Careful with Amazon

#1
Hey guys,

I just started selling my first book on Amazon.....

be careful with that one!

If you apply to KDP and KU, you are bound to delete ANY version of your book everywhere else (before you start on Amazon)

If you don't comply, you might face a lawsuit from Amazon (which you will likely lose even if you are in the right.).

I stopped KU and started uploading on RR again - got a mail 3 hours later that my content was found online for free and KDP will unpublish my book generally.... well I can upload it again in 3 months without KU but until then I have to stay away from amazon 

Re: Careful with Amazon

#2
Yes, KU requires exclusivity. This is why there's a split in litRPG fans among those who prefer KU reading of complete books versus any other version. If you go on r/litrpg, you'll hear user after user saying you shouldn't publish on Royal Road because you're giving up readers. Meanwhile, if you do that, you give up the ones who enjoy the serial format on websites like Royal Road, which let you follow multiple stories at once instead of constantly waiting for the next one to drop in however many months. 

Two different audiences, two different publishing formats. 

Re: Careful with Amazon

#3
I think it's good to try both models. They both have their pros and cons.

The very top web serials, especially in the LitRPG and LitRPG-adjacent genres, can bring in a lot of money by posting (advertising) on free sites like RR to draw in readers, and then offering early access to chapters via Patreon. That's repeatable monthly income from the same readers, and it's always easier to keep existing customers than to find new ones.

There are a (small) number of authors who can make a living from Patreon alone. I don't make that much--by an order of magnitude--but I suspect I'm still making more from Patreon than I would from KU at this point.

For other situations, though, KU might be the right choice. When a story's complete, for example, and you're no longer earning Patreon income, why not try out KU? And for a popular or well-known author who already has a big reader base on Amazon, it may make sense to post all future stories directly to KU rather than dealing with other options.

Re: Careful with Amazon

#4
I've been wondering for a long time if amazon was even worth it?  Because the website is impossible to navigate.  Use any of their search functions and you'll turn up mainstream and classic novels and woman's supernatural romance novels. The only way I know to actually find something on amazon is with amazon recommendations.  Which is uncooperative at best.  

Like what kind of returns do these novels even make?  I did some research after seeing this thread and pretty much everyone says that amazon is a place you go to milk your current readership for money, but you'll never grow there.  In fact, you'll shrink with every novel.  In fact, the only people I saw recommending amazon were people who weren't even using patreon or using patreon really poorly with no advanced chapters.  I'm sorry, but the only way to make any real money off of patreon is with advanced chapters.  The only people giving you money with patreon otherwise are people who just want to support you as an author, and that's a super tiny amount of people who do that.  

Re: Careful with Amazon

#5
Amazon/KU/audible are just so untransparent compared to patreon. At least on patreon it's very clear and obvious how well popular someone is and how well the story is doing. 

The only way to surefire way to tell if it's "worth it" or not with the lack of transparency is to check the market in action and see how many other authors are going the amazon route. Because if that ratio is high, then obviously it's worth it. 

It does seem like a lot of the popular RR authors are going to amazon/ku/audible now, so I guess that speaks for itself, yes it must be worth it somehow. 

Re: Careful with Amazon

#6

DarkD Wrote: Like what kind of returns do these novels even make?  I did some research after seeing this thread and pretty much everyone says that amazon is a place you go to milk your current readership for money, but you'll never grow there.  In fact, you'll shrink with every novel.


I don't think that's necessarily true, at least for the more successful authors. There are some who make a good living from Amazon alone. Amazon has a large reader base looking for new things to read. The problem is in getting discovered. Amazon makes recommendations based on sales rank, so if you get into the top ranks, they'll be recommending your books to people who are looking at similar books. You can also pay for Amazon ads. But if your books never reach a high sales rank, then it'll be harder to gain new readers organically on Amazon, and you'll need other ways to find readers. If those ways don't work, then yes, your reader base is likely to shrink.

Re: Careful with Amazon

#7

D.C.Veiling Wrote: Hey guys,

I just started selling my first book on Amazon.....

be careful with that one!

If you apply to KDP and KU, you are bound to delete ANY version of your book everywhere else.

If you don't comply, you might face a fucking lawsuit from Amazon (which you will likely lose even if you are in the right.).


Of course you'd lose because you would be in violation of the terms of agreement for Kindle Select. So, no, you would not be in the right. It's stated very plainly that by enrolling in KDP Select you agree to exclusivity of the ebook copy for the length of time that you decide to remain enrolled. You do not, however, have to agree to exclusivity to simply publish via KDP, but only if you want to have your book eligible for KU. 


DarkD Wrote: I've been wondering for a long time if amazon was even worth it?

Yes, Amazon can be worth it. It's not easy and will generally do better with more books released than fewer, but I know of many indieauthors that are doing quite well on Amazon with many of them exclusive to Amazon. What I've usually seen recommended though by the more successful authors on Amazon, is to not sink a bunch of money into paying for ads (whether Amazon ads or offsite ads on book promotion sites) until you have a completed book series and then to create a 'bundle' version of the series and market that. Having a completed series available on Amazon seems to give potential readers greater confidence in an author and makes them more willing to read it.


DarkD Wrote: Because the website is impossible to navigate.  Use any of their search functions and you'll turn up mainstream and classic novels and woman's supernatural romance novels.

If you aren't already doing this, you'll have better luck searching for non-mainstream books if you don't just do a simple search or even a search in books, but instead choose the 'kindle store' category on Amazon and search through there. Otherwise, yes, most searches are going to turn up trad pub books instead of indies. It also depends on how well your search terms match with what keywords the author's used for their book listings.


DarkD Wrote: Like what kind of returns do these novels even make?  I did some research after seeing this thread and pretty much everyone says that amazon is a place you go to milk your current readership for money, but you'll never grow there.  In fact, you'll shrink with every novel.

Like with anything, it depends on how much work you put into it. There are many authors doing very well off of Amazon, but it's a lot of work and can take quite a bit of time to really grow. No author should expect huge results straight off from publishing on Amazon, especially if they've only released one or two books. However, once you have a larger body of work out, you have a much better chance of things picking up. Readers are more likely to take a chance on an indieauthor with multiple books as it gives them greater confidence that the author isn't just going to abandon their writing (particularly true of those writing series). This is also where enrolling in KU can be helpful as it encourages readers to take a chance on someone new.

Growing your readership anywhere is a difficult task and isn't a guarantee on any platform and, once you have one, has to be nurtured in order to be maintained and expanded. This is where having having newsletters, social media pages, patreon, website/blog, discord, etc. can come in to help. If you are doing absolutely nothing though except throwing your work out there then, no, you can't expect to grow a readership. Also, the readership on sites like RR and Amazon are often very different so, if you're expecting Amazon to grow your RR readership, you really shouldn't as that is unlikely to happen. If you don't put a book into KU though, there is absolutely no reason that you can't grow separate readerships on both RR and Amazon if you are willing to put in the work to do so. It certainly won't be easy though, but few things ever are.

Re: Careful with Amazon

#8

Rilaiss Wrote:
D.C.Veiling Wrote: Hey guys,

I just started selling my latest grunge pants on Amazon.....

be careful with that one!

If you apply to KDP and KU, you are bound to delete ANY version of your book everywhere else.

If you don't comply, you might face a fucking lawsuit from Amazon (which you will likely lose even if you are in the right.).


Of course you'd lose because you would be in violation of the terms of agreement for Kindle Select. So, no, you would not be in the right. It's stated very plainly that by enrolling in KDP Select you agree to exclusivity of the ebook copy for the length of time that you decide to remain enrolled. You do not, however, have to agree to exclusivity to simply publish via KDP, but only if you want to have your book eligible for KU. 


DarkD Wrote: I've been wondering for a long time if amazon was even worth it?

Yes, Amazon can be worth it. It's not easy and will generally do better with more books released than fewer, but I know of many indieauthors that are doing quite well on Amazon with many of them exclusive to Amazon. What I've usually seen recommended though by the more successful authors on Amazon, is to not sink a bunch of money into paying for ads (whether Amazon ads or offsite ads on book promotion sites) until you have a completed book series and then to create a 'bundle' version of the series and market that. Having a completed series available on Amazon seems to give potential readers greater confidence in an author and makes them more willing to read it.


DarkD Wrote: Because the website is impossible to navigate.  Use any of their search functions and you'll turn up mainstream and classic novels and woman's supernatural romance novels.

If you aren't already doing this, you'll have better luck searching for non-mainstream books if you don't just do a simple search or even a search in books, but instead choose the 'kindle store' category on Amazon and search through there. Otherwise, yes, most searches are going to turn up trad pub books instead of indies. It also depends on how well your search terms match with what keywords the author's used for their book listings.


DarkD Wrote: Like what kind of returns do these novels even make?  I did some research after seeing this thread and pretty much everyone says that amazon is a place you go to milk your current readership for money, but you'll never grow there.  In fact, you'll shrink with every novel.

Like with anything, it depends on how much work you put into it. There are many authors doing very well off of Amazon, but it's a lot of work and can take quite a bit of time to really grow. No author should expect huge results straight off from publishing on Amazon, especially if they've only released one or two books. However, once you have a larger body of work out, you have a much better chance of things picking up. Readers are more likely to take a chance on an indieauthor with multiple books as it gives them greater confidence that the author isn't just going to abandon their writing (particularly true of those writing series). This is also where enrolling in KU can be helpful as it encourages readers to take a chance on someone new.

Growing your readership anywhere is a difficult task and isn't a guarantee on any platform and, once you have one, has to be nurtured in order to be maintained and expanded. This is where having having newsletters, social media pages, patreon, website/blog, discord, etc. can come in to help. If you are doing absolutely nothing though except throwing your work out there then, no, you can't expect to grow a readership. Also, the readership on sites like RR and Amazon are often very different so, if you're expecting Amazon to grow your RR readership, you really shouldn't as that is unlikely to happen. If you don't put a book into KU though, there is absolutely no reason that you can't grow separate readerships on both RR and Amazon if you are willing to put in the work to do so. It certainly won't be easy though, but few things ever are.

I think you have explained enough. Very informative

Re: Careful with Amazon

#9
I am lost for words here? Is he mad because he signed the publisher rights to amazon and then tried to publish it with a recognized traditional publisher and now cannot because amazon will sue him? I always thought you should try for a publisher you want to get with and if they turn you down go amazon route not other way around lol. Am I missing something? I am seeing a lot of positive things said about kindle books/paperback books only available through amazon look at what they have been making shows out of. Alot of their works comes from their ebooks/comic exclusives new shows and movie ideas owned by Amazon only 4 amazon members it can be just as smart to use as a traditional publisher depends what your goals are. 

Mine is to have my works animated so I personally wouldn't care if I went amazon route or yenpress novelclub but to each their own. lol

Re: Careful with Amazon

#10
Some authors are reporting difficulties getting published on Kindle (not KU) if the material is available for free on the web.  So, a number of authors here have pulled the applicable chapters for a time so that Amazon will publish it … or that’s what I see them reporting.

From Amazon’s content guidelines (Illegal or infringing content): “We will not accept content under copyright that is freely available on the web unless it’s provided by the owner of the copyright.”

From Amazon’s Guide to Kindle Content Quality:  
Disappointing content
We do not allow content that disappoints our customers or creates a poor shopping experience, including but not limited to: 

  • Content that is freely available on the web (unless you are the copyright owner of that content or the content is in the public domain). For more information, you can refer to the sections titled "Illegal and Infringing Content" and "Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content" 
  • It sounds like Amazon made it harder to prove you are the copyright holder for books on RR and other similar platforms.  

    True, false, misunderstanding?




    Re: Careful with Amazon

    #11

    MarkM Wrote: Some authors are reporting difficulties getting published on Kindle (not KU) if the material is available for free on the web.  So, a number of authors here have pulled the applicable chapters for a time so that Amazon will publish it … or that’s what I see them reporting.

    From Amazon’s content guidelines (Illegal or infringing content): “We will not accept content under copyright that is freely available on the web unless it’s provided by the owner of the copyright.”

    From Amazon’s Guide to Kindle Content Quality:  
    “Disappointing content
    We do not allow content that disappoints our customers or creates a poor shopping experience, including but not limited to: 


    Content that is freely available on the web (unless you are the copyright owner of that content or the content is in the public domain). For more information, you can refer to the sections titled "Illegal and Infringing Content" and "Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content" 
    It sounds like Amazon made it harder to prove you are the copyright holder for books on RR and other similar platforms.  

    True, false, misunderstanding?


    I haven't run into that problem, though it's been over a year since I published my last book. It would be easy enough to prove that I own the copyright, even though "Ivy Veritas" is a pen name that doesn't match my Amazon KDP account (though, of course, I always list "Ivy Veritas" in the author field for each book).

    The policy as it's worded is very appropriate, so if people are having problems, I guess it's just a matter of how it's implemented. Do you have any examples?

    Re: Careful with Amazon

    #12
    I'm not an author myself, I'm just a reader.  With that in mind, I saw Wutosama grumbling about the difficulty in proving copyright ownership in an series of author's notes.  (Metaworld Chronicals:  Chapter 421: " So Amazon refuses to believe after 2 books... I could own yet more content for my own book... so much for annoucing Vol.3."; Chapter 422: "Amazon still waiting to verify Vol.3... ah well.";  Chapter 423:  "After 21 days, Amazon verified!")

    See also comments in https://www.royalroad.com/fiction/45962/feather-book-three/chapter/739614/book-three-ch-2 (author nearly deactivated account).  Deleting the book from RR apparently worked for verification purposes.

    I've seen other authors mention the problem in passing ... but finding that mention has turned out to be surprisingly difficult.



    Re: Careful with Amazon

    #13
    From a purely utilitarian point of view, once a work is completed there will be no more money coming from the patreons, and the new readers will read for free, so it makes sense to take it down from RR and publish on amazon
    And the patreons have already read it, so its not like you are depriving the people who supported you

    Re: Careful with Amazon

    #14
    KU (KDP Select) requires exclusivity.  If you don't want that don't sign up for it.  You can publish to Amazon without it.  I've seen a strategy that tries to maximize eyeballs and reach by mixing platforms over time.
    1.  RR until book/act finish 
    2.  Pull book/act from RR
    3. KU 3 - 6months (Use metrics-KENPC to see readership inflection point, 3-6months is not a rule)
    4. Pull from KU (opt-out) when readership of that particular book drops off, remain on Amazon.
    5. Publish via Smashwords to reach other platforms and non-Amazon readers. 
    This is per book/act.  If you have more than one, it's a good strategy to always have at least one title on KDP Select.  You could conceivably keep titles in rotation.

    Complying with the requirements of KU and using other platforms as the benefits subside is the part that trips up those new to the process.  It's entirely possible you never need another platform other than KDP Select. You will be missing readers if you stay there, it just might not matter to you.

    Re: Careful with Amazon

    #15

    Amphitere Wrote: KU (KDP Select) requires exclusivity.  If you don't want that don't sign up for it.  You can publish to Amazon without it.  I've seen a strategy that tries to maximize eyeballs and reach by mixing platforms over time.
    1.  RR until book/act finish 
    2.  Pull book/act from RR
    3. KU 3 - 6months (Use metrics-KENPC to see readership inflection point, 3-6months is not a rule)
    4. Pull from KU (opt-out) when readership of that particular book drops off, remain on Amazon.
    5. Publish via Smashwords to reach other platforms and non-Amazon readers. 
    This is per book/act.  If you have more than one, it's a good strategy to always have at least one title on KDP Select.  You could conceivably keep titles in rotation.

    Complying with the requirements of KU and using other platforms as the benefits subside is the part that trips up those new to the process.  It's entirely possible you never need another platform other than KDP Select. You will be missing readers if you stay there, it just might not matter to you.
    bookmarked, thank you for this. how come there's an inflection point for KU at that time period?

    Re: Careful with Amazon

    #16
    That's a likely time period for a newish author, not a hard window.  First and foremost, start with the fact that there is a reasonably defined 'set' of readers within all KU readers interested in reading your title; over time, they will read it and move on.  Second, my supposition is that the algorithm that shows readers things they might like based on their reading preferences favors showing newer titles That's not necessarily a bad thing; it keeps recommendations cycling. Titles from popular authors, titles that get high reviews, or maintain KENPC;  probably get more hangtime.  However, that likely creates as a consequence; a cycle were when the KENPC dips, a title drops from recommendations.    Couple that with common human tendencies 'Out of sight, out of Mind' then the title KENPC goes off a cliff. 

    The result is that after an amount of time (dependant on the factors mentioned and perhaps others I can't guess at.), the benefits of KU availability wan compared to an untapped 'set' of readers.