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.

‘The Dry Lands’ Launch Party – Game 2!

When you share this post, please remember to hashtag #HutchnAris!

Game 2 should be interesting. 😉 I pulled an excerpt from The Dry Lands but took out a few things. I want you to fill in the blanks (copy and past the excerpt with your words in a comment)! Have fun with it! 😀

The Workers had tossed him out like the _____; a piece of _____ no longer needed. Just like that — his life was supposed to be over. With a grunt and a considerable amount of _____, he bent his _____ at the _____, cringing as the sound of his _____ rubbed unnaturally against the _____ sustained from the fall. The dry air zapped all moisture from his mouth and he _____ to keep from _____ out the _____ that swirled around his tongue. _____ was precious in the Dry Lands. Even if one was lucky enough to end up in the unforgiving desert with water, a man simply did not _____ out his life-source onto the _____ earth because of a little sand.

Lucius Speaks! Tara Wood’s Characters Stop By for a Chat!

Tara Wood and Lorecia Goings have brought us Lucius (The Fallen)

via Moon Rose Publishing

Now, as a super fantastic treat, Tara shares her characters with the Blog today! You can’t miss this one…

Tara, you know I love your work. Thank you for sharing the world of Lucius with us today. Now you sit back and relax, grab a coffee, put your feet up, and let me do the rest of the work. Mwah!

Give me just a second to rearrange my furniture a bit so everyone fits *glances nervously at all the hawt men sitting in the living room – draped across the sofas and chairs like throw blankets* – Domniel, Jude, Mordecai, Elijah…Lucius – everyone ready? *All smiles and nods from the men*

 

Let’s just jump into the questions, shall we? I know Tara and Lorecia have you all on a busy schedule these days. *laughter* So, every character on the page and off needs flaws – that’s what makes them stand out from the rest. But most of the characters in Lucius are physically flawed in some unique ways. Who would you consider to be the most flawed – emotionally?

L: *wry smirk* Anybody care to put out there how you’re screwed in the head?

*soft murmurs and furtive glances to the floor*

L: Okaaay… *laughs* I guess I’ll start. I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the fall wreaked havoc on us emotionally as well as physically. I came out the least unscathed, I suppose, since there’s nothing really physically wrong with me. But what I feel goes so deep, sometimes that turmoil is physically painful. I had a hard time relaxing. I always felt that I had to fight, that I had to do something. The sense of urgency was crippling.

*nods from the rest of the angels*

J: I don’t like to be touched.

D: *ugly snort* Understatement of the century, dude.

J: *shrugs it off* It fucking hurts. Pain is the only way my body reacts to touch. It’s okay, though. I’m dealing.

D: *snorts again* If you say so.

*awkward silence*

L: I don’t know that one of us is more broken than the other. We all had our part to play in how we got here, and the physical punishments are manifestations of the consequences of those actions. There is an emotional tie to the physical. They’re connected. And it’s something we’ve never really discussed amongst ourselves. *goes quiet* It’s sort of like living it all over again.  Losing Heaven wrecked us in different ways. All of them painful.

 

If the pain between you is equal, surely who you see as a leader isn’t? Is there anyone of the group that stands out as the ‘leader’?

J, D, M, E: *in unison* Lucius.

E: *signing* It’s always been Lucius.

 

I’ve got to say I figured as much. There’s a certain air of…respect…around Lucius. So, at the end of the day (or night) when things calms down for you all…how do you like to relax?

D: Wild Turkey and hookers.

M: *rolls eyes* Lige and  I read a lot.

D: That’s all you do. You’re boring as shit.

E: *flips Domniel his middle finger* *group laughs*

J: *smiles* I’ll take the Turkey. No hookers.

L: I’m beginning to enjoy quiet evenings in with Persephone.

*loud, agonizing groan from group*

L: What? There’s more to life than drinking and getting laid.

J: That’s real nice, boss. When you find out what that is, you let us know.

 

Awwww, Lucius just won points with his love, that’s for sure! Who has the kinkiest sex fantasy of the group? Yes, you must share it with us.

D: I might have imagined my own harem once. All those nubile female bodies so eager to please. Then again, maybe that’s Tuesday.

L: Dom….

D: What? Hey, I kept it clean. You’ll notice the big guy over there hasn’t piped up. *points to Jude* That motherfucker over there’s probably into whips and chains and shit. And the Wonder Twins are a set. Nobody seems to want to talk about that. *jerks head toward Mordecai and Elijah* How many chicks have you seen come between them?

L: Dom…

D: *flashes bright grin* I mean, compared to you guys, I’m the only normal one in the bunch. I just happen to indulge a lot more often than the rest of you. I can’t help it the ladies find me exotic and hot. It’s the hair. Chicks dig my hair.

 

*Eyes Jude, Mordecai and Elijah with interest but moves on after being ignored* Gentlemen, if any of you could reverse your roles in Lucius (The Fallen), who would want a change – and why?

J: *eyes downcast* I would rather be any one of you than myself. I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.

M: I think I would trade with Lige. *pats Elijah on the shoulder* So I would know what’s it’s like to be the other part of me.

E: *smiles at Mordecai* *signs for Lucius to translate* Agreed. I would love to switch with Cai. At least then I wouldn’t have to listen to all the shit that falls out of Dom’s mouth.

*laughter*

 

*Laughs* Jude, I’m hugging you in my mind, love. Staying on topic (sorta) – Can you tell us what your meaning of ‘Love’ is, and have you ever been in love?

D: A soft, warm, willing female body. I love that.

*Elijah and Mordecai snort loudly* *Jude and Lucius roll eyes*

L: I think love is different for all of us. I found Persephone. She has a good heart and a beautiful smile. And I love the way she makes me feel. She makes me a better man. That’s love.

If love really does conquer all, what challenges have you overcome in the name of love?

L: *grins* Killed some demons, got my wings back.

*group applauds*

 

*Claps wildly, then composes self* So, describe your definition of ‘true love’ for us…

L: Persephone.

J: Something that is all-encompassing, that stops your heart, that makes you feel like you can’t breathe. Something that lasts forever.

E: *nods in agreement* *gives a thumbs up*

M: The sound of laughter. *Elijah smiles and nudges his shoulder*

D: *sniffs* Doesn’t exist. It’s a fairytale for chicks.

*group shoots Domniel a sad look*

 

*Jots down notes to ask Dom more about this at a later time* On the flip-side of love is hate. Tell us more about your relationship with Lucifer.

L: *glares* Next question.

 

Ok. If you could spend five minutes alone in a room with Lucifer, but you could not touch each other, what would you say to him?

D: *lowers voice to menacing* I believe the man said next question. Let’s move on, shall we?

 

Point taken. Moving on. *wiggles uncomfortably in chair* Tell us more about what’s in store for all of you.

L: *with conviction* Doesn’t matter. It’s in His hands. Whatever path he puts forth, we will follow. We serve Him.

*group nods with sober expressions*

 

 

I think I hear Tara calling for your return. She’s done sharing you, I’m afraid. Thank you all for joining us today and sharing a little bit more about you. I know I don’t speak only for myself when I say that I can’t WAIT to see what happens to you next! Much love to you all! *Stands and hugs the men one by one, except for Jude*

 

Can’t wait to read more about these characters?

Buy the Book and follow the Authors online so you will be one of the first to know when the story continues!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000447_00008]

 

Follow Tara Wood on Amazon or Facebook

Follow Lorecia Goings on Facebook

Follow Moon Rose Publishing

Happy Reading!!!

Just in time for Halloween…’I Hope You Find Me’ is FREE today!

For today only – Wednesday 10/24 – I Hope You Find Me is FREE on Amazon!

Check it out, download a copy, share the link with your friends…and enjoy the journey!

Like Book Trailers? You’ll LOVE this one!

So excited to share this today! It’s the book trailer release of ‘Once Upon A Twisted Time’…YAY!!!

Click HERE to watch the awesome trailer made by Moon Rose Publishing. 😀