As most of you know, I recently republished FALLEN, the first book in my urban fantasy romance trilogy, The Prometheus Project. I decided to enroll the book in Amazon’s KDP Select promotion.This program requires that the book in question be available exclusively at Amazon for 90 days. It also allows the author/publisher to make the book free for five days – you can schedule those days in advance, and this is the only way for author/publishers to ensure that a book is free on Amazon. (Amazon may choose to match a free price offered at another portal, but that is at their discretion and timing.)
I chose KDP Select for FALLEN because the Prometheus Project is different from most of my Claire Delacroix titles. It’s an urban fantasy and romantic suspense series set in a dystopian future world – as opposed to a medieval romance. Last year, I had a similar situation with the Coxwell Series. These contemporary romances are different from the bulk of my Deborah Cooke titles, which are all Dragonfire (paranormal romance and paranormal YA). Last summer, I put Double Trouble in KDP Select, then made it free when all four books were available. That kickstarted sales for the entire series at Amazon. Of course, the drawback is that this program only works at Amazon. After Double Trouble came out of KDP Select, I published it at other portals and made it free there. Amazon did match the free price for a while, and overall the strategy worked very well in establishing sales for the series.
My plan was to use the same strategy again, esp given the similarities in the two situations.
One difference this year is that author/publishers now have the ability to create pre-orders. A pre-order means that the book is displayed to customers on the portal in question, but that it is not actually available to be purchased and downloaded. The customer orders the book, and the sale is fulfilled on the on-sale date. On that date, the customer’s credit card is charged and the book is delivered. The idea with pre-orders (which are standard practice for big publishers) is that sales can accumulate over a longer period of time and all be counted on the same day. Ideally, this creates a spike in sales on that on-sale date, and drives the book onto bestseller lists. At least, it’s easier than trying to get every potential customer to remember to buy the book on the same date. Of course, not every title is driven on to the bestseller lists with this strategy, but it’s still a handy tool.
I decided to use the pre-order option for FALLEN. My thinking was that I could upload the book while all the metadata was fresh in my mind, pre-set everything, and let computers do what they do best. The book might gather some advance sales. It might not. The point was that I wouldn’t be scurrying around in January, trying to remember the keywords and locate the copy for this title. The book would complete its term in KDP Select on January 12. The pre-orders were set to be fulfilled on January 15. I loaded it all up and moved on to the edits for Guardian.
Last week, I received a message from Amazon that I was in violation of the terms and conditions for KDP Select. We went ’round and ’round, but the upshot of it is that they interpret “not for sale at any other portal” to mean “not distributed to any other portal.” Pre-orders, in their view, are a violation of the terms of agreement. I argued my side, but it was clear that my perspective would not prevail. As a result, FALLEN is no longer in the KDP Select program.
And the upshot of that is that FALLEN will be available at other portals tomorrow, November 1, instead of on January 15. If you pre-ordered a copy elsewhere, your order will be fulfilled tomorrow.