Sunday, August 5, 2012

ASK PZM - Aug 2012: Kindle Direct Publishing



Q: What is your opinion of KDP Select? Is it worth forgoing putting an ebook anywhere else than Kindle?


To answer this question, let’s first start with the basics.


Anyone can upload an ebook via kdp.amazon.com. The Kindle ebook format is mobi as opposed to epub used for the Nook and other devices. But Amazon cleverly provides for free Kindle apps for almost any electronic device, including the iPad and PC or Mac.

In other words, the proprietary Kindle format can be read almost anywhere today that ebooks are being read.

Now I personally do NOT upload a document and let KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) format my book for mobi. I know that bad formatting can interfere with a reader’s enjoyment of a book. 

Therefore I had my business partner teach me how to do html formatting myself based on this series of blog posts that starts at http://guidohenkel.com/2010/12/take-pride-in-your-ebook-formatting/ and explains why you want to ensure that your formatting looks good. 


After I do the html formatting (and check the ebook on Kindle to find my mistakes), I then use Calibre to convert the html document to mobi. Finally, I upload the mobi to KDP. 

The above is time consuming and complicated, so you may want to hire an ebook converter. But before you do, read the warning below. 

Warning: To learn how you can unwittingly lose control of your own book on KDP, read this guest post I did -- “Not All Ebook Converters Are the Same” or “Why I Love Chris O’Byrne” -- at http://budurl.com/converters

KDP Select: 

Now when you upload a book to KDP – or at a later date after you have uploaded a book, you can choose to put the book on KDP Select. 

Here is the important thing to know: For each 90-day period that your book is on KDP Select, it can ONLY be on Kindle as an ebook (can be elsewhere as a physical book). In other words, it cannot be on Nook, etc. 

And Amazon uses software to make sure that you comply with this requirement. In fact, when I decided to take my ebooks off all other sites so that the ebooks could be on KDP Select, Amazon found one site that I was unaware still had one of my ebooks for sale. I had to get that ebook removed before I could put it on KDP Select. 

For more information on KDP Select, answers to frequently asked questions are here: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect 


What is the advantage of KDP Select?

First, your ebook is available to be loaned to Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle. And Amazon pays you for each copy of your book loaned. 

Second, you can have five free days in any configuration during each 90-day period. And there are sites that promote these free days. 

Why I have decided to put all my ebooks on KDP Select: 

As an author I only have so much time in each day to market my books. Sound familiar? 

And one of the most important ways to sell books is to have good reviews. 

One of my marketing tenets is to make it as easy as possible for a person to say yes. Recently I have realized this means NOT sending someone to my website to learn about my books. Instead I want to send people directly to a book’s page on Amazon, where the book can be bought. 

And why Amazon? 

Because Amazon has the largest market share plus I can work on getting reviews for each book on Amazon. I cannot work on getting reviews of each book on numerous sites. 

My experience with KDP Select: 

For my first experiment I tried a two-day KDP Select with both a fiction and nonfiction book. I figured that, once I was posting the announcement of one book, it would not take that much more time to post the announcement of a second book. 

I also did NOT pay for any promotions. I wanted at least for the first time to try the free days without spending any money on advertising. 

Now many of you know that I am active on social media as I am the co-founder of an online marketing company. Thus I did have the advantage of having online connections. 

But I did NOT ask all my online connections to help me promote the free days for my thriller CIA FALL GUY and my new book TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK. 

I did upload announcements to numerous sites that I found by compiling lists from various sources, including ebooks that I bought. But I will admit I did not upload announcements to as many places as I could have done – again, available time is a restraint for all of us. 

My marketing strategy and conclusions: 

I put the Amazon page links to all my other ebooks at the end of each of the two ebooks that were free. (I did this per the steps above of html doc, Calibre conversion to mobi, upload to KDP.) 

I offered the free ebooks to introduce me to readers who did not know me. 

Judging by the number of downloads during the 48 hours, I did get my writing out to a good number of people. And I hope that some of these people will check out my other books. 

One warning: Someone wrote a mean-spirited review of CIA FALL GUY complaining that when you get something for free you get what you “paid for.” So there is this downside to people downloading a free ebook. 

In conclusion, authors have to decide for themselves whether KDP Select is right for them. But for me, I want to do more experimenting before I weigh in on one side or the other. 

In fact, my novel MRS. LIEUTENANT, which was a 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist, will be a free KDP Select ebook on August 20th and 21st. Mark your calendars now to get it then at http://amzn.to/OXrBhh 

And I have a brand-new ebook – TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET ON THE INTERNET WITH PICTURES: Action Steps You Can Do Immediately Whether You Are an Expert or a Novice – at http://amzn.to/Oa5Cmb to accompany my other new nonfiction ebook – TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK: Action Steps You Can Do Immediately Whether You Are Traditionally Published or Self-Published – at http://amzn.to/N5H0Gj 


Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books, which you can learn more about at her Amazon Author Central profile at http://amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller She is also the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com, which builds websites for clients and coaches them about online marketing. 

Here's a link to an article Phyllis wrote on

SCBWI conference: Amazon cares about authors

32 comments :

  1. I found your post very interesting. I like that authors are sharing their experiences with the KDP select program. Thank you for sharing your experiences with it.

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    1. Thanks, Susanne. I'm very happy that Phyllis's Q & A articles are interesting.

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  2. I always love these posts. Even if it's not something I'm looking into at the moment, I bookmark the topic for later. :)

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    1. Thanks, Carrie! Hope you're having a lovely summer's day.

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  3. Am I the only one whose head hurts from all the options we have available these days? While many are positively great, I get so confused by it all! It's fantastic of you to provide Phyllis' information about this, Joylene, we are all in need of some sound advice. Thanks!!

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    1. My head's spinning both ways, Kim. That's why I appreciate Phyllis's Q&A so much. Every step of the way she's made sense of what is so confusing to me. It's been great.

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  4. I am in the process of figuring out how to get my new non fiction interactive e-book for middle grade girls out into the hands of readers. This post and Guido's posts are very helpful in making the decision. (I was so surprised to read Guido's take on using Smashwords.) Thanks so much for sharing this information!!

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  5. I appreciate this info! Thank you, Phyllis, for sharing, and Joylene, for hosting. I am bookmarking this page. :) What would I do without you two?

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  6. I've been wondering about this myself! I'm going to self-publish a mainstream dystopian novel in October. I just might try KDP Select for the first 90 days and see how I fare. :) Thanks, Phyllis and Joylene!

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  7. When I had one of my print books converted to Kindle a few years ago, I left the formatting up to them (that's why I paid a fee, I thought!); but there are errors in the finished book. Little things, like lower case instead of caps., etc.

    That bugged me.

    I don't know how to make sure everything is correct in the finished product when using these programs. I plan to check your links...maybe I will find the answers!

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  8. Thank you so much for this. It really helps!!

    Love the blog.

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  9. Hi Joylene and hi Phyllis,
    Oh boy, so much helpful information for those who might understand all or some of this. I'm not going to make out what all of this means, because I'm totally lost. I thought "KDP" was a political party in Canada. Sorry, that's "NDP".
    Forgive me, I get panic attacks using an "Etch-A-Sketch"
    Enjoy BC Day, eh!
    Your starstruck fan, Gary

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    1. Seriously, Gary, you'll need to know this stuff so you can publish your book. You know, the one that covers all the topics on your blog, the one that has already helped hundreds of readers.

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  10. Great info. I borrow some books from Prime as well as take advantage of free books, and now I learned more about the process behind it.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this.
    I have two self-published works on Kindle and I'll admit I'm a complete dunce about all of it.
    This was helpful, and I particularly found the marketing experiment very interesting.

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  12. Great info. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. This is an excellent guide for writers who are thinking about self-publishing! Julie

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  14. You have a great plan, and I'm very impressed you have so many books to put on the Kindle. Wow. That's super! :-)

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  15. Thanks for sharing your KDP experience, Phyllis. There's so much to consider when it comes to publishing options these days!

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Carol. Phyllis would say thanks but for some reason she can't comment on my blog. Hasn't been able to in months.

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