Three myths about KDP Select by Maggie Ball

Three myths about KDP Select (and how you can capitalize on them)

Guest Post by Maggie Ball

Are you a self-publisher? In 2011, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) started a program called “Kindle Select”. To enroll in it is easy. When you upload your book into KDP, you’ll be asked if you want to enroll. Tick yes, and you’re in. That’s all there is to it, but is that all? What does it mean? In a nutshell, enrolling in KDP Select means that, for the period of enrolment, you have to commit to making the digital format of your book available exclusively through KDP. You aren’t able to distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including on your website, blogs, etc. This means that it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to enroll in KDP Select if your book is with a traditional publisher, as they’ll want to sell it from their own site and other sites as well. The benefits of doing this are:

•    Your book will be available from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library for anyone who joins Amazon Prime.  Every time someone borrows it, you’ll get a share of at least $6 million throughout 2012
•    70% royalty for sales to customers in India instead of the standard 35%
•    Use of a Promotions Manager tool that allows you to schedule 5 free book days a year.

It seems like a simple trade off – exclusivity for benefits, but confusion and mis-information abounds.  Read on for the three biggest myths about KDP Select and what you can do to make sure that you utilise the benefits of this program to its full capabilities.

Myth one: KDP Select means you can’t sell your book on other sites.
When you enroll in KDP Select, you only have to commit to 90 days – roughly three months. After that you can put your book up anywhere. This means you can try it out, use it for a bit, and then opt out. But be careful.  When you sign up, there’s an auto-renewal box.  If you don’t tick off that, or diarise the renewal date, you’ll automatically be renewed and then you’ll have to wait another 90 days to opt-out. Also remember that you are free to sell print and audio copies of your book anywhere while you’re in KDP Select – it’s only for digital editions.

Myth two: If you put your book into KDP readers will come.

No promotions work without effort on the author’s part, and as more and more people become aware of KDP Select, the number of people participating in it will grow, which means more noise and more competition for attention. You’ll have to get the word out and promote your involvement as hard as you promote anything else to do with your book. Tell readers that your book is always free to borrow for Amazon Prime (you can see what Amazon gets out of it!). Tell your readers when there are free days and make sure you maximise those. Tweet and use appropriate hashtags (like @KindleBookPromos). Tell Kindle book blogs. There’s a great, all-in-one-place compendium of these sites at: Don’t just hope people will find out about it.

Myth three: KDP will cause you to lose sales.

Giving your book away doesn’t cause a loss of sales. It’s well known that giving your book away can dramatically increase readership awareness, potential reviews, and ultimately, sales (just ask Cory Doctorow). The more people who have heard of you, the more people will hear of you. That’s called “buzz”. It’s good.

So there are your three myth, busted.

Magdalena Ball runs The Compulsive Reader. She is the author of the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Love this article. Thank you Magdalena and Karen. I shall tweet and Google Plus it. (-: My friends who write need to see this.

Do hope that many will support poetry and Maggie's and my experiment in using Kindle to promote it!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, thanks for stopping by, leaving a comment, and sharing the post! That's how it's done!