Indie book marketer Rose Andrade has researched author reactions to Amazon’s KDP Select program that allows authors to sign up for the Amazon Prime lending program and offer their ebook at no charge for up to 5 days during each 90-day period:
For the past weeks I’ve obsessively searched author boards and blogs for information about results on KDP Select. I must have read every post about it. Okay, maybe not all of them, but most of them.
I wanted to answer the question: How is KDP Select working for indie authors? While I didn’t find a definite answer, I observed a wide range of opinions on the subject, and I saw consistent patterns, which I share below.
Indie author’s perceptions of their KDP Select’s “free promotion”results
Author’s responses fall into three main groups:
- Outstanding performance group: These are the authors who reported excellent results. KDP Select’s free promotion propelled their e-books to the top of Amazon’s charts. They’ve seen thousands of downloads. They’ve also seen sales trickling to their other items. They know they’re part of an exclusive group who achieved something outstanding and are astonished by their results. A good example in this group is author David Wisehart, who’s currently blogging his amazing free promotion success (spoiler alert: almost 10K downloads!) and his sales volume after his promotion ended.. . . .
- Pleased majority group: Authors in this group are pleased with their results, even if those results are more modest than the group above. Most authors are in this category. These authors reported a wide range of downloads achieved by the promotion, ranging anywhere from 50 to 600. What binds such a wide range together is the fact that all of these authors reported they made the top 100 charts in their specific genres/categories, or even the Top 100 on Amazon’s Free on Kindle Store ranking.. . . .
- Unimpressed few group: A few authors are unimpressed (and even disappointed) with low download numbers. I encountered reports of downloads as little as nine, eleven, and fourteen after their promotions ended. (One post was all I could find where the author claims to have zero downloads. It wasn’t clear in the post if the free promotion was over or ongoing.)
. . . .
Genre matters: Just like with e-books, the likelihood of getting thousands of downloads and becoming part of the “Outstanding performance group“ is higher if your title falls in one of the popular genres. I recall reading a post from an author whose literary title download volume was about 1/5 of her science fiction one.
. . . .
Your self-pub age matters: Many authors in the “Outstanding performance group”appear to have (what I will call for a lack of better word) seniority. They’ve been at e-publishing for a while and usually have a number of selling e-books under their belts (and perhaps solid networking platforms).
. . . .
As you may have noticed, I didn’t address the number of “borrows” that indie authors are receiving, for a number of reasons, which includes the fact that not everyone is reporting them. Conversely, those who reported are getting very few borrows. It seems that overall authors are less interested in making money from KDP Select’s fund than having the five free promotion days to gain exposure. Therefore, the real value of KDP Select for indie authors seems to be the five days of free promotion and the opportunities those can create.
Link to the rest at EPub World and thanks to husband Curtis for the tip.
You can include Passive Guy in Rose’s “Pleased Majority” category.
About three weeks ago, PG self-pubbed a fantasy manuscript that had been sitting on his hard drive forever. He just slapped it up with no marketing support. Sales were minimal. Don’t be like PG with your book!
On December 27, PG signed the book up for KDP Select and started a five day free promo. As of this morning, he’s had 375 downloads and the book has climbed as high as #37 on Amazon’s epic fantasy list. No one has borrowed the book so far.
The Titanboar Touchstone is free through December 31 (and worth every penny).
PG had not planned to mention the titanboars on this blog, in part because of the frequent presence of far more skilled authors than he, but decided adding his experience to Rose’s research might be helpful to others.
Based on his own experience, PG consulted with Mrs. PG and one of her books, Cankered Roots, started a free promotion today. Unlike her husband, Mrs. PG is a real author and this is the first in a series of mysteries featuring two genealogists who manage to find murder clues in the family histories of the victims.