Kindle, and KDP, and Its Kindle Select Programs

By now most writers have heard of Kindle Select, which is a choice authors can make when using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) but I’ll go into some details about the program itself before I get into my own personal experiences with it.  I am encouraged by the fact that people are buying books in whatever format, but at this point I am working with the concept that Amazon Kindle is offering its program as a select program, which means you can only have your e-books available in Kindle format.

In my experience this is a good concept, but it has some major drawbacks.  I should have taken my own advice and really read the information.  The idea behind Kindle Select is that you can only have your e-book on Kindle, but that you make some money when people borrow the book.  In fact, the Terms of Service go on to say that you can not promote your e-book anywhere, and that includes blogs and websites.

During the time frame of the first 90 days, you can only do promotions within Kindle, and you need to have a lot of people willing to read your book.

Going beyond that, I have to say that having 5 days during this time where you can have your Kindle book listed for free helps, it didn’t help my book in the long run.  I think I should have had the free book promotion for only one day over the course of the 90 days.  I did go for all five days of the available promotion, and most people did “buy” the book but that didn’t translate into money since it was free.

While it didn’t hurt to have more than 200 free books bought, it hurt long term since most of my readership couldn’t find out about my e-book.  It was only on March 14, 2012 that I was, based upon the contract, allowed to mention and promote the e-book edition of In Search of the Lost Ones on my blog.

I also learned that this means that I am behind in the promotion of my e-book and while I am not saying that the Kindle Select Program was the problem, I think that the period of exclusivity contributed to slower sales.  I write on this blog and other online sites, and this made for a challenge.

I found that even though on Amazon you can link to the book, most people do not then take the next step and click on the part where it lists the Kindle edition.  This is something I didn’t plan for, but it is something that I should have thought seriously about.  As you can see, now I can link directly to the Kindle editions and I believe this will make some difference.  My sales rank is poor, and since I was promoting the paperback book, I have noticed that again, there needs to be more promotion.

I also have noticed that more people are inclined to write reviews, but they have all been for the paperback version.  As yet, even though there were a lot of free books bought, I still have found that even at the low price of $2.99 for my e-book the sales are slow.  However, when there is a sale you can earn more at a 70% royalty.

After this three-month experience, would I go back to the Kindle Select Program?  I decided not to re-enroll and I had to make certain that I had un-checked all the boxes on the web form that would automatically re-enroll me.  I do think that for any of my other e-books I will go this way from the beginning.  I think I’ll work with my writing community and promote my books as needed there.

This is my own personal view, and I think that Kindle Select might work for others, but for my own niche market I believe that I will probably expand my promotion where I get people reading, and that is where I write online.

One Comment

  • Damaria Senne

    Hi Rebecca

    I published 2 ebooks with amazon but I went for the Kindle select program on only one, wanting to see what it's like. Your information helped me decide not to commit more books to KSP, and I don't have to go through the full 3 months contract to learn the lessons you already learnt. Thank you so much for this very useful information.

    BTW, 200 copies is a heck of a lot of ebooks and I wish even half of those buyers would review In Search of the Lost Ones. That would really push your ranking higher.