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Why Amazon KDP is Good for New Authors- and Why I'm Branching Out

March 31, 2016

As I've said on my Facebook page, I am currently transitioning my books to platforms besides Amazon. As a new author, I felt the benefits of the Kindle Unlimited program were mandatory to my success. When you enroll KDP Select, you are required to keep your book exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. It stays automatically enrolled in the program unless you remove it. 

While you are in KDP Select, you aren't allowed to sell your book anywhere else. Since Amazon is the biggest retailer of e-books, it makes sense to start there, but I feel it's time to try out a few other retailers, at least as an experiment. That being said, I really do appreciate the KDP Select program for a variety of reasons. 

When you become part of KDP Select, you open up your books to many more readers. This is because Amazon runs a Kindle Unlimited program where people can pay about $10 a month and read any of the books in the Kindle Unlimited program. Amazon tracks how many pages are read in each book, and pays us authors a tiny tidbit for each page read (people estimate it's about $0.004/pg, or half a cent per page). The money isn't good unless you get a ton of page reads. What it does offer for a new author though, is a risk free chance for readers to try your book.

If you are unknown, it's much more realistic for a reader who is subscribed to KU to open up your book and give it a try, than for them to outright purchase it. This allows newer authors to get their books read. This will hopefully translate into that word of mouth advertising that we all need to much. It could also result in reviews, which are also important on Amazon. 

The other benefit to KU is that you can offer your book free for up to five days, which also lets readers get your book and try it out. If you have a backlist, it should help stimulate them to buy your other books. 

Depending on how my experiment with other retailers goes, I may return to Amazon exclusivity later on. For now, I'm slowly moving my books over to Kobo as their KDP periods run out. I'm also working on re-formatting for Smashwords, which is a retailer that sends books out to places like Barnes and Noble. My main reason for moving is that most months, the amount of money that I receive for page reads is spread out over several countries. Amazon pays you individually in each country's currency, and only after you've reached a threshold of $100. Since page reads aren't huge money earners to begin with, having them so spread out means it may take years to obtain a cheque from some countries (like I have about $6 in Australian dollars right now). As far as I know now, sites like Kobo add up your worldwide sales. 

Smashwords has a very detailed formatting process because they need to be able to convert your word file into a number of different formats to satisfy their partners. If you've considered publishing on Smashwords, it's really important you get a copy of the Smashwords Style Guide. This is easy to follow, as long as you take it a step at a time. 

I'll keep you posted about how my experiment goes. If you are a really new author, make your life easy and just publish on Amazon. It's much easier to format for them, and you can use the perks of KDP Select while you build your readership. 

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