Another important post for indie authors. *Sigh.*
Kristi Belcamino is really being messed around by Amazon. Yesterday morning, she was rank-stripped for the third time, and it appears to be happening every time she puts a book free – even before she hits the promo sites or moves up the charts.
Back in September, Kristi was one of the unfortunate (and innocent) authors who were unfairly rank-stripped by Amazon for several weeks. She had a BookBub promotion which catapulted her up to #3 in the Free charts on September 18, was then rank-stripped, and didn’t have the sanction lifted until October 22 – over one month later.
Along with all the other authors I wrote about in October’s post Amazon’s Hall of Spinning Knives, Kristi received the standard form letter about rank manipulation from Amazon KDP’s Compliance team, regarding her book Blessed are the Peacemakers.
We detected that purchases or borrows of your book(s)…
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Great info here! I may have to finally dip my toes in the water with BookBub CPM ads.
I decided a while ago that I was going back wide with all my books. Sales were pretty anemic to begin with (readers don’t magically discover books), but then I put together a little marketing plan. I don’t want to invest too heavily in pushing my historical novels until I have a couple more books in my series out, but I was curious to experiment with a few different approaches for pushing wide books.
After nabbing an International-only BookBub Featured Deal for Liberty Boy, I decided to build a little campaign around it, particularly looking at sales internationally, and off-Amazon. When you are in KU, it makes sense to concentrate sales. As detailed in this post from August, visibility turns into borrows and the best place to do that is in the US Kindle Store, where you can be more aggressive with ads and bids and have some…
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I realize that some of my readers still only read in hard copy, and I apologize that it takes me longer to get the paperback out than the ebook. The formatting is much more complicated, however. I’ve been considering getting the new add-on for Vellum, but I’m a bit worried about spending $100 for something without being able to test what the results will be.
So I continue to use the template I bought from Joel Friedlander. It takes a bit of copying and pasting, but I’ve been very satisfied with the look of the books I’ve been able to produce that way.
Very good analysis of the different strategies needed for going wide or going with KDP Select.
Lots of people right now are asking themselves whether they should leave Kindle Unlimited.
I’m generally agnostic on it, and I think writers should do what is best for them and their books, but there’s no doubt this is the big question of the moment.
That’s partly down to falling pay rates, Amazon’s inability to deal with scammers and cheaters, or the increasing concern about having all your eggs in one basket when something like this (or this, or this) regularly happens. But I think authors are asking themselves the wrong question.
The real issue, I suggest, should surround how you are going to find readers on these retailers (or on Amazon, if you have decided to swim in the other direction). Because I often see people taking the wrong approach – using the wrong tools for the job.
I gave a talk at NINC earlier this month…
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I read about an incident of this on Kboards just today, and I was reminded of the Pageflip controversy, and my own recent attempts to prove that I have the rights to my own novella, Looking Through Lace. It seems that Amazon has gone from taking writers seriously to relying on canned responses, making it nearly impossible to resolve issues like this. Sigh. I used to be a huge defender of Amazon …
Phoenix Sullivan is well-known in the indie community – I’ve known her myself since 2009 or 2010 and consider her a close friend.
Aside from being exceptionally generous with her time and knowledge, tirelessly sharing her insights on marketing and algorithms, Phoenix is also well known as a vocal campaigner against scammers and cheaters – particularly on the current big issues of book stuffing and clickfarming.
And now she is being targeted.
Phoenix made a box set free for a few days back in September, advertising on Freebooksy, KND/BookGorilla, and Digital Book World – all legitimate sites – and there was no other promotion involved with this title. No BookBub CPM ads, no Facebook campaign, no tweets, no newsletter swaps, no mailing lists.
On the third day of her free run, Phoenix’s box set was rank-stripped by Amazon, a punishment normally reserved for those who have used clickfarms or bots…
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Yes! I haven’t even started the big ad push for Ygerna yet, and it is already a Hot New Release in Arthurian Fiction on Amazon! Here’s the screen shot to prove it:
And you saw right — that is Stephen King behind me. 😀
I was a bit worried about this one, given that the material is not exactly easy. But the description makes it clear enough that Ygerna’s journey from victim to warrior begins with rape, so hopefully those who do not want to deal with that kind of darkness will stay away. Many of us have had to live through that experience, though, and I wanted to tell the story of a woman who learns to become the hero of her own life, despite having been a victim.
Of course, once again I was unable to write something that would be easy on potential readers …
I have another project up my sleeve for Nanowrimo, where I’m hoping to restrain my dark side a bit more than I usually do. More on that in a few weeks. And yes, I’m trying to bend my imagination to the more commercial. Eventually I want to make a real living from this writing gig, after all. And I have slowly come to the conclusion that the kinds of books I most want to write (and read) aren’t going to do it.
Just before going to bed last night, I heard that Tom Petty was in the hospital. Then this morning came the sad news that he was dead.
Tom Petty is one of those artists where I have almost every album. When I started listening mostly on my computer or ipod, I ripped all of my favorite songs and added them to my mp3 collection. Sometime after attending the Clarion West Writers Workshop, I deliberately chose “Runnin’ Down a Dream” as my theme song — because hey, if you want to be a writer, or any kind of artist, it certainly isn’t going to come to you. 🙂
I saw a snippet of an interview earlier today where he said that many people had told him his songs provided a soundtrack for their lives — and it couldn’t get much better than that. How right he was. He certainly provided a number of songs to the soundtrack of my life.
And so he lives on.
Another great post by David Gaughran.
If you are in KU, then you’re pretty much dependent on one income stream and if Amazon sales dip or you run afoul of the Hall of Spinning Knives for whatever reason then you are totally boned. And it’s getting so competitive in KU that it seems to take more titles and quicker releases, along with multi-pronged marketing campaigns – which can be complex and/or expensive – to get any real traction or stickiness.
If you’re not in KU, hitting the charts on Amazon is increasingly difficult and holding on to position is near-impossible – especially when your book is being leapfrogged every hour by thousands of borrow-boosted KU salmon running all that mad marketing. And you can’t even advertise to the same level because they are getting reads on top of those sales to make ROI easier.
Getting visible at…
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I am thrilled to announce that Ygerna has been approved for pre-order on Amazon — in record time! It will be available for a special launch price of only 99c through October. After that, it will go up to $2.99.
Uthyr destroyed her life. Now she wants revenge.
When young Ygerna first meets Uthyr, Pendragon of Britain, she is dazzled by the handsome and famous warrior. But when Uthyr interprets admiration as consent and takes her by force, Ygerna’s hero worship turns to hatred.
And she will do anything to get revenge on the man who got her with child and ruined her life.
It will officially be published on Amazon on Oct. 2. I did that to have a bit more time to arrange for some additional publicity in October, since it would be cool to have a Hot New Release again. 🙂
Strangely enough, other venues have been much slower publishing. The only other one I have so far is Kobo:
I have not yet done the extra work to make it available for print — which also involves getting a new version of the wraparound cover from my cover artist once I have the PDF done. I have to see if it’s possible to test the Vellum print add-on — otherwise it’s cut and paste into my print template …
I would be very grateful for shares and tweets and reblogs! There’s too much going on at the moment for me to invest the time in anything like a Facebook launch party, so ads and word of mouth are all I have to rely on.
But one very nice thing — before I even noticed that it was already available, Ygerna had its first pre-order. 🙂