The end of March marked the end of my three-month enrollment for The Redheaded Stepchild in the KDP Select program. If you’re unfamiliar with the program, I explained the crux of it in an earlier post. There is an option to automatically renew enrollment in the program, but I’ve decided I’m done with KDP Select. Here’s why:

  • Over the 3 months, I didn’t have a single “borrower”. These are people who have Amazon Prime and can borrow from the Kindle Lending Library for no charge, while the author gets a cut.
  • I think the free ebook promotion has worn out its welcome. There are so many independent authors putting their books up for free now that it’s impossible to get to them all after awhile.
  • Author “support” sites have figured out that they can monetize on author’s promotional days, asking them to pay a premium so they can give away more of their books for free.
  • The success of a free promotional day no longer seems to translate to as much success after the promotion is over. The Amazon rankings in “free” don’t carry over to the paid days.

Don’t get me wrong, The Redheaded Stepchild is my first book and I don’t expect to make a fortune on it. It’s just the first step in building my “long tail” of success. But if I really want to get my book into the hands of more and more readers, I need to be on more and more sites. And I think $2.99 is an impulse-friendly enough price that I can keep building on that success. Not to mention that if I decide to offer my book for free sometime, Amazon will price-match it.

Because I am a huge nerd, I wanted to look at the data of my promotions and see what kinds of trends were there:

The first day, the KDP Select giveaway was fairly new, I tweeted like crazy, blogged, and it paid off. The second day, I decided to see how much impact my own efforts had, and only sent a couple tweets. The third day, I stepped up the efforts, made sure I was featured on a few promotional blogs (before they figured out that they could monetize on this process), and again tweeted like crazy. The success was pretty unparalleled, as you can see. I did a 2-day promotion while I was at SXSW because I wanted the people I met to have the opportunity to download it for free. I didn’t have much time to tweet about it, plus the network was overloaded with tweeting nerds, so the success wasn’t as big. I also wanted to see if consecutive free days had any compounding impact.

Also, my best dates were about a month apart. I’ve heard from other KDP Select authors who’ve expressed that subsequent promotional days didn’t yield as big a return as a previous one a couple of weeks earlier. This seems to be the same for me. I did, however, sell more books in February than any other month, so I can’t complain.

It was an experiment, more than anything else, and I wanted to try it out so I could see if it worked. I can’t say it was a total failure or anything, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again for awhile. I want to get my book back in other channels, and I’m not too worried about how this will impact getting my book into the hands of more readers. The common denominator in all my successful days wasn’t KDP Select – it was me. The more effort I put into getting the word out about my book, the more downloads I had. It’s been fun, KDP Select, but I think we need to see other people for awhile.