Hopefully the Bard’s lawyers will let that one slip. While there has been plenty of articles and debates on the merits of Amazon’s Kindle Select Program, https://kdp.amazon.com/select, I figured now is as good a time as any for me to weight in; especially since I have some first hand knowledge. I decided to try out Amazon’s Kindle Select Program with my latest novel, Undead Heart. Basically what enrollment in Kindle Select provides are: lending of your title through the Kindle Reader Lending Library and a share of the global fund, access to promotions and extra advertising and full 70% royalties from some international markets. All that it asks for in return is your soul. Only kidding, but Amazon does ask that while enrolled in the program your title be digitally exclusive to Amazon’s Kindle store. You can, however, sell paper copies through any channel you wish.
Looking at how my previous two works performed in other digital platforms, namely, Barnes and Noble’s Nook store, Lulu.com and Smashwords, my main question was what would I be sacrificing in sales from those channels. Sadly the answer was not much. My sales across those other platforms have not even been a fraction of what I sold through Amazon. I figured I was not giving up anything but maybe a bending of principle with giving Amazon exclusivity to my work, if only for the time being. That is correct. The way the program works is I can choose to leave at any time to pursue other options for my digital sales.
My novel released on the 13th of December last year. To date it has not moved much on the Kindle lending library so that almost appears to be a nonstarter at this moment, but I still have hope. I have to say my pleasant surprise came from the promotion I ran after the 30 day mark on January 13th to the 20th. I ran what Amazon calls a Count Down promotion. You can for the period of the promotion reduce the price of your title and then over time have it gradually increase back to the original price. The best part is you keep the same royalty rate as you normally would have on the title. For my promotion I just went with a 99 cent sale for the whole week. During the week of that promotion my sales jumped 200%. Despite the the reduced royalty, 70% of 99 cents instead of $2.99, the promotion accounted for a 300% revenue increase over the previous week. Color me impressed. The biggest payoff to me however was in seeing my book shoot above the 70,000 mark in Amazon’s best sellers rank. On launch my title entered around the 200,00 mark so this was a big showing. Even after the promotion ended the effects of the rank boost carried through for the following weeks.
As you can tell, I am very impressed with how the promotion turned out. I am currently planning a similar promotion at the six month anniversary of the launch. Who knows, maybe once some more reviews show up for my title the lending library numbers will increase as well. Beyond that I do not know if I will remain with the program or as my next book comes out, enter that in the program and send Undead Heart to other digital channels. I have found the Kindle Select Program to be a very attractive option. Is it right for your work? I am afraid only you can answer that.