Amazon surveyed me on KDP! Here’s what I said…

Who knows what tomorrow brings...

Yeah, I think this covers it. They sent me an email this morning, asking for my input on how they could make the program better,and here’s what I wrote:

#1 in importance is a *more useful* KU/Select reporting system. A bulk number of “Pages Read” per title gives authors no idea which titles are performing effectively in the system. Have 100 people read 1 page and given up on a book, or has 1 person read all 100 pages? Without this, there’s no way to tell what titles are best suited to KU/Select, or which titles are really resonating (or crashing and burning) with readers. What we need is an average completion percentage.

#2 is to be given sufficient notice on drastic KU/Select program changes. The move from 1.0 ($1.33ish a borrow) to 2.0 (.005 and declining) was announced with two weeks’ notice. This was a move that sent many writers’ incomes, and their ability to forecast income, into a tailspin. The recent “2.1” notice about different rates for different countries was given with *two days notice* on 10/30. This is not the way that a large retailer should treat their suppliers. We are running businesses, too, and without the ability to forecast earnings, we can’t stay in business.

#3 is more transparency on these changes, especially around the income impacts. Amazon collects vast amounts of data on the ebooks it sells. When KU 2.0 was announced, there was a cryptic hidden message to be found on the help pages, that announced the number of pages read in May and the fund amount, from which we selfpubbed authors were able to deduce the approximately .005 per page payment. But this should not have to be discovered via oracular interpretations – especially when your example in the email announcement made it look like .10 per page was a viable number. With “2.1” it would have been the work of a moment to tell us, “It looks like your US pages will now be .0048 and your India pages will now be .0028” or whatever – instead we were all sent into another “guesswork tailspin.” These program changes sent people into financial anxieties that weren’t resolved for two months, until the numbers were revealed. I see no value to you in holding this information back, leaving it to your business partners to engage in speculation until you’re ready to tell us what we could have been told on Day 1, and been able to plan accordingly.

#4 is *instant* price changes. Why does a price change have to go through an approval process? I’ve had price changes I’ve put through for BookBub and other sales get stuck “in review” for 12 hours or more and jeopardized my promotion.

#5 is to be more transparent in rejection/blocking emails. To say that a book has been rejected “for content,” which may or may not be cover, title or internal content, leaves authors flailing to figure out what the problem is. I understand that having a censorship policy that says only “about what you’d expect” leaves you free to change what “I” would expect at any time. But, when I’m trying to deal with the policy in place *that day*, I need to know what it is that I’ve done wrong. To be escalated from one form letter to another is not helping.

#6 is just a personal plea to all of corporate America, to please stop using the word “exciting” in the first sentence of every email that upends my world. Every change is not exciting, especially one that’s upending everyone’s income with little or no notice, unless your definition of exciting includes “inciting panic.” It’s just offensive to pretend that it’s all super great for everyone, and yes, we all know it’s part of the boilerplate text that every marketing department in the world goes to, but, please, no more “exciting” changes…

Yeah, okay, I know that last one was a useless request. “Exciting” is the Pavlov’s Bell that makes every person in every Marketing department salivate. But man I tell you every time I see an email that starts with that word, I know it’s bad news.

2 Comments on Amazon surveyed me on KDP! Here’s what I said…

  1. Harper Miller // November 24, 2015 at 7:20 am // Reply

    *applauds* LOL, well that was one hell of a mouthful.

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