When KDP Select came along a few weeks ago, I was very skeptical. It looked for all the world like another Amazon gimmick to help authors who are already selling a shitload of books to sell two more shitloads. I mean, why would a struggling writer like myself want to put in a lot of time and effort, only to see the big boys and girls walk off with all the sales while I remain buried?
For the uninitiated, KDP Select is a new program on Amazon, wherein a publisher or a self-published author makes a digital title exclusive to Amazon Kindle for 90 days (print versions can still be sold anywhere), during which time anyone with an Amazon account can “borrow” the e-book with no due date. Amazon is putting up around $500,000 a month to be divided among the authors on a per-borrow basis. Readers can only borrow one book per month, though, so you know they’re going to be selective. Meaning they will borrow from among those books that are shoved in front of their faces. Enter the Amazon behemoth and its relentless promotion of bestselling authors.
Okay, so I stuck my foot into the water a little farther, enrolling my first Key West Nocturnes novel, Setup On Front Street, making it free December 29-30. Prior to this, it was buried in the rankings at over 100,000. But on those two days, it got an astounding 13,000 free downloads, during which time it made the first page of Customers Also Bought lists of many bestselling novels. By the time the free period ended on December 31, it was sitting pretty on these lists and started selling like crazy. I’ve since sold over 400 copies of it and it made it all the way up to #554 in the paid store. It’s slipping now (#818 as I write this), but I hope it levels off soon and finds its long-distance legs.
At any rate, color me converted. I’m ready to drink the Amazon Kool-Aid now.