Recently, I received an email in my inbox from Amazon.com regarding an addition to their Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). So, of course, this article I’ll be discussing my experience with eBooks, Amazon’s KDP, Kindle Select, and now Kindle Matchbook.
I’ve actually had a lot less experience with eBooks and KDP than I have with CreateSpace, and I took a long time to decide on whether or not to do it. When it came up on the CreateSpace website, it was followed by a whole lot of legal jargon that I didn’t fully understand, mostly about the price of the book and Amazon’s terms of service. Some of the things that it said about Amazon being able to put my book on sale, limits on where else I could publish, and requiring that Amazon be 20% cheaper than any other sales avenue were a great concern of mine. However, with the demand of eBooks growing, I had to just bite the bullet.
I’m not sure about the process if you’re publishing an eBook alone, but if you’re going from the CreateSpace website, it’s really easy. Just follow the directions on my CreateSpace book creation overview, and at the end when it prompts you to create an eBook, just click “yes”. Amazon has a program that will convert your file from CreateSpace to the Kindle format. If you have any issues with the way that it comes out, it is also possible to upload your Word document directly. (I found out the hard way that even if you have a special setting on your Tab function, Amazon’s program will not recognize it and keep your Tab normal size. It made stuff look funny.) Amazon will take a few hours to look over your work just like CreateSpace, so you’ll have to be patient with it.
After that is all done, you’ll have to choose your royalty rate. Amazon has two options for KDP, 35% rate and 70% rate. The 70% is only available for sales from certain countries and your eBook must be priced between $2.99 and $7.99. Amazon also will subtract the cost of delivering your eBook based on the size of the file. You can choose the 35% option no matter your price, and the rate calculation is much simpler.
In addition to KDP’s regular services, you have the option to enroll in Kindle Select. This does a few things. The first is that it puts your eBook into the Kindle Owners Lending Library (KOLL). This service is available to people who 1) own a Kindle (no, it must be a Kindle; a Kindle app will not do) and 2) have a paid (not a student or trial) Amazon Prime account to borrow your eBook, and you will receive royalties for every first time borrower. Second, it gives the author the option to offer the eBook for free for five days within the 90 day period that the Kindle Select option is active. These can be random single days; they can be five days in a row. They can be whenever. It is not required though. But there is a catch. You must sell your eBook exclusively on Amazon during the 90 days that your eBook is enrolled in the program.
Offering your novel for free also has some pros and cons. I’ve read a lot about it and the reviews are mixed. Some people say that if your book is worth anything, you shouldn’t have to offer it for free. Others say that it increased their sales by 600%. I enrolled just one of my novels in the program just to try it out, and I’ve gotten results. The problem is that I don’t really know what to do with the results. What I gained from it was experience and information. The most important was that there is demand for what I’m selling. My first novel, Wingéd, was downloaded over 500 times over the course of two days, a Tuesday and Wednesday, and was ranked #9 on Amazon’s list of free epic fantasy downloads. Sounds great, right? Well, this little adventure gained me just seven paid downloads that I wouldn’t have otherwise, which technically was a large increase in sales (it’s hard to get people to care about your novel). I haven’t received any reviews based on it, good or bad. If anyone has any advice, feel free to leave me a comment.
Lastly, a week or so ago, I received an email from KDP announcing Kindle Matchbook. The email says that in order to gain more sales, it gives you the option of offering your eBook at a discount if someone purchases the print copy. It sounds like a good offer, so I’m thinking about doing it. I’m not sure if it’ll make a difference, but I can always give it a whirl and report back at a later date.
So, that has been my experience with Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. Is there anything that I’ve forgotten that you’d like to know?