KDP (not) Selected

The past few months have been full of research and decision making. Self-publishing is definitely not for the faint of heart. Decisions about covers and edits and pricing are enough to give you gray hair, and I have a new one to prove it. Pricing has been the biggest challenge. I’ve had people tell me I’m pricing my books too high. I’ve had people tell me I’m not charging enough for my print books.  The pricing decision didn’t come lightly.

For a first time author, yes, I guess $3.99 for a Kindle/Nook book is a little high. But it’s all part of my long-term strategy. Not to mention, I value the time I put into writing this book. Why would I start at 0.99? That leaves me no room to maneuver. But I digress.

The other major decision I had to make was whether or not to enroll in Amazon’s KDP Select program. So many authors use it because it gives them the opportunity to offer their works for free up to 5 days in a 90 day period. Sure, free grabs a lot of readers but you don’t get paid for free books either. There’s also a catch. Your work can’t be available through any other channel (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, etc) for 90 days. In other words, Amazon has the exclusive rights to sell your work the first three months. Three. Months. May not seem like a long time, but when you’ve got readers asking why it takes so long to get your book on Nook or Kobo? Three months seems like an eternity in this fast paced, instant gratification society in which we live.

I decided against it. Against the advice of quite a few authors. Why? Well, it’s not a simple answer.

Part of the reason is royalties. As in, I wouldn’t get any. Granted, I’m a brand new author just starting out and I should be grateful for any purchase of my book no matter what the cost. (Yes, I’ve heard this argument) At this point, writing can’t replace my day job salary. I would like it to though. So I’m looking at this whole thing from the long term. Amazon also changed their policy on the free books. It used to bump you up on the paid list after it ran for free. Now, it drops you back to your original ranking once you take it off sale for free. Basically, in my eyes, it really doesn’t add up to all that much for me right now.

Another part of the reason? I self published because I got tired of people telling me my stories wouldn’t sell. And If I don’t want people telling me what I can and can’t sell, why would I want them telling WHERE I can sell and when. Once upon a time, the government guaranteed that monopolies didn’t control commerce. Amazon is a force in the industry and not only in book sales. Yes, I’m grateful they are so accommodating for those of use going the route of self-publishing. But part of that draw is the freedom it allows. Freedom to choose avenues, freedom to choose royalty percentages and freedom to keep our books out there as long as we want.

So for now, I’m slowly treading the waters. Sales are decent considering how little marketing I’ve done. One day I hope they pick up and earn more. For now? I’m taking it slow and learning as I go.

I’m curious to hear your thought about KDP Select.




4 thoughts on “KDP (not) Selected

  1. When I first heard of the program, I only had a Nook, so I was predisposed to rejecting it even non-published as I am. As a reader, now also with a Kindle, I’m more open to it but still not willing to invest in the program for the borrowing feature. As a writer — hoping to publish! — I’m with you. It’s probably not worth the loss of income from other sources.

  2. I’ve got a number of writerly friends who have done it both ways. Some felt that the possibility of the lending through KDP more than made up for the few sales they got in other sources. Others are like you and hate the way amazon wants to be the only game in town.

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