Questions answered about Amazon’s KDP

A Beginner’s Guide to Amazon’s KDP Select Program


Marquita Herald
I would love to have $1 for every posting I’ve come across in an online forum or author group with the question “Is KDP worth it?”

Now I admit, even when you find your way to the KDP Select area at Amazon, there really is a lot of information to slog through, and participation does after all involve an exclusive commitment; so it’s human nature to want to look for feedback from others who have experience with the program. The problem is we humans are born storytellers, and the stories we tell are naturally laced with personal editing and biases that may or may not provide a good indicator of whether the program will work for you.

So, with that in mind, I invested some time compiling a list of the most frequently asked questions I could find about the KDP Select program. Along with answers and a few tips, I’ve also tried to clear up some common misunderstandings.

What is the difference between KDP and KDP Select?

KDP stands for Kindle Digital Publishing and is Amazon’s basic publishing platform. There are no requirements for exclusivity to publish your books to Amazon using the basic platform.

KDP Select is Amazon’s promotional program for authors, and participation does require that your book be published exclusively to this program for a minimum of 90 days.

How does KDP Select work?

KDP Select features a $6 million annual fund dedicated to independent authors and publishers. The basic enrollment period is 90 days, and participation includes the option of offering books free to readers up to 5 days each period. Participation also includes enrollment in Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (often referred to as KOLL), which means you can earn a share of the fund based on how frequently your book is borrowed.

KDP Select is set up so that books are automatically renewed at the end of the promotional period, but if you decide not to renew, you can easily opt out by simply going to the book’s “Edit book details” page and un-checking the box next to “Automatically renew this book’s enrolment in KDP Select.”

What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle?

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively on Kindle. This means that during the enrolment period you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including sites such as Barnes & Noble or Smashwords, or on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format, other than digital.

Can I use previews or excerpts to promote my book?

While Amazon support is quick to point out that readers can view a snippet of your book on your book page, and read it for free as a Prime member, they confirmed to me that authors are allowed to use digital previews to promote books elsewhere. The guideline is the preview must not exceed one third of the contents of the book.

Does my book have to have an ISBN (international standard book number) to publish to Kindle?
No. In fact all books published to Amazon are assigned their own book number, called an AISN which stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number.

Will I have to enroll all of my books in KDP Select?

No. In fact many series authors enroll just one of their books to entice new readers to buy other books in the series.

How do I enroll my titles in KDP Select? When does enrolment become effective?

Existing titles can be enrolled from the bookshelf. To enroll a single title, you can simply click “Enroll.” Existing titles can also be enrolled from the book editing process.

New titles can be enrolled from the book details page. Simply check the box to “Enroll this book in KDP Select” and proceed to publish the book as you normally would.

For titles already live in the Kindle Store, enrollment takes effect immediately. For new titles, enrollment takes effect once the book is available for sale on the Amazon website.

And finally, the most frequently asked question of all!

Is KDP Select Worth It?

The bottom line is you are the only one who can decide if the program will be right for you … but I’d start by answering one simple, but all important question.

How well is your digital book selling on other platforms now?

Of course there are no guarantees that KDP Select, or any other e-book sales platform, will work, but if your sales on the other platforms have been stale, or non-existent, then taking a three-month gamble on KDP Select could prove to be a valuable experiment.

Here are four basic strategies I’ve used to make the most of Amazon KDP Select sales.

1. Complete your author profile at Amazon’s Author Central. You can upload book trailers, and if you have a blog, once you set up the link snippets of your latest posts will appear on your author page. If you’re active on Twitter you can link your account to your page; but consider whether your tweets will support your books before you do. I use a link to my author page in my email signature, in social media, article marketing and guest posts. If your book is available worldwide, you’ll also want to take the time to complete your author page for other countries. You can sign in with the same username and password, but you’ll have to set up a separate author page for each area. Is it worth the effort? Within 2 weeks of completing my author profiles on the international Amazon platforms, I saw first time sales from Germany, France and Italy!

2. There is no question that good reviews will help you sell more books. But don’t fall into the trap of waiting to promote your book until you have a stack of good reviews. The first time I ran a KDP Select free promotion for one of my books I ignored advice to wait until I had at least ten good reviews. At the time I only had 2, but both were solid 5-star, so I decided to go for it. I earned $200 with that promotion, which is double what experts say a new author typically earns in their first year!

3. Whether you decide to try KDP Select or not, remember it’s up to you to market your book. Make a habit of promoting your book(s) at least a couple of different ways every single day. I normally begin spreading the word about my KDP Select free day promotions a full two weeks in advance!

Hopefully, this article has helped to clear up some of the misconceptions 
surrounding the KDP Select program, and has given you some tools to logically evaluate whether KDP Select is for you!

It’s Your Time NOW
A Guide to Living Your Life

There are really only two ways to live … 

You can glide along and let things happen, reacting to whatever comes your way. Not necessarily bad, but in choosing to live this way you relinquish control of your life to serendipity … good luck, bad luck, whatever the fates happen to serve up.

Or, you can be an active participant – making intentional choices and decisions, creating focus and direction, and turning dreams into reality. But the question is, where do you even begin to create meaningful change when you’re already up to your eyeballs with demanding relationships, commitments and emotional baggage?

With the belief that you deserve and are capable of becoming all that you are meant to be. In fact, as you begin living with greater intention you become more aware of the power you have to take advantage of the opportunities in adversity, cultivate the confidence to determine the direction of your life, and the courage to own your choices – no excuses, no regrets.

No matter where you are in life now, It’s Your Time Now will help bring into focus the steps to guide you on your personal journey to mastering life by design.

Author Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald is a transformation guide, the creator of
the life by design blog IGG-Tips, Tools and Tantalizing Ideas, and the author
of three books: Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience, Inspirational Words of
Wisdom for Challenging Times, and It’s Your Time Now – A Guide to Living Your
Life by Design. 

Her professional background includes a successful 20 year
career in hotel sales and marketing, followed by a decade as a life and small
business coach.

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