Self-publishing Kindle eBooks on Amazon KDP 4: Why Enter Kindle Select | Brian Jackson | Skillshare

Self-publishing Kindle eBooks on Amazon KDP 4: Why Enter Kindle Select

Brian Jackson, Author/Publisher/Educator

Self-publishing Kindle eBooks on Amazon KDP 4: Why Enter Kindle Select

Brian Jackson, Author/Publisher/Educator

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5 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Using KDP to Create a New Title

    • 2. Enter the Kindle Select Program

    • 3. More on Kindle Select

    • 4. Kindle Select Status Update: 6/12/2015

    • 5. Kindle Select Status Update: 9/20/2015

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About This Class

Self-publishing Kindle eBooks on Amazon KDP 4: Why Enter Kindle Select

In this class I offer an introduction to Amazon Kindle eBook self-publishing through KDP.  I then explain why I strongly recommend that you enter the Kindle Select program by publishing eBook exclusively with Amazon.


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Brian Jackson



Born in Los Angeles in the middle of the last century, I have always wanted to be a writer. After twenty-five some odd years spent working in the computer industry in the heart of the Silicon Valley, first for Lockheed as a Systems Programmer and later for Cisco Systems as a test tool developer, I managed to retire early and begin my next career as a self-published author.

Along with writing and publishing my own novels I also publish the works of my wife, Melanie Jackson. During the past four years I've published well over 100 books in paperback and eBook formats. Oddly enough this includes eBooks on how to self-publish books and how to create professional looking book covers using the GIMP. I've also recorded and distributed a pair of audiobooks available for purchase on Amazon... See full profile

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1. Using KDP to Create a New Title: hi and welcome to the second half of the course. In this half of the course, we're going to be dealing with the Kindle Direct publishing or KDP interface. Katie P is Amazon's interface to self publishing books on Amazon. If you use this interface, your books will actually be. It's on sale your E books. I should say these air E books on Lee, not paperbacks, will be on sale on Amazon, right alongside Grisham and Stephen King and Dickins and all the rest of them. So I thought, rather than using slides, which is interesting because for every field that we fill in which there are probably somewhere around 25 of them were going to have a separate slide discussing each one some of the fields you fill in arm or important than others. But we're gonna address them all. So in this opening, though, we're not going to use slides at all. I'm just going to show you how to get to Katie P. And how to create a new book. So you go into your browser here. I'm in chrome, I'm in a brand new tab and I go and I put my cursor up into the search window, and I type kdp dot amazon dot com and I press enter. Now this takes me to the main KDP screen. At this point, it's going to give me a video. There's lots of online help for using KDP, so it's It should be easy for you to pick up, but over here on the right, you have the option of signing in if you have a KDP account, and if you don't, you're actually signing up with your Amazon account. So if you don't have an Amazon account, then go ahead and create one. Most people have Amazon accounts already. You've got your Kindle and you're buying books and stuff. You use it to law again. So what we're going to do is we're going to sign in to Katie P by clicking sign in and by default. My sign in information comes up, so I just say, Sign in using secure server, and that brings you to the main KDP interface. Now you've got really four areas to look at four major areas. This is called the bookshelf, and you can see that it's highlighted here. On the top in the menu reports is another one. This shows you the main report for how you're selling. Here's my freeze and green my sales and red and my loans. Kendall, select the loans in blue and then you have community, which is a form where people can, where you can talk and ask questions on particular things. And then you have a section on joining KDP Select here at the end, which talks about it. So pick the category you want. We want to be a bookshelf because that's where you start to publish a book. Now, bookshelf lists all of your published books and then gives you the ability to go on, modify them and so on. What we're going to dio is use this option up on the very top to create a new title. Now, notice that more help information is over here to the right. Ah, checklist. These are the things that you need going in. You need to have your book content which we created in the previous section, the book cover which we're going to discuss in which is a problem and then a description, keywords and categories. Don't worry too much about those. We're gonna create those as we go through the next few lectures. So if you have your book content ready and maybe a book cover, we'll see. We'll talk about that to go ahead and click on Create New Title. Now what Kindle direct publishing does is it prompts you through all of these fields for information like the book name, the subtitle, the description some of these fields air really important. Some aren't that important, but most of them are actually pretty important. What you put into them. There's a right answer and a wrong answer, and in the upcoming lectures I'm going to talk about how to fill in each one of these fields. So that's enough for the intro. Go ahead and follow these instructions. Go to Katie p dot amazon dot com, sign in with your Amazon account and then click Add new book and you'll be brought to this page. Once we're in sync, we're going to go through every field one at a time, so I'll see in the next lecture 2. Enter the Kindle Select Program: Hello and welcome to my first lecture in this course. In this lecture, I'm going to discuss the Kendall Select program. And during it, I'm going to try and convince you why you should enter the program now. Pay attention. Not just so you know, whether you want to enter the program or not. But check out my style because I'm gonna be making a lot of recommendations. This is the 1st 1 If you don't like this, you may not like the rest of the course, So let's get started first. Right off the bat. You start up KDP, and you're presented with what looks like an advertisement which effectively is for the KDP Select program. Amazon really want you in this. They must be making money. So to enter the program, you just check and roll this book in KDP Select and the rest of the page discusses the program and explains why you should enter it now. What is the KDP Select program anyway? Let's go over those items on that screen. KDP Select is a program that you can enter your book into for 90 days at a time, and it provides additional revenue generation and promotional opportunities. Number one. It grants you 70% royalties, as opposed to 35% in several foreign countries. It allows you to run five days of free or countdown deal promotional campaigns during every 90 day period. It generates additional revenue by allowing readers to borrow your book through the Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle owners lending library programs. And finally, it allows you to run paid advertising campaigns on Amazon. Now these are all pretty good benefits. You know, there must be a downside. I know what you're thinking. What's the catch and get ready. Hold on to your seat because this is a big one. Amazon wants you to publish your book exclusively with Amazon and its subsidiary companies . Namely, creates base inaudible. That's a pretty big hit, but how big of a hit is it? Let's look at the cost of exclusivity. It just so happens that my wife's books are not in the Kindle Select program because it didn't exist when we started self publishing, and by the time it did, we had a strong readership elsewhere and on and on. Anyway, that's the current state of things. This provides an interesting opportunity for comparison, Let's look at my wife's numbers for recent months through Amazon self publishing. She makes about $1800 a month that includes Amazon. Create space inaudible through smash words. Self publishing. She gets about $200 a month. Now Smash words is a one stop publishing house that will distribute your eBook for a small commission to Apple Kobo, Sony scribe de several other companies, basically all the non Amazon companies. Actually, it will do Amazon and Barnes and Noble if you wanted to, but I like to publish on them separately. The final one is Barnes and Noble, where she gets $100 a month so out of the $2100 a month 300 is coming from outside of Amazon, that means that 14% of the revenue is coming from non Amazon companies. Now let's see if we can compare that to Kindle Select. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of comparison, but what I do have is that recently, in the last couple weeks, I put one of my books, Jim for beginners, into the Kendall Select program. Let's look at the numbers. I managed to sell three copies the book in this two week period, and I loaned three copies of the book. That means that 50% of my revenue is coming from Kendall Select enabled sales. Now, I know this is much too small of a sample to effectively compare, but this 50% of 40% comparison indicates that maybe you should run your own experiment. So this is what I recommend. Enter the Kendall Select Program for 90 days. See if you generate at least 14% of your revenue from Kendall Select. Enable deals. If you don't, you can always remove your book from the Kendall Select program and then self publish it on non Amazon platforms via smash words I would recommend so back to the screen. You wanna check or not? Check this. Enrolled this book and KDP Select or go ahead and click on one of the links to get more information about selective. You're not convinced yet. Anyway. I'm recommending that you enroll in the KDP Select program, and that's pretty much all I have to say on the topic 3. More on Kindle Select: Hi, everyone. Here I am back again with the latest and greatest news on KDP. Select at least the latest and greatest news for me. This is an update on my own personal experience. I wanted to review some things with you. The first is that I started researching on the Net and found since the last time I looked at KDP Select, there had been, ah, large drop in the payout per alone. Ah, The inception of Kindle Unlimited in July of last year seemed to have increased the total number of loans so that the per loan payout was much less. Anyway. Pads dropped from to 20 per loan in July to about a dollar 43 by December. That's quite a drop. I assume that the drop in the pat was due to the increased number of loans that the Kindle Unlimited program imposed on the total pot. And if you look at that, it looks like this. It's a pretty dismal chart from 2 20 in June and down to 1 43 in December. It was a pretty steady decline. You could see it's coming back up and they have been investing Mawr this year I don't know what the numbers are this year, but I guess I'm gonna find out. How do I feel about Kendall Select After seeing this, If I can make a dollar 40 per borrow, I'm happy. Remember that it's much easier to borrow book than it is to buy one. So and apparently much cheaper. I'm only getting a dollar 40. So Ah, Dollar 40 is a great return, by the way, on a 99 cent book. And it's a pretty lousy return on a 5 99 bundles, so you might not want to put your bundles into the select program. I I put everything in, so I would still recommend conducting your own 90 day experiment and entering the Kendall Select program. Okay. And to take my own advice, this is what I've done. I went all in on the Kindle Select program. That's right to see what Kendall Select could do for me. I unpublished all 100 plus of my Barnes and Noble and smash word books and registered them into the Kendall Select program. So I'm going all in on Kendall select here to see what it's gonna dio. I plan on conducting my own 90 day experiment. And if you remember from the previous lecture that I'm trying to beat the $200 from smash words and the $100 per month from Barnes and Noble and combined that represented 14% of my total revenue for the month. So those are the numbers that I'm trying to be. Now let's take a look at the numbers that exist here. You can see I've got my revenue chart or not. It's my sales chart for the last 30 days, and I have put a strong red line at the point in which I entered the Kendall Select program with all of these books, a couple of things that I was worried about. I was worried that entering Kendall Select and having borrows on my books might actually hurt my sales. Well, sales is the red line, and as you can see that going to the right from the critical red bar, it doesn't seem to be the case. It hasn't seemed to hurt my sales. My sales are pretty low. It's been a pretty dismal month, but they seem to actually even be going up. Except for today, which looks like it's going to be a bad day. The interesting fact is that the loans, which is the blue line, is going up exponentially. And that's the Kendall select line. So it's actually becoming quite a large portion of my revenue already, after 12 days of being in the Kendall's like program. Now what does this mean? And money? One of the things that I do is I keep track of all my sales and everything through a spreadsheet that can project how much I'm likely to make more a month, and it calculates how much money I'm making and stuff like that. So here's the salient points out of it. In the 1st 26 days of the month, I sold 631 copies I loaned through the Kindle Unlimited in the Kindle Owners Lending Library. Ah, 115 for a total of 400 or 746. So you can see the the loans were 15.42% of everything, and that's just for 12 days being in the program out of 26 the money was more like 12.46 because you're only getting a dollar 40 per loan. So if you look at the uh que you and Cole sales as a percentage of total sales, it's only 12.46%. But consider this. This is as of the 26th and all my books have been in the Kendall Select program for only 12 days at this point. So 26 days and 12 that's about half the time. That means that you can pretty much double the K. You and Cole numbers the revenue and the percentages on this page. So what does that come down to? Conclusions? I project that I'm gonna make $416 this month from being in Kendall select for only half the month, as opposed to $300 being in coming from smash words and Barnes and Noble. This should represent 25% of my total revenue, as opposed to the old 14% actually, not 16 que you and Cole sales are increasing exponentially, and Amazon keeps dumping more money into the fund, so the payout per book might actually increase substantially. So I'm happy so far with the Kendall Select program. That's my basic overview of what I'm seeing in the numbers. Now, I know there aren't a lot of numbers, but here's some other numbers I presented in the last lecture. Remember these numbers for my book? This was the only book at the time that was in Kendall Select at the time. I knew that I was gonna put everything else in, but I didn't tell you until now. And remember, I got 50% of the total book sales were loans, actually, so, uh, it looked like it was about the 50% was coming from Kendall Select as opposed to the 14% I was trying to be. Well, I can now update that page with more recent numbers. I managed to sell tell 12 copies the book and loan 10. So it's about 45% is what Kendall Select is looking. And remember it had to beat 14%. So it's beating it pretty heavily. And that's probably all I have to say about that. I will update you again as more Kendall Select information comes in 4. Kindle Select Status Update: 6/12/2015: Hi, Here I am recording my latest statistics on KDP. This is my sales chart, and we started KDP on the 14th. So I'm just about maxed out there. You can see that it rose quickly to whatever level it was going to do, and now it's jumping all around. But it's representing somewhere around 50% off our sales, as opposed to 14% which is what we were competing is now, as far as whether it's driving down our sales. The loans, I would say Probably it is. Toe what degree that requires some analysis. Let me look at the spreadsheet and we'll see how this works out where we are. Okay, let's go to the spreadsheet. And here we can see that loans represent 52.59% of all movement in Ah, books. Uh, this is my master spreadsheet, and it does amazing things, including telling me projecting how things were going to do and telling me how things were happening now. And what it's told me is that I sold 201 books and that I have loaned 223 for a total of 424 books moved. Now the sold number is $384.25. Most of the time, a sold book is gonna get me about $2.9. Now it's gonna be less if it's a 99 cent book and it's gonna be more That's one of those bundles for 3 99 Now loaning is a straight dollar 40 per pop. So I've only made $312.20 ballooning. But this is for a total of 600 knife, uh, $696.45. Now what we're projecting for this month is $1778. This is a down month. We're really taking a hit us faras. Whatever it iss, how many users there are out there that air selling books? Whatever it is, we're taking a pummeling. But at the same time we've generating, let's see what it is. $384.25 in sales versus $312.20 in loans. So we're generating 44.83% of our income from loans. This was as compared to 14% when it came to what we were getting from smash words and Barnes and Noble. So it's obviously dominating that we're having, actually, one of our better months, although it's only $1778.17. So I wanted to update you with my income. It would seem that you Demi loans are generating quite a bit of income as opposed to sales . In fact, they're keeping up with it. But there's this mysterious element that I probably got to do. Some analysis to figure out is how much is or are the loans affecting our sales? Are they bringing the sales down? What would be our sales number of we didn't have loans going on right now. I think our loans have compensated for that. But remember, they've got to compensate not only for the detrimental effect they do to sales, but also for the money that I would have made from Barnes and Noble and smash words. I'll try and do some analysis and come up with something. But right now what I'm estimating is that, uh, the Barnes and Noble or the KDP Select Program has actually paid off and paid off in spades . If this wasn't such a down month, we'd actually be having, Ah, quite a month. If 44.83% of my revenue is coming from KTB Select again, let me do some analysis and get back to you on how much KTB Select is impacting our sales. And let's see if we can come up with some numbers on where we would have been and where we are via KDP select. So this is a flash update. I'm asses perplexed as you are, but it looks good and I'm going to give you some decent numbers in the near future, so stick with me and that's an update for now. 5. Kindle Select Status Update: 9/20/2015: It's been some time since I reported on entering the KDP select program, and at the point that I entered it, they were still paying about a buck 40 per book borrowed, be of the lending program That was a big part of the revenue generation of entering the KDP Select program in the middle of it, right when I was just getting the hang of what kind of revenue is going to generate from this program, they switched over to being paid by Kendall Normalized pages or something like that Kindle e book Normalized Pages, K, A and P. And what you do is you get paid by the number of pages that people read rather than by them borrowing your book. Now the problem is, is nobody knew how much you got for a Kendall pay page. Red and I haven't known all this time until finally today I got the chutzpah up to go and look in my reports and go, You know, we're getting close enough. I've been in the program long enough that maybe I need to look into Maybe I'm finally going to see the K, e and P rather than the borrows for the Kendall Select program. Okay, so I found this prior months royalties and I clicked on, and I knew that it would download a spreadsheet for me, and I noticed that we had August. Now, that was maybe late enough that I could actually get some data. So I clicked on it and downloaded it and opened it and found a wealth of information. So let's go over and look at my August spreadsheet for my Kindle Sales or my am I KDP sales . Here we are. It's a rather complex spreadsheet that they give you, but there's really only two columns that we care about, or at least that I care about in the analysis that I'm doing and the last four columns to this spreadsheet. Our mind. I added them to do some analysis here because they don't do a very good job. They do it cheap thing, but I'm gonna show you how toe unknown do their little cheap column saving trick, which I really don't think saves much room. Anyway. What you got to Dio is there are two types of sales notice. The first book here. It's for the the U. S. Store. Amazon is a book called Halloween by Melanie Jackson, and it has two entries for the book to rose in the spreadsheet. The 1st 1 is A Units sold, so this is a standard Units sold and notice column H says Standard. So this is a a ah book sold, and it sold for 2 99 and the column that we really care about is the royalty of the end. We made 207 So Standard Sale 207 at the same time we loaded it, and the normalized pages read was 199. So we have an entry for that. A lot of this stuff is not applicability to loaning the book and pages read, but basically it comes down to we get a royalty of about a buck for that. Many pages read Now What I had to do was split thes out so that I could add them up individually. So what I did was I put a new column here and I put a function. If h five this column equals standard, then go ahead and take the value of M five, which is going to be the royalty and put it here otherwise, put a blank. So what I basically did was I split left and right. The thing on the left is the royalties from sales and the money on the right is the royalties from rentals. Then I did the same thing. Four units. So I have units sold here on the left and I have Kendall E book Kindle addition. Normalized pages read here on the right. So what I can do then is I can total these rose for the U. S. And I can finally tell you what a Kendall addition normalized page red is worth. Here we go from the U. S. We made $1231 last month. $706 of it was from sales. $524 of it was from rentals. There were 102,000 and 11 Kindle Edition normalized pages read, which means that every 1000 Kendall addition normalized pages read is worth about $5.14. It's a pretty valuable thing, and we're making 42% of our revenue from rentals now. If you remember from the very beginning where all of this analysis began, we were trying to beat making 16% of our Amazon sales to compensate for what smash words and Barnes and Noble were able to dio here were able to generate 42% is supposed to 16%. I think that this although they threw me a zinger in the middle with the Kendall addition normalized pages read. They, um, are definitely paying money for loaning books. Ah, great deal of our revenue almost half over revenues coming from loans right now. So I would definitely recommend that you get into the KDP select program. Okay, It's looking really good for us, and I'll give you future reports if anything changes, so I'll see you in the next lecture.