This is driving me crazy, so I have to put it out there. I’m sure I’m not the only one whose noticed that Amazon’s rankings are largely being driven by boxed sets. This directly correlates to their new policy of paying authors per page (roughly a half-a-cent per page) rather than per book read in Amazon’s Select/Kindle Unlimited program.
Honestly, I applauded when the new per-page policy arose. For example, before the new payment roll out I made as much money in the Kindle Unlimited program on my 40K word novella as I did on my 95K word novels. That didn’t give me much financial incentive to write full-length novels, though I did so because that’s what my readers told me they wanted. As a result of the new policy, I am making more on the Select program than I am on direct e-book sales. But my rankings on individual books are not reflecting the improvement.
With Amazon’s new KU policy, author and book rankings are driven by the number of pages read—so if you write a very good novella, you’ve got no chance of making the rankings. In addition, if you write an awesome full-length book, and you're a little known indie author, you are basically up a creek without a paddle because the 99 cent boxed sets are topping the charts.
Who cares if you labored for six months researching and writing the next blockbuster? It probably ain’t going to rocket up Amazon’s charts, at least not in the historical romance genres that I write in. You want to increase your rankings? Put your book in a a boxed set with a half-dozen other authors and slap it up there for 99 cents.
It makes me sick to be laboring on new content with the fact that my new releases will be competing with sets. Case in point, I did make Amazon All-Star with a set that included six authors--it was an awesome month, but still my new releases are suffering.
When will Amazon separate boxed sets from single-title books? This would not only solve the problem of bullshit rankings for those who have gone exclusive with Select, it will help readers find good books in the genres they like to read.
The other problem? If you’re writing historical romance, like I am, it’s almost impossible to make a living unless you put your books in Kindle Select. That means being exclusive. No iBooks, no Barnes & Noble, no Kobo, etc. I would love to be on other platforms, but I can’t take an 80% drop in pay to give it a whirl.
Maybe Mark Coker of Smashwords was onto something when he published the April Fools article that said (in jest) Amazon had eliminated authors by offering readers a multiple choice story that writes itself, asking the reader a series of questions.
Are you an author who’s feeling the crunch? I’d love to hear your stories too!