Thursday, January 3, 2013

Publishing On Kindle: KDP Select Pros And Cons

My 90-day contract with KDP Select ends this month, which means that I'll have to decide whether I want to renew with this service. It's a pretty big decision, so here are some of the things that I've liked -- and haven't liked about my experience with KDP Select so far.

CON: KDP Select asks authors to grant them 90 days of exclusivity. This means that you can only sell your books on Amazon -- not on Smashwords, Lulu or even your own website. This greatly limits authors who want to diversify their products.

PRO: However, 90 days isn't a very long period. It's not like KDP Select is asking for five years of exclusivity. And out of all of the indie publishing platforms available, let's face it -- Amazon gets the most traffic.

PRO: KDP Select authors' books can be borrowed in Kindle's lending library. Amazon Prime members can borrow your work for free ... but you still make money from borrows. So far, I've made almost as much money from borrows as I have from sales, so I really like this feature.

PRO: KDP Select gives you five days during a 90-day period during which you can give your book away for free. The idea is to put your name out there and gain publicity. I've had mixed results with this, but my last run was successful. Sales went up for quite a while after the promotion and I got several more reviews on my Amazon and Goodreads pages.

CON: I don't plan to do another free giveaway because, well, I want to make money from my book -- even if it's just 99 cents a download. I'd rather promote my work in a way which will encourage people to actually buy BAND GEEK. And 99 cents is about as cheap as you can get outside of getting it for free. Besides, Smashwords allows authors to giveaway books whenever they want; there's no limit on days. But again, Smashwords' traffic isn't as high as Amazon's.

CON: I find it very difficult to get visibility and a higher ranking on Amazon. When my book has sold well, my visibility goes up... but when sales slow down, so does my ranking. It's a vicious cycle and a system that's designed to reward already-successful authors. I wish that Amazon had some promotional options for indie authors (other than free days) to put their names out there and get their books on the most visible pages.

PRO: As I've said a few times now, Amazon gets great traffic. I've heard mixed things about Smashwords and authors' success on that site. It reminds me a bit of how I tried to sell my jewelry on Etsy and ArtFire, but didn't sell a thing on the latter, simply because ArtFire doesn't get Etsy's traffic. Still, it would be nice to have some more options for my writing.

As of now, I'm leaning toward not renewing my KDP Select contract. I can still sell my work on regular Kindle/Amazon and at least try Smashwords and Lulu. It can't hurt to see what happens since both sites are free. And if I don't like those results, I can always re-sign with KDP Select. In the end, I just want to do what's best for my book and I'm glad that indie authors have a few choices.

Please read and review REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD, just 99 cents!

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