Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Opportunity of KDPS...

or, Kindle Direct Publishing Select.

Basically, this is a system that allows Amazon to run the world's largest digital library. In exchange, author's get a tantalizing look at a very large pool of money, to be split among those that are borrowed the most.

Amazon gives this (distillation, me) example to help explain:

If 100,000 books are qualified as lent books in a month.
If your book is downloaded 1,500 times.
When the pool equals $500,000 for the month.

Then: 1,500 of my downloads from 100,000 total downloads
= 1500/100000
= 1.5% (of total downloads)

And $500,000 in the pool
Then: 1.5% of $500,000
= $7,500 (earned in that month from the lending downloads)

More realistically, let's assume 100,000 downloads (which seems like an awful too few), and, seeing as how I believe every book in the library has been checked out at least ONCE (I know I sure tried), what happens if, all else true, your book merits only one download?

Then: 1 of my downloads from 100,000 total downloads
= 1/100000
= .001% (of total downloads)

And $500,000 in the pool
Then: .001% of $500,000
= $5 (earned in that month from the lending downloads)

Or, if 200,000 books qualified for download (more realistic and thus cutting your earnings in half), you would earn $2.50 in royalties from KDPS, for that month, for your single download.

As with the store, there is no guarantee of getting noticed. Nothing says you will have a better chance than the other hundreds and thousands of books available. Big name books from big name publishers will probably take the lion's share of the pool.


My first novel, "Shackled", of which I am quite proud, has garnered me a number of excellent reviews. What it has NOT garnered, is attention and sales. Much like sticking a book on the shelves of your local library and hoping one day someone tries to check it out, I will be putting "Shackled" into KDPS. Except, unlike that scenario, I have a chance for a least a little money. (I am not going to pretend I will earn $7,500 from this opportunity, but even $2.50 is more than $0.00... and in fact more than I would earn in normal royalties, anyway.)

It was easy to unpublish from Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. Both were done within the hour. However, I don't know how Smashwords' extended network will work - but I was not particularly included as I don't have ISBNs yet. (It may only be a problem with Kobo.)

An added bonus of KDPS is that you are enabled to choose 5 days during your 90-day mandatory exclusivity contract (you didn't think they let just ANYONE get their hands into that money pot, did you?), as I said, 5 days in which your work is completely free on Amazon. They can be random days, or all at once. You cannot roll them over into a second 90-day contract. When they are free in the store, they are not available for download. You may choose the days and that will be adhered to, sans (minus) downtime for Amazon's own latency issues (their words). It could be quite a useful promotional tool. It is also the first time indie authors have the ability to make their work free directly on Amazon, instead of the roundabout-competitor's-have-underpriced-you-carousel.

So fly, little novel. Find your audience in the land of (for them) free monthly downloads :)


  1. KDP Select sounds like a promising program. I'm probably going to put one or both of my next two titles on it, to see how it helps (or not).

    Best of luck. Hope it works out well for you!

  2. I looked at that with interest also, and I may give it a shot. It'll be interesting to see just how it works out. Will you be able to share the info with us?

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. @Michael: Yes, it does sound promising and scary all at once. As one person said, "I hate to put all my eggs in one basket, because what if the handle breaks?" But as I stated, it would be nice to be noticed, period. Even if someone is just browsing through Amazon Prime, that one title they might see might lead them to look at my other titles NOT available on Prime.

    @Tony: Sharing shouldn't be a problem and I would love to :) As far as I know, (And I read the agreement line by line) there is no Hush/No Information/Lips Sealed clause that says I may not talk about my success or lack thereof. The closest I saw was that Amazon may, at their discretion, release figures (including downloads, and author's earnings) in a PR statement.