I was wondering if my current situation is just due to slow sales across the board for erotica. My sales and reads are way down this month, Only making about a fourth of what I normally make and my individual stories are showing this by declining in rank. Yet, my overall author rank is doing well. In fact my author rank in Erotica (Kindle Ebooks) went from 457 to 387 yesterday. and today to 367 with only 50 reads and no sales. Again all my stories have lost rank. but my overall author rank is doing well.
While most authors were reporting a summer slump from June through August, those were my best months of the year, with steadily climbing sales and KENP.
Then, after September 5, everything nosedived. However, I believe I have an explanation, at least for my erotica pen name: Most of my audience was from India, and most of them use Kay Yu. It was introduced in India one year ago, so it's possible that many Indian readers aren't renewing their annual membership.
I rarely check author ranks, so I don't know how the rest of the market is doing, but it's a strange pattern, for sure.
Actually I don't get anything out of India. All my reads are from the US and UK mostly. I suspect labor day weekend had a major play in it, for that is when everything nose dived for me. I just find it strange that my overall author rank is doing good, when everything else is doing so poorly.
I have noticed a sudden nosedive of sales and KDP reads since Sept. 5. I have only one book, but usually sell one or two per day, and KDP reads are typically greater than zero. However, since Sept. 5 both have been flat-lining. Since others are noticing a similar trait, I suspect something is going on back at "the office."
I am watching this thread with interest, as I am seeing a very similar pattern. First, let me say, I have only been at this a few months, publishing my first book at the end of May. During that time, I have seen consistent sales and a number of page reads that surprises me. With that in mind, let me dispatch with this: I fully realize that book sales can spike then dwindle away. I fully understand that most self-published books go unread, and that may be what I am experiencing.
I noticed some abnormalities in my September sales/reads. For example, I would assume and history seemed to reflect, that the Month to Date Sales and the Sales shown from the Generate Report would be lower than the Red Line Sales Graph, not higher. I found that the month to date was not only higher than the graph, but much higher. I would also see a flat Red Line with Royalties showing for a given day.
I wrote a polite email to customer service. First, I told them how much I appreciate this service and how great it is. In all honesty, if you use this service, but do not realize how great it is, you need to step back and question that. This is a magnificent service, and I am grateful to Amazon for providing it.
I went on to explain the unusual patterns I was seeing in my reports. I guess I explained it effectively, because it actually prompted a call from Amazon to discuss what I was seeing. I further explained and looked at specific dates for the the oddities in the reports.
The rep I was talking to seemed to be communicating with an IT-type professional in a different department. I have spoken to her twice, and she has stated something does seem to be off. She is still researching the issue and is supposed to call me again later today. Let me be direct: she did concur with me that something seemed to be wrong and that the reports were not an accurate reflection of my books' performance.
I've had several interactions with customer service at KDP. All of them have been pleasant, even when their answer to me is "no." Every time I contact them, I state how much I love this service and how great my interactions with them have been.
If you are experiencing something similar, thoughtfully write out exactly what you are seeing and write a precisely worded email to them. I am willing to bet you will get a polite and professional response.
Ernest, thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. Since writing it, I have had a couple of sales, but the 'lending library' feature is still uncharacteristically flat-lining. If it continues for much longer, I will act on your suggestion. Good luck with your sales!
I've been in KDP since 2011 and September 2016 was by far the worst sales month I have ever had--until October. Not since the first day I uploaded my first book have I sold so few copies. I don't know if it's an Amazon reporting problem, general fears about the election keeping people from buying, or a change in Algorithms that's made me totally invisible, but we're in serious financial trouble now because my book sales are our sole income source. I've gone from making $100,000 in 2012 to making less than $25,000 this year, and less than $1300 last month. Terrifying times headed my way in December.
I am taking a two prong approach. I contacted KDP support. I was also able to get an inquiry to executive customer relations. ECT said they would have it researched. I followed up after a few days, but have not had an additonal response. I will follow up again on Monday, if I have not heard back from them. KDP Support replied with a canned response regarding the 2%. I replied that I was only interested in the program if it was mutually beneficial and I needed to know what was going with my reports, not just in general. I'm more than willing to go back to collecting rejection letters from literary agents and art houses.
Edited by: Ernest Gordon Taulbee on Oct 7, 2016 10:23 AM
Since Nov of last year, sales of my book have been remarkably consistent at a monthly average of 5.3 copies per day (WW numbers, ebooks, KU and a few paperbacks). The standard deviation during this time period is only .8. In other words. it is rare for me to sell more than 6.1 books a day, and it is rare that I sell less than 4.5 books a day.
Sept started slow, and from 5 Sept through the end of the month, I averaged 2.1 books a day. This is both a huge drop from my average, and it is also a very statistically significant drop from my average minus 1 standard deviation.
There is no doubt in my mind that Amazon changed something on or about 5 Sept.
Oct is doing slightly better than Sept: I'm averaging 2.8 books a day so far, that is still a huge drop.
I have not done any price promos or price changes in the last year or so, or anything else that would have impacted sales one way or the other.
Did you ever contact support? I would eventually ask to be unenrolled after day after day of a flat blue line. A few hours after I sent the email, my page reads spiked. They spiked again the next morning, until I received the email saying the title had been un-enrolled. I re-enrolled and the page reads continued. Everything was fine until the Print option appeared in my account. Now I am back to singing the flatline blues.
My sales have plateaued at a low for the past two years, September and October both.
I started publishing in November 2007, and sales went straight up until the high point at January 2012. That was after KDP Select was introduced, which broke the mold, but before the Christmas effect died out. They then dropped pretty steadily for the next three years, until they stabilized again and began climbing. I did of course have many more books available. July and August this year were great, comparatively speaking (but still not as good as January 2012). Then came September. Sigh.
(Oh, and in those first five years, you could CHARGE a lot more! My favorite price point then was $5.99. Now it's $3.99.)