Episode 194 – Reporting Delays, Patreon Backtracks, and KU on the Rise

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Question of the Week: How do you cope with negativity and other things that don’t go well in your business? How might you change the way you react going forward in 2018?

Could changing how you react to negativity have a positive impact on your business in 2018? In the home stretch to the end of 2017, Jim and Bryan take a moment to thank their patrons: Covermint Design, Plain Talk Book Marketing, and The Efficient Writer. Tips include great advice on how to quit your 9-to-5 to write full-time, selling more books by keeping promises to readers, and how a key in making a living writing is to keep writing the next book. In publishing news, Patreon reverses it’s decision about fee structures, Amazon has released a year-end bestseller compilation list, audiobooks continue as the fastest growing segment in digital publishing, Amazon’s payouts for KU increased again, and authors are experiencing major delays in sales reporting from Amazon. Question of the week: How do you cope with negativity and other things that don’t go well in your business? How might you change the way you react going forward in 2018?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How to avoid the pitfalls of quitting your 9-5 to become an author
  • How to make sure you’re meeting and exceeding reader expectations
  • Why “writing the next book” should always be on your to-do list
  • Why Patreon decided to walk back their fee changes
  • Which books hit the top of Amazon’s 2017 Most Read chart
  • The size and growth of the audiobook industry
  • How much the Kindle Unlimited pool has increased in the last few months
  • What issues Amazon reporting (and authors) have faced in the last few weeks
Links:

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  • Chuck Manley

    I’ve always been of the opinion that no one can control what they feel. You can suppress your emotions or indulge them, but people are going to feel what they feel. Love, anger, melancholy, whatever; they’re all going to come when they come. What we can control is what we do about those feelings, our reactions to them. I’ve always tried to use my feelings as fuel for my actions. I look at my disappointment or frustration and try to analyze what it is about my situation that’s triggering those feelings. If it’s something I can control or affect a change on, then I do so. If it isn’t, I look for a constructive way to express those feelings (i keep a heavy punching bag hanging in my garage for those occasions) and then I get back to work. When it comes to Amazon we have ZERO influence. They’re going to do what they want. I think we’re best served by controlling our work and riding whatever currents the mighty river decides to put in our path.

    • Laura Martone

      Excellent answer, Chuck! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

      • Chuck Manley

        Thanks!

  • Quenton Jones

    Great show, guys. Keep up the good work!

  • Jason Underwood

    How to deal with setbacks and change the way you react? Step back, re-assess, make a plan, do the plan.
    BTW, really enjoying the show.

    • David Mark Brown

      completely agree. Great thoughts.

  • Daniel Martone

    Amazon Hits is the name I thought the list should use.

  • Daniel Martone

    Jim definitely needs to stop saying the wake word… when he asked for Alexa to search for his name, she came back with info about an airport in Ethiopia.

    • Laura Martone

      Yeah, and she asked us three times if we wanted to buy a vacuum! We like to keep a relatively tidy home, but we’re not exactly clean freaks, so sheesh, how many vacuums do we need? (In other words, thanks a lot, Jim.) 😉

  • Daniel Martone

    To deal with the negativity, I depend on my partner (in both writing and life) Laura. If it is something we’re both dealing with, we can usually talk our way through it. Another thing we depend on is our amazing support group of indie writers, meeting once a week (sometimes more) in order to offer each other support. Amazing group of people!

    • Laura Martone

      I second what Danny said!

  • Alexa Kang

    I found that the best way to deal with negativity in this business is to re-read my fan mails. Fan mails are the best rewards beyond the money, the rankings, the lists, or any awards. They are the best antidote to everything negative. It’s priceless when fans write to tell you they lost sleep over something bad happening to your charcter. I write WWII historical fiction and I’ve been floored by readers in their 90s who’d lived that era emailing me that they loved my books. One even sent me precious memorabilia of her late husband who served with the Flying Tigers. Recently, another reader from Columbia invited me to go visit her as a guest in her home if I ever make it down that way. Fan mails were not something I expected when I started writing and publishing. It continues to amaze me when people I don’t know write me and tell me they love my stories, because I myself think, eh, my stories ok. At least I sell mostly ebooks so my books aren’t ending up as toilet papers.

    On another note, can you guys please give us your thoughts and advice about the covers on the Amazon Charts Best of 2017? I’ve been very stressed out since I heard about this from your podcast. I’m currently having covers made for my WIP and I’m now all confused whether we should consider using red/yellow/orange tones. Amazon is all about data. If they’re practically telling us red/orange with yellow typography is what sells, should we seriously consider following that trend? Is Amazon trying to tell us something?

    • David Mark Brown

      good call on the fan mail.

  • David Mark Brown

    haha, my Echo unit went nuts during this episode. As soon as Jim asked Alexa to look him up, and then mentioned shopping in the next sentence, she kept yammering about how she couldn’t find any products like that.

    As far as dealing with crappy stuff, after Amazon removed its tagging feature (which I had put a few weeks worth of work into creating over $1000 in monthly sales through), I decided to quit attempting to decipher the “rules of the Amazon game” and instead started tinkering with developing my own platform to write directly to my readers. I kept my writing time intact while simply switching my Amazon cypher hours over to solving the problem long-term. That was a little over 4 years ago. (I think.) Now I’m one of 90 authors seeing the daily reads of my content steadily climb via a new reading app that puts the readers and writers back at the helm.

    I shifted my problem-solving brain over to a path I could control in order to solve the root problem.

  • Spider McGee

    You know who’s got it bad? Billy Joel’s daughter Alexa. She can’t even say her own name in her house. Not that she probably needs to, but still. Also, the porn star Siri — or so I’ve heard. Of course I wouldn’t know anything about this.

  • Crissy Moss

    The only negativity I really face is my own. Questions of if I’m doing the right thing, if this is even worth it, or am I actually good at writing at all…What can I do except take a bubble bath, read a book, step away from the writing and enjoy life a little. Remind myself that there’s more to life then the number of sales on a page. And then get back to writing.

    In 2018 I will be writing a lot more than I did in 2017, but I’m also branching out into other things so that I don’t put so much pressure on myself to make the authoring part work right now, rather it’s a slow build that will keep going for the rest of my life.

  • Patrick O’Donnell

    Just like all negative things in life. You have two choices. One; Let it consume you and destroy all the good things that you have accomplished. Two; Figure out if whatever is going on has any merit, and if it does, learn from it. One example would be negative reviews. Some are just mean spirited people who are mad at the world and take it out on you. There are also negative reviews that are telling you that your editing could use some work or perhaps there are some problems with flow or plot. That’s a negative you could actually learn from. I plan to keep writing and push forward.

  • Genna Donaghy

    Call me an ostrich, but when I’m faced with a wave of negativity I tend to look away and/or bury my head in the sand until the shock is gone and I can approach the problem unemotionally. Usually that means closing the browser and backing away from Facebook.

  • NA Dixon

    Generally deal with negativity by punching the wall.But of course anger solves nothing, so then aim to empathise with whoever has it given the negative comments.If I can see there are valid I make a plan to improve on what ever I have done.

  • Whenever something negative happens in publishing I just email Bryan and he puts it on the next show. Let HIM deal with it. Out of site, out of mind.

    • Bryan

      I knew I was being used. Just wasn’t sure how!

  • I want to comment on the “Amazon is a huge company” argument when it comes to fixing (or not having) issues. It’s true, but they’ve also been around for a long time and likely suffering from having technology (behind the scenes) that is pretty outdated. For instance, many big companies use mainframes and old programs and/or client/server technology from the 90s or way earlier behind the scenes. Only the web interface is up to date, and this often makes simple things not simple.

    I just use Customer Service at a major mobile phone company in the US. I wanted to setup Autopay, but couldn’t get a date any closer than a week out. Contrast that with a new company that lets you pick any freakin date you want, even the actual due date. I’m sure the issue is that they have the data and systems spread across multiple servers or mainframes, and need time to process and move data around.

    Grow big too fast, and you use duct tape and bailing wire to keep your systems going, then 20 years later, you’ve like “crap, now what?” 😀

    • That’s not really a good excuse, but more of an explanation.