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SPQ 005: What’s Better – KDP Select or Going Direct to Your Audience?

Written by Steve Scott on December 31, 2014. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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What’s Better – KDP Select or Going Direct to Your Audience?

There are many advantages to publishing on the Kindle platform, but is it better for some authors to sell directly on their own websites? In this episode, Steve discusses the advantages and disadvantages of selling on Amazon versus selling directly.

The Question…

T Alan is a traditionally published author who is interested in turning his paperback books into ebooks. He has no Web presence or online following and wants to know if he should sell books on Amazon or sell them directly, as recommended by Pat Flynn.

Biggest Takeaway…

Steve’s Answer…

Kindle does have some major advantages. It is a mass-market platform, so authors have access to a bigger audience there than they would if they sold via their own blogs or other platforms. People trust Amazon, so they are more likely to buy books and other items there than on unknown websites. The Kindle platform also gives authors the opportunity to run free promotions and Countdown Deals. All of these things make it easier to build an email list for marketing.

Jim Kukral, the author of Go Direct: The Content Creator’s Guide to Eliminating the Middleman and Avoiding the Gatekeepers, says authors should build their own platforms instead of relying on third-party sites. Steve feels this is the best long-term strategy, but says authors need to leverage existing platforms first. Direct selling allows authors to sell on multiple platforms, so there’s no need to be exclusive with Amazon.

Kindle also has some limitations. It doesn’t give readers a very robust experience because books are mostly text with some photos. Selling directly makes it possible to build exclusive groups related to your content, offer bonus content to buyers, and create an affiliate program. It also makes it easier to set higher prices. It’s very difficult to sell something for more than $9.99 on Amazon. Authors also receive a lower royalty rate for Kindle books priced above $9.99.

Steve recommends releasing your books exclusively on Amazon for 90 days. Use that time to build your own platform. If Amazon changes its rules, you’ll already have a platform in place to continue building your audience. Steve also believes email marketing is the lifeblood of any book-based business. After you build your own platform, start testing other products and marketing strategies. Steve started Develop Good Habits two years ago, but he is just now pulling some of his books from Amazon and trying other strategies.

Resource Links

Smart Passive Income: Pat Flynn shows entrepreneurs how to create passive streams of income

Go Direct: Jim Kukral advocates eliminating the middleman and selling books directly to customers

Mini Habits: Stephen Guise recommends making small, positive changes to improve your life

Sticky Habits: Barrie Davenport teaches readers how to build habits that stick

Fiction Unboxed: Learn how to write an entire book from scratch in 30 days

Develop Good Habits: Steve’s habit-development blog

  • Steve,

    I agree that anyone starting out is better served focusing on Amazon. I tried selling books on my own site, using landing pages and processors like Gumroad and I didn’t see the lift I was hoping for. Yes, I probably could have given it more time, but with a full-time job and kids I have to be laser focused when it comes to when and where I’m spending my precious time.

    A quick example popped into my head while listening to your episode. My latest book is Simple Time Management Tips and one of the keywords is of course “time management.” If I tried to rank well in the SERP’s on Google on my site with that in-demand keyword it could take months/years with my limited time and resources.

    On Amazon however, using a good description (it could be better) and targeting the right keywords I was able to come up on their results pages soon after uploading my book. Combine that with the free days on KDP and anyone can start getting their books in front of many, many eyeballs. And to top it off Amazon is a big sales machine with all the advantages that offers.

    Yes I want to build my platform and build my list but as someone starting out I think Amazon can give me that extra push that I need here at the beginning.

    FYI – I first heard about you when you were on Pat Flynn’s SPI podcast.

    Off to episode 6!

    George

    • Steve Scott

      Hey George — Thanks for listening to P. Flynn’s episode. In hindsight, I wish I had the podcast up and running when that came out. Would have really helped spread the word about this show. Long-term, I think it’s best to go direct and build your own audience. But if you’re starting out, it makes more sense to leverage these platforms and use them to get that initial boost.

    • Hey George — Thanks for listening to P. Flynn’s episode. In hindsight, I
      wish I had the podcast up and running when that came out. Would have
      really helped spread the word about this show. Long-term, I think it’s
      best to go direct and build your own audience. But if you’re starting
      out, it makes more sense to leverage these platforms and use them to get
      that initial boost.