KDP authors are grumbling over the effects of Amazon’s Select program.
While there have been a few who’ve seen some great results from enrolling and using the free promo days, overall sales seem to have taken a sharp down turn.
Most are pointing to comments posted by readers about how they’ve loaded their Kindles up with free books and may never buy another book again, with so many being offered for free every month.
I’d think that ‘freebie hoarders’ probably weren’t buying many books to begin with, but hey, that’s just my opinion.
April seems to be a horrible sales month for many, including me. My April sales have dropped 75% from February and March sales, and about 50% from January’s sales. Last year, April was my best sales month.
Free books are such a pain in the butt.
I’m serious. Many, many authors will tell you to give away freebies or price low to build your fan base. Let’s face it, a lot of people like free stuff, and will probably download your freebies.
Yet even if you are a good writer, that doesn’t mean they’re going to A) ever read that freebie, or B) find your work to their tastes, or C) even if they do like it, turn around and buy from you in the future.
I’m not even going into the whole ‘devaluing’ argument about free/99c, because there’s no need to. It’s a simple deduction that if there are a lot of freebies on tap, there will be a lot of people who will look for those instead of spending money on similar products.
Free hasn’t been a huge promotional success for me over the years. I’ve given away roughly 10k copies, either initially free or as limited time promos, and I’m just now closing in on 1k in money earning sales. I know that some did read my freebies, because they left reviews for them, so that’s cool. I suppose the majority either never read or didn’t like them.
That’s cool too, except for the fact that’s not conducive to either earning money on my other work or earning readers. It doesn’t mean I’ll never have freebies, ever again, but you can damn sure bet I’m going to be very careful about what I offer as free and it will probably only be short works.
The other thing I noticed today was a discussion thread about common complaints with indie books. It should surprise no one that ‘lack of editing’ was the number one complaint. One comment in particular caught my eye, about how that reader wasn’t going to waste her time separating the wheat from the chaff until indie writers got over their unwillingness to submit their work to any form of quality control.
I’ve seen many other readers wonder why we indies don’t ‘police’ ourselves.
A lot of us do often remark about how much crap is being produced. I looked at about two dozen samples just today, and frankly, there were maybe three who knew how to write and had had their work edited – I’m speaking as a reader who was looking for books to buy.
Personally, I don’t think my work is crap, but not because I think I’m a great writer or anything like that.
It’s because my work becomes a group effort at some point and so tends to become better than what I do all by myself.
I have beta readers and editors that don’t pat me on the head and say ‘you’re awesome’. They might say that at times, sure, but they also point out my mistakes, correct errors, and say ‘this isn’t working, do something else’ to me.
Some time back, I posted about not encouraging crap writing. Nothing happened, though some agreed with me, and I know why.
Criticism is considered as an attack by far too many people now.
Anyone who tells an indie writer, or an ‘aspiring’ author, that maybe their talents lie elsewhere, not in writing fiction, is going to get their ass handed to them as others rush to that poor widdle writer’s defense. There will be screams of ‘How dare you try and kill his/her dream?’ and ‘Why can’t you just be supportive?’
Seriously, look at how things boil over at the slightest provocation on just about any subject. I don’t know about other indie writers, but I’ve invested far too much time, effort, and money into my work to risk becoming an outspoken critic of others’ work, because it won’t end well for me. My work would come under fire, be scrutinized to the point of exhaustion, just so every tiny flaw can be brought to the light and used to prove I don’t know what I’m talking about and am a talentless hack. Authors associated with me, or who jumped to my defense, would come under the same fire.
Plus, it would just be wasted time. I can’t control other writers, can’t make them listen to me or any other person. I would be torpedoing my own business and changing absolutely nothing.
If they think they can write, they’re going to write. If their ego, family and friends tell them ‘you’re awesome’, then they’re going to publish what they write.
They aren’t going to take reader reviews that mention things like ‘lack of editing’ as valid criticism. No, they’re just going to think those reviewers hate indies, are being mean or too picky.
That would be why I think sites like Wattpad are bad for writers. They’re filled with people who don’t have the first clue about writing, and people who constantly tell them how awesome they are at writing – and by the way, come read my story!
Yes, I know everyone has to start somewhere, but honestly, starting out on a site full of people just like you who aren’t going to do anything but stroke your ego isn’t the right place.
I think April L. Hamilton’s recent blog post should be read by everyone who is considering publishing their work, or has published and may be wondering why it’s not selling.
That’s it for me today. Have a nice week!