1 month into KDP Select – my thoughts so far… #indiepub #selfpub #writetip

I signed up to KDP Select in August 2016. It was a horrible experience to unpublish with Smashwords after all the work that goes into preparing the manuscript for them. It feels like a step backwards to remove the book from so many book buying platforms, but I decided it was worth it to go exclusive with Amazon Kindle.

I came into KDP Select with high hopes. There seemed so many benefits of offering them  exclusive ebook rights, and being enrolled in Kindle Unlimited seemed like a win win for everyone.

Well, I’m disappointed to report the results so far are no better than when I was going it alone. I don’t see any benefit to being exclusive, rather I feel tied to Amazon with no help in return. Even running the Kindle Countdown deals has been a disappointment. They haven’t help with the promotion. All it has done is made me clutter my twitter feed, facebook etc with buy my book posts, which I hate. But if I don’t try to spread the word, whose going to know there is a sale on and what’s the point of doing it in the first place?

I did rush into KDP Select without reading the small print, but they draw you in by saying you can reach more readers, earn more money and maximise your sales potential. However, you can only run one promo in one enrolment period. I opted for UK countdown deals, not realising I couldn’t run the US one  at the same time. I also wanted to use their ‘5 day free’ book promotion, but do I want to tie myself to them for 6 months?

I had big plans to approach lots of reviewers in September, but I cannot give away copies of my own book. How ridiculous is that? I believe I may be able to gift copies, but I’m waiting for Amazon to get back to me on how this is done without going against their terms and conditions.

Anyone out there have any advice on how to make the most of KDP Select?

This is a very dispiriting time for me. I don’t like to be negative in my posts, and I’m sure when the next marketing opportunity comes up that I’ll feel more positive again. I suppose I just need to let off steam and then I can focus on finishing my next book. That is why I’m doing this. I love writing and I’ve loved sharing Visions of Zarua with the world and reading the wonderful reviews people have written.

I would just like to thank all those who have supported me. Without you guys, I’m sure I would have given up on self publishing by now.


I’m feeling a bit blogged out at the moment, but I hope to start sharing book reviews, writing advice and my photographs again soon. Thanks for bearing with me.

38 thoughts on “1 month into KDP Select – my thoughts so far… #indiepub #selfpub #writetip

  1. I agree that it’s hyped up, but I didn’t know you couldn’t give your book away to reviewers. I was planning to do the same thing on my blog with a short prequel but now I’m going to have to take it off Kindle. Which sucks after all the work I put in to formatting it. I hope you get the help you needed from them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Interesting post, I have often been tempted by KDP Select but never taken the plunge. It seems successful for some folk, but it’s a big gamble to put all your eggs in one basket. I hope it works out for you, whatever you decide for the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find that the Kindle Countdown deals are not as successful as putting books out for free for the 5 days which are allowed. I had over 2400 downloads of one of my books recently, which is still doing well for sales 6 weeks after the free download ended. When I put a book on for free, I promote it on sites which specifically promote free books. Amazon will promote it though, if the rankings are high enough.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a great number of free downloads, especially if it leads to some reviews. I wish I had tried the 5 day giveaway first, but I jumped in with the countdown deals without reading the small print. Plus I thought Amazon helped with the marketing when you ran deals and didn’t contact any book ad sites.
      I’ve learnt my lesson.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Apart from my German book, I just use the giveaway option for all the books I have the rights to, and also Amazon ads sometimes. Amazon do help with marketing and it’s quite efficient, as long as you pay for it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Suzanne, first off – don’t beat yourself up! As a self-publisher, you have to give these things a go, even if it’s just to find out that they’re not right for you. As for giving away copies of your book, what I learned is that if you download the Book Preview File from the page where you upload your book, you can just send that to reviewers (it’s a mobi file). Also, really push the fact that your book is available to read on Kindle Unlimited (I’m assuming it is, if you are exclusive with amazon). Best of luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Don’t blame you for wanting to let off a bit of steam. Personally, I’m planning on going the other way — taking myself out of KDP Select and moving into other platforms. I used to make more money with KDP, but ever since they introduced Kindle Unlimited, things have been disappointing. I feel that Amazon kind of takes advantage of their indie authors. But I hope sincerely that things turn around for you with KDP Select. Cheers, C.M. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Right….

    You CAN run Kindle Countdown deals on both sites at the same time, I do it all the time. You set up the UK one then go back and set up the .com one. KC is no guarantee of good sales, you have to push the book too, ie tweet it at least 3 times a day with the words ‘only 99p’ in big letters, and RT a lot of other people too. Have a look at my articles on Rosie’s blog about how to get the most out of Twitter – and do what they say!! 🙂 Once you have sold a few books on your Kindle Countdown week, the sales will start. Having said that, sometimes you get a good week, sometimes a bad one. I’ve done Kindle Countdown promos and sold 60 books, and others when I’ve sold 2. The most ever was 128, the least was that 2!!!

    You can give people free copies of your book by sending them a mobi copy, which you can download from Amazon. If you don’t know how to do this, email me and I’ll tell you. Oh – just noticed that Evie has already told you!!!

    Kindle Unlimited is brilliant, if your book is good – it sorts out the wheat from the chaff, as you get paid per pages read. My sales have gone up a lot since it was introduced. It enables people to try the book out without paying for it – what could be better?

    There is no point in doing a free promo if you only have one book. The point of it is to encourage sales of your other books. If you do a free promo a month before the new one comes out, readers will have forgotten it by then.

    Anyone who takes their books off Kindle is saying goodbye to sales – practically all ebook sales come from Amazon. You can’t expect ‘help’ from Amazon KDP (as a self-pub writer it’s all on you, alas!), but it gives you ways in which you put your book ‘out there’ if you’re prepared to work at it.

    Hope that helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s really put it into perspective, thanks.
      I’ve read some of your (very helpful) articles before on Rosie’s site, I think it’s time to revisit them and work on my strategy again.
      I did set up the Kindle Countdown deal for the US to start after the UK, but it got cancelled and the comment states I can only schedule 1 promo per marketplace, per enrolment period (maybe it would have worked if I used the same date?).
      Also the person I’ve spoken to at Amazon seems to think providing mobi copies is against KDP Select T&C’s. Still waiting to hear back from them about it for sure.

      I really appreciate your advice, thanks again.


      • Oh yes – you have to do the same dates or it’s seen as another promotion, should have mentioned that! You want it on the same dates anyway, so you can advertise them together.

        I wouldn’t worry too much about the mobi copy thing, everyone does it. I mean EVERYONE! Amazon say no to stop you giving out free copies that they don’t earn money from, but it won’t hurt if you only give a few review copies out. I’m talking less than 10; you’re allowed to download it for checking anyway, and it seems reasonable that you might do this a few times! The other way to do it, not via Amazon, is to get your original doc converted into a mobi copy, but I wouldn’t have a clue where to start.

        I seem to remember that Georgia Rose wrote a very good article on effective promotion during 99p weeks and free days – have a word with her, she’ll be able to send you the link.

        I think the main philosophy to remember is that if you self-pub, it really is all on you. No-one will do the marketing for you, but others will help if you are generous too – which you are!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like your philosophy! It reminds me that this is the whole reason I went into self-pub, I wanted to be in control and make my own choices.
        I feel much than I did last week about it all.
        Thanks for your advice (will check out Georgia Rose’s blog too).


  7. My experience has been so mixed. I have one little book that I self-published, a humor/travel/memoir, that absolutely took off when I moved it to KS. But when my publisher moved my urban fantasy backlist over, I saw only a small increase—except for the vast numbers that flew out the door during the free book promotions. The Kindle Countdown for the latest book did generate a small sales bump but that disappeared after the promotion.

    But the fact is that for whatever reason, my books really only seem to move on Amazon. So overall, there has been a small increase in backlist sales for the urban fantasy series, and a significant increase in sales for the little nonfiction title.

    I have no idea what conclusions (if any) to draw from this.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, it all sounds so complicated. And seems to take up so much of your time when, I’m sure, you’d rather be writing. It’s so hard for indie writers to get their books in front of the readers…I must confess to unfollowing people when their feeds get too clogged up with constant appeals to buy their books (not you!!) but what else can you do???

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for the update, Suzanne. My own impression is that KDP Select may be fine once one has an established readership, but isn’t the best tool for building the readership up – too many constraints on what you can do by way of free offers.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I had no idea there were so many problems you could have with kdp select. i’ve heard a lot of people going on about how great it is. What does it say about giving away free copies? As far as I’ve known people are always able to give away free copies of their book, perhaps not by official amazon means but in the way you sent me a mobi file long ago.
    I hope KDP select stars to work for you. The only thing that I’ve seen people here already say and seems to be the thing for a lot of people to do is go on about your book being available free on amazon unlimited. Anybody with a prime account may be attracted to that offer. Hope sales pick up either way. Visions of Zarua deserves good sales, it’s still a firm favourite of mine :).
    Good luck with your new novel too. Never worry about putting down your true thoughts even if you feel bad at the time. The blogging community here is all supportive – sorry I’m a bit late in reading this. Take care of yourself ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I have had lots of encouraging comments so I’m glad I wrote about my feelings at the time.
      Re: review copies, Amazon have told me I can give a free copy of a physical product to a customer as long as I state I welcome positive and negative feedback. I assume that means the mobi copies are fine.
      I will try and plug the Amazon Unlimited again soon. Thanks again for your support.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh that’s absolutely fine, many authors just give away mobi files. Maybe they aren’t keen on gifting the books but review copies are fine and of course all amazon reviews should always be 100% honest and as long as reviewers put that they got the book for free that’ll be fine, don’t worry :). Amazon can seem complicated with its rules but it’s not that worrying – being a reviewer I know it can be tough. But don’t worry. It’s more a worry for the reviewer than the author :).

        Liked by 1 person

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  16. I didn’t read all the comments so if this has been answered, I apologize. You CAN give digital copies of your book to reviewers while on Kindle Select. They have to indicate in their review that they’re voluntarily reviewing an ARC copy. No mention of “in exchange for a review” so the wording has changed.

    I give review copies when requested of my Kindle Select book and I’m hoping my latest run with the Free days 2 weeks ago will yield me more reviews. Just make sure you’ve got a good call to action at the end of your last chapter, asking them to leave a review. Kindle does take them directly to the review page but it’s good to see it right after The End as well. I blogged about my kindle select run last week along with the links to the companies I used to promote it, although it was before I set up that not so secret blog on my landing pages site.

    Liked by 1 person

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