An Author’s Decision to Enroll in KDP Select

Regular readers of my blog know I’ve been experimenting with Amazon.com’s KDP Select program. I published my short story, “Sleeping Beauty,” exclusively through KDP Select and have used its free days program to attempt to build an audience for it.

STATE OF GRACE is moving to KDP Select

My results have been mixed, but they have shown some promise. In four free days, I’ve given away nearly 700 copies of “Sleeping Beauty.” The book had been fairly stagnant before I started experimenting with giving it away. Since then, I’ve been selling a few copies a week. It’s also helped sell copies of State of Grace, and this week “Sleeping Beauty” was borrowed through KDP Select’s Kindle Owner’s Lending Library for the first time.

“Sleeping Beauty” is a short story. State of Grace is a novel, and its sequel, Red Dragon Five, launches on November 20. The promotional opportunities are a lot broader.

For that reason, I’m enrolling State of Grace in KDP Select. That means, of course, I’ll have to pull it from Smashwords  and Barnes & Noble. I’m a little regretful of that. Smashwords has been good to me. I’ve gotten some sales there. B&N, not so much.  Regardless, I hate reducing the size of my distribution channel.

But that’s exactly why I’m doing this. The promotional opportunities KDP Select offers are too great for me not to expand my experiment. A buy one, get one free sale is an opportunity to find readers. I can offer State of Grace for free and suggest people buy Red Dragon Five at the same time. Moreover, I can put a teaser chapter of RD5 in the back of SoG, with a link to buy it.

I’m also of the opinion that linking KDP Select free days with a Facebook ad campaign, could be a hugely successful event. And since the novels feature James Bond-style action, I have the opportunity to market directly to Bond fans slavering over this week’s U.S. release of Skyfall.

If this is a mistake, I can disenroll the book after 90 days. I may do so even if this is a wild success. I’ll have to evaluate then what my best options are.

It boils down to this: my business started growing once I began experimenting with KDP Select. It is logical, therefore, to expand my use of KDP Select to see if it grows my business more. And the risk is relatively low, since sales through the other channels have been low for the last few months. I don’t believe I’m going to have a negative impact on my reach to consumers.

As usual, I’ll continue reporting my strategy and results here, so other writers can benefit from whatever knowledge I’m able to glean from my relationship with KDP Select.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in purchasing the eBook version of State of Grace from Smashwords or BN.com, you have until November 16, 2012. After that I’ll be taking it off sale at those locations and enrolling it in Select. The print edition will remain available through wide distribution.

Here’s a link to the BN.com page for State of Grace.

And here’s one for Smashwords.

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