Why I won’t renew with KDP Select.

I’m now entering a second 90-day period with KDP Select.  I suspect this will be the last for me.  The experiment has been worth it, in terms of getting my work into the hands and minds of new readers.  Giving away many free books kept my books high up in the rankings for a considerable period of time after the free promotion ended and significantly increased my visibility and, more significantly, my sales.

However, with the advent of Amazon’s new ranking algorithm, that advantage has come to an end.  There is no longer a 1-1 ratio between books uploaded as freebies and books sold.  Therefore, your book drops in the rankings quickly as soon as your promotion ends and there is no rebound effect.  The law of diminishing returns…

As I said, KDP Select has been a valuable promotional tool because it made my books visible, i.e., discoverable, to the casual reader.  This is no longer true.

Therefore the value of enrolling in Amazon’s KDP Select program has just been nullified for me.  If I’d known about the change in algorithm before I enrolled for a second 90 day period for all my books, I wouldn’t have bothered.  Instead I’d have made my titles available via multiple outlets, as I did before the advent of KDP Select.

I figured it was too good to last.  But then, most things are.

Passing the time with Ernest Hemmingway…


As ya’ll pretty much know, there’s more to writing than just typing on a keyboard.

1.  The story idea – do you plot and plan and outline and research?  Or are you inspired by a dream, a sunset, a storm at sea?

2.  Getting it down in a comprehensible format – not only writing the words but shaping primary and secondary characters and their relationships, creating dialogue, directing the action, and spinning meaning from ideas as ephemeral as spider silk.

3.  Self-editing – do you edit as you go?  Or do you write the entire book and then go back and edit?

4.  Completing a first draft – Are you an author who writes a first draft, does a quick edit and sends it off?  Or do you write two or three drafts before you are satisfied?

5.  Subbing – Following to the letter the guidelines of each publisher you sub to.  If you are world-famous, perhaps all you have to sub is a concept, or maybe just a single word.  I know I spend at least half a day getting the manuscript format correct, writing a good, descriptive synopsis and making certain I include all information required by the publisher.

6.  Waiting for acceptance or rejection – working on other manuscripts while waiting.

7.  Acceptance -  Signing contracts, filling out all the necessary forms and putting together blurbs.  Siren, for example, requires three blurbs of varying length and they ask for a completed cover request for the cover artist at the same time.  A day-long project.  Rejection?  We won’t even get into that!

8.  Edits – Working through 2-4 edits before the final once over.

9.  Promotion – Blogging, virtual blog tours, newsletters, website promotion, submitting ARCs for reviews and hoping for a positive response.

What did I miss?  I know I must have missed lots because it seems as if I’m working all the time on one writing-related project or another.

By the way, I love The Old Man and the Sea, but John Steinbeck is my greatest American novelist – East of Eden, Cannery Row, The Red Pony (sob), The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men, Tortilla Flat, The Pearl, Once There Was a War, The Winter of Our Discontent….

If I’m gonna quote him, I have to be accurate.

My husband says so.  Therefore, I find it necessary to elaborate upon my post of yesterday.  In the world according to him, we are, each and every one of us, a combination of male and female characteristics.  My husband has some personality traits that are traditionally considered feminine, i.e., nurturing, an ability to listen, sensitivity (but not like The Most Sensitive Man in the World as in the movie Bedazzled – when is that sun gonna set?).  This is why he’s reading The Female Brain, by Louann Brizendine, and then he’s going to read the book related to my previous previous post, The Male Brain, i.e., the penis, by the same author – so he can potentially develop some additional insights into his own behavior.  See…prime example – female brain…how many males seek insight?  I mean, other than mystics and saints and Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, a book and an author who, along with Martin Buber, set me on the right path back in the days when I searched for enlightenment.

I have to admit there is one male-brain thing my husband does and it involves the TV remote -  it’s like this male obsessive compulsive disorder called:  Point Remote and Switch from One Game to Another for Hours On End.  Today the disease involves the NCAA Women’s Final Four – Stanford vs. Oklahoma, The Golden State Warriors, the Sharks (hockey), and a preseason Giants game.  The male brain at it’s finest…

But I digress.  I’m thinking of getting a Kindle.  I read Jayne’s review of the Ipad on Dear Author: http://dearauthor.com/wordpress/ – please somebody change the name from Ipad so I don’t flash on Kotex every time I hear it – and she mentioned that as far as uploading or downloading ebooks, it’s no competition for the Kindle or the Nook.  I love holding a book in my hand, but I’m not only starting to feel guilty about the waste of paper, I’m running out of storage space.  Every single chest, bookcase, coffee table, kitchen chair, is piled high with books.  And…I won’t feel as bad if I spend, say, $6 and hate a book than if I spend, say, $24 and hate a book.  Yeah…thinking about it.  Jayne’s post may have sealed the deal.

Two sites for free ebooks -

You can check them out – interesting reading.  A friend of mine works as a volunteer for these groups.   The volunteers who upload the books are only uploading those books whose copyrights have expired – there are some rare old works of fantasy and sci fi available.

Off to the day job!  Enjoy!



Remember my contest for mega-prizes!  Send me your 500 word or less romance hook – Julia@JuliaRachelBarrrett.net and you can win a signed copy of The Cougar Book, including my story – You Might Just Get It – or an ecopy of My Everything, or maybe Beauty and the Feast or maybe even Captured!  Many thanks to Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos for her shout out!

Challenge Accepted!

Crafty Dana:  http://craftydana32.blogspot.com/

challenged her readers to a spring break duel – find five books that take are set in the winter.  Hmmm – okay, here goes:

Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon

A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin (a series)

The Winter King, by Bernard Cornwall (a series)

Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer

Here Be Dragons, by Sharon Kay Penman (a series)

Of course the stories are not entirely set in the winter but there’s a lot of winter in them and I love them all.  I’d also like to add:

Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks

***So Dana, if you’re reading this – here’s an answering challenge for you, and anyone else stopping by – what do you consider your five most favorite sensual foods?  And unless you sincerely consider raw oysters an aphrodisiac, you can’t say raw oysters.  That’s too easy.  I gagged on one a few weeks ago.  I didn’t find it arousing, stimulating maybe because I was trying not to choke to death in public, but the experience didn’t bring sex to mind.

My Five Most Sensual Foods:

1.  Milk Chocolate for sucking.

2.  Creme Brulee for sharing.

3.  Hot Fudge Sundae for indulging.

4.  Wild Mushroom Risotto for a group.

5.  Bittersweet Chocolate Pot du Creme for closing eyes and fantasizing.