Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing Exclusively Through Amazon’s KDP or CreateSpace Programs

This is a topic that I have become incredibly interested in lately, especially because it seems like having been exclusive to Amazon actually hurt my potential sales as an “unknown” author instead of helping. However, the CS and KDP platforms are so familiar and easy to use that I find myself not looking forward to the idea of making my books available through multiple other platforms, especially since I find the benefits pretty nifty. Of course I will do it anyway, simply because I need to see for myself whether it will improve sales and readership or not, but it’s still going to be a major undertaking that will require me to learn a few new things… or, in most cases, re-learn a few things. Wanna join me? ;)

Um, excuse me… what is exclusivity to Amazon?

For those of you who may not know (or who are just in the learning/research phase), if you choose to be exclusive to Amazon’s KDP platform by enrolling in the KDP Select program, you are essentially telling them that you will only be selling your eBook through them (so it cannot be anywhere else, not even on your website as a PDF). In exchange, they give you a few perks, which I will cover in this next section….

Here’s what’s cool about it…

KDP Perks, Exclusive

  • Two promotional options: Kindle Countdown Deal or Free Days (up to 5) for your Kindle eBook. You may use only one of these options during every 90-day KDP Select period for your book.
  • Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (KOLL). This is where readers can borrow your book at no charge but you still get paid (if your book is borrowed and read, of course). Your payment comes from a monthly lending fund that is split evenly among all of the pages read (KENP) across all Kindles worldwide that are part of this program.

KDP Perks, Period

  • Kindle Matchbook. You may choose to give your ebook away for free or at a steep discount if a customer has already purchased the paperback. Incentive! ;)
  • Updates and changes are easy to make and typically implemented within 24–48 hours within the US (it does still take up to 6–8 weeks for worldwide, but still… that’s pretty impressive).
  • When you do update your book files, especially the interior file, anyone and everyone who has ever downloaded/purchasded the ebook will receive an email update informing them that the book has been updated or revised. Those readers who ar interested will download the updated version.
  • Amazon’s ranking system and algorithms are mainstream enough to count for a lot but indie enough to figure out behind the scenes without having to be a coding genius. Some basic knowledge about keywords, categories, and

Secret KDP Perks

  • Categories are not always what they seem (and may require some study/research). To get your book into more categories, simply call or email KDP customer support and… ask. ;) (Just make sure your categories are appropriate for your book; don’t call them up and waste their time by asking them to put a thriller into the romance category.)
  • Keywords can also be utilized in a strategic way. Use as many as you can without repeating any of them (so, for example, if you have already used “science fiction,” there is no need to also put “sci fi”) for best results. If you can, research your keywords as well (learning how to do this will also require some reading/Googling).
  • Once you have uploaded and converted your files on your KDP account, you can download your Kindle file (a .mobi file type/extension) and use it as an ARC and free review copy. It can also be put into Calibre as a .mobi and then be converted to an .epub file with the click of a few buttons and minimal formatting issues.

Here’s what sucks about it…

  • You cannot offer your book for sale on any other platform.
  • You cannot post a preview of more than 10% of your book anywhere.
  • You cannot make your book free on any other platform, and you can only make your Kindle eBook free for up to 5 days out of 90.
  • You’re locked in for 90 days until it auto-renews… if you don’t want it to, uncheck that box now! ;)
  • Your readers who aren’t on Amazon? They might miss your book completely! Aw =(.
  • If Amazon makes program changes, you’re at their mercy (and so is your book).
  • There are lots of scammers and online marketers who practice shady self-publishing habits to play the system, so to speak. If you only have your books on Amazon and something crazy happens, your sales will stop completely. However, if your books are also available elsewhere, your sales won’t see as much of an impact.

So… what do I do?

That is entirely up to you ;). However, if you’re interested in learning how to self-publish your own books in order to even get started, then please sign up for the No Bull mailing list for exclusives, coupons, and of course loads of free information and articles directly to your inbox =).Whether you participate in the KDP Select program really depends on you, your preferences, your books, your readers, and your skill set or ability to outsource. You know me… I like to learn everything myself, but not everyone is built that way ;). If you are, though, head on over to Teachable and check out my new online course:

No Bull! Self-Publish Your Kindle eBook in 1 Week for FREE

I hope to see you in class! =)

— Jen

Originally published at