For those of you who are not familiar with Amazon’s KDP Select program, authors who use the program promise to not offer any other digital copies of their books from any other services for three months at a time. Amazon’s KDP is the sole proprietor rights to the author’s digital book for distribution. If at any time your book is discovered being offered on another website then they will remove your book from KDP and you will lose your profits for those three months.
One of my concerns were that although I was doing well in sales overall, at the time I was hardly getting any readers checking out my book from the Amazon Prime library, which made me question why I was staying registered with Amazon’s KDP Select program. I had heard of authors who had done well on Smashwords.com and I thought it would be great to be on almost every platform out there. My next concern was that I had received several comments from people interested in checking out my book, but they had an Ipad/Iphone or Nook and were wondering when it would be released on Itunes.com or Barnes and Nobles’ website. The last concern was that I only had one book, which in my opinion limited many of the benefits of utilizing Amazon’s KDP programs. Since my book was selling at my planned pricing point I’d came up with to encourage new readers to check out my writing, I didn’t use any free book giveaways except for what I found on Goodreads.com and self-promoting on Facebook during author meets.
Initially when I went with Amazon’s KDP Program I had a number of coworkers who approached me and said that they’d seen my book advertised in an Amazon email suggesting books they might want to check out based on the reading preferences. This was great news and awesome advertising for me via Amazon and something I felt like stopped showing up after I left Amazon’s KDP Program. Again no hard facts here, but that is the impression I’ve gotten over the span of a year of being within the program and of being outside of the program. Within the first three months my book was out I hit the #23 spot on Amazon’s Fantasy Superhero category. Although that is a small subgroup it is still a huge accomplishment for any writer, new or not. I held around that spot for another three months, which was basically up until the time I left Amazon’s KDP Program. After that my novel continued to sell, but the numbers started to dramatically decrease over the next six months.
I did keep my initial account on Amazon and only used Smashwords.com for all of the other sites. My sales in Smashwords.com were less than stellar. I would put them at the same level of my sales in Amazon’s KDP Program only without the email promotions from Amazon for my book. I felt like on all of these other websites my book was buried in a sea of novels and the companies that were hosting these sites had no need or desire to help promote my work in any way. It has been a real let down. On the flip side if I had a better marketing mind, this might have been a better option for me, but during some of my author meets the fellow writers I spoke with also seemed less than thrilled with their performance on Smashwords.com or were worried about changing what was working for them. After trying this out for myself I can understand their hesitation.
After answering Jeff’s question I realized I would be going back to Amazon’s KDP program once Destiny is ready to be released. Now that I have experience from both side of the coin, so to speak, I have a better understanding of this process. I don’t regret trying out Smashwords.com. If I hadn’t checked it out I would have been wondering the whole time if I’d made a bad call. You know that saying, the grass always looks greener on the other side. Well now I know. Also, I know in time for the release of my second novel.
Anyway, I hope this helps fellow writers out there looking at this same question. Thanks for bringing the question up Jeff.