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Christina

Posts: 16
Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 4:47 PM   in response to: beachgardener in response to: beachgardener
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There has been more than one occasion where I have rented or bought films from Google Play or Vimeo that weren't available on Netflix even though I maintained a Netflix subscription. I remember renting Obvious Child, an obscure indie film, soon after it came out on Google Play because it seemed interesting and I wanted to watch it. It was just a $4 rental. Then some months later it ended up on Netflix and I was so pissed off! I wouldn't have bothered to pay for a rental if I knew I could get it on Netflix a few months later.

I kept a Kindle Unlimited subscription for a few months and then quit when I found that I was paying for something that I barely used because most of the eBooks that I wanted to read were not available with KU anyways. If there is a book that seems interesting that isn't available on Kindle Unlimited, I will buy it. I will buy books now that are available on KU because I don't think that KU offers good value. By paying $10/month, I feel like I have to force myself to read KU content regularly. I prefer to just buy what I like. I watch enough stuff on Netflix that $10/month seems a fair price point for it. But I don't read enough KU books for $10/month to seem worth it. But if I did maintain a KU subscription, I wouldn't bother buying KU books tbh.

So yes, making titles available on Kindle Unlimited or Netflix can in fact cannibalize revenue. Maybe the Kindle Unlimited cannibalization wouldn't be so bad because I don't think a lot of people even bother to maintain a subscription. I never enjoyed Kindle Unlimited because the selection is so bad. At 0.46 cents/page, it's no wonder why the selection is so bad. Many major publishers and many indies want nothing to do with Kindle Unlimited with such low royalty payouts.
Ward Rogers

Posts: 1,308
Registered: 12/02/16
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 5:02 PM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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You rather prove the maxim often cited by forum dwellers about KU: "Your mileage may vary." My own mileage is actually pretty good:

.0046 X 435 = $1.96 (to equate it in .com terms) for borrows, while sales bring in $1.94 each after the .15\meg distribution fee is deducted. As I mentioned earlier, dozens of people reading daily, and if they like the first they'll probably borrow other books in the same series, perhaps books in the other series as well. Why in the world would I give up revenues from borrows, amounting to 110% of sales, just so I can start from scratch on platforms collectively selling to an audience a fifth the size of Amazon's? As far as I am concerned, KU is the only valid reason to enroll in Select since I don't use Amazon's dodgy advertising service and don't believe in providing my books as freebies. But, as has been pointed out to you, KU is voluntary, and if your books are selling briskly over other platforms you would be silly to sign up.

I can't address your friends' reading habits, but you really should consider Amazon's sales figures. Not only do they have very healthy e-book sales, revenue from indie books has passed the 50% mark. Bezos would weep bitterly if the indies flew away and left him with only his percentage of the falling sales of the Big 5.
Christina

Posts: 16
Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 24, 2017 5:28 PM   in response to: Ward Rogers in response to: Ward Rogers
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See that's the difference. You are selling a 435 page novel for what? $2.99? I'm selling a 60 page novella for $2.99. And 21 people were willing to pay $2.99 for my novella. I would need to get 158 complete read throughs on Kindle Unlimited to make the same money. The Kindle Unlimited platform does not lend itself well to novella and short story writers, cookbook writers and some other niches. And shorter novels. $2.99 is also rock bottom cheap. I've paid $5-8 for indie KDP books. The first book I bought from a particular non-fiction writer was $5. 250 pages. Well-written, well-researched. I can't really ask for more for $5. His third book in the series was nearly $8. Can't complain.

With Kindle Unlimited there's also the risk of sales cannibalization. I'll show you want I mean.

No Kindle Unlimited Option
"Hmm $3, no Kindle Unlimited, I'll read the free sample."
"I enjoyed the sample. Hey it's just $3, whatever" CLICK
Author gets $2.07 in royalties

vs.

Kindle Unlimited Option
"I'm already paying for Kindle Unlimited so I might as well just get it through Kindle Unlimited to get my money's worth."
reads through it once
Author gets $0.276 in royalties

or

"Why pay $3 for just this one book when I can read this book and three more Kindle Unlimited books like this for $10/month?"

Someone on another forum pointed to an example where he intended to buy a book from an author for $6.99. But then he noticed that Kindle Unlimited was only $9.99 and the book was available there. So he said, "hey for $3 more, I get to read this book and many more." The author just cannibalized himself. He could have got $4.87 in royalties. Now he's going to get far less royalties from that customer.
Cynthia E. Hurst

Posts: 1,763
Registered: 02/25/13
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 12:18 AM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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Quite possible, but you neglect to mention that the author might have sold several more copies on other platforms. I get about a third of my sales from Nook, Kobo and iBooks.
Notjohn

Posts: 23,002
Registered: 02/27/13
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 3:46 AM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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I like your thinking, Christina! But over the past almost ten years I have come to the conclusion that there is no price below which a million would-be authors will sell their books. Jeff could stop all KDP payments of any kind next week, and only a few thousand of us would defect.

(I too am getting a third of my income from other sources than the KDP, but alas I have to include CreateSpace in that....)

Good luck! -- NJ

Notjohn's Guide to E-Book & Print Formatting

The blog:
http://notjohnkdp.blogspot.com
cdalebrittain

Posts: 11,132
Registered: 03/05/11
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 6:58 AM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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I start all my books in Select, basically because I want to give myself a chance to have a brain wave that I need to change something, and it's easier to change in one market than four. (And it's worth seeing if KU members are going to get excited by my books. So far, not so much.) But then I go wide. This month something like 40% of my sales have been from Nook, Kobo, and iTunes--Nook especially, which is surging, just as my KDP sales are tanking (I think the lowest they've been since before my first BB promotion, a year and a half ago).
Christina

Posts: 16
Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 3:06 PM   in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst in response to: Cynthia E. Hurst
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but you neglect to mention that the author might have sold several more copies on other platforms. I get about a third of my sales from Nook, Kobo and iBooks.
Another reason to avoid KDP Select (Amazon exclusivity).

My sales revenue is so low that this is merely just a hobby. So it seems silly for me to complain about such meager royalties. Even if I'm doing well by KDP standards (though I haven't had a sale in a couple days). So the priority should be to get more eyeballs. However, Amazon's business practices don't sit well with me in principle.

1. Kindle Unlimited has zero transparency. You don't know how big Amazon's pot is. And what percentage they are actually paying out from that pot in royalties.
2. They pay out only 35% for sales from certain countries unless you agree to be Amazon exclusive.
3. Amazon wants you to electronically sign a 90 day exclusivity contract for Select/Kindle Unlimited. The last thing we need is for Amazon to dominate the publishing ecosystem more than they already do. Competition is good for authors. If Amazon didn't have to compete against Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Lulu, etc. Amazon will go back to paying out 35% to everybody just like in 2007.
4. The added promotional draw of Kindle Select is lost on erotica writers such as myself because Amazon won't allow me to promote on here because my book is classified as 18+. Even though I see ads for 50 Shades and copycats like it on the subway. Where are the parents screaming "Erotica ads? Will someone please think of the children?!" The moms buy those books anyways! I've read 50 Shades. It's definitely 18+ by Amazon's standards. It's more graphic than the R-rated movie. Yet I see so many erotica writers electronically sign that exclusivity contract anyways. Probably because they want the added exposure from Kindle Unlimited. But if exposure is everything, why aren't they on literotica then?
5. If you price your eBook below $2.99, you get only 35%. That's why I charge $2.99 for my 60 page novella. Though I figure that $3 is such an impulse purchase that no one is going to argue much about paying $3 for a couple hours of reading if it's the type of story they want to read. And 21 people did pay $2.99 so the market seems to be there I guess.

If eyeballs and doing good by the readers as opposed to maximizing royalties (since I can't make a living off this anyways) is what I should focus on, then I shouldn't sign an Amazon exclusivity contract and alienate readers who are not locked into Amazon's ecosystem. If I want to be inclusive, then I should be cross-platform. And if exposure is all I'd care about, I'd be publishing on literotica.com, not Amazon. You get far more eyeballs there! If I gave out my erotic novella for free, I bet everyone would be singing its praises on Reddit and literotica. Where do you draw the line between exposure and wanting to get paid? I decided I wanted to get paid. Even if I get thousands of views on literotica and lots of people saying my story is great, how much do they really value my story if they would rather buy an energy drink and gulp it down in a few minutes than enjoy my novella for a couple hours?
okydok

Posts: 328
Registered: 03/12/12
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 3:53 PM   in response to: Christina in response to: Christina
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I agree with what you said. I also agree that Amazon is / has created more ways to cheat the author out of royalties. Even KU is being adjusted to reduce per page royalties almost every month. And if you haven't noticed they are reducing the number of normalized pages on which they pay. It seems to be a never ending struggle to increase monthly profit share with them coming at you constantly. I'm now making about the same or less than I was six years ago. I had one book then, now I have a dozen. They are all advertised regularly and all have over 4 star averages.
Christina

Posts: 16
Registered: 07/18/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 25, 2017 4:03 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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I like your thinking, Christina! But over the past almost ten years I have come to the conclusion that there is no price below which a million would-be authors will sell their books. Jeff could stop all KDP payments of any kind next week, and only a few thousand of us would defect.
(I too am getting a third of my income from other sources than the KDP, but alas I have to include CreateSpace in that....)
Amazon is the market leader and they basically opened the door for indie writers in the first place. This is why indie writers tend to yield to Amazon as some sort of paternal figure. The indie publishing market is a race to the bottom. I'm well aware of this. At the same time, I don't feel it's the right decision to make my eBook available on Kindle Unlimited "for the good of the readers" because it doesn't sit well with me to allow Amazon to enjoy this really nice spread while throwing us scraps under the table and locking our books and readers to Amazon's ecosystem. There's no transparency with Kindle Unlimited. We have no idea what percentage of the pot we are really getting. So I'd rather not be Amazon exclusive and support a business model that I take issue with.

I'm a scrappy millennial. Millennials are more aware than our baby boomer parents that you can't count on loyalty from companies any more. Especially in the independent contractor/gig economy. So there's no reason why we should be loyal to Amazon or any other company. Meanwhile baby boomers complain that millennials are entitled and don't pay their dues. No, millennials understand that we have to look out for ourselves because no one is going to be looking out for us. Not our employer or "contractor". This is why I started my own business (not writing related) and left my 9-5. Instead of just accepting the status quo and lying down, I did something about it. Most people when they are in a job where they are unhappy tend to just bear with it because they feel like they have no other choice. I decided to take a risk and give a shot at self-employment and it paid off. I saw how unhappy my older co-workers were and asked myself if that was the future I wanted for myself. Funny thing is, I wanted to major in creative writing in college and my parents and older siblings wanted to kill me for that! lol. I gave up my dream to please my family. I wanted to become a writer in an era where Kindle didn't even exist. At the time I saw that the future was self-publishing though. But the funny thing is I ended up discovering another dream that was more profitable and that I was even more passionate about. And this time I didn't listen to my parents and siblings and I'm glad I did.

The key to entrepreneurial success is to offer a good or service that people are willing to pay good money for. And do it well. And preferably, in a field that isn't over-crowded. Unfortunately for us, indie book publishing and also indie game/app publishing is extremely overcrowded and unless your name is E. L. James or Stephenie Meyer, people aren't willing to pay good money for eBooks. I had wanted to be a full-time indie game/app designer as well and gave up that dream as well. lol. Maybe one day I'll publish an app or game on Google Play or Steam just like I published this novella. Though I don't expect it to be a venture that will provide a major source of income. Just a hobby.

I would rather sell my eBooks cross-platform so as to be more inclusive, including directly to my readers on my website for litecoin (low-fee crypto-currency. Literally only costs like 3 cents to make a payment) and cut out the middle-men of Amazon and PayPal. I'm just trying to figure out right now if I should add DRM or if I should go DRM-free on my website since I don't want to encourage unauthorized distribution. I plan on giving readers a 10% discount on my website if they buy with litecoin (Amazon's bots won't be able to price match because it will be priced in litecoin, not dollars) and giving them instructions on how to buy litecoin with credit/debit card on Coinbase. It's really easy to get into crypto-currency but women and older adults tend to be intimidated by techy stuff. Even lots of young people think it's too nerdy for them. Crypto-currency puts commerce in the hands of the people and cuts out the middle men. It's decentralized. That's why I like it. My husband first got me interested in bitcoin and other crypto-currency. A lot of customers don't see the point of crypto-currency because they don't see the payment processing fees when they go buy something with their credit card or PayPal. They don't understand that credit card and PayPal processing fees make things more expensive. Merchants pass the fees onto their customers by charging a higher price for their goods and services.
Karen

Posts: 85
Registered: 04/15/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 26, 2017 12:30 PM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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I have a different perspective than a few of you on this. I'm a widow and mother of 2. Money is tight but I love to read. My reading budget is $20 a month. Because of KU, authors make more from me than they would without it. If I didn't have it I would be able to buy maybe 5-7 books a month. Because of KU I read that a week...at least. So many authors may be getting less than they would from a sale, but withoit KU I wouldnt be able to read their books anyway and I'd just use the library app and borrow them. At least with KU you make something. I'd rather make a buck a read than nothing. I'm sure there are plenty of people like me on a tight budget. I did move my paperbacks over to createspace and they are available to a wider market there but I'm making more with KU than sales, so for me it works.
choicejoyce

Posts: 1
Registered: 07/27/17
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 26, 2017 6:43 PM   in response to: Notjohn in response to: Notjohn
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I don not think you should give your work away for free either.
Patrick A. Smith

Posts: 1,753
Registered: 04/27/13
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 27, 2017 9:49 AM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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okydok wrote:
I agree with what you said. I also agree that Amazon is / has created more ways to cheat the author out of royalties. Even KU is being adjusted to reduce per page royalties almost every month. And if you haven't noticed they are reducing the number of normalized pages on which they pay. It seems to be a never ending struggle to increase monthly profit share with them coming at you constantly. I'm now making about the same or less than I was six years ago. I had one book then, now I have a dozen. They are all advertised regularly and all have over 4 star averages.

I dont know how you format books, but my norm pages are always way more than the ad pages and far, far more than actual word pages.
Patrick A. Smith

Posts: 1,753
Registered: 04/27/13
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 27, 2017 10:40 AM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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okydok wrote:
Without exposure you'll go nowhere and amazon has seen to it none of their programs work any more. Use to be I'd get 10 to 20 k frees on one day. Now I get less than a hundred and the value of those are nothing on their ranking program. Let's face it folks, we've been abandoned by the very people we have supported all these years. It's sad what has happened to the company we built with our facebook pages and tweets and paid promos. This is the way they thank us.

All of the programs work fine and ive never used FB or any of that social media, and since coming here around 4 years ago ive been able to quit my day job. Maybe you dont get exposure because youre not using the best kywrds for your book. Or youre not writing something ppl want to read.

And why? Please tell me why you're giving books away???? That is your biggest problem. I realize that giving the first book of a series away MIGHT help sell the rest of them, but ive looked over and over at books listed like that and the first free one has lots of reviews while the following paid ones offen do not! Even if theyre all three years old. Why? For the most part people who collect free books are not buyers! Many dont even read them, they just want their eReader loaded. Also, when you price a book at .99 or free most ppl think thats probably what its worth and skip over it.

I once tried pricing a book at .99 for my popular pen name and it wouldnt sell, untill i raised the price to 2 or 3.99. You should ask Notjohn to re post his poem about not giving books away!
Patrick A. Smith

Posts: 1,753
Registered: 04/27/13
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 27, 2017 10:50 AM   in response to: beachgardener in response to: beachgardener
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beachgardener wrote:
Christina wrote:

Also by signing up with Kindle Unlimited, I have to sign up with Kindle Select. Which means that I have to lock my audience into one ecosystem (Amazon). Amazon having a monopoly on the eBook publishing industry is bad for business.


Perhaps so, however i make far far more in k you alone than i made w ap ple, ko bo, sw, and a host of others!
Therefore, if our plat form ever becomes the only one then whatever it pays will still be more for me.

You make my point - I am not a Netflix subscriber because I am a buyer of films. And while you may have signed your books up to KU they are only available on KU to those Amazon customers who subscribe to borrow books. A great many people are not subscribers to KU - me for one as I am a buyer of books as well - there is room in the world for everyone, the buyers and the borrowers, and they both exist in great numbers.

Absolutely. Borrowers are not buyers! Stay out of k you and you only miss their money!

I feel that our personal success is not limited by any Amazon platform but by our own industry and talent. B


Thank you Beach for an honest statement of truth!

Edited by: Patrick A. Smith on Jul 27, 2017 11:12 AM
Patrick A. Smith

Posts: 1,753
Registered: 04/27/13
Re: Indies have no place to go but down.
Posted: Jul 27, 2017 11:07 AM   in response to: okydok in response to: okydok
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Im glad i cant see any proof of your post title statement.

If i were not currently earning more here than i did on my day job (pc tech) i might agree; however i would be wrong. I'd need to learn what and how to write what readers are looking for.

The fact is that trad pubbed brick and mortor store books on shelves are fast disappearing! I realize that many will not agree, but a few years ago i had a lot of big bookstores to shop in, now i only have one, b&n. and the center of the store is a walled in display of eReaders!

As for many big name writers they will always sell more than indi es, because they have paid thousands of $ for ads, Plus they have a loyal following and they deserve it. However, also take note that those writers are now found in digital media.

Read beachgardeners post. It states that our success depends not on programs but on us.
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