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Sunday, December 9, 2012

No Benefits to KDP Select?

I have been an active indie author, or at least I would like to think so, for a while now. Wait, I am right... I have published four books on Amazon. Two of which are up on the site now. My latest book, "A Wizard F*cked," - and yes, I know I have a sick sense of humor - is selling well partially thanks to Amazon being such a popular website. However, for as long as I have been using Amazon and its tools to sell my books I just can't get any sales, ahem, I mean borrows, from their KDP Select program. 

Even though Amazon keeps expanding the budget for the KDP Select program, $1.5 million by the time of this writing, to entice more authors to join it, I just don't see the benefits. The way it is supposed to work is that it is supposed to allow you to reach a whole new audience a.k.a their prime members and bargain shoppers. But, I haven't been able to get a single sale, I mean, borrow, from one. Meanwhile, I have been selling well through Amazon's regular channel.

I wouldn't care about any of this if Amazon didn't make you only sell your books on their site when using KDP Select. I really think Amazon understands that most Indie authors don't benefit from this program. That's why they entice authors to join not by results, but by giving them five days to promote their books for free. 

Hell, the only reason why I get involved in their KDP Select program is because of the free book promo capability. Some swear that this is worth it all. Especially those writers who have a series of books, and make their first book free. Me, I just don't think it is worth putting your eggs, books, books about eggs, whatever, into one basket for ninety days.

I know that Amazon is the best book distributor for Indies write now, but is it really worth turning down Sony and Apple?

I know other writers who say that it isn't about the borrows you can get from KDP Select, it is all about the five day free promotions you get for participation. That allows your books to be placed on lists that grant more exposure. But, it just doesn't seem worth it to me.

What do you think?

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  1. Me and a number of publishers and authors have been sceptical about KDP since it started. You give them your book exclusively for 90 days and you get the option of giving your book away for 5 of those 90 days. Customers aren't stupid - they will lap up the free stuff and ignore the rest, result of which the author who wrote it ends up with zilch. Moreover, same customers probably visit a load of other sites and would pay to read your book if it wasn't "just" on Amazon.

    If you are an indie, or any other author/publisher my bet is you will earn more by NOT using KDP and simply getting your book up everywhere as quickly as you can.

    There are lots of bookstores out there - not all linked to Amazon. My own sites welcome inide authors and in 2013 we are expanding our awards and rewards schemes (yes we pay authors that sell well - bonuses!) to include indies - check things out on www.epuborg.com

  2. I didn't jump on the KDP Select bandwagon in the beginning. I didn't like the put all your eggs in one basket idea. A friend try it out and at first she did see some sales after her free days, but with the new algorithm, she saw less sales after the free day. In the end, she unenrolled because it wasn't worth it. There are some people who still swear it works. I guess it's another one of those things where it works for some and you have to give it a shot to find out.

  3. I agree, I think it sux personally. An author friend of mine and I both enrolled one title in KDP as an experiment. I chose to only offer 1 free day and ended up losing 1500 potential sales...she chose to leave hers free for the entire 5 days and ended up losing 26K potential sales. Needless to say we both quickly unenrolled when our "sentence" was up.

  4. I totally agree about not putting all your eggs in one basket--the Amazon basket--some of those old sayings still apply, right? I have unenrolled all of my books as well. I have had some sales and borrows, but just like Patricia's friend, the new algorithms has changed everything for me. Something happened in August to my sales and I am not doing as well as I was.

    Also think about it--the only people benefiting from KDP select are the prime members--free books--nice enticement to become a member. Lamenting the fact that I fell into this trap. From now on I will not be giving away free books or free content. A laborer is worthy of his hire...another wise saying. Blessings!

  5. Amazon is not interested in helping the new author. They are interested only in getting traffic, and giving away books, or getting you to allow people free reading or borrows, gets them traffic.

    All indie authors should boycott Amazon. I am, and I have told them so. Not just Amazon Books, but Amazon per se. I will not use them for anything. They certainly don't have your or my interests at heart.

  6. I am one more independent author who chose NOT to join KDP Select, because I do not like the attitude of Amazon trying to lock in a monopoly on any book. As a librarian (before being an author), I find it almost unethical! In case, it is useful to others, I will mention that I have had my first (and only thus far) novel, Until Brazil, on Amazon and other e-book formats (through BookBaby). Amazon sells about 3 to 1 for all other e-outlets. But, I still prefer access over exclusivity and the previous postings were a helpful validation of my decision.

  7. KDP Select simply does not work for indi authors. All it does is tie up a new e-release for 90 days with no real benefits for anyone. After trying it for 90 days all I have no show for it is nothing but potential lost sales from other sites.

  8. I stayed clear of KDP Select from the start- didn't like the exclusive clause either-Spreading yourself around (marketing)is the only way to get noticed if you choose to go indie--
    I have recently started a page on my website where I feature fellow authors if anyone here would like to be added to that page please do let me know. Every little bit of exposure helps.


    or e-mail me - faeriepoet2004@@yahoo.com

    We all gotta help each other right?

  9. I've found two major benefits: 1) the ability to give books away for free, that, while not as effective as it used to be, propelled my first indie book into bestsellerdom once it went paid; and

    2) library borrows. At an average of $2.20 per borrow, they've added thousands of dollars to my profit margin.

    The third benefit is that Amazon blanketed readers with promos for the book without me having to lift a finger. They know their buyers better than anyone and they knew who to target with the new release.

    When I went away from Select for a month, I lost thousands in borrows income and sold a total of about ten books on B&N and Kobo combined. So it was back to Select I went.

    So despite what anonymous says above, Select DOES work for indie authors. Besides myself, I know many who have benefitted.

  10. I guess I'm in a minority here. I like the Amazon Price give-a-way. I gave away my books the first month for free and surprise, that first month my sales, which weren't bad to begin with, went up over a thousand percent. I did not give all eight away at the same time, I did them one after the other. The books that were not being given away were the ones that sold, though the ones being given away sold, too. Especially my Apocalyptic Series and the one Western I had. After the first month they dropped down to about a three hundred percent and now at the end of the third month are clipping along at a steady two hundred percent increase over the sales before I got into it.

    Here in the next few days I am going to do it again, what with all the Christmas money floating around out there and all the new Kindles that will be found under the tree on Christmas day, I want to get my chunk of that money.

    So yeah, I like it, yeah, it works for me, and yeah, I'm going to stick with it. My last Royalty Check was over $500. That does not make me mad at anyone.

    The Dukester

  11. I use KDP for most of the books we publish at Tuxedo & Beans, but mostly because our eBooks drive sales for our hardcopies. That's the biggest benefit to having the free days and the Amazon promotional highlights. If you are only in ebook format I can understand your hesitancy though.

    We do offer a new area on our website for authors to promote their books for free. We have also added an "Authors Forum" so you can start conversations or engage in conversations with fans. Check us out at www.TandBpublishing.com

  12. I find the KDP select program of no real use as it really is just a tool used by Amazon to create trafic and induce more authors. I have numerous books up in Kindle that do well and have tried 2 books in the borrow program that have gone nowhere. So as soon as they are out of their time (whick is in a few days) they come out and probably sell.

  13. My first KDP Select giveaway in May was so-so ... around 700 downloads ... but few new sales (I had already marketed it myself for 6 weeks with sales before enrolling it). The second giveaway was tepid. The subsequent 3 did nothing. I re-enrolled and it was a total waste of time and sales ... I heard they changed the algorithms to favor Tradi-Pubbed books right after I enrolled so I got burned. Now I'm on as many platforms as I can.

    BTW ... I stared a Google+ community called FREE EBOOKS to provide an alternative/additional place for people to list their free book promotions the day it is free. I've got strict posting guidelines (no spam, ads, 'buy my book' or strings as it's a reader-oriented community) but I just wanted to provide authors an additional free place to post their book giveaways. Here is the URL:


  14. I gave it a try, and after doing some extra research while monitoring the stats, I came to the conclusion that KDP is waste of time., and mostly, unnecessary. The only good thing I can say about it is that the "90-Day opt out" is a great option to exercise. I just took all 3 of my books off KDP renewal. This option frees up an author to sell elsewhere - no more exclusivity to Amazon. Giving away free books doesn't count toward rank, so rank means nothing if you give your book away for free.

  15. I have been coaching people on writing books and ebooks, digital publishing, and online business for a decade, and I find KDP to be a great way to market, especially for new authors. There are many announcement sites that will let people know about your promotion and when you don't have a list of your own this can be critical to your success. In addition, when done right, it allows you to get ranked and even though it's only for free books, it helps to be able to say you are a best-selling author. (I took my last book to number 1 in two categories and I've helped many authors do it as well.) There are also strategies that you can use with the KDP launch that will help you make sales. I call it "momentum selling"-using the momentum of the free launch to drive sales and it works. You not only make sales, but by combining it with the right bonus offer you can increase your sales tenfold or more.I explain it in this blog post at http://theebookcoach.com/blog/3-step-kindle-launch/