To KDP Select or not to KDP Select?

We’ve wrestled of late with the question of whether or not to utilize KDP Select. Not familiar with the program? KDP Select is the Amazon/Kindle exclusive 90-day program wherein authors have the ability to promote their ebooks by making them free on Amazon for up to 5 days within the 90-day period. This allows authors to potentially interest some new readers, who may select to purchase their books in the future. In the meantime, it drives up the book’s ranking in the Bestsellers lists and Popularity lists on Amazon (and in Hot New Releases, if it is within its first 30 days). Another benefit is that authors share in a piece of the Amazon “prime” pie if they choose to make the title a part of the Amazon lending library, and the author’s slice of the pie is based on the number of lends for the title.

The exclusivitity does not extend to physical or audio books, so an author can still sell everything but ebooks anywhere and everywhere.

(To read a great article discussing KDP Select and promotions, we recommend David Gaughron’s Popularity, Visibility, & KDP Select. To see what Amazon has to say about their program, visit their KDP Select page.)

I can’t pretend to understand (yet) all the algorythmns for “Bestsellers,” “Hot New Releases,” and “Popularity,” but  do know that my combined sales on other ebook sales outlets are not enough to keep us from experimenting with KDP Select. Especially now that I have six titles. Why is the multi-title aspect important? Because each promotion period on each book hopefully impacts each other book positively. It’s a “multiplier,” if you will, as to the KDP Select benefit to us. Meanwhile, our long-range strategy is to help each book have long-term sell-abillity. We think of my writing and our publishing as an investment in our retirement, not as a “quit the day job” endeavor.

So here’s our plan for the next 90 days:

Remove our titles from all other ebook sales outlets

  • Begin with a 5-day free promotion of Saving Grace (we have missed the 30-day window by the time Kobo, Apple, and Barnes & Noble release it for exclusivity in KDP Select — bad planning on our part).
  • Concurrently drop prices on other ebooks to $2.99 for the duration of the KDP Select “run,” except when those books get their turn at a free promotion.
  • Follow-up every two weeks with 5-day free promotions of Hot Flashes and Hot Ironmans, The Clark Kent Chronicles, How To Screw Up Your Kids, Love Gone Viral, and Puppalicious and Beyond.
  • Concurretly drop price of Saving Grace to $4.99 or lower for duration of KDP Select “run.”
  • Promote the free download periods like mad as each occurs.
  • Promote the lending library inclusion like mad concurrently.
  • Evaluate our strategy as of mid-January, and decide whether to remain in KDP Select or return to widest possible ebook distribution.

Our hope is that with this 12-week promotion of my books, that each will have some cross-pollination of the other, thus promoting me and lifting my author rank (which is quite respectable now) at the same time as lifting the rankings of each book. While we may have made this decision too late to impact Saving Grace in the Hot New Releases category, we aim to interest buyers leading up to the critical holiday sales period.

Wish us luck. And happy publishing!


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