MT McGuire Books

KDP Select”

There’s been a lot written about the new Amazon initiative kdp select. For what it’s worth, I would suggest that Amazon’s reasons are economic rather than philanthropic. So, with my ex brand manager’s hat on, here’s what I think they might be up to, or at least, here’s what I’d be up to if I was them.

Amazon is good at helping authors to sell their books BUT ONLY once those books have achieved a certain critical mass of sales. In other words, fellow authors, once you press that publish button, it ain’t going to happen on its own. Furthermore, if you’re book’s a bit niche, no matter how much effort you put in, it may not happen at all. A lot of the authors making money on Amazon already have a folllowing and have written LOTS of books and believe me for Amazon to start promoting them they must also ALREADY BE SELLING in truckloads. 

What I’m saying is this isn’t a quality process. Amazon don’t pick out books they consider ‘good’ and market them to customers, they market books which are already selling. Quite an important one to note that. OK, most of the time the cream rises to the top, especially with indie authors but that’s just our lucky luck that in this particular arena, at the moment, quality sells.

Now, I appreciate this probably looks like sour grapes on my part, me selling about five copies of my book a month and all. BUT I promise that while I am sure I have sour grapes in abundance about pretty much everything, they’re not in play here. 

For a start, as I sell nothing on Smashwords, I’m thinking that, for the first 3 months at any rate, I might give KDP a whirl, myself so I’m not going to knock it until I’ve tried it. However, I just wanted to throw out a few suggetions as to what I think it’s really for.

As I see it, the purpose, here is to drive more business to Amazon and away from other suppliers. This benefits them in two ways:

1. It strengthens the market for Kindle. A lot of authors have signed up. That means a lot of books are suddenly only available to Kindle users. Look at the timing. I wonder how many more Kindles Amazon expects to sell at Christmas with this initiative in place? If you’re thinking of getting an e‑reader for Christmas, or you’ve persuaded your loved ones to buy you one, I’d lay bets this might be enough to dissuade you from trotting up to WH Smiths to buy a Kobo and have you pootling off to Tesco’s to buy a Kindle instead.

2. It weakens the competition. Amazon become the sole supplier for many e‑books meaning more people will buy their e‑books from Amazon. 

However, seeing as Amazon are the only place where my book sells, it’s not going to hurt the cause of free trade if I pull it from Smashwords, for three months at any rate (although it’s hard luck on free e‑book drop which would be a pity).

In the long run, I just want people to read my stuff. It’s my first book. The second is due out in April 2012 and I suspect what I will end up doing, instead, is allowing people to pirate a lot of my writing — my free shorts and the first book — in the hope of that 1 or 2% of all those thousands of people who have read my work for free will, eventually, end up paying for some.

I should also point out that I make way, way more money selling merchandise here than I do from book sales which would also suggest that a little bit of piracy does less harm than many people think. 

Finally, I haven’t properly identified why my book isn’t selling on Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble — no B&N is easy; they don’t allow brits on there but I might be able to get into their forum. For me, it could be smarter to start with a concerted effort to find apple ipad forums which accept UK residents and market my book on those.

So, in a nutshell, KDP Select:
Am I going to try it? I said possibly, yesterday, now I’m thinking possibly not. Anything that waves moolah at me like that looks worryingly get-rich quick and it will be a massive ball ache getting the free pdf download off here without breaking my site and losing all my download stats etc.
Should I be? Ethically, possibly not.
Is it a good thing? For Amazon and the authors who are already selling skiploads of their work and making money. Yes (for the rest of us, once again, I suspect not).
Is it going to make a difference? In my case, as the eqivalent of mud in the evolutionary scale of authorly success and book sales, I am, I’m afraid, guessing not. 

Posted December 13, 2011 and visited 8061 times, 1 so far today

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