Almost daily I read blog posts, see FB or Twitter posts about KDP Select and if an author should put their books in their program or not. Is exclusivity the way to go or should they branch out, have their titles available on other platforms and struggle to find sales?
Whether or not you choose to go exclusive with all or some or even just one of your titles, is a personal choice. Recently Joe Konrath spoke about how well his back list is doing and why he’s placed all his titles back into KDP Select. You can find his post here. He makes some great points – as always – but there’s a few things he didn’t mention, that I think are important for indie authors to know and understand.
Before you make the decision…
Think about your readers. Who are they? Where did they find you? Have they found you? Finding readers is tough and when you are first starting out, it’s hard to know who your reader is. Yes, you may have the ‘ideal’ reader in mind while you write your books, but until you start to see those reviews pop up and the sales add up, you won’t have a clear picture of who your reader is.
You also need to think about your book. Is it the first in a series? A stand alone? Serial? Do you have readers waiting for this story? If you are a first time author – KDP Select might be a good venue to start out in. It’s only 3 months and if you take advantage of the borrows and free days, you can gain an audience and find your readers. But beware … not everyone will have the success that Joe Konrath has. Remember – he also has publishing contracts with Amazon and so they are actively pushing his name out there – of course he’s going to find success.
KDP Select requires 3 months of exclusivity. Some authors feel that is too long of a time and others feel it’s nothing to be stressed about. You will hear of authors who stress that it’s important not to place all your eggs in one basket, that it’s not worth it to alienate your readers, where others will counsel that it’s only for 3 months and the benefits far outweigh the risks.
It’s a personal decision that only you can make.
Personally – I don’t believe it’s an ‘all or nothing’ type deal. I’ve had books in KDP Select and I pulled books out. I kept Finding Emma in their program – because it was worth it to me – for the borrows. I didn’t use their free days – I find the market is so saturated with free books that it’s hard to stand out unless you are willing to promote your book like crazy. Will I use the Select program again? Yes. But it will be a book by book decision … not all books are suited for select. If you already have your audience – what will drive book sales more than anything else is giving them another book – especially if it’s a series.
There’s also the rumor going around that you will only get picked up by Amazon “Angel” if you are in Select. I don’t think that is true. Yes, it helps, but I don’t think that is the only prerequisite for them to select you for their monthly, weekly or even daily programs. It has to do with your reviews, your sales, your author rank, your over all presence. I was one of the lucky few (like Joe Konrath) who were picked up by Amazon for one of their promos and I believe it’s one of the reasons why I’ve been so successful – but it’s not the ONLY reason. I already had over 200 reviews for Finding Emma, made over $25,000 and had promo’d myself BEFORE receiving their invite to be part of their program. Yes, I was part of Select – but I know of other authors were were not in Select and they were picked up as well.
For every successful story you’ll hear of authors who ‘make’ it thanks to Select, you’ll hear thousands of other authors who are still struggling to find sales even though they are in the KDP Select program. Just like you’ll hear of authors who have ‘made’ it on other platforms – like Kobo, B&N, Apple etc. Remember – it’s about your genre, who your readers are and what you are doing to find them.
Choosing Select is a personal choice and it’s not an all or nothing type deal. The wise author will know what eggs to put in what baskets … (yes, I still have chocolate on the brain).
Be sure to check out the other Indie Authors who are taking part of the Indie Life blog hop.