Why KDP Select is probably bad for self-published authors in the long run

I know it's not directly webfiction related, but I figure a lot of you cross over into self-pubbing as well... so you might find my thoughts on this interesting.


Whether you agree with them is an entirely different matter...

Of course it's terrible. As an independent, whether small press or self-pubbed, you have to reach as many readers as you possibly can -- KDP requires you to hamstring yourself from the start. It forces you into their pocket for a deal that's worse than creating a non-exclusive Kindle version.

Amazon is one of the most predatory corporations in recent memory, especially with regards to their publishing/bookselling arm. They've tried to pull several major dick moves over the last few years and they're not going to stop now. I have no idea why anybody falls for it.



Well right now it's the only space where self-publishers can find a semi-friendly environment to work in, with the exception of Smashwords, but your stuff sells so much faster at Amazon than it does on Smashwords that it's not a valid comparison. And it's a service Amazon wants to succeed because they want the lending program to take off and they need content, so authors figure a) I have a better chance of getting eyes on my work, b) I have a better chance of getting money off it, and c) it's not like I was making a lot of money anywhere else. Which is probably true, and the idea of being introduced to something they don't see every day (i.e., money) can make it difficult to think long-term, especially if one of the things you keep thinking long term is "is this the year I pack it in and give up?"

You're right, Amazon is a ridiculously aggressive and anti-competitive company. They're sort of the Wal Mart of the Internet. But they are a place where some self-publishers have shown tangible results, so the things they do will be enticing even when they're against an author's long term interests.

Anyway, that's why I think they fall for it.

I find this all very interesting and enlightening, as I'm eventually going to package & self publish chapters from Worm.

I think I'd be skeptical of the offer from the outset, because the amount offered to be divided among the KDP Selecters is (as far as I've observed, please feel free to correct me) wholly at Amazon's whim... so it's like, possible outcomes are:

1. I take the deal, make my book(s) available, it takes off, Amazon offers decent amounts, I get a decent share.

2. As above, but my books don't take off. I've no more options, have shot myself in the foot.

3. As #1, but Amazon doesn't offer a decent amount. I've no more options, have shot myself in the foot.

4. #2 & 3 combined.

I'm a bit of a pessimist, being inclined to buy into #2 or #3, so it just doesn't appeal at all.

Afraid I don't have much more to add. Thank you for sharing, Ubersoft.

But Chris, it's entirely possible to put your stuff on Amazon, on the Kindle, without using their shitty anti-competitive service. My books are all available on Kindle and I certainly haven't signed to KDP. So I really, really cannot see any justification for the awful deal they're offering.



I agree with you Ryan. :-) But success stories are compelling.

There's Barnes and Noble, too, if you're in the States. PubIt! is actually pretty easy to navigate.

I'd have to be getting a pretty sweet cheque to give Amazon 90 days of exclusivity on anything I put out.

So yeah, I'm not a fan of KDP Select.

KDP Select has had mixed feedback from writers, and mixed successes. There are good reasons to do it, and 90 days isn't long for exclusivity. It's not like you can't ever put the book out through other channels when the 90 days is done.

It depends what you're looking for! The free days seem to be good for increasing exposure and visibility, especially for self-published authors who don't have big marketing budgets. Almost all writers report that they have an increase in sales as a result of the ability to offer the book for free on limited days (even if the increase isn't huge or what they had hoped for).

There's a good collection of various authors' experiences, stats, and results here worth checking out: http://jdcurrie.blogspot.com.au/p/thoughts-on-kdp-free-days.html