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Kindle Direct Publishing, I Hate You

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I’ve been very open about my adventures in Kindle Direct Publishing. And why not? We’re all learning this thing together and I want to be able to help out others who may come along after me. As my brother put it, “…this is the Wild West…” when it comes to this era of self-publishing.

Right now, I’m in a love hate relationship with it. Specifically with Kindle Direct Publishing.

If you know how KDP Select works skip down to “What I hate about it.”

Let’s break it down for those that don’t know. Kindle Direct offers the KDP Select program. This program is an opt in service. When you enroll, you agree that you will make your work available exclusively for Amazon. What happen is that Amazon Prime members can barrow your book from the lending library and in return you are given a small compensation.

Now, what most of us have been doing is taking advantage of the ability to set Free Promotion days.  You have 5 days out of the 90 in your enrollment to set your title for free. This does a couple of things. Raises your visibility on the market and, with luck, gets your work a few reviews (I talk here about my thoughts on the powers of reviews).

What I hate about it.

Put simply, it doesn’t separate the information of your free downloads from your paid. The Reports page they have in place does not discriminate between the two. It is not too much of a problem (very much a first world problem). But then KDP can play a trick on you, like it did to me.

SLIP DRIVE was put up for free on the 1st and 2nd of February. Over the course of those two days the KDP website showed that I had reached 85 free downloads. Then for the past week I got up to 92. Awesome, seven sales. I’ve made $2.45 from that particular piece of work. It wasn’t spectacular but I was interested to see what would happen over the month.

Then last night I checked it. I’d jumped up to 243 downloads. I was floored, I couldn’t believe it. Some how, randomly, I had just received a huge influx of purchases. I was flying high.

But my royalty amount wasn’t changing. It still showed $2.45. What was going on? Maybe it just needed to catch up? And that’s what needed to happen. It needed to catch up. But not in the way I had thought. See, those extra 236 downloads were from my free days earlier this month. KDP just now got around to showing them.

Talk about feeling lied too.

And maybe I shouldn’t feel upset about it. But if they could just separate out that information on their reports page, I could see exactly what was going on. That is what gets under my skin the most. The lack of proper information. Break it down Amazon. Is it that hard to add an extra database entry for free downloads?

You can help an indie-author out, right? Write.



  1. Just wait until you’ve got 20 titles up there and all going free on different days and what not. Trying to manage all the eFiction back issues through KDP is a nightmare. So I just said forget about it and stopped trying to follow the numbers.

    • Man, I can’t even imagine how frustrating that is for you. Hopefully in the future they’ll add the functionality to see the difference. We’re trying to be business people as well as authors. In my opinion, those numbers are very important.

  2. Greg Baker says:

    Don’t be too hard on them. It’s Amazon. How much experience with database management and real-time analytics could they possibly have…?

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