Dear Indie | KDP Select

While updating my Indie Resources page with links to the most recent posts, I realized that some of my old ones were extremely outdated.

Early on in my self-publishing journey, I wrote a post about publishing through Amazon but hadn’t been able to share any insight about choosing KDP Select. I have that insight now, so I wanted to create this post so aspiring writers have as much information as possible.


What is it and why should you even consider it as a publishing option?

KDP Select is the program that enables Kindle Unlimited. The membership fees that readers pay every month for their KU subscription is pooled together to pay authors participating in the KDP Select program.

The problem is that if you choose that option, it’s an exclusive contract with Amazon for 90-day increments, which means you can’t sell your book anywhere else—even your own ecommerce website if you have one.

The benefit to publishing through the KDP Select program is that it gives you an additional source of book royalties. You get paid for ‘Pages Read’ by Kindle Unlimited subscribers even though they’re reading it for free.

On top of getting paid for pages read by KU subscribers, your book is still available for sale to readers who don’t have a KU subscription.

KDP Select also allows you to run sales on your book for up to 5 days for each 90-Day term you’re enrolled. The sale can be set or scaling, your choice. That means you can either choose to mark your book for 50% off for five days, or you can start the book off for Free and have the price gradually increase back to its original cover price by the end of the 5th day.

I gave my books a long time to sell on other retailers before deciding to try KDP Select. I published through Smashwords, yet after a while, noticed that the majority of my sales were still only happening on Amazon.

So, I enrolled my books in the KDP Select program and left them there until just the last year or two. It got addicting to see all the pages read showing up on my KDP Dashboard, making me feel like my books were getting a lot of attention.

Unfortunately, despite that, my books were no longer selling.

Pages Read don’t count as book sales, which means your book’s ranking on Amazon isn’t increasing despite how popular it might be in Kindle Unlimited. Your book is never going to reach the top of the Amazon charts if people aren’t actually buying it.

With more retail sites opening up, I wanted the chance to sell my books wide again, so I removed them from KDP Select and have seen an increase in books sales ever since.

I have to note that when I first enrolled in KDP Select, sites like Google Play Books were extremely strict about what genres they accepted and mine wasn’t one of them. Now, that’s changed, and Google Play Books is but one of the many sites I sell my books on.

WooCommerce, Shopify, Payhip, and other digital download retailers have also gained a lot of popularity over the years as trusted sites that some readers prefer over Amazon and other book-oriented retailers.

Just recently Draft2Digital merged with Smashwords, opening up more retailers and libraries for authors on both publishing platforms.

So, before you decide to enroll your books in KDP Select, check out your other options. However, another good thing about the program is that it’s only for 90 Days. You don’t have to select ‘Auto-enroll’ if you only want to try it out before making a final decision.

You have to do what’s best for your books because no two authors will ever get the same results. Try everything at least once so you know for sure.

• • • •

❤ What are your thoughts on selling exclusively vs selling wide?

❤ Would you ever try KDP Select just to see what it’s like?

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