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Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

quote:

Dear KDP Author,

Just ahead of World War II, there was a radical invention that shook the foundations of book publishing. It was the paperback book. This was a time when movie tickets cost 10 or 20 cents, and books cost $2.50. The new paperback cost 25 cents -- it was ten times cheaper. Readers loved the paperback and millions of copies were sold in just the first year.

With it being so inexpensive and with so many more people able to afford to buy and read books, you would think the literary establishment of the day would have celebrated the invention of the paperback, yes? Nope. Instead, they dug in and circled the wagons. They believed low cost paperbacks would destroy literary culture and harm the industry (not to mention their own bank accounts). Many bookstores refused to stock them, and the early paperback publishers had to use unconventional methods of distribution -- places like newsstands and drugstores. The famous author George Orwell came out publicly and said about the new paperback format, if "publishers had any sense, they would combine against them and suppress them." Yes, George Orwell was suggesting collusion.

Well... history doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme.

Fast forward to today, and it's the e-book's turn to be opposed by the literary establishment. Amazon and Hachette -- a big US publisher and part of a $10 billion media conglomerate -- are in the middle of a business dispute about e-books. We want lower e-book prices. Hachette does not. Many e-books are being released at $14.99 and even $19.99. That is unjustifiably high for an e-book. With an e-book, there's no printing, no over-printing, no need to forecast, no returns, no lost sales due to out of stock, no warehousing costs, no transportation costs, and there is no secondary market -- e-books cannot be resold as used books. E-books can and should be less expensive.

Perhaps channeling Orwell's decades old suggestion, Hachette has already been caught illegally colluding with its competitors to raise e-book prices. So far those parties have paid $166 million in penalties and restitution. Colluding with its competitors to raise prices wasn't only illegal, it was also highly disrespectful to Hachette's readers.

The fact is many established incumbents in the industry have taken the position that lower e-book prices will "devalue books" and hurt "Arts and Letters." They're wrong. Just as paperbacks did not destroy book culture despite being ten times cheaper, neither will e-books. On the contrary, paperbacks ended up rejuvenating the book industry and making it stronger. The same will happen with e-books.

Many inside the echo-chamber of the industry often draw the box too small. They think books only compete against books. But in reality, books compete against mobile games, television, movies, Facebook, blogs, free news sites and more. If we want a healthy reading culture, we have to work hard to be sure books actually are competitive against these other media types, and a big part of that is working hard to make books less expensive.

Moreover, e-books are highly price elastic. This means that when the price goes down, customers buy much more. We've quantified the price elasticity of e-books from repeated measurements across many titles. For every copy an e-book would sell at $14.99, it would sell 1.74 copies if priced at $9.99. So, for example, if customers would buy 100,000 copies of a particular e-book at $14.99, then customers would buy 174,000 copies of that same e-book at $9.99. Total revenue at $14.99 would be $1,499,000. Total revenue at $9.99 is $1,738,000. The important thing to note here is that the lower price is good for all parties involved: the customer is paying 33% less and the author is getting a royalty check 16% larger and being read by an audience that's 74% larger. The pie is simply bigger.

But when a thing has been done a certain way for a long time, resisting change can be a reflexive instinct, and the powerful interests of the status quo are hard to move. It was never in George Orwell's interest to suppress paperback books -- he was wrong about that.

And despite what some would have you believe, authors are not united on this issue. When the Authors Guild recently wrote on this, they titled their post: "Amazon-Hachette Debate Yields Diverse Opinions Among Authors" (the comments to this post are worth a read). A petition started by another group of authors and aimed at Hachette, titled "Stop Fighting Low Prices and Fair Wages," garnered over 7,600 signatures. And there are myriad articles and posts, by authors and readers alike, supporting us in our effort to keep prices low and build a healthy reading culture. Author David Gaughran's recent interview is another piece worth reading.

We recognize that writers reasonably want to be left out of a dispute between large companies. Some have suggested that we "just talk." We tried that. Hachette spent three months stonewalling and only grudgingly began to even acknowledge our concerns when we took action to reduce sales of their titles in our store. Since then Amazon has made three separate offers to Hachette to take authors out of the middle. We first suggested that we (Amazon and Hachette) jointly make author royalties whole during the term of the dispute. Then we suggested that authors receive 100% of all sales of their titles until this dispute is resolved. Then we suggested that we would return to normal business operations if Amazon and Hachette's normal share of revenue went to a literacy charity. But Hachette, and their parent company Lagardere, have quickly and repeatedly dismissed these offers even though e-books represent 1% of their revenues and they could easily agree to do so. They believe they get leverage from keeping their authors in the middle.

We will never give up our fight for reasonable e-book prices. We know making books more affordable is good for book culture. We'd like your help. Please email Hachette and copy us.

Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch: Michael.Pietsch@hbgusa.com

Copy us at: readers-united@amazon.com

Please consider including these points:

- We have noted your illegal collusion. Please stop working so hard to overcharge for ebooks. They can and should be less expensive.
- Lowering e-book prices will help -- not hurt -- the reading culture, just like paperbacks did.
- Stop using your authors as leverage and accept one of Amazon's offers to take them out of the middle.
- Especially if you're an author yourself: Remind them that authors are not united on this issue.

Thanks for your support.

The Amazon Books Team

P.S. You can also find this letter at https://www.readersunited.com

Apparently tons of authors are getting this sent to them at the email address they registered with KDP.

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ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Yeah, got it too. It's kinda dumb.

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

Say "Cheese!"


Ah, yes. Somewhere between WW2 Propaganda Poster and creepy, drunken late-night email from your co-worker.

It's like asking hens to support the fox in its battle against the weasel.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Has anyone had much success with children's or YA books published through Kindle or similar? I have an idea, which would perhaps best be compared to the early Potter books or Lemony Snicket, and which I think could do rather well. But I don't know if that market actually exists or not for e-publishing. Any experiences?

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


Jesus, Amazon, can you at least pretend to keep this relationship professional? Christ.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Nessus posted:

Has anyone had much success with children's or YA books published through Kindle or similar? I have an idea, which would perhaps best be compared to the early Potter books or Lemony Snicket, and which I think could do rather well. But I don't know if that market actually exists or not for e-publishing. Any experiences?

No personal experience, but YA stuff does very well. Just browse the categories in Amazon. Children's books (ala Dr. Seuss) don't do as well in ebook format because little kids drop them and pour applesauce on them, so physical is better.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Jalumibnkrayal posted:

No personal experience, but YA stuff does very well. Just browse the categories in Amazon. Children's books (ala Dr. Seuss) don't do as well in ebook format because little kids drop them and pour applesauce on them, so physical is better.
Awesome. Is there any issue, as far as Amazon is concerned anyway, with having works under multiple pen names on one account?

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Nessus posted:

Awesome. Is there any issue, as far as Amazon is concerned anyway, with having works under multiple pen names on one account?

Not that I know of, but I just have the one pen name right now.

Unbelievably Fat Man
Jun 1, 2000

Innocent people. I could never hurt innocent people.




You can have as many pen names as you want on your main KDP account. Last I checked Author Central only accepts 3 pen names per account but they don't object to you making more accounts. And that's a useful thing to have but not mission critical.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Unbelievably Fat Man posted:

You can have as many pen names as you want on your main KDP account. Last I checked Author Central only accepts 3 pen names per account but they don't object to you making more accounts. And that's a useful thing to have but not mission critical.
Yeah, I've been self publishing shorts for a while but I wanted to know if doing 'legit' stuff like this would connect my hypothetical YA novel to all that romance stuff in the open market. :v:

Roar
Jul 7, 2007

I got 30 points!

I GOT 30 POINTS!


I'm pretty sure that KDP doesn't like you having more than one account but I don't have any proof offhand and can't be assed to look atm.

neongrey
Feb 28, 2007

Plaguing your posts with incidental music.


KDP and Author Central are different things though.

psychopomp
Jan 27, 2011


They will ban you for having more than one KDP account. More than one Author Central account is fine.

Fate Accomplice
Nov 30, 2006




psychopomp posted:

They will ban you for having more than one KDP account. More than one Author Central account is fine.

I vaguely recall this was for setting up more than one account with the same email address. I've had more than one KDP account for 2+ years now with no problems.

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



On launch day do you guys run a reduced price for a few days, or start at full price?

I've got a piece coming out next week and am debating how to structure my pricing.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Are you doing Select? If so, free at launch, hit up a ton of freebie promotion sites.

If not, 99c at launch, hit up a bunch of 99c promotion sites.

Once your rank stalls, raise the price to normal and reap $$$.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




moana posted:

Are you doing Select? If so, free at launch, hit up a ton of freebie promotion sites.

If not, 99c at launch, hit up a bunch of 99c promotion sites.

Once your rank stalls, raise the price to normal and reap $$$.

Does that actually work?

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Works for me, I've made six figures already this year with that strategy.

It's short-sighted to start your book off at full price if you don't have an established fanbase. Readers need to be able to take a chance on your book. You have to remember that you're building a fanbase as well as upping your rank with a low price. And then write the next one super fast to capitalize on the success of the first. I had a book hit the top 100 last month and I'm publishing the sequel next week. When something hits big, you have to move. But it won't hit big if it's your first book and it's at $3.99 or whatever.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





moana posted:

Works for me, I've made six figures already this year with that strategy.

It's short-sighted to start your book off at full price if you don't have an established fanbase. Readers need to be able to take a chance on your book. You have to remember that you're building a fanbase as well as upping your rank with a low price. And then write the next one super fast to capitalize on the success of the first. I had a book hit the top 100 last month and I'm publishing the sequel next week. When something hits big, you have to move. But it won't hit big if it's your first book and it's at $3.99 or whatever.
Can you elaborate a little here? I guess the psychological block for me is "won't everyone who's interested just get a copy at free/99 cents and then I'm missing out on sales?" Obviously from Amazon's perspective it doesn't matter, they kind of win no matter what.

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Nessus posted:

I guess the psychological block for me is "won't everyone who's interested just get a copy at free/99 cents and then I'm missing out on sales?" Obviously from Amazon's perspective it doesn't matter, they kind of win no matter what.

Same. Not doubting you, just trying to figure out the logic behind it.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Nessus posted:

Can you elaborate a little here? I guess the psychological block for me is "won't everyone who's interested just get a copy at free/99 cents and then I'm missing out on sales?" Obviously from Amazon's perspective it doesn't matter, they kind of win no matter what.
[I'm assuming you're not an author with an active fanbase of thousands already]:

Nobody gives two shits about your book. Nobody knows about your book. The only way people will buy your book is:
1. If they see it (it has to be ranked highly).
2. If it's cheap enough to make them give it a chance.

The strategy here is that for everyone you get to read your book for free/cheap, you have a chance at making conversions:
1. They go back and buy books from your back catalog.
2. They sign up for your mailing list and buy your next book.

Also, you have a boosted rank so that more people will see your book and therefore buy your book. Once your rank stalls and you raise the price, you still get a ton of people who are seeing your book at the high rank and buying. Not as many, but a lot.

There's such a huge huge huge potential readership on Amazon, you're not possibly going to reach all of the people who would be interested in your book UNLESS you have a high rank and get more visibility.

Case in point: my last book launched at 99c and sold 500-1000 a day at the 99c price point, enough to get me up to the top 100 and a bunch of subcategory bestseller lists and VISIBILITY. Then I raised the price to $2.99 and have been selling around 200-400 a day. All of my initial fans bought it at 99c. Who cares? Now I'm reaching new readers, new potential fans. The next book I write will have more people buying it on day one, launching it higher. Then the next book will launch higher, etc, etc. If you're playing this game with one book, you're already losing. Plan for long-term success.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

July KDP sales reports are posted. I'm showing $1.805 per KU/KOLL. I really hope that rate holds for August.

quote:

Hello,

Since you are enrolled in KDP Select, we wanted you to know about some important updates regarding the global fund.

Kindle Unlimited (KU) is off to a great start with a strong early response from customers. Due to this early surge in demand, we are adding a KU "launch bonus" of $500,000 to the KDP Select global fund for July 2014. This is on top of the base fund amount of $2 million in July. This brings the total funds paid on borrows to $2.5 million, which is more than double the size of payments in June.

We also have news about how KU and Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL) borrows appear in your reports. Since KU launched, our reports have been showing KOLL downloads plus all KU books *opened*, instead of books read to 10%. As previously announced, we plan to pay royalties on books read to 10%. We apologize for any confusion this created. In the next few days, we plan to backfill our reporting to reflect borrows in this manner (KOLL downloads + KU books read to 10%).

For July we have decided to extend payment to all KU books downloaded and opened in July, even those not read past 10%. To support this, we will add an additional $285,000 in July payments, making the funds paid to authors in July $2,785,000.

Key points about recent fund activity
- Your July payment report shows your total earnings, including the additional funds paid during July for books opened and borrowed but not read to 10%.
- Next week, we will update all other KDP reporting for July and August to show KOLL downloads plus Kindle Unlimited borrows that have been read past 10%.
- Even after we backfill all other reports, your July Prior Month Royalty report will remain showing all KOLL downloads plus all Kindle Unlimited borrows that were opened in July, including those not read to 10%. All future reports, including future Prior Month Royalty reports, will reflect KOLL downloads plus KU borrows read past 10%.
- If a book was opened but not read to 10% in July but does pass 10% after July, you will also receive credit for the borrow when that happens.

For August, we will pay authors for KOLL borrows upon download and Kindle Unlimited borrows read past 10%.

Best regards,
The Kindle Direct Publishing Team

Jalumibnkrayal fucked around with this message at 21:48 on Aug 14, 2014

Grammaton
Feb 3, 2004
Cleric

What's a good length for a $2.99 romance novel, about 50k words?

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Huh. Well, that makes sense I suppose. What fields are you writing in, moana?

And for that matter, how do you go about setting up a mailing list? I've heard that mentioned a few times, is there some tool or service for it online?

Ghostwoods
May 9, 2013

Say "Cheese!"


Grammaton posted:

What's a good length for a $2.99 romance novel, about 50k words?

65k will get you less grumbles.

Jalumibnkrayal
Apr 16, 2008



Ramrod XTreme

Nessus posted:

Huh. Well, that makes sense I suppose. What fields are you writing in, moana?

And for that matter, how do you go about setting up a mailing list? I've heard that mentioned a few times, is there some tool or service for it online?

Mailchimp.com is mentioned a lot as being free (for up to 2,000 subscribers) and easy to manage. There's also TinyLetter.

syscall girl
Nov 6, 2009

by FactsAreUseless


Fun Shoe

Jalumibnkrayal posted:

Mailchimp.com is mentioned a lot as being free (for up to 2,000 subscribers) and easy to manage. There's also TinyLetter.

My Mom uses http://myemma.com/

I don't know much about it but it lets her put together a professional looking email with words and pictures and then send it to I would guess a bit more than 2k people.

I am two of the people because she just dumps her contact list into this thing. Every month I get to look forward to book covers and the family dog.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Grammaton posted:

What's a good length for a $2.99 romance novel, about 50k words?

The romance market will support up to $4.99 for an indy romance novel, and a 50k word book is considered the bare minimum for a novel. No matter what you price it at, no matter what your length, people will complain that it is too short.

moana
Jun 18, 2005

one of the more intellectual satire communities on the web


Nessus posted:

Huh. Well, that makes sense I suppose. What fields are you writing in, moana?

And for that matter, how do you go about setting up a mailing list? I've heard that mentioned a few times, is there some tool or service for it online?
Romance, and I use Mailchimp but I've heard good things also about Aweber.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Nessus I remember you used to write erotica, not sure if that's what you're still writing. One thing is, there's no possible way that you're even hitting 1% of the people that might be interested in buying your book. It's not that they're looking at it and not hitting the buy button, it's that they have no idea it exists. If you get eyes on it, over and over and over, you'll eventually get those people to be like "Okay what's the hype about this book, why do I keep seeing it everywhere when I'm shopping?" I have a book that I continually am running visibility experiments on, and the book continues to sell. Most of these visibility experiments are coupled with the promotional price point of $0.99, and I just don't care because I know there are always more people who want to buy this book.

PS woop woop for the KU royalty rate! :D

Robot Arms
Sep 19, 2008

R!

I've been through lots of email marketing options, and have settled on MailChimp. If you just want something simple and friendly, I would probably try TinyLetter first. TinyLetter has more of a personal-updates kind of feel, while MailChimp is definitely more marketing. In the end, though, you're just sending emails, and either one will get it done.

However, if you want to get fancy with autoresponders and stuff, MailChimp is the better way to go. Aweber has some different options for marketing automation, but the UI isn't great and the people at Aweber are jerks about letting you import email addresses from any other platform.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





EngineerSean posted:

Nessus I remember you used to write erotica, not sure if that's what you're still writing. One thing is, there's no possible way that you're even hitting 1% of the people that might be interested in buying your book. It's not that they're looking at it and not hitting the buy button, it's that they have no idea it exists. If you get eyes on it, over and over and over, you'll eventually get those people to be like "Okay what's the hype about this book, why do I keep seeing it everywhere when I'm shopping?" I have a book that I continually am running visibility experiments on, and the book continues to sell. Most of these visibility experiments are coupled with the promotional price point of $0.99, and I just don't care because I know there are always more people who want to buy this book.

PS woop woop for the KU royalty rate! :D
I'm approaching my personal goal of 'OK I have written enough of that poo poo' and am planning to branch out into other fields, probably some kind of fantasy or YA-ish stuff. Since I'd be doing the new stuff under my own name rather than my old nom de spoo I figure I can't really take a mailing list with me or anything. What kind of visibility experiments are you talking about? (I did get inspired to go SLASH SOME PRICES on the back catalogue, at least)

Trustworthy
Dec 28, 2004

with catte-like thread
upon our prey we steal


Nessus posted:

I'm approaching my personal goal of 'OK I have written enough of that poo poo' and am planning to branch out into other fields, probably some kind of fantasy or YA-ish stuff. Since I'd be doing the new stuff under my own name rather than my old nom de spoo I figure I can't really take a mailing list with me or anything. What kind of visibility experiments are you talking about? (I did get inspired to go SLASH SOME PRICES on the back catalogue, at least)

Your current level of progress and freedom is what I aspire to. Go get 'em, tiger! :allears:

Yooper
Apr 30, 2012



moana posted:

Are you doing Select? If so, free at launch, hit up a ton of freebie promotion sites.

If not, 99c at launch, hit up a bunch of 99c promotion sites.

Once your rank stalls, raise the price to normal and reap $$$.

I'll be going Select, but I'm nervous doing my release as a free one. I was thinking $0.99, keeping it Select, and seeing how the Unlimited sales go.

There's a list at http://www.trainingauthors.com/places-to-promote-99-cent-ebooks/, any others I should tap?

Regarding mailing lists I use mailchimp. Been very pleased with the layout creator, and also the tracking tools.

EngineerSean
Feb 9, 2004

by zen death robot


Nessus posted:

(I did get inspired to go SLASH SOME PRICES on the back catalogue, at least)

Simply slashing your prices isn't going to do anything unless you promote it. Erotica is difficult to promote and I'm not going to go into it here, but there are options for you if you go KDP Select with those particular titles. If they weren't making you money before, you don't have a whole lot to lose anyway.

TheForgotton
Jun 10, 2001

I'm making a career of evil.

I'm working on polishing the manuscript for my first novel. It is a crime thriller with a goofy tone, sort of like a more noir Tim Dorsey or Dave Barry. Could I have a blurb critique, please?

When neurotic horror-movie buff Martin Bowers sins, he sins big. An abandoned set of car keys in a theater inspires him to take his attractive new coworker on a joyride in the middle of the night. Hallucinated voices threaten to ruin his impromptu date as he worries about getting caught by the police or by his long-term girlfriend, but those are the least of his concerns when after he finds the chloroform, handcuffs, and knives in the trunk. Martin calls on his perpetually stoned friend Jerry for advice on navigating the steamy streets of South Florida's underbelly and soon learns that getting rid of the stolen car won't be easy, especially now that it's rightful owner has his number --- and his girlfriend.

PoshAlligator
Jan 9, 2012

When SEO just isn't enough.


TheForgotton posted:

I'm working on polishing the manuscript for my first novel. It is a crime thriller with a goofy tone, sort of like a more noir Tim Dorsey or Dave Barry. Could I have a blurb critique, please?

When neurotic horror-movie buff Martin Bowers sins, he sins big. An abandoned set of car keys in a theater inspires him to take his attractive new coworker on a joyride in the middle of the night. Hallucinated voices threaten to ruin his impromptu date as he worries about getting caught by the police or by his long-term girlfriend, but those are the least of his concerns when after he finds the chloroform, handcuffs, and knives in the trunk. Martin calls on his perpetually stoned stoner friend Jerry for advice on navigating the steamy streets of South Florida's underbelly and soon learns that getting rid of the stolen car won't be easy, especially now that it's rightful owner has his number --- [three dashes?] and his girlfriend.

The only people that get names in this blurb are the men. Maybe don't?

I feel like this is telling me a bit too much, actually. I'm not great at blurbs, though. This doesn't really come across as the kind of fun, goofy that would sell me, it sounds more like a generic stoner adventure. Amp it up. Excite me.

Trustworthy
Dec 28, 2004

with catte-like thread
upon our prey we steal


I'm currently at Gen Con and overall the Writer's Symposium series of panels/workshops has been pretty nice.

But holy cow right now I'm in a panel on e-publishing and it's weird as gently caress. One panelist doesn't even do e-publishing. The other just pimped Smashwords as a really cool, easy-to-work-with service (and also had never heard of D2D). The third unironically cited Amazon's recent bizarro grovel email as a legit guide for pricing your work.

I don't even know man :pwn:

Trustworthy fucked around with this message at 17:00 on Aug 16, 2014

ravenkult
Feb 3, 2011




Trustworthy posted:

I'm currently at Gen Con and overall the Writer's Symposium series of panels/workshops has been pretty nice.

But holy cow right now I'm in a panel on e-publishing and it's weird as gently caress. One panelist doesn't even do e-publishing. The other just pimped Smashwords as a really cool, easy-to-work-with service (and also had never heard of D2D). The third unironically cited Amazon's recent bizarro grovel email as a legit guide for pricing your work.

I don't even know man :pwn:

Was that scammer from Damnation Books on there?

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Grammaton
Feb 3, 2004
Cleric

TheForgotton posted:

especially now that its rightful owner has his numberand his girlfriend.

Just a couple editing corrections. Copy and paste that long dash, it looks better than the short dashes. I like the blurb, it's a nice teaser.

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