I recently blogged about how I had, totally accidentally breeched KDP’s terms and conditions by my collection of short stories, The First Time, being available from an outlet other than the Amazon Kindle store (see http://newauthoronline.com/2013/10/20/terms-and-conditions/). One of the commenters on my post said that he had heard of other people experiencing this problem and that authors should be wary of publishing their work on a variety of platforms if they intended to make it exclusive to Kindle at a later date. I am inclined to agree with him given my recent experience! If you want to make your books exclusive to Amazon in order to benefit from the promotion features of KDP Select then I would, personally not publish your work elsewhere. Having said that my long short story, Samantha appeared on my blog prior to being made exclusive on Amazon. However I, naturally have control over my blog and was, as a consequence able to remove Samantha prior to making it exclusive to Kindle. Never again will I make the mistake of making my books available in a variety of stores when my intention is, at some point to make them exclusive to Amazon Kindle. It is, quite frankly not worth the hassle.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Kindle Support informing me that my collection of short stories, The First Time did not comply with KDP Select’s terms and conditions. What on earth had I done to receive this missive? Had I slandered a prominent personage who was, even now instructing lawyers to sue me for every penny I haven’t got?! Maybe I had copied huge chunks of a fellow author’s work and he was out for my blood?! I am pleased to report that none of these breeches apply. It turns out that Amazon had found The First Time for sale from an outlet other than the Kindle store. In order to enrol one’s books in KDP Select you must ensure that they are exclusive to Amazon which, in this instance The First Time was not.
I can hear shouts of “you brought it on yourself. Why are you belly aching. It’s a fair cop guv. You should stop waffling on about the situation and remove The First Time from all outlets other than Amazon forthwith”. Would where it that simple! The First Time was published using the services of a self-publishing company who as part of their service enrolled my book with a variety of e-book distributors. However due to no sales resulting I asked the company to remove The First Time from all outlets other than Amazon. Once I received confirmation that this had been done I enrolled my book in KDP Select assuming that it was now exclusive to Amazon. As you know from the above dear reader this is not the case! I have written to the self-publishing company asking that they ensure The First Time is removed from the outlet which Amazon drew to my attention. I live in hope that it will be removed from sale ASAP thereby ensuring that The First Time remains enrolled in KDP Select.
The lesson I draw from the above is the importance of ensuring that authors keep control over their works. I am listed as the author of The First Time but not the publisher. In my case it is only the publisher who is able to remove books which has led to the problems outlined above. Dear fellow authors please, please read the small print prior to signing contracts.
I spent a frustrating half hour or so yesterday evening trying to enrol my collection of short stories, The First Time in KDP Select. My other collections: Sting In The Tail and An Act Of Mercy (together with my short story, Samantha)are all enrolled which provides me with the ability to promote them, free of charge for upto 5 days in any 90 day period. However The First Time just wasn’t playing ball! I’ve emailed Amazon and await their reply. In fact I suspect that I know the answer. The First Time unlike my other books was published using the services of a self-publishing company who, among other activities had responsibility for sending my book to e-book outlets in order that it would appear in their catalogues. I’m drawn to the conclusion that only the self-publishing outfit possess the ability to take action in respect of The First Time which is rather a pain in the neck!
The above highlights the importance of authors understanding what, precisely we are signing when it comes to contracts. Yes I did read the document prior to appending my squashed spider scrawl otherwise known as a signature but the fact that I wouldn’t have full control regarding the distribution of my book never registered. If I use the services of a self-publishing company again I’ll be sure to ensure that I retain the flexibility to send my work to publishers etc.
Selling books isn’t easy unless, that is you are an established author with the support of a publishing house. My short story, Samantha has received 2 4 star reviews, one on amazon.com and the other on amazon.co.uk, however I haven’t sold a single copy. How can that be I hear you ask? Amazon offers a programme called KDP Select. If an author enrols their book in the programme they are entitled to offer their books free for upto 5 days in any 90 day period. Samantha is enrolled in KDP Select and all downloads (and reviews) have been forthcoming during the free promotion of the short story.
I don’t regret having enrolled Samantha in KDP Select (it was instrumental in bringing my story to the attention of over 100 people), however it would be nice to actually sell a few copies.
To anyone starting out as an author I’d certainly recommend considering enrolling your book in KDP Select as it is, in my experience a great way of promoting your work. I would, however add the caveat that using KDP Select doesn’t mean that readers are going to buy your work (they will, almost certainly download it free but free downloads and, hopefully reviews will not, necessarily translate into people parting with cold hard cash. Anyone thinking of using KDP Select should also read the small print and, in particular the stipulation in Amazon’s Terms and Conditions that while enrolled in KDP Select a book may not be offered for sale anywhere other than amazon. Amazon do check so, if you use KDP Select I’d advise that you ensure that your work is only available on Amazon while enrolled in the programme.
To visit my Amazon author page please go to the following link http://www.amazon.co.uk/K.-Morris/e/B00CEECWHY/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0