Once upon a time, ebook publishing on Amazon KDP Select was pretty much a goldmine for competent authors. Over the past year, the easy option is no longer so easy.
I talked about the tyranny of “free”, and suggested that you:
enroll your first book in Select, making it free on Kindle Unlimited, but offer your other titles widely. Once your other titles are selling, you can remove your first book from Select, because you’re gaining visibility, and readers.
KDP Select has this benefit for authors: you can go days without a sale, yet see your income rise, because people are reading your books.
Ebook publishing: the scammers, and Kindle Unlimited (KU) Pages Read
The challenge for many authors is that in real terms, over the past couple of years, KU authors (enrollment in Select means that your books are free to read for KU subscribers) are making 30 per cent less.
The Select “pot” — the money Amazon puts in to pay KDP Select authors — has been dropping. For June 2017, Amazon offers a KENPC of 0.0042229.
Many authors attribute the declining KENPC to scammers. I talked about scammers in this article on writing romance. That may be part of the problem, but the greater issue is the huge amount of content pouring onto the Kindle Store every month.
As I write this, over the past 30 days, 117,569 ebooks have been published to the Kindle Store. By the time you read this, it will be upwards of 120,000 ebooks.
How many of those ebooks landed in KU? I just checked.
Here you go: 58,242 ebooks are Kindle Unlimited Eligible, meaning that they’re enrolled in Select — that’s around half of the ebooks published within the past 30 days.
More ebooks are sharing Amazon’s pot, so it’s inevitable that authors’ earnings will go down.
Over the past few years, I’ve taken my ebooks (and my clients’ ebooks) into and out of KDP Select. Currently, I’m out, except for first books in series.
Adjust your self-publishing plans for success
I’ve no plans to go all-in with KDP Select for the foreseeable future. With so many new ebooks enrolling into the program each and every month unless Amazon increases the pot substantially, it doesn’t make sense.
Your self-publishing plans may be completely different. KDP Select still works for many authors; they’re making money.
What holds authors back from publishing widely is that when you publish elsewhere, as well as on Amazon, chances are good that your income will go down. It’s normal for authors to take an income hit for three to six months.
This a real challenge for authors who depend on the money, and I feel the pain of authors who are tied to KDP Select. Authors’ groups are filled with threads about the drop in KENPC, and whether KENPC will drop even lower.
No one knows.
Here’s what I suggest — look at your options. I gave you some ideas in the article on the tyranny of “free”, check them out.
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