KDP Select or not ?
A little issue today! Let’s go back to the principles!
The question that we are going to examine today is the following: should we give exclusivity of titles to KDP or not?
In other words: should we subscribe to the program KDP Select or not?
A difficult question to which the answer is not constant and will depend on the type of book that you write, on the date of release of the book, on your popularity, and also on other criteria that I have not identified yet.
A little clarification before starting as I’ve seen that many authors confuse these two things:
- KDP for Kindle Direct Publishing is Amazon’s platform of auto-publishing where you may publish your books.
- KDP Select is the program of exclusivity to which the authors can subscribe for a period of renewable three months.
So be sure to pay attention when you utilize these acronyms, choose the right one!
Subscribing to the programs of KDP Select hinders you from publishing the digital version of your book elsewhere than on Amazon. For the paper version, if you have one, you can do whatever you want!
Attention, do not subscribe to this program and publish your book elsewhere thinking that Amazon will not notice anything.
Controls are in place and offender authors are called to order. The final sanction is the withdrawal of your account and hence the impossibility to publish on Amazon, which will nevertheless be a pity.
I do not know of any authors have already undergone punishment in France.
Let’s see now what Amazon offers you in exchange for this exclusivity, as there should be some compensation for this sacrifice, shouldn’t there?
5 days of being free of charge
Every three months, you are able to offer your book free of charge on Amazon.
Why is this a benefit to you? If being free of charge was interesting in the past, it is less today, but this allows your book to regain some place in the higher ranking. I will explain:
A great number of free downloads during these days will raise your book in the ranking of the best sales of FREE books. For a greater disappointment of authors, who often think that this would be of no use, as soon as the book requires again paying for, the ranking falls again, often in a breathtaking manner.
A “purchase” of a free book is not considered to be sales.
Nonetheless, you have probably discerned that on your reader (or your PC), when you look through the categories of books, they are arranged by popularity and not ranking. A great number of downloads will hence provide your book with an immense popularity and it will become visible in different categories of books, maybe enticing the readers to buy it.
The beneficial effect of these free options is thus only indirect, but it shouldn’t be neglected and can generate some sales.
Though, do not have much illusion on these readers of free books. Often, the book is “purchased” for taking advantage of the windfall, and then is put at the bottom of its reader for the day when and is never read… So do not hope for many comments of unknown readers following the free of charge days.
Likewise, do not believe that if you propose a free book, the reader will be less demanding, particularly upon formatting and orthography: you will be surprised to read certain virulent comments for free books containing errors! A free book should have the same quality as books that customers pay for: no errors, and flawless formatting.
Furthermore, certain free readers read these books. And they read books that they wouldn’t have purchased if these were to pay for… just because they do not appreciate the type of literature in question. And so here, the side effects of free books come to you in the face: unpleasant comments, because the reader does not like the genre of literature that you write.
In short, there are things to bring and to leave in the free of charge books, it is offered with KDP Select, you can propose your free book during 5 days, and this is renewable every 3 months.
Kindle Countdown Deal
Another possibility with Kindle KDP Select: to be able to do promotions on your books, that will be rendered visible directly on the Amazon website.
KOLL for Kindle Online Lending Library, which allows all of the readers having Amazon Premium status (an annual subscription that permits, between authors, reduced fees and amounts of time for the delivery) to borrow a free book each month.
For each of these borrowings, the author receives a payment. This payment varies every month, it depends on the sum allocated by Amazon for the month and on the number of pages read by the readers.
For this, Amazon has put in place a system for fairly calculating the number of pages from one book to another. The number of pages is called KENPC (for Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count). These are little pages, with around 140 words on average per page or 850 signs (including spaces).
These numbers are a correct order of magnitude, but can slightly vary from one book to another, according to criteria that I do not control.
Globally, you can understand that one read page brings you about $0.005.
KU for Kindle Unlimited which allows the authors, with a monthly subscription, to read unlimited books eligible to KU, and this, up to ten books at the same time. This system was launched in the USA, most recently on English and German platforms and no doubt will one day be launched in France.
Every page read you are paid around $0.05.
So, I think we have looked through the advantages of KDP Select, and still, have not answered the initial question. And actually, I think that there is no fixed answer:
- If you reckon that your book should be available everywhere, on any platform, the answer is evidently NO, no exclusivity! In this case, make sure you have other means of rendering your books visible than the ones offered by KDP Select.
- If you have always sold well, therefore you have done this better elsewhere than on KDP, the answer is again NO. However, this concerns the minority of authors. Amazon remains, and by far, the platform on which independent authors sell the best!
- If you are just starting out, you do not know anyone and have no network here, I would say YES, without hesitation, because it allows some free of charge days for trying to launch your book.
- If you think to yourself that in any case, Amazon offers you the opportunities that you do not have elsewhere, and you do not want to complicate your life by multiplying the platforms of publications. So, YES, evidently, exclusivity!
- If you launch a new title after others that worked well and want them to see a rise in the top 100, again YES, as renting will make without any doubt a great difference in the rating, allowing you to rise quicker, higher, and longer. And nothing hinders you, once the success has passed, after 3, 6, 9 months, from going and publishing elsewhere.
And finally, why not have exclusive and other titles on different platforms at the same time, reverse them from time to time to take advantage, in turn for every title, of the benefits of KDP Select. At the time of a promotional offer for example.
Here it is, as you see it, no fixed answer. Do like we have done with your own experience and do not hesitate to make a profit from it!