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Discussion Starter #1
Can you tell me what to expect?

Once the new borrows stopped, did your sales go up, down, or stay the same? And did it happen right away? Or did they tank for a day or even week, before recovering? What happened with your rank? Did it plunge? Slide over a few days? And how far did it drop once the borrows stopped?

My book comes out of Select the end of February and I just want to prepare myself so I don't panic (though I'll probably still panic!  :p).

Thanks!

Rue
 

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I pulled 4 of my best-selling books out of select 2 weeks after KU began (left in 2 novels and 4 short stories). Afterwards my sales were awful for many weeks, months, going lower every month, even the works I'd left in KU...then on Jan. 1, 2015 I put out the third book of my Dinosaur Lake series and now my sales are way up again. Thank goodness. Thing is I'll never know if the effects of KU is what accounted for my terrible sales for all those months or not. You could have a completely different experience. All you can do is try. Remember, you can always put your books back in KU and that would take effect immediately. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A. Kelly said:
I went out of select once and went wide. My numbers tanked, I didn't build traction anywhere on any platform and almost gave up on writing. I put everything back in Select a month before KU was announced and things have been peachy again. I hear other folks say they are having good luck and that ibooks is starting to overtake their amazon numbers. I may try it with a title or two, but most of what I write, apple won't take.
Yes, I had my books (all short stories) published widely before KU. When authors started reporting making money on their shorts, I pulled my titles out of D2D and put them into Select. Best decision I made! ;)

But my novel has only ever been in Select and I'm wondering if the grass is greener or not. So I'm willing to give it a go. It's easy enough to recheck the box vs. waiting another three months and wondering if I'm making the right decision or not!

Thanks!

Rue
 

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I am in the process of pulling. My big bread winners are still in and making money but the lame-ducks were only getting 4-5 borrows a months so I figured I would use the opportunity to experiement with the other distribution channels.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Kathryn Meyer Griffith said:
I pulled 4 of my best-selling books out of select 2 weeks after KU began (left in 2 novels and 4 short stories). Afterwards my sales were awful for many weeks, months, going lower every month, even the works I'd left in KU...then on Jan. 1, 2015 I put out the third book of my Dinosaur Lake series and now my sales are way up again. Thank goodness. Thing is I'll never know if the effects of KU is what accounted for my terrible sales for all those months or not. You could have a completely different experience. All you can do is try. Remember, you can always put your books back in KU and that would take effect immediately. Good luck.
Thanks! I'm working on the sequel and hope to publish it this spring. Hoping that will help give everything a nice boost! :)

And, like you said, if it doesn't work out, Select will always take me back. ;)

Rue
 

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Discussion Starter #8
harker.roland said:
I am in the process of pulling. My big bread winners are still in and making money but the lame-ducks were only getting 4-5 borrows a months so I figured I would use the opportunity to experiement with the other distribution channels.
Thanks, so what has been the result so far? Did you books tank on Amazon right away or did they stay the same or...? Also what happened with the sales rank? I know borrows artificially inflate the ranking. So how far do they fall once you pull them out?

And any sales going wide yet?

Thanks!

Rue
 

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ruecole said:
Thanks, so what has been the result so far? Did you books tank on Amazon right away or did they stay the same or...? Also what happened with the sales rank? I know borrows artificially inflate the ranking. So how far do they fall once you pull them out?

And any sales going wide yet?

Thanks!

Rue
Nothing has gone wide yet. I'm still waiting for a day to convert 20 stories and upload to the various webstores. I'm thinking I will start with apple.

The dip was noticable immediately, the same day I unenrolled. In total it was about 25% of my total borrows. My sales have stayed consistent but my author rank has fallen from the mid 200k's to well below 500k.

Oh, and, this was on a pen name.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
harker.roland said:
Nothing has gone wide yet. I'm still waiting for a day to convert 20 stories and upload to the various webstores. I'm thinking I will start with apple.

The dip was noticable immediately, the same day I unenrolled. In total it was about 25% of my total borrows. My sales have stayed consistent but my author rank has fallen from the mid 200k's to well below 500k.

Oh, and, this was on a pen name.
Thanks! Glad to hear your sales have stayed consistent. That's my biggest fear! If they just stay the same, I think I'll be okay. :)

Rue
 

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My income tanked when I put my books back into Select when KU launched.

All out again now and back at pre-KU levels.

Good luck!
 

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I'm one of those authors who saw my revenues tank when I enrolled in KU. I had more borrows than sales and my quarterly revenues tanked by 30% after KU. I just pulled two novel series out of KU and put them in wide release with the plan to put the first book in each series permafree and see how that does.

Series 1, a paranormal romance that sells pretty slowly, has tanked badly. That's because I can't do anything with it now until the final book and the collection comes out of KU in a week. The first three books are already out and are barely selling a copy every few days. Believe me, I am barely able to wait so i can put all four books and the collection in wide distribution and make my first in the series permafree. I hope that will give the series a boost.

The second series is doing better. It was my bestselling series. It is totally out of KU and in wide distribution (Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo and Google Play) and has been for a few weeks. I put the first in the series permafree last week and have seen a small uptick in sales of book 2 and 3 but I don't have enough data yet to say if it has been a success. Free downloads have been pretty good -- about 12,000 so far this week. Rank of the followup books has increased. The free book hit a high of #43 in the free Kindle store but I ran two promos so we will see where it lands without promos.

I am not eligible for a Bookbub until April so it will be a long hard slog until then, when I hope to run a permafree for the first book in the better selling series, but I am determined to wait it out and see how two permafree series openers will do to affect sales. It's scary but I wasn't doing well in KU with my full-length novel series.

On the other hand, my novella series is in KU and is doing well. I make much more money in lends than sales for the 6 books in the series. About 1/3 of my income each month comes from the novella series. So I will keep writing novella series for KU and keep my novel series out.
 

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ruecole said:
Thanks! Glad to hear your sales have stayed consistent. That's my biggest fear! If they just stay the same, I think I'll be okay. :)

Rue
IMHO the audience for KU and regular sales are two different demographics. The KU 'reader' is the quantity consumer will download 30 things and read them when they have time while the 'standard reader' will buy 1-3 at a time and read them to their completion.
 

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If possible, you can mitigate the effects of losing KU/Select by moving things gradually. Assuming you have one or more series:

1. Move the book #1 first. It should already be the cheapest. Therefore, you'll lose little money. Make sure the book gets up on all platforms you want before moving the second book. Use the experience and the learning curve to make the next move-over easier. If you intend to make book #1 permafree, get that accomplished before you add any more books.

2. Move the next book, ideally within 7 to 30 days, whatever you're comfortable with.

3. When you have at least 3 books, run a promo for your book #1 on sites that do a wider selection of vendors other than just Amazon. This will get you some traction on those other sites. Permafree is particularly effective in jump-starting your presence on other sites. When I went permafree with book #1, my Nook and Apple sales increased dramatically.

4. Wash, rinse, repeat.

5. Get your books into print and up on ACX to take advantage of synergy.

Eventually you will almost certainly make more with the wider platform than with staying only in KU/Select. KU is like an addiction to stimulants that you need to slowly wean yourself off of, unless you have a specific reason for doing it. Staying spread out will limit any potential disaster if KDP decides to do something detrimental to authors, such as abruptly lowering royalty rates (as ACX did).

IMO KU can also be very good for launching something, such as a new series, especially in a new genre for the author, as it takes advantage of a pool of voracious KU readers willing to take a risk on anything new in their genre, given that it doesn't cost them anything to try, but it's not where you want to be for the long term.
 

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David VanDyke said:
If possible, you can mitigate the effects of losing KU/Select by moving things gradually. Assuming you have one or more series:

1. Move the book #1 first. It should already be the cheapest. Therefore, you'll lose little money. Make sure the book gets up on all platforms you want before moving the second book. Use the experience and the learning curve to make the next move-over easier. If you intend to make book #1 permafree, get that accomplished before you add any more books.

2. Move the next book, ideally within 7 to 30 days, whatever you're comfortable with.

3. When you have at least 3 books, run a promo for your book #1 on sites that do a wider selection of vendors other than just Amazon. This will get you some traction on those other sites. Permafree is particularly effective in jump-starting your presence on other sites. When I went permafree with book #1, my Nook and Apple sales increased dramatically.

4. Wash, rinse, repeat.

5. Get your books into print and up on ACX to take advantage of synergy.

Eventually you will almost certainly make more with the wider platform than with staying only in KU/Select. KU is like an addiction to stimulants that you need to slowly wean yourself off of, unless you have a specific reason for doing it. Staying spread out will limit any potential disaster if KDP decides to do something detrimental to authors, such as abruptly lowering royalty rates (as ACX did).

IMO KU can also be very good for launching something, such as a new series, especially in a new genre for the author, as it takes advantage of a pool of voracious KU readers willing to take a risk on anything new in their genre, given that it doesn't cost them anything to try, but it's not where you want to be for the long term.
#3 is about the most important thing you can do to get some momentum on the other sales channels. I'm finding the permafree model works way better on sales channels like iTunes and B&N than Amazon these days because there are more follow through sales on those channels. I'm guessing that Kindle owners may have their devices/apps choked with all the permafrees they've downloaded in the past 2-3 years (raising my hand, guilty as charged!) while Nook owners don't have quite as many.
I just had a nice surge of activity on Apple and I'm crossing my fingers. It very well could become my #1 sales channel, even behind Google Play and Amazon.
If I had a serial with "episodes" that were novella length, I'd want to keep them in KU, but I know my full length books have more potential out of KDP Select. It takes time though--I've had these books wide since August, and for a while, there was very little doing on them (though Amazon had very little doing on there as well.)
Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the good advice, everyone! Right now I've only got one book. I'm working on the second book in the series and hope to publish it this spring. My short stories will all stay in Select as they earn me about $100 a month (vs. $5 when I had them published wide).

Mostly I'm just wondering what happens to your book on Amazon after you pull the plug. Obviously, I have no platform on the other retailers yet, so I don't expect to sell truckloads right out of the gate, but I want to be sure that my sales on Amazon will at least stay stable while I work on building that platform. I'm actually hopeful that they might even go up a bit to replace some of the lost borrows. But I'm not counting on that.

Thanks!

Rue
 

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harker.roland said:
IMHO the audience for KU and regular sales are two different demographics. The KU 'reader' is the quantity consumer will download 30 things and read them when they have time while the 'standard reader' will buy 1-3 at a time and read them to their completion.
Definitely this. The same applies to serial readers: there are those who hate serials, those who like them and those who wait for all installments to be out before they're willing to commit. Often the borrowers fall into the middle category: I'll read it because it's there and "free," and I won't gripe about how long or short it is because, well, it's "free."
 

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ruecole said:
Can you tell me what to expect?

Once the new borrows stopped, did your sales go up, down, or stay the same? And did it happen right away? Or did they tank for a day or even week, before recovering? What happened with your rank? Did it plunge? Slide over a few days? And how far did it drop once the borrows stopped?

My book comes out of Select the end of February and I just want to prepare myself so I don't panic (though I'll probably still panic! :p).

Thanks!

Rue
Hi Rue,

I can only tell you what's happened to me; I can't tell you what WILL work you.

I've just taken my three novels (series) out of Select and put them wide, using Draft2Digital. I have a fourth available for pre-order. I write in urban fantasy.
I've also just made Book 1 in the series permafree.

My Amazon ranking dropped considerably, because the borrows were keeping my book 1 around 7-10k. When I left select, my ranking on Bk1 drifted down to around 20-30k (which after ranking-watching for a year scared the bejeebers out of me), as the others books rolled out of KU, they too dropped. Scary times.

But, I switched to permafree. And this is important, I believe, if you want to go wide and get visibility.

I've only had my books up at other channels (and Bk1 permafree) for around 2 weeks. So it's extremely early to say anything for sure, but this I what's happening.

First few days I gave away thousands, and didn't see any sales. Eep! Scary times.
A few days in Apple started reporting sales on the sequels, a few more days, and book 3 sales started coming in. I'm now (2 weeks in) making the same amount $ through Apple & Amazon, as I would have in Amazon Select (with fewer units 'sold/borrowed' - because KU pays peanuts for novels) - hence my ranking is lower but the $ from all paid sales is the same. Does that make sense? On Amazon reports, my blue line has plunged, and my red line is steadily climbing - as it should! If things continue like this, I'll be a very happy bunny at the end of the month.
Amazon ranking, Bk1 (now permafree) is hovering around #250 free store and has good visibility in a few bestseller lists (page 1). Paid ranking for Book 2 hovers around 18k.

Sell through (from Bk1 free to Bk2 paid) is 3.4% on Apple, and 1.9% Amazon (it used to be 70% when Bk1 was $2.99) I ran a few promo's in the first few days, including BKnights & Freebooksy. I suspect these numbers will calm down over the next two months, when the initial, 'ooh it's free' wears off, and the free Bk1 finds it's 'happy place'.

As I said, it's very early to say anything for certain, but I do believe permafree is important for getting visibility on the other channels. (I held off for over a year, and until I had three novels, with the fourth on the way).

If you haven't written a series, then I think ENT & BookBub will give you good traction on the other channels. I haven't done either, yet.

Ask me about all of this at the end of the month, and the end of next month, to get a better idea. But, at the moment, I'm very happy with leaving Select.

Good luck! You can always go back in Select (that's the great thing about being an indie).
 

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ruecole said:
Thanks for the good advice, everyone! Right now I've only got one book. I'm working on the second book in the series and hope to publish it this spring. My short stories will all stay in Select as they earn me about $100 a month (vs. $5 when I had them published wide).

Mostly I'm just wondering what happens to your book on Amazon after you pull the plug. Obviously, I have no platform on the other retailers yet, so I don't expect to sell truckloads right out of the gate, but I want to be sure that my sales on Amazon will at least stay stable while I work on building that platform. I'm actually hopeful that they might even go up a bit to replace some of the lost borrows. But I'm not counting on that.

Thanks!

Rue
I suspect, your sales will stay around the same, but your ranking will drop, because KU does bump up rankings. Edited to add: If you're in bestsellers lists, your drop in rankings will make a difference,because you'll lose visibility.
 
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