It’s the holiday season. Writers across the land want to say thank you to their readers and many are offering up one of their books for free.
Awesome, I think, as I continue to read through the newsletter that has hit my inbox.
And then I see that it’s free only on Amazon because those authors have chosen to take part in KDP select. Which then totally takes what was intended to be a goodwill gesture to readers and turns it into a great big
to those of us who chose an e-reader other than the Kindle. Screw you, you’re not worth my goodwill or making my books available on your platform because you dared to go against the stream of uber popularity and get a Nook (or a Sony or Kobo or any other reader out there) and I’m way more interested in trying to take my share of the pittance I’m likely to actually earn out of the $500,000 Amazon has designated for the month of December. Oh but you can read it on your phone or computer. There’s a Kindle app for them. (Note: I’m sure this was not the actual thought process of 99.9% of these authors–but this is the message that they are sending to non-Kindle owners)
To which I feel like replying (because I am not yet caffeinated on this my first day of holiday vacay), you know what, screw you, I’m unsubscribing and taking your books off my TBR list. There are many other authors out there who respect me as a reader and believe that I have the right to enjoy their books in my format of choice without making me wait at least 3 months like the red-headed stepchild of the e-reader world.
Am I going to be in the majority among non-Kindle owners? I have no idea. Maybe my reaction is in the extreme, but it’s legitimate, and it’s entirely possible. KDP Select alienates readers, which is exactly why I’ve been warning against it. Being able to give things away for free is not worth that. Plus, you can absolutely still do it without being a part of KDP select. You list it via Smashwords for free and it trickles across all distribution channels, then you report the lower price. It just takes longer. Both to get set up and to take down. But it can be done.
And if you want to just do a temporary sale? Then put it up on Smashwords, which has EVERY POSSIBLE FORMAT, and give your newsletter subscribers a coupon code for 100% off. No, it won’t drive your ranking up at Amazon, but it gives readers a chance to try your work and makes them happy. And a happy reader who enjoyed your work, will tell her friends. Believe me, you’d much rather I take on THAT role than that of the KDP Select Grinch. Because I’m loud and I have a lot of friends.