KDP Select — It probably doesn’t mean anything to most people and there’s no reason it should. It’s because it’s trade talk – a program for authors to distribute their work on Amazon. But it’s interesting because it’s become a lightning rod amongst writers.
Basically KDP Select is a program that writers can join to promote their work on Amazon. By joining it, Amazon asks that authors make their book free to be borrowed once a month by Amazon Prime members. (Amazon pays a royalty to the author per book borrowed) In return, Amazon allows authors to promote their book for Free for a limited number of days. The big proviso is that to join the program, Amazon demands exclusivity, i.e. an author can’t sell their work anywhere else.
OK. So what’s the big deal? Honestly, I don’t know. I guess a lot of authors think it’s stupid to join because of the exclusivity requirement. A lot of other authors also resent the fact that since the program’s inception, a whole lot of free books have entered the distribution channel, possibly making it harder for books that carry a price tag to compete.
These may well be legitimate gripes. But joining the program is voluntary. It’s a personal decision. Like any personal or business decision, it’s incumbent upon the individual to analyze the available data and make the most prudent move based on whatever values he or she embraces.
So I did that. I like the idea of attracting new readers. Any tool that I can use to do that is good for books and good for reading. If I have to give away a few books to do so, that’s fine by me.
So I ran a free promotion a couple of days ago and gave away 16,000 books.
Sixteen thousand books may not sound like much. Or it may sound like a lot, depending who you talk to. When I wrote for television we dealt with many millions of viewers per episode, so I didn’t think 16,000 books was that many to give away.
Of course, that said, we were the 9th most downloaded ebook in the world on Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012.
On that day we beat the Bible. Literally. Which is a very popular book and has been for some time.
Now, that [amazon asin=B005HK05OY&text=LETHAL CIRCUIT] is no longer free, the result is that we’ve made some new fans and are selling a lot of copies.
At 1:00 PM, February 23, 2012 [amazon asin=B005HK05OY&text=LETHAL CIRCUIT] is:
The #2 technothriller on Amazon.
#32 in all thrillers on Amazon.
#315 in the Amazon Kindle store out of over 1.2 million books. (1,234,328 books)
Do I sound like I’m gloating? I really hope not. Because that’s not what I’m trying to do at all. I’m humbled. Humbled that so many people want to read the book. But I’m also awed. I’m awed that Amazon has shattered the stranglehold Traditional Media held on distribution and opened things up to give every book (or idea or creed or belief) a shot.
I’ll skip over to movies for a moment. Do you think that this would be even remotely possible in traditional Hollywood? Do you think some guy makes a little movie and it somehow has a chance? Sure it does with the help of a lot of luck, if it happens to fall into the right hands at the right time, but that’s a big if. I’m not saying that things aren’t changing, and that crazy things haven’t happened, but for the most part dream on.
The little guy, read anyone without a multi-million dollar advertising budget, didn’t, in the traditional system, get a chance at any kind of exposure. (note: the digital revolution is changing things, but slowly.)
Essentially, Amazon has provided authors with real time, real world tools to make their work discoverable. Sure, you need to give away a few books, but it seems like a fair price to me. What do you think?