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Why I Don't Think Kindle Select is Worth It

Updated on September 21, 2014

If you have books published on Kindle, you may be eligible for their program Kindle Select. Kindle Select allows you to do a five day book promotion and during those five days you can either offer your book for free or offer the book for $.99 the first day, then incrementally higher up to the full price after the fifth day. You mean you can benefit from giving away your book for a dollar or free? That's the idea, yes. You can also get a small payment for any books that readers read for free on the Kindle Prime program. Another benefit is that any books given away for free drive your ranking up in the Kindle store just as sales would. A nice bit of artificial exposure.

Before you can enroll your book in Kindle Select, you have to meet some eligibility criteria. The big one is that you are the author. Any books from the Public Domain are not eligible for the program. Don't try to publish a Public Domain work as your own, either. Kindle will catch on and you risk being blocked and jeopardizing an otherwise good source of passive income. The other caveat is that you cannot sell that book anywhere else or even give it away during the 90 day enrollment. Kindle is a jealous mistress and they do not want any competition.

Now, being exclusive to Kindle has its pros and cons just like any relationship. You can try the enrollment for the first 90 days and decided you want to see other publishers, or if things are going well, you can continue to reenroll.

Kindle sets a pretty good bait at first with the promotions they offer. However, you will soon find out you can only do one promotion every 90 days. That's a long time to commit for so little benefit. I tried it out with my books. My heart raced on the first day of the free promotion as I saw my books drawing dozens of new readers. The next day, almost as exciting. By the third day the numbers slumped. After the promotion I felt les than satisfied. I watched my sales every day after that, sure that people who read my books would be back for more, or at the very least, my now higher rankings in Kindle would draw more readers. After a couple of weeks I was down to a big fat zero.

What I gained - nothing. What I lost - weeks of potential sales on other platforms like Google Play, Kobo, Nook, and even eBay.

What is an author to do then? Sometimes enrolling in Kindle Select can catapult an author to the best seller rankings and you can make a lot of money. It happens. Typically, though, these authors have either gotten lucky or have conducted a ton of market research and figured out what sells and what people want to read. I personally have trouble being inspired by topics I don't have a passion for.

One recommendation I have is to try the initial enrollment if you think your book has a good shot at making it to the top. Maybe try just one book and publish a similar book on multiple platforms. See which one does better. If Kindle Select plays out well, put the other book on it. You never know.

If you decide Kindle Select isn't for you, there are ways to advertise your books. See my article on how to advertise your Kindle Book for free.

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