My novel Rigel Kentaurus has nearly completed its 90-day journey through KDP Select. The question I have to ask myself is, was it worth it?
It’s unfortunate that is one of those thing you can’t do and not do for comparison. By that, I mean I can’t compare KDP Select results with results of putting the book out without using Select. So, I have to speculate.
I had the book for sale around 9 days before I went into select. I ran the first 2-day free promo a few days later, and gave away around 400 copies. I had a big bounce afterwards, selling over 140 copies in March. In April, I did a 1-day promo which seemed to have little effect. I just finished a 2-day promo that I won’t know the impact of for a few days.
At issue here is it appears that Amazon has changed the way it handles free books. The biggest impact of the changes is that it looks like the three-day bounce is a thing of the past. I’m not the only one who noticed the change, Much of the data I am using for this conclusion is in a closed and private forum, so I can’t link to any of it.
Bottom line is, right now, authors are seeing different results than they did three months ago. This makes using KDP Select a questionable tactic.
Case in point, I took my first novel, Neanderthal Swan Song, off sale everywhere but Amazon, thinking this could be my experimental control. This book sells very slowly, maybe two copies a month. The KDP select free promos I have run on this book so far have underperformed Rigel Kentaurus, and sales still seem steady at about 2 a month.
At the same time, I moved my short story collection, Accretion, to KDP Select, and this title sells nothing at all.
My conclusion for all of this is simple. KDP Select may still have some virtue, but for many authors, the exclusivity period is counter-productive. Consider Smashwords. It took over a month for Neanderthal to be taken down from various markets, and it will take months to get it back into those markets. (Places like Kobo.) The book was starting to sell in those places, and I torpedoed my rankings by pulling it off sale.
Unless I hear scuttlebutt that says KDP Select is working like it did before March, I doubt I will participate again. That means, when I release Fishpunk, it will be deployed everywhere.