KDP Select, Yes or No? 2013 365 Challenge #160



I’m thinking of putting Dragon Wraiths back in the KDP Select program. I came out of the program after my three months were up, because I wanted the book to be available for Nook as well as Kindle. I’m trying to be patient – it was only cleared for Premium Catalogue on Friday – but I’ve yet to find it on the Barnes and Noble site, which kind of defeats the point.

For those of you who don’t know, the KDP Select program allows self-published authors on Amazon to have a few extra benefits in exchange for exclusivity. Benefits include a higher royalty rate, the opportunity to offer the book free for five days every three months, and inclusion in the Amazon Prime lending scheme.

I had virtually no copies of my book borrowed in the three months I was a member. While I did have 1200 free books downloaded over the three months, it didn’t result in a mass of reviews or extra sales (unlike fellow author Rinelle Grey), and it doesn’t matter what royalty rate you’re getting if you don’t sell anything. So I opted out.

The depressing brown line

The depressing brown line

However, since doing so, I haven’t sold a single book. Not through Amazon or through Smashwords. Clearly there is some additional marketing or promotion that comes with the select program that is harder to quantify.

Sales aren’t about money for me at the moment. I pay more each month in National Insurance fees to be self-employed than I earn from book sales. But sales give me motivation. As long as I sell a few books each week I feel like a writer. The cost of childcare, the lost opportunity-cost of me staying at home rather than stacking shelves at Tesco, they’re all worth it.

Without those sales, though, I feel invisible. A wanabe. Darn you, Amazon, for catching me in your honey trap. I’ll give it to the end of the month. But if there are still only brown bars on my sales report I might have to rethink.


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


Claire hugged her friend tightly, feeling already that pregnancy was putting some welcome flesh on her thin shoulders.

“You take care. If there is anything, anything, I can do in the next couple of weeks, please call. It’s important you don’t overdo it.”

“I know: happy pregnancy, happy baby. Mum tells me that all the time.”

Claire hadn’t meant anything of the sort – it sounded like hippy nonsense – but she nodded. Kim and her mother were in a much better position to know what might affect a growing foetus. She’d merely been worried that Kim wouldn’t enjoy her wedding day if she was so tired she fell asleep at 9pm in front of the fire.

“Sorry I have to rush off. I would stay longer, but I’ll have Carl on my case if I don’t start blogging again soon. I’m heading over towards Ludlow, so I won’t be far away. Blogging about a wedding at a hostel is going to be my trump card to keep the bastard off my back for a bit longer.”

“Did you tell him about your wrist?” Kim looked in concern at the still-bandaged hand.

Claire shook her head. “It’s the weekend. Carl has to be home with the kids or his wife will divorce him. That’s why he works such long hours during the week. I’ll email him tomorrow, not that there’s much point. Except I suppose I can write a post on how not to hurt yourself when learning to snowboard.”

Kim reached forward and hugged her friend again. Something in the embrace brought a lump to Claire’s throat. There was too much understanding in her hold. Trust Kim to see beneath the façade. She always did, damn her.

“Where is your next destination,” Kim said, when she eventually let go.


“Claire, that’s miles away! In Sunday night traffic too. You’re crazy.”

“It was the only hostel with a bed. Besides, it’s only a couple of hours and, once I’m over in the west, or The Heart of England as the YHA calls it, there are loads of hostels to stay in. I’ll be fine. It was that or some eco lodge in the National Forest. I’ll take a lovely Georgian Mansion any day. Maybe they’ll even have a last-minute seat at the theatre.”

“Okay, now I’m a bit jealous. I’ve got rehearsals first thing, all I’ll be doing this evening is sleeping. Well, as long as Jeff lets me.” She gave a knowing smirk. “He’ll be home soon. I’m sorry you missed him.”

I’m not. The thought escaped before Claire could squash it. It wasn’t true, not really. She loved Jeff. She’d even come to terms with how gorgeous he was, and no longer had to have a cold shower every time she saw him. But ten minutes of happy families was ten minutes too much.

“I’ll see him at the wedding. Give him my love.”

She reached forward for a last, quick, hug, and shouldered her rucksack. Time to hit the road.


10 thoughts on “KDP Select, Yes or No? 2013 365 Challenge #160

  1. How frustrating! I have heard whispers that select gives you some visibility benefits, but I haven’t had anything to compare it to (and book sales can be so variable anyway!), so I can’t say for sure. I’ve also heard that the other retailers can be hard to break into! Hope you get some sales soon!

    • Thanks, Rinelle, I think it’s a time for patience. Volume five of Claire isn’t on Kobo yet, even though it’s been out ten days. I’m used to instant results for things. Also volume three isn’t on ibooks at all, so I guess there’s an element of luck. I discovered two five-star ratings on kobo for volume three of Claire which has given me a lift. I just need to wait a bit longer and see what happens when/if Dragon Wraiths gets picked up by the other distributors.

  2. It must be terribly frustrating for you. How do you go about getting your book not only into Nook, but Apple, Kobo, Sony, Waterstones, Gardners? I see Claire is in Kobo but not Dragon Wraiths.

    • Smashwords is meant to have affiliate relationships with all the other suppliers but it isn’t automatic, even when the book has been approved for premium catalogue distribution. My Claire books are mostly there on Barnes and Noble and in the ibook store, so it mostly works. I don’t know where my downloads come from though, they may all be from my website or the Smashwords site, although I do have some reviews on Barnes and Noble…

  3. sorry your sales are slumping! this is really good to think about before I withdraw from KDP Select. There might be some more promotion through amazon that you don’t see if you’re not select. Thanks for sharing! hope things pick up!!!

    • I heard a rumour that having 5 five-star reviews helps,but I don’t know if it’s true. It’s easier to get into KDP Select than to get out of it, so I’m glad I dropped out for a few weeks to try other things before getting locked in for another three months. Hopefully things will pick up.

  4. KDP Select is not the same as it was last year. I tried it for a few months, but decided publishing short stories, making them free on other sites, and waiting for Amazon to match them works better. Having multiple works definitely helps with sales.

  5. Pingback: Book Sales and a Desire to Give Back to My Community | Susan Wingate

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