My KDP Select Experiment – It Changed Me

Earlier this month, as I mentioned in my last post, I enrolled a short story under a pen name into the KDP Select program to see what would happen.

To be honest, prior to the experiment I was quite strongly against the program.  I thought that the exclusivity clause was something that I wasn’t prepared to put up with.  Especially since I have been selling well on places like iBooks.  Why give up all that extra exposure?

But unlike my regular non fiction books which I have everywhere, I only had this story on Amazon anyway, so figured it couldn’t hurt to test it.  It was only going to be for 90 days after all wasn’t it?

Prior to enrolling the story, it had been selling around 2 or 3 copies a month (I think I had a total of 10 sales in six months).  Priced at 0.99 cents, the massive $3 or so that I have earned with it meant that putting it free really wasn’t going to put me out of pocket.

So I made it free for the full five days that you are allowed per 90 days.

During that time it was downloaded 1,500 times (approx).  Not a lot granted (compared to some people have have reported upwards of 10,000 copies downloaded).

But was more interesting to me was how much it sold once it came off the free period.  In the last two weeks I’ve sold 39 copies of it and had 4 lends.  39 sold!  That’s a massive jump from 2 or 3.  Over 10 x the amount in fact (just in case your maths was a bit rusty 😉 ).

So needless to say I’m a little bit hooked.

Was it a fluke?  Will it only work on fiction?

This is something that I want to test further.  I’ve just released my next non fiction book: Just Tell Me What Stocks To Buy and I’ve enrolled it in KDP Select – it’s now free until Friday.  BTW, if you are interested in the stock market (I suspect that’s none of you) then by all means go and grab it for free before it goes back up to $4.99 on Saturday.

I doubt that I’ll keep it in KDP after the 90 days are up as I do so well on the other platforms but I thought that this would be a very interesting experiment to test.  I know it can work really well for fiction (both from my experiment and from the many authors over at but will it also work equally well for nonfiction – and a stock market book at that (not really a highly sought after topic after all is it)?

But here is something that I never thought would happen …

I’m starting to think I want to write more fiction.

I told you I was hooked.

I went and rewrote the short story – I made it longer with an actual plot.  A plot!  Can you believe that!  Oh wait, you are all writers here that read this, so yes I’m sure you can believe it.

And I’ve started another one.  A second short story.  Good grief.  What has the KDP program done to me?

I tell you what it HAS done to me.  It’s made we want to write again.  Anything and everything.

But What About Selling Stuff?  It’s Not Just About The Writing …

Of course not.  I’m a business woman.  I use the internet to make money online and have done so for many years now.

So making money is important to me.  Very important.

In the MMO (Make Money Online) world of marketing it’s quite normal to give away free products as a way to attract and audience (traffic, back-end sales, leads etc).  This isn’t much different really.

Except it’s slightly more akin to SEO in a way (stay with me and the analogy will make sense soon).

With SEO it’s all about getting listed higher on the search engines so that you can be found by more people.  Ok that’s a simplified version but that’s the goal.  To get better visibility in the search engine rankings so it (hopefully) equates to sales and money from your website.

By making your book free for a short time at Amazon it works a similar way – you are aiming for more traffic, better rankings and, later down the track once it goes paid again: higher sales.

And that seems to be what is happening too.  Better rankings (so you appear on more ‘you might also like’ ‘customers also bought’ lists), better visibility (often the free downloads will help sales of other books as well as get you reviews) and higher sales (the majority of people do see a huge jump in sales once the book goes back to paid).

Those sales do seem to be short lived though so my next experiment with the next short story is to test out if it’s better to use up the 5 days all at once, or spread them out over the 90 days.  I suspect it’s the latter, but I’ll have to test it to see.

So what about you?  What has been your experiences with KDP?  Good/Bad?  Against/For?

Tracey xx


  1. Jim says

    Very interesting. I am thinking of doing the same thing. I have been writing non-fiction travel books aimed at kids and families. I’ve always had the itch to write fiction, but non-fiction seemed the best way to put bread on the table. Now things are changing with ebooks and selfpublishing. I’ve finally stated that novel. My dilemma is whether to publish under my full name the same as my non-fiction books, or use a shortened version of my name (I don’t like the idea of pen names). On one side, it would keep my non-fiction books separate from my fiction. On the other hand, that would mean double the work maintaining author pages, websites, blogs, etc. Do you think it really matters to keep things separate, or is it OK to just list all the projects you’ve worked on? I’ve seen authors do it both ways. If you find you enjoy writing fiction, will you promote yourself as a fiction author, or continue to keep it a secret behind a pen name?

    • Tracey says

      I’m using a pen name for the fiction stories since they are in erotic romance and I figured it would be too confusing for readers to see that I write business books AND e.romance.

      I’m not sure how I feel about having lots of different pen names though. On one hand I can see how it would make sense for branding purposes so readers can find the books they like easier, but on the other it sometimes seems like too much work.

      But for my fiction/non fic I decided it was important. I probably won’t keep the names a secret though, but I’m still tossing up whether it would help/harm to be completely open about it.


  2. says

    That’s very cool. Yes, it seems most folks are finding that their KDP Select titles are selling well when they come off of free status, because they are more readily findable.

    May I just say I love this font your comments are displayed in? Pretty…and that’s cool how your short story was only 16 pages or so.

    I am newly inspired. Thanks.

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