On Sunday, December 9th, The Search ended its run in KDP Select. Here is my take on the requirements and/or “benefits” of placing your book in Amazon’s program.
Amazon requires that you do not offer your book in any digital format (you can still sell the physical copies) during your enrollment which lasts 90 days unless you re-enroll. (Note they automatically re-enroll you unless you deselect that option.)
My take….Most of my sales of my other books do come from Amazon so limiting my short story to the largest e-book retailer out there really didn’t bother me. But I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t put all your “eggs in one basket” and that part of selling a self-published work is to have a lot of exposure, which would dictate you have the books on Barnes and Noble, iTunes and the Kobo store.
While enrolled in KDP Select, you receive five days in which you can offer your novel at no cost as a marketing attempt to gain readers. (Is free worth it? Check out my post on that topic.)
My first free promotion, done 11 days after The Search was released, resulted in 119 downloads. I did this on a Thursday and Friday with very little promotion.
For my second free promotion which ran Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 (Thursday to Saturday), I did a lot more promoting. I started planning my promotion about three and a half weeks in advanced. I submitted my information to 14 different websites though I never did check to see which ones listed it on their sites. I also posted my free book on various Goodreads groups and the World Literary Café free boards.
I joined the tweet teams on World Literary Café and posted it on my blog, which meant my tribemates on Triberr all tweeted about it for me. And I was featured on two different blogs that were both run by some great people who promoted my free book on numerous Facebook pages as well as through their own Triberr/Twitter connections.
So needless to say, I had a LOT more promotion this time, and it paid off. On day one, I had 50 downloads – a slow day but I have heard that it takes awhile for the word of your free book to get out there. On day two, I had 691 downloads and then on the final day I only had 187. That is a total of 928 downloads. Now I know that for some they do that number in a day but for me, I am quite pleased with this promotion. Even if only 10% read my short story that is 92 new readers.
Now I had hoped to crack the top 100 free but the closest I came was #280. However, I did make it to the #2 on the Young Adult/Fantasy Free list. I never really meant for The Search or my trilogy to be marketed in the Young Adult category but have had several reviewers place it in that category, so I figured a little marketing to that group couldn’t hurt and it seems to have paid off.
My take….Whether these free promotions are worth it is hard to say but I have had an increase in the sales of my other novels. In the first 2 days after my promotion ended, I sold 5 more copies of The Search plus 18 of my other novels. For me that is a personal best in such a short time.
I will say since Amazon allows this feature, they make it easy to offer a free promotion. All it takes is clicking “Manage promotions” on your KDP bookshelf and entering the dates you want the book free. If you aren’t a part of KDP Select, it is much harder to do this type of promotion (but not impossible).
Amazon touts that you will receive a share of their allotted money when people borrow your book as part of their Lending Library for Amazon Prime members. This month they have added a $700,000 bonus to the standard $700,000 usually allotted for paying authors in KDP Select who have their books borrowed.
My take….Well, I only had two people borrow my book (and these came after this last free promotion). I really hadn’t expected to have anyone borrow my short story which is only priced at 99 cents. I know that if I had Amazon Prime I would be using my one-a-month borrow on full-length novels over short stories.
I decided not to re-enroll The Search in KDP select and as of December 10th, it is available on Smashwords and soon will be distributed to the other e-book retailers.
Do I regret trying KDP Select? No, not at all. Will I do it again? Well, that depends on what they are offering at the time but right now, I am leaning toward no, I won’t do it for my next novel. Can it be worth it for some authors? Sure, it can. If it is your first novel, I don’t think it is much help since a “free” promotion is of little benefit (see the above referenced post on free books). But if you have written many books and want to feature either your latest work or perhaps an older one, I can see the benefits of it.