So, I've been thinking lately a lot about the KDP Select program. Mostly, I've been wondering if it would be worth my time at this point to put one of my works into the program and see what happens. I know there are many people who have had great success with using it, but there are also many people who have tried it without any benefit, or at least very little benefit. There are opinions on all sides, and I wanted to share with you a little about what's going on in my head on this.
KDP Select appears on the surface to be a really neat thing. You get some free promo days, you get to be part of the Amazon Lending Library, and those things hopefully lead to more exposure, leading to more sales, leading to more bling in your pocket at the end of the day. Sounds good, right? Unfortunately, you give up being able to sell your wares anywhere else, and that is what has me tied up in knots.
See, with the continued growth in ebooks around the world, it behooves the author to try to offer their books in as many places as possible. I'm only speaking from an American perspective here, so people outside of the U.S. will have a much different perspective (and one that I hope you would share with the rest of us!). There are plenty of other countries that speak and read in English: U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and many others that I can't think of. Wouldn't it be smart to offer your books to those folks as well? If so, then the KDP Select program cuts you off from these avenues.
Coming back to the U.S., the next biggest competitor to the Kindle is the Nook from Barnes & Noble. Right now, I'm not confident that the Nook will continue being a viable alternative in a couple of years unless the management figures things out and invests in what their customers want. And Apple is making more and more inroads with ebook readers, both in the U.S. around the world, as is Kobo. All of this points to how unstable this industry is at the moment, since any given week something dramatic could happen.
Should I do KDP Select? I still don't know. I'm leaning towards trying it out with one of my new works, since I wouldn't have to worry about other outlets as those wouldn't even be up. But, it seems like everyone now is doing this, so the effects are diluted, which is why I think more folks are seeing very little results now versus when KDP Select was brand new. There was a short window of opportunity that really helped to "make" some people, but now I fear that it's turning into more of a gimmick than anything. To wit, I find myself seeking out free books that I probably wouldn't pay money for, and I'm stockpiling them on my Kindle. I have no idea when I would get around to reading some of these, but I have them. Do I really want to have one of my works languishing around on someone's Kindle that wouldn't read them for a while, perhaps a long while, if at all? I'm not sure. If they don't read it, then I have no reason to expect them to read anything else of mine.
I certainly haven't gotten many sales of my current novel or short story, but at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that those people that have purchased them, more than likely really wanted to purchase them, and didn't just get them because they were free for a couple of days. It's a form of discrimination - I'm purposefully looking for people that are buyers, and not only buyers but buyers of the kind of fiction that I enjoy writing. Is that wrong? I don't think so. It's not all about the money, or at least it shouldn't be. Money is nice, but it's not everything.
I guess in the end, I'm still in the "waiting" camp. I'm waiting to see if Amazon will take away the exclusivity they have built into the Select program. I'm waiting to see how the industry continues to evolve as ebooks continue their advance around the world. I'm waiting to see if a set of circumstances arises that convinces me to give Select a shot. I'm waiting...are you?