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Pamela Crane
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Archived Marketing No New Posts > To KDP or not KDP...that is the question

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message 1: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Crane (pamela_crane) | 23 comments So, right now none of my books are KDP exclusive. However, with Kindle Unlimited having come out, I was considering going KDP exclusive. I do sell on B&N and iTunes, but the sales are not significant enough that I would shy away from removing my distribution from those sites.

Any input on Kindle Unlimited and if it's worth it to be exclusive? I've gone back and for with this distribution dilemma...


message 2: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Siegrist (amandasiegrist) | 190 comments I distribute through smashwords and amazon. I haven't had any significant sales through either (I am new though), I don't want to rely on just one retailer at the moment. So I haven't gone exclusively with one retailer. That's just me. I'm curious to what others say as well.


message 3: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Kaplan | 47 comments I started out doing KDP exclusive and after a few months scaled back so I could do iBooks, B&N and smashwords. After about 9 months I was making sales on Amazon and not a single one on the other sites. So I switched back to exclusive so I could take advantage of the tools they have so you can run sales.


message 4: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 1042 comments There's really no clear answer to that. Some people get a significant boost from Kindle Select (what you call KDP exclusive). Others, like me, got nothing extra out of it. In 120 days, I moved one copy of one book via Kindle Unlimited.

In my case, I couldn't see limiting my distribution for no gain. So I moved them out of that program and deistributed through Smashwords. Got no giant boost from that either, but at least I did push a few copies.

YMMV


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm new too and my thinking is that to gain exposure to a larger audience via Select and KU is a good move for my next pub. You only need to leave it in for a three-month stint, and can then take it elsewhere if you're not getting anywhere. But I think to get help help on growing an audience it's a good move. Make sure to do the free days, and try to get even a couple of advance reviews up to attract readers.


message 6: by Mark (last edited Apr 29, 2015 03:28PM) (new)

Mark Purifoy | 10 comments When I first published my book, I chose to go KDP. I believe that it is really beneficial to be enrolled in KDP. When I chose to make my book free for a few days, the number of downloads jumped through the roof, mostly because I literally told thousands of people about it (social media). With that, I was able to gain a number of readers, and I hope that they enjoy my work and spread the word about it. Once my three months are over, however, I do not plan to enroll in KDP again. I would like my book on several platforms.


message 7: by Ken (last edited Apr 29, 2015 03:37PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) One of my four books has never sold at all on Smashwords or any of its markets, so I just moved it back to KDP Select to try the Kindle Unlimited feature. I'll give it three months to see if I get any results, and then decide if I want to pull all of my books from Smashwords and go exclusively with Amazon. At the moment I'm having problems with glitches ("Look Inside" at first, and now rankings) that the technical staff at Amazon can't seem to fix, and for that reason I may not want to put all of my eggs in that one basket.


message 8: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) For me, Select makes sense. I see my highest sales come through on my completed series where I offer the first book for free at least once a month. I get a pretty equal number of borrows and sales on the rest of the books in the series.
On everything else, which includes two standalone books and a fledgling series that won't be completed for a while, there's no real advantage at the moment.


message 9: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Crane (pamela_crane) | 23 comments The dilemma for me is that I do actually sell on other channels. Not a ton, but a few a day. My interest is mainly if Kindle Unlimited actually delivers significant income from borrows, or if I'll end up getting ripped off from a bunch of borrows that don't turn into income. Plus, I'd like to try Amazon's advertising (pay-per-click, I think?), which I believe is only for Select authors. Is it worth the price, though?

Christina, I follow a similar thing you do--I offer my prequel for free (perma-free, though) and that equates to pretty decent sales of the sequel (on all channels, though, not just Amazon). But perhaps I'd get even more "sales/borrows" if I put the sequel on Select... I just hate to lose my other sales on other channels while experimenting...

Ken, I'll be curious to hear if Kindle Unlimited ends up working out better for you...


message 10: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Okay, if you are getting sales per 'day' on other channels, I can't see any advantage to going exclusive. The borrow payout is roughly $1.20-1.50 depending on the number of folks borrowing and to even get it up at that level, Amazon is padding the pot quite a bit.


message 11: by Stacey (new)

Stacey Culpepper | 23 comments My thoughts really resonated with Amanda's comment! I'm a new author and have gone through Smashwords and it's only been few weeks since I've published my titles and made some sales. Being new I don't want to limit my chances of exposure through several channels. I have yet to publish hardcopies but it's a toss up between Ingram spark or Create Space.


message 12: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments For us, KDP Select has been great. The main thing is KU. That has boosted our income by 30-40% since it was introduced. The promotional options have been useful, but KU has been a huge plus for us.


message 13: by Anita (new)

Anita (anitalouiserobertsonyahoocom) | 50 comments I like KDP, because I don't mind being strictly with Kindle - I know people who have downloaded the free Kindle app and read my book on an i-Pad, on a smart phone, and other devices besides Kindle. As an Indie, I publish my paperbacks at Createspace and go exclusively with Kindle. Amazon has always done right by me!


message 14: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Crane (pamela_crane) | 23 comments Owen, thanks for sharing that. I like the concept of KU since members can borrow the book for free and thus there seems to be a greater likelihood that I'll get more borrows than I would sales. Especially since the pool of authors in KU isn't as competitive, so my chances of getting a borrow seem fairly good.

Btw, do borrows count toward rankings?


message 15: by Owen (last edited Apr 30, 2015 02:04AM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Pamela wrote: "Btw, do borrows count toward rankings?

Not towards bestseller rankings. How -- or if -- the KU programs handles ranking is not something I've investigated yet. This is an area where Amazon may make changes.

We face the opposite problem you mentioned earlier: if we gave up the KU income, how would we replace it thru other outlets? Given that Amazon has are 65% of the market, our work would have to sell as well on all other outlets just to break even. Since all outlets are not created equal, that seems unlikely, and that we'd actually make more seems very unlikely.

If the KU payout slumps a lot (it's been about $1.40 recently; last month a little less), that would change, but the program does seem to be growing in popularity and it does not seem to be competing strongly with sales.


message 16: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments I've had my first book in Select for almost 2 years, except for 6 months when I tried other channels. I sold very few copies through those and went back into Select.

However, that was all before KU. Tomorrow, I'm going to repeat the experiment by dropping Select again, even though borrows account for almost 60% of my sales on Amazon. With the payouts for KU dropping each month, it won't be long before they reach $1. Time will tell if I have better luck with other channels now.


message 17: by Harald (new)

Harald | 120 comments Hi! New here...Two points not mentioned by OP or others RE: KS/KU...
(1) length and (2) price. The word I'm hearing from another forum (OK, KBoards) is that KS/KU is very positive for shorter lengths with low price points, especially when Borrow payouts exceed the sales price.


message 18: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Ken wrote: "With the payouts for KU dropping each month, it won't be long before they reach $1..."

What we've seen -- and this is just our experience -- is that while payouts have dropped a little, the number of loans is going up, so net income is still increasing.

The main question is the extent to which Amazon is subsidizing KU. If Amazon is running a loss on it, at some point they'll make changes, but I've heard no reliable data on that yet.


message 19: by Charles (new)

Charles Hash | 1054 comments They can definitely afford to run it at a loss.


message 20: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Amazon as a company has been running at a loss for quite some time. It seems to be their MO. That being said, I do tend to point this out to anyone who wants to talk about how they are an evil entity. Keep in mind that many things may have changed since I did my research years ago, but the main reason I went with Select was that Amazon truly had the most indie-friendly business model.
There are some things that annoy me, like the All Star program that just rewards those who are already making enough to buy boats and those who know how to game the system. But overall, I don't see Amazon ever allowing the borrow payout to get much below $1.25 based on how much they throw into the pot at the end of each month.


message 21: by Harald (new)

Harald | 120 comments Christina wrote: "For me, Select makes sense. I see my highest sales come through on my completed series where I offer the first book for free at least once a month. ..."

Question for you: How are you offering "the first book free at least once a month" when Select only gives you 5 days over a 3-month period? Are you spreading those 5 over 3 months? Or... ? Thanks!


message 22: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Crane (pamela_crane) | 23 comments Harald wrote: "Hi! New here...Two points not mentioned by OP or others RE: KS/KU...
(1) length and (2) price. The word I'm hearing from another forum (OK, KBoards) is that KS/KU is very positive for shorter leng..."


So from what I gather from this thread, KU can be profitable if you aren't seeing many sales in other channels, and it's ideal for shorter books?

Any other input on how to "work the system" to make KU a profitable venture? While I don't like the idea of being exclusive (since I do actually get decent sales from my other channels), a lot of non-Select authors have complained on how their sales decreased after KU was implemented, which leads me to believe that KU subscribers are only picking KU books and thus if you don't belong, you're essentially losing potential sales.


message 23: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Harald wrote: "Christina wrote: "For me, Select makes sense. I see my highest sales come through on my completed series where I offer the first book for free at least once a month. ..."

Question for you: How ar..."


Yes, once a month means one day each month. I don't see any advantage to offering my promos for any longer than 24 hours.


message 24: by Owen (last edited May 13, 2015 03:06PM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Pamela wrote: "So from what I gather from this thread, KU can be profitable if you aren't seeing many sales in other channels, and it's ideal for shorter books?"

I have heard different sides from the KU debate, but I cannot evaluate them because things might differ by genre, and things also appear quite different based on relative sales volume. At a low volume, one is basically talking about "random" events and it very difficult to assign a "cause" to them.

I doubt there is anyway to make KU "more" profitable, it's just a different way for people to get your book. Once a person joins KU, price doesn't matter to them or length. If they are interested, they can grab it.

The "shorter is better" idea is probably an artifact of the condition that 10% of the book must be read for the loan to count. So for our 1st book, that's ~16 pages, while for the second book, it's well over 50. It might be the case in general that people are more likely read at least 16 pages than 50, but we haven't seen that.

Of course, we don't know how many people borrow the book and don't read it, so the percentage per book can't be ascertained. But all our books do well in KU.


message 25: by Harald (new)

Harald | 120 comments Christina wrote: "For me, Select makes sense. I see my highest sales come through on my completed series where I offer the first book for free at least once a month." ... "Yes, once a month means one day each month. I don't see any advantage to offering my promos for any longer than 24 hours. "

Aha. Thanks, Christina.


message 26: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Christina wrote: "I don't see any advantage to offering my promos for any longer than 24 hours."

For Countdown deals (I think Christina is referring to free promos above), you can run them for a week, but our experience has been that we see a sales boost for the first 3 days or so, and then sales return to roughly the normal level, which means we're just losing money at that point.

We have done a couple of Countdown deals with multiple steps ($0.99, $1.99, $2.99) but saw no benefit. My feeling is that reader don't see a $3.99 book offered for $2.99 as "discounted" so at that point, we were again, just losing money. For us, discounting the book by at least 50% for 3-4 days has given the best results.

Our experience is the same as Christina's on free promos: two days in a row confers no additional advantage over one.


message 27: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Crane (pamela_crane) | 23 comments Owen wrote: "Pamela wrote: "So from what I gather from this thread, KU can be profitable if you aren't seeing many sales in other channels, and it's ideal for shorter books?"

I have heard different sides from ..."


Thanks, Owen. I think it may be worth a shot with my next book and see how it performs for me. Then if it seems to earn more profit than I'm getting from my other sales channels for my other books, I might do the switch for all of my books.


message 28: by Ken (last edited May 14, 2015 01:53PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I removed one of my books of short stories from Smashwords about 2 weeks ago, and made it exclusive to Amazon KDP so that it would be free with Kindle Unlimited. Sales so far? None. When I offered it free for a day or so on Smashwords, I had about a dozen downloads, but on Amazon it's probably one in a million, so possibly it won't do as well there as on Smashwords.


message 29: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Ken wrote: "I removed one of my books of short stories from Smashwords about 2 weeks ago, and made it exclusive to Amazon KDP so that it would be free with Kindle Unlimited. Sales so far? None. When I offer..."

That's an interesting datum, as I think short stories collections are a different market than novels. I was involved in publishing a short story collection on Amazon 2 years ago, and its sales were quite dismal at any price. People did download it when it was free (100's or copies per free day), but I doubt it sold 10 copies in a year, and the author pulled it. (Never got a single review either.)

I thought it was well written and well produced, but it was by a new author without any other books, and never got any traction on Amazon. I wonder if it might have done better of Smashwords.


message 30: by Ann (new)

Ann Werner (writingfool) | 36 comments Ken wrote: "I removed one of my books of short stories from Smashwords about 2 weeks ago, and made it exclusive to Amazon KDP so that it would be free with Kindle Unlimited. Sales so far? None. When I offer..."

Interesting. I read somewhere recently that Smashwords is a better venue for short stories and singles than Kindle. I've got some books exclusive with KDP and a a few that are not. Interestingly, a short story I have with Amazon just sold a couple of copies this month - I've got it on Barnes and Noble as well but I never get much out of that venue.


message 31: by Sam (new)

Sam Friedman (sam_ramirez) | 83 comments I wonder about the contracts though. I was advised to really read anything I sign with Amazon, because some of their terms are really not author-friendly, especially if I were to have a book "locked in" to KDP. But I have never published anything, so it's just what I've heard.


message 32: by Brian (new)

Brian (BrianFerriskindleauthor) | 22 comments google revealed that the free kindle unlimited borrows reduced a lot of authors kindle sales.


message 33: by B.K. (new)

B.K. Raine (BKRaine) | 57 comments I am publishing Blood Toy on KDP with print available on other retailers. I might do audio as well which would be available on other retailers as well. It is only a 90 day commitment, so we will see if exclusivity pays off.


message 34: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Samuel wrote: "I wonder about the contracts though. I was advised to really read anything I sign with Amazon, because some of their terms are really not author-friendly, especially if I were to have a book "locke..."

I've been quite happy with Amazon's terms, including KDP Select.


message 35: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Brian wrote: "google revealed that the free kindle unlimited borrows reduced a lot of authors kindle sales."

Can you elaborate on that? I've heard the same thing, but if anything KU may have increased our sales. And of course, KU pays as well. Obviously, that won't apply to everyone, but I've yet to see any actually numerical data on the question.


message 36: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Rob wrote: "Histogram of sales on the dif..."

Are the X's days? So 1 day with 3 sales? And 21 days on Play + Amazon with no sales?


message 37: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments May was my first month out of Select for my books (short story collections) and, so far, the pattern I saw a year ago is repeating itself. My Amazon sales dropped and I've sold little to nothing on the other channels. I'm going to give it a couple more months, but it doesn't look promising.


message 38: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) My sales have dropped also–it may just be the time of the year. I'd probably have more cash flow with KDP Select, but I like the idea that my books are available everywhere. It's a greater chance for them to be seen.


message 39: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Rob wrote: "B.T.W, I've pretty much convinced now that if I ever sell a single copy of a short story on Amazon it will be an anomaly (or one of you guys trying to proof me wrong)

Histogram of sales on the dif..."


I think you are forgetting the biggest factor: You have one book on Amazon and Play, versus two books on Smashwords. Multiple publications make a difference. Especially when the stories are part of a series. Very few people are going to take a chance on the first in series with nothing to follow up, especially if there are no reviews that cover the basics (is this a cliffhanger is the biggest).


message 40: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Crane (pamela_crane) | 23 comments So, I took a gamble and switched to KDP for one of my shorter books (to increase my chances of the reader reaching the 10% read quota). Now two weeks in, I went from steady sales on Smashwords/iTunes/B&N to nothing, zilch on KDP.

Based on the feedback here, I suspected it might be a bad move, but I tend to be a risk taker, so I took a shot. I'm planning on using a Countdown Deal once I'm allowed, coupled with some corresponding promotions to generate sales, but so far I'm not too thrilled, since my rankings have dropped since going with KDP. Plus, I hear the ads don't work, so I don't want to throw money at that.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make the most out of KDP, but so far it's a dismal regret...


message 41: by Ken (last edited Jun 05, 2015 07:33AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I also put one of my books into KU and pulled it from Smashwords. It's a pair of novellas and a throwaway short-short with great reviews, and when I offered it free on Smashwords I got quite a few downloads. Now that it's free to KU members on Amazon...nothin'. I'm thinking of putting it back on Smashwords so it can not-sell in a lot more places.


message 42: by Ann (last edited Jun 05, 2015 04:04PM) (new)

Ann Werner (writingfool) | 36 comments Rob wrote: "Ken wrote: "I removed one of my books of short stories from Smashwords about 2 weeks ago, and made it exclusive to Amazon KDP so that it would be free with Kindle Unlimited. Sales so far? None. ..."

How do you 'offer it free for a day or so' on SmashWords.

You can change you pricing on Smashwords and then change it back to your original price when you want the promotion to end or, if you prefer to offer it to only a select group of people for free, you can generate a coupon for the book and give those people the coupon code.


message 43: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Ann wrote: "How do you 'offer it free for a day or so' on SmashWords..."

I did it with a coupon. You give out the coupon code and the buyer presents the coupon at checkout.


message 44: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Ken wrote: "May was my first month out of Select for my books (short story collections) and, so far, the pattern I saw a year ago is repeating itself. My Amazon sales dropped and I've sold little to nothing on..."

Recall that Amazon has a 30-day and a 90-day new-release procedure. Any new release gets its greatest visibility for 30 days, and after 90 days, it falls out new releases entirely.

So almost all books show a dip after 30 days and steep fall-off after 90 days.


message 45: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Pamela wrote: "So, I took a gamble and switched to KDP for one of my shorter books (to increase my chances of the reader reaching the 10% read quota). Now two weeks in, I went from steady sales on Smashwords/iTun..."

Is that the book you also have a free sample up on Amazon for?


message 46: by Ken (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments Owen wrote: "Recall that Amazon has a 30-day and a 90-day new-release procedure. Any new release gets its greatest visibility for 30 days, and after 90 days, it falls out new releases entirely. ..."

True, but my biggest seller has been out for 2 years, and it showed the biggest drop after taking it out of Select.


message 47: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 1509 comments Ken wrote: "True, but my biggest seller has been out for 2 years, and it showed the biggest drop after taking it out of Select..."

Beyond basic things I've heard of (like the 30-day or 90-cycle), what Amazon does is pretty mysterious. I've heard suggestions that KDP Select books enjoy a marketing advantage, probably based on a sales threshold, but I have no reliable info on this.


message 48: by Shari (new)

Shari Sakurai (shari_sakurai) | 64 comments I've been wondering about this too. At the moment mine are distributed via smashwords too but the majority of sales are through amazon. I'm thinking of putting my next release exclusively on amazon and see how sales compare to the ones listed on smashwords before making a decision as to whether they should all be KDP or not.


message 49: by EJ (new)

EJ Fisch (ejfisch) | 37 comments At the moment, about half of my sales are from KDP Select. Both of my novels are enrolled in the program and have been from the beginning. I've been asked about making them available for Nook and on iTunes, but because KDP Select represents such a significant portion of my downloads, I've been a little nervous about canceling the enrollment. There's no guarantee that making them available on other platforms would actually get me anywhere. I suppose I could always take them down and go back to Amazon exclusively if it didn't work out. I think it also depends on what exactly your goal as an author is. At the moment, I'm just trying to increase my audience, and because Kindle Unlimited allows readers to get the books for cheap/free, many of them are taking advantage of that. I may not be making as much money, but that's not my primary concern at the moment. Once I've completed my entire trilogy, I'll see how sales are going and then maybe think about expanding to other markets.


message 50: by Ken (last edited Jun 08, 2015 06:01AM) (new)

Ken (kendoyle) | 364 comments E.J., that makes sense. I do think that Select helps when you're trying to get established. I feel like I should have left well enough alone, but I'm going to wait for a few months before I jump back in. It can take a long while to get the books "unpublished" from all the other sub-dustributors, especially the international ones.


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