Why I decided to use KDP Select for my new releases

So I’ve been on the fence about KDP Select, the tool Amazon offers by which authors make their titles exclusive to Amazon for a period of 90 days and in exchange they get a few perks like being offered for free in the Kindle Unlimited program (think Netflix for books, or a library with a $10 membership fee), the ability to offer your book for free for a promotional time period (you get 5 days that ou can make your book free in each 90-day period) and the ability for Amazon Prime Members to borrow your book from the Kindle Online Lending Library (authors are paid a fee per borrow, and are paid a fee for every time the book is read past 10% in the Kindle Unlimited program).

I’ve had books in KDP Select before Kindle Unlimited (KU) came along, but nothing since the new program happened. When I was in KDP Select, I made one Bubba story free each week through the 90-day cycle, then repeated. So if you wanted to read every Bubba story for free, you could do that. My hope was that people would read the free story, then immediately run out and buy all the rest of them. I don’t know how often either of those things happened, but my sales were pretty steady while I was in the program. But after a while, and with everything that went on in 2014 (well-documented on other posts here and on Facebook), keeping up with the free days just became more than I could managed, and since I hadn’t seen any significant increase in sales I withdrew.

Now the tinfoil hat crowd would tell you that my sales immediately tanked, and I was being punished for leaving the program and Amazon’s mysterious algorithms were skewed to help authors in the program, etc. etc. While all that may be true, my sales didn’t immediately tank – they held steady at about the same level they were when I was in KDP Select. For several months. Then sales did indeed start to taper off, but I don’t think lack of participation in KDP Select had anything to do with it.

I wasn’t writing and publishing new material. Let’s take a look, shall we?

2010 – 2 Publications

2011 – 11 Publications

2012 – 17 Publications

2013 – 2 Publications (there were other things, but I wasn’t necessarily the one publishing them)

2014 – 5 Publications (not counting the 2 this week)


Notice anything about that? Yeah, when I was selling a bunch of books, I was writing a bunch of books. I published more than a book a month in 2012, and not even a book a quarter in the two years following. No wonder my sales declined – my productivity declined. Can’t blame Amazon’s math for that!

So now that I’m writing again, and writing a lot again, why did I enroll the two newest books (Elf Off the Shelf and Raising Hell) in KDP Select? There were a couple of reasons.

1) The Kindle Lending thing and Kindle Unlimited thing suck for novels, but they’re pretty good for short stories. You see, you get paid based on how many things are borrowed, and how much money is in the pool. Lately it’s been a little over a buck. That’s half what I would get from a $2.99 novel if it were sold normally, but it’s TRIPLE what I get from a $.99 short story over it selling normally.

Here’s the math, which most folks already know. If I price a book at $.99-$2.98, I get 35% royalty. If I price it at $2.99-9.99, I get 70%. If I go over $10, it drops back down to 35%. So whenever you buy a Bubba short story, I get $.34. If I get a little over a dollar on the borrows, then I get three times the normal money, and people can read my story for free.

So that’s one reason. The other reason is that I hadn’t tried the program since KU started, and I wanted to see what it was like.

I also wanted to offer Raising Hell for pre-order, and was under the mistaken impression that I had to be in KDP Select to do so. That appears to not be the case, so I was wrong. Oh well, the book is up and available for pre-order and will be released on January 20. I’m pretty excited about this new series, it takes me to a darker place, lets me write in a harder tone, and lets me play with uglier villains. I hope you like it. I was really trying to channel the old Garth Ennis run on Hellblazer, so I hope I did it justice.

Also, if you want more bloggy type things, let me know. I have a bajillion comments to moderate in the queue, but once I get through those I’ll start replying. Until then, you can always find me on Facebook or Twitter. Peace out.

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