Kindle Direct Publishing: The KDP Select Program from Amazon

Guest Expert: Michelle Hughes

As an exclusive Amazon user I was very interested in the debut kdp Select program that was unveiled this month. This program boasted of allowing authors the opportunity to distribute books through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, earn royalties from a new source, promote their books for free, and get instant feedback on how well the book was doing through the program.

For those of you not familiar with the kindle owners’ lending library, it’s a collection of books that Amazon prime members who own a kindle can borrow once a month, with no due dates. This information is available on the Amazon site if you’d like to research it further. The royalties for the month of December was $500,000 and it’s reported that for the January those funds will be matched. The author is given a share of those royalties depending on how many of their titles are borrowed from the library.

The promotional part of the kdp Select program is what I was truly interested in. The opportunity to get a title promoted for free sounded like an offer that was very hard to turn down. With the program you grant Amazon exclusive rights to sell your book for increments of three months. This wasn’t a hard choice for me as they are the only platform I am currently using. This program only required the digital platform of my book for this promotion while leaving my paperback out of the equation. This decision would probably be much harder for someone who also had their books published on another digital platform if they were seeing sales there.

On the promotion days that I was able to choose, there are five days granted for each 3 month increment and you have the ability to pick the days, my book was completely free on Amazon to all customers. During the one day free promotion I selected for my book, which had previously been ranked at 48,000 in sales, made a great jump to #883 free in kindle store and #12 in kindle store under the kindle eBooks : fiction > genre fiction > horror > occult. I have to say that I was ecstatic with these results and it made a wonderful Christmas day present.

The next day my book returned to the paid category and I was devastated to see my book ranking in at #198,000. I’m an avid watcher of my rankings so this was a huge disappointment. As the day wore on though my numbers began climbing again and even made it to #24,872 at one point. This result I have to accredit to the kdp Select program because I hadn’t done any other advertising that would cause such a change. As of today my book is ranking back at # 37,201 which is still better than where I started off. And I have to also say that I received many compliments on Twitter thanking me for sharing my book with them. I’d like to believe that I have reached new readers thanks to this promotion as well. I’ve been discussing this with other authors on Amazon that have seen some incredible results and I’d like to share those with you as well.

Barbara Ivie Green, the author of treasure of egypt (treasure of the ancients) has seen phenomenal results with this program. She has increased her readers from approximately 150 to 3,500 in just a week. Violet Patterson, the author of rider on the storm, emerald seer #1 has also seen positive results and saw her book in the top #10 during her three day promo and an upswing of sales since it returned to the paid format. J. Fields, Jr. author of Casino Shuffle a new author, did a 2-day free promo for casino shuffle and over the 2 days it was downloaded over 1600 times. After his free promo ended he’s still seeing the results and very pleased with the program. There is one other author i would like to mention, Jan Hurst-Nicholson. While her book breadwinners hasn’t seen a huge increase in sales since her promotion, her other titles are now moving up. A waterfall effect from seeing her other book possibly?

I find it very hard to argue with the results I’m seeing and will do another kdp Select promotion myself. I chose Christmas for my first one, as a way to give back to the friends on Twitter and Facebook that have been so supportive of my writing. If you’d like to keep up with how this program is working for me I encourage you to visit my Amazon Kindle page for A Night at Tears of Crimson and see what happens for yourself. I will keep researching the results for the kdp Select program in the future as I’m anxious to see how the royalties work out as well.


Michelle Hughes began her career in the entertainment industry as a singer/songwriter. After years on the road she began her family and turned to writing as a way to combine her love of entertaining with the stability of having a home life. Starting out with short stories and fan fiction she discovered that she had a love for writing paranormal romance and decided to make that her full time career.

Currently Michelle resides in Rockford Alabama with her husband and their five children. When she’s not writing you can find them enjoying the beautiful scenery in Alabama from their boat and exploring the wonderful resources their state possesses.


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  1. andsuzanne@gmail.com'Suzanne

    Thank you, Michelle, great insight into the program. I was wondering how it worked and if it was worthwhile for a new author.

  2. authormichellehughes@gmail.com'Michelle Hughes

    Thank you Suzanne. I’m learning more as I watch the numbers of other authors in the Amazon forum and so far it seems most people are having success with it.

  3. kmtrain@hotmail.com'kathryn magendie

    I’m with a small press and they wrangled some kind of deal with Amazon and the Prime membership for 2 of my novels, on a trial basis- I don’t know how it’s doing – mostly because I forced myself to stop looking at my rankings and reviews a couple years ago – lawd! the stress! the ups and downs! :-D — but, I am curious how it will affect my novel’s progress!

    Nice article – thank you!

  4. authormichellehughes@gmail.com'Michelle Hughes

    Kathryn,

    I really hope the novels are doing well and thank you so much for your feedback. Please let us know when you do find out what results you have because it’s very helpful to all of us to know what works and what doesn’t. I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

    Truly,
    Michelle Hughes

  5. laura_pepper@hotmail.co.uk'Laura Pepper

    Thanks for sharing your experience Michelle! It’s always good to hear how these things went for others. I went free over the weekend and while I saw a ton of downloads and top 3 rankings in 2 different categories, what I’m REALLY interested in is what happens after the promotion! So I’ll be keeping an eye on sales and ranking this week and reporting on it soon.

  6. authormichellehughes@gmail.com'Michelle Hughes

    Laura,

    I’m wishing you nothing but the best. I’d love to find out how things go for you over the next few weeks.

    Truly,
    Michelle

  7. denchmpn@aol.com'Dennis Champion

    Dear Michelle,
    Thanks ever so much for such a clear article.
    I wrote my first book, a true account of when I was shipwrecked in 1999 ”How my Shipwreck nightmare Came True- MY CRUISE HOLIDAY FROM HELL”
    I was actually starting to load it last weekend , and was reading the instructions for Kindle Select when I heard the radio break in with the news about the Costa Disaster.
    I froze
    Deja Vu
    the lifeboats, the panic, it all came back
    Out of respect , i could not download it then .
    Having read your article, I now WILL NOW use SELECT, in the hope that lessons WILL HAVE BEEN LEARNED. The most important of all is that both shipwrecks occurred in relatively calm seas. But boats have got bigger, and lifeboat technology has not moved on from the days of the Titanic !
    For Example, if a ship lists more than 20 degrees, half of the lifeboats cannot be launched.
    If in any small way my ebook going free hightens the need for a safety review I will be a happy man
    Thanks for your article
    Dennis Champion

  8. authormichellehughes@gmail.com'Michelle Hughes

    Dennis,

    What a horrible experience for you! I was headed toward Jamaica on a cruise many years ago when a ship further out than we were had to be evacuated because of a water twister. I was terrified then, but I can’t even imagine actually being on one of the ships forced to do that. I wish you much success with your book and hope that the cruise-lines actually pick it up to teach their guests what to do in case of an emergency.

    As I said earlier, our ship was fortunate but the panic was still there and I can only imagine the terror going through your mind. Best of luck to you!

    Truly,
    Michelle

  9. footballbutterfly@yahoo.com'Trace Broyles

    Thanks again for the mention, I popped this on my new website (under the Emerald Seer links) and mentioned you. Looks like you helped several others make the decision to pursue KDP. The more the merrier :) GO INDIE AUTHORS!!

  10. authormichellehughes@gmail.com'Michelle Hughes

    Trace,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I think it’s wonderful to hear from other authors and getting their perspectives on what this program is doing for them. Thanks for sharing the link!

    Truly,
    Michelle

  11. denchmpn@aol.com'dennis champion

    Dear Michelle
    Thanks for your insight, without your notes I would not know what to do
    After a few days I have seen a couple of great reviews on my site, but when I checked the ranking, my heart sank faster than the boat I was in
    having read your notes i will probably try it for free soon, after I have monitored the progress.

    It is daunting for some one who has never done this sort of thing before, I really did not know were to start, and your experience made me see it in a different light
    thanks for the advice
    Dennis

  12. authormichellehughes@gmail.com'Michelle Hughes

    Dennis,

    I’m so glad this article helped you. I can understand being fearful of trying something new. Every person I’ve talked with thus far, has seen a positive outcome. I truly wish you well and please let me know if there is anything I can do to assist you.

    Truly,
    Michelle

  13. oli.lifestyle@gmail.com'Oli Hille

    Thank you Michelle.

    This has mirrored my own experiences. I had 1,753 downloads on day 1 of the promotion. For the second day it was 495. For the third day it was under 200.

    I am wondering if Amazon promote it especially hard on the first day. One of my friends had the same decline.

    Overall it has been very positive and at one point my book “Creating the Perfect Lifestyle” climbed to be the 150th most popular book on all of Amazon during the promotion.

    In late February I am launching my book “How to be an Amazon #1 Bestselling Author – and Make Money!” which will include all of my research and findings in my last two years of learning how to successfully launch a book on Amazon.

    Oli Hille
    Amazon #1 Bestselling Author

  14. denchmpn@aol.com'dennis

    Hi Michelle

    I am completely new to Kindle, this is my first book.

    I have read about putting the book on ‘free’, but can you, or anyone tell me.

    Which day is the best day to get the most free downloads?

    hope you can help?

    Dennis