Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Selecting KDP Select or Not?

A couple of days ago, Amazon announced a major change to how authors in the Kindle Unlimited program would be compensated. When KU was formed last year, authors were paid if a reader read past 10% of the book length. This led to a lot of authors putting short stories and serials into the program. To encourage authors to add longer books, Amazon will start paying them next month by the number of pages read.

Currently, I only have one short story, "Letters to Psyche," in Select. I prefer to put my work in wide distribution, both to benefit readers and to make sure each book has the potential to give me multiple income streams. That said, most of my sales do come from Amazon. I get a few by distributing through Draft to Digital, even less via Smashwords, and so far none through Google Play. I have put some of my work in Select for brief periods of time. For example, Seasons' Beginnings was in Select for the first three months before I put it in wide distribution. I got a few borrows, but it wasn't hugely popular. However, I put Scattered Seasons in wide distribution from the start because the first book was available everywhere. Since there is a big shift in the Season Avatars series between books One and Two, I plan to write a short story collection featuring the characters from Scattered Seasons and use that as a way to introduce readers to the series. The question now is whether I should make the collection perrmafree everywhere or put it in KU first and see how it works. I face the same decision with "The Unnumbered World," the next story in the Catalyst Chronicles series. All novels from both series will be in wide distribution, but at some point, I may write another series and keep it exclusive to Amazon.

What do you think of the KU Program? Are you signed up for it as a reader or writer? Please let me know in the comments.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I can only comment as a reader. I will download from Amazon if I absolutely have to have a book and can't get it elsewhere. Otherwise, I'm an iBookstore junkie, and if it's not there, I usually don't get it.

Sandra Almazan said...

Thanks for commenting, Alex! Amazon may be mighty, but they're not a monopoly.

Maria Zannini said...

So many people bash Amazon, but as a consumer, they have been outstanding as a seller. I check them before I check anyone else.

As far as their new changes though, I find that they always seem to lack enough information.

This business of paying an author on how many pages a person reads (in borrowed books) is ambiguous. What if I page through the book? Does their programming assume I'm a fast reader and count it as a read book?

KDP is a conundrum for most authors. My opinion is only anecdotal evidence since I'd never used it, but most of the authors I know who've gone that route have done surprisingly well.

It's usually short-lived though. Once the property is yours to distribute at will, sales seem to drop (on Amazon). Whether people can recoop that loss on other venues depends on the individual book.

Pat Dilloway said...

I wrote a blog post about it today as well.

Sandra Almazan said...

Maria, no one can argue with Amazon's customer service. But they are a business, and they have to make decisions to protect that. Sometimes these decisions help authors, and sometimes they don't. I think this change will help some writers and harm others.

Pat, I did see your post earlier but haven't had a chance to comment on it yet.

Juli D. Revezzo said...

I'm not a fan of Kindle Select/Kindle U. Yes, I do have short stories in it, and I'll tell you why: I don't care if someone downloads and reads 10% of the story. I have them in the program simply to use the free days. It's so much easier to give a story away for free there than it is to go about trying (begging, pleading, sacrificing to the Kindle gods) to get them to price match. Otherwise, I'm unimpressed with KS/KU.

Sandra Almazan said...

Juli, Amazon was quick to price-match Lyon's Legacy, but not my latest work. I may put some works briefly in Select, but I won't keep a novel in there long-term.

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