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Hypothesis: KDP Select Limits Your Audience

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The more I deal with the KDP Select program the more I think it isn’t so great. Sure, it gives you tools to start promotions for your book. I’ve seen my short story SLIP DRIVE rise in the rankings on its free promotional days. Lots of fun to watch. But after that? Not much happens. Its graph looks like a really bad roller coaster ride. All up’s and downs with barely any anticipatory climbs!

Yesterday on my blog, a follower asked if he could download it on Smashwords. I also have a coworker–Leanne Buckley, who is the illustrator for HIROKO’S TALE–has a Nook. She’d like to see her illustration on her eReader, but I’m the jerk limiting her access to it..

Which brings me to this: Am I limiting my scope?

My understanding is that Smashwords allows you to upload any number of formats, including .mobi (Kindle’s format). If I also have heard correctly, you are given the power to generate coupon codes to give out for promotional deals. They don’t restrict you to a number of days.

That already is sounding like a better deal.

With utilizing both KDP and Smashwords, I’m widening my audience. At least that is how it would appear on paper. But I’m not aware of anyone else who has done this experiment. Everyone I’ve been following on Twitter and other blogs seem to be using KDP exclusively. I wonder why that is?

Is Smashwords that dreadful? Is there just not much to say about it? Well, I intend to find out these answers. I’ll be asking around to who uses the other services. And ask them for their experiences. There has to be a way to leverage all of the tools available. The more I think about it, the more I can’t accept that using KDP alone is smart or worthwhile enough.

Limiting your potential reader pool can’t be a good idea, right? Write.



  1. Mark Coker says:

    Jeffrey, I appreciate your perspective. Here’s what I have to say about KDP Select: http://blog.smashwords.com/2011/12/amazon-shows-predatory-spots-with-kdp.html Were it not for the exclusivity requirement, KDP Select would be a compelling program. Unfortunately, Amazon is trying to box authors in to the Kindle platform, playing authors as pawns in a strategy to pull their books from competitors such as B&N and Apple. Some authors have done wildly well with with KDP Select but I expect many more are missing opportunities to build larger, broader and more diversified readership when they surrender their rights to Amazon.

    If you’re interested in Smashwords, here’s how we work: https://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_on_smashwords

    • Mark,

      First I’d like to say thank you for taking the time to respond. Having a member of Smashwords take the time to directly address a post like this speaks volumes. I’ll be sure to pass that along.

      My Smashwords account ready to go once my enrollment with KDP Select ends this April. And I think you hit the nail on the head. Authors, especially new authors, are missing opportunities. We should strive to be as pervasive as possible.

      I have a question, if you have the time, concerning the coupon codes. Do you limit these a number per month? Or can I generate as many promotions as I want? Thank you and I look forward to being a Smashwords distributed author in the near future.

  2. “Pressure Suite: Digital Science Fiction 3,” which contained my short story “Coil Gun,” was available for a bunch of different formats (like the Nook format, as well as Word Doc and PDF too) on Smashwords as well as for Kindle on Amazon.

    I would recommend you go with SW as well as Amazon–since “DSF” was available on Amazon AND SW, I think you can do both.

  3. BTW, thanks for being a guinea-pig for the whole digital-self-publishing thing. Seeing what you’ve been doing has been informative.

    • I actually emailed James R. Tuck and asked him about his experience with traditional publishing and what he thinks. His response was very informative. I plan to talk about it on Friday.

  4. James is a cool guy and the fact he’s got a three-book deal gives him a good bit of credibility. I will eagerly await Friday’s Jeff-post.

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