1.29.2012

This is a Test of the Amazon KDP Select System...

Back in December when I learned that Amazon was offering authors part of a $600,000 pot to allow the book giant exclusive rights to make their works available in a lending library, I was dubious.

For one thing, many writers saw this as a total rights grab on the part of Amazon. If Amazon finds you've violated their rather restrictive fine print by offering your story anywhere else in digital form, they reserve the right to withhold your earnings or possibly even suspend your account. Of course, anyone who dares to peruse almost ANY fine print, would likely be surprised at how many places they've signed their life or possessions away. So I wasn't particularly disturbed or surprised by Amazon's policies here. Not in the "Cloud Age," especially. If Amazon is offering much higher royalties to their authors, of course they're going to demand exclusivity, and of course they're going to protect that.

However, this means that for those writers who like to use the distribution channels made available through Smashwords, or who like to have their work available for Barnes & Noble customers, it means waiting until the three month KDP Select period is over first. Or it means pulling existing work off of all of the other ebook shelves out there before enrolling in the Select program.

And you might be asking, is it worth it?

Well, I don't know about you, but my Barnes & Noble sales are roughly 1/5 that of Amazon (for paid titles...maybe 1/3 for freebies). The Smashwords ratio is even tinier. While having my work available in other channels helps for visibility, it doesn't benefit the bottom line. The readers, or at least MY readers thus far, are predominantly at Amazon. I'm not saying that I intend to alienate my readers on other platforms. Far from it. It just means that this is the one reason KDP Select was appealing to at least check out on a trial basis.

I have writer colleagues who also seem to be making better money through KDP Select than through standard sales. Every time someone borrows a book through the Prime lending library, the royalty cut is a little bigger than if someone buys it outright. This is appealing, and I plan to see if the math bears out similarly for me with my latest release, GEORGE'S TONIC.

Of course, I'm not sure if this will be a very good comparison. GT is not a typical story for me, because it's a mainstream fiction tale rather than my usual horror/sci-fi. So if GT sees success as part of this test, I won't know if it's because people are responding specifically to my work, or if I've attracted a different audience with a different kind of story.

At any rate, I think that given the success I've had thanks to the Amazon platform, it's worth giving them a three month run with one of my stories. And on April 27th, I plan to make George's Tonic available in all formats.

If you're an Amazon Prime member, you can read George's Tonic for free right now. However, if you're without a Prime membership, don't despair! I'm allowed to have five days per 90 period to make the book free, and I will be using three of those days starting on January 30th, so everybody can get a taste of the Tonic.

I'll be back to update with my success (or lack of it). Whether the results are decent or terrible, I figure it's a good learning experience.