Why I’m NOT Joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program?

Last week Amazon came out with the KDP Select program to entice authors in making their ebooks available through the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to earn a percentage of the $500,000 pool for this month. Mark Coker pointed out on the Smashwords blog and Huffington Report why the KDP Select program is bad for indie authors. If you want to be in the KDP Select program, your ebook must be exclusive to Amazon and unavailable elsewhere at any other ebook retailer. This was soon followed by a spat of “I’m joining Amazon’s KDP Select Program” blog postings being announced on Twitter. For these writers, they are making boatloads of cash and don’t mind selling out to the devil.

Why I’m NOT joining Amazon’s KDP Select program?

Unlike most Amazon authors, I’m not making boatloads of cash. I get 80% of my ebook sales through Smashwords from third party sales (i.e., Apple, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Kobo, Sony, etc.). Throwing away 80% of my sales for an exclusive arrangement with Amazon without increasing sales to cover my losses doesn’t make good business sense.

I don’t know why my Amazon sales are pathetic in comparison to my awesome Smashwords sales. I doubt it’s because I’m “well established” on Smashwords. I started publishing my ebooks on both platforms last year and paid no special attention to either one. Amazon went south, Smashwords went north. Perhaps my short story ebooks for $0.99 have found a stronger audience among the non-Kindle crowd?

My sales numbers may change when I introduce my two essay ebooks this month, “Death At A Hells Angels Funeral: Driving Past The Memories” and “Experiencing The Death of Elvis: Another Childhood Tragedy.” (The theme for this month is Death, brought to you by the letter D, and don’t ask me why.) My first essay ebook, “The Cabbage Patch Doll Fight: A Christmas Shopping Tale,” has sold better than many of my short story ebooks.

My business plan for 2012 is to come out with one short story ebook and one essay ebook every month, and have at least 48 ebook titles on the market by the beginning of 2013. That market being both Amazon (Kindle readers) and Smashwords (all other readers). If I’m going to be an indie author, I can’t let Amazon call the shots.