Two weeks ago, I announced that I’ll be self-publishing Baby Grand as an ebook through Amazon’s KDP Select. Last week, I blogged about why I decided to self-publish my novel. Today, I’m discussing why I’m using KDP Select.
For those unfamiliar with KDP Select, it’s a new option at Amazon in which, in exchange for exclusivity on your eBook for three months, you get some extra marketing/royalty help. For instance, as part of the program Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle device can “borrow” your eBook from the Kindle Lending Library (even though members read it for free, you still earn $$$$ based on several factors — how many times your book has been “borrowed,” the number of total borrows for all KDP Select books for the period and how much has been invested in the program by Amazon in that given month).
In other words, Baby Grand, for the first three months of its publication, will only be available to Kindle customers, who will be able to buy the ebook for their device or Kindle Apps during the period of exclusivity, or “borrow” it from the Lending Library if they are an Amazon Prime member with a Kindle device.
This means I have had to tell more than a few non-Kindle e-reader users (including my sister-in-law) that, no, they couldn’t buy/read Baby Grand until August, when the exclusivity deal is over, especially now that I don’t plan on making a POD paperback available until later this year. And every time I say that, there’s this undeniable lump in my throat as I hope that these people will indeed stick around and wait the three months and that I can maintain some excitement for the book in the interim.
Why do it this way?
I admit that it does seem a bit counter-intuitive to offer your book only to a segment of the reading population when all you want to do is sell as many copies as possible.
The thing is, though, that marketing is vital to new authors. And Amazon is offering a set of promotional tools to help authors get the ball rolling. I think that’s invaluable. In my tenure as a blogger (just celebrated two years!), I’ve seen lots of fanfare surrounding the publication of self-published books — all the authors’ friends and relatives and followers buy up a bunch of books the first few weeks, but then things die down. Quickly. It’s very hard to get noticed in a sea of self-published titles (not to mention the traditionally published ones) beyond your core fans, even with a pretty solid platform and consistent marketing.
Therefore, I thought it might be a good idea to give KDP Select a try in order to generate interest among the Kindle community (a not-too-shabby group of millions of readers). Say what you want about Amazon — and people have said many things lately — but it sells books. A lot of them. Most of the people I know buy their ebooks from Amazon. I, personally, have been a loyal customer for years. (I actually own two Kindles — both of them given to me as gifts — and am an Amazon Prime member.) This seemed like a smart stepping stone into fiction publishing. It also seemed like the right thing to do from the get-go, rather than making Baby Grand available to everyone first and then trying KDP Select sometime down the road.
I think of this as a limited release, kind of like an independent film that starts off in a few cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, and then goes wide to a larger audience.
And if this doesn’t work? Hey, it’s only for three months — unless, of course, the limited launch is so successful that I decide to re-enroll in the KDP Select program for another three months. In which case, it looks like my sister-in-law will be waiting until Christmas.