Some months ago I wrote about my initial observations on using Amazon KDP Select. But now with five months of experience under my belt, I thought some may be interested in what my conclusions are. And for those using KDP Select, perhaps to compare experiences.
Firstly, it is worth saying that Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) is still the easiest platform by far that I have used for self-publishing an ebook. So without joining the Select program, it would still be my number one choice because of ease and speed of publication and of course, the distribution of Kindle ebooks worldwide (well almost) via the Amazon network.
However, when you enrol in the Select program, you have one very big decision to make. Amazon insists on absolute exclusivity, so you cannot publish on any other platform or sell via any other retailer. Even your own blog or website. Because I had a number of ebooks already published before I enrolled in KDP Select, it took a very long time to have my ebooks removed from other retailers. Amazon do check carefully as well, and I received a few emails from them telling me that they had located some of my books on other retailers and gave me ten days notice to have the books removed or be suspended from Select. My experience with this problem was that as these books had been distributed to these retailers by Smashwords, it was better and more efficient to contact Smashwords directly regarding the removal than individual online retailers. I did contact Sony, B&N and a few others and had no response at all.
Then what do you get when you join? Well only two things really, five free promotion days per book every three months and admission to Amazon’s Prime Lending library.
I’ll start with the Prime Lending Library. A flop, a dud, a disappointment is all I can say. Each month I see a few ‘borrows’ in my account but nowhere near enough to justify giving exclusivity to Amazon. If it was only this, I would be out of the program pronto.
The free days however are a different matter. I know there are a range of opinions about giving books away for free, but as I’ve now been through nearly two cycles of five days with ten books, I have to say it pays off. Amazon list bestselling (yeah I know!) free books and if you can gain a prominant place, say in the top 30, it does help in attracting valuable reader attention. I have noticed that offering a book for one day doesn’t achieve as good a results as a two or three day giveaway and once your free days finish, expect your book to drop off the free bestseller list almost immediately. I have also found that weekends work much better than weekdays, but I suppose this is logical. Another consideration is about the number of books you have enrolled as the more books you have, the more free days you have to promote yourself.
If my conclusion about KDP Select was purely based on the number of borrowed books and having the ability to give my books away, of course I would be out. But there’s just one rather strange consequence that I’ve noticed since joining. My ebook sales keep increasing each month. For the life of me I can’t really put my finger on the reason though. Perhaps it’s all because of the free books, or maybe because I’ve changed deodorant. I really don’t know. But giving Amazon exclusivity has resulted in far, far more sales for me and more than make up for the few ebooks I used to sell on other retailers each month. As well as that it’s much easier to keep track of payments from just one source.
But even with a good steady increase in sales, my retirement on a tropical island is still a long way from being funded by Amazon, so don’t expect miracles.
I’d be interested in hearing the experiences of other KDP Select authors.