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KDP Select – A Great Promotion Tool or the Slow Murder of the Ebook Market?

Earlier, I have shared my thoughts about Amazon’s KDP Select program, both concerns and positive experiences, but back then the program was still in the beginning stages. Now, the program has been up and running for 5 months and the negative effects are slowly starting to show, while the positives are on the track back.

My concerns, when Amazon first announced the release of Select,  were focused on the requirement of exclusity.

To sum up the KDP Select program, it gives the authors using Kindle Direct Publishing(KDP) the opportunity to enroll their books in Kindle’s Lending Library, allowing Kindle Prime members to borrow their books. Each month all enrolled authors get a share of a monthly fund, depending on how many times their book was borrowed.

It also gives the authors a chance to make their book free for 5 days every 90 days period(A thing authors can freely do on retailer sites like Smashwords), which is a powerful promotion tool.

It all sounds like a great deal, but as with everything else, there is a catch. To enroll in the program, Amazon requires you to agree to sell your book exclusively on Amazon for a period of 90 days. Which means that not only can’t you sell the digital form of your book on places like Barnes and Noble, you can’t even sell it on your own website. To say it simply: Amazon owns you for 3 months.

Being the good little capitalist I am, I balked at the sound of that, but it was completely understandable that many authors didn’t hesitate with signing up for the program. After all, most indie authors have most of their sales(If not all) from Amazon’s Kindle Store and it was no loss for them to take their book down from any other retailer.

And in the first months it did indeed seem like the Select program was a God-sent gift to help indies promote their books. By making their book available for free for a couple of days, many authors (Myself inclusive after I caved) experienced hundreds or even thousands of downloads of their books.

Some might think it’s a self-destructive thing to do if you want to sell your book, but it’s actually a fantastic way to be seen. Not only may someone who download one of your books for free like it enough to actually pay for one of your other books, your freely downloaded title will also be shown in hundreds of places under the “Costumers who bought this also bought:” section that is shown underneath each book. That’s a great way to gain visibility.

In those first months, many saw huge bumps in their paid sales after having run such free promotions, because their book suddenly showed to a lot of new potentiel readers. The program was praised to the skies in the KDP author forum and most swore they would re-enroll after their 90 days were up.

They don’t anymore.

Like with many other things, the program’s success seems to have died down and given backlash. Thousands of authors have made their books free, making the market overflow with free books. So why should readers pay for books when they can get them for free?

Not only has readers had the chance to fill up their Kindle’s with free books, it seems many are actually waiting for particular books to be free, instead of paying to get it immediately. Some authors even experience getting mails from readers, who have downloaded the first book in a series for free, asking if the next book will also be available for free at some time.

Doesn’t bode well, does it?

Many authors have no realized this and are pulling their books out of the program and re-uploading them to other stores. More and more authors on the KDP forums are complaining about their sales having crashed to the ground after the Select program was set into motion, even authors who used to make a living from their books. Books doesn’t seem to be borrowed through the Lending Library too often anymore either. After all, why should Kindle owners pay $79 every year for a Prime Membership that allows them to borrow one free book every month, when all the books are free at some point anyway?

The KDP Select Program might have seemed like a great opportunity in the beginning, but I fear that it has only had negative effects of the market in the end. My hope is that Amazon will soon realize this, and either cancel it or change the details on free downloads to prevent readers to go only for the free books.

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Fantasy the Indie Way

The world of Indie books has broadened the fantasy genre in a way that hasn’t been seen since Harry Potter and I have been looking around to create a small list of promising Indie fantasy books!

I will select some of them to read and review here on the site, but for now I would love to hear your opinions of the books you have read:

Dark Waters

Egan Wey is a pirate, a scoundrel and the luckiest son of a… female canine that ever braved the ocean. A scarred past forces his mouth to thebottle and he is drawn to trouble like… well like he is drawn to thebottle. He does bad things for men who would rather not get their hands dirty, but one fateful night, in the corner of a lowlife’s tavern he is offered a job by Finn Fernwick, a young priest, that will not only challenge his skills but stretch his sanity to breaking point.

What begins as a fairytale rescue quickly decays into a nightmare of epic proportion as Wey and Finn combat zombies, privateers and a psychotic, despot prince. Can two men really save the world from drowning around them? Or will they drag every sorry excuse for a scallywag into the depths with them?

Check out Dark Waters

Innocent Hearts

When Bronwen’s parents die she has to leave her home in the wilderness and try to find the elf city her mother told her about, but with little food and no experience in the wild she risks her life just trying.

Liza doesn’t fit into the Nepharil society, she can’t fly, something her father reminds her of daily. She hasn’t given up trying but her time is running out and her father is impatient to have her married and out of his hands.

This ebook has two short stories set in the same fantasy world.

Check out Innocent Hearts

ALTOR: The Shadow Rebellion

What does a Sorcerer-Guardian do when his perfect world begins to crumble around him?

As appealing as the thought of being a Sorcerer-Guardian is to Ajay Samuels, the harmonious existence between all Ageronians and Earthlies leaves little reason for him to put his abilities into practice. Abilities that should set him apart from the rest of his kind due to his status as an Altor; the elite and powerful body of seven succeeding families of the original seven Sorcerers elected to oversee and govern Ageron.

His monotonous life begins to change soon after experiencing a strange dream, and following his most vivid of premonitions, he senses a danger he knows too little of to do anything about. The world as he knows it all but vanishes following the most unexpected of confrontations with a new and powerful enemy he has never before had much to do with.

On his quest for further information, Ajay is confronted with more than he could ever have envisioned, and he knows everything about his life is about to change; for the worse.

Check out ALTOR: The Shadow Rebellion (The Chronicles of Ageron)

Origin(Legends of the Known Lands)

A young heroine’s journey, initiated by a violent attack upon her only family, thrusts her into a world filled with death, deception, desperation and ultimately, a new beginning.

After a savage attack upon her only known relative Elwyn, a sheltered village maiden of sixteen is forced to embark upon a journey to the city of Findara in the land of Silvendil, to seek protection from the father she only recently learned existed. She is catapulted from the safety and security of her small village into a world full of assassins, dangerous creatures, and political intrigue. She discovers allies in the morden, the drakenhawks, the werecats, and her newly discovered uncle. Elwyn and her companions quickly realize that, unless they can find the answers to some key questions regarding her mother’s death, reaching Findara may place her in even greater danger. Some of the answers they seek are found in an old diary left to her by her mother, some are pieced together by her allies, but others still seem to elude them. As the journey nears its end, Elwyn recognizes she is being called to a destiny that is only just beginning.

Check out Origin (Legends of the Known Lands)

The Firestone Crystal

Agathea Fulstropp is a lonely 11-year-old girl, a bit on the moody side, and more than a little spoilt.

She is looking forward to a luxury break in the Caribbean with her parents, but is livid when they announce
that the trip has to be cancelled due to work commitments! So instead of spending six weeks sunning herself on a tropical beach, Thea – as she insists on being called – finds herself unceremoniously packed up, and sent off to stay with a grandfather she barely knows for the entire summer!

But it turns out to be the best summer of her life when her grandfather has a strange reunion with a mysterious childhood friend, and she is given the opportunity of a lifetime.

To visit a world beyond the stars, and become Earth’s first student to be enrolled in an experimental Inter-Planetary Education Programme at the Firestone Academy, where lessons in telepathy, mind-reading and astral projection are the norm.

Things, however, are not as straightforward as they seem. One of her fellow students makes no secret of the fact that he despises her, and will stop at nothing to make her leave…she is having increasingly disturbingly vivid dreams…and just who is that hideously deformed cave creature, and more to the point, what does it want with her?

Check out The Firestone Crystal

Hearth: Exile

A man awakens to find himself half-in, half-out of a trashcan in a back alley behind the Boathouse Restaurant in Central Park, New York City. He has no idea who he is, where he is, or how he got there. He doesn’t even know his own name, except that it begins with a ‘Br’ sound. In Book One of the Hearth trilogy, this man wanders the streets of New York in search of his identity, his memories, and his name. He is joined along the way by two companions, an orphan
girl named Page, and a similarly memory-challenged woman named Lauren. Together they seek answers to an unfolding and ever-growing mystery, watched over by Sister Regina, the head of the Convent where they are staying . . . and as they
begin to find answers, as they begin to discover more and more clues to Lauren and Brinn’s predicament, something stalks them – an ancient and deadly Evil from before the dawn of recorded history. A clock is ticking now, and they better solve the mystery of their origins and who they are soon. For it is not just they and everyone around them who are threatened; the entire fate of humanity and of two worlds depends upon them.

Check out Hearth: Exile

Breath of Air

Her name was Capri, and she was Air. She was born with a gift she didn’t understand. A gift so strange, so remarkable that she had kept it secret for as long as she could remember, despising that it made her different when all she wanted was to be normal, to belong. As an orphan, belonging to someone, anyone, would have been an incredible blessing, one she would have given up all that she had just to get a taste of. But the truth was that she didn’t belong in the orphanage in Virginia, or even in the United States. In fact, she didn’t belong with human beings at all. Because she wasn’t one of them, not really. She was something much more extraordinary. She could shift the direction of the wind, create billowing clouds out of nothing, and charm birds into dancing on her open palm. She belonged to an elite group of beings, responsible for preserving the balance of nature and the safety of Earth from an underworld that deserved to be feared, and needed to be controlled. And after years of being lost, she had at last been found, and now the truth of how she had ended up so far from home was becoming horribly clear to her. But there’s someone who doesn’t want her to return; someone who knows Capri was the only witness to an act of heinous treason and violent murder. And when she begins to search her memories for details of the night she was taken from her home, details that will implicate a killer, she finds herself the unwary target of an otherworldly dark force intent on silencing her by any means possible.

Check out Breath of Air

If you want your fantasy book added to the list, throw me a comment with a link to your Amazon page!