In just about two and a half weeks, my latest book, The Heir to Alexandria, will be released. (Check out my cover reveal from earlier this week.) So now I am trying to decide if I want to try KDP Select again.
For those of you who don’t know, here is what Amazon KDP Select is in a nutshell:
In exchange for giving Amazon exclusive use of your e-book (doesn’t apply to printed versions) for 90 days, you receive either five days you can make your book free or you can offer your book for a limited time at a reduced price using the Kindle Countdown Deal. Your book is also included in Amazon Prime’s lending library for which you get paid whenever someone “borrows” it. After the 90 days, you can pull your book out or re-enroll.
I have only used the Amazon program one other time. In September 2012, I use it on my short story, The Search, with what I considered at the time moderate success. I had written The Search, which is an introduction to my The Elemental trilogy, as a “Loss Leader” – a book to give away in the hopes to enticing readers to buy my other books. Currently, The Search is free everywhere except Amazon where it sells for 99 cents.
Now I have been reading a lot of author opinions on the KDP Select program. It was a more valuable tool when it first came out, but Amazon has made some changes to how the books are ranked, and many authors feel it is losing its value – so much so that many are not recommending using the program.
One of the main negatives is that your novel is only available on Amazon, and that could annoy some of your fans. Now, I agree that only offering a book from one retailer can narrow your readership but then again, this is the largest e-book retailer. And almost all of my sales come from Amazon anyway so I am not afraid of annoying fans. (Plus it is only for the first three months, and then I will be releasing it to other retailers.)
My thought is that – even with three books under my belt – I am still building my fan base. By using KDP Select’s free promotion days, I may gain exposure not only for The Heir to Alexandria but also my trilogy. Of course, I know giving books away for free is really a hit-or-miss method. Many people who download your book may never even read it. However, it is a chance I am willing to take.
As I said in my original review of KDP Select, this is something I would NOT recommend for someone with only one book published. Because once readers read your book, where are they going to go next?
From what I have read from other authors, is if you have over 4 to 6 books to your name, the KDP Select program may not benefit you. This is my fourth novel and probably will be the last time I use KDP Select. (But then again, I will have to see the result of this time before I make any firm decisions.)
So with the thought as using KDP Select as an advertising method – advertising on the largest bookstore in the world – I think I will give it a try again. There is really no other way for me to get my books into the hands of 10,000+ readers in a matter of 5 days besides KDP Select. I look at KDP Select as a way to build a base of readers for my books and hopefully gain some reviews.
I only have three stories published at the moment (one traditionally-published novel, a short story and a short story collection) so my results will vary compared to yours. I have the short story and the collection set up through KDP Select, but the truth is, I haven’t taken advantage of it. I haven’t used the free days with the collection and only once with the short story.
My readership sky-rocketed with the short story being given away free though. I can’t remember the numbers as I was just playing around with it and just learning how everything worked. One of the things I’d like to do is play around with it again now that my first novel is out and see what happens. However, I need to get a better handle on tracking sales to begin with first so I can see the difference overall.
Why would you stop using KDP Select after 4-6 releases? This is news to me and I’m interested in the reason behind it.
OK – it has been awhile since I read those other blogs about authors of many novels not seeing a benefit from KDP Select but I am thinking that by the 4-6 book mark, you usually have a fan base and you don’t want to anger them by only offering your book from one retailer. Many people don’t like the exclusively of KDP Select and while I understand it, most of my sales come from Amazon so I am less worried about that. Another reason authors may shy away from the program is that they don’t want to give away their book for free. Of course now Amazon offers the Countdown option where the book price is reduced for a short length of time. There may be other reasons. All I remember is that quite a few established authors said they wouldn’t use KDP Select since it no longer helps them with their book ratings.
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