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Writing Process & Programs > KDP Select v. Other Platforms

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message 1: by Camille (new)

Camille Marino (camillemarino) | 4 comments I suspect this question is so remedial that everyone gets how this works but me. I cannot find a relevant discussion anywhere.

I'm a new author and have found it necessary to enroll in KDP Select so I can do the free or $.99 book countdown deals. In that way, I can get sites like Freebooksy, etc to feature my book during those promo periods every three months.

But by being in KDP Select, I cannot publish my books on other sites and I understand that it's fairly important to get listed on Kobo, Apple, B&N, and myriad other sites.

What am I missing? Is everyone confining themselves to KDP and foregoing other markets or vice versa?


message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 770 comments Camille wrote: "I suspect this question is so remedial that everyone gets how this works but me. I cannot find a relevant discussion anywhere.

I'm a new author and have found it necessary to enroll in KDP Select ..."


Yes, a lot of people are choosing to enrol their books in KDP Select when they first publish because it offers the best chances for visibility. It takes longer, and can be much harder, to get visibility and sales on the other ebook retailers, and people like the opportunities presented by KDP Select and Kindle Unlimited, specifically the page reads.

Personally I have my books wide on as many sites as possibility, but I'm in the minority.


message 3: by Camille (new)

Camille Marino (camillemarino) | 4 comments Alex wrote: "Personally I have my books wide on as many sites as possibility, but I'm in the minority.
"

Thanks for that, Alex -- I thought I was missing something; but I guess it really is a one-or-the-other situation. Maybe after a few people weigh in, I should open up a discussion about where the greater benefit may lay in choosing one path over the other.


message 4: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments Authors who enroll in KDP select often do it temporarily. One or many cycles. Those who go in and out of KDP select give themselves more work since they have to remove their eBook from everywhere else to get back in.

You can try it for one cycle and use the 90 days to format your book for other platforms. You will be able to judge how well it does for you.

I think the age group your book targets matters. Older generations seem to prefer print even if the eBook is free or a tiny fraction of the print. Younger generations may have less disposable income and subscribe to KU more often. That's just my observation... I got my mom a Kindle and she loves it but she won't buy online so she's on my account.

Remember that you can have a free book in KDP if it's free in other places. You just contact Amazon and tell them to price match.


message 5: by Erica (new)

Erica Forrest | 14 comments I tried to publish with Kindle and Smashwords and I quickly found that within the first month, I had 12 sales on Kindle and only one purchase through Apple for all the stores that Smashwords sells through. After that I took it down from Smashwords and enrolled in KDP and the last free books promotion sold something like 70 copies. I think Amazon alone is giving me far more than having my book with the wider range of retailers.
I've been thinking that I'll get my book up on other retailers once I get some momentum of interest, maybe in a few months.


message 6: by Camille (new)

Camille Marino (camillemarino) | 4 comments Thank you, Lori-Ann and Erica, for sharing. Given that I have no access to the big marketing bucks, kdp is probably my optimal circulation avenue at the moment. But there are other new forums, Playster in particular, on which I am anxious to get active. It's a subscription-based service that has the potential to become a serious amazon competitor in the books and music areas.

I wonder whether if I republished my same memoir with a new isbn that might be a loophole around kdp select exclusivity.


message 7: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments I looked up Playster but the "Authors" page was unavailable. What do they offer to authors?


message 8: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments I believe, you can cancel KDP Select anytime,.


message 9: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4346 comments Mod
Link deleted.


message 10: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 770 comments Genevieve wrote: "I believe, you can cancel KDP Select anytime,."

You can't cancel anytime, you sign up for a 90 day period of exclusivity, so your book has to stay there until the end of those 90 days but you can choose not to renew.


message 11: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 726 comments Mod
Also, I would not try to bypass the conditions. I am sure that it's about the actual content and just different edition would not be enough. Cheating around KDP select could, in the worst case, lead to a full-scale ban from KDP. Not something I'd want to risk, personally.


message 12: by Genevieve (new)

Genevieve Montcombroux | 66 comments Thanks, Alex.


message 13: by William (new)

William Morgenstein (httpswwwthecrazylifeofbillcom) I believe that the KDP restrictions are unfair and I agree with many experts: Avoid it.

I have other issues with Amazon and probably because of their size they can be very unreasonable. When I question why Amazon removed 20 of my reviews (to be fair 5 or 6 of the removals were probably valid) I received boilerplate answers with the following caveat: "Further inquiries will not be answered".


message 14: by Camille (new)

Camille Marino (camillemarino) | 4 comments Genevieve, the link was deleted. But it was for a marketing podcast I listened to yesterday. Other than that, I don't know too much about Playster. I am, however, getting a little nervous about being at the mercy of amazon.


message 15: by Wanjiru (new)

Wanjiru Warama (wanjiruwarama) | 204 comments Kdp Select never worked for me. I switched to Kdp Sponsored products, where I seem to have better luck. Yes, it costs money, but I've been able to make slightly more than I spend. And since what I'm after is circulation, at least for now, I don't mind. I also have two books listed at Smashwords, but nothing much happens there - just a handful of sales.


message 16: by Lori-Ann (new)

Lori-Ann Claude | 76 comments If you check authorearnings site, reports for 2017 (an easy google), you will see for English speaking countries, Amazon has the biggest market share. So not to go directly to Amazon seems means less royalties than going through a third party like Smashwords, Draft2Digital, even Ingram Spark.

When it comes to KDP Select, whether to enrol or not doesn't have an easy answer. For some, it's worth it, for others not. The only way to know is to try it for a cycle - which is easier to do when the eBook isn't available anywhere else. If you want to try KDP later and the eBook is available elsewhere, it's a pain to take it down from everywhere.

So far, without any promotion, I'm not getting many pages that were read from KU for my first novel. I'm not planning on doing any promotion until I have more than one book available.


message 17: by Noor (new)

Noor Al-Shanti | 148 comments I've only published short stories and novellas so far and have not made enough money to really have enough of an informed opinion when it comes to which one is better financially, but I do have a couple of thoughts to throw in here from my limited experience.

First of all, I chose not to restrict myself from the start. The idea of going exclusive with amazon didn't sit right with me. I also found Kobo seemed to be a lot more author-friendly and author focused that amazon. So I started off by publishing through Kobo first, then about a year later I expanded to Amazon kdp as well and then a few months after that I added google play into the mix as well. I then added a paperback version of on eof them through kdp. I go direct to each one of the three rather than use a third party platform.

Anyway, as I said earlier my sales are laughably slow, but I have learned a few things:

- If you are direct with Kobo you can request to have them add the promotions tab to your dashboard. This will allow you to enter promotions in which Kobo itself is advertising your discount. I've entered a few promos and not all of them have worked very well, but even when they don't work most of them cost nothing to enter(just a small percentage off the royalties if you do make sales) so it's a very easy process with very little at stake.

- Google play books is on people's phones. I downright hate the way google play looks and functions, but someone did find one of my books there and then that same person went on to buy all my other books through Amazon. I know this is a one-off example, but I think it makes sense that having your books in more places will give you more visibility and give your readers more options so that they can buy your book in the way they prefer.

- Google play books has "analytics" which can help you keep track of how often your book was viewed, which of your books get the most views, how many people actually click through to the preview, and how many pages of the preview they actually read. This has potential to be a powerful tool in my opinion. I think some people get this kind of info through add-ons to kdp or through experimentation, but google makes it easy to get it all in a spreadsheet with little additional effort.

Like I said I'm fairly new to this, I've been taking it slow, and I haven't made much money off it yet, but there are definitely upsides to each different platform that are worth exploring.

Although I haven't done it myself I agree with Lori-Ann that it would make sense - if you do want to try kdp Select - to try it for a new release, see if it works, and then if not you can go wide after your 90 days are over or after sales from kdp select start to drop off.

/2cents


message 18: by Ian (last edited Aug 03, 2018 09:41AM) (new)

Ian Bott (iansbott) | 268 comments Reading this thread, just want to remind people that KDP and KDP Select are not quite the same. Often I see people talking about them as one and the same, and it can be a point of confusion.

KDP Select gives you some marketing opportunities not available through regular KDP but does require exclusivity.

However you can still publish non-exclusively through Amazon KDP (not Select) and have access to the Amazon marketplace, and still publish to other markets (e.g. through Smashwords)

One thing you can't do with KDP is set your price to zero. Lori-Ann mentioned price match, but my experience from trying this several times is that Amazon usually ignores reports of free books elsewhere. I've heard other authors also trying this route and having mixed success.

What it boils down to is - what is important to you? If it's important to hit as many markets as possible then KDP Select is out. If you really want to give away free books then KDP Select might be the way (bearing in mind that you can still set prices to zero elsewhere and point people to non-Amazon sites.)

Personally, I like the broad accessibility and have pretty much decided not to offer free giveaways any longer. I prefer to offer steep discounts from time to time. You mentioned Freebooksy, but there is also Bargain Booksy and many others that circulate discounted but not free books.


message 19: by M.L. (last edited Aug 03, 2018 10:33AM) (new)

M.L. | 1125 comments Since KW went out the window (my longer works), I have now three short stories. I offered one today, it's really short, 10 pages, but it's number one in its category for mystery, thriller, suspense in the US, (tomorrow will be very different), but with something that short Select allows flexibility and visibility I would not have otherwise.


message 20: by H.E. (new)

H.E. Bulstrode (goodreadscomhebulstrode) | 84 comments Ian wrote: "Reading this thread, just want to remind people that KDP and KDP Select are not quite the same. Often I see people talking about them as one and the same, and it can be a point of confusion.

KDP S..."


I did read somewhere recently, buried away in the Amazon small print, that they have discontinued their policy of price matching, so this might account for why you, and many other authors, have not managed to persuade Amazon to set your book's price to zero.


message 21: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 545 comments That's useful, thank you, H.E.


message 22: by Elin (new)

Elin Pettersson | 1 comments I have a short story in KDP Select and a flash fiction compilation that I went "wide" with. Amazon is by far the place where I've gotten the most sales.


message 23: by lark (last edited Oct 04, 2018 07:34AM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) I published my first indie book through Draft 2 Digital, where it's completely easy to change your price any time you want over all platforms at once. So from the D2D platform I could set everything to 99c, including Amazon, for any promotion, OR I could set everything for free except Amazon, which won't accept free books unless through KDP.

BUT what I discovered quickly was that if the book is available for free elsewhere, Amazon will price match within days. It's a little kluge-y because you can't just push a button but it worked every time that I could get to "free" on Amazon anytime I wanted to by discounting everywhere else.

I see above that Ian didn't have the same experience. I can only say it worked for me. I would wait until the book showed up as 'free' on Amazon before scheduling my promotion.

Lately I've decided against free promotions for any reason, and against discounting my book below $2.99, but that is another topic.


message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Lark. Your post was very helpful.


message 25: by Ben (new)

Ben Cass (bencass) I published my first book through KDP Select back in July. Most of my royalties are coming from Kindle Unlimited, but it's up and down. I'll go two weeks with nothing, and then get 2000 page reads in one weekend. My KDP select term ends next week, and I've decided to try the next few months on a wide distribution, so I'm pulling the book out of KDP select and going through Draft 2 Digital, just to see if the wider net is worth it.


message 26: by [deleted user] (new)

Ben wrote: "I published my first book through KDP Select back in July. Most of my royalties are coming from Kindle Unlimited, but it's up and down. I'll go two weeks with nothing, and then get 2000 page reads ..."

I'd love to know how going wide works out for you! I've been considering doing so, but haven't made the move yet. Thank you.


message 27: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments Lark wrote: "So from the D2D platform I could set everything to 99c, including Amazon, for any promotion, OR I could set everything for free except Amazon, which won't accept free books unless through KDP. "

You can't set a book to free on Amazon from D2D? I read somewhere that you could make an Amazon book free through a distributor but I couldn't remember whether it was through Smashwords or D2D. Can anyone confirm whether you can make a book free on Amazon through Smashwords pricing (not price match)?


message 28: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Blake (gabrielblake) | 8 comments With Kindle unlimited, is it normal to be slow going in the first month? I don’t think I’ve had a page read as yet. It certainly isn’t through not promoting it on social media. I’d be grateful if anybody can answer my query.


message 29: by lark (last edited Oct 05, 2018 04:05PM) (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) I've used Draft 2 Digital and there is no way to set the Amazon price to "free"--lowest is $0.99--but in my experience Amazon very quickly price matched when I set my book to a giveaway everywhere else.

Personally I felt the reviews I got from free promotions were not so helpful--people weren't invested reading the book so carefully, maybe, when they got the book cost-free, after all. I've decided moving forward not to go below $2.99 even for promotions. I know $2.99 is a lot of people's starting point...OTOH I've set the kindle book for free, for anyone who buys the paperback.

I think Kindle Unlimited would be very stressful for me--I'd be thinking ok why did they stop on page 44 or page 8 or whatever.


message 30: by Lila (new)

Lila Diller Going wide is supposed to be beneficial, but it never worked for me. I had my book in Draft2Digital for about a year, and it never got a single sell. Not a single download. I earn more from the pages read in KU than I ever got from D2D.

I think I heard that if you have a big following, going wide makes more sense. But nobody who reads on B&N or Kobo or any of the other places has even heard of me. Just be warned that you will have to do more marketing to those other stores or to your universal book link than you have to do with Amazon.


message 31: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments I published my books wide over the summer (with Smashwords as a distributor), but my sales suffered rather than getting any kind of boost. This is despite the fact I had promotions scheduled almost daily for a month straight and spent about $1000 on advertising (paid promotion sites, pay-per-click ads on Bookbub, etc). My books couldn't get the same kind of traction in the wide markets as they did with Kindle. I returned my books to exclusivity with Kindle Select and saw instant improvement in sales. Some people say it takes a year or two for books to get noticed on the wide markets but I didn't want to wait that long to find out.


message 32: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) I never thought I'd say this but I really like KDP. It's an easy set-up for both paperback and ebook. It was also great that somehow, magically, they immediately linked paperback, ebook, and audiobook on the same page when all three were published. They migrated reviews to all three platforms as well as to Audible. I like how easy it is to track sales.

I will never go exclusive, though, even if 95% of my sales are Amazon-based, because I don't like the idea of them bullying the market.

For ebooks I use KDP for Amazon sales and D2D for everything else.

For paperback I use KDP for Amazon UK and US, and Ingram everywhere else.

For audiobook I use Findaway Voices for everything...which I can't quite recommend, as yet, since they were a little hard to work with in setup--but if anyone here has done an audiobook you'll know that ACX/Amazon/Audible asks for 7 years exclusivity, and that just felt bad.


message 33: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 726 comments Mod
I've heard that important factor for Amazon is its recommendation system that takes past reads into account to make recommendations more relevant - thus lowering the chance for something you won't like. "Readers also bought" is a big factor in that. I'd guess that's why they gained readership dominance - by better recommendation system. Amazon recommends what you might like regardless of price, trading instant profit for long-term readership, which obviously worked.

If I understood that correctly: if you are an active reader and write the same genre you read, it should probably have at least some idea what kind of book it is and, based on your purchase history, have some idea who to suggest your book to. And, for a reader, getting relevant recommendations is probably quite important.

I am far from being ready to publish but I expect to stay in KDP select for at least one half-year term, maybe two, while I see how it goes. In that time, I'd (apart from writing) have a look at paperback options and possibly try to find some relevant data about my genre on exclusive vs. wide.


message 34: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments I have decided to go through Ingram Spark for my widesale distribution. Still not sure if I'm going to have them print for me as well or stick with Lulu.


message 35: by Evie (new)

Evie Sparkes | 3 comments I joined the KDP select program and now I am wondering whether I should have taken more time before I ticked the box.
I am very reactive and it did seem like a good idea at the time. Is it worth being exclusive to Amazon?
I'm wondering whether the 'free promotion' is the only real benefit in the long run. I am however, impressed with the speed the paperback copies are distributed to buyers.
I am short on time as I also run a business, and I'm trying to spend time on the right things. Do most people take the 'select' option at first and then spread their wings when sales grow? Thanks.


message 36: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) Evie wrote: "IDo most people take the 'select' option at first and then spread their wings when sales grow? Thanks. ..."

Evie it seems quite easy to change from KDP Select to wider distribution, and much messier to go the other way, so I think what you did was completely a good decision and left your options open.

I think it's super hard NOT to click on KDP Select when you set a book up--the link is always in my face and seems that anything I want to change I need to avoid a big "KDP SELECT" button to get to it--for instance price changes are hid behind a menu whereas the KDP Select button is right there, visible on almost every page in the KDP site.


message 37: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Bald | 10 comments Lark wrote: "I never thought I'd say this but I really like KDP. It's an easy set-up for both paperback and ebook. It was also great that somehow, magically, they immediately linked paperback, ebook, and audiob..."

Yes, I second your reply. Amazon is easiest to work with, but an author should put books out on as many platforms as possible.

Instead of D2D, I find Smashwords very user-friendly and have an Epub edition on their channels that puts books on iBooks, Kobo, Nook, libraries sales, and many other online ebook sites. Most of my sales are with Kindle on Amazon.

I, too, just decided against ACX/Audible for my upcoming audiobook because of their contractual requirements. It is too much of a commitment to their store, and there are other options.


message 38: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Bald | 10 comments Evie wrote: "I joined the KDP select program and now I am wondering whether I should have taken more time before I ticked the box.
I am very reactive and it did seem like a good idea at the time. Is it worth be..."


I think there is no wrong or right choice, since each novel is special with its own appeal and genre. I would "unclick" the box that authorizes Amazon to extend KDP Select for another 3 months right away--they check that box to extend for you from the get-go. Wait to see how it goes with them and the Unlimited page read royalties, and use all the promotions they offer. You can always extend the Select program, but if you miss the renew date, you cannot cancel the Select until the next 3 months is up.


message 39: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 611 comments For anyone who might not be aware: KDP Select exclusivity only applies to ebooks/digital copies, not paperback distribution.


message 40: by Evie (new)

Evie Sparkes | 3 comments I did not know that. Thanks Marie, that's very useful info.


message 41: by Evie (new)

Evie Sparkes | 3 comments Thanks all,
I guess I'll do the 90 days and then make a decision moving on. It was just something I didn't really give enough thought.


message 42: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments Marie Silk wrote: "For anyone who might not be aware: KDP Select exclusivity only applies to ebooks/digital copies, not paperback distribution."

I did not know that! Awesome!


message 43: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Bald | 10 comments Camille wrote: "I suspect this question is so remedial that everyone gets how this works but me. I cannot find a relevant discussion anywhere.

I'm a new author and have found it necessary to enroll in KDP Select ..."


Just a note: You can sell your book on Amazon for as low as 0.99 for a short time to do a promotion elsewhere, or as a continuous set price (your royalty is 35%, though.) Smashwords has "pay what you want" price setting for book shoppers, and when I did that for my book, the buyers always paid zero. Human nature! That free promotion didn't affect my Amazon pricing because the Smashwords book was still listed at the same suggested retail price as Amazon's, although you could get it for free, if you chose to pay zero.


message 44: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) Jillian wrote: "Smashwords has "pay what you want" price setting for book shoppers, and when I did that for my book, the buyers always paid zero. Human nature!..."

I wish we writers could somehow get to an "enjoy for free, then after you enjoy it come back and pay what you think it was worth" place with readers. Readers treat writers with less respect than they do buskers.


message 45: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Bald | 10 comments Lark wrote: "Jillian wrote: "Smashwords has "pay what you want" price setting for book shoppers, and when I did that for my book, the buyers always paid zero. Human nature!..."

I wish we writers could somehow ..."


👍


message 46: by Marc (new)

Marc J. | 65 comments so far all my books and my daughters books are from amazon with the exception of one sale on barnesandnoble

I think for ebooks you can't beat amazon cause you can make money from page reads if you do kdp select .

amazon others your ebooks two ways of generating income.

I find their acx for audio books great because you can get a voice actor /narrator for free.

I got one audio book done and my daugthers first audio book is in the approval statges and her second audio book should be done soon.


message 47: by bill (new)

bill (bmorgens) Thank you for the very useful information.


message 48: by David (new)

David Rex (thenewoldones) | 2 comments When it is exclusive, is that for the whole work or every part of it?

What I'm asking is, could I publish one story out of a collection on my site for free, or would that violate the select terms?


message 49: by Tomas, Wandering dreamer (new)

Tomas Grizzly | 726 comments Mod
David wrote: "When it is exclusive, is that for the whole work or every part of it?

What I'm asking is, could I publish one story out of a collection on my site for free, or would that violate the select terms?"


I think you can't have the individual stories wide while having the collection in KU. If that was possible, then I think some people would cheat the system by having a book in KU and having it split into several "episodes" elsewhere (let's say, by 10-chapters).
I am not sure what would happen if you had one of the stories on your personal website as a "sample" because KU allows samples as long as they are less than X% (10, maybe?).


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey jack!

I'm not a KDP expert, and I've made my share of mistakes using the service...

But having said that, if by "going wide" you mean expanded distribution, then KDP select is the way I went. First, I wanted the promotion feature. You give away free copies, in hopes of building word of mouth, a reader/fan base, and reviews. Secondly, expanded distribution royalties pale in comparison. They use an example of a $15 book yielding $4.15 in royalties from KDP select, and only $1.15 through expanded distribution.

Yes, you want your readers to walk into that Barnes and Noble and see YOUR book sitting on the shelf. We all want that as authors! But....if your book is only available on amazon, and you make $3 bucks more, you have to have faith that they'll find you.

That's my two cents, but there's a whole section I would look over if I were you. Go to your KDP bookshelf, click "help" in upper right corner, search until you feel like you know what you're doing. (I'm still searching...)

Good luck!!


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