Sunday, December 25, 2011

KDP Select and Indie Publishing

(This is a repost from My Inner Muse Blog by indie author Lakisha Spletzer)

I've been contemplating this for several days now as I tried to weigh all angles of this rather interesting program being offered by Amazon.

Here's what the Kindle Digital Publishing newsletter had to say about the program:

"KDP Select is a new option dedicated to KDP authors and publishers worldwide, featuring a fund of $500,000 in December 2011 and at least $6 million in total for 2012, giving you a new way to earn royalties, reach a broader audience, and use a new set of promotional tools.

Here’s how it works: When you make any of your titles exclusive to the Kindle Store for at least 90 days, those with US rights will automatically be included in the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library and can earn a share of a monthly fund. The monthly fund for December 2011 is $500,000 and will total at least $6 million in 2012. You’ll also have access to a new set of promotional tools, starting with the option to promote your KDP Select-enrolled titles for FREE for up to 5 days every 90 days.

You can immediately enroll books in KDP Select by visiting the KDP website, where you can also access detailed reporting on the number of borrows for each enrolled title. KDP Select is available for titles participating in both the 70% and 35% royalty programs."

At first, this seems like a good thing, right? I mean, who doesn't want a piece of that pie. However, when you visit the KDP site and read through the FAQ section, you learn that it's not as easy as all that. I decided to break it down for my fellow indie authors and unpublished authors who are considering using the program.

#1) You have to enroll into the program. It is not an automatic thing. If you are a current KDP member, you have to go through your dashboard and select ENROLL. However, there is a catch which leads us to...

#2) If you have your title(s) selling anywhere else (PubIt, Google Books, Smashwords, I-store, etc), you have to remove them for the 90 days that you are enrolled with KDP Select. Why? Simply put, KDP Select has an "exclusivity" clause that mandates your title remain for 90 days and not be sold anywhere else, INCLUDING your website/blog. This is for DIGITAL(EBOOK) format only. If you have your title(s) in paperback or audiobook format, you can still sell that way.

#3) While your title(s) is/are enrolled, readers can still buy via Amazon's websites. That means you are still making royalty on your Kindle sales.

#4) The most eye catching part of the above KDP Select offer is your chance to get a piece of the rather large monthly fund. Now,  if you visit the website, this is the example they use to show you how much you might make in one month:

"Your share of the Kindle Owners' Lending Library Fund is calculated based on a share of the total number of qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles. For example, if the monthly fund amount is $500,000 and the total qualified borrows of all participating KDP titles is 100,000 in December and if your book was borrowed 1,500 times, you will earn 1.5% (1,500/100,000 = 1.5%), or $7,500 in December."

What does that mean? Simply put, unless your book is borrowed a lot, you won't see such a high return during a month. The other downside is the more titles enrolled in the program that month that are borrowed, the less percentage you'll earn.

As an indie author you have to weigh this against what you could potentially make having your title(s) in all the other ebook retailer stores.

I'm personally still debating about whether to enroll some of my future works. I'm not going to do it for any that I have published and available right now. Only time will tell if this idea is a good one or not.


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