In today’s Publetariat Dispatch, author L.J. Sellers discusses her experiences with Amazon’s KDP Select program. This post originally appeared on the Crime Fiction Collective blog on 12/16/11 and is reprinted here in its entirety with that site’s permission.
When Amazon asked me to enroll a few books its KDP Select program, I went along. Like many other authors, because of Kindle Direct Publishing, I now have readers and I’m able to make a small living. So I’m deeply grateful, and even loyal, to Amazon. I don’t necessarily like the 90-exclusivity requirement of the new program, but I don’t sell enough of certain titles in other venues for it to be a financial consideration.
So I enrolled three books out of ten, and promptly listed two for back-to-back, five-day giveaways, the main perk of the program.
The results were better than expected. First, I gave away The Suicide Effect, my lowest-selling book. Between the US and UK, in five days, I had 34,888 downloads. A stunning number for a book with suicide in the title. The book is now #61 in the entire Kindle store and actually selling for the first time. I know this effect is temporary, but still awesome. The bonus is that I have an excerpt of The Baby Thief in the back, and I sold several hundred of that title during the giveaway, and it’s selling better than ever too.
I also gave away The Sex Club, a book that’s already had a lot of exposure. In addition to the 23,868 ebooks downloaded so far, I’ve also seen a bump in the sales of my other Detective Jackson novels…even though The Sex Club is no longer listed as part of my series. (I recently blogged about that decision.)
So it’s been a good move for me. Ironically, two weeks ago I announced to my husband that I was giving up writing novels and looking for an office job…because I was working too hard and making too little money in this crazy industry. The power of Amazon!
Those three titles won’t be available on Nook, Kobo, or any other e-reader for at least 90 days, but I can live with that. I haven’t enrolled my Detective Jackson books in the program, and I don’t plan to. I want readers everywhere to have access to them.
I may never really know the full effect of this promotion. Many of those people will never read either story. Many may not read them for six months or more. But with so much exposure to my writing, it’s inevitable that I’ll pick up thousands of new readers. I’ve already had several people contact me and say something like, “I just started your book, but the writing is so good, I bought everything you have.” When you’re selling ebooks for $.99 and $2.99, it’s not a big commitment for a reader.
I’m sharing this information because many of my writer friends have contacted me to ask about my participation. How can I not recommend it?
But I’m leery of putting all my books in the program. Amazon would have to sweeten the deal considerably, such as by offering me a contract and/or promotional support. But I’m not holding my breath. I’ve worked myself into this position without any help from agents or publishers so far, and I suspect I’ll be indie for the long haul.
What do you think about this program? Have you participated?