5 Unexpected Benefits of KDP Select
KDP Select (Kindle Unlimited, on the readers’ end) is Amazon’s book subscription service. Authors who choose to enter can get paid while readers download their books for free as a part of the subscription, in exchange for not making their ebooks available anywhere else.
This option is not the best move for everyone. I spent some time submitting books to KDP Select under a pen name to test the service before ultimately deciding it’s a poor fit for my own books, but in the process, I discovered several surprising benefits I did not expect.
Just because KDP Select was not the best option for my books in the end doesn’t mean it won’t work for you. For some authors, this could be the lucky ticket. Here are some great things about KDP Select that might help you make a decision.
There’s no hard and intensive process when you submit your book to KDP Select. You don’t need to fill out any extra forms, provide links, or verify your info. If you’re already publishing your book on Amazon’s Kindle Direct, you can get listed on KDP Select as easily as checking a box.
The terms are also easy to meet. KDP Select only cares about your ebook availability, meaning that if you have print or audiobooks, you are still free to sell them wherever you want. Many authors don’t notice much of a difference in limiting ebook sales to Amazon, since it dwarfs the rest of the ebook market on its own anyway.
Once your book is listed, you don’t have to worry about maintenance or re-listing it every three months. It’s going to stay where it’s at and continue cycles automatically.
Your book might be the most indulgent writing on the market with the best production quality money can buy, but readers who have never heard of you or read your writing before won’t trust you enough to buy your books.
Through Kindle Unlimited, readers have the opportunity to discover your books just as they would at a public library, with no risk involved and no reason not to pick up anything that looks interesting.
If your books fall into a popular genre or category, you can get new readers easily without even running a promotion or building a platform: they’ll see your book as an option and give it a shot.
Note: It’s true that marketing your book will determine much of your success. However, I released multiple titles without breathing a word to anyone and continued to collect tiny royalties for years until I took the material back to repurpose it. The experiment is worth repeating if you’re willing to put in the time.
If you publish wide, your payments will largely come as a result of your direct promotions and newsletter marketing. That’s not necessarily the case with KDP Select.
When your books are available as a subscription, people won’t linger and wait for a sale or new release before buying it. This means that instead of royalties coming in short-lived bursts after you take a lot of initiative, you can wake up in the morning and find a new report in your inbox--listing higher sales and royalties than you had expected.
You never know when your genre might spike in popularity or if a reader is on the brink of downloading one of your books before going on a spree and reading them all. If you want to get as far away from advertising as possible, this could be a powerful way to work around the system.
I was skeptical of KDP Select’s promotional options at first. After all, they don’t post banners or give you advertising credits to promote your book--so how well can you really do with the options they do have?
KDP Select allows for two different promotions, one of which you can choose per cycle. These include the free days option, where you can make your books available for free for up to five non-consecutive days; and the Kindle countdown option, where you can post your book for sale with a dramatic countdown ticker on the page.
The free days option is always a good way to get early readers, reward reviewers, and build buzz, but you don’t get paid for any books given out on those days. On the other hand, I have learned that readers also get excited about countdown sales. After all, if your favorite author suddenly marked a book down to a fraction of its price for three days, wouldn’t you want to jump in and claim the deal?
How you use the promotions is up to you, but they can be a great way to build buzz and get your current readers even more excited about your releases if you’re looking for a way to breathe new life into your mailing list.
Listing your book on KDP Select is as easy as clicking a check box. Unlisting it is just as easy--you visit the page and then unclick the same box. If you do that, your book will be unenrolled right before the next cycle starts.
If you’re not certain whether KDP Select is the best option for you, it’s easy to try it for a single cycle and then move out of it if needed, making the KDP Select vs. Wide debate far easier to settle.
Do you use KDP Select? What are your thoughts on Amazon’s subscription option for readers? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below or join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers for further discussion.