Monday, January 7, 2013

The death of KDP may be greatly exaggerated.

2012 is in the books. The Mayans odometer has turned over (seriously, that's all it really was anyway), meanwhile, the publishing landscape has seen serious and radical changes. The advent of the KDP program ushered in the largest "Indie" revolution ever. (Yeah, I used quotes because some people have suddenly taken offense to the for them I used it in quotes the first time, but from here on out...well...just keep reading.) 

For me, the switch started in November of 2011 when we dipped our toe in the water and gave Zomblog away for a weekend. No fanfare, no advance hype...and gave away over 10,000 copies. However, we all know that those are NOT sales. The real test would be to see what happened next. I quit my job delivering the local paper for little more than what I spent each month on gas in April of 2012.

Let's be I raking in the "big bucks"? Nope. But I make more than I did delivering the paper and get to do what I love. During the course of 2012, May December Publications GAVE AWAY 122,929--over 15,000 in December alone during our big giveaway--ebooks via the KDP program .  My sales have gone from 20-30 books a month to almost 1,000. Like I have said before...lots of people are selling more, and I am thrilled for them. However, for me, this is the realization of a dream. Considering where I was just 2 years ago...I would say that I am doing okay.

Like many of my writing friends, I saw sales take a dive in around September. Sure, a lot can be made of things like Amazon "changing the algorithms" whatever that may or may not mean. However, If you put out something that people want to read...they will come back.

Indie best-selling authors like Mark Tufo, John O'Brien and others have found their way onto the Amazon Top 10 with multiple titles as well as maintaining top 10-20 Horror Author Rankings (an article for another time). They have done so with talent. And while we all muddled through what some have referred to as "The Golden Days of the Indie Revolution" the journey has really only just begun.

We had the opportunity to lay a foundation. Now, it is a matter as to whether you built your house with straw, sticks, or bricks. KDP was was simply a tool. So many moaned that their numbers did not justify staying in the program. Others have become successful enough that they no longer require the use of the "freebie training wheels". That is really what my point is here. The KDP program was a tool. If you used it well, then you saw dividends, provided that you had a product people want to read. That is also a topic for another time, but I think it is no big revelation that just because somebody CAN write...does not mean that they SHOULD. Also, there are PLENTY of very talented writers who have not gotten lucky. Because, believe it or not, that has almost as much to do with it as talent. 

So as 2013 begins...I wish only the best to all of my writing friends and family. Now that we have seen the madness of 2012 die down...let us all roll up our sleeves and try to produce quality stuff for the reading masses.

Wednesday, come and learn a bit about a writer that I hold in especially high regard...Billie Sue Mosiman.


  1. While I think KKP Select can work for some, I think for those who write in a more limiting niche market - going Select is a hindrance. Since taking my novels out of Select and scattering them far and wide over other markets, (i.e., B&N, Kobo etc), I seen just as many sells as I had on Amazon only. While I am still a part of KDP - my novels will not be a part of the Select program - too limiting for my tastes.

  2. That's just does work for some, and with no rhyme or reason. I honestly attribute my initial success to luck. I have had zero luck on B & N or anybody else for that far. However, as things pick up, I dip my toe in that well from time to time. If sales do eventually pick up on Apple, B & N and others, I would be able to wean myself from the KDP Select teat (poor image but decent analogy). For now, I use it as a tool. I have found that is my best way of getting book one of a series out there. If readers like it, then they will pursue subsequent titles.

  3. I have no idea what you are talking about... so I can comment!! but I dont buy off B&N, Kobo and rarely Smashwords as too faffy.... so sorry its Amazon all the way for me... I love the oneclick buy system and I love looking up authors in the top 100 and grabbing any freebies they might have to see if I like them or not.... Amazon do tend to muff up a bit on my recommendations but I now go by word of mouth and FB group suggestions... so maybe that the new media? also places like Pinterest and Reddit are fun to look at!

  4. I haven't given up my newspaper driver route yet, but I've seen some decent checks from Amazon and have a positive outlook for the future of KDP. There will always be doomsayers who will never be happy until the world - or any other good thing - comes to some big dramatic end.

  5. Hey Todd. I have to say, I've had a similar experience to you. I previously dipped a couple toes into KDP Select early last year to middling results. I was having good sales on Barnes & Noble with my other titles. But then my opinion on Smashwords soured greatly over the year with their inability to do timely sales reporting for their premium catalog, and I decided enough was enough. You can't run a business if you don't know what you're selling, and although I had the option of taking things out of the premium catalog and uploading to BN manually, I would be losing all of my sales rankings I'd built up over the years through Smashwords. Finally, I decided enough was enough at the end of December. After middling sales on Amazon and no idea at all what I was selling (though it was in decline anyway) on the other markets, I decided to yank everything from Smashwords and dump everything into KDP Select. Mostly because I didn't have the time to re-upload everything onto PubIt and Kobo, but also because I just wanted to go "all in" with Amazon to see what happened.

    I did a giveaway of my entire catalog for one day on Amazon on New Year's Day. I sold over 6300 copies. Since then, I've had more sales in one week than I've had in entire months through all of 2012. I'm also getting a lot of borrows. I don't know if this trend will continue, but it goes to show that it doesn't hurt to try new things.