Goodreads Authors/Readers discussion

119 views
III. Goodreads Readers > Amazon dumping KU authors?

Comments Showing 1-27 of 27 (27 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments sorry... this was double posted...

Just saw where Amazon dumped everything by Michael Scott Earle. Some nonsense about manipulating Kindle Unlimited page reads? But they dumped everything, not just the KU stuff, and in every country? He's not the first. Seems they're targeting Indie authors?

This would really be devastating to Indie authors who rely on Amazon income. Do they have any recourse? Can they switch to Nook Books?

Are they looking to force KU readers to do full purchases? As a senior on a limited budget I rely on KU. I believe some authors are abandoning KU to keep from getting wiped out.


message 2: by Elin (new)

Elin Pettersson | 13 comments I think it is a bit more complicated and that many dumped KU authors are victims of bots targeting their books. Sometimes buying book promotions can land you an email from amazon suspecting you of manipulating the pages read.

I'm not famous enough to get a silly amount of pages read lol but I guess it could happen, and I'm hoping there is a process where contacting amazon about suspect activity would keep you from being dumped. Some have managed to recover their accounts by communicating with support.

A good backup would be a strong social media presence and a website where you sell your books yourself or link to all the places they are available. :)


message 3: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 185 comments Elin wrote: "I think it is a bit more complicated and that many dumped KU authors are victims of bots targeting their books. Sometimes buying book promotions can land you an email from amazon suspecting you of ..."

Sounds like a good idea. Would that prevent Amazon on from suspecting anything? I wish I could have my own site, but it'll wait.


message 4: by Elin (new)

Elin Pettersson | 13 comments Simi wrote: "Sounds like a good idea. Would that prevent Amazon on from suspecting anything?"


I would hope so, if you notice a spike and send them an email with screenshots of the graph and possibly the name of the advertising provider (if any), they can't really claim you are trying to cheat. Though as the publishers we are somewhat responsible to research the ad providers and what methods they use to make sure they apply to amazon TOS.


message 5: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 541 comments Amazon is NOT dumping or targeting KU authors. What it IS doing is terminating the contracts with those publishers found to be in breach of their contract and who have violated their TOS.

A small number of indie authors have been banned/had their contracts cancelled, for activities that violated TOS.


message 6: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments Nope, don't believe it's the authors. Everyone I've heard about this happening to was really surprised to get a notice that they'd been messing with page reads numbers. How would you do that anyway?

Why does Amazon pay by the page with KU rather than the first read per book per account?

This hurts the readers and is an excessive way to punish an author. Writers are bailing on KU because they're afraid they're going to get wiped with no chance to correct any problems. Doesn't sound like Amazon is willing to work with them. I understand that Amazon is just to big to care. But it's still really grinchy.


message 7: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 541 comments Persnickety wrote: "...Everyone I've heard about this happening to was really surprised to get a notice...."

Surprised they got caught, maybe. From what I have seen, the authors who have had their accounts terminated were committing a number of TOS violations. If the authors concerned "don't know" what they did, it's more likely they don't know which TOS violating activity was the one that finally pushed Amazon to act and cancel their contract. Amazon has spent some months gathering evidence and then moved to cancel contracts, this isn't a random action - it's very targeted.

To some this comes as no surprise. I can understand that it comes as a shock to readers, but there is alot that goes on behind the scenes (and that is discussed in private forums) that readers aren't aware of.

With regard to KU, Amazon used to pay per download under KU1 but due to rampant and pervasive abuse, they changed to the pages read system under KU2. Which has since been scammed to a far worse degree.


message 8: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments Woohoo! It might no do any good, but there's a petition for two of the authors if anyone is interested. It explains a bit about their experience.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/672/8...

Sorry to be so crazy about this but good authors write great series and you get attached to their work, especially the characters. Then to get told "No soup for you!" just rankles.


message 9: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 185 comments I just signed the petition. I mean, I'm just confused with evrrything. Maybe Amazon is terminating authors who are abusing KDP. I'm not sure.


message 10: by Mellie (last edited Jul 18, 2018 05:04PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 541 comments Simi wrote: "Maybe Amazon is terminating authors who are abusing KDP..."

This is exactly what is happening. Amazon has gathered evidence of abusive activities over a prolonged period and they are now terminating accounts where terms have been violated.

The answer to this is pretty simple - if the authors concerned stuck to activities within Amazon's TOS they wouldn't get their accounts banned.

There are many indie authors who are relieved Amazon is finally taking action against those who have been scamming the system for a long time and effectively "stealing" from the monthly KU pot.


message 11: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 185 comments Scamming? 0-0 Can you tell me how are they scmming? Is it with the promotional deals like, for instance, reviews?


message 12: by Miss M (last edited Jul 18, 2018 06:38PM) (new)

Miss M | 31 comments It’s very complex and there’s not a lot of media coverage, but there’s one pretty good article here:

https://www.theverge.com/2018/7/16/17...

Author David Gaughran is sort of an activist on the issues, here’s one of his blog posts on recent Amazon changes:

http://davidgaughran.com/2018/06/03/a...

There has been a large amount of black hat activity by KU ‘authors’ and as AW says, it’s not always apparent to your average reader. Think about it - there’s a pot of about $20 million dollars in KU funds just sitting there every month...of course that type of system is just screaming out for scammers. [And a large part of the scamming also included these authors manipulating read counts to be eligible to receive the monthly All-Star KU bonuses, which vary but some are as high as $25,000.)d
First time around they uploaded 5 page scamphlets by the bucketload and got reimbursed the exact same for every ‘read’ (i.e, paid click farms) as a legit novelist with a 350 page book in the program. Then Amazon switched to pages-read and the black hatters (there are actual forums and private FB groups where these things are hatched) switched to book stuffing.

All I can say is good riddance and it’s about time, Amazon.
I think you’re dreaming if you think a petition will do anything.


message 13: by Carole (last edited Jul 18, 2018 06:38PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman There is a thing called 'book stuffing.' If an author is part of KU, they get paid by pages read. Our Kindle royalties fell off tremendously after they started doing this. What many unscrupulous authors did was pad the back of the books with material they had published before, dramatically increasing the number of pages read. This increased their sales substantially. Some people made a lot of money doing this. It was said they used click farms to increase page reads too.
I'm not saying either of these authors did that, but those are some of the rules being broken. You know, Simi, you can't ask anyone for a review or exchange a book for a review. We've talked about that a lot on a few of the threads on Goodreads. That may be another rule that was broken.
I still get requests from authors who offer me a free book in exchange for a review. I don't respond to them and buy only books I want to read or chose to review.
I am a top reviewer on Amazon and am inundated by vendors offering to pay me or send me a gift card to recompensate me for the purchase. I always refused those merchants even before they set up those rules. I knew a lot of reviewers that had all their reviews pulled because they took the gift cards.
Amazon took away all my reviews and I had to prove to them that my reviews were produced based on my preferences not because I knew the authors.
Many of the people I know did not have their reviews reinstated. After a two week investigation, they reinstated mine.
So, the answer to your question is I don't think they'll take off a book for the reviews- rather they remove the reviewers.


message 14: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 185 comments Ohhh, ok. I was confused about how authors would be banned. Thanks for clarifying.

No wonder why I was getting paid less on KDP. Now officially hate scammers :( But at least I have a job to back me up on my writing career. But I do wiah all my hardwork would pay off.


message 15: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 411 comments Carole wrote: "I still get requests from authors who offer me a free book in exchange for a review. I don't respond to them and buy only books I want to read or chose to review..."

I'm confused.
One of my novels, A Pomegranate and the Maiden, has just been released as an audiobook. Audible gave me some coupons for free downloads with instructions to distribute to reviewers, friends, and whomever else I want. I have been contacting reviewers of historical/mythic fiction to offer them a coupon for the audiobook. Should I not be doing that? And if so, why would Audible give me the coupons?
I'd appreciate any clarification you can give me. Thanks.


message 16: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman Amazon's rules are as clear as opaque glass. No free books in 'exchange' for a review.

I sent out hundreds of books with swag to a group of bloggers and well-known reviewers. I didn't ask or imply that I wanted a review. In fact, I stated, no expectation of review was expected. I also asked if they did write anything, they must state that they received the book from the author or publisher and no review was expected.

That being said, the reviews are very slow in coming in and I received word from one blogger that Amazon contacted her and stated there was suspicious activity on one of our books and they refused to put up her review even though she had the exact verbiage stated.

I have subsequently stopped self-publishing. I continue to write on Medium, and do my radio podcasts and push other authors in our magazine, as well as promote our published books, but the tools are fast disappearing to market.
My son is published by a small press and everyone, trad and indie have been affected by this.


message 17: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 411 comments Carole wrote: "Amazon's rules are as clear as opaque glass. No free books in 'exchange' for a review.

I sent out hundreds of books with swag to a group of bloggers and well-known reviewers. I didn't ask or impl..."


If that's the case, why would Audible give me coupons for free downloads and encourage me to distribute them?


message 18: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman I can't answer that. It's a crap shoot. You can give away the audibles without expectation of reviews and hope they don't remove the reviews that show up as the result of the gift.
My reviewers are diverse. I have many bloggers who don't post to Amazon- they leave reviews on blogs, Barnes and Noble and other venues.


message 19: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments Thanks for all the info and explanations. Michael Todd (aka) Anderle might have given some info on what's happened in the author's notes for Book 3 of "War of the Damned".

Evidently, Amazon has new (?) KU author restrictions. Looks like some missed the memo. In the case of the LitRPG authors, maybe too many pages at the end with info and recommendations for other authors in that group? It exceeded a percentage?

Still, it seems like Amazon could give authors a chance to comply and not just totally clobber them. Deleting books that aren't KU from store listings and/or removing purchases from people's cloud accounts seems overly punitive.

Come on Amazon, we love our Indie authors and rely on reading them in KU!

OT Side note... I can't believe I missed this group. It's going to take me forever to get through years of postings, but looks to be worth it even if I just pick up a few "new to me" authors. Wish I could start with most recent posts and work my way back.


message 20: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments Miss M... That David Gaughran link was really good stuff. Thank you so much! In another of his threads, I found how to report true page stuffing.

I still think they're catching too many dolphins in their tuna nets.


message 21: by Miss M (new)

Miss M | 31 comments This isn’t Amazon going after Indie authors; they’re going after bad actors who are basically stealing money from real Indie authors. There are plenty of legit Indie authors who are thrilled this is happening and who hope to see the system even out.


message 22: by Miss M (new)

Miss M | 31 comments Persnickety wrote: "Miss M... That David Gaughran link was really good stuff. Thank you so much! In another of his threads, I found how to report true page stuffing.

I still think they're catching too many dolphins ..."


You may be right about the dolphins...I know Amazon is notorious for sledgehammer tactics sometimes. Most of the author/forum discussions I’ve seen about this recent batch is that it’s very unusual for Amazon to go through a complete account removal, up to and including audiobooks, so it seems they must have strong evidence. Normally they just do temporary account suspensions or remove page-reads. The way Amazon handles the whole KU system is a mess as far as author payments go...I know it can be a great deal for readers but I wish they would come up with a better system for the good-faith authors.


message 23: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments ***
Oh my... Guess there might be other issues with MSE. Pulled the links from a reddit thread. 

https://www.reddit.com/r/litrpg/comme...

Don't know if this had anything to do with Amazon's actions because we just don't know. But, if MSE is a member of a LitRPG group, they should be really unhappy with him? This doesn't look like hearsay. If it's not true, I apologize for spreading bunk.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/boingboi... 

https://bit.ly/2L5TCre 

My goodness, self publishing is not for the faint hearted. You have my admiration.


message 24: by Persnickety (new)

Persnickety | 13 comments I think I owe MSE an apology. I believe the trademark filing was in response to confusion from his readers. I know that I ran across a book cover that was pretty much a very slightly modified photocopy of one of his dragon slayer books.

I guess it's always best to connect with the person being discussed before rendering pronouncements?

I enjoy his work and hope he gets things worked out with Amazon.


message 25: by Miss M (new)

Miss M | 31 comments There's a new Reddit from today that Amazon has officially terminated mse's account, plus some folks have copied an update from his FB that sounds like he plans to try for Patreon money and then go wide (publish on other platforms.)

That's separate from the TM issues - I also saw that he's withdrawn some of his trademark applications and apologized. It really is a super complicated issue and for me his original explanations were a combination of stupidity, naivete and BS. Doesn't sound like he knows what he's doing, hopefully he'll get smarter. He really pissed off a lot of litrpg fans though.


message 26: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 2189 comments Amazon is just cleaning up and cracking down on how people use their site. They need to be superior and if anyone is manipulating their site to gain an advantage well that's just not ok to Amazon.


message 27: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 185 comments Miss M wrote: "There's a new Reddit from today that Amazon has officially terminated mse's account, plus some folks have copied an update from his FB that sounds like he plans to try for Patreon money and then go..."

I'm pissed of that he made a mockery. I would not be desperate by doing the actions that he would make. I'm more focused on engaging with my readers, hoping that they would both enjoy my work and be inspired.


back to top