As you already know, I have long been on the Amazon Kindle bandwagon for several years, ever since I originally published the most recent edition of Flagrant Foul. Back then, you know the Kindle was a clunky, expensive device that was embraced by early adopters and authors, such as myself, who saw the value in the e-book revolutions.
Fast forward a few years, and not only has the Kindle evolved into cheaper, more accessible device, including its multi-function Kindle Fire, it introduced an application that allows people who don’t own Kindles access to their now wide selection. And for authors, they’re set up Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), so that they could use Amazon as a one-stop self-publishing shop.
To up the ante, Amazon also introduced authors to the KDP Select program, which gives them the opportunity to create free promotions to readers, and also put books into the Amazon Prime lending library.
Now, as much of a fan of Kindle as I’ve always been, I have found that participating in KDP Select has one huge catch.
You can only be on Amazon. Otherwise, your book can be listed on Amazon, but isn’t eligible for promotions and you’re not in the Amazon Prime lending library.
Originally, this wasn’t a problem. Years ago, before e-readers such as Kobo, Sony and Barnes & Noble’s Nook took off, not to mention Apple’s e-book accessibility on iTunes, Amazon was really the best place to go for e-books. Also, converting your book to a e-book was a tricky proposition as well, with the now-defunct Mobipocket as your converter.
But then Smashwords came along and made conversions and distribution to many different ebook outlets very easy (though, the turnaround time for distribution is a source of much debate). However, as mentioned before, doing so will eliminate you from KDP Select.
If you don’t go this route, though, what is the benefit of KDP Select? The promotions essentially set aside five days every three months where you give away your book. You won’t make a dime, and, even worse, if people download your book and don’t post any reviews, is it really worth it?
Having used the free promotion tool a few times and while netted zero reviews, I’d say no.
Results may vary, though, and perhaps you’ll have better luck than I did. But remember, you step outside of Amazon, and this tool will magically disappear.*
*And by disappear, I mean it’ll take Amazon about six months from the moment they discover your book on another site, so maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all!