Author Topic: My response to the KDP survey  (Read 252 times)

TimothyEllis

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My response to the KDP survey
« on: August 16, 2019, 11:57:39 AM »
In the last freeform box on the survey, I put the following. Feel free to us any of it on your survey response. If enough people respond like this, it might give them pause and actually listen for a change.
Quote
Fix KU to stop scamming! We know banned authors are back in KU, we know they are at the top of the store, making huge amounts of money again from KU, and you do nothing to stop them, nothing to limit them, and now they are back, the payout rate goes DOWN dramatically. It happens all the time. You ban people, the payout rate stabilizes, they come back, the payout rate falls. Every damned time! It just happened now in fact. Banned authors back in KU, and the rate dropped dramatically for June.

Reduce the maximum KENPC paid out on to 1000 or even 750. This makes it harder for botting to pay, and removes the incentive for bundling books to boost the full read. Authors of genuine long books will adapt. Scammers will have to work harder to bot up large read totals.

Separate the sales and KU ranks, each having their own chart, with both ranks displayed on the product page. Good sellers will be able to be found again, and any disparity in rank between sales and KU will be obvious to everyone, and make your job of finding scammers easier. If a book is top 100 in KU, and 500,000 in sales, you can see the likely scammer immediately and highlight it for investigation and removal.

There is no longer any need for the rank boost incentive. Those in KU are there because it works. Those not are not because they don't trust Amazon or KU doesn't work for them. New authors are told to try KU to see if it works. There is NO INCENTIVE anymore based on rank boosts for KU borrows, because KU is now it's own market place, serving a completely different market than sales. Separate the rank charts, and you remove scammer incentives to bot the system. No-one gets hurt, as both charts will simply adjust, and the sales chart will actually mean something again, where now it's just useless. And the KU chart will allow people to find good KU reading. Top-100 KU category charts would make finding good KU books so much easier.

Remove exclusivity. KU is its own market now. Allowing authors to be wide will NOT affect KU at all, since it has its own market now. You can see this in the actions of banned authors, who after they were banned, never went wide, and keep sneaking back into KU. Why? Because they have no market outside KU, and they know that. On the other hand, allowing wide authors back in will remove the 'KU books are sh*t quality' perception out there, because the best authors all went wide because they cant trust their livelihoods to just Amazon.

Exclusivity is not an incentive to put books in KU. Its a disincentive, and all it does is hurt the selection in KU. KU is its own market now, and the fact a book is available elsewhere wont matter at all, because the majority of KU readers don't buy books at all.

By retaining exclusivity, you are hurting all the authors in KU by preventing them from maximizing sales across all platforms. This is why it is so hard to to find decent reading in KU, because authors wont allow themselves to be limited. Remove exclusivity, and watch the quality of KU go up rapidly. At this stage, exclusivity only hurts KU overall.

Put a fixed floor on the KU payout rate. If people know it will never be below say 0.0046, they can plan better, and make decisions better. ONe reason a lot of authors are not in KU is because the rate is so inconsistent. 0.0044 is an unacceptable rate and every time you go there, authors drop out of KU, and find a good book becomes harder. Instead of dropping the rate, work harder on removing the scammers and banned authors who always get back in with new pen names.

Reduce the KENPC maximum paid out to 750 or 1000.
Separate the sales and KU ranks into separate charts, displaying both ranks on the product page.
Remove exclusivity.

Not everyone will agree with me, but whatever you think should happen with KU, this is the opportunity to tell them.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

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notthatamanda

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2019, 12:15:16 PM »
I didn't answer any of the questions about my percentage of income.  I put in the survey notes at the end that I consider that personal information and I am not willing to disclose it.

I won't go back in KU unless they fix page flip so I asked for the ability to assign and see all our categories and for bot messages that actual made sense for AMS.

Best of luck to us both Tim.

 

Simon Haynes

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2019, 06:23:58 PM »
One thing that really annoys me: I have one book in KU, and it's my biggest expense in terms of AMS ads. However, I have no idea whether those ads are leading to borrows or thin air.


Also yWriter, free novel-writing software for Windows PCs. (Mac version in progress).
SalesScanner, free KDP/Google Play/Kobo/Smashwords report analyser & aggregator.
 
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VanessaC

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2019, 07:03:44 PM »
One thing that really annoys me: I have one book in KU, and it's my biggest expense in terms of AMS ads. However, I have no idea whether those ads are leading to borrows or thin air.

I know! It seems utterly bizzarre that AMS ads can't report KU borrows - so Amazon can't tell if a click on their own eco-system led to a download.

Because I'm all in with KU, I know that the few AMS ads I have are having some impact - my books are now maintaining a certain bandwith in terms of ranks, rather than just sliding down between new releases - but I am only able to tell this by watching the ranks, not the ads reports.
     

Genre: Fantasy
 
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TimothyEllis

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Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2019, 07:16:09 PM »
One thing that really annoys me: I have one book in KU, and it's my biggest expense in terms of AMS ads. However, I have no idea whether those ads are leading to borrows or thin air.

Tell them that in the survey.

For me, I stopped AMS ads and tried a release with no ads at all, and the book performed exactly the same as spending about $750 on the previous one. I've not done an ad since. And the book after performed about as well, confirming the ads were a total waste of money. They were good in 2018, but the changes this year have just cut it's own legs off imo.

Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

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Marti Talbott

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2019, 12:10:35 AM »
I haven't gotten the survey yet, but thanks for all the advice on what to say. 
 

TimothyEllis

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Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2019, 12:36:22 AM »
I haven't gotten the survey yet, but thanks for all the advice on what to say.

I got 2. Want one of mine?  grint
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 

Marti Talbott

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2019, 12:54:34 AM »
I haven't gotten the survey yet, but thanks for all the advice on what to say.

I got 2. Want one of mine?  grint

So that's where it went!
 

PJ Post

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2019, 02:40:18 AM »
I agree with everything you said Tim, but I don't think they care about selling books anymore. It's all about AMS now. The underlying problems that these changes are designed to fix, in order to improve the market for both readers and writers, are the very same things that currently maximize Ad spends. That's the new Business Model.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2019, 02:51:52 AM by PJ Post »
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2019, 08:48:17 AM »
I agree with everything you said Tim, but I don't think they care about selling books anymore. It's all about AMS now. The underlying problems that these changes are designed to fix, in order to improve the market for both readers and writers, are the very same things that currently maximize Ad spends. That's the new Business Model.
I'm not sure I entirely agree. Authors like Timothy that don't results are as likely to stop using AMS ads as they are to continually pump money into them.

In order to keep indie authors interested in ad spends, the environment for selling books needs to be at least decent. Newbies may throw money at AMS ads for a while (if they have it), but more experienced authors will only do it if they get a reasonable ROI, at least for the most part.

Also, if the book-buying conditions continue to deteriorate, there won't be as many people shopping for books on Amazon, which means fewer people to click on ads and generate revenue for Amazon.

AMS ads don't exist in a vacuum. They exist as part of an ecosystem and cannot prosper unless it does.


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PJ Post

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2019, 12:13:14 AM »
I agree with you about the ecosystem, but it's like biscuits and gravy. The biscuits are the gravy delivery system. I think as long as they keep hope alive and show that success is possible, they'll have plenty of biscuits for the gravy.
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2019, 01:41:04 AM »
I agree with you about the ecosystem, but it's like biscuits and gravy. The biscuits are the gravy delivery system. I think as long as they keep hope alive and show that success is possible, they'll have plenty of biscuits for the gravy.
That's true. Keeping hope alive, though, might require some effort on Amazon's part. Indie authors are becoming more sophisticated--or, in some cases, more burned out. Newbies can always be sucked in, but a lot of newbies don't have much money to spend.


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TimothyEllis

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Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2019, 01:46:48 AM »
I agree with you about the ecosystem, but it's like biscuits and gravy. The biscuits are the gravy delivery system. I think as long as they keep hope alive and show that success is possible, they'll have plenty of biscuits for the gravy.
That's true. Keeping hope alive, though, might require some effort on Amazon's part. Indie authors are becoming more sophisticated--or, in some cases, more burned out. Newbies can always be sucked in, but a lot of newbies don't have much money to spend.

Given the questions I see regularly on Quora, I'd say the majority of newbies don't have anything to spend on ads.

And in this regard, I think Amazon has now lost the plot.

When AMS started, you could get good results off $5 a day spend. Now you can spend many $100's and get no result at all.

The entrance level for ads has been removed, and a whole new generation of newbies are finding pay to play is just not possible. And in the longer term, this will bite Amazon in the arse when these authors become successful and have no track history of paying for ads at all.
Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 

PJ Post

Re: My response to the KDP survey
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2019, 05:36:46 AM »
I don't disagree. Especially with this...

And in the longer term, this will bite Amazon in the arse when these authors become successful and have no track history of paying for ads at all.

I keep saying a better mouse trap is coming. The rest of the entertainment industry has already adopted a content-based model. The literary world always seems to be the last holdout, but we'll get there. And you're right, when that shift happens, fewer and fewer writers will be dependent on Amazon.