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Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


I may make a habit of gifting a billion copies to all my reviewers on launch day (in addition to sending them ARCs).

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fruit loop
Apr 25, 2015


I'm sorry, but what does ARC stand for?

ArchangeI
Jul 15, 2010


fruit loop posted:

I'm sorry, but what does ARC stand for?

Advance Reader/Review Copy. Basically giving out a book to a select few people before release so they can get you feedback and/or write a review as soon as the book comes out.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Yep. If you have a fan-base predispositioned to like your work (mailing list subscribers, for example), giving a trustworthy subset of them free copies of the book in advance and asking them to post their reviews to Amazon on release can sometimes give you a really nice boost at the start. Also, it fends off the mysterious unverified 1-star reviews from people who have magically never reviewed anything else on Amazon before but somehow found your book and decided it was worth leaving their first and only review. :v:

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

Sales for my first novel are still at a trickle but my friends have been helping with the visibility by adding it to lists on Goodreads, Librarything, and Riffle. I have an author interview feature coming up on a mystery blog and I was thinking about enrolling my e-book on the Kindle Countdown Deal to coincide with this. Any tips for maximizing sales from a Countdown?

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




This has been discussed before, but if you can't get BookBub, what's the next best thing for a 0.99 sale?

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


ravenkult posted:

This has been discussed before, but if you can't get BookBub, what's the next best thing for a 0.99 sale?

Mailing list, your own personal and author facebook, and any genre-specific promotion sites. If you don't have a mailing list by now, jump into a time machine and get one.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




EngineerSean posted:

Mailing list, your own personal and author facebook, and any genre-specific promotion sites. If you don't have a mailing list by now, jump into a time machine and get one.

Only 200 people, unfortunately.

Hijinks Ensue
Jul 24, 2007


ravenkult posted:

This has been discussed before, but if you can't get BookBub, what's the next best thing for a 0.99 sale?

Ereader News Today and Kindle Books & Tips both give decent return.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

ravenkult posted:

Only 200 people, unfortunately.

Excitespice has been good for me so far. You get WAY MORE visibility on a freebie than a 0.99 sale, but the sale still helps.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




angel opportunity posted:

Excitespice has been good for me so far. You get WAY MORE visibility on a freebie than a 0.99 sale, but the sale still helps.

i don't write that disgusting filth

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

They have a romance one called Excitesteam

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


With only a week left of the old per-borrow payout I thought I'd try dropping my prices on one old penname down to $0.99 as an experiment. I'm getting SFA of my income from sales at $2.99 and my rankings are terrible for that one so I'm going to see if I can boost rankings and borrows through increased sales.

Once the pages thing comes through though that'll be all up in the air and much harder to track (given that they're still "debating" whether to show us how those pages relate to total borrows.. right), so I'm doing it now and seeing if there are any discernible changes.

I released a title for a different penname a week ago (been in a different country trying to organise a 6-month move so haven't been writing at all) and that's been doing surprisingly well, by my standards anyway. Trust me to just start to get the hang of things right as the whole platform is shifting away beneath me.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

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


I'm in the same boat - I started writing again three months ago and this month I've made nearly 3x what I made at my peak the last time I tried self-pubbing. It's still good money, regardless - I just wish I'd been taking better advantage of KU the last year.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


The only reason we're able to have careers in this field is due to drastic disruptions and each additional disruption is an opportunity to increase your earnings.

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 don't know if you're trying super hard to remain optimistic and overcompensating as a result or if you're combating a whole stream of in-thread negative doomsday prophesying that I missed, but we get it. The changes don't spell the end of the industry or of our lives, but surely we're still able to discuss these changes and sometimes joke around a little?

We only found out a few days ago about the changes, it's going to take a little while for people to stop talking about them. We understand your point and we don't disagree, nobody's giving up and going back to gutting fish by the waterfront, but given the nature of the industry and how little data we actually have to go on (not just from Amazon but for our own sales metrics and customer demographics), there's bound to be a lot of fruitless speculation and shooting-the-poo poo.

Sulla Faex fucked around with this message at 16:01 on Jun 22, 2015

Cast_No_Shadow
Jun 8, 2010

The Republic of Luna Equestria is a huge, socially progressive nation, notable for its punitive income tax rates. Its compassionate, cynical population of 714m are ruled with an iron fist by the dictatorship government, which ensures that no-one outside the party gets too rich.



As a reader if nothing else I hope this will help get all you super romance scum off my sci-fi new release list.

No vampire bear sex firemen is not sci-fi and I hope whoever you are you never sell another copy again.

Although Amazon really does need to decide where it stands on explicit genres.

Either put them all in their own category, if its all there no one loses out and readers who want it will find it. Or decide it doesn't want smutty dollars and ban it all.

Sorry if I'm crapping all over your dreams.

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


Super romance in normal sci-fi and fantasy categories is generally Amazon's fault.

Also a few months ago I tried finding fantasy and sci-fi stuff on KU and they were all pretty terrible (at least those in the top 100 and even in more specific categories). I'll try again after the pages-ranking has shuffled things around a bit, but what I saw before wasn't promising.

Cast_No_Shadow
Jun 8, 2010

The Republic of Luna Equestria is a huge, socially progressive nation, notable for its punitive income tax rates. Its compassionate, cynical population of 714m are ruled with an iron fist by the dictatorship government, which ensures that no-one outside the party gets too rich.



Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Super romance in normal sci-fi and fantasy categories is generally Amazon's fault.

Also a few months ago I tried finding fantasy and sci-fi stuff on KU and they were all pretty terrible (at least those in the top 100 and even in more specific categories). I'll try again after the pages-ranking has shuffled things around a bit, but what I saw before wasn't promising.

I have a high tolerance for poo poo in genres I enjoy (sci-fi being one of them) but I've given up on quite a few books after the first few pages.

I've given up on fantasy in KU.

Some I've enjoyed this week from the top 100;
The Brilliants series - Push past the first chapter, actually alright.
Lost Starship series - By the numbers sci-fi, competently done. loving awful character names though (I would pay for a find and replace feature on my kindle).
War Eternal series - See above, better character names, in fact a bit better all round.
Depature was decent (apparently about to be made into a movie) gets a bit messy towards the end.
God Complex - More thriller than sci-fi (the title does warn you) just about scrapes past the bar for enjoyable. Cheesy plot, pure vintage edam by the end.


Edit - Also I read about 5-10 books a week so if anyone wants me to beta read their sci-fi\fantasy\thriller books I'd be happy to give you my opinions. As long as I can read it on my kindle somehow.

Cast_No_Shadow fucked around with this message at 16:19 on Jun 22, 2015

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


Thanks, I saved the list and I'll check them out when I get home in a couple days. It's amazing how cheesy some of the ones I've read are, and how much they would benefit by a competent editor that isn't afraid to point out weak characters, plots, arcs, or dialogue.

Cast_No_Shadow
Jun 8, 2010

The Republic of Luna Equestria is a huge, socially progressive nation, notable for its punitive income tax rates. Its compassionate, cynical population of 714m are ruled with an iron fist by the dictatorship government, which ensures that no-one outside the party gets too rich.



Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

Thanks, I saved the list and I'll check them out when I get home in a couple days. It's amazing how cheesy some of the ones I've read are, and how much they would benefit by a competent editor that isn't afraid to point out weak characters, plots, arcs, or dialogue.

Yeah don't expect gold there, but I found those entertaining.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

These changes to KU are encouraging higher-quality stuff to be in KU. By necessity it is punishing really short stuff as well.

As a short erotica writer, it sucks.

If I were a reader who wanted KU to be good, I'd see it as a good thing because it would be more likely that better stuff would find its way into KU.

If I weren't just starting out with erotica, and if I weren't desperate to make money, I might even try doing some serialized sci-fi in KU.

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


Cast_No_Shadow posted:

Yeah don't expect gold there, but I found those entertaining.

Oh I'm definitely not expecting the next Arthur C. Clarke, but if you want to write well you have to read the pulp as well as the classics. Where they've gone right and where they've gone wrong, you know? Learn from others' mistakes.

Angel, there are a bunch of break-downs floating around that would warn against doing sci-fi if you're talking about pure monetary reward. Romance is far and away the biggest money maker, followed by (I think) fantasy in a distant second, and sci-fi etc make a tidy pocket within a dedicated fan base but there's a far smaller market so you'd have to know it super well. Like mil sci fi pulp or something, I haven't delved into it beyond looking at the breakdowns by genre.

I think the changes to payout are definitely overdue, it made no sense for longer works to put their titles on KU when a 4k story earns the same amount and far more readily, but what concerns me is the way that Amazon are going about it - reducing info available to authors/self-publishers and presumably reducing payouts across the board (i.e. they're looking to stabilise at prices a LOT lower than they're boasting now) because KU isn't doing as well as they thought it would.

Overall the concerns about Amazon taking a short-term hit to shore up the monopoly are, in my opinion, justified. I'm not defending or attacking super romance vs other genres, but the opacity of the changes and the reduced data we can expect to see is a bit worrying. They're trying to create a greater divide between authors and the market, when self-pub was supposed to reduce that.

Pinky Artichoke
Apr 10, 2011

Dinner has blossomed.

Honestly, I think it will work out OK for high-quality short fiction, probably more OK for high-quality super-romance short fiction than other genres (because shorts and lots of them seem to work well for that readership). The real despair-noises will be coming out of people who write badly-done longer stuff where the readers just fell off after reading 10% but not much farther.

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I'm already making pretty good money on erotica, I know sci-fi is dumb to do. I'm just saying if I were already making really good money I'd probably want to try some sci-fi for fun, knowing it would make way less money.

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


The big concern I have is that they clearly intended to not provide us with a pages read vs total borrows, or any metrics on completion rates etc. You should be able to expect a "10 borrows of this title on the 23rd, of which pages read: 176, 204, 10, 4, 300, 300, 6... [and so on]". But they didn't even want to provide total borrows. What does that mean? How can you judge the quality of your book as opposed to your marketing for the book without the equivalent of a voodoo chicken sacrifice, trying to estimate the trends by squinting at dirty reflections out of the corner of your eye?

The market is the market, quality is quality and the readers won't change, the $/page remains to be seen, but the sales platform is what is actively deteriorating as opposed to improving. That's not a promising trend.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Sulla-Marius 88 posted:

I don't know if you're trying super hard to remain optimistic and overcompensating as a result or if you're combating a whole stream of in-thread negative doomsday prophesying that I missed, but we get it. The changes don't spell the end of the industry or of our lives, but surely we're still able to discuss these changes and sometimes joke around a little?

We only found out a few days ago about the changes, it's going to take a little while for people to stop talking about them. We understand your point and we don't disagree, nobody's giving up and going back to gutting fish by the waterfront, but given the nature of the industry and how little data we actually have to go on (not just from Amazon but for our own sales metrics and customer demographics), there's bound to be a lot of fruitless speculation and shooting-the-poo poo.

Edit: I was wrong. Nevermind.

Jalumibnkrayal fucked around with this message at 22:48 on Jun 22, 2015

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 didn't really read sarcasm in that or his other posts but I wasn't searching for it so that might be on me. I be posting from the hip just bang bang bang

E: click click click

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




It's not the pornographers that should think this is stupid. It's just dumb on it's face. If you pubbed a fantasy novella you could found a home for it in KU, and I don't think 1.30$ is too much to pay for a 20k story. Now you're stuck with the 0.99$ and the 35 cent royalty.

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

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


Cast_No_Shadow posted:

As a reader if nothing else I hope this will help get all you super romance scum off my sci-fi new release list.

No vampire bear sex firemen is not sci-fi and I hope whoever you are you never sell another copy again.

Although Amazon really does need to decide where it stands on explicit genres.

Either put them all in their own category, if its all there no one loses out and readers who want it will find it. Or decide it doesn't want smutty dollars and ban it all.

Sorry if I'm crapping all over your dreams.

As scum myself, I agree that this is 100% bullshit. Succeed or fail on your own merits, don't try to game the system by pretending your book is some genre it isn't.

I will say that this is totally a thing in the mainstream to an extent, though. If I go into my library's Overdrive system and pull up the most popular titles in "Sci-Fi/Fantasy," nearly a third of them are basically romance novels with a medieval coat of paint (loving Nora Roberts, man, I swear).

Popular Human fucked around with this message at 18:34 on Jun 22, 2015

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Cast_No_Shadow posted:

Sorry if I'm crapping all over your dreams.

I understand that, as a reader, this pisses you off. I totally do (it pisses me off, too). Having been one of those authors, though, let me explain to you why they're putting it in sci-fi.


If you publish a book in super-romance, you have automatically placed yourself in a special category of search results. Amazon's algorithms for the USA site currently have several things they evaluate when they rank search results. Popularity, reviews, adherence to the search keywords, etc etc. There's another one they don't mention anywhere, though -- whether your book is classified as super-romance.

Take two books, both about babysitters. One is a YA book about a babysitter, and the other is a much sleazier sort of babysitter story, let's say. No matter how many bad reviews the YA book has, no matter how few sales it has, how old it is, etc, it will always come above the super-romance short in the search results even if the super-romance is somehow the bestselling book in the store. (YMMV if you're a trad-pubbed super-romance, but that's neither here nor there.)

Now expand that scenario to ten million books. If you write a super-romance about anything and file it under super-romance, you will be behind every other possible relevant search result of equivalent match-strength.

Now, add sleazy internet marketers into the mix and go search for the keyword "erotica." Super-romance is all that should come up, right? Yep! Looks like it's all super-romance. Except... all those results that came up are in other categories. They're falsely categorized under romance, fantasy, sci-fi, etc etc. They're artificially repressing all the super-romance authors who didn't game the system, now. Anyone who actually followed the rules is invisible behind tens to hundreds of pages of search results for any given keyword, even within their desired genre, because of the combination of the search ordering and people gaming it.

So now, even more people game it because without doing so, you're invisible. That's what's going on, and that's why you see the stuff in every genre. Thanks to that stupid search feature (since Amazon wants super-dollars but doesn't want to be seen as supporting the genre by actually accommodating it), everyone has to game the system to get any loving visibility whatsoever.

Doesn't make things any better for you as a reader, but at least you know why they're doing it now. :)

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot



lol I wish I had seen this earlier and been able to respond in real time

When Amazon first started selling eBooks, a handful of erotica authors dominated the charts. Carl East, Terry Towers, Selena Kitt, these authors were all making tens of thousands of dollars a month on stories that Amazon would ban outright nowadays. "Moan for Daddy" was one of the top selling books on Amazon. Amazon made changes, created the ADULT filter (without people knowing it existed for a while), banned quite a few books and hid quite a few more. No nudity on cover, underboob or hand bra discouraged.

This was all a year before I started writing. By August 2012, the glory days of erotica were long gone, or so people familiar with the industry would have you believe.

Like everyone else, I started off with a scattershot catalog. I tightened it up later and split off sections when I researched buying habits, something which I tell people to do to this day. In April 2013, when I was still making about a hundred dollars a day, Amazon made a change where many MANY of the words that people had in their titles immediately earned you an ADULT filter. The glory days of erotica were gone again. While other people moaned about their loss of 90% of their income, I immediately changed all my titles to ones filled with innuendo but safe words. May was my first five figure month.

In September 2013, the Daily Mail ran an article on all the perverse filth that was on Amazon. One of my books was on their list, so Amazon went ahead and blocked my whole catalog. The glory days of erotica were gone again. While others were busy looking for a day job, I resubmitted all of them even cleaner, this time with the blurb inside the book so that Amazon's reviewers didn't see it.

By summer of 2014, erotica had become much more flooded. Other authors (including several who frequent this thread) began to bundle ten of their stories together for a dollar. The glory days of erotica were gone once again. I continued to tighten my brand, write good stories. I noticed it too, even though I was pretty protected against it. I was protected against it because I had a tight brand, I only wrote good stories, and once a story worked for me, I wrote sequel after sequel to it until it was dead.

When Kindle Unlimited was launched in June 2014, people called it the end of our lifestyles. Spotify gives out 0.7 cents per listen for their service, and we'd get a similar rate from Amazon as well. The glory days of erotica, if they weren't gone already, were super gone now. Instead of going wider, I realized the potential for a single rate for every story, short or long. I jumped into Kindle Unlimited with both feet, and promoted it on Facebook. Read all my stories for FREE with Kindle Unlimited. And wouldn't you know it, even though my average royalty rate dropped to the borrow rate, I made even more money. The bonuses were actually a complete surprise, and I got two author ones the first month that they offered it for basically backlist titles. (edit: it was this disruption which apparently gave you your career)

Now, AGAIN, people are calling it. The glory days of erotica are gone again. You might ask if I'm simply overconfident and maybe I am, but if there's a group of people who should be masters at min-maxing and looking at spreadsheets and figuring poo poo out, I would imagine that it would be the Something Is Awful Forums Dot Com.

Hope this loving helps.

Yours truly,
Sean

EngineerSean fucked around with this message at 20:17 on Jun 22, 2015

angel opportunity
Sep 7, 2004

Total Eclipse of the Heart

I've already got my min-maxing plan plotted out

Popular Human
Jul 17, 2005

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


Christ, I had no idea your ENTIRE CATALOG got blocked. I just about lost the will to keep up with Amazon after they blocked two of my stories right after the other - seeing my entire catalog go down would have had me running for the hills. Good on you.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Popular Human posted:

Christ, I had no idea your ENTIRE CATALOG got blocked. I just about lost the will to keep up with Amazon after they blocked two of my stories right after the other - seeing my entire catalog go down would have had me running for the hills. Good on you.

Sorry if I misrepresented this, but this was just my highest earning erotica catalog. I was already writing romance as well by that point and the romance pen name was the higher earner.

Omi no Kami
Feb 19, 2014




So as someone who has been crunching the numbers and doing market research on Amazon far longer than I have, is your advice for authors just entering the market to still start in novel-length Romance and build their portfolio on "Write what everyone is already buying, make your money on marketing it more effectively than the other guy", or do you see any reason at all to diversify into a high-frequency underdog like (non-disguised) Fantasy?

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Omi no Kami posted:

"Write what everyone is already buying, make your money on marketing it more effectively than the other guy"

Go to genre you like, look at what is selling, do the above, and write it well. Look for niches with robust self-publishing authors. I recall the Hugh Howey report showing a few niches with low self-pub authorship but high sales. Is that a niche waiting to be exploited? Maybe.

Just be aware that your niche is not going to sell as well as romance. You can be a Top 100 bestseller in the Culinary Cozy Mysteries category and only get 5 sales a day. (Yes, that's a thing and now you've ruined my Amazon browsing history)

A niche breakdown here - http://edwardwrobertson.com/followup-self-publishings-share-of-the-kindle-market-by-genre/ it's from 2014, but I'd says it's close.

quote:

Okay, so what about the genres’ overall market share? Here’s how it breaks down this time:

Romance – 35.2%
Thrillers – 26%
Science Fiction – 5.4%
Fantasy – 6.4%
This adds up to 73% of overall Kindle ebook sales. Crazy.

If you write Fantasy be aware that your market is 1/6th the size of Romance. So a Romance with mediocre sales may sell much better than a Fantasy novel that's ranked well in the niche.

Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


Yooper posted:

Culinary Cozy Mysteries category

The reviews in that category are amazing. Five stars for the plot and character development, but I tried some of the included recipes and they were just so bland and tasteless, so I have to give this book 3 stars overall.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



Speaking of reviews, some of my books are getting a star rated review with no text or link to who gave it. This is a definite departure from the 100 word minimum I saw enforced in the past.

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Sundae
Dec 1, 2005


I've seen that on a few of mine as well. Not sure if it's a glitch or not.

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