Booktrope Gone

30 April 2016

From Geekwire:

Booktrope plans to go out of business at the end of May, bringing an end to its “team publishing” platform used by ad hoc groups of authors, editors, marketers and designers to create and market print books and e-books.

The Seattle startup, which went through the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator program, announced the news Friday in a message on its site and a detailed email to users from the company’s executives.

“Much has been accomplished by Booktrope and our community over the past six years,” read the email from CEO and co-founder Ken Shear; co-founder and CTO Andy Roberts; and COO Jennifer Gilbert. “But even with a collection of excellent books and with very strong contributions by creative teams who’ve provided editing, design and marketing services, Booktrope books have not generated sufficient revenues to make the business viable.”

. . . .

The company connected authors with editors, cover designers, proofreaders and marketers to create and promote e-books and print books. Teams managed the process and collaborated using the company’s “Teamtrope” platform. Booktrope helped to get books published and distributed in print and as e-books, and managed financial and legal issues.

Booktrope kept 30 percent of the net profits, and the creative teams split the remaining 70 percent based on agreements among them. Booktrope didn’t charge any up-front fees.

Link to the rest at Geekwire and thanks to Piper for the tip.

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The guru on how to get your book published

28 April 2016

From NUVO:

You may know Jane Friedman if you have ever browsed through The Great Courses. Hers are some of the highest rated, with titles like How to Get Your Book Publishedand Publishing 101. A Hoosier, Friedman has been writing and having her work steadily published since college. In 2006 she wrote her first non-fiction work that was a guide to writing. We spoke with her about some of the dos and don’ts when weeding through the press world.

NUVO: What are the biggest mistakes you see authors make starting out?

Jane Friedman: I would say the biggest mistake by far is a lack of patience with the process. They send out maybe one query, and they haven’t even researched who that query should go to. Maybe the query isn’t even written that well in the first place, and they get frustrated really quickly and give up. And I would say, as of today, most people decide to self-publish and then they figure out that wasn’t the right choice much later. There is usually a lack of patience with not just the publishing process like I just described. They will be frustrated with having to market their work and pitch their work, but some people pitch too soon. They haven’t allowed themselves time as a writer to develop their craft.

NUVO: How have you seen book marketing change?

Friedman: Well I think there has always been a responsibility for the author to be a promoter of their work. Today, because of digital media, digital marketing and promotion, there are a lot of things that are incumbent on the author to do that in fact wouldn’t even be appropriate for the publisher to do on their behalf. The publisher doesn’t want to pretend to be you on Twitter or on Facebook. They don’t want to be, in those cases, the owner of your website. These are brand properties that belong to the author and it’s up to the author to cultivate them. These are things that span over … an author’s career. They are not specific to a single book … So the author needs to be thinking abut developing those … Not just for one book but very long term. Years really.

NUVO: How would you categorize the current state of publishing?

Friedman: Eh, schizophrenic. (Laughs.) Because there are so many more ways to publish a book than there ever was. It used to be that the path to getting published was pretty narrow, pretty fine, and you weren’t going to work outside those boundaries. A few people could do it and a few exceptional case studies. But by and large the only way to be a successful published author was to go to a traditional publisher or find an agent and take as long as it might have taken for that book to find its readership. Today, self-publishing is generally conceived as just as legitimate a way, but I don’t think it’s any easier. I don’t think it’s the easier path than traditional publishing. I think you find about the same success rate on either side of the equation.

Link to the rest at NUVO

For me, traditional publishing means poverty. But self-publish? No way

27 April 2016

From The Guardian:

A few days ago, I wrote a piece on my blog exploding the myth of the rich writer, and laying out (in terms the Royal Literary Fund described as “ruthlessly mathematical”) what authors actually receive when you buy their books. The simple answer for many of us is nothing at all, after that heady advance in the case of my most recent novel, which was £5,000 for two years’ work.

. . . .

Now, I understand that “indie publishing” is all the rage, but you might as well be telling Luke Skywalker to go to the dark side. Despite royalty rates of 70%, I think self-publishing is a terrible idea for serious novelists (by which I mean, novelists who take writing seriously, and love to write). Here’s why.

You have to forget writing for a living

If you self-publish your book, you are not going to be writing for a living. You are going to be marketing for a living. Self-published authors should expect to spend only 10% of their time writing and 90% of their time marketing. The self-published author who came to my blog to preach the virtues of his path, claiming to make five figures a month from Kindle sales of his 11 novels, puts his writing time percentage in single figures. If that sounds like fun to you, be my guest. But if your passion is creating worlds and characters, telling great stories, and/or revelling in language, you might want to aim for traditional publication.

. . . .

 Gatekeepers are saving you from your own ego

Imagine you are a cabinet-maker. You look at a few cabinets, you read a few books about how to make a cabinet, you practice the technicalities of things like dovetail joints. Then, with hope in your heart and breakfast in your sawing arm, you grab some wood and set to work. But because you are new at this, your tools are a starter set. In your ignorance, you chose wood that wasn’t properly seasoned. Wow, those dovetail joints take some precision, don’t they? This cabinet-making thing is hard! Nevertheless, with persistence and effort you complete your cabinet. It wobbles a bit. The drawers stick. The finish isn’t perfect. Buy hey, it’s a cabinet! You try to sell it to several furniture shops and they all politely decline. So are you going to sell it yourself? Or heave a sigh, make another cabinet, and see if you can make a better one?

. . . .

You risk looking like an amateur

Good writers need even better editors. They need brilliant cover designers. They need imaginative marketers and well-connected publicists. All these things are provided by a traditional publisher, and what’s more, it doesn’t cost you a penny. They pay you! If a self-published author wants to avoid looking like an amateur, they’d better be prepared to shell out some serious dosh to get professional help in all the areas where they don’t excel. And I mean serious. Paying some poor bugger in the Philippines a fiver, or bunging £50 to your PhotoShopping nephew will not result in a distinctive, professional-looking cover. And don’t get me started on the value of good editors, copy-editors and proof-readers, and how many times they have saved me from looking like a twonk. Providing these services to indie authors is a lucrative business. Indeed, many indie authors keep themselves afloat financially by offering these services to other indie authors: the new “authorpreneur” pyramid scheme. Which is all very well if what you’ve always wanted to do is start your own writing-related business. But if you’d rather be an author, why not practice your skill until you’ve written something a publisher will pay for? And enjoy the fact they’ll also foot the bill for everything else.

Link to the rest at The Guardian and thanks to Stephen for the tip.

PG says “£5,000 for two years’ work” sounds like an amateur.

UPDATE: PG didn’t notice that this was a double-post.

He’s alerted Mrs. PG that she will need to double-check his appearance before he goes out the door today. And maybe hide the car keys.

Paul McStay to self-publish his autobiography The Maestro

27 April 2016

From The Glasgow Evening Times:

Celtic legend Paul McStay’s revealed he’s turned down publishing deals to write his autobiography – because he wants to release it himself.

The former Hoops and Scotland captain is crowdfunding the book with a Kickstarter campaign and will use his graphic design skills to create it.

. . . .

McStay now runs a coaching software firm in Australia after retiring from football in 1997, and thinks he’s got the tech know-how to put out the book himself.

So far the 51 year old’s raised more than £9,000 of his £53,000 target by offering memorabilia from his career, and taking pledges in return for signed copies of the autobiography.

Link to the rest at Glasgow Evening Times

A Cautionary Tale, Part 2

26 April 2016

From author Amanda S. Green via Mad Genius Club:

Last week, I wrote “A Cautionary Tale” about what initially appeared to be a bump in the road in the release of Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3). What I didn’t know was that the problem would continue to exist not just for that day but for days and days. In fact, it isn’t completely dealt with as I type this. Things are better, for certain definitions of better, but I’m still seeing the negative impact of what happened.

A quick reminder of what happened. A week ago yesterday, I woke to an email from Kindle Quality Control saying there was a problem with the file for Honor from Ashes (Honor and Duty Book 3). It had the right cover but the wrong ASIN and interior file. Within half an hour I updated the file. Approximately six hours later, I received notice that the file had gone live. Except it hadn’t. For most of the next five days, the purchase and KU read for free buttons would not be active. Some of the time, it would say the book was unavailable. Or the buttons would be there but the disclaimer that the book was under review and therefore not available for purchase would be present. Those few times you could buy the book, you might have gotten the correct book or you might not have.

Making matters worse, for whatever reason, the emails that should have been sent out to those who had pre-ordered or purchased before the file was pulled were not. Nor did Kindle Customer Support have a clear idea of what was going on. Some of those who tried helping those with the wrong file did what they were supposed to do — the pushed through the updated file. Others said to return the book and try to buy it later. Still others said to wait and see if the update came through later.

. . . .

Finally, last Wednesday, I had had enough and I e-mailed Jeff Bezos. I knew he wouldn’t actually see the email but it made me feel better. It was a business-like letter, detailing everything I had been through to that point. Much to my surprise, I received a phone call late in the day from someone who had gotten the job of trying to find out what was going on and making sure things got cleared up.

Long story short, she talked to different departments and made sure the web page was made stable and my book could be purchased. She talked to the folks in charge of reviews. She listened as I explained how this fiasco had impacted the book’s release and prevented me from doing any true marketing because I couldn’t guarantee those interested would be able to buy the book — or that they would receive the right one when they did.

She admitted that the problem pointed out some shortfalls in their process when a book is under review after the quality of it is called into question by Amazon customers. There is no clear procedure for letting Kindle Support know what is going on or what phase of the review they are at. Nor is there a clear procedure for letting the author know what is going on. All authors get is an email saying the book is under review and they will be contacted when it is approved. Well, you get a note from KDP saying the file has been approved but that isn’t the same as QA saying it is approved. So my contact at Amazon is recommending that this process be improved so others don’t have to go through what I have.

As for the 1-star reviews based on getting the wrong file, well, I’m stuck with them.

. . . .

For me:

  • I have to be even more careful than ever before to make sure there is no issue with my work when I get ready to upload a file.
  • I am going to think long and hard about doing pre-orders in the future. Not only because of the impact they have on publication day numbers (As Dorothy pointed out, pre-orders don’t count toward release date rankings but count on the day of the pre-order) but because of the length of time it has taken to deal with the current situation.
  • While I am still frustrated and disappointed in Amazon and the way it has handled this situation, especially the negative reviews, I will continue working with them. They have tried to do what they can to assist me and they are still the big dog when it comes to indie publishing. They are also the easiest of the outlets to access and use, both as a reader and as a writer.

. . . .

Regarding Amazon:

  • It is still the only real game in town so I will continue working with them.
  • Amazon needs to improve the communication between departments within the KDP process.
  • Amazon needs to reconsider its policy about reviews and make it easier for authors to challenge reviews. I have no problem getting a negative review because someone doesn’t like my work. But when, as in this case, I have jumped through every hoop to correct a technical problem and yet Amazon drags its feet, those reviews are on them and not on me. I should not continue to be punished as a result. No author should.
  • Amazon needs to make it easier — as in possible — to contact the Kindle KDP QA people after a book has been removed for review. As it stands right now, the only thing you can do is contact Kindle KDP support (which can be fun in and of itself) and then ask them to contact QA. You may or may not be successful.

The biggest decision I have to make now is about what my next step should be. I will continue letting my contact at Amazon know of any problems with the book’s download that are brought to my attention.

Link to the rest at Mad Genius Club

Here’s a link to Amanda S. Green’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

An open letter to Barnes and Noble

25 April 2016

From author Cambria Hebert:

An open letter to Barnes & Noble and the CEO Mr. Ronald Boire:

Four years ago when I first started in the publishing industry I sent a submission to the small press department for my first novel. With it I sent reviews, newspaper articles, marketing, book specs and a beautiful hardback edition of the book.

I was with a small publisher, met all the requirements and I was hoping to be considered for shelf placement.

I was turned down with a form response that basically came down to “we don’t do self-pub”. While I was disappointed that it was clear no one really took the time to read the submission because it stated clearly my book was not self-published, I took it in stride.

I knew I had to earn my “stripes” in the industry. I had to work my way up and expecting anything such as shelf placement in BN stores for a first novel was basically just a hope.

Five years later, with nearly thirty novels under my belt, I sent another submission.

This submission was for #Nerd, the first book in my popular contemporary romance Hashtag Series. I’ll be frank, my ultimate dream when I first started in this business was to see my books on your shelves. I still remember the feeling of walking through your aisles, gazing at all the beautiful books with a coffee in my hand and being awed at all the possibilities.

Having worked in this business for about five years now I admit, this dream became chipped away at. I’ve seen, quite frankly, the snobbery that comes from your large corporate world. I told myself it was fine if I never made it to your shelves because my books were popular and doing very well.

Then something happened. I was tagged in a picture on social media. #Nerd was sitting on the shelves at a BN on an end cap along with several other popular Independently published books. This came courtesy of some really awesome managers at one of your stores. It was awesome. The original dream of seeing something like that came back to me, and in some regard I remembered why I started in this business to begin with.

I took a chance, a long shot and put together another package. Inside I slipped detailed information of my book including the type of binding, shelf life, wholesaler discount and distributor.

I’d like to note that when I began publishing on my own many years (after leaving the small press) ago I went to the extra hassle and expense of getting an account approved via Ingram (Lightning Source) so that my books were in your catalogues and viable for ordering on the chance someone might want them for your stores.

Also, in that packet I included reviews, average rating, marketing details, and every single format my book was available in. My book is professionally edited, award winning and has a standout cover designed by a designer who already has covers sitting on your shelves. I also included the information that #Nerd has a professionally produced live action book trailer with over fifteen thousand views and a lot of buzz.

I outlined the many signings I attend to promote myself and noted my social media accounts including my sizable Facebook page with almost seventy thousand likes.

With that I included a paperback of my novel and a print out of the photo of it sitting on one of your end caps.

Honestly, I never expected to be accepted. I never thought I would be considered but I hoped. I saw that image of my book on the end cap of a large BN and it felt good.

I got a form letter in the mail today. A rejection. I will say, it was a much friendlier rejection than the one I received four years ago.

But it was no less condescending.

. . . .

When will the stigma of independent books ever fade with your company? When will it stop becoming an exclusive club and allow for good books to be recognized?

Frankly, I’m offended and angry on behalf of not only myself but all independent authors.

Yes, there are millions of books published every year. Not all of them are good. The easy use and accessibility of publishing online today makes lots of people think they can write a book.

However. There are a lot of independent authors out there who are damn good at what they do. There are professionals. There are people that work and work hard for their name and career.

What is it about us that makes you look away?

Are you afraid you’ll make the big six with all their money angry if you clear off even one shelf for some independent books?Are you certain that your exclusive choice of titles in your stores are the absolute cream of the crop?

. . . .

I would wager some of my books probably outsell some of the ones you stock on your shelves. That doesn’t mean by any means those books don’t deserve to be where they are, they do.

But mine do too.

. . . .

No, my books aren’t screened through agents and publishers.

You know who screens my books? You know who deems them worthy? YOUR customers, the readers. I have average ratings, sales and demand to back it up.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a reader ask me why they can’t get my book on your shelves. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard readers say they wished they could pick up their favorite indie authors book off your shelves.

Link to the rest at Cambria Hebert and thanks to Patrice for the tip.

Here’s a link to Cambria Hebert’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

How Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Sleeping Giants’ Awoke

22 April 2016

From The Wall Street Journal:

First-time novelist Sylvain Neuvel landed a movie deal for his self-published debut, “Sleeping Giants,” before a publishing house had even picked up the book.

The manuscript took an untraditional route to the spotlight. Three years ago, the author, a Montreal linguist with one unpublished screenplay to his name, set out to write a science-fiction fantasy. Finding no takers for his tale of scientists trying to track down metal body parts scattered across the globe, he turned to self-publishing.

Now a film adaptation of “Sleeping Giants” is in the works and next week, Penguin Random House subsidiary Del Rey will publish the book with a print run of 50,000.

After completing his thriller, Mr. Neuvel sent out dozens of query letters to publishing houses. When he received no replies, he decided to bring out “Sleeping Giants” on his own.

An unsigned rave in Kirkus Review’s listingsfor self-published authors changed everything. “This novel is so much more than the sum of its parts—a page-turner of the highest order!” the reviewer wrote.

The online praise caught the eye of Josh Bratman of Immersive Pictures, who contacted the author through his website.

. . . .

Mr. Bratman was taken by Mr. Neuvel’s “smart science” and his ability to build suspense. “I couldn’t believe it was a debut,” he said. “Sylvain has this propulsive writing style and blended these epic sci-fi themes.” He put the author in touch with Jon Cassir of Creative Artists Agency, who is now Mr. Neuvel’s movie agent. Immersive Pictures signed on to make “The Themis Files”—the film adaptation of “Sleeping Giants”—with Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal (Link may expire)

2016 Smashwords Survey Reveals Insight into the Habits of Bestselling Authors

19 April 2016

From Smashwords:

My goal with the Survey is to help Smashwords authors and publishers identify opportunities to reach more readers.

The Smashwords Survey takes a data-driven approach to identify potential best practices that can give you an incremental advantage.

The Survey also helps us identify habits of the most successful authors.

. . . .

Key Findings for 2016 Survey

We looked at actual retail sales over the 12 month period between March 2015 through February 2016.  Here are the key findings:

  1. Fiction dominates – 89.5% of our sales were fiction titles.  Despite fiction’s dominance, a number of non-fiction titles were among our top performers of the year.
  2. Bestsellers have a greater social media presence – It’s not a huge surprise, but better-selling authors are much more likely to have a social media presence in the form of author web sites, blogs and Facebook and Twitter presence.
  3. Romance dominates – Romance continues to dominate sales for Smashwords authors and publishers.  Romance accounted for 50% of our sales during the survey period.  Writers in other genres and categories can gain much inspiration from romance writers.  Romance writers are typically ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting new best practices, and certainly this is underscored by their early adoption of series writing, free series starters and preorder usage.
  4. New adult romance had the highest average earnings per romance title, but that’s only part of the story – For the first time ever we looked at the relative performance of different subcategories of romance.  While New Adult, YA and contemporary had the highest average earnings per title within romance, when we examined median performance we found that subcategories of Sci-fi romance, fantasy and erotic romance earned the highest median yields per title.  If folks find this analysis useful, maybe I’ll do similar analyses of other popular genres.

. . . .

7. Pricing sweet spots – For the last few years, $3.99 was the sweet spot for most indie fiction ebooks.  It was the price that maximized both unit downloads and earnings.  For the 2016 Survey, $2.99 barely edged out $3.99 for the greatest average unit downloads.  However, we observed some shifting on the earnings front.  $3.99 retained the mantle for the average price that generates the highest earnings, and $4.99 came in as the second best price, beating out $2.99.  I think this speaks to a growing number of professional indie authors finding success migrating to slightly higher prices.  In general, most indie authors of full length fiction are probably best served at $3.99 to maximize earnings and unit sales.  You’ll also see that some strong performing non-fiction titles skewed the earnings data for the higher price ranges.

Link to the rest at Smashwords and thanks to SFR for the tip.

The sweet rewards of self-publishing

19 April 2016

From Echo Daily (Byron Bay, Australia):

Innovative self-publishing company Captain Honey are partnering with Byron Writer’s Festival to provide a venue at this year’s event exclusively for self-published authors.

The marquee will be an opportunity for self-published authors to showcase and sell their books, share their experiences and insights into the process with the public, and meet other self-published authors. Ahead of their Information night at the Byron Writer’s centre on Wednesday, Roz Hopkins of Captain Honey answered a few questions about the project and how authors can get involved.

Why did you set up Captain Honey?

Our original vision was to bring the standards of traditional publishing – which we knew from our experience – to the self-publishing world. We saw a great opportunity to lift the bar in terms of quality and commercial success, and we wanted to help independent authors achieve that.

. . . .

Do you see a future in paper publication, especially for people who self-publish?

Definitely, the trend over the past year or two points to a resurgence in sales of print books, and a slight decline in ebooks. We absolutely believe in it as an ongoing medium for book publishing. Many of our authors have done much better in print than with an ebook. The format in which a book is published – ebook, print, print-on-demand – should be dictated by the audience and the marketing plan. Often our authors will publish in all three formats at once for different reasons and with different objectives in mind.

Can you self-publish and still be successful? 

Depends on how you define success, of course. If you mean make money, then I think that’s hard. Not impossible, but generally not the best goal to have starting out. I want authors to cover costs and then everything else is upside. But first I want to know what peoples’ motivations are to self-publish. Nobody ever says to me that it’s money. Perhaps they don’t want to admit it. Or maybe it’s just well-enough-known that most authors lurk around the poverty line. I find that our authors have varied motivations for publishing: to tell their story, to build their business, to cement their brand or identity, to make a contribution to society, to scratch a creative itch, to launch a new career, because they can, etc.

Are self-published authors making their way into literary mainstream? Does self-publishing have literary credibility?

I don’t think there is a lot of evidence of self-published authors making their way into the literary mainstream. I think fiction (commercial and literary) is really hard to do as a self-publisher. Genre fiction (such as romance, science fiction or crime, which have a readership dedicated as much to the type of book as the individual author) is a different thing entirely and self-publishers nail it, much more than the traditional publishers do. The big publishers still have the best success in launching a commercial or literary fiction author into the world for many reasons, not least because of the dependence on traditional bookshops to support them. Also because the infrastructure of awards, mentorships and other support to authors is tightly linked with the traditional publishers.

Link to the rest at Echo Daily

KU Scammers on Amazon – What’s Going On?

18 April 2016

From author TPV regular Ann Christy:

This is extremely long and probably only of interest to indie authors, but it does impact readers who shop Amazon, so I’m putting it here for anyone.

Not many readers (who aren’t also authors) know any details about this, though readers sure are noticing the impacts of the scams. I see threads or posts all over the place about the difficulty readers are having with simply browsing on Amazon to find their next good read.

Discoverability is an author’s word when it comes to books…it’s the holy grail of the indie. If you say it in the tones of a voice-over in a serious movie, you can almost hear the slight echo: What is the secret of the grail (discoverability)?

Now, it is also a reader problem. The scammers have made finding books too difficult. Readers are going back to older methods for finding books or even worse, simply writing off any new author out of hand unless the recommendation comes from an actual person on Goodreads or forum or the like.

. . . .

So, let’s say a reader checks out a book from KU, reads to page 100, decides they don’t like the book and returns it. The author gets paid for the 100 pages read. If it’s a page turner that the reader reads through to the end, the authors get paid for all 500 pages of wonderful and quality prose.

The pay per page is a small number and varies by a few thousandths of a penny each month, but it seems to be settling in at around $00.0045 per page. That equates to about $1.575 for a 350 page book.

One thing we were all assured by Amazon…many times…in writing…was that Amazon knew how much a reader was reading in each book and they would pay us for those pages.

Scammers being scammers, they realized Amazon was lying very early on. Amazon couldn’t tell what pages were read. They only knew the last place you were at in the book. And that’s what they were paying authors, the last place that the reader synced in the book.

So, a KU borrow on a device that didn’t sync until after the book was read and the reader flipped back to the front to check out what else you’d written? Yeah, no pages read.

But likewise, a reader who clicked a link on Page 1 offering them the opportunity to win a Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 and a $100 Amazon Gift Card….which then sent them to the back of a 3000 page book? Yep, you guessed it. They got paid for 3000 unread pages. (And no, there was no winner for those contests that  anyone knows off.)

Keep in mind, Amazon clearly knew this was happening, because the page limit for books in KU changed very recently (and abruptly) DOWN to 3000. There were 10,000 page books in KU doing this before that change. Even at $00.0041 per page (which is our lowest payout yet), that’s a big payout.

. . . .

Here’s the Scam:

1) Scammer acquires via advertisement (or sometimes actually writes) a bad book or part of it. Enough so that they can get past a quick look at the first few pages.

2) Scammer then puts 3000 pages of synonmizer garbage after that first portion.

3) Scammer creates 25 versions of that book with different nonsense after the first few pages to get past the automated checks.

4) Scammer creates a new KDP Account using a fresh EIN.

5) Scammer uploads each of the 25 versions under 25 author names, enters them into KDP Select and as soon as the books go live, they immediately use their 5 Days “free promo” allowed by being in select. This puts the book into KU and also makes it free to buy.

6) Scammer then either lets the KU Click-Farm or their Click Cooperative know that they’re books are live and gives the links.

7a) If Click-Farm (which might actually just be one guy sitting around in his underwear with 25 KU accounts), then the farmer clicks on every one of those newly published books, borrows each one, clicks to the *back* of the book. Rinse and repeat for every KU account the farmer has.

7b) If Click Cooperative, then the Scammer loads all his day’s book links into the cooperative’s page, and each person in the cooperative does what the Farmer did, but usually only with 2 or 3 KU accounts. (Each person in the cooperative does it for everyone else, possibly on a schedule).

8) Scammer has now made several thousand dollars.

Note: If Scammer is smart…and they are getting smarter…they will parse out those clicks over a three day period so that there is no possibility of an alert. Since the book is on the Free list, those savvy customers who report scam books aren’t likely to look. They look at the paid lists.

9) Scammer will often then hire a “free click farm” for a few bucks in some foreign country to have their farmers click the Buy For Free button to push up the rank of the book in the free ranks. This will get visibility for the book, enticing real KU browsers to click the scam book. (This works because with steady KU downloads and lots of free downloads, Amazon’s algorithms put the book into the recommendation engine.)

. . . .

With a 25 member Click Coop that requires 2 KU accounts per member, a minimal scammer will make 600 bucks for each book. With an easily managed 25 books, that total is now $15,000. For a few days time and minimal work. Outlay can be as low as $20 for their two KU accounts plus $125 for new covers.

Doing this once a week (since Click Coops likely work on a schedule or max), the scammer has earned $60,000 in that month.

. . . .

In essence, this is an unbeatable system of scam-age that KU fosters simply by it’s nature. And Amazon’s automated systems are so automated that there’s not a darn thing they can do to stop it *under their current system.*

Ah, their current system! What can they do? Scammers gonna’ scam, right? Well, up till now that’s been their attitude. Only us little guys are really harmed since we’re barely visible anyway. But the scammers have now started stepping on much more dainty and well-paid toes and hopefully, things will get action.

. . . .

Amazon has been ignoring all us mid-listers and prawns because, after all, we’re mid-listers and prawns. Our purpose is to make sure we put our books in so they can boast they have fourteen bagillion books in KU and then be happy with what we get. Now that it’s bigger names (the kind that have actual contacts in KDP Customer service), Amazon just might listen.

Link to the rest, including losts more detail, at Ann Christy and thanks to Patrice for the tip.

Here’s a link to Ann Christy’s books. If you like an author’s post, you can show your appreciation by checking out their books.

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