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Lywinis
Nov 5, 2007

I can bench more than you.


I really wish they'd set a flat page count, but haha that'll never happen, it's Amazon.

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Sundae
Dec 1, 2005
Probation
Can't post for 5 hours!


I unpublished everything I had in KU so none of their rate changes matter to me anymore. HA!

Instead, I get a flat rate of $0.00. :suicide:

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

You don't have your romance in KU?

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Not only did we take a 10% pay cut, they had to boost the pot from $12M -> $15M to get us there.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Not only did we take a 10% pay cut, they had to boost the pot from $12M -> $15M to get us there.

13.5m but yeah. I had a 50m page read month so it's really all my fault.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005
Probation
Can't post for 5 hours!


angel opportunity posted:

You don't have your romance in KU?

I barely have my stuff on Amazon right now, let alone in KU. Yanked a whole shitload except for a few older romance things that only see a borrow every few days, so they hardly count anyway. January was a great month in spite of the awful payout, but Feb will likely be my first three-digit month since 2011. My erotica names are all gone now, I haven't released a new romance in god knows how long, and everything's been yanked at this point.

No idea when I became the world's slowest writer, but yeah... I take way too long for the current state of the self-pub industry.

Sundae fucked around with this message at 00:36 on Feb 16, 2016

Kibbles n Shits
Apr 8, 2006

burgerpug.png




Fun Shoe

As someone who dabbles in this just for a lark, is this really the race to the bottom it appears to be? How many novel length works is required now to make an appreciable income now? I've toyed with the idea of getting serious about self pub but it seems like every time I turn around, the floor gets lower.

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


I have questions along the same lines. It looks like there are still tons of ebook sales. Is the market just that flooded or is there decent money to be made if you put some effort into writing and marketing a book?

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

There's certainly money to be made but it's a great deal of effort. Getting started now is pretty hard...you effectively have to create a super professional level product that is exactly on point for what the market wants, or you will make less than $15/hour. There's a few people who do really well right out of the gate, but most do not. Erotica is mostly dead, so if you're serious about doing it, plan to do a 50,000 word novel per month if you want to have a real shot at it.

Expect that you're going to gently caress up several times before you hit the mark on anything. I got "lucky" on my first shot, and my first romance novel (after I'd learned from doing erotica) made $1,000 in the first month before expenses. I then got more off the mark in various aspects on the next three, and I actually lost money on the last two. The ones I lost money on vs. the one that has (now) made $1,500 were much better written and had glowing reviews, but it didn't matter because my covers were off for what that market expected. That's the kind of thing that can make a novel you spent 30-40 hours writing just totally bomb. And again, I ASSUME that's why they bombed after analyzing everything, but there are various factors at play and my analysis may be off for all I know.

The hope is that after ten or fifteen or however many attempts, I really do everything right on one of them--or failing that--that I ever so slowly build up a loyal audience over time through consistent releases, and eventually I reach a point where the books make enough money to live off of.

One hit book can really just set you up for a long time. It will make you a shitload of money, and through that you'll pretty much instantly gain a large following.

My books that bombed still hit just around 1,000 in the entire Amazon store, and that's better than a lot of people starting out do. If you are in a non-saturated genre (basically non-romance), a rank like that can hold for quite a while and earn you good money over a longer span. In romance, you rarely will sit at a rank like that because the sub-categories for romance are so saturated that being 1,000 in the whole store might put you on page three of a certain romance sub-category, while being 1,000 in the store for "space opera" might put you on the first page of the top 100 space opera books.

There's a very pronounced "income inequality" in the Amazon store, where the top earners are given extra money and extra visibility for being top earners. If you have a book hit a high rank, you automatically get extra money because your book is super visible. The gains on this multiply hugely as you approach higher and higher rank. Rank ~30-50 in the store might be $1,200 in a single day for one book at that rank, while rank 1,000 is just under $100 in a day. Rank 1 or 2 is probably well over $10,000 in a day. If your book is very high rank, that visibility will help it just sit there. The ranking algorithms will eventually start to push it down the charts, but it will earn a shitload over the next few months as it slowly falls.

Big names that consistently release quality stuff have huge captive audiences of thousands of people, and every book they release more or less automatically goes to the top 100 in the store, and that's less room for you. The top 100 is often dominated by repeat names. As someone just starting out, you have to claw your way to visibility in the store.

My best earning book, the first one I released, did this:



One cool thing is that every time I release a new book, I get a small spike on earnings for that book, but it's incredibly negligible at this point.

My biggest bombed book did this:



A lot of those spikes in sales represent paid advertising, and when you add all of the earnings of all the books onto the above chart, it looks a BIT less sad:



MOST people who stick with this and keep up the quality and consistency break through to a point where they make significant earnings per month, but depending on what your day job is it may not be compelling or desirable. I know a lot of people making over $3,000/month who aren't hitting high rankings at all; they just have a lot of stuff out, and every time they release something new their back catalog does work for them. Since my day job pays absolute poo poo and has no room to grow, even with the lovely numbers I'm pulling right now (I've been doing romance since November, averaging around 20 hours per week of work, and I've made ~$2,300 after expenses...do the math there). For all I know though, my next book could really be on point and climb the charts, and suddenly it will all retroactively be totally loving worth all the work.

I really don't need to do THAT WELL at this for it to pay much better than my day job does, so I'm really holding out hope that I'll be successful. I'm slowly building up some readers that buy all my books, and I've started to get some fan mail etc. I know my books appeal to the audience I am targeting, but thus far I've failed to really hit everything in the package on-point enough to make the audience I want grab my book when they see it.

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 04:36 on Feb 16, 2016

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Gau posted:

I have questions along the same lines. It looks like there are still tons of ebook sales. Is the market just that flooded or is there decent money to be made if you put some effort into writing and marketing a book?

There's still money to be made - good money too - but everything angel opportunity said is true. You'll need to research the market, read a ton of books, and really nail down what it is that the successful authors are writing. Look at their covers, their blurbs, the way their stories play out. What are the major tropes, what are readers really looking for? Then, once you've got a decent idea of all that, sit down and write at least a 50,000 word novel. Pay someone to make a cover for you, and probably pay for editing too. Try to drum up interest from readers who will read advance review copies for you. There are services out there that will try to find you some - bookrazor is one that I had decent success with. Getting reviews organically at first is very, very difficult, and good (or bad) reviews will often make or break a release.

Then, you'll need to pay for some promotion. There's plenty of free and cheap promo services out there, but while there are some cheaper options that punch way above their weight (The Naughty List for example) on the whole you get what you pay for. Places like MyRomanceReads, Bargain Booksy, Bookbub (if you can actually get a spot and good luck with that) range upwards from $80 all the way to hundreds for Bookbub, but they'll give your book a nice boost and often land you some reviews. You might get astronomically lucky and your book will be a hit without these promotion services, but that's extraordinarily unlikely. You need to spend money to make money. I set aside a few hundred dollars for promo for each release, and I could easily spend more if I wanted - I just haven't really figured out a way to make Facebook ads work for me yet.

Back when I started, you could make a decent chunk of cash churning out erotica shorts, but that just isn't workable any more. IMO it isn't even worth getting involved in erotica at this point - just spend the time to learn the ropes in Romance and you'll be giving yourself a much better shot at success.

By the way, all of this advice is predicated on you wanting or being willing to write Romance. I'm sure there's money to be made for indie authors in other genres too, but it's that much more difficult because the markets are, on the whole, much smaller.

Roar
Jul 7, 2007

I got 30 points!

I GOT 30 POINTS!


My opinion*: The bubble of "put out a few words about people touchin' butts and make thousands of dollars" burst a little while ago. Unless you're already established, it's pretty hard to get anything even resembling a career unless you work super hard at it. There are plenty of success stories to be had and there is still money to be gotten but it's much more of an uphill battle than it used to be, particuarly since Amazon is determined to gently caress over authors at pretty much every opportunity and, like it or not, they're the big dogs. I've started treating this whole gig as a fun way to make some fun money every month and while I'm making a lot less money I'm a lot less stressed about this whole thing.

I just brought all my short stories back up to $2.99 last night because gently caress it, if I'm only selling a pittance anyways I might as well make 600% more per sale,

*my opinion has been noted to be poo poo from time to time, ymmv

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

and if it's a lie, terrorists made me say it


I guess I forgot to mention: I quit my job last month. I'm a full-time smut slinger now. Well, okay, the job I was working at paid poo poo and was terrible (I got laid off from my 'real' job six months ago) and my kid is about to start ABA therapy for autism, so I'm kind of now a stay-at-home-dad who happens to make money writing smut. Hooray me?

Anyway, I'm one of those people mentioned earlier: I have a huge back catalog of shorts and novellas, and I've been pulling down anywhere from 3k-6k per month depending on how much my latest releases push sales. While the bubble has totally burst on the whole "write stories about werewolf sex and pull down five figures a month" stuff from ye olde thread, it's definitely still possible to make steady income from erotica if you work at it, target the hell out of your poo poo and write your rear end off. That said, even I am moving into longer e-rom stuff, since that's where the money is - most of my $$$ is coming from bundles these days, so I can see that longer works make exponentially more money than 25-page wham-bams. Still trying to decide if I want to start a second pen name or try to transition my current one into longer, more mainstream-y romance (it's probably going to be the former).

For anyone thinking of getting into it: it IS a job, and it's probably going to take a while to get any kind of traction in the oversaturated romance/erotica market, but if you enjoy writing perverted filthy smut (which I do! :hfive:), it's an incredibly fun way to make money. And not having to punch a clock and suck up to your boss loving owns.

Popular Human fucked around with this message at 15:37 on Feb 16, 2016

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


lol my word is not a real word but you dumb fucks got the nerve to try to correct it to another fake word

quote:

Hello,

We're writing to let you know that readers have reported a problem in your book.

There are some words in your book that our spell check dictionary could not identify. If any of the words are not spelled the way you intended, please update your content and resubmit it to us. You can also email us at kdp-support@amazon.com to let us know that the words are spelled correctly. Here are the words and their locations:

Kindle Location: 2171 ; Description: "perma-love." should be "perm-love."

After you've made the correction, please upload your revised content through the 'Book Content' section in your KDP Bookshelf. If you have further questions, please reply directly to this email and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

For further information regarding specific book errors (including why some errors are more critical than others), please see the Guide to Kindle Content Quality Errors at https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=200952510.

Thanks for using Amazon KDP!

Best regards,
Thank you.
Amazon.com

Aaronicon
Oct 2, 2010

by primus


Look, my niche of hair-romance is just really under-represented and this was the easiest way, alright?!

Arkanomen
May 6, 2007

All he wants is a hug


"Now Kiss" *furiously mashes two wigs together*

magnificent7
Sep 22, 2005

THUNDERDOME LOSER


EngineerSean posted:

lol my word is not a real word but you dumb fucks got the nerve to try to correct it to another fake word

What the christ? This is seriously a thing? Somebody -- ANYBODY can whine about your word choice now? So anybody's an editor?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


magnificent7 posted:

What the christ? This is seriously a thing? Somebody -- ANYBODY can whine about your word choice now? So anybody's an editor?

There's a layer between "customer reports an error" and "publisher gets an email" but I think it's done by Mechanical Turk.

Roar
Jul 7, 2007

I got 30 points!

I GOT 30 POINTS!


As annoying as pedantic poo poo like that is, at least it's an alternative to 1-star reviews.

Mr. Pumroy
May 20, 2001



so nearing the end of another 3-month cycle on ku I realized I had never used the free book promotion. I decided to burn all 5 days in a row from monday to friday. I didn't take advantage of that site that was posted to me earlier, thanks to the person who suggested it, it looks good and I'll definitely use it next time, but for this I just wanted to see what kind of numbers I, a no-name dude with a single fiction book, could attract just using my blog, my goodreads page, and twitter.

So the units given away breaks down as:
Mon: 29
Tue: 7
Wed: 8
Thu: 14
Fri: 34

Turns out that the midweek is pretty dead! This shouldn't be a surprise to me. Even when the book was actively selling, it always sold best on weekends. Still I was surprised to see how much of a difference it made. I was even more surprised to find that people actually found my book. I certainly don't have a big social media presence. Are there robots that like, scrape amazon for free books?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005
Probation
Can't post for 5 hours!


Mr. Pumroy posted:

Are there robots that like, scrape amazon for free books?

Hundreds of them.

Also, using your free days near the end of your 3-month cycle (or in fact any time after the first week or two) is pretty much useless unless you've coupled it with some sort of promotion. The vast, vast majority of authors don't get any extra visibility when they change the price like that.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS






I got a couple thousand free give-aways the day before Valentine's with no promotion. I just figured if there was a day when sad sacks were looking for a distraction, February 13 was the day. I also tossed Valentine's into the keywords a week before.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

$75 worth of free advertising for new customers. Can't verify it's results, reliability or that it's not a scam, but it looks moderately legit.

Also it says genre doesn't matter, so I guess smut is ok?

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Bobby Deluxe posted:

$75 worth of free advertising for new customers. Can't verify it's results, reliability or that it's not a scam, but it looks moderately legit.

Also it says genre doesn't matter, so I guess smut is ok?

It's not a scam but it is incredibly low ROI. It's like running a BKnights ad but costs 8x. But if he's giving them away, I guess it couldn't hurt?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



Is there a rule of thumb for pages = word count? I have a 12-piece serial I want to package and publish but the advice here a while ago was that 20K words (the first instalment) is not enough to stand alone and I should lump some of them together. Just looking at other bestselling books in the genre and they seem to be between 200-300 pages. How do I figure out how many words that is, ballpark?

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




freebooter posted:

Is there a rule of thumb for pages = word count? I have a 12-piece serial I want to package and publish but the advice here a while ago was that 20K words (the first instalment) is not enough to stand alone and I should lump some of them together. Just looking at other bestselling books in the genre and they seem to be between 200-300 pages. How do I figure out how many words that is, ballpark?

figure 4-5 pages per 1000 words. roughly 200-250 words per page.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


freebooter posted:

Is there a rule of thumb for pages = word count? I have a 12-piece serial I want to package and publish but the advice here a while ago was that 20K words (the first instalment) is not enough to stand alone and I should lump some of them together. Just looking at other bestselling books in the genre and they seem to be between 200-300 pages. How do I figure out how many words that is, ballpark?

If you're looking at Amazon product pages, it all depends on whether they have a paperback version linked or not. If they do, it's about 250 words per page. If they don't, it's about 333 words per page.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

---

angel opportunity fucked around with this message at 14:02 on Apr 26, 2016

LionArcher
Mar 29, 2010
Probation
Can't post for 9 hours!


angel opportunity posted:

Just an IRC update:

There have been like 5-10 of us that are active every day on IRC and talking about (mostly) romance self-pub, with a few genre people as well.

We realize IRC sucks and is hard to use, especially on mobile, so we've moved to Slack. It's easy to use, syncs automatically, and has good mobile apps. If you want to join, just email me at josefjakobus ATTTT gmaiiilll (trying to beat spambots here...)

It would be cool if we had a few non-romance people in here, and it would be even cooler (to me) if we had some more active romance publishers in there

Okay, I'll join tomorrow. I write both romance (I consider it my day job so around 5 hours a day) and mystery thrillers (I haven't published yet but will be doing cover drops for the first four books in a series here soon! )

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Most of us have dayjobs and the main chatting hours are like 9-5 EST mon-fri, but some people are there sometimes during weekends :D

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



Malloreon posted:

figure 4-5 pages per 1000 words. roughly 200-250 words per page.


EngineerSean posted:

If you're looking at Amazon product pages, it all depends on whether they have a paperback version linked or not. If they do, it's about 250 words per page. If they don't, it's about 333 words per page.


OK thanks. So that would look like the key sellers in the genre are sitting somewhere between 40,000 and 100,000 words.

I've got 12 instalments, most of which get increasingly larger, the first one is about 20K and the second 30K. (It's actually in journal format and runs January-December, hence the 12). Could I get away with putting the first two together as a 50K book? Because if I then continue with having each book be two months, some of the later ones will be extremely hefty - I'd probably rather not run to three months per book.

I was also considering releasing the first one free as a hook and the later ones being paid; I assume readers would be less likely to complain something is too short when it's free?

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

freebooter posted:

I've got 12 instalments, most of which get increasingly larger, the first one is about 20K and the second 30K. (It's actually in journal format and runs January-December, hence the 12). Could I get away with putting the first two together as a 50K book? Because if I then continue with having each book be two months, some of the later ones will be extremely hefty - I'd probably rather not run to three months per book.

I was also considering releasing the first one free as a hook and the later ones being paid; I assume readers would be less likely to complain something is too short when it's free?

A twelve part serial almost demands a freebie to kick it off. Your funnel needs to be super wide, because you will lose readers with each book. You will never gain them. Anyone who tries your serial will start with book one and continue until they decide not to. Book one should be free and amazing.

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



That's what I originally thought, I just wanted to check with you guys in case there was a flipside opinion that maybe free books are considered worthless and never sell.

I was also considering doing it as a 12-parter and having the first one free and the subsequent ones at 99c, but when I asked last year I think it was a unanimous consensus that a 20,000 word book is a terrible idea because readers will fume against it even when the page count is right there on Amazon.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


angel opportunity posted:

Just an IRC update:

There have been like 5-10 of us that are active every day on IRC and talking about (mostly) romance self-pub, with a few genre people as well.

We realize IRC sucks and is hard to use, especially on mobile, so we've moved to Slack. It's easy to use, syncs automatically, and has good mobile apps. If you want to join, just email me at josefjakobus ATTTT gmaiiilll (trying to beat spambots here...)

It would be cool if we had a few non-romance people in here, and it would be even cooler (to me) if we had some more active romance publishers in there

lol like i'm gonna install some new app just to berate you suckaz

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

you don't have to install it it's all in browser and stuff

brotherly
Aug 20, 2014

DEHUMANIZE YOURSELF AND FACE TO BLOODSHED


EngineerSean posted:

lol like i'm gonna install some new app just to berate you suckaz

browser based, it's also pretty neat!

but don't berate us

monkfoot
Jul 21, 2007
Whoops


You can berate me all you want ;)

Gau
Nov 18, 2003

I don't think you understand, Gau.


When it comes to marketing a (non-Romance) novel, how concerned should I be that my best-fit category is clogged with Romance titles? There are a couple non-Romance titles that sell well in Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, but the non-Romance tag is...not promising. Is this just a good indication that there aren't many readers?

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Gau posted:

When it comes to marketing a (non-Romance) novel, how concerned should I be that my best-fit category is clogged with Romance titles? There are a couple non-Romance titles that sell well in Paranormal and Urban Fantasy, but the non-Romance tag is...not promising. Is this just a good indication that there aren't many readers?

Well, when you compare almost any genre to Romance it's going to come up short in terms of reader numbers. That doesn't mean there's no market for your book, but it does mean it's going to be harder to get any visibility, especially in a sub-cat like Paranormal and Urban Fantasy that is filled with romance titles. However, stuff like Harry Potter being in there shows that there IS a very healthy market for non-romance books.

Unfortunately for you right now, you're going up against Bella Forest who is occupying like half of the top 100 in that subcategory all by herself.

Maybe post your cover and blurb here, and we could see if you could try and fit it in somewhere else?

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

Because of the way romance floods so many categories, you'll probably want to find a more niche subcategory that filters out a lot of romance. Pretend you are a reader annoyed at all the romance in the category, and try to think of another angle to look from.

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Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


I'm thinking of making book 1 in my two-book suspense series permafree. Should I just wait for Amazon to price-match? If they're being slow about it and I send them an email, should I tell them that it's going to be permanent or should I just say it's for a promo and never change it back to the original price?

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