My literary friends and I debate over whether or not Kindle Direct Publishing’s Select Program is “worth it.” Actually, they think I’m a little cray cray for considering anything besides Select, but I’ve been called worse.
Amazon’s Select program allows you to set 5 days (per book) where your book can be downloaded for free and Amazon promotes for you. In addition, if your book is “borrowed” by Kindle Prime account holders (they’ll get it free, too), you get a small cut of an unspecified pool of money per borrow. All of this is in exchange for a 90-day period of exclusivity.
Is it worth it?
As my accountant adviser loves to say, “it depends.”
If you are writing or publishing to make money, the answer is a resounding “yes” from my perspective.
Of course, Barnes and Noble has its Pub It platform, which essentially does the same thing as KDP Select, except its not as user-friendly for reviews, doesn’t demand exclusivity, and doesn’t have the book lending/profit sharing mechanism that KDP Select has.
But, by not enrolling in the Select part of the program (and just having your book available on Kindle), you can publish to B&N, Smashwords, the Apple iBookstore, Kobo, etc. That’s five different streams of income in comparison to one.
KDP Select, however, is easier to manage and maintain if you’re starting out and building your audience. Marketing yourself is hard enough without having to do it for five different places on a rapidly multiplying, infinite bookshelf.
Even if you hire someone to manage your marketing for you, would you want them laser focused on one channel guaranteed to make you money, or five that MIGHT make you more money in the long run?
Here’s my advice: with one title, stick with KDP Select. With two or more in your backlist, mix it up (I’m actually doing this now). Spend 90 days with Select, and during that time, try to establish a way to maintain those other publishing sites. Then, shift from Select to those and see what happens. Let me know how it works out for you!