The Uncertainty of KDP Select for Indie Writers

Exclusive: unshared and/or restricted. When you’re talking book distribution, being exclusive with any distributor seems a bit…well…crazy, right? Why put all the eggs, so to speak, in one basket – or all the books on one shelf?

Enter in Amazon’s KDP Select.

The program is an exclusive distribution deal for writers that offers a handful of promotional perks. This program locks a book title in to be sold only by Kindle for 90 day periods, in which it automatically renews at the end unless the book is pulled from the program. During that time, the book cannot be distributed elsewhere.

This isn’t an anti-Amazon or anti-Select post, let me just put that out there. I’m not stupid; I won’t bite the hand that feeds me. Amazon sells more books than any other distributor and my Amazon royalties alone account for nearly 3/4 of my income. However, that being said, Amazon isn’t perfect, and Select is even less so. And here’s why I think that:

  • Exclusivity sucks. It’s limiting. It means the author must rely solely on one distribution channel and one group of readers to sell books. Sure, there’s a ton of readers on Amazon looking for those specials, deals and freebies that Kindle Unlimited or the Lending Library offers, but what about those who don’t have a Kindle or don’t use a Kindle app? They won’t find Select titles elsewhere.
  • The numbers don’t lie. My Select sales have always been infinitely small. Always. I’ve never seen a tremendous amount of success from any of my titles that were enrolled in Select. Never. Consider me unlucky.
  • Promotional flops. With Select-only available promotions such as Countdown Deals, authors are afforded the option of putting their Select title on sale or listing it for free, for a limited time. This should help a title attract new readers, preferably a good amount of new readers, during the promotion, thus increasing sales afterwards. There’s no guarantee of success with these promotions though, as Amazon doesn’t suddenly advertise the title under promotion, and my most recent one totally flopped. It happens. It sucks.
  • It’s risky and we know it. All of my Indie writer friends have bounced around with the idea of using Select for all their work, one book/series, or just a few (like I do, for my novelettes) pretty regularly. It’s a hot topic amongst writer friends. Does it work? Who does it work for? Is it worth it? The answer is: Yes, it works really well for some, but not for everyone and not for every genre; Select is not a golden ticket, it’s a risky business move. I don’t know why it doesn’t work for all of us. If I had the answer, I’d have taken advantage of it a long time ago. I’ve some Indie friends who bring in big bucks from Select with some of their series or titles, which is fabulous. I also know of author friends who’ve pulled their Select titles and seen a tremendous drop in sales, or the opposite – a tremendous spike from being able to use multiple distributors. I’ve been on both sides myself. I’ve tried Select for most of my titles initially, to hopefully give it a good foothold via Amazon’s large amount of users. But that no longer seems to work for my titles or genres. And 90 days is a lot of time to lose sales via other platforms like B&N’s Nook or iTunes/iBooks, Kobo, etc… In fact, I’d lose money if I pulled my books off NOOK and elsewhere to list them all on Select. Not only would that suck for the non-Amazonites out there, but it would be a bad business move for me.

So, I may not have the answers, but I do have some numbers. My Station novelettes have been in Select since publication. They don’t sell a whole heck of a lot – really it’s the hardcore Station series readers that invest in them, which I’m very grateful for. I don’t do promotions often because there’s a limited amount you can do in any 90 day period – so perhaps that’s my fault.

Anyway, skip forward to this week. From Monday – Friday, I’ve had a Countdown Deal going for each of my three novelettes. It was an experiment, really. Even though there’s still Friday to contend with, I know at this point, that the promotion didn’t work. The sales for each title are down this week, not up. How is that possible with a promotional deal? Doesn’t seem to make sense, but yet, it happened.

Compared to last week’s sales, NILES is down 56%, MALLORY is down 50% and Kerry-Anne is also down 60%. What the actual F? I kind of want to spell out the word ridiculous to emphasize how absurd those numbers are, but that’s a lot of dashes. I won’t do that to you. I’ll just let you go back now and read those numbers one more time. Like I said: ridiculous.

Here’s a secret – I did NO promotion for this week’s Countdown Deals on purpose. WHY? Because I wanted to see if they work organically to improve sales. And the big fat answer of the week is NOPE. I’ve promoted such deals in the past and seen small bumps in sales, but the real promotion success has come from outside advertising – not with Amazon. Like I said, nothing from Select has ever worked for me, and I’ve had all lengths and genres in there. I actually sell more books on Amazon without being in Select where the ‘promotional deals’ taunt writers. Yeah, scratch your head at that one.

So, what’s the answer? You’ll be mad when I tell you this, but there is no right answer. Because every author’s work, their experience, their email contact list, their overall visibility in the writing world, their social media presence, their covers, their luck, their everything – is different – there’s NO right way for all of us.

Bummer. I know. Select failed me this week, this month really. But I won’t pull my titles just yet. I’m trying to be the glass is half full kind of person. I have another promotion for the novelettes that I can do in the future before their current Select term is up, and it will be another experiment. And the next time – I’ll promote it myself to see if that gives a different outcome. I want Select to work for me. I really do. But it’s a fight. And how long should I fight before I’m ready to submit defeat with Select and win the battle with someone else?

Sure, it could be worse, but it could also be better. This is Amazon we’re talking about. I hope someone is listening.

Wednesday’s Writing Tip – from Kirstin Pulioff!

Manageable Marketing by Kirstin Pulioff

Sometimes the world of a writer becomes overwhelming.  With a never ending list of social media outlets-  twitter, facebook, pinterest, goodreads, google, linkedin, tumblr, blog posts, review requests, fan interaction… marketing becomes a full time job.  If you noticed, that list did not even include the number one thing we should be doing- writing!  Trying to balance between all of these is daunting, and often leaves me with the nagging feeling that I should be doing something else. 

What I do may sound simple, but sometimes simple is key.  I make a list.

Over the weekends I sit down and honestly look at what I want to do that week for marketing and promotion.  The simple action of writing down my list takes the worry from my head, and puts that energy into the paper.  I no longer have to wonder what I should be doing.  I can find it on my list. 

What works for me is to take the long list and separate it into manageable pieces. 

Mondays – Schedule tweets.  Write

Tuesdays- Prepare blog topics for week.  Write

Wednesday – Send out review requests.  Write

Thursday – Interact on goodreads/pinterest.  Write.

Friday- Read.  Write.

That isn’t to say that I don’t do more on these days, but it gives me a starting point.  It gives me direction, and helps me feel more in control.  In the crazy world of writing, sometimes you can feel like it’s sink or swim.  Think of this list as your life vest.  You don’t need it to swim, but it takes some of the load off. 

Thank you so much Kirstin for sharing your Writing Tip with us today – it  may be simple, but no doubt it works! I’ll be doing up my own list starting next week. LOL

You can find out more about the fabulous Kirstin Pulioff and her writing by checking out the links below. Thanks for joining us today for our Weekly Writing Tip!

Kirstin Pulioff

Website:  www.kirstinpulioff.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/KirstinPulioffAuthor

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/KirstinPulioff

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/11281401-kirstin-pulioff

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/author/kirstinpulioff

Setting Weekly Writing Goals

There’s no sense trying to deny it any further – we are well into Monday now. It’s almost noon my time, but it’s never too late to put together a weekly goal for writing. I’m working on two projects right now, so it seems as if I’m making baby steps with my current word count, but if I add the two together, the words are all there.

 

This week I plan on getting out at least 10k total – that’s about 5k words for each book. Since I plan on taking the coming weekend ‘off’ to hang out with the family, and I don’t write in each story every day – this is about 2k for each day. Totally doable but will need structure. It’s time to schedule writing, friends. And I’m not all that fantastic at doing so. I have a 4th grader working on the last few weeks of homeschool before Summer officially starts, her on the Spectrum 4yr old brother who has been a challenge lately, animals that don’t understand they aren’t the center of the universe when I’m typing and a husband. Life, as I know it, will be busy this week. Thus, the schedule.

 

I know not every writer must do this. Some have children in school, outside of the home and write during the day – while others work full-time and write at night. There are so many varying degrees of schedules for a writer I could laugh. 🙂 There’s nothing ashamed about scheduling your creative time – though it often does not come to you on demand. Still, scheduling the time to BE creative is important for some. But this means the Muse must cooperate and show up on demand.

 

How, exactly, does one call on the Muse to arrive bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at a specific time? What works for me is establishing a playlist for each book – that way when I turn it on, I’m already in the groove and read to go. I also read back the last chapter or section of my book, so I know exactly what mindset I was in before. If neither of these work – I jump to my other WIP’s for something different, or I work on jotting down plot ideas till the Muse sparks some sort of interest in sticking around. What’s important is that my scheduled writing time is spent writing. As any schedule – the more you follow it – the easier it will become habit.

 

So, now that I’ve sufficiently prolonged the inevitable, I must begin my writing block for the day. The goal: 2k words total. No playing around till it is met. See you on the other side!

 

Happy Reading!

Happy Release Day – ‘Vigilante of Shadows’!

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Today is the official release of Vigilante of Shadows!

The beginning of a new series from Miranda Stork, the action begins fast and hard with a murder, an immortal murderer, and a bright young police officer caught in the action. Oh, and shadow people and a demon. Did I not mention those? Vigilante of Shadows sets the series off on a path that will be humourous, horrifying, and just a little bit steamy. A path where this time…the whole of humanity hangs in the balance.

Aodhan clutched uselessly at his head, groaning. He knew it was useless, because the voice was not inside his head. It followed him, skimming across buildings and land. It had followed him since he was sixteen, and it still followed him today, like a memory too horrific to be forgotten…

Aodhan is a shadow-demon, hardened and cold after years of being alone, after his love, his Entwined, was cruelly taken away from him. He has closed his heart to the world, and now spends his life ridding the world of men like those who took his beloved away, an immortal hit-man…

Arianwen Harris is a young DCI, working for York City Police. When a known criminal is found viciously killed, she finds herself trailing a hit-man who has seemed to escape clutches again and again…but she begins to find herself drawn to his dark charms and roguish good looks…

As their two worlds collide, Aodhan and Arianwen find themselves coming together to escape a far greater enemy, one that threatens to create a world far worse than the one they live in. As they battle to hold back the oncoming forces, fate has another plan; one to draw them together and heal their broken pasts together…

 

Want more? Here is a little teaser for you:

He paced along speedily, hands shoved deep in the pockets of his jeans. The sounds of the night surrounded him–distant cat song, the steady hum of far-off cars, the soft sound of wind whistling underneath people’s windows. He loved being out at night, not because it was a time when his ‘kind’ were more active, but simply because it was so much quieter than the day. The sounds of people rushing around disappeared, and left a peaceful calm with the soothing darkness.

Of course, there were the voices in his head, but that was another story.

He shrugged his shoulders up, cutting off the wind whistling around his neck. He wasn’t particularly cold, but the noise was annoying when your ears were so sensitive that a pin dropping could sound like a two-ton weight.

Aodhan’s mind went back to the girl from the bar. He hadn’t meant to be so brisk with her, but it was really best that no-one got that close. He…didn’t do well with people any more. They always brought back memories of simpler times, of her. And besides that…he killed people. People who wouldn’t die if they hadn’t found out about them…

Aodhan was a demon.

A rare demon, as well, a shadow demon. He had been born to a Scottish clan just over eight-hundred years ago, to humans. Contrary to what he saw people believed in the media and books, demons were actually born to humans. There was no line of them, like vampires or werewolves. They were simply…random.

When he had been born, there were no noticeable signs of what he was. He just looked like any of the other babies born to them, strong and healthy, but definitely human.

As he grew older, he had shown great proficiency with all weapons, learning faster than any of the other boys in the clan. Even some of the boys older than him had a hard time keeping up. He was never big-headed about it though, simply trying to fit in with everyone else. However, the clan talked about how the strange-eyed boy was so much quicker and stronger than others twice his age, and whispered about ancient gods coming back to the earth. His looks weren’t too odd for his clan, everyone having black, brown, or auburn hair. But his eyes were odd. All others in his clan had mostly blue eyes; some of them had brown eyes. But he had startling clear green ones, more like a cat than a human.

When he was thirteen, he suddenly began developing strange growths near his temples. After going to see the clan’s wise woman about it, she simply cackled, and whispered, “Those who are given the gift of darkness, should not fear the unknown.” He had shaken off the wise woman’s words, telling himself that she had finally gone crazy.

The growths had developed further, until they started to look like small dark horns, about the length of his thumb. They curled close to the curve of his head, smooth with small ridges forming at each stage of their growth. Luckily, Aodhan’s hair grew wild and long, allowing him to cover them up as much as he could.

By the time his twentieth year was reached, he was a well-loved member of his clan. He was kind and helpful to all, and helped to fight off their enemies more times than he could count on both hands. But he was holding a dreadful secret from his clan. Since his horns had grown, he had also noticed many other things.

He had begun to…see things. Shadows.

When he was out hunting in the forest near to their home, he would think that he had seen someone moving in the trees behind him. But when he swung around to face them…nothing. Then he would hear a soft chuckle, his name being called on the wind. At night, in his bed as he tried to sleep, he would see black figures running around the walls.

He had tried to tell the wise woman of the village again, thinking them to be spirits sent to drive him mad, or something worse. She simply shook her head at him, and chuckled, rocking herself to and fro. He had got used to the shadows by now, drawing the blanket up over his head so that he couldn’t hear their taunting murmurs….

Aodhan suddenly stopped walking, snapping out of his daydream. He was sure he had seen one of…them. Looking all around, he scanned the buildings with his vivid eyes. The problem with them was that they could hide anywhere they chose–walls, buildings, floors, anywhere–especially at night.

The red brick buildings around him looked empty, the few alleyways just leading alongside the backs of houses, a small number of bins scattered about. No-one else was walking near him on the pavement, no sound anywhere. Just as he was about to turn around and carry on walking, pulling his jacket up again, he heard something behind him. Something whispery and cold.

“Aodhan…”

 

VoSFirst CoverDraft

All images and writing related to Vigilante of Shadows is copyright and property of Moon
Rose Publishing, and may not be copied, reproduced, or used in any form, digital or print,
without the express written permission of Moon Rose Publishing.

Be sure to check out this awesome GIVEAWAY today – don’t miss it!

You can get your copy of Vigilante of Shadows here:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Moon Rose Publishing

MirandaStork

About the Author – Miranda Stork

I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.

My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.

My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother’s Grimm’s tales…Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!

Once Upon A Twisted Time is HERE! :D

This is the official release day of Once Upon A Twisted Time, the first anthology from Moon Rose Publishing! A collection of dark adult fairytales, these stories will turn your idea of what a fairytale should be on its head! From Steampunk to Fantasy, there is something for everyone in this fantastic collection of four novellas. The novellas are based upon The Little Mermaid, Cinderella, Snow White, and Beauty and the Beast-see if you can work out which one is which! It is now available on the Moon Rose Publishing site, and from Amazon!

 

 

Think you know your fairytales? Think again. These aren’t your normal happily-ever-after. Within these pages, a murderous Little Mermaid gets her revenge, the Cinderella doesn’t really want to wear the slipper, Snow White is up to her eyes in industrial experiments, and the Beauty is in fact the Beast.

This collection of four novellas will surprise you, make you gasp in horror, sigh with relief, and sit on the edge of your seat. And most of all…they will make you rethink everything you think you know about dark fairytales…

Song of the Abyss

Princess Nerissa had envisioned a perfect wedding to a handsome prince. Instead, she fell into a nightmare. When her new husband tries to murder her just hours after pledging his life to her, she must flee towards the sea. Caught in transition from woman to selkie, she is trapped by the dark waters she hoped would be her salvation. Now her destiny becomes that of luring young men to their death…until one comes along that reignites the spark of love inside her. However to ensure her future, she must first face her past. Revenge must be taken…for both her life, and the life of the young man she now loves.

Miss Cavendish and the Spark of Salvation

In a city toiling under the iron fist of the Spiegel Syndicate and its monopoly on coal, Miss Georgina “George” Cavendish is on the brink of a breakthrough that could change the world forever. There’s just one thing standing in her way, her aunt – Xenobia Cavendish. Threatened by her efforts, the Syndicate procures the services of a notorious assassin with a past tied to her own, known as The Huntsman, to dispatch the brilliant scientist. But once he gets a glimpse of the headstrong beauty, will he be able to do the job, or will Georgina sway him to The Cause? And will George find the breakthrough she needs in time, or is New London Town doomed to forever lie under the dark shadow of her aunt’s factories?

Hawke and the Beast

Some curses last forever, and some can be broken with the whisper of three little words. Isabella Rose Woodward fell in love with a witch’s son over a century ago. Her punishment for breaking the young man’s heart was a beastly one. Every month she turns into a different creature, aging on the full moon when her curse allows for a brief return to her human form. Her only salvation is to find a man that will love her as she is…be it adorned in feathers, fur or scales. Has she found this love with the handsome Jasper Hawke? Or will a mysteriously determined Hunter find her first, and snuff out the life she so desperately seeks? A life of normalcy, where she loves and is loved in return… just as she is.

Reborn City

Nyx has one mission in life; bring down the brainwashing of New Omsk’s citizens, and release them from their mundane lives of toil. The year is 2355, and the world is a new place. A Governor is in charge of every city in the world, and humanity is attempting to rebuild itself after recovering from a war that nearly killed it. But this Governor has set his eyes on the intrepid little hacker, Nyx, and he will stop at nothing to get her. But perhaps he needs her more than he ever dreamed he would…as do his citizens.

 

Watch the Once Upon A Twisted Time Trailer NOW!

Want to know more about the Authors?

Author Links:

Lindsay Avalon Facebook Author page, Amazon Author page, Moon Rose Publishing page

Tara Stogner Wood Facebook Author page, Amazon Author page, Moon Rose Publishing page

Trish Marie Dawson Facebook Author page, Amazon Author page, Moon Rose Publishing Page

Miranda Stork Facebook Author Page, Amazon Author page, Moon Rose Publishing Page

Find out more about Moon Rose Publishing on its Website or Facebook page!

CONTEST

Moon Rose Publishing, to celebrate its newest release, is also having a huge contest over on Facebook and their website!

One grand prize winner will win;

* Five free ebooks, including a copy of the Once Upon A Twisted Time anthology * A personalized fairytale ring

* Once Upon A Twisted Time postcards and bookmarks

* Exclusive charm necklace and bookmark from Tara Stogner Wood

* Exclusive Once Upon A Twisted Time glossy poster.

And three runners up will win;

* Five free ebooks, including a copy of the Once Upon A Twisted Time anthology

* And bookmark and postcard swag!

You can enter the rafflecopter contest here

Get your copy of Once Upon A Twisted Time on Amazon today!

Amazon US

Amazon UK