Why Go Big?

Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue

Many people that start out in the writing field automatically see Amazon KDP and sign-up right away. I don’t blame them. It’s free, and Amazon is one of the largest book distributors for self-publishers. However, upon signing with Amazon, many also enroll in the KDP Select program, which means that they are not allowed to publish on any other platform during the duration of the KDP Select contract period.

What is KDP Select?

KDP Select is Amazon’s program that allows authors to get paid from pages read. In my experience, most of the time, writers are also locked into mandatory borrowing access on the payment page, which means that people can borrow the author’s book from each other as well. Yes, the author does get compensated, but the payment for this program can be low depending on who is reading your book.

How much does the KDP Select program pay?

First of all, writers don’t even get paid a penny for each page that is read from this program. This can make things difficult, because if the book is sold an author could make $2–$7 in some cases. The KDP Select program averages about a half a penny per page or lower, which devalues the profit of an author that writes a 400 page book to $2 or lower per book read.

So, why do people use the KDP Select program?

They use it, because Amazon has a stellar following, and it saves on advertising. Many times, when authors put their books on this platform, there are people that automatically pick it up without the author having to do much work in the form of advertising. However, the amount of people that pick up a KDP Select book has to be numerous in order for the paycheck from joining this program to be worth it.

What are your other options?

May people don’t know that if you sign-up for KDP Select, you are not allowed to sign with any other distributors. However, you can publish your book with Amazon without signing up for the KDP Select program, which allows you to advertise your work on both Amazon and platforms of distributors like Smashwords or Draft2Digital. Both Smashwords and Draft2Digital are free self-publishing platforms as well, and they run in a similar fashion to Amazon.

Amazon works by taking a small a percentage of an author’s sales, and that is how they get paid. Draft2Digital and Smashwords do the same. The difference is that all three distributors target somewhat of a different audience. Along with some of the bigger distributors in the United States, Draft2Digital and Smashwords reach book distributors that are popular in France, Germany, and Canada. This helps your book get out to a new audience that may not have seen it yet. It also gives you the potential to make more money. The more people that see your book and like it, the more that will probably buy it.

So, what should I do?

The choice on what to do depends on what you want. If you are making a decent amount of money from the KDP Select program, then stick with it. If you want to explore new audiences, then take instead of signing up for KDP Select, put your books on the platforms of new distributors. Maybe, you will gain an extra following and a better paycheck. Either way you choose, make sure that you are happy with your decision. You didn’t spend all that time writing a book just for it to be laying around.

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Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue writes lifestyle articles.

Omaha, NE
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