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About KDP Select & Multiple Platforms

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We have been getting lots of questions about KDP Select since they introduced the new Countdown feature. Authors who had been leaving Select in droves are returning to try it out.

We are trying it out too and are seeing some promising results. One of Nancy’s books went on Countdown on November 4th and went from #131,000 to #97,000 in just one day and has risen to #47,000 now.

But authors are also concerned because they are excited by the prospects of getting their book on multiple platforms and don’t want to miss all the people who don’t like Amazon!

So here’s a quick rundown of what you can and can’t do if your book is enrolled in KDP Select.

A book enrolled in KDP Select can also be made available on:

  • CreateSpace and other physical book sellers. It isn’t just because CreateSpace is owned by Amazon. KDP Select only applies to eBooks.
  • Audible and other audio book sellers.

A book enrolled in KDP Select cannot be made available:

  • On Smashwords – because Smashwords distribute eBooks.
  • Via other eBook sales platforms.
  • On your website/blog or social media accounts.

Reports are still coming in on the effectiveness of Countdown. We stand by the advice in our book Make Your Book Work Harder that KDP Select is still a good option for new authors. We recommend signing up for one 90 day contract and unenrolling before the 90 days are up. Then you can get your book onto other platforms via Smashwords. If you don’t get good sales on the other platforms you return to KDP Select once you have removed the digital copy from sale everywhere but Amazon. The important thing is to try it and see.

For authors with lists and exiting readerships, KDP Select may not be the best option as you can get  more exposure by making your book available on other platforms via Smashwords. Smashwords has a host of other benefits apart from distribution too.

KDP Select free days used to help books up the bestseller rankings and stay there when they went back to paid. Most authors now say that their rankings slip straight after free days. So the only advantages to free days are the possibility of getting more reviews and the sales bump to your other books. If you have an established list/readership, you can email them pre-launch to request reviews, so bypassing the need to run free days, and you will hopefully be getting sales of your existing books from them as well.

Our plan with Make Your Book Work Harder was to launch it at $0.99 for the first week, to allow people on our lists to get it inexpensively, then to raise the price. It is working. This strategy is covered well in Steve Scott’s excellent book Is $.99 the new free? It working well for us and for other authors we know well.

The other thing that is working is having an email list. That can be done by placing something like a MailChimp opt-in box on your website. If you aren’t techie, a search of Fiverr for MailChimp gigs could reveal some great results:MailChimp gigs on Fiverr | ForAuthors.info

Building a list* (via an opt-in form on your webiste) is a very valuable thing to do and is something that many authors overlook or find daunting. If that’s you then get some help, it doesn’t have to cost a lot.

People don’t generally give away their email address  without getting something in return. So you might want to offer free pre-launch review copies, deleted chapters, a free short story or non-fiction short in return for them sharing their email address with you. And don’t, of course, spam them as they’ll soon remove themselves from your list!

SUMMARY

  • You can be in KDP Select and on Audible and have your book available anywhere you like in paperback/hardback formats.
  • KDP Select is good for new authors, authors starting out in a new genre, or those with a big backlist that could benefit from the exposure a free book could give them.
  • Opt-out before your first 90 day exclusivity contract is up so you can get your book on other platforms as soon as the 90 days are up. If you don’t see significant sales on other platforms, you can remove your book from them and return to KDP Select.
  • The best thing authors can do for their long-term success is to have a website with an opt-in form, to build a list.

 

*What’s a list? Basically a list of email addresses. Using software such as Aweber or MailChimp, you design a web form, which can be placed on your website. This allows people to enter their email address, usually in return for something such as a free download. The email address is then stored and can be used later on when you want to send out a mass email announcing a new book. The software usually walks you through this process and it will generally give you legal advice, such as how to avoid spamming and the wording to put on your website.


 

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