On Wattpad and KDP Select

Posted July 19, 2014 by PaulineMRoss in Publishing/marketing / 9 Comments

Now that I’m getting closer to publishing ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ in September, I’ve been starting to think about marketing (for want of a better term). Which online retailers to sell through, pricing and all that jazz. And how to build up some awareness of the book beyond the three regular readers of this blog (hi folks! {waves}).

I had already devised a plan to post ‘The Plains of Kallanash’, chapter by chapter, on Wattpad, a process that would take many months. I’ve now uploaded more than half the book, and somewhere around the two-thirds point would fall the actual date of publication to Amazon. The idea was to make Wattpad readers aware of the book itself while uploading the final chapters, and even if that didn’t translate into sales, it might generate a review or two.

But then I started looking into Amazon’s programs in more detail, in particular, the KDP Select program, which offers an author certain benefits in exchange for exclusivity. I’m not too bothered about making the book available on iTunes or Kobo, at least, not at the moment – I’m all for keeping it simple, while I’m learning how this self-publishing lark works. So KDP Select is a no-brainer, surely?

Well, no.

Turns out that KDP Select requires not just exclusivity, but total, absolute exclusivity. You can’t publish your book anywhere else on the internet, in any other digital form, whether free or paid for, whether downloadable or merely readable. I’d have thought that posting individual chapters to read online was a different format from an ebook to be downloaded in its entirety. Apparently not. It’s OK to publish a different physical form (print version or audiobook, say), but if it’s digital, it’s a no-no, apart from 10% or less as a sample.

So that leaves me with a simple choice: Wattpad or KDP Select? Hmm, let me think about that for a moment…

KDP Select: I get 70% royalties in a few countries which don’t usually offer it, five free days or a Countdown promotion, plus the biggie, enrollment in the Kindle Owners Lending Library (you get paid when readers borrow your book). I lose the chance to sell the book on other retailers’ sites. There is also a minimum price you must charge (apart from free or Countdown days). It’s not permanent, only a 90 day commitment, but can be extended indefinitely.

Wattpad: gives me exposure to readers (who mostly sign up for the free books; ie they won’t necessarily go out and buy a book they like). So warm fuzzies, but not much money.

So that’s really no contest.

I had planned (and would still like) to offer the book at 99c for the first month or so, so that friends and relations can pick it up at a bargain price. Then, I planned to increase it to (say) $3.99. So KDP Select is out for the first month, as 99c is below the minimum price allowed. [ETA: Not actually so; 99c is fine is you only take the 35% royalty, whether in or out of Select.]

Best plan seems to be: 99c for a month, then, when I’m ready to put the price up, enroll in KDP Select. As far as Wattpad is concerned, I don’t like to simply remove everything when I have a number of people reading along. I will try to upload a couple of chapters a week, get the whole thing up before publication, then take it down if I decide to join KDP Select (I can leave a few chapters up as a sample). And most of the chapters on this blog will have to come down, too.

Ah well, you live and learn. This self-publishing business is more complicated than simply write-edit-publish.


While I was polishing this post, Amazon announced its subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, which all authors enrolled in KDP Select will automatically be in, as well as a small number of Big Cheese authors. For $9.99 subscribers will be able to read as much as they want from the KU pool, downloading up to 10 books at a time, and authors will be paid a royalty whenever they read 10% of a book. This doesn’t change my thinking above, except to make KDP Select more attractive. Well, perhaps. At the moment, there’s much uncertainty surrounding the long-term effect of KU on authors, but by the time I’m ready to make the decision, more will be known.


9 responses to “On Wattpad and KDP Select

  1. Yeah, I’m in KDP Select right now, having taken down my Smashwords version of Book 1 a couple months ago. Smashwords wasn’t generating any sales and hardly any hits, sooo…

    You might want to have some lag-time between removing all your chapters and applying for KDP Select, though. Erica had some trouble in that she had been using a second e-book service but decided to switch to KDP Select to do a free promo, but her removal of the book didn’t register on an internet crawl for a couple weeks, so KDP Select rejected her. It took some effort for her to get the promo together in time.

    • Yes, I’ve realised that it isn’t an instant thing. I can take down the chapters on the blog any time (nobody reads them anyway), but I plan to take the Wattpad chapters down two or three weeks before going for KDP Select. If and when I do, that is. With all the kerfuffle about Kindle Unlimited, I’m just waiting for the dust to settle. No need to make any rush decisions. I’m only just starting to think about all this stuff, so my head’s spinning somewhat.

  2. Zero

    I publish all of my books on KDP Select first for 90 days and use the free promos and sales to promote the book.

    For books underneath the 70%-royalty price limit ($2.99), borrows are REALLY nice. One borrow of a $0.99 book is 5-6 times as much as the royalty earned from a purchase.

    My math books stay on KDP Select simply because the formatting is too complicated to bother with in other ereaders.

  3. This article is helpful as I am having these thoughts, myself. I have decided to give my readers a month to read the chapters in Wattpad before I choose KDP select. Thanks!

  4. I m thrilled you did all this research so I don t have to. When my second Irish mystery is done, the first one becomes my free book, and I think it s going up on Wattpad.

  5. CC Sullivan

    Hi Pauline, I’m sure you know that you can still sell your book anywhere else as a paperback. The only exclusivity with KU is with the digital format of your book.

Leave a Reply