As an indie author, you have multiple book sites at which you can sell your books. Some of these include:
- Barnes and Noble
- Aggregators such as Draft2Digital and Smashwords
Given that these establishments have similar rules and royalty schemes (for the most part), putting your books up for sale at any or all of these sites makes sense, right? Sure, except for one thing:
Amazon and its wily ways.
Amazon offers a program called KDP Select, where those with a Prime membership and Kindle device, and those who subscribe to the Kindle Unlimited program, can borrow or read your book without purchasing it. You receive royalties for these borrows, and you also receive opportunities to do price promotions, all of which add up to sales and, hopefully, pushing your book(s) up the Amazon ranks. Amazon explains more about the program in this article.
However, there is a downside to KDP Select: any books you enroll in the program cannot be sold on any other book site. Thus, the question becomes:
Do the benefits of KDP Select offset sales lost on all those other sales channels?
This is a question that all authors, new and established, wrestle with. Some well-known authors laud the benefits of the program, while others think it’s the worst thing ever in independent publishing. And both sides offer good arguments.
In the end, you have to decide whether the program is right for YOU. Moreover, you can pick and choose which books or book series to enroll in the program, as some might be right for it while others aren’t.
Lindsay Buroker, sci-fi/fantasy author and host of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast, wrote an excellent article examining this question from a neutral standpoint. The article, entitled “Should You Go Wide or Join KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited?”, does a good job helping you evaluate not whether the program is good or bad, but whether it’s right for you or some of your books. It’s also a relatively recent article on the topic (May 2015), which is important because the Select royalty payout rules changed just before that and had a lot of authors wringing their hands.
That’s the thing about Amazon and the publishing industry: things change often. What works this year won’t work anymore next year.
Check out Lindsay’s article and decide for yourself whether to give KDP Select a try. From my perspective, when you’re just starting out, you have little to lose by trying it. It’s a 90-day commitment to exclusivity, you haven’t built up loyal readers on other sites yet, and you might generate some readership.
Let me know your experiences with the program…