Thursday, 15 March 2012

Has KDP Select Lost Its Impact? And Reasons I'm Not Giving Up Just Yet!

There have been a lot of vibes around the writer's social networking sites lately about how KDP Select isn't having the same sort of impact as it was three months ago. Really, this is only to be expected. When KDP was first introduced back in December, it was met with polar views. Some of us jumped right on the band wagon, while others held back. Many people thought Amazon's attempt to monopolize the market was unethical and thought having all your eggs in one basket was always going to be a bad idea (something I do agree with).

However, as the fist month or so passed, those waiting on the sidelines started to hear amazing stories of indie authors propelled from obscurity and onto the best-seller lists. Here was a platform where the indie author could reach hundreds, if not thousands of people, all in the click of a button. So the months went by and more and more authors jumped on the KDP bandwagon. The result? Thousands of free eBooks flooded Amazon's virtual shelves. Competition to get free downloads increased, so instead of getting thousands of downloads each time a book went free, many were now struggling to hit hundreds. On top of that, readers started to get bored of downloads. They already had loads of free books loaded on their kindles - many of which they'd probably never get around to reading - so why bother adding more?

With all that against KDP Select, why am I still in the program? Well, that decision is pretty simple for me. I believe every single reader reached through KDP Select is a reader I wouldn't have otherwise found. So what if I only give away 200 books in my next free period? If only a quarter of those people go on to read the book and only half of those people actually enjoy the book, well that's twenty-five readers I've gained. If I can reach those readers through other means as well - by getting them to like my facebook page or signing up to my mailing list - quite possibly they'll be one of my guaranteed buyers, a reader who will follow me from book to book, will leave reviews and tell their friends. Those types of readers are worth their weight in gold and are what an author's career can be built on.

On top of this, over the next month or so, as author's 90 day exclusive periods are up and people start to pull their books from KDP Select, the level of competition will reduce. Hopefully the result will be that the number of downloads and those all important post-freebie sales will therefore increase.

So for the moment I'm sticking with KDP Select. I'm going to take advantage of being able to reach those few readers who may then go on to become long term fans. Six months from now, Amazon may withdraw authors being able to put their books up for free and those who didn't take full advantage will be kicking themselves. After all, eBooks are still a relatively new market. Who knows what will change the game next?


  1. Good post. I experienced much the same thing: I held giveaways at the beginning of January and February which were HUGELY successful -- something like 3,000 copies were downloaded! Sales jumped

    Then I ran one in early March, and I only scored 200. Not sure what happened there, but since I had one day's worth of promotions left on one of my books I ran a middle-of-the week giveaway earlier this week. It moved up to #16 on the Epic Fantasy charts.

    A lot of it is still experimentation, and judging when to conduct a giveaway and how often. We'll get the hang of it.

  2. I agree, Marissa, that every reader gained is a big plus. We'll have that reader for a long time. And the word of mouth is also precious. No one answer. That makes things interesting.

    Great post, my friend!


  3. Thank you, gentlemen! This game is constantly changing and I don't think things will stay the same for very long. Either things will even out and the impact of KDP will improve, or it won't and Amazon will lose the main carrot they've been using to get authors and publishers to sign exclusivity for 90 days.

    Word of mouth is definitely precious, Blaze. I've had a couple of readers contact me saying all their friends, or their sister, etc. are reading my vampire series and that is just music to my ears. There is no better recommendation than a personal one!

  4. Great post. Another reason I'm sticking with KDP is because I simply don't have a cunning and brilliant alternative lined up. If I opt out, I'm back to futile tweets and requesting reviews, something I'm glad to avoid.

  5. Ah, yes... Cunning and brilliant alternatives. Now if you do come up with something, Phil, make sure you cut me in!

  6. Interesting points here. Hmm. Still have to think a little about it, but maybe I'll give myself a month to make the decision. I have definitely started to notice a backlash against all of the free books being offered, but if it gets me on someone's Kindle when they're thinking about starting something new, that's a bonus. And you have a good point that many authors will probably pull out at that point. (let's just keep this post under your hat, eh? :)4

    Paul D. Dail A horror writer's not necessarily horrific blog

  7. The good thing is, Paul, that if you're coming up to the end of your 90 days and you decide to pull out, you can always opt back in again!