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freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



divabot posted:

yeah, I nearly didn't bother with a paperback 'cos I just don't read paper books any more. But lots of people wanted one, so I thought "this'll be a nice souvenir". It's about a quarter of my sales. Also, I get people who got the ebook but also buy a paper one. (Also, I sold a buttload of copies in December to current readers, so they could give copies to relatives to warn them about Bitcoin :-D )

mine's nonfiction and actually it appeals to people who have money. So YMMV. Fiction author friends report varying percentages of paperback sales, from 10% to 50%. Every book is gonna be different.

so: totally do a paperback! And pay an artist to do a good and well designed cover!

I also bought a box of 20 copies and am selling these as signed by the author. This is just a tiny bit on top, but it delights me every time. Signing books for people makes you feel like some sorta real author.

Kindle Print does proof copies now, and if you're in the UK they actually frickin print here. However, they cover different countries to CreateSpace, because expecting Amazon to have its poo poo together lol. So I haven't moved the books over. If I could do it through both I totally would.

Ta - although I know you're the Attack of the 50 foot Blockchain guy so I know you're a very successful outlier!

Do you use the same cover for ebook and print? I feel mine are fine for digital but might not translate well to print. And I thought Kindle Print was widely thought to be low quality?

I'm currently on book 5 of a 6 book series, pushing book 6 out in April or May, so I think maybe I'm inclined to hold off on the print versions and the boxset until I'm all done and can do a full review, take stock, take advantage of the wave etc. I don't know, what am I talking about?

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KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

I use createspace for mystery (fiction, natch) and I'd guess my paperback sales are less than 5% of my total gross.

I still offer paperbacks because my designer and my cover artist offer paperback services for ridiculously cheap, so why not?

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


freebooter posted:

Ta - although I know you're the Attack of the 50 foot Blockchain guy so I know you're a very successful outlier!

Do you use the same cover for ebook and print? I feel mine are fine for digital but might not translate well to print. And I thought Kindle Print was widely thought to be low quality?

I'm currently on book 5 of a 6 book series, pushing book 6 out in April or May, so I think maybe I'm inclined to hold off on the print versions and the boxset until I'm all done and can do a full review, take stock, take advantage of the wave etc. I don't know, what am I talking about?

the covers are slightly different (colour and proportions) - here's ebook and paperback. The physical object is greener than this looks on the screen, because four-colour printing is a demonic den of lies and iniquity:



Kindle Print is Createspace with a concussion - it's much the same but Createspace's tools are better, e.g. the cover template. Basically I think they want to replace CS with KP, but KP's still a bit rubbish.

I'd push out print ASAP. Just keep the covers consistent :-) And really, make your print version look as good and professional as you can. A beautiful object people will be delighted to hold.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

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


I know weíre not supposed to be too specific about the forbidden genre on here, but does anybody have any insight as to why Amazon just removed the sales ranks from everything in the Erotica category? Iím still getting sales, but this has got to crater the market if it continues, right?

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


Popular Human posted:

I know weíre not supposed to be too specific about the forbidden genre on here, but does anybody have any insight as to why Amazon just removed the sales ranks from everything in the Erotica category? Iím still getting sales, but this has got to crater the market if it continues, right?

SESTA paranoia. It really is as utterly awful and disastrous a law as it was painted.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

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


The author rankings just disappeared within the last hour, too. You can't see the top 100 authors in Erotica (it's an error page) and your author rank no longer shows up in your stories or on your profile page if you're in the top #100.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

I don't write romance/erotica, but a lot of the mystery subcats I'm in have been invaded by erom authors (the churn is terrible). I can't help but think that Amazon's rank strip is only going to make things worse as erom books struggle to gain visibility in a very competitive genre.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Here's the kboards thread, if you're keen:

http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,261904.0.html

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



Anybody got any experience of Twitter ads? I've taken a punt with a test trial for the next month but I'm starting to think maybe $1 a day as a bid limit won't cut it.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

I haven't run any ads on Twitter, but some colleagues have, and I don't remember anyone saying Twitter ads are worth it.

We all write fiction, so it's entirely possible non-fiction would advertise better.

Steely Dad
Jul 29, 2006





KrunkMcGrunk posted:

I use createspace for mystery (fiction, natch) and I'd guess my paperback sales are less than 5% of my total gross.

I still offer paperbacks because my designer and my cover artist offer paperback services for ridiculously cheap, so why not?

Iím working on my first mystery. Are you happy with your editor, designer, and artist? Would you be willing to point me to them?

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Sorry man, I don't really want to doxx myself here. But I found my people through the Writers' Cafe on Kboards.com. There are a lot of good designers, editors and such there. Take a look at their portfolios and go with somebody you think represents the kind of story you're writing!

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

https://www.law360.com/internationalarbitration/articles/1029670/amazon-unit-seeks-ok-of-award-against-uk-book-cos-

:woop:

Amazon filed a suit against a UK company that stuffs their KU books!

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




There is a lot going on with Amazon right now. Customers are being banned, page reads are disappearing for authors.

Iím praying that they found a way to detect the bots that are fake reading 1000 page nonsense books.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

If you've noticed your pages being reduced, you will probably get an email either threatening account suspension or actually suspending your account. I'm so loving glad I went wide.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Seems like Amazon is making a serious crack down on bot accounts, which is taking some page reads away from some authors.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Seems like Amazon is making a serious crack down on bot accounts, which is taking some page reads away from some authors.

Yep, but it appears that many have been unfairly caught up, because they're not only losing page reads, they're getting threatening emails saying their account could be closed. If I was running a bot net I would have the bots borrow and read a wide variety of books to reduce suspicion on my own books. Amazon are telling authors to be careful about the promotional services they use, but how the gently caress are we supposed to tell? Of course there are some obviously scammy places, but it could be anyone even if they appear legit, and we have no way of knowing.

KU is a shitshow and impossible to police, but the genie's out of the bottle now and I doubt Amazon is going to get rid of it. The service must be absolutely haemorrhaging money, but I guess they're happy to have it as a loss leader to get customers into the Amazon ecosystem.

E: I'm seeing people reporting that they have received the threatening email despite having done no advertising apart from stuff like Countdown deals and freebie runs in the KDP dashboard itself on old books. Amazon are, of course, being as tight-lipped as ever when pressed.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 21:39 on Apr 9, 2018

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

The current theory is people who haven't used promo services still did newsletter swaps with authors who have used services that are less than above board.

I dunno man. This is all grasping at straws because Amazon isn't telling people who've been warned what they actually did to get themselves in trouble.

Facebook Aunt
Oct 4, 2008

i like cats



That doesn't seem like an effective warning. "I know what you did and if you do it again you're in trouble mister!"



KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

ha, well that's Amazon!

I haven't been warned myself, nor do I personally know anyone who has been warned. Everything I'm hearing is from a "friend of a friend" or people in private FB groups trying to figure out why they've been warned.

Amazon has done things like this in the past, but usually the noise dies down after a couple days and everything goes back to normal. Seems like this wave of bans/suspensions/warnings was much larger.

The Fuzzy Hulk
Nov 22, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT CROSSING THE STREAMS




KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Amazon has done things like this in the past, but usually the noise dies down after a couple days and everything goes back to normal. Seems like this wave of bans/suspensions/warnings was much larger.

I have not been warned either but yeah this seems bigger. I think itís becuase they banned a whole bunch of amazon shoppers this time. We are used to amazonís crazy and arbitrary stuff, but a 40 year old housewife that is addicted to prime shipping being told her account was deleted for no reason is going to flip the gently caress out.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Then there's the whole book stuff lawsuit thing too. I'm guessing these bans are related in some way, because it seems that Amazon is loving with KU numbers, which is what stuffers use to make money.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

KrunkMcGrunk posted:

Then there's the whole book stuff lawsuit thing too. I'm guessing these bans are related in some way, because it seems that Amazon is loving with KU numbers, which is what stuffers use to make money.

Except the lawsuit isn't anything to do with what assholes like David Gaughran are calling 'book stuffers'. It's to do with people using bots to artificially inflate their page reads on books that were just endlessly reshuffled and recycled content. The authors that Gaughran is targeting regularly release new content and put their old books in the back. Note that this practice is explicitly allowed by KDP's TOS: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G202018960



Don't conflate actual scammers using bots to game KU with authors who add bonus content to their new books in line with Amazon's rules.

Gaughran and his cohort of followers are targeting people making an honest living by attempting to doxx them, and encouraging people to report their books. If Amazon want to disallow bonus content, then all they need to do is update their TOS and it'll stop.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 15:41 on Apr 10, 2018

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Oops, looks like I found a book stuffer!

Republishing your old books in the back of your new release, then doing the same thing for every release ever is at least unethical, and also against the KU TOS -- you aren't allowed to republish books already in KU. They can only appear in one place on Amazon.

Gaughran is right and cool. "Bonus Content" is bullshit. Stop stuffing your books to inflate your KU numbers.

e: since I know you're going to ask me where in Amazon's ToS (and lawsuit, as it happens) book stuffing is mentioned, here you go:

Lawsuit:







Amazon KDP ToS posted:

Disappointing content
We do not allow content that disappoints our customers, including but not limited to:
...
Content that is a non-differentiated version of another book available in the Kindle Store




KrunkMcGrunk fucked around with this message at 16:03 on Apr 10, 2018

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

I haven't published anything new in a long time, and when I did I didn't 'stuff'. I do, however, think that people who follow the ToS and provide bonus content shouldn't get hounded by people like Gaughran.

You don't get a full read any more if someone clicks to the back of the book - only for the pages that are actually read. If there's extra content and readers like it enough to, you know, read it, what's the issue?

Do you have a link to where it says in the ToS that bonus content like this is disallowed?

E: just caught your edit. My reading of that is that people were just republishing the same stuff over and over, shuffled around in different orders. The so-called Bad Boy Stuffers that Gaughran hates so much are publishing new content, and using their old content as bonus material. I don't consider that the same at all. These books are never out of the top 100 - if Amazon had an issue with what they're doing, do you not think we would have seen some action from them? The authors and publishers aren't trying to hide it.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 16:12 on Apr 10, 2018

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Bardeh posted:

I haven't published anything new in a long time, and when I did I didn't 'stuff'. I do, however, think that people who follow the ToS and provide bonus content shouldn't get hounded by people like Gaughran.

You don't get a full read any more if someone clicks to the back of the book - only for the pages that are actually read. If there's extra content and readers like it enough to, you know, read it, what's the issue?

Do you have a link to where it says in the ToS that bonus content like this is disallowed?

E: just caught your edit. My reading of that is that people were just republishing the same stuff over and over, shuffled around in different orders. The so-called Bad Boy Stuffers that Gaughran hates so much are publishing new content, and using their old content as bonus material. I don't consider that the same at all. These books are never out of the top 100 - if Amazon had an issue with what they're doing, do you not think we would have seen some action from them? The authors and publishers aren't trying to hide it.

Amazon clearly has a problem with them, because we are seeing action now.

I'm not going to defend Amazon's moderation practices because, frankly, they suck. They're uneven, and they're poorly timed, and when things are enforced there's little to no rationale, and hardly ever an explanation. But, it's in their TOS that you can't republish books in KU, and now Amazon is taking legal action to stop book stuffers, so I think that pretty clearly spells out how Amazon feels about what people are doing.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

But...they're not. They're taking legal action against people who used bots to read their endlessly duplicated books. The top 100 is still full of romance with bonus content, I just checked. If Amazon were coming down hard enough on that to start lawsuits, those books wouldn't be there.

And again, that bonus content is only paid for if it's actually read. If these 'stuffers' are using bots to read their books, then by all means that's gross and scummy and I hope Amazon sues the poo poo out of them. But if it's just readers enjoying extra books, I can't understand the issue.

E: and of course, the real issue is, as ever, Amazon's uselessly vague wording. If they just spelled stuff like this out, it wouldn't ever be an issue. The ToS is worded vaguely enough that either your or my interpretation could be correct. "Content that is a non-differentiated version of another book available in the Kindle Store" isn't allowed. But does that mean a new book with older titles as bonus content is non-differentiated? It has brand new content in it, so strictly, no, it isn't. All Amazon need to do is to say explicitly 'Bonus Content cannot be previously published or enrolled elsewhere in Kindle Unlimited.' But they don't, for reasons known only to them.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 16:36 on Apr 10, 2018

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Amazon has said that content can't be republished. It says as much in the images from the lawsuit I linked.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

But my point is that it's vaguely worded. A self-help book that is made up entirely of rejigged and reshuffled older content (which is what the scammers were doing and what the lawsuit refers to) isn't the same as using older content as bonus material after new content. If Amazon doesn't like the latter, and considers it serious enough to take action on, then sure. It's their program, their rules. But there's no explicit evidence of that, just people inferring what they want to hear from ambiguously worded statements. It's significant that the only person they've taken action on is someone who was botting to get page reads. Again, these publishers and authors are huge - there is no chance that Amazon aren't aware of what they're doing, and they have never (to my knowledge) contacted a 'Bad Boy Stuffer' to tell them to stop including bonus content.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 18:02 on Apr 10, 2018

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



How is it "bonus" content if it's an old book? And what's the thinking behind that, anyway? Is it just to have your backlist in a convenient place, i.e. right where a reader is most likely to continue reading?

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

freebooter posted:

How is it "bonus" content if it's an old book? And what's the thinking behind that, anyway? Is it just to have your backlist in a convenient place, i.e. right where a reader is most likely to continue reading?

Yeah, I think that's the reasoning behind including old books after your new one. Someone reads your new book, likes it, and then there are a few other books straight away for them to read if they feel like it.

Before Amazon changed the way page reads were recorded, it could legitimately be considered to be quite scammy to guide readers to click straight to the back of a book. Amazon weren't able to track individual page reads and only recorded the furthest page read. Hence, get someone to click a bookmark to go to the back of a book, get credited for a full read. But that's not how it works now. Amazon can track every individual page read and if I click straight to the back of my book, I get credited for two pages - the first and the last.

This is why I don't get why people like Gaughran are so up in arms about 'stuffed' books. Nobody is forcing readers to read those extra books, and if they choose not to then no page reads are credited. What's the issue?

freebooter
Jul 7, 2009



Hmm. That may not be unethical but it's certainly inelegant. On the other hand we're self-publishing on Amazon, so, who am I to talk.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

Yeah, re-examining my thoughts on this, ever since Amazon cracked down on all the ToC shenanigans, books stuffing isn't nearly as toxic as it used to be. I still find it annoying and counter to creating a good user experience, but whatever. At least it isn't as easy to scam page reads from Amazon anymore.

Botters can suck a nut though.

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

I mean, there's a reason I never did it - it is inelegant, and it does devalue the worth of a book when readers can pay 99 cents (or just their KU subscription) and get 6 or 7 full books for the price of one. But Amazon created this monster, so please save your ire for them. We're all just trying to do our best within the vague constraints that Amazon have sort of spelled out with their lovely system.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


fwiw, my good friend Andrew Hickey just swore off Kindle Unlimited after his novel The Basilisk Murders made a grand total of four dollars in six months. No more exclusivity!


https://twitter.com/HickeyWriter/status/986312532158832641

Bardeh
Dec 2, 2004



Fun Shoe

Your friend needs to look at his cover before he starts worrying about Kindle Unlimited. It's absolutely awful and is 100% the reason his book has done badly. The blurb could use a lot of work too. Why do people spend months or years of their life slaving away on a book and then slap a shoddy rushjob cover on it?

quote:

(I wonít be putting any further books into Kindle Unlimited. My moral objections to it still stand, but I thought that given how many authors seem to rely on it for their money I should see if it pays enough to quell my objections. As it happens, I made about four quid total for the six months of exclusivity, so for me at least itís not only ethically dodgy but also financially worthless.)

I'm not gonna argue with his moral objections to KU because I don't disagree, but if you want those page reads you need to release a polished product that's marketed well.

This:



is just a bad cover. It would be bad in any genre. It looks like he threw it together in 20 minutes.

Bardeh fucked around with this message at 23:35 on Apr 17, 2018

Fuego Fish
Dec 5, 2004

By tooth and claw!


Jeez, I could do a better cover with free stock images and an hour of photoshop time.

KrunkMcGrunk
Jul 2, 2007

Sometimes I sit and think, and sometimes I just sit.

divabot posted:

fwiw, my good friend Andrew Hickey just swore off Kindle Unlimited after his novel The Basilisk Murders made a grand total of four dollars in six months. No more exclusivity!


https://twitter.com/HickeyWriter/status/986312532158832641

I feel for your friend, but what has been said about his cover and blurb are 100% right. Also he's six months out from releasing what appears to be the first book in a series, and has yet to produce a sequel. Of course his KU numbers will be really bad.

And, honestly, I don't think going wide will help him. The problems here aren't with KU.

divabot
Jun 17, 2015

A polite little mouse!


KrunkMcGrunk posted:

I feel for your friend, but what has been said about his cover and blurb are 100% right. Also he's six months out from releasing what appears to be the first book in a series, and has yet to produce a sequel. Of course his KU numbers will be really bad.

He insists the cover is right for the genre - I didn't believe it either, but looking at others in "cosy mystery" I can almost believe it - and it did sell actual copies on Kindle - just KU was terrible. The sequel also came out and did reasonably well. Basically he puts out something every two or three months and has a long back catalogue.

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Ccs
Feb 25, 2011




It looks like an awful cover to me; Unclear font, multiple font styles, pixelation, white void.

I dunno if "genre" trumps general design sensibilities.

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