From author and TPV regular Randall Wood:
In more ways than one.
Let me explain. Three months ago I tried an experiment. I pulled my books from all the other vendors and went all-in with Amazons KU program. I was following the advice of many that had gone before me and decided to give it a try to see if I could emulate their success there. It was a decision I thought about long and hard, but in the end I decided was worth the 90-day commitment.
I was wrong.
Entering KU was initially a positive. I saw a nice jump in sales, and page-reads were at a level that had me on track for a 30% increase over my average monthly income. Not as good as I had been told to expect, but not bad either.
Then, Amazon happened.
One of my biggest problems with Amazons KU program was its lack of transparency. Amazon shares little to no information on the program with its authors and is anything but clear as to how it really runs. They also have you over a barrel from day one as they can make changes to the program at anytime and without warning. As they did so right around the time I entered it. Was my timing bad, or was I simply a victim of bad luck? I’d say both. But being at Amazons mercy was my first mistake.
Right around the time I entered KU they made a change to the algorithm. This is not something they do that often, it’s a constantly evolving program and we expect it to be tweaked from time to time, but this was a major change. I heard from friends making six figures telling me they were suddenly down by up to 30%. Some even more. A few had lost income in the neighborhood of 90%. In other words, career ending losses.
. . . .
My initial upward spike quickly turned into a long slide down. I’ll spare you the details and just say that by the time the ninety-day commitment was over I was pulling down the same numbers as I had been when I was wide. And that was with my first book Closure being offered FREE. (I’d been forced to put a price of $2.99 on it to justify going onto KU)
So, lesson learned. KU is as bad a deal as I thought it would be. While I may have gained a few readers that I might not have reached the old way, it just wasn’t worth it to be exclusive to Amazon.
. . . .
I’d heard stories of books getting a drop in ranking, or a slow turn-around when coming out of KU, or even a period of time-stoppage where the book sold nothing and sat as if frozen for a few days only to have a sudden spike before returning to normal. I got none of that. What I did get was something new.
My first book Closure has 1500 reviews on Amazons US website alone. 92% of these reviews are 4 star or above. One has 223 up-likes and has been the first review you see for years. Guess what’s at the top of the page now? That’s right, 1, 2, and 3 star reviews. I guess this is Amazons form of the doghouse. How long will it last? Who knows. But I can tell you this, it won’t change my mind about leaving KU. I should have trusted my instincts and business sense in the first place. If there was any chance of me trying KU again in the first place they’ve just made it harder for me to consider it. If anything, it’s made me even more determined to build a readership on the other platforms. I’ve seen battered wife syndrome while working as a paramedic, I certainly won’t let Amazon put me in that kind of relationship.
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