Kindle Unlimited Might Spell Disaster for Indie Authors if Amazon’s KU is Riddled with Abuse and Favoritism.

Updated: 23 SEPT 2017 @ 05:00

  • Amazon’s largest KU (Kindle Unlimited) payout in history resulted in the second lowest payout per page read for indie authors;
  • Both, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s  Stone & Fellowship of the Ring are in Kindle Unlimited;
  • Also, both of these books are wide meaning they are also sold with other booksellers.  For a regular indie author, this would break Amazon’s terms of service. See screenshots below.

***

Edit: Amazon finally responded to my query.  I asked if  HP (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and FOTR (Fellowship of the Ring) were getting paid the KU normalized page read rate as the other indie authors from the same pool of funds available.   Amazon’s response was that they could not comment on the terms and conditions of the contracts of author authors.   They were nice about it, although the answer is still murky and somewhat convoluted. They also ignored my question of whether or not those books in KU were  calculated at the same normalized page read as the indie published books  under the Amazon TOS.  

Being in the business as long as I have, I suspect that the largest pool of KU money in the history of the program would not have resulted in the second lowest payout per indie author otherwise.   Yes, other authors are coming into the program, but it’s not enough to make up the difference.   

Why it matters: often indie authors operate on a tight ROI.  Advertising budgets, their ability to write to market, and their ability to survive in this business can often depend on being able to make informed decisions about their books.   Part of that process is making the decision to go with Amazon exclusively for 90 days at a time in order to avail themselves of the monetary advantage of Kindle Unlimited (if the writer believes there is an advantage.)   Therefore, Amazon must and should be as transparent as possible because they have a fiduciary responsibility not only to traditional Houses but to the indie authors KU was designed to represent.   Over the course of the time this article has been posted, I have not talked to many writers who care whether or not HP and other ‘big names’ are in KU.  But, all of them believe (as I do) that it makes a difference in the decision-making process of less established and less recognized independent self-publishers.   Believe it or not, Amazon is not the only game in town and indie writers have options if they are given correct information.  

I intend to keep plugging away at trying to find answers.  I’ve also learned that more traditional publishers are getting into KU.  For indie writers, this could be a game changer; especially LitRPG writers who tend to rely on KU money.   I’ve always believed that KU has a shelf life.  But, it seems,  if my theory is correct, those changes may be moving faster than  I anticipated.  

*** 

Indie writers, if you only read one story today let this be it.  A Quartz article published, 20 Sept 2017, points out that Amazon is riddled with fraud and abuse when it comes to ranking and Kindle Unlimited normalized page reads.  

The Quartz article points out the many ways scammers can abuse Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited (KU) system and how Amazon either can’t or won’t stop it.

Amazon claims that the advent of Kindle Unlimited 3.0* was an effort to curb clickfarms and other scammer activities.  A few days ago, KDP published that they had dumped the largest payout in Kindle Unlimited history with over $19M.  But, in reality, Amazon is paying out the second lowest payout per normalized page read since the beginning of the program: 0.00419/per normalized page read.

Why?  More and more writers are jumping onto the Kindle Unlimited wagon hoping to cash in.  Although Amazon is proprietary and often times secretive regarding their business practices, internal Amazon documentation points out that as many as a thousand new pen names are added to KDP during some months.  But, the few memos that I have seen do not differentiate between new authors coming onto the scene and established authors who are creating new pen names in an effort to recycle their back catalog.  Amazon’s terms of service indicate that an author or publisher must change at least 15% of a published book in order to publish it as new content.  However, as one former engineer told me “Amazon has no real mechanism in place to authenticate the process.”

The number of new authors coming onto the scene is not necessarily the problem, although it does reflect the amount an individual writer can earn.  The problem lies in suspect authors and publishers manipulating the system by inflating the number of page reads in published e-books within the Kindle Unlimited system.  For an indicating of how popular indie authoring has become read the Bowker report.

Amazon has taken at least one public step to combat the issue.  On 06, September 2017, Amazon filed suit against one individual who the company alleges has advertised his services to authors in an effort to artificially game the system.  See Amazon vs. Rubio.  In a nutshell, Page 2, para 6 and Page 3 para 11 defines the argument(s) of the complaint;

[6] The more pages KU and KOLL customers read of the individual author’s books, the larger the authors share of the royalty fund becomes; and, accordingly, other authors will receive less from the fund.  The KDP royalty system thus depends on the integrity of the fair allocation of page reads—i.e., that authors are not artificially inflating their page reads to the detriment of other authors.
[11] Respondent… Rubio has tried to manipulate and abuse the KDP service for financial gain and to the detriment of other KDP authors and Amazon’s reputation.  Rubio has proposed to authors that he can artificially inflate their page reads in return for a share of their additional profits—as a kick-back…

Here’s the problem with this complaint

I contacted HARO and found an attorney who practices international law.  Per our conversation, on its face, it seems reasonable to arbitrate this matter.  But, should Amazon prove its case, it is unclear to what extent the company would be able to recoup damages (if any) from a sole proprietor in the Philippines.

Secondly, although I am not an attorney (and I don’t play one on TV) while I was a news producer, I took and completed a substantial paralegal curriculum in an effort to improve my acumen.  Dealing with politicians and news production in general, I found it necessary and worthwhile to know and benefit from the understanding of law and legal research.

When indie authors hear of clickfarms and the manipulation of page reads, perhaps the first thing to come to mind is a scenario of a garden-variety dishonest villain based in a Third World country such as what happened with a Thailand clickfarm.  Or, perhaps a dark warehouse in some obscure, remote part of the world, with wall-to-wall e-readers on automatic.   However, this scenario is not necessarily accurate, or factual, as many of the scammers seem to be coming out of the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada according to some authors I’ve spoken with on background.

If we can consider Amazon v. Rubio a test case, I wonder why Amazon did not go after an individual in a country where the weight of law could be more readily and perhaps evenly applied.  Especially, considering for Rubio to successfully argue his position, he will have to spend considerable resources flying to Washington State.

Page 4, para 18 of Amazon v. Rubio: Amazon requests this arbitration be conducted in person in King County, Washington, where the parties’ contractual relationship is centered…

Furthermore, and probably the most important inference in Amazon’s complaint, is that the company feels the need to protect authors/publishers against Mr. Rubio et.al who would engage in such manipulative and unethical activities against unsuspecting authors.  (Amazon v. Rubio, p3 (12).

A few months ago, the indie author world went ballistic when Kayl Karadjian’s book Dragonsoul reached Amazon’s bestseller rank presumably out of nowhere.  Authors taunted their self-righteous indignation, lit their torches, and sharpened their pitchforks against him.  But, much of the story they peddled was inaccurate.

To make a long story short, I reached out to Karadjian to get his side of the story.  A two-hour telephone conversation, which led to many conversations afterward, made me realize that the 25-year-old writer was not only a victim of a very sophisticated worldwide clickfarm scam, but he was also brutally accosted on social media by a few blog writers and Twitter individuals too lackadaisical to do one iota of independent research.  (I have an article coming out in November about Kayl Karadjian.)

I have no doubt in my mind that some unethical authors do reach out to individuals and companies running clickfarms with the intention of ‘gaming’ the system for financial profit.  But, Karadjian was not one of them. Karadjian certainly wanted to sell more books and he wants to be a best-selling author.  But, he was led to believe the company he was dealing with played the game within Amazon’s terms of service.  I suspect Amazon shares my opinion, at least in part, as after all of the negative publicity swirling around him and his book, Amazon did not terminate his author account. And, even if they had terminated his account, that doesn’t in and of itself mean he did anything wrong.  As far as termination, Amazon did actually terminate NYT and USAToday bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton’s account (albeit for a different reason) and then only after the frenzy of her social media reached Karadjian level.  You can check out Hamilton’s issue on Kboards.  Keep in mind; it seems almost everyone there has an opinion and some suddenly (as if overnight) acquired law degrees (sarcasm intended).

Quite a few authors have been duped by unethical individuals.  You never hear about them because those situations never reach the Karadjian like social media magnitude.  It doesn’t make it any less painful for these writers.  Many have lost a lot of money and reputation.  Some have even had their publishing accounts terminated unjustly and those writers have had to go to extraordinary links to have their accounts reinstated.

It seems obvious that Amazon has known about unethical clickfarms for almost two years.  And, a reasonable person could conclude that the Zon only acts when it’s forced to do so: like when the media attention is too much to bear and gives their PR department headaches.

Despite all the different ways to game the system: promotions, gifting, fake reads, publishing the same book(s) multiple times, and fake reviews (ARCs), Amazon is caught between a rock and a hard place.

Why?  Because, traditional publishers have been doing this for years—even before Amazon became a book distribution powerhouse.  Nikki Matthews, an indie author, writes a compelling blog and often discusses the milieu between traditional and indie.  Roughly explained—it amounts to scale.

Amazon pushes the concept of what they call “a positive customer experience.”  But, think about it from a different angle: think about it from the viewpoint of a publisher.  Who are Amazon’s customers?  Amazon doesn’t write the books; they sell them.  If you are an indie author, you are Amazon’s customer.  Start thinking like a publisher because writing is only 20% of book production. The other part (roughly 80%) comes in the form of marketing, PR, book signings, conventions, conferences, author gatherings, and the like.  As an indie, it also comes in the form of getting your name out to the readers in venues like blogs, podcasts, press releases, newsletters, and social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter).  Most indie authors are a one-man shop; it is overwhelming.  The daunting tasks of marketing are why most independent authors simply give up within the first year.  They can’t afford a personal assistant to do all the little mundane tasks it takes to keep books in front of readers.

If you’re lucky enough to be picked up by an agent and successfully shopped to one of the ‘Big 5’ that 80% isn’t going away.  In fact, it’s expected.  Your life will actually get harder.  A friend of mine is a retired Knight Ridder correspondent.  He has written several nonfiction projects. His first success came several years ago when one of his books was made into a movie.  Another nonfiction book that he wrote recently has also been made into a movie and will be coming out in early 2018. He has the same problems every indie author has—just on a different scale.  The task of publicizing gets harder as you go along.  It also gets more complicated.

So, it should come as no surprise when authors feel the need to outsource.  And, it should also come as no surprise to learn that independent authors take up the same marketing strategies as traditional publishers.

The advantage of traditional publishing is that Amazon enters into completely different contractual agreements than it does with self-published writers.

For example, both Harry Potter and The Fellowship of the Ring can be read in Kindle Unlimited.  But, you can also find both of those books on Apple and Barnes & Noble.  For a small independent author, that would be against Amazon’s terms of service.  Independent authors can’t go wide if they are in KU.

Harry Potter:

How fair is that? One could argue that fairness has absolutely nothing to do with it—and that may be true.  But, considering Amazon only puts a certain amount of money in the Kindle Unlimited kitty, would that mean that independent authors are also competing with the normalized page reads of Harry Potter and The Fellowship of the Ring? Now, all of a sudden, the issue of fairness takes on a whole different meaning.

FOTR

Perhaps, the same writers who were so quick to chastise Kayl Karadjian without knowing all the facts would be interested in getting to the bottom of this KU question.  (Note: I have emailed Amazon about this, but they have not responded.)

Speaking of emails

There are two things really hard to do on Amazon: 1) cancel your Kindle Unlimited membership; 2) as an independent writer, talk to Amazon when you have a problem or question.

Considering Amazon is all about the ‘customer experience,’ you would think they would do a better job at communication.  This is not a rant; it is a simple assessment of how hard it sometimes is, as an independent writer, to get conclusive information from Amazon.

So, what’s the solution?

Go wide.  Seriously.  I think this way for many reasons.  I have a few books in Kindle Unlimited simply to test out a particular market or strategy.  Otherwise, I use Pronoun or Draft 2 Digital depending on the genre to publish my books.

Kindle Unlimited cannot go on forever.  And even if it does, Amazon will not be able to eliminate scammers and unethical practices.  Couple that with having to compete against A-list authors for a finite share of income based on an ever decreasing normalized page read.  I’ll take my chances elsewhere.  And I have.  To be perfectly honest, I do well enough on other distribution networks.  And, I sleep better at night knowing my eggs are not totally in one basket.

Depending on the genre, I can certainly understand why some authors would choose the exclusivity with Kindle Unlimited.  I’m certainly not saying they’re wrong for doing so.  It also helps me by not having the competition elsewhere.  If indie authors would stop beating each other up and learn to work together, support each other, and collaborate in a meaningful way—life for our tribe would be much more productive and lucrative.  Sadly, I don’t see it happening.  Just like I don’t see Amazon being able to fix rank and KU manipulation.

Related articles: @toddbishop GeekWire 
Thu-Huong Ha Quartz 

***

Afterword

Because this article has met with some response from mainstream publications, I think it’s important and somewhat noteworthy to drop a few lines about myself.

For over 25 years, I worked in and around mainstream media.  I started out with a local cable access station and moved up to regional.  I worked my way up to news production.  As a contractor, I covered several political campaigns, natural disasters, and other significant events; especially the somewhat local events in my general area.

From 2004-2012, my forte was satellite interviews.  Which is how I got interested in writers and publishing.  Back in those days, there was a big push in publishing (by production companies) outsourced to promote authors this way.   It was big business.  Often, a 24-minute spot would run $50,000 or more.  (Not for the station, but that was the cost of production from the  publishing end of things.)

Marketing the first ereaders: making available 100s of ebooks, newspapers, and magazines in a handheld device.
One of the first ereaders (circa 2010) at the CES Consumer Electronics Expo.

Fast forward:   I was contracted to cover CES in 2010 for CNBC, NBC (an affiliate) and BBC4 (when it was internet only). That year, e-readers hit the scene.  Primarily, the buzz was centered around how those devices would save the newspaper business.  It did not.   But, there was a backstory.  Although Amazon and Apple were not presenters, they did have techs walking around gathering intel on the technology.  Keep in mind, that Amazon and Apple both came out soon after CES with their own devices.
A chance encounter at a bar at the Red Rock in Vegas gave me the opportunity to get to know an Amazon engineer (who is no longer with the company) as we drank Johnnie Walker Blue (I wasn’t paying for it) and ogled the high-end escorts dressed in black designer outfits I couldn’t possibly pronounce.   The smartest thing I ever did (thanks to the suggestion of the owner and station manager who accompanied me) was keep those contacts and nurture the relationships with the tech guys.

I’ve always rooted for the underdog.  And, during those years, indie publishing was definitely the underdog in the high-stakes world of publishing.

After CES, I began writing my own books while keeping my day job.  I made every mistake in the book.  I had no idea what I was doing.  I didn’t even have a plan to publish my projects.  I knew nothing of finding a competent editor, proofreading, formatting an ebook.  But, I learned.  And, yes, I was swingled a few times in the process.

Even though I am no longer a news producer and semi-retired for health reasons, I still write and publish.  But, I’ve never lost the ability to ‘smell a story’ and ask the important questions that lead to important answers.  Which is why I think there is a story here with Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.   And, not only is it about transparency, it’s about my love for indie writers who want to tell a story.  We need those stories.  And, we need indie writers to succeed.    Which is why it saddens me when I see indie writers viciously going after one another without deeply considering where that vitriol will lead.   I’m not naive, I understand sometimes it might be warranted.  But, many times, it’s not and the communication process could be handled differently.

~

 

 

Top 25 LitRPG Bestselling Books ending Sept 16, 2017

Rank Kindle Book Title Author Price Reviews Page No(s)
1 Space Knight Samuel E. Green;
Michael-Scott Earle
$4.99 57 395
2 The Builder’s Greed (The Legendary Builder Book 2) J.A. Cipriano $4.99 20 270
3 Black Friday Jan Stryvant $3.99 50 163
4 The Builder’s Sword (The Legendary Builder Book 1) J.A. Cipriano $4.99 95 534
5 Bushido Online: the Battle Begins: A LitRPG Saga Nikita Thorn;
LitRPG Freaks
$3.99 48 371
6 Camelot Overthrown: An Arthurian LitRPG (Camelot LitRPG) Galen Wolf $3.99 9 254
7 The Desperate Quest: A MMORPG and LitRPG Online Adventure (Second Age of Retha Book 2) A. M. Sohma $3.99 13 307
8 Shattered Lands: A LitRPG Series Darren Pillsbury $4.99 38 527
9 Shaman’s Revenge (The Way of the Shaman: Book #6) LitRPG Series Vasily Mahanenko $5.99 84 561
10 Life Reset: A LitRPG Novel (New Era Online Book 1) Shemer Kuznits $3.99 302 420
11 Accidental Thief: A LitRPG Accidental Traveler Adventure Jamie Davis $4.99 37 332
12 Shattered Lands 2 The Fall Of Blackstone: A LitRPG Series Darren Pillsbury $4.99 13 552
13 The Luckless: A MMORPG and LitRPG Online Adventure (Second Age of Retha Book 1) A. M. Sohma $3.99 40 258
14 The Land: Swarm: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 5) Aleron Kong $5.99 383 743
15 Gong and Chalice: Epic LitRPG Adventure (Fayroll – Book 4) Andrey Vasilyev $6.95 21 392
16 The Land: Raiders: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 6) Aleron Kong $5.99 522 638
17 The Land: Catacombs: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 4) Aleron Kong $5.99 345 571
18 Viridian Gate Online: The Jade Lord: A litRPG Adventure (The Viridian Gate Archives Book 3) James Hunter $4.99 83 274
19 The Weirdest Noob (LitRPG The Weirdest Noob Book 1) Arthur Stone $4.22 143 409
20 Earth’s Gambit (The Gam3 Book 2) Cosimo Yap $3.99 64 412
21 The Karmadont Chess Set (The Way of the Shaman: Book #5) LitRPG series Vasily Mahanenko $5.99 194 503
22 The Phantom Castle (The Way of the Shaman: Book #4) LitRPG series Vasily Mahanenko $5.99 91 596
23 The Land: Alliances: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 3) Aleron Kong $5.99 328 641
24 Eden’s Gate: The Sparrow: A LitRPG Adventure Edward Brody $4.99 150 424
25 The Secret of the Dark Forest (The Way of the Shaman: Book #3) LitRPG series Vasily Mahanenko $5.99 128 596

PreOrders are not included in the rank.  If they were included, the following books would be ranked accordingly:

6 Alpha Company (Alpha World Book 3) Daniel Schinhofen $3.99 0 Pre-order
16 The Twilight Obelisk (Mirror World Book #4) LitRPG series Alexey Osadchuk $5.99 0 Pre-order

20 Questions with Author Adriana Gavazzoni

I admit this old man has a crush on Adriana  Gavazzoni, so the drool may become evident as you read along.

Best quote of the whole interview:

It was like a multiple orgasm, seriously! Best sensation, ever! -A. Gavazzoni

Adriana Gavazzoni

Gavazzoni is an attorney, a professor of Law and now an accomplished author who has written two well received and award winning novels: Behind the Door and Lara’s Journal.   In nonfiction, she has written a law book in her home country of Brazil.

 

20 Questions with Adriana Gavazzoni who won the Readers Choice Golden Book Award.  Her books are also available in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger writing self one thing, what would it be?

Be patient, my dear!

How did you spend the first bit of money you earned as a published author?

Buying publicity and advertisement to help spread the news about my novels! I’m still doing that, by the way.

How many unfinished or unpublished books do you have?

Unfinished? Just one…but it will be done soon, and I hope to publish it in January.

What is your writing process? Or, how many hours a day do you write?

It depends on the day… I try to write at least five days per week, and I set a goal of 1,500 words per day. I will stop only after reaching my goal.

What was your favorite childhood book(s)? Why?

When I was a little child, I loved to listen my mom reading Hansel and Gretel, which is called João e Maria in Portuguese. I always wanted to discover a house constructed of cake and confectionery!

When I could read by myself, I was crazy about Around the World in Eighty Days. I always loved to travel, and this book is a wonderful imaginary trip!

On average, how long does it take you to write a book? (First draft, rewrites, edits to finally publishing)

First draft, around six months, and at least another four to complete all edits and publish.

We all get bad reviews sometimes when we publish.  How do you deal with bad reviews?  

I cry! Kidding. ☺ I see them as an opportunity to improve my work when it’s a consistent review (something more than one person mentions). But I also think it’s possible some people just hate my writing style because they obviously like the genre, and it’s impossible to please everybody.

How would you describe your average reader?  Or, do you even have a particular kind of person in mind when you write?

I write for adults, my books are written for mature people who have been through or understand life’s tumultuous times and who have an open mind.

What are your hardest scenes to write?

I’m not fond of describing places. I love action scenes, so describing setting is the hardest part for me.

What is the best way you’ve found to market your books?

Well, I use pretty much everything—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram—and I enroll my novel in blogs, I do blog-tours, I participate in groups, and I believe the combination of all this is the best way to market my books. There is no magical, one way to do this—it’s a mix of different approaches.

What do you think are the challenges facing new writers?

To provide a quality product. To understand that it’s not enough to write a book; you have to give your reader a “clean” book—no mistakes, no grammar errors—presented with a professional layout and a high-quality cover… These are very important things for a new author to understand.

What are some things you’ve had to sacrifice in order to write and publish?

My free time, time with my family and friends, but I love to write, so I can’t say it’s a sacrifice. It’s a choice I made gladly.

How often do you read for pleasure? How many books a year do you read?  How fast do you read (words per minute)?

Every day, I read a little bit. I use to read around two books per month—one in English and one in French—to keep up with learning new vocabulary. I rarely read in my language, Portuguese, as I have to read a lot of technical, legal books.

Many indie authors live and die by KU (Kindle Unlimited) and the “normalized page read).  What are your views on KU, Amazon and where do you think KU will head in the future?

Digital reading is the future, I believe, and Kindle Unlimited is a good way to allow cheaper access to many books. I don’t know where KU is headed;  I’m not good at predicting those things, but I like the way it works. I also love paperback, because when a book is good, I can read it first (and quickly) in a digital format, but then I need to own a physical copy!

Many writers find editing drafts as frustrating.  How do you edit and what is your process?

I think it’s frustrating ☺ I work with a great editor, Jill Noble-Shearer, and she does the hard job of editing for me. I couldn’t do it without her skills from making certain the translation is accurate to checking grammar, punctuation, etc., in the final edition.

What software do you use to write?

Microsoft Word

Fans often have a preconceived notion of you.  What is one thing your fans would be surprised to learn if they really knew you or spent the whole day by your side?

That I’m not as glamorous as my pictures show. I’m a simple girl who loves to walk barefoot, play with dogs, who finds pleasure in feeding savage monkeys that live near my house, and who spends many, many hours alone, reading or writing… Ah…and also, I’m addicted to several television series.

What did it feel like to publish your first book?

It was like a multiple orgasm, seriously! Best sensation, ever!

What are some of the difficulties of writing characters of the opposite sex?

I’ve never thought about it because I love the male world. I have thousands of male friends, and I understand how men think, so I don’t find it difficult. I get inspired by men I know, men I like or despise, and I often translate their personalities into my characters in my books.

If they turned your life into a movie, who would you want to play you? Why?

Good question! I love Sharon Stone; I believe she is sexy, and she has brains. I would like someone like her—a mix of intelligence and sensuality—to represent me.

You can check out Gravazzoni at these locations:

Website: www.agavazzoni.com

Blog: www.agavazzoni.com/blog

Twitter: @a_gavazzoni

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/A-Gavazzoni-513404948849469/

Instagram: adri_gavazzoni

Amazon catalog

Another LitRPG Podcast – Reviews

I’m behind on my reading list.  I try to pick up as many of  Ramon’s recommendations as I can.  He does a great job (much better than I ever could) of reviewing #LitRPG books as they come out.

I’ve said he’s the hardest working man in LitRPG, and I mean it.  I can’t keep up.

Check out his latest edition.

New Releases and Reviews: Gong and Chalice: Epic LitRPG Adventure (Fayroll – Book 4) http://amzn.to/2woIviS Escape from Hell: A LITRPG Adventure (Kingdom of Heaven Book 2 http://amzn.to/2xNjzAK Dembo’s Ditty (A LitRPG Gamebook) http://amzn.to/2wJt877 Blood Reign: LitRPG Series Book 1 http://amzn.to/2wof7ZN Battle for Mesrath: A LitRPG Adventure: Grottos and Vixens, Alpha Elf Book 1 http://amzn.to/2vsqZwD Extraction Protocol: A LitRPG Space Marine Adventure (Omicron Sector Book 1) http://amzn.to/2xe2FPU Total Immersion: Dark World: A LitRPG Adventure http://amzn.to/2xMRdqB Venia Online: A LitRPG Saga http://amzn.to/2xy8FQm Infinite Reality: Daggerland Online Novel 1 A LitRPG Adventure http://amzn.to/2wJ0Rgd

LitRPG Top 25 Week Ending Sept 09 2017

Rank Kindle Book Title Author Price Reviews Pages
1 Bushido Online: the Battle Begins: A LitRPG Saga Nikita Thorn $3.99 21 371
2 Awaken Online: Catharsis Travis Bagwell $5.99 1,046 526
3 You’re Not Allowed to Die (The Twenty-Sided Eye Series Book 1) Kip Terrington $2.99 28 242
4 Wild Wastes: Eastern Expansion Randi Darren $4.99 108 368
5 Awaken Online: Precipice Travis Bagwell $6.99 519 594
6 Gong and Chalice: Epic LitRPG Adventure (Fayroll – Book 4) Andrey Vasilyev $6.95 17 392
7 Shaman’s Revenge (The Way of the Shaman: Book #6) LitRPG Series Vasily Mahanenko $5.99 74 561
8 Accidental Thief: A LitRPG Accidental Traveler Adventure Jamie Davis $4.99 33 332
9 The Builder’s Sword (The Legendary Builder Book 1) J.A. Cipriano $4.99 89 534
10 Shattered Lands: A LitRPG Series Darren Pillsbury $4.99 32 527
11 Beyond All Expectations (Emerilia Book 8) Michael Chatfield $4.99 61 374
12 Ascend Online Luke Chmilenko $6 331 454
13 The Land: Raiders: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 6) Aleron Kong $5.99 511 638
14 Life Reset: A LitRPG Novel (New Era Online Book 1) Shemer Kuznits $3.99 284 420
15 The Land: Catacombs: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 4) Aleron Kong $5.99 345 571
16 World Seed: Endgame Justin Miller $3.99 2 652
17 The Trapped Mind Project (Emerilia Book 1) Michael Chatfield $3.99 217 534
18 Forming the Company (Alpha World Book 2) Daniel Schinhofen $3.99 150 396
19 New Horizons (Emerilia Book 4) Michael Chatfield $4.99 119 312
20 Ring of Promise: A LitRPG novel (Elements of Wrath Online Book 1) J.A. Cipriano $4.99 38 394
21 More Than a Game: Epic LitRPG Adventure (Fayroll – Book 1) Andrey Vasilyev $6.95 97 320
22 Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension Book 1) Andrew Rowe $3.99 384 625
23 Gamer for Life (Alpha World Book 1) Daniel Schinhofen $3.99 218 397
24 Earth’s Gambit (The Gam3 Book 2) Cosimo Yap $3.99 61 412
25 The Weirdest Noob (LitRPG The Weirdest Noob Book 1) Arthur Stone $4.22 141 409

How and Why this LitRPG Website Came About

A few days ago, a Facebook friend, John Ward, complimented this site and asked how it all started.  Here’s your answer.

First off, thanks for liking the site.  Over the coming months, I plan to add many more features.   Your feedback is important.

Like most of us who enjoy LitRPG, I’ve read science fiction, fantasy and virtual reality for years.   I specifically started following LitRPG a little over a year ago with Aleron Kong’s The Land.  The book clicked and I thought it was a good read—and a good way to write.   Mixing game mechanics with words seemed like an epiphany: Why wasn’t this already a thing?  Well, it turns out it was, I was just late to the party.

Then, there was an explosion of writers onto the scene.   Probably for the same reasons I enjoy reading LitRPG, many indie writers began writing it in their own unique style.   I wanted to read them all, or as many as I could.

The Website

I enjoy reading indie writers and I wanted to support authors in this genre.  So, the website was a logical thing to do.  I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel: there are some really good sites promoting LitRPG.

But, I think that there is always room for more author interviews and ways for writers to interact with readers.  After all, that’s what it’s all about.

The top 25 list of bestselling LitRPG books is something I am proud of doing.  It’s based on pure sales, and does not calculate free books.  Interestingly, this can swing books from one extreme to another quickly.   It’s amazing how 20 sales can swing some of these books.

End Result

It takes a lot of time gathering info for the site.   LitRPG is changing literally every single day.  New books, new authors and new ideas.

Twenty Questions with Daniel Schinhofen

Daniel Schinhofen Books on Amazon
Daniel Schinhofen Books
Daniel Shcinhofen "Forming the Company" Alpha World Book 2
Daniel Shcinhofen “Forming the Company” Alpha World Book 2

I first began reading Daniel Schinhofen in March of 2017 about a month after Gamer for Life came out on Amazon.     And, then I read Forming the Company (Alpha World Book 2).

I was impressed.  Schinhofen writes well.  You get drawn into the characters quickly and they never let you go.  I’m not a book critic, and wouldn’t pretend to be one.  But, of all the #LitRPG’s, Schinhoten books stand out as some of the best.   I can only tell you what I like.  And, Alpha World is a great series.  

Check out the links at the bottom for Schinhofen’s works.

Twenty questions with Daniel Schinhofen.

If you could go back in time and tell your younger writing self any one thing, what would it be?

Follow my dreams earlier. I have been writing stuff on and off and never really finishing any of them. My grandmother, who passed last year, always encouraged us to follow our dreams. I didn’t really take the full plunge into writing until I found LITRPG.

How did you spend the first bit of money you earned as a published author?

Paid to get a cover for my first book. I had used the Amazon cover creator through KDP to begin with. Once I had money I paid a cover artist money to make me a cover for it. Which is the current cover still up on Last Horizon: Beta.

How many unfinished or unpublished books do you have?

There are a few that will never see the light of day, thank the gods for that. They are horrible and should never be seen. Books that I am currently working on two; Alpha World Book 3, Alpha Company & Apocalypse gates: Rapture. Both will hopefully be out by the end of this year.

What is your writing process? Or, how many hours a day do you write?

Most of my free time is spent writing. I don’t have a writing process though. I just sit down and write, and let the words flow. The writing takes up all the time I used to spend playing games and reading.

What was your favorite childhood book(s)? Why?

The Hobbit. No seriously, my mother read that to me at 6 years old. It was what made me start dreaming about writing a book.

On average, how long does it take you to write a book? (First draft, rewrites, edits to finally publishing).

From the start of a book to publishing? About 3 months, maybe 4, if I get a stall in the process anywhere. I am in awe of certain other authors who put a book out every month, those guys are just amazing.

We all get bad reviews sometimes when we publish.  How do you deal with bad reviews? 

Remind myself that people are dicks? Okay seriously, I still feel a small hit when I read them, if they have any merit. The ones that obviously didn’t take note of the blurb that said contains adult scenes I shrug those ones off. After that I go back to writing knowing that some people have enjoyed them, which is all I care about. Having 1 person enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it was my goal with my very first book, and still is today.

How would you describe your average reader?  Or, do you even have a particular kind of person in mind when you write?

No idea, as the idea of an average person doesn’t exist to me. Everyone has their own quirks that make them them. I write for people like me. Those people who love games and love reading and want them combined. My old friends who I used to play MMO’s with, but who don’t any more due to life getting in the way. People like that are who I hope will enjoy my work.

What are your hardest scenes to write?

For me action scenes. Not my forte at all, even in books where a lot of action comes in I have a tendency to skim those scenes. Being told exactly how the MC twisted in mid-air before landing in a three-point stance to get the position needed to behead the mob he is fighting is hard for me. I like character moments more.

What is the best way you’ve found to market your books?

For me it has been word of mouth through Facebook. The multitude of pages dedicated to LITRPG has been my way. Which is good because I suck at selling myself. So props to those guys who have helped me get word out to fellow LITRPG fans.

What do you think are the challenges facing new writers?

New writers probably face the same challenges I did. Lack of experience, no editor, no money to spend on editing or a cover. I would also tell them if they think they are going to be successful to plan ahead. An LLC or similar is a good idea to help with the taxes incurred from writing.

What are some things you’ve had to sacrifice in order to write and publish?

I sacrificed my free-time, that was about it. I wrote my first work out of love, and it did okay. It did well enough for me to justify writing my second book. Which was not as good but that still gave me the courage to write my next series.

How often do you read for pleasure? How many books a year do you read?  How fast do you read (words per minute)?

I used to read 2 books a week easy. Since I started writing maybe 1 book a month. Writing really does eat up most of my time. As for my speed, no idea.

Many indie authors live and die by KU (Kindle Unlimited) and the “normalized page read).  What are your views on KU, Amazon and where do you think KU will head in the future?

Kindle unlimited has earned me the bulk of my money so far. Would I have been able to make up for it with book sales only? I don’t know but probably not to an equal extent. I would love to see KU overcome a lot of the scams and cheats that have been seen used there. I hope Amazon will devote more to it, but I doubt they will.

If it ever comes to be not as profitable I might drop KU and try to branch out to other services, but that is hopefully never going to happen. 

Many writers find editing drafts as frustrating.  How do you edit and what is your process?

Editing? Ugh why do you have to mention the ‘E’ word? I give it a going over once I’m done writing. I hand it to a good friend who is better at grammar then me and they go through it. I then go back through it again. After that, the beta readers get it, I have a lot more of them now woohoo. After I get their feedback I give it another go over then hope it is good enough and publish it.

I hope soon to get a paid editor to give it a once over as well. Hopefully in the not too distant future.

What software do you use to write?

Word.

Fans often have a preconceived notion of you.  What is one thing your fans would be surprised to learn if they really knew you or spent the whole day by your side?

Heh, hehe, hehehe, mwhahahaha. Oh wait your serious? They would probably run far and fast. Okay fine I’ll be serious; I am a geek or nerd to my core. Want to quote Monty Python, or the princess Bride, maybe the Fifth Element. I can do that and love to do it. Probably a bit too much, they would probably also be dragged into the D&D game I run on Sundays.

What did it feel like to publish your first book?

Fear, nervousness, anxiety. That is what I felt, along with a little rush of excitement. I only wanted 1 person to love the book as much as I did. Which happened, so in hindsight I should have felt more excitement.

What are some of the difficulties of writing characters of the opposite sex?

As a female friend of mine has told me, women think differently. They process information and emotions differently. When I need a cold look at something,  I hand it to her and then take her feedback.

If they turned your life into a movie, who would you want to play you? Why?

No thanks, pass. The only place that movie would be seen is in the adult sections anyway.

Okay I’ll think about it…. Ryan Reynolds, at least I know he can handle my humor.

Daniel Schinhofen on Amazon 

Goodreads Page

Patreon 

Twitter

Facebook Author Page

Facebook Group Page 

 

 

 

Lewd Paladin: Dread of Night: A Virtual Fantasy LitRPG Adventure (Book 2) eBook by Eden Redd

Lewd Paladin: Dread of Night by Eden Redd
Lewd Paladin: Dread of Night by Eden Redd

Eden Redd, author of the Lewd Paladin Series has a new book out.   I fell in love with her writing months ago with Lewd Necromancer.  From there I went immediately to Lewd Knight, Lewd Rogue & Lewd Dragon.  It took me over a week and a half to finish those books.  I stayed up late into the night, trying to get that last chapter in before my eyes completely gave way.   Why?  It’s hard to explain, really.  But, Eden blends just the right amount of fantasy and sex into her LitRPG books to make it captivating for me.  I just love the way she weaves a story.  Had it not been for her, I may not have stayed with LitRPG.  I would have gone on to something else and probably come back to it later.   My recommendation: buy the book or read it in Kindle Unlimited.   Her catalog is worth a free 30-day subscription to KU, right by itself.

Lewd Paladin: Dread of Night | 205 pages | $2.99 & Kindle Unlimited

The blurb from Dread of Night:

Warning: The tale you are about to read is a story of sexual creatures, human or otherwise. This tale is for adults 18 and up.

“The abyss beckons for the souls of the righteous and the damned.”

With the end of the classes, Luis finds his normal life quickly becoming empty. As he contemplates plans for the summer, the siren call of Lewd Saga burrows into his heart. The promises he made and oaths he swore in the game quickly come to the forefront of his life, calling for him to continue his holy crusade against the growing darkness.

Luis dives back into the game of Lewd Saga to become his alter ego, Thorrin Rivers, paladin and holy knight to the Sphere of Light. Little does he know that the Sphere of Darkness has unleashed it’s own warriors to deal with the meddlesome paladin. When a Troll Master defects, Thorrin swears to a friend that he will protect them and safely deliver them to the coast of Lukken. As Thorrin races against time, a shadow looms over his true and virtual reality. Family bonds will be tested as will the player’s heart.

Can Thorrin overcome his natural urges for justice when the enemy begs for help? Can the player unlock secrets to an ancient power to help strike down the undead Dread Lords rising from their tombs? Will fellow paladins rush to his aid when the dead come for him? Will Thorrin overcome a sickening truth that will attempt to destroy his real and virtual life?

Lewd Saga is a Virtual MMORPG, based in the fantasy world of Lukken, home of dragon royalty, human kingdoms and troll masters. Players quest, join in great battles and find love and lust in whatever form they desire. There is no taboo too great or too intimate.

Source: Amazon.com: Lewd Paladin: Dread of Night: A Virtual Fantasy LitRPG Adventure (Book 2) eBook: Eden Redd: Kindle Store

02 Sept 2017 – Top 25 Bestselling LitRPG

 

Rank Kindle Book Title Author Price Reviews  Pages 
1 Gong and Chalice: Epic LitRPG Adventure (Fayroll – Book 4) Andrey Vasilyev $6.95 9 392
2 Shaman’s Revenge (The Way of the Shaman: Book #6) LitRPG Series Vasily Mahanenko $5.99 64 561
3 Shattered Lands: A LitRPG Series Darren Pillsbury $4.99 24 527
4 Accidental Thief: A LitRPG Accidental Traveler Adventure Jamie Davis $4.99 29 332
5 Shattered Lands 2 The Fall Of Blackstone: A LitRPG Series Darren Pillsbury $4.99 8 552
6 The Builder’s Sword (The Legendary Builder Book 1) J.A. Cipriano $4.99 88 534
7 Life Reset: A LitRPG Novel (New Era Online Book 1) Shemer Kuznits $3.99 249 863
8 Earth’s Gambit (The Gam3 Book 2) Cosimo Yap $3.99 53 412
9 Beyond All Expectations (Emerilia Book 8) Michael Chatfield $4.99 58 374
10 Escape from Hell: A LITRPG Adventure (Kingdom of Heaven Book 2) J.A. CiprianoConner Kressley $3.99 8 306
11 Gamer for Life (Alpha World Book 1) Daniel Schinhofen $3.99 210 397
12 Into the Black: Book IV: Aquarian Desert Stuart Grosse $0.99 1 98
13 The Trapped Mind Project (Emerilia Book 1) Michael Chatfield $3.99 215 534
14 Survival Quest (The Way of the Shaman: Book #1) LitRPG series Vasily Mahanenko $3.99 244 428
15 The Weirdest Noob (LitRPG The Weirdest Noob Book 1) Arthur Stone $4.22 137 409
16 Enemy of the World (Main Character hides his Strength Book 1) Road Warrior $4.99 34 489
17 More Than a Game: Epic LitRPG Adventure (Fayroll – Book 1) Andrey Vasilyev $6.95 97 320
18 A Slave in the Locked Lands (LitRPG The Weirdest Noob Book 2) Arthur Stone $5.92 44 405
19 Viridian Gate Online: The Jade Lord: A litRPG Adventure (The Viridian Gate Archives Book 3) James Hunter $4.99 80 274
20 The Land: Raiders: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 6) Aleron Kong $5.99 503 638
21 Eden’s Gate: The Sparrow: A LitRPG Adventure Edward Brody $4.99 139 424
22 Eden’s Gate: The Reborn: A LitRPG Adventure Edward Brody $3.99 309 460
23 The Land: Alliances: A LitRPG Saga (Chaos Seeds Book 3) Aleron Kong $5.99 325 528
24 Total Immersion: Dark World: A LitRPG Adventure S.J. Larsson $3.99 3 279
25 The Vale of Three Wolves: A LitRPG Adventure (Elements of Wrath Online Book 2) J.A. CiprianoJ.B. Garner $4.99 21 388

Last Week

*The Top 25 bestsellers list is based on my proprietary algorithm.  I will write an article soon explaining how it works and thank the engineers who were involved in helping me create it.  It is based on pure data sales in the USA.

GameLit | LitRPG | LitFPS | Authors & Publishing Tips