Kindle Select Program (an update) / by Josh Guess

You may remember that last month I decided to join the Kindle Select program. If you're fuzzy on what that is, I'll give you the quick tour: I have the option to add any or all of my books to the Kindle Lending Library, where they can be borrowed by people with Amazon Prime memberships. Each borrow gives me a certain amount of money from a fund set aside for this purpose. In December, I had 73 total borrows, making me an extra $124.10 in income. Not a ton considering the fund was set at $500,000 but it's a nice bit of extra income. The fund is evenly divided among all borrows in the lending library. This month looks to be better than last. Mainly because my borrows are on track to do better than last month, and because Amazon kicked in an extra 200k into the fund.

The downside is that each title I put in the library has to be exclusive to the Kindle while it's in the program. That's okay with me, because I make the overwhelming majority of my writing income from Amazon. The best part of the program is the ability to give away my books for five days for each ninety-day period of enrollment in the Select Program.

I've seen some bumps in sales with the Living With the Dead books by doing this, but the interesting thing I've seen recently is what's going on with my urban fantasy novel, Beautiful. I put it up for free, all five days in a row, and it was downloaded more than 1800 times. Again, that may not seem like much to some people. For me, that's a hell of a lot of copies out there on people's devices. That's a lot of people who know my name that didn't a week ago.

What those 1800 downloads translate to is why I'm writing this. Before I put Beautiful up for free, I'd sold exactly one copy in the first nine days of this month. Since it went back to being $4.99 yesterday, I've sold eight more. So far I've got just one borrow of Beautiful, but a snafu in the Lending Library led to it not being available to borrow until yesterday morning. I'm hoping to see that number go up.

Beautiful now has a TON of metadata to go with it. Those 1800 downloads helped populate the "Customers who bought this item also bought..." section of Beautiful's Amazon page. In real terms, that means that my novel is now being suggested on the pages of dozens of other books, leading to sales. This is exactly what I was hoping for. No, it isn't a tsunami of sales and a vault of money for me to swim in, but it's progress. I'm happy about that.

I included links to my facebook pages in this novel, and I've been seeing a small but steady increase in new Likes of my fan page. I've got links in there to the blogs of several of my friends who are also writers, and I sincerely hope that I'm driving some sales their way. I've wanted for a long time to establish a network of support between all of our works, but we're all so busy with writing, working, and dealing with our daily lives that it's been difficult to coordinate anything. Maybe down the road, if I make that Amanda Hocking money...

Basically I just wanted to report that I'm happy with Select. I don't see Amazon as a place full of happy little bunnies by any stretch, and I know that the Select program is an attempt on their part to pressure the competition, but it also works for authors. At least, it works for me. I know a lot of other folks with way more name recognition have had amazing luck with it. That's about it.

Oh, one more thing. Tomorrow morning I'll be setting up a mailing list. I'll have links to it on this blog, on Living With the Dead, and I'll post them on facebook for anyone who wants to sign up. I won't spam your inbox (that sounds really dirty, doesn't it) but being on the mailing list will give you the heads-up on my new projects, release dates, and many other tidbits you may find interesting. I'll only send out mail when I have something important to say, so no worries that you'll get an email a day from me. I'm wayyyyyyy to lazy for that.

I'm feeling positive right now. You guys are the best fans anyone could have. Thanks for your support!