Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My Experience with Amazon KDP Select

My first experience with Amazon KDP Select left me rather cold. I have several titles published through Amazon and other sellers, but until the end of last year, I hadn't tried the Select program before.

KDP Select at first glance:

- the up side:

1. you get two ways to promote your book: either give the book away for free for 5 days or use Kindle Countdown Deals.

2. the book is included in the Kindle Unlimited program, which makes it free to KU subscribers and you get some payment for the borrows, though smaller than the actual price. Apparently the borrows do affect the book rank, but I haven't noticed this happening.

- the down side:

1. for the entire Select term, the book must be sold exclusively on Amazon.

2. unless you uncheck the option, the Select term gets extended to the next 3 months by default, and once a new term starts, there's no option to end it. I guess you could make the book available via other sellers and let Amazon know so they remove it from the Select program, but since I haven't tried it, I can't swear there aren't other less obvious penalties.

I published Broken People towards the end of November 2014. It was the first book in a new sci fi series, so I thought I could give Select a try.


Based on the premise that Kindle Countdown Deals needs too many marketing efforts and investments to make it successful, I chose the free days instead, which seemed easier. Since there are only 5 free days, I split them in two periods, 2 for Christmas and 3 at the end of January. Previous to the free days, I submitted the dates to a dozen of websites that post free Kindle books for free. During the free days, I constantly mentioned it on Twitter and posted in over 100 Facebook book related groups. The result was 800 free downloads the first time and 630 free downloads the second time. It did not affect the book rank, it brought zero sales, and it brought only a couple of reviews.

Kindle Unlimited:

It was a bust as far as I'm concerned. There were only a few borrows, way less than the number of sales.

At the end of the three-month period, I gave it a long thought, did the math, and decided not to continue with Select for this book.


I think Select works for stand alone novels or the first book in a series if you want to attract new readers. Don't let the high number of downloads fool you. Few of those who downloaded the book will actually read it, and even fewer will take the time to write a review. When it comes to reviews, I feel LibraryThing ebook giveaways are better suited for this purpose. BookLikes also offers this option, but I haven't tried it yet. Goodreads still doesn't. You can, however, ask all those people whom you gave the book for free in exchange of a fair review to download it during the free days so their reviews will appear as verified.

So I will enroll in Select my next book, which is the first book in a new fantasy series due to be released this spring, but only for 3 months. If nothing changes, I'll pull it out at the end of the term and set it free into the world like I did already.


Leah Perlongo said...

Thank you for your review of the Select works program you tried. I found it very insightful.
-Leah Perlongo

Weird Vision said...

You're welcome.