One of the common dilemmas for self-published indie authors is whether to grant exclusive rights to Amazon so that they can enroll their ebooks in KDP Select (KDPS).
Enrolling in KDP Select Exclusivity is demanding, but there may be a little crack in the wall.
The benefits of enrolment include promotional tools such as free book promotion, Kindle Countdown Deals, and listing in Kindle Unlimited (KU) for page read income from the KDP Select Global Fund.
You also get higher royalties from the Kindle Store in a few smaller markets. It all might seem attractive, but by granting exclusivity, you lose all your other retail opportunities.
Managing KDP Select
I have been in and out of KDP Select several times over the years.
For some of my ebooks, I have to say that sales improve.
At the same time, I don’t know how many potential sales I lost on other retailers. So it makes it difficult to know if I came out in front or not.
As I have quite a few titles, I do know that some titles seem to sell better on Apple, or B&N for example, rather than on Kindle.
So by removing a title that has been doing well on Apple, it may sell well on Kindle with the help of more book marketing and promotion.
But I would lose sales, and more importantly, the sales ranking I had built up on Apple iBooks.
It is one aspect of moving ebooks in and out of Amazon’s exclusivity that is easy to overlook.
When you remove an ebook from your Smashwords or Draft2Digital account, you lose all your sales rankings on Apple, B&N, and Kobo.
Should you decide to leave KDPS later and return to offering your ebook via your aggregator, your book ranking starts again from scratch.
I have often used KDP Select for the release of a new title. Then after the first 90 day period, I cancel my enrolment and then published it with other book retailers.
This is one of the best uses of KDPS, as it can give a new title a good kickstart before publishing elsewhere.
Of course, there are benefits and drawbacks to exclusivity.
Related reading: The Pros And Cons Of Amazon KDP Select Exclusivity
Can you get the best of both worlds?
There is quite a simple way to circumvent KDP Select Exclusivity, which I discovered purely by accident.
I decided to take two 45,000 word novellas and merge them into one full-length novel under a new title.
It took some time to do the re-writing and editing.
Once the new book was ready to publish, I intended to un-publish the two novellas and publish the new longer version.
But then I had an idea.
I started work on the two novellas and incorporated the new chapters and re-writes from the new longer version of the book.
Now I had three ebooks.
The first step was to un-publish my two old novellas from Smashwords and KDP.
Then I published the new full-length novel on Smashwords. I also published it on Amazon but used the standard KDP and did not enroll the book in KDP Select.
The next step was to publish the two new updated novellas in KDP Select.
Of course, I could have done this vice versa. But my logic was that I would get two ebooks to promote on Kindle Unlimited instead of only one.
The result is that I do not have to make a decision about Amazon’s exclusivity. My story is now available everywhere, but exclusively on KDPS in two volumes.
This may not be the solution for every self-publishing author, but perhaps for some, it’s an idea worth considering.
Note: KDP Select applies to ebooks only and does not apply to print on demand paperback versions of the same title.
You could possibly use this workaround in reverse.
If you have published a long novel of between 80-120,000 words, you could split it into two or even three novellas.
An advantage of this approach is that you will create a series, and you could offer the first one for free or at a reduced price.
If you keep your full-length novel in KDP Select, you can open publish your novellas and make the first one perma-free with Smashwords or Draft2Digital.
More reading: How To Find Amazon Keywords For Kindle Ebooks And Books