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SPQ 068: Perma-Free Book – Do I Need to Pull the Others From KDP Select?

Written by Steve Scott on April 10, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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The Question

Zach asks: When going perma-free on book one of a series, is it assumed that every book in your series needs to come out of KDP Select? I know to get perma-free status, you have to distribute to all of the platforms, so my first book would have to be pulled out of KDP Select. The thing is, I’m doing really well with borrows on Kindle Unlimited, so I’m not sure I’ll be ready to pull the entire series out of KDP Select once I write one or two more books and want to make the first book perma-free.

Biggest Takeaway

Steve’s Answer

Zach’s covers and descriptions look great. Steve recommends spending $10 or so and having a redirect link for your email list. Zach is currently using a bit.ly link, which might change down the road, preventing people from finding his sign-up page.

What Zach wants to do is make his first book free and charge for his subsequent books. He also wants the subsequent books in KDP Select. Steve talked about the perma-free strategy in episode 6.

Kindle Unlimited really works for some titles, so it’s understandable that Zach doesn’t want to lose those potential sales. Fortunately, you can have your first book free on Amazon and then have the rest of the books in KDP Select. Steve recommends this to people who are just starting out.

This goes against conventional wisdom regarding wide distribution, but when you’re first starting out, you need to figure out the 20 percent of your actions that produce 80 percent of your results (the 80/20 rule). This can help you build momentum before you move on to other platforms.

If you have a fiction series, Steve recommends making the first book free or 99 cents to draw people in. If people like the first book, they will buy the rest of the books in the series. Once you have a solid base of followers, take your books out of KDP Select and start exploring other sales avenues.

One disadvantage of having a perma-free book is that you can’t do series bundles. For example, you can’t put books one through six in a bundle and sell it in KDP Select. If you have a perma-free offer, you can’t use more than 10 percent of the content in other products.

Check out what Edward W. Robertson is doing. He does a lot of interesting things as far as book series and making the first book or two very inexpensive. Robertson also puts together book bundles and sells them for 99 cents.

Resources and Links

Zach Bohannon: Learn more about Zach Bohannon, author of “Empty Bodies”

SPQ 006: Steve discusses the perma-free strategy in detail

Edward W. Robertson: Check out how Edward Robertson handled his series on Amazon

  • Hi Steve,

    The more frequently I publish on KDP – weekly these days – the more I see power in running free promos or, slashing prices down to a few bucks. Giving away an eBook for free – or for a few bucks – gets them in so many more hands, and like noted, if people like your eBook they will buy others from your library.

    Thanks for answering this question; super helpful, as I was toying around with the idea.

    Tweeting from Bali.

    Ryan

    • Thanks Ryan — I don’t see anything wrong with giving people freebies and discounts…just as long as you have the back catalog to sell more to them. Happy that you’ve effectively implemented this strategy.