Amazon’s KDP Select has its upsides and downsides. I’ve taken advantage of it to help get Firehurler into the hands of thousands of readers. However, it also prevents me from getting it into the hands of reader segments who want to read my books on devices other than a Kindle or a mobile phone. And while I still see advantages to staying with the program, I’ve decided to see what I’ve been missing with the other sales channels.
So when my Twinborn Trilogy books end their current 90-day runs in KDP Select, I won’t be renewing with it. Instead, I’ll be moving to publish on Nook, Kobo, and the iTunes Store.
What does this mean for my readers?
- No more free borrows through Amazon Prime
- No more sporadic free days to pick up a copy of Firehurler for $0
- You can tell your Nook/Kobo/iPad loving friends about the Twinborn Trilogy, without having to explain how to get it to work on their device (if they have one that could load the Kindle App)
- If you read on Nook/Kobo/iPad, you’ll be able to get the Twinborn Trilogy on your device as a native file, not through a secondary app.
What does this mean for me?
- I’ll be able to engage with readers who use non-Kindle devices or who don’t want the hassle of reading in the Kindle App on another device
- I’ll be able to decide whether to offer perma-free books, since only price-matching can make a book $0 on Amazon, and they can’t price match anyone if you’re exclusive
- I’ll be able to get more overseas sales, since Kobo seems to be much more popular on the eastern side of the Atlantic.
Why am I doing this now? It’s just a window of opportunity, seeing that my KDP Select terms are coming up (Firehurler in a couple days, Aethersmith and Sourcethief later this month). The books will all still be available on Amazon, of course. I’d be slitting my own throat not selling in the #1 ebook marketplace in the world. I’ll just be expanding to the other markets as well, hoping that the additional sales there can make up for the lack of borrows (which produce ~$2 each in royalties, depending on the month), and that I can gain new readers I wouldn’t otherwise have been able to reach. The latter is the most important. Readers are what make an author an author, and not just some crazed hermit who types stuff that popped into his head all day (and pretty much the only difference is whether anyone else reads it).
Authors: Considering making the leap off the bandwagon?
Here are some factors to consider before saying goodbye to Amazon KDP Select.
- Do you use the countdown promotions?
- How effective are they?
- Do you use your free days?
- If you’re willing to offer the book for free, would perma-free work for you? (note, it works best for books in a series)
- How many borrows do you get each month, and how much would you lose in royalties not getting them?
- Have you had readers with other devices asking (begging?) for your book in a format besides Kindle?
- Are you prepared to deal with multiple ebook stores, and not just Amazon?
I’ve gotten a lot out of my time in the KDP Select program. It’s been great for getting my name out there to the fantasy readership. However, like any one strategy, it doesn’t necessarily work forever. Each decision needs to be made with the object of gaining more readers, putting books into people’s hands, and finding the lifelong readers that will keep you writing books for as long as you care to do so. If things don’t work out and you find yourself wishing you had never left KDP Select, you can always pull your books from the other stores and re-enroll. Just don’t get stuck thinking that the strategy you started with has to be the one you stick with forever. I’ll still be using the program for my Mad Tinker Chronicles, since that’s not a completed series, so it’s not like I’ll be abandoning KDP Select completely. You just have to know what you’re getting out of it, and choose according to your current needs.
Adapt. Survive. Write more books.
Anyone reading this post the day it goes live, head on over to Amazon to get your free copy of Firehurler while I use up the last of my KDP Select free days.