Lies - High ResolutionI mentioned yesterday that, for now at least, my latest book is only available on Kindle. I know I have some readers who use other devices, and that this has to be annoying for them, so I thought I should explain why, as well as talking about my views on how Amazon approach this.

For those who don’t know, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing includes an option called KDP Select. If an author enrolls one of their books in KDP Select then they gain certain advantages – primarily that they can give it away for free via Amazon for a few days, which most authors can’t otherwise do, and it is included in the Kindle Unlimited reading package, increasing the likelihood of people reading it and giving the author a taste of that sweet, sweet Unlimited money. The catch is, each time you enroll the e-book in Select you do so for 90 days, and during that time you can’t publish it in other e-reader formats.

Normally, this is something I don’t do. I have no objection to Amazon offering benefits to those who work solely with them, but I’d rather not be reliant on one platform and am uncomfortable with the potential monopoly it supports.

That said, having something in Select is a potentially huge way for an author to find new readers and draw them to their work. On that basis, I’d been planning on putting something on Select at some point, though I hadn’t yet worked out what.

Then this November hit and I took on more than I could do at once. Formatting a book for Amazon is relatively easy using Scrivener, but formatting for Smashwords takes a lot more work. So rather than stretch myself further by preparing Lies We Will Tell Ourselves for Smashwords, I decided to make this my experiment in trying out Select.

Of course the same workload also meant that I dropped the ball in getting the book up on Select, not sorting my free days out in time for the book to go live on Monday, and then finding on Tuesday that I couldn’t start the free days on the day I was in. But I’m there now. Lies We Will Tell Ourselves is free on Amazon from now until Sunday, please go grab a copy and enjoy.

Sorry to my non-Kindle-using readers – I’ll make it up to you at some point, I promise!

  1. Jenny says:

    Are Kindle books intrinsically DRM’d? I know that stripping the DRM from a Kindle book in order to convert to (e.g.) ePub is against Amazon’s terms and conditions, but I’ve a feeling that merely converting the file when it’s DRM-free isn’t a problem.

    Last time I downloaded a free-for-a-few-days Kindle book I converted it to ePub without needing to jump through the T&C-busting hoops which I know to be available for those who like to take risks. So … the option is there. Google will tell you more, or if you ask very nicely I can also elaborate, but I don’t *really* want to do so publicly.

    • Dylan Hearn says:

      Each author/publisher has the choice whether to DRM their book or not with Amazon. There are no penalties either way. I choose to publish DRM free because I believe pirating is beneficial rather than detrimental to an author, but I know others disagree.

      • Like Dylan I choose not to apply DRM to my books. Right now, obscurity is a far bigger risk for me than piracy could ever be, and if someone’s going to the effort of making a copy then hey, that means they’re reading it, that’s good! Even if that weren’t the case, I’d rather readers were able to access the same book across whatever devices they have without paying again. So yes, if anyone wants to get the Kindle version and convert it for the format they read in then that’s great, and I wish I’d thought of that myself!

  2. Keep in mind also that there are Kindle apps for non-Kindle devices. I have an iPad full of Kindle-specific books without any need to convert them.

  3. Doing something much along the same lines of thinking, but currently have shifted majority of my titles there. Amazing the draw and benefits of a great platform 🙂 Best wishes, Andrew

  4. Doesn’t Scrivener have an option to export to ePub? Smashwords have been accepting direct ePub uploads for some time now.

    • It does, but if I follow Smashword’s Word formatting instructions then they’ll convert it into a whole bunch of formats from there.
      Though on balance, maybe I should just do the ePub via Scrivener next time. Next publication’s likely to be a stand alone short story to give away for free, so that might be a good low risk low effort one to test it out.

      • That’s true, but I find little to no value in their ability to convert to many formats. Your milage may vary, of course, but I find it much easier to just create an ePub than make a Word file to their specifications.

        • I currently have so few sales outside Amazon that, now I’m thinking about it, continuing with the extra effort is completely disproportionate. Thanks for pointing this one out! You got me thinking it through properly.

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