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moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


psychopomp posted:

Unless KU can give me a 300% increase I'm going to make more money diversifying. I've started to get some push from other marketplaces, too.
What genre are you writing that Amazon isn't the majority of your income? I'm curious. Also what kind of sample size are we talking about?

Amazon KU is paying more than all my other non Amazon accounts combined, times like ten. So I wouldn't write it off. Especially for you, aren't you the one with platform fatigue?

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Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


I'm certainly not going to argue against KU given how nicely it treats me, but if you make a good amount elsewhere, congratulations! :D I like self-pub success stories no matter where they publish.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


moana posted:

What genre are you writing that Amazon isn't the majority of your income? I'm curious. Also what kind of sample size are we talking about?

Amazon KU is paying more than all my other non Amazon accounts combined, times like ten. So I wouldn't write it off. Especially for you, aren't you the one with platform fatigue?

SF, Fantasy, horror, mysteries, thrillers scattered across multiple pen-names, and that's what's fatiguing. Multiple marketing platforms. You either have social media multiple personality, or you neglect audience building. 2015 I'm going to start consolidating everything, because man, I'm tired of juggling.

Now it's more a matter of realizing that my fanbase has a significant non-Amazon component, and I don't want to cut them off by going exclusive. Compounded with the fact that I'm getting more traction from other retailers' promotional departments, and I'm reluctant to go exclusive.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


psychopomp posted:

Now it's more a matter of realizing that my fanbase has a significant non-Amazon component, and I don't want to cut them off by going exclusive.

I hear this a lot (phrased different ways of course) but it's usually vastly overstated. Not only that, but if you're referring to B&N specifically, you might as well jump ship now.

quote:

Compounded with the fact that I'm getting more traction from other retailers' promotional departments, and I'm reluctant to go exclusive.

In what form are you getting traction from other retailers' promotional departments? Like you're on other books also-boughts, or...?

Pinky Artichoke
Apr 10, 2011

Dinner has blossomed.

Hello self-publishing goons, I hope you don't mind a few questions. I'm working my way through the thread (page #17, woo!) so I apologize if I'm repeating something I haven't gotten to yet.

Almost 3 years ago, early in the long-dead thread that I gather eventually got weird, I had some time on my hands so I published a short story to Amazon, B&N, and SmashWords. It was more of a quick hobby project with my then-SO and it had a lot of problems: it's really too short (although about on par with comparable stories at the time), the cover is not great, and the blurb barely exists. Really the only good things about it are that the English is well proofread and then-SO really enjoyed it. Somehow, despite complete neglect it is still selling a little over a copy per month.

So I have two KDP questions. First off: if I took this story down, added a few thousand words, then republished with a new cover and blurb, can I safely enroll it in KDP Select without messing around with the long-ignored SW and Nook versions? I'm honestly not sure I could recover my account credentials for those sites, even the email address I originally used is lost. I imagine about 60% of the text and of course the premise would remain the same in the new edition. I don't want to piss off Amazon, I just want to make the improved story available to KU readers.

Second: in my KDP account my company/publisher name is just my pen name for that book. Does this actually appear anywhere that customers can see it? Does it make a real difference to remittance at all (I know it shows up in my email when I receive a royalty payment, but that seems to be its only significance)? I guess I'm trying to figure out if it's worth changing if I want to publish things in other genres, and if there are any gotchas related to it.

Thanks in advance for your help.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Since you used a percentage, the answer to your first question is really easy. From the KDP Select FAQ:

quote:

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you're committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively through KDP during the entirety of its enrollment in the program.
All content made exclusive to Amazon in KDP Select must remain for sale on our site only; it cannot be available for free or for purchase in digital format anywhere else, including publishing the content of your book on the web, including on your own website, blog, etc. However, you may choose to make up to 10% of your book available on other sites as a sample, as well as continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format other than digital. See the KDP Select Terms and Conditions for more information.

About the Company information, as long as your bank is accepting the check every month, there's no issue.

Pinky Artichoke
Apr 10, 2011

Dinner has blossomed.

EngineerSean posted:

Since you used a percentage, the answer to your first question is really easy. From the KDP Select FAQ:

Ah, I missed that somehow, thanks. Time to look through some old backups, I guess. I think it sold a combined total of 4 copies through SW and B&N vs. making high double-digits (ha) at Amazon.

If I do succeed in un-publishing at SW and B&N, can they be trusted to actually take it down over a specific period of time?

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


B&N is pretty quick. Smashwords is quick for their own site, but they can linger on the other sites if you use their extended distribution (so keep an eye out on those ones to make sure).

No Gravitas
Jun 12, 2013

by FactsAreUseless


Another total noob here: What is the benefit of KDP select? Any other costs aside from exclusivity?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


No Gravitas posted:

What is the benefit of KDP select?

Why I'll tell you *goes on multi page screed about visibility*

You'd be better off reading "Let's Get Visible" by David Gaughran.

quote:

Any other costs aside from exclusivity?

To some people that's a pretty big cost but not to me.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


The only really problem with exclusivity is that it takes forever to build any kind of traction on Apple or Kobo, so delaying that just makes it harder whenever you eventually get around to it. What about Smashwords or BN? Don't worry about them. You won't make any traction on Smashwords or BN. Apple and Kobo are more "long term slow build" success.

If you only want to sell on Amazon, there's no reason not to go exclusive.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


psychopomp posted:

If you only want to sell on Amazon, there's no reason not to go exclusive.

This is a bit simplistic, there are other reasons to go KDP Select other than "hell I just don't want to bother with all them other outlets", even before KU was around.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Oh, I agree... you should have a developed business plan. And if that business plans indicates that your time is best spent focused on Amazon, there's no reason not to go exclusive.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

Possibly relevant to the conversation:

http://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/honeymoon-over-ku-comes-between-amazon-and-self-publishers

H. M. Ward apparently labels KU as destroyer of self publishing, points out unfair payment structure of KU.

Article seems to go overboard with the death of Amazon, but I was interested in what you lot think - especially about the 'subscribe to author' idea everyone seems to be throwing about, and the accusations that paying everyone from the same pot is ludicrous / unfair.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Bobby Deluxe posted:

Possibly relevant to the conversation:

http://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/honeymoon-over-ku-comes-between-amazon-and-self-publishers

H. M. Ward apparently labels KU as destroyer of self publishing, points out unfair payment structure of KU.

Article seems to go overboard with the death of Amazon, but I was interested in what you lot think - especially about the 'subscribe to author' idea everyone seems to be throwing about, and the accusations that paying everyone from the same pot is ludicrous / unfair.

Chuck Wendig posted something similar about the KU the other day, grossly misrepresenting the situation, as usual.

As far as I know most people are pretty happy with the subscription thing. You're not losing sales, you're incentivizing people to grab your book who might otherwise have balked at the price. They're paying 9.99 per month, but as far as they're concerned, your book was free. Are you sure they'd have bought it if it wasn't?

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Exclusivity sucks but no other retailer is worth it right now imo. I was able to launch a brand new pen name this year and hit the top 100 on Amazon, I don't think it would have happened without the visibility boost of KU. So yes, it kind of sucks. At the same time, I got a $2k KU allstars bonus last month which is more than I make at all the other retailers combined. If anybody would step up to the plate, I'd be all for it. So far, though, the other retailers are poo poo at merchandising and bringing in readers.

The nice thing about huge changes in the publishing world that may or may not suck is that we can adapt to them quicker than the trad pubbers.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Bobby Deluxe posted:

Possibly relevant to the conversation:

http://www.thebookseller.com/futurebook/honeymoon-over-ku-comes-between-amazon-and-self-publishers

H. M. Ward apparently labels KU as destroyer of self publishing, points out unfair payment structure of KU.

Article seems to go overboard with the death of Amazon, but I was interested in what you lot think - especially about the 'subscribe to author' idea everyone seems to be throwing about, and the accusations that paying everyone from the same pot is ludicrous / unfair.

It's not really being covered (in that I literally haven't seen another person bring this up) but I have serious doubts about where she gets her 75% drop. There's a mountain of data that shows that her total profit actually increased significantly while she was a part of Kindle Unlimited. Other authors have had a wishy washy "Well maybe I would have sold better otherwise" but Ward's 75% drop is basically impossible.

Here's the sales rank chart for The Arrangement 13 (obtained from NovelRank), and many of her other books that were enrolled have similar graphs. Note that low sales rank = more sales and that she was a part of Kindle Unlimited from September 5 to approximately November 1.

I'd like to say that it's an anti-Amazon conspiracy but more likely I think that she's just mad that her Kindle Worlds is being mismanaged.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

I figured, the whole piece seems to be written from an 'Amazon is going down' angle that doesn't square up with anything else I've read.

The one point that I think is fair though is her saying that the KU payments shouldn't share the same pot, but I don't even know if that's an accurate reflection.

Just interested to see if it lined up with the experience of everyone here really.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


I swear this is like the book The Emperor's New Clothes in that I see this set of graphs which clearly demonstrates this woman lying or at the least severely misrepresenting things and nobody else comments on it. It's fascinating really.

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING


Just noticed that a book sale a few days ago was actually a return. Had a look at how other people react to this and I can't believe how prevalent this is.

I wonder if Amazon cracks down on problem re-offenders or if they care so little about authors and non-tangible goods that they'd rather let cheapskates steal a thousand books than get a single whinger complaining that they can't exploit the system anymore.

Roar
Jul 7, 2007

I got 30 points!

I GOT 30 POINTS!


I have lost thousands of dollars to refunds over the last few years.

You (sort of) get over it in time.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

Reddit seems to think the UK is particularly bad for doing it.

Pinky Artichoke
Apr 10, 2011

Dinner has blossomed.

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Just noticed that a book sale a few days ago was actually a return. Had a look at how other people react to this and I can't believe how prevalent this is.

I wonder if Amazon cracks down on problem re-offenders or if they care so little about authors and non-tangible goods that they'd rather let cheapskates steal a thousand books than get a single whinger complaining that they can't exploit the system anymore.

You know, I don't have a problem with returns. I'm pretty sure a generous returns policy, particularly for a good like ebooks where there is little to no cost associated with accepting the return, improves revenues for the retailer. Just knowing my own behavior as a consumer, I will preferentially choose vendors with a good return policy, even though in some cases the base price of the products is higher (e.g. Zappos), and I'm more likely to make speculative purchases with the confidence that if the item isn't what I hoped it would be I can return it. Unfortunately in some genres this probably also results in more fraud (or more "OMG what did I just do?!" returns when a calmer frame of mind prevails), but I bet overall it's still a win for the retailer and probably for most of the authors as well.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


EngineerSean posted:

I swear this is like the book The Emperor's New Clothes in that I see this set of graphs which clearly demonstrates this woman lying or at the least severely misrepresenting things and nobody else comments on it. It's fascinating really.

I've seen it a bunch of times but really just have nothing to say that isn't obvious. Her sales ranks don't add up to KU hurting her before (and clearly not hurting her compared to what's happening to her ranks now), so unless she's just looking at everything through the rose-tinted lenses of her days of having 9 books in the Top 100, I really don't understand what the gently caress she's talking about.

Speaking as a mid-lister, KU is just plain awesome to me. I'm all-in on Amazon and it's serving me well so far. Kudos to anyone maintaining reasonable earnings elsewhere, but Amazon is definitely the big pie for me.

Anais Nun
Apr 21, 2010


Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Just noticed that a book sale a few days ago was actually a return. Had a look at how other people react to this and I can't believe how prevalent this is.

I wonder if Amazon cracks down on problem re-offenders or if they care so little about authors and non-tangible goods that they'd rather let cheapskates steal a thousand books than get a single whinger complaining that they can't exploit the system anymore.

In my experience it was far, far worse before KU. Amazon's previous borrowing policy was so bad (something like 1 per month or something ridiculous) that people would just steal books all the time. KU has cut my returns down to almost nothing. So it's better, but sadly some people are just dicks who don't want to pay for things. You can't really do much about them. :(

Mr. Belding
May 19, 2006
^
|
<- IS LAME-O PHOBE ->
|
V


I think assuming that all returns are theft and that any return is a slight is a shortcut to unhappiness and most people when chose that particular brand deserve what they're getting.

DukeRustfield
Aug 6, 2004


Select is a mixed bag. If you're selling at $2.99 it's not really a mixed bag. If you're selling at $9.99 (and can actually make sales) then it's kind of stupid to want to chuck that for a buck and some change.

Borrows are counted at as sales in terms of Amazon's rank. And it's very easy for people to just borrow you. Especially your $9.99 book. So that will bump you up higher and allow more people to see you and you'll make more $9.99 sales and buck-and-change borrows.

My last book I stayed out of Select for a month. Then I went in and I think it kind of leveled off. I got a better rank, of course, but I compared from weeks before and sales were within 5-10% of each other.

If you have a low price point, there is very little reason not to be in Select, IMHO. The higher your price, the more you start to question its value.

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING


I'm also of the opinion that anybody who steals your book wasn't going to pay for it anyway. You can't spend your life getting disproportionately outraged over this kind of stuff. I'm curious though, does it count as a book sale for rankings? Or does it count as a book sale for the duration until it gets returned, and then it's as though the book sale never happened? In which case you might still see some (very) slight benefit on account of increased visibility during that pre-return period.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




You know, I'm not cool with calling returns ''stealing.'' I mean if you get a shitload of returns I bet you get pissed off after a while, but there are a lot of lovely books out there I wish I could return (I never have, I usually forget).

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

ravenkult posted:

You know, I'm not cool with calling returns ''stealing.'' I mean if you get a shitload of returns I bet you get pissed off after a while, but there are a lot of lovely books out there I wish I could return (I never have, I usually forget).

Thank you. I had a long reply but just deleted it.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

I'm still marvelling at the idea that book piracy is now a thing.

I mean, before Kindle, the amount of effort it would have taken to either photocopy or scan & compile a novel, you'd be better off just doing an hours overtime and buying two copies of it.

Sulla Faex
May 14, 2010

No man ever did me so much good, or enemy so much harm, but I repaid him with ENDLESS SHITPOSTING


Well I don't think anybody is saying that all returns are theft. The problem is that it's hard to quantify the difference between a genuinely dissatisfied reader and somebody who just doesn't feel like paying money to read a book. Amazon doesn't give us enough data to truly recognise that distinction. I mean you're breaking it down to two options, either all returns are theft or all returns are because the book is lovely and the reader felt ripped off. And how can you say "Oh my book is of very high quality, it's utterly clear from the outset what it is going to contain and what the reader will get out of it, and what types of readers should be interested" and retain any semblance of objectivity?

It's hard to quantify a good book vs a bad book, but there is the perception among self-pubbers that there is a strong group of users on Amazon that buy books with the intent of reading them and returning them, regardless of satisfaction or the 'quality' of the book. People will use different ways to justify this -- books with 5-star reviews across the board still seeing a return rate barely different to their other books with 1-star reviews across the board, comparing return rates for different genres ('spoilt' Romance readers, 'ashamed' porno readers, and so on).

Without proper data from Amazon (and they're not talking - but then again, it's in their interests not to) it's hard to know for sure. You'd want to take a look at all the returns across the client base and see if 90% of the returns are made by 10% of the users or something like that. But Amazon would never release that, for obvious reasons, so you have to use the data available to authors - comparing return rates on your own catalogues, comparing between genres, talking to other authors of varying degrees of success, etc.

It's not a scientific discussion by any means but it's certainly a lot less polarising than "all returns are theft" which is what you seem to be criticising. Unless you're of the mindframe that your books are worthless and that reading them without any intent to compensate you is fine, and if people actually buy your books then that's the equivalent of hitting the 'Donate' button on the bottom of your blog.

Pinky Artichoke
Apr 10, 2011

Dinner has blossomed.

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Well I don't think anybody is saying that all returns are theft. The problem is that it's hard to quantify the difference between a genuinely dissatisfied reader and somebody who just doesn't feel like paying money to read a book.

I bet it's more complicated than that, even. Think about browsing Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime Video: you might start and stop a couple of movies/TV episodes before you find the one you want right now. Some you know you might want to watch later, some you're not so sure. I could *easily* see someone treating the Kindle Store the exact same way. Most people who do that won't return the books (and/or will sign up for KU), but I'm sure some percentage are thrifty enough to do so or even just think it's the workflow Amazon "wants" them to do.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Well I don't think anybody is saying that all returns are theft. The problem is that it's hard to quantify the difference between a genuinely dissatisfied reader and somebody who just doesn't feel like paying money to read a book. Amazon doesn't give us enough data to truly recognise that distinction. I mean you're breaking it down to two options, either all returns are theft or all returns are because the book is lovely and the reader felt ripped off. And how can you say "Oh my book is of very high quality, it's utterly clear from the outset what it is going to contain and what the reader will get out of it, and what types of readers should be interested" and retain any semblance of objectivity?

It's hard to quantify a good book vs a bad book, but there is the perception among self-pubbers that there is a strong group of users on Amazon that buy books with the intent of reading them and returning them, regardless of satisfaction or the 'quality' of the book. People will use different ways to justify this -- books with 5-star reviews across the board still seeing a return rate barely different to their other books with 1-star reviews across the board, comparing return rates for different genres ('spoilt' Romance readers, 'ashamed' porno readers, and so on).

Without proper data from Amazon (and they're not talking - but then again, it's in their interests not to) it's hard to know for sure. You'd want to take a look at all the returns across the client base and see if 90% of the returns are made by 10% of the users or something like that. But Amazon would never release that, for obvious reasons, so you have to use the data available to authors - comparing return rates on your own catalogues, comparing between genres, talking to other authors of varying degrees of success, etc.

It's not a scientific discussion by any means but it's certainly a lot less polarising than "all returns are theft" which is what you seem to be criticising. Unless you're of the mindframe that your books are worthless and that reading them without any intent to compensate you is fine, and if people actually buy your books then that's the equivalent of hitting the 'Donate' button on the bottom of your blog.

I've enjoyed watching you argue against yourself. It was a close match, but in the end you came out on top. You're right, anyone who gets a single return and then gets worried about customers stealing thousands of ebooks is not being objective.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




My return percentage is pretty low, so I haven't had reason to worry, since you're asking. I just find it weird that people get upset about something just because with digital, it's a bit easier to do (arguably). People return books all the time in actual stores and nobody has ever said ''Oh what are we going to do about these thieves'' before. Now there's a thread on Kboards once a week.

The internet makes people crazy.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

Maybe it'd be interesting if there was a way of displaying for each return the percentage of ebooks that purchaser has returned.

There again, that would probably cause the sellotape to come loose on the cardboard boxes Amazon are using as servers.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Bobby Deluxe posted:

I'm still marvelling at the idea that book piracy is now a thing.

I mean, before Kindle, the amount of effort it would have taken to either photocopy or scan & compile a novel, you'd be better off just doing an hours overtime and buying two copies of it.

I had a pdf of "Encyclopedia of Dune" forever because it was impossible to find in bookstores or even on eBay for less than $100.

Grizzled Patriarch
Mar 27, 2014

These dentures won't stop me from tearing out jugulars in Thunderdome.





I don't have a dog in this fight either way, but I've always wondered why they didn't just implement some system based on how far into the book someone has read, since they evidently have ways of tracking that.

I don't see how saying, for example, "If you've read at least 50% of this book, you can't return it" would be all that unfair. It's kind of like eating at a restaurant: if you take one bite and send it back, cool. If you eat half of a steak and then decide you don't like it, you probably aren't going to get it comped.

That lets people return a book if they have second thoughts or read a few pages and realize it's not for them while filtering out the people that are buying a book, reading the entire thing, and then returning it. I kind of doubt the latter group is even a large enough subset of the purchasing population to worry about, but who knows. I suppose it would still be a potential issue for really short books (so erotica, basically?) where a couple pages constitutes 50%, though.

Bobby Deluxe
May 9, 2004

this changes nothing, i am still dead inside

Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I don't have a dog in this fight either way, but I've always wondered why they didn't just implement some system based on how far into the book someone has read, since they evidently have ways of tracking that.

I don't see how saying, for example, "If you've read at least 50% of this book, you can't return it" would be all that unfair. It's kind of like eating at a restaurant: if you take one bite and send it back, cool. If you eat half of a steak and then decide you don't like it, you probably aren't going to get it comped.
Unfortunately I have sat opposite someone at a restaurant who ate the entire steak, then when the waitress asked if everything was OK he said the steak was too dry. Sad thing is he ended up getting 50% off and sat there the rest of the night acting like he'd beaten the system.

Some people are just pricks that don't pay if there's any way of avoiding it, ethical or not.

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ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Grizzled Patriarch posted:

I don't have a dog in this fight either way, but I've always wondered why they didn't just implement some system based on how far into the book someone has read, since they evidently have ways of tracking that.

I don't see how saying, for example, "If you've read at least 50% of this book, you can't return it" would be all that unfair. It's kind of like eating at a restaurant: if you take one bite and send it back, cool. If you eat half of a steak and then decide you don't like it, you probably aren't going to get it comped.

That lets people return a book if they have second thoughts or read a few pages and realize it's not for them while filtering out the people that are buying a book, reading the entire thing, and then returning it. I kind of doubt the latter group is even a large enough subset of the purchasing population to worry about, but who knows. I suppose it would still be a potential issue for really short books (so erotica, basically?) where a couple pages constitutes 50%, though.

Hard to track. You could have just accidentally or on purpose skipped a few chapters forward.

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