Mark Terry

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Amazon KDP Select Exclusion

For everyone familiar with Amazon ebook self-publishing, they're probably aware of Amazon KDP Select. The primary advantage to this for authors and publishers is that for a period of 5 days out of every 3 months, books enrolled in KDP Select can be made free.
The first time I did this, for my novel, THE DEVIL'S PITCHFORK, I had well over 8000 downloads in a 24-hour period. It totally drove all my other sales. Since Pitchfork is the first in my Derek Stillwater series, all is good.
I've made Pitchfork free periodically and generally speaking it gooses my overall sales, although not to stratospheric numbers. Free downloads have never been as high as the first time, either. I recently did it for 5 days straight as a way of boosting some interesting in my latest Derek Stillwater novella, GRAVEDIGGER. In 5 days straight I gave away a little over 2000 copies of Pitchfork. Sales have been decent since, a definite bump, so it does work.
The catch, of course, is that I can't offer Pitchfork for sale anywhere else - specifically through Barnes & Noble or Smashwords - while it is enrolled in KDP Select.
I don't much like that. Kindle sales account for probably 95% of my sales overall, and Smashwords accounts for almost nothing (same with Kobo, iBooks and Sony), but Nook sales are money, and although I suppose the boost on Kindle sales is worth shutting out a portion of the Nook funds, I don't like the idea of shutting out the Nook readers.
But I do it anyway for some of my books because, well, Amazon makes me money and allows me to apply fairly basic retail principles to selling books - something that I find most publishers don't do.


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I find it all pretty mind boggling. Though I realize this self publishing is opening doors for writers, it was so much simpler in the old days, way back even before agents became the de facto gate keepers. Then it was Step 1 - Find publisher. Step 2 -- there is no Step 2. Of course if you couldn't manage Step 1 it was Game Over but that was simpler too!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Amazon basically took all their experience and skills as a retailer and applied them to self-publishing. When you think about it, publishers have never really treated books like any other product and the retailers, AKA booksellers (for the most part) have tended to be locked into odd sales and return and pricing structures.

5:40 AM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

Would you suggest making a new book free at first? I'm ready to put up my second book and trying to decide.
When my first book went up I was working full time so didn't really think about marketing. I lost my job two weeks before Christmas so now I'm concentrating on writing and marketing. Marketing is confusing. It sounds like the freebie's really boost sales.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

It's something to experiment with. Part of the rationale is you get a little more awareness because typically a free book gets on the free bestseller list, at least for a while. Then sometimes you get loans or the Amazon algorithms have your book show up in recommended areas ( but they're always screwing around with them and they don't seem to be as effective for writers as they used to). The advantage of it is you can play around with it. Sometimes I do all 5. Sometimes I do one day, then follow up a few weeks later or at odd times. It does work better when you use the free books to help sales of other books, but I see some people giving their new book away for free as soon as it comes out. I haven't tried that particular technique yet.

6:14 PM  
Blogger Aimless Writer said...

Thanks! I see the freebies come in (bookbaby and emails like that) so I'm trying to think of the best strategy. I have lots of books on the shelf but need to dust, polish and shine and get them up on Amazon. When I had a real job I didn't pay enough attention to it. I was just happy writing.
I read on Amanda Hocking's blog that her books really took off when she found book bloggers. However she doesn't say which book bloggers.
I think with Indie authors being such a new thing, there's probably no wrong or right way. I'm leaning toward making it free for a couple of days first.

7:16 PM  

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