Step 4: Enter Your Book Into the Kindle Select Program for 90 Days

Experiment with Kindle Select to maximize revenue.

I strongly recommend that you enter all your Amazon Kindle ebooks into the Kindle Select program in preference to publishing your ebook outside Amazon. This section discusses the pros and cons of the Kindle Select program but concludes with a strong recommendation that you enter all your books into the program for at least 90 days.

What Is the Kindle Select Program?

Kindle Select is a special program offered by Amazon to its indie authors that you can enter your book into for 90 days at a time. The program provides additional revenue generation and promotional opportunities. More specifically, if you enter the Kindle Select program, Amazon is willing to offer you:

  1. 70% royalties in India, Japan, Mexico and Brazil.
  2. Five days of free or countdown deal promotions.
  3. Inclusion in Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owner's Lending Library.

Wow! What does all this mean?

First, you usually receive 35% royalties in some countries, including India, Japan, Mexico and Brazil. If your book is in the Kindle Select program, it will earn 70% royalties in these countries instead. This is usually of minimal benefit unless your work is targeting these countries.

Next, during every 90-day enrollment, you get to run 5 days of free or 7 days of discount promotional campaigns. Free campaigns will make your book free for several days. They can be used to attract readers in the hope of garnering much needed reviews or to give away the first book in a series in the hope the reader will buy the rest of the books in the series.

I know what you're thinking.

"Sign me up. I'm sold!"

But then you pause and think a moment.

"But what's the catch?"

Good for you for thinking to ask. After all, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Now, brace yourself because this is going to hurt.

To enter the Kindle Select Program, you must agree to ebook publishing exclusivity.

Cost of Exclusivity

This means that if you publish on SmashWords, you may not include your book in the Kindle Select program. This is a heavy price indeed to have to pay for the benefits of the Kindle Select program.

"Yes, but how heavy a price?" you might ask.

In May of 2015, none of the books that I published were in the Kindle Select program. All my books were published via KDP, CreateSpace, Barnes & Noble directly, and SmashWords to cover everywhere else (e.g. Apple Books, Kobo, Scribd …). The following shows a breakdown of my self-publishing revenue for that month:

Revenue Source Average Monthly Revenue

Amazon Self-publishing

(KDP and CreateSpace)

$1,800

SmashWords Self-publishing

(Apple, Kobo, Sony, Scribd …)

$200
Barnes and Noble Self-publishing $100
Total Monthly Self-publishing Revenue $2,100

Figure 5‑1 2015 publishing revenue breakdown

This means that my non-Amazon self-publishing revenue was 14% of total self-publishing revenue for the month.

$300 / $2,100 = 14%

In comparison, I find that I make fully 50% of my book revenue from the Kindle Select book lending program and Kindle Select book promotion opportunities. Though it's hard to turn aside any book revenue opportunities, the Kindle Select program has proven to be worth exclusivity.

What I Recommend

Here's what I recommend. Enter an ebook into the Kindle Select program. If you don't end up making 50% or more from lending and promotions made available by the program during the first 90 days, then take your ebook out of the program and consider publishing everywhere else via Smashwords. I think you're likely to make a large portion of your book revenue from Kindle Select. If this is the case, enter all your ebooks into the program and keep them there for good.