What’s Your Beef?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 21•15

The Naysayer’s Rant

Golly.  Not a day goes by that I don’t read a  blog spewing unhappy rhetoric about Amazon, KindleUnlimited subscriptions and KENP. I was going to quote a blog post today before I responded here, but wisely I visited Amazon and looked at the author’s book ranks. Here they are:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #843,296

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #588,727

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,870

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,959,586

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,371,610

416,732 KENP pages read in October, 2015 + 400 units sold. Figures accurate to 10/20/15.

The author complains in high dudgeon about  Amazon paying authors by pages read in the KENP. The author is wonderfully offended and makes a big showing of removing all books out of Amazon Select and KENP.  Let me clue you in: With book ranks like the above, Amazon ain’t paying the author anything more than a few pennies. The books are not selling…doesn’t matter whether the units are exclusive to Amazon or not.  Some of the blogger’s books don’t have a sales rank at all–because a book doesn’t  generate a rank until a book sells one copy.

I have a different take on KENP, which is a  companion to KindleUnlimited. I am happy to be paid at all, and paying me by pages read when an Amazon customer borrows my books is not offensive. It is grand. And far more than my books earned per unit when trade published. Best Selling authors published by the BIG 6/5/4 or whomever are in a different stratosphere. All other authors in those publisher’s stables do NOT earn big bucks. Most do not even earn out a 5k advance in two years–if that. My best royalty rate when traditionally published was six cents on the dollar in the USA. Dropped to a penny or less per book sold in all foreign markets. In KENP, I get the same royalty rate for Canada, UK, Germany, Australia or wherever my titles are borrowed or sell on Amazon’s venues. Please, let’s not overlook that Amazon owns 74% of the global on-line retail market. Is that a monopoly? Nope–because we have a choice to market exclusively with Amazon or not.

Another of the blogger’s complaints is he never knows from one month to the next how much Amazon will pay or how much will land in his checking account. Hey! Legacy pubbers pay every six months and an author hasn’t a clue how much a book has earned until the agent siphons off 15% to 20% and sends along a check. I know authors who have NEVER received a royalty check. I know one who was paid 38¢. Try to buy a latte in Starbucks with that.  All those authors have is the glory of being legacy pubbed…and finding their books on remainder tables at B&N. No royalty is paid on remainders. It is true Amazon sets a limit on KENP payout–ten million up to 13 million thus far. And that is shared among pages-read. So any author leaving Amazon Select is good for me–I get a larger slice of the pie. Happy Dance.

Following His Heart

eNovel Member Nook Book on B&N. Sales Rank: 25,379. Nice.

I founded a small group of indie authors, eNovel Authors at Work. Many of the members are exclusive to Amazon. Some are not. Members who have books on all venues and titles that resonate with readers, sell on all venues. Their promotions reach across all venues.

No book sells without promotion.

Those of us who are new or less established use the tools Amazon provides in Select to get our books visible. Moreover, those tools are convenient. One stop to set up a FREE or discounted promotion. It is time consuming to price pulse on all venues…and chancy to change prices in time for a promo date.  I may one day find myself with enough of a readership that I can sell my books on all venues. I do not discount other markets–virtual bookshelves. But, I’m not there yet. I may never be. Many yet established indie authors paddle the same canoe I do.

All My Love

Tagged a Best Seller by Amazon. Sales Rank 21,690. 479 / 5* Reviews.

My suggestion is when you read a rant–look at the author’s books and rankings on all sales venues. Notice how many or how few reviews. Books that readers are enjoying will have at least  50 reviews ranked 4.3/5.0 or better. At least one book should have a nice rank…that will clue you in that the author is promoting the book. Or register for free to Kindle Nation Daily EBook Tracker which will give you the history of sales and rank of any book you pop in. Indie authors who do not promote and do not sell books are often in a blue funk. Thus, rant against the system. Same as people who are as vocal as all get out about government, but don’t vote. Don’t buy into it. Think for yourself. Above all, make the best decision you can for your book–because nobody else will do it for you.

Also on this site is a series of articles telling you the actual results of promotions by eNovel Authors at Work members. True figures. No exaggerations. Facts that will help you decide where to promote and what to expect.  Start HERE.

Do you have a beef? Of course you do. Tell us about it and the title of your book. Perhaps we can help.

@JackieWeger 2015.

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  1. Mike Markel says:

    Jackie, I too am a fan of KENP reads. In fact, more than two-thirds of my Amazon earnings come from reads, not purchases. Does that hurt my feelings? No, I’m an indie writer; I don’t have any feelings.

    So, for the time being, at least, I’m staying an Amazon-exclusive writer.

    Since joining eNovel Authors at Work last year and learning the rudiments of promoting, I’ve increased my earnings significantly. Last year, I was making two lattes per month as a writer. This year, my fiction pays all my groceries. I’m not a best-seller by any means, but I’m making progress.

    Thank you, Jackie, for helping indie writers learn how to play this game–and for your unflagging support. We do appreciate it.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Mike. We do not have to have the acclaim of Best Selling status to earn $$$. Digital books can be best sellers this month and sucking mud in stats two months later. I am royally sick of promoters asking me if my books are best sellers or if they have won any awards. Who cares? Most indie book awards are shams anyway and do NOT come with $$$. I only know of one award that comes with cash, and it is just enough to buy a decent cover. The key to indie author success is learning how to promote effectively. Or, mine anyway. So, that is what I do.

  2. All our books are exclusive to Amazon. Couldn’t be happier with them. So agree Jackie with the ‘No books sell without promotion’. Thanks for guiding us through the minefield of marketing sites out there.

  3. I joined eNovel Authors at Work a few months ago and gained valuable insights from Jackie and the group, especially about promoting my book.

  4. Traci Hall says:

    great advice, Jackie! Mike, very funny about the lattes to groceries. Promotion matters so much. You can’t just write a book and do nothing. Doing research on promotion sites, seeing what really works, allows us to be responsible for our success or failure. Networking and sharing real numbers is part of what makes eNovel so terrific.

  5. EM Kaplan says:

    I don’t have a rant. I’ve always thought that if I’m not doing well, I either need to try harder (i.e. promote more or in a better way) or learn more about the system. As you say, it’s a CHOICE to use it. Personally, I’m glad it’s available as an alternate to traditional publishing. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten even this far.

    Thanks for the interesting read!

  6. Mary Smith says:

    Well said, Jackie. I get so fed up hearing the moans about Big Bad Amazon – always from people whose books are not selling. And they aren’t selling because they are not promoting. Since joining eNovelAuthors I have learned so much but I still have an awful lot more to learn. I was delighted to have a BookBub promo a few months back, 30,000 people downloaded, the borrows alone paid for the promo, sales continued after the price went back up, sales of my other title went up. Fantastic. But a few months down the line sales had slumped and I was in a panic. I guess I could have blamed Amazon and written bitter blog posts about them but I didn’t. I looked at why sales were down. My fault. I’d been too complacent, had forgotten you have to keep on promoting, keep on getting your title in front of folks’ eyeballs. I should have done another promo as soon as my 90 days were up. I learned a lesson – the hard way (always the hard way for learning stuff, isn’t it?).
    I’m always pleased when I hear another author throw their toys out of the pram declaring they will NOT be exclusive to Amazon – more in the pot for those of us who are left. Though I hear more and more authors are creeping back after finding it isn’t so easy to make sales in all the other platforms.
    I only meant to say, ‘well said, Jackie’ but kind of got carried away.
    Mary Smith

  7. Donna Fasano says:

    Jackie, thank you for showcasing FOLLOWING HIS HEART. I’m currently writing the second book in the Ocean City Boardwalk Series.

    As an indie author, I know I have to be willing to try any and all methods of selling my work. I have 4 books in the Amazon Select Program. Although I haven’t experienced the “pages read” that you have reported, I am happy with my KENP report.

    With that said, I’d be remiss if I did not let authors know that my Kobo sales continue to grow. So I guess my take on marketing and venues remains the same: authors need to do what they feel works for them. Some authors will see greater success putting all their books in one program. Other authors will see success by offering their books across all venues. Still other authors will benefit from putting some of their books in Select and offering other titles in all venues. The bottom line is, no one answer will fit all authors.

    Donna Fasano
    Author of Following His Heart
    Join my Street Team: Prima Donnas

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Donna! Your take on the way you promote is exactly why I mentioned Following His Heart. You are also an Amazon Montlake author. You are established and have a great following, plus a street team. I think you are about five years into your indie authorship. You have worked hard within the system and have earned your success. Once an author has enough titles to work with…and the time to promote across all venues and understands how promotion work…go for it. I always say, author choice. Educating ourselves is key. You have. And you network. Love your Boardwalk series.

  8. Susan Tarr says:

    I’ve found over the past months that the information shared so freely by Jackie and others in the eNovel group is invaluable. I may not have geared myself up to follow all that is on offer, yet, but I’ve certainly honed my skills in promotion and marketing. When the time is right for me, I will be fully appraised of How and When, and the Why will follow with $$$s attached to it. And along with the skills taught, I’ve met some wonderful authors/new friends.

  9. TJ Shortt says:

    So sad to see authors going off on rants. Really puts off potential readers and the internet is FOREVER.
    Ranters – here’s a virtual hug and cookie ’cause we all need one sometime. No one said being an indie author was going to be easy.
    You’ve found your way to this site and that’s a great start. The information shared so freely on this site is invaluable and if ranting authors invest time reading (here) instead of ranting they’ll have less to rant about.
    Thanks Jackie for another great post!

  10. I am sort of addicted to Shark Tank, and several of the sharks have said that real sharks wake up every morning thinking of another new way to sell their whatever. Lots of mornings I wake up with a total blank in my brain. Then I switch on the computer, check the eNovelWriters page, and invariably somebody mentions a new method or a new promoter or something else I’d never heard of. And I dive in. No, I am not getting rich, but yes, I am having lots of fun. Thanks, writer buddies,for all suggestions.

  11. Thanks so much for the information you share, Jackie! It’s always helpful and always has so much of value for indie authors!

  12. That was a delightful post and you didn’t even say ‘eats stupid for breakfast’- LOL. You’re so right, one less person sharing the pie, good for the rest of us. I have no beef with anyone and anything, you know why? Because when things go wrong I don’t look to others to pass blame, I take full responsibility for my actions and choices. Instead of moaning, I change my strategy and try again. That’s the problem of so many people today. A sense of entitlement and the tendency to pass blame rather than take responsibility or action. I hope your post inspires a lot of authors who teeter between those two tendencies to do the right thing. Whatever Amazon pays me for KENP, I feel only gratitude and that is how you see it unless you sit on a high chair 😉

  13. Mimi Barbour says:

    Jackie, you are so right about promoting making the difference in sales. I have a really hard time understanding how others can’t see that. Guess they don’t want to see it or it means a gell of a lot more work and so much more to learn. Yeah well – we all had to do it and it sure as heck wasn’t easy, but it’s doable and… it pays off. Great post ?

  14. Piper Templeton says:

    Thank you, Jackie. I self-published my first book last year and chose to be exclusive to Amazon. I really didn’t know if that was the best move or not, but it “felt” right. With so much information and so much to learn about the indie book world, I felt that the tools that Amazon offers seemed to make the journey go smoother.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Piper: Thank you for stopping in. IMO, you made the right choice for where you are in your writing career at the moment. When I first stepped into the indie universe, my first book was uploaded to all sales venue. Next, I discovered pesky errors my editor and I missed. It was utter misery to visit every venue and upload revisions and wait for those to go live before I could promote. Same thing when I had a cover change. Lesson learned. I pulled my books from all other venues. I am far more comfortable with a single digital shelf than five or six. As always, author choice.

  15. Well stated, Jackie: No books move without promotion. I seldom promote, and my rank is in the toilet! However, it’s no one’s fault but my own. I’m still on the fence about KU, but not because of how Amazon pays. It’s more about the subscribers’ reading habits. I have no sense of entitlement whatsoever. I’m an indie author. If I sell any books at all, I’m grateful–and amazed!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Thank you for commenting, Linda. IMO Amazon’s subscriber reading habits are not any of our business. It is the subscriber’s business. As an indie author, I target the audience I hope will enjoy my books–whether the reader subscribes to Kindle Unlimited or not. As a KU subscriber, I download books that appeal to me. If they hold my interest, I read to completion. If not, I return them to Amazon’s library. My call. And not anyone else’s business. I am not obligated to read to completion a book I don’t enjoy. Print edition or digital. Won’t. Nor is any KU subscriber. Nor is a KU subscriber enjoined or required to read at any pace other than one’s own. Not my business. If I produce a book my targeted audience enjoys, I’ve done what I hope to achieve as an author. If I haven’t, reader’s choice to return the book. Works for me.

  16. P.C. Zick says:

    The advice I receive from the members of this group is invaluable. It’s a tough job that we’ve undertaken as Indies so any and all help, sharing, and supporting is very welcome. I’m learning something every day.

  17. Hi Jackie. Thank you for a great blog on an interesting subject. Marketing is an indie author’s biggest job. Since I still work full-time and commute several hours each way to work, I do not have the time to market. But I do marketing in spurts, in between books. I give myself a few months and then I’m back to writing. I am not in this for the instant fame. I am on a steady course. I will become known. I will sell more books and maybe make more than $1.48. But I love what I do. I will gradually get to where I want to be. So these little ranters and whiners can just rant and whine all they want. Me, I’ll be drinking a glass of wine relaxing. :o)

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Joanie! Pour me a glass! Love your response. We do not have to have instant success. Steady on works. Your attitude is tops. We find the time to do what we need and want to do. I always wanted a higher education. But I didn’t have a moment to spare to make the wish come true until I was sixty-two. I am not a bit smarter today for a degree. But I had it at the top of my bucket list for 50 years. Got it done.

  18. Pete Barber says:

    Great post, Jackie. I’m a KU member. I read and review indie books for http://booksandpals.blogspot.com/ and I always download the title on KU if it’s available. That way, the author gets a dollar or two. In fact, I prefer KU titles because I don’t have to bother with the “Sample.”

    As an Amazon-exclusive author, most days I check my KDP report. I take great encouragement from seeing pages of my books being read.

  19. Lorrie Farrelly says:

    Right on, Jackie!

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