindle version, and they've been linked together since the beginning. Mine is a longer book with a word count of 113K words (including the back and front matter, of which I probably have ~1K words worth). At 6x9" trim size, the paperback is 387 pages. Amazon claims the Kindle version, on the other hand, is 273 pages. Given my book is plenty long, I don't really care, but it's a considerable discrepancy.
they don't check, you have to send them a request to put the paperback book length on your kindle page

it will not happen automatically
 

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nightwork said:
they don't check, you have to send them a request to put the paperback book length on your kindle page

it will not happen automatically
If you do both Kindle and Paperback, publish the paper back first ... then the page count remains when K-book is published.

IF not, you need to contact Amazon and it will change it IF you also have PB version. I'm not much of a tech person, so don't know the tech reasons, but that's from experience. I'm ready to publish a new novel in less than a month, and will do it PB first, and report back if this thread is still active.
 

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Shane Lochlann Black said:
Competing books, on the other hand, come out of the gate with dozens of reviews and all the details on their buy pages in perfect working order. Here's a good example. Brand new book. Brand new series. Page count looks accurate. Six reviews in three days. Has a series page even though there isn't a series yet. Top 300 book. Best seller. Clearly J N Chaney is just a better writer. Well, Exodus Ark is in KU (alongside 100 other J N Chaney titles) with a $25 paperback and already has 17 pages of also-boughts after three days but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

The truth is my book was suffocated in its crib. This isn't the first time either.
J N Chaney more than likey has a massive mailing list ( most likely above 10 000 - 20 000+) and an advanced reader team of at least a few hundred. That means that his books have powerful launches, high ranking, good reviews. It helps that he has 20+books out, and has co-ordinated with other authors to increase his visibility.

You mention the series page. My new series isn't out yet, but I did write amazon months ago to create the series page. That way folks know that there will be a certain number of books in the series.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B089NZ9C1K?ref_=dbs_p_mng_rwt_ser_shvlr&storeType=ebooks

There are allot of tools out there for indy authors, we just gotta use them.

Cheers
 

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Hey Shane,

I've just noticed my latest book (#11 in series) isn't on series page yet, so just emailed KDP to ask them to manually add it.

You'll probably be interested to see their reply.

++++Hello, Gareth!

This is Jose from Amazon KPD, it will be a pleasure to help you with your request!

Our series creation and update requests are currently experiencing a undefined delay. I will follow up with your case and let you know as soon as the service is reinstated.

I appreciate your patience!

Thanks for using Amazon KDP,

Jose Adrian
Kindle Direct Publishing ++++


So looks like it's a bug at Zon's end atm, so don't think it's anything to be TOO worried about right now, Don't think they're singling us out for extermination.

Well, no more than usual.
 

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Shane Lochlann Black said:
I'm sure its just a coincidence the authors who send Amazon lots of free traffic are the ones who are treated well.
Of course! I'm sure if I were a multi-millionaire with a one hundred book backlist, Amazon would show me no preferential treatment whatsoever, haha.

Unfortunately, I'm a small fry, so I have to play the same game as other small fries. That is, keep writing and keep coming on here to make sure I'm not the only person having problems.

Thankfully, it rarely seems like I am.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That is, keep writing and keep coming on here to make sure I'm not the only person having problems.
Well, here's the good news: Authors are starting to get impatient. They're starting to see what I have been pointing out for years, and they don't like it one bit. I've had it up to here with showing up to my book releases and having the lights go out halfway through my opening remarks. I've also had it buying expensive traffic and sending it to a trillion-dollar company while they monetize everything but my book.

However, this little piggy built his house of stone and he's getting ready to lock the door and pour hisself a tall one.
 

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Shane Lochlann Black said:
Why the different criteria for page count? Nobody will ever know.
The first book in the series has a print version linked, the latest book does not. A print version usually helps get to the correct page count.

Shane Lochlann Black said:
What I do know is my book is dead. We're six days in and it's all over but the shouting. All the mailing lists and ads in the world can't help it.
Are you doing FB ads? Because you said you're not doing AMS at all. So what are you doing to help sell the book?

Shane Lochlann Black said:
Competing books, on the other hand, come out of the gate with dozens of reviews and all the details on their buy pages in perfect working order. Here's a good example. Brand new book. Brand new series. Page count looks accurate. Six reviews in three days. Has a series page even though there isn't a series yet. Top 300 book. Best seller. Clearly J N Chaney is just a better writer. Well, Exodus Ark is in KU (alongside 100 other J N Chaney titles) with a $25 paperback and already has 17 pages of also-boughts after three days but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.
J N Chaney's book is the first in a series and it's selling for $0.99. Being the first in a series means it's easily accessible to anyone who might see it, as opposed to your book which is the fifth in a series that appears to need to be read in order. And being $0.99 is obviously going to make it a much greater value proposition than yours, which is priced higher than a lot of indie books. His page count is probably accurate because of that print copy. The first review he got was posted on the same day the book was released, so I'm guessing he's got an ARC team. And since he's clearly selling a load of books, it makes sense that he would have a lot of Also Boughts. You haven't sold nearly as many copies of yours, so you have Also Views instead.

Shane Lochlann Black said:
Is that why the buy page for Jacks looks so empty and unappealing and broken and half-finished? How is this going to affect reviews, if any? Not much danger of it affecting the "algorithms," is there?
I don't know what you're seeing on your computer, but when I look, I don't see an empty buy page. I see a Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed and Books You Might Like. Both of those have 9 pages to scroll through, and the Also Views seem totally on point.

One other thing to consider is that things have gotten especially crazy in the last couple of weeks. A lot of people are seeing a huge drop in sales as it gets closer to November 3rd, and the ones who are still doing okay seem to be the ones with large followings who can use the power of their newsletters to help sales along. I'd bet that Chaney guy is one of those with a powerful newsletter and a large following.
 

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If you're worried readers will think the book is too short, perhaps putting the word count in the description will help?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The first book in the series has a print version linked, the latest book does not. A print version usually helps get to the correct page count.
So without a print version you get a fake page count. Got it.

Are you doing FB ads?
Of course.

So what are you doing to help sell the book?
Spent a year building a mailing list and did two weeks of release events. Ran laser-focused ads through the release. I wrote four novels before this one and six novellas after it. I'll leave out the other four categories for brevity's sake.

J N Chaney's book is the first in a series and it's selling for $0.99.
A series with one book. That's new.

And being $0.99 is obviously going to make it a much greater value proposition than yours, which is priced higher than a lot of indie books.
And that value proposition only gets better when my book is made to look like it's half a book. While we're on the subject, I find it amusing you consider one book a better value proposition than a five-novel series all of a sudden.

His page count is probably accurate because of that print copy.
I like how you keep justifying the false page count on my buy page.

I'd bet that Chaney guy is one of those with a powerful newsletter and a large following.
All the newsletters and followers in the world don't help if they think you're trying to sell them half a book at full price.

J N Chaney sells a lot of books because he's a probably a multi-millionaire, likely has thousands of disposable dollars to burn on ads every month, and is one of the couple thousand Amazon VIPs who get escorted to the top 100 by lovely cocktail waitresses whenever he likes. Amazon VIPs have magical powers, you see. They can get a series page with one book.

The not-VIPs get a broken link in their series list and a false page count on a full-length novel that makes them look like cheats. This is what happens when you click a boilerplate TOS agreement and hand your valuable nine-year professional reputation and prized assets over to the starvation bot.
 

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I was curious, so I generated ~60k words of Lorem Ipsum, divided it up into ~20 chapters, and ran it through a quick format. It landed at 185 pages at 6 x 9. At 5 x 8 it jumped up to 270. Obviously there are a ton of variables in stuff like this but perhaps Amazon's rubric, opaque as it is, assumes 6 x 9.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was curious, so I generated ~60k words of Lorem Ipsum, divided it up into ~20 chapters, and ran it through a quick format.
Fair enough. Kick it up to 97k words and see if it works out to 591 pages. Because that was the math being used when Book One was released. You'll notice the words per page value between the two doesn't match. Argent was in KU, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.

I'll overlook the fact the page count link itself says "Kindle" and not "6x9 paperback."
 

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Shane Lochlann Black said:
So without a print version you get a fake page count. Got it.

A series with one book. That's new.

I like how you keep justifying the false page count on my buy page.

All the newsletters and followers in the world don't help if they think you're trying to sell them half a book at full price.
I'm not trying to justify anything. It is was what it is. You can work around it, or you can complain about it.

It may only have one book in it now, but it has the rest of the titles and release dates listed under the blurb.

And speaking as a new reader who might just happen across the two books in the wild, it is a better value proposition. I can try a new book for $0.99 without worrying about buying anything else, or I can decide if I want to go to the beginning of your series and pay nearly six dollars to try that, in order to then read up to Book 5.
 

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Shane Lochlann Black said:
Fair enough. Kick it up to 97k words and see if it works out to 591 pages. Because that was the math being used when Book One was released. You'll notice the words per page value between the two doesn't match. Argent was in KU, but I'm sure that's just a coincidence.
Sure. I did ~98k, ~30 chapters, and landed at 443 pgs at 5 x 8, 303 at 6 x 9. Who knows. I'm sure it's a really convoluted equation and definitely doesn't work particularly well, considering how often it comes up on forums like this. I notice though that your book 1 has a print edition. Is it 591 pages long?

Shane Lochlann Black said:
I'll overlook the fact the page count link itself says "Kindle" and not "6x9 paperback."
On that end you'd have to overlook that they're being called pages at all. Once we accept that some length of text is meant to fill a piece of paper, it follows that the piece of paper is of a particular size. Otherwise the analogy falls apart. Not that I'm particularly fond of it.

ETA: I just recalled that I recently wrapped up a 600 page book. I double-checked the word count on it: it was ~180k. Offered fwiw.
 
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