Weighing in on KDP Select

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Back in May, I’d been hearing that KDP Select was the way to go as far as sales were concerned and since my self-published books were in a slump, I thought a 90 day experiment wouldn’t hurt anything. So I signed up all my medieval series, including the brand new novella, Beloveds. I started to see some activity on the blue graph and thought this might not be half bad. When the statement came out for June I was very pleased to find a substantial increase in revenue from the books on KDP select. This was a great idea!

However, also in June, we all got the email saying Amazon was changing their payment scheme, so that now authors didn’t get paid by the book, but by the page READ. I couldn’t tell, at first, if this was a good thing or not.

It was actually quite exciting the first time I saw that someone had read 43 pages of Betrothal. I kept thinking, “Okay, so they must be about where they are talking in the table in the great hall.” And the day the blue line hit over a thousand pages read, I was elated.

Then I found out the royalty per page read that I would receive was approximately .006 cents. So I got out my calculator, found my books’ Kindle Edition Normalized Pages counts, and figured out that if a person in the program read my brand new novella Beloveds from cover to cover, I would be paid .44 for the book. Forty-four cents.

I went on to calculate (mind you I HATE to do math) what each of my books would make if it was read cover to cover. Only one book, the one with more than 350 KENPs, would make the same amount as if the book had been purchased at the regular Kindle store. I’d read early on that longer books would fare better in this new system, but seeing was believing.

Looking at statements for both months, I made about half of what I did in July as  I did in June. Therefore, I decided when my contract with KDP Select was up at the end of August, I would not renew it. I’ve now gone back to the “traditional” self-publishing paradigm of selling my book for a set price and leaving it up to the reader as to when or if they want to read them. My books will soon appear on Barnes and Noble, iTunes, Apple and Sony once more.

Perhaps I’m not a big enough name to make this work well for me. Perhaps the books I put in the program weren’t long enough to make  it worth my while under the new system. So, I’ll continue with what has worked in the past and chalk this up to an experiment that simply didn’t work for me.

Has anyone else out there made a decision to stay or to leave KDP Select ?

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21 Responses to Weighing in on KDP Select

  1. I think some genres do better than others in select. I didn’t think I was doing too bad until some other authors mentioned what they were getting for downloads. Yikes, I guess I’m just small peanuts. lol

    I still make enough there to make it worth my while, but I only put half my books in select.

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  2. I have the longer novels and still made the decision to quit Select. This last check was pitiful and not worth the effort to write. However, my head will explode if I don’t. I hope you post a follow-up and let us know what happens when you’re selling across the board again. Good luck!

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    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      Thank you, Sheri! I will be keeping an eye on Smashwords, B & N, Sony and the like to see what the numbers say. I’ve already had some sales on iTunes, so that’s encouraging. I just need to upload Beloveds, which has only ever been on Amazon. I just haven’t had time since it went off KDP on Sunday. Good luck with your longer novels! I love longer ones–you don’t have to decide so often what to read! LOL

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  3. lizaoconnor says:

    I love KDP. It’s twice my sales actual sales.

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  4. Hey Jenna, Yeah it’s a bum deal, but some of the authors brought this on themselves and us, churning out 2500 word stories and getting the same as a book 30 to 50 times longer. I’m letting my short stories expire, but leaving the longer ones for now. As far as I’m concerned the only fair way to do this is to pay so much a word or hundred words. Words don’t change. Pages are subjective. Amazon constantly underestimates the number of pages in my books, even when there are print versions to go by.

    Anyway I have a question. How did you find out the KENP for your books?

    Best Dee

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    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      I think your idea of paying by the word is a good one, Dee. You’re right, words don’t change. Now we need to convince Amazon of that. LOL

      Your KENP for each book is located on the same screen where you decide what promotions you’re going to use (I think that’s where I found it. Now that I’m not in the program I can’t access that information on the site). But you do find it on the KDP site.

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  5. Melissa Keir says:

    Great analysis. We have to each sometimes run the numbers to see for ourselves!

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  6. Jenna, a lot of authors haven’t been happy with this new change. I’m one of them. Before, I had been making almost as much with the KDP Select books as I did with paid sales. But now…no, it doesn’t look good. However, I’ve also discovered that my books with B&N and those other venues that Smashwords uses, doesn’t make me money, either. After I got to figuring things out (I don’t like math, either) I realized that the little I get on KDP Select pays me more than B&N and Smashwords’ venues, so it looks like I’ll be staying with KDP Select just because money is money at this point. Sad that sales are down. I pray they pick up soon!!

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    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      That was one reason I switched to Select, Marie. Sales at Smashwords and its outlets had slumped big time. However, when I saw what I was bring paid for my books at KDP Select, I realized if I sell one copy of Beloveds on Smashwords, I make more money than if 4 people had downloaded and read the book all the way through. So I guess I’ll try other distributers for a while and see what happens.

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    • brinabrady says:

      I feel like I had the same experience as you. I didn’t make as much on the other platforms as KU. Right now, my books are out of KDP. I noticed that more people are purchasing my books on Amazon since I’m out of KDP. So, I just don’t know what to do yet. Do you know if they pay us in a separate check for KDP? My books are 350 to 430 pages long.

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  7. I’m out. I went in with the idea that I’d use one place to sell and direct people to that place. Not being American, I have to reach a certain amount in sales to get paid. Then Amazon did the new pay by page thing and I said – forget this! All my books are out and are being put up on Kobo etc.

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    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      At the moment it’s not paying me to put my books up on a pay-per-page basis. I may try again with a longer work, but most of my longer books are through publishers, so for now I’m out too, Victoria.

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  8. I left Select a year or so ago, when they started the KU stuff…because I wanted my books to be available everywhere books were sold. I recently put an older title back in, just to experiment a little…so far it’s not blowing my mind. But we’ll see. Great post, Jenna!!

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    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      Thanks, Kristina! I suppose it’s all supply and demand. If they want your works badly enough, readers will have to buy them if they’re not on Kindle Select. I suppose I’ll see how they do now that they’re available in other places than Amazon.

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  9. Thanks for the math. 🙂 I have to take a long, hot shower any time I contemplate giving Amazon exclusivity with any of my books, I feel =that= jaded over their monopolization and bullying tactics (and thank God they are finally, FINALLY under investigation by the DOJ over all of this). I’m a native (though currently not resident) Seattleite, so that ought to tell you something too. Amazon is all about enslaving authors and terrorizing publishers and driving other booksellers out of business — all in the name of “customer satisfaction” — when in truth ALL of their decisions are made with only one consideration in mind: increasing their profits at the expense of everyone else, customers included.

    That said, I believe it’s stupid to ignore what is by far the biggest market in the world, and to not milk it for all it’s worth. So I’ve made the decision for the time being (KENP math notwithstanding) to enroll my new releases in Kindle Select for at least the first three months, and probably no longer than 6 months, before shipping them to the other retail channels. The shortest of my full-length novels (which never spent a day in Kindle Select) is 72K words, my next shortest is 94K, and the rest are >120K. I don’t know what those tallies equate to in KENPs; perhaps, Jenna, I can sweet-talk you into firing up your handy little calculator for me…? 🙂

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    • Jenna Jaxon says:

      I think your 72K book would be comparable to my Beleaguered, which was the highest number of KENPs I had. I’ve got the figure at home, but I think it was something like 355. Of course, this is all contingent upon people actually reading all the pages. My books are apparently too short for them to be lucrative enough to continue on Kindle Select. But they’ve started selling on Smashwords and its distributors again, so that was good news this morning.

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  10. I haven’t made the decision to leave the original KDP program, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’m afraid my experience would be about the same as yours has been! Guess I’ll stick with regular old KDP for now.

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