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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Kbers. I've never used Select, nor do I see myself using it in the near future. My market share on other venues makes that impossible. But what I want to know is, if you're putting out your first novel with not much more than your personal friends as an audience, does a make sense to start building a fan base by using Select? Tell me your thoughts and experiences.

*I have never been comfortable limiting my titles to one venue. I'm still not, but I have a friend who is getting ready to publish, and I want to be sure my advice is well rounded with options.
 

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I think so, Deanna. When I put my book out, I had no base to begin with at all. Becca is a pen name, and I don't really want people at my "day job" finding out about what I do, so I only told a few family and friends about it. I also had no online presence whatsoever as Becca.

I do believe that Select has been instrumental in allowing me to build as much as I have. My first giveaway got me my first reviews, which got me promotion on the big sites with my second giveaway, which in turn generated a lot of reviews and the beginnings of my mailing list. I just ran my third (and last, for now) giveaway, and my mailing list enrollment has gone up 50% in the last week, plus five more reviews. Along with the mailing list, I decided to make getting Fb likes more of a focus in the third giveaway, and I've gotten some of those, too.

The post-giveaway bumps have brought in enough royalties to put the book in the black.

For someone really starting from scratch, I think it's a very good idea. It's not some magic bullet, but it's a very good way to fuel a slow-burn approach to building a readership, I think.
 

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Well, it's like learning to crawl and walk before you run.  With one book and no experience in publishing, a new author can opt into select.  They have just the one dashboard to deal with.  Timely updates on sales and ranking.  Easy to manage promotions and a monthly payout schedule from the largest ebook retailer on earth.  70% royalty rates from the new emerging markets like Jp and Ca.  All sales are funneled through one site, so are all reviews.  An affiliate program so they can eek out a few extra coins as they promote on their own web sites.  No ISBN numbers required.

Once it becomes clear that publishing is something they are very serious about and want to make it their full time career.  Then I would branch out.
 

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Hey, a question I finally feel like I have some expertise in, because you are describing me... brand new author, no platform at all, only one book out.

I did everything I could in the first six weeks I was published (yes, a nano-second in a career, I realize) that I could to try and get some eyeballs on my book. I blogged, I built up my Facebook page, I sent out dozens of blog review requests, I ran a few ads... I managed to push 86 books out the door that first month, which I was pleased with.

But, that second month, I was dead in the water, moving a copy about every other day.

Then, I did my first three day free run, gave away 23,000 copies of the book, and good things have been happening ever since: 400 sales in October, 400 sales in November, 700 sales in December. I don't think I would have gotten close to those numbers without Select. By the way, all but about 400 of those sales were at $4.99. The remainder was from a one day ENT ad at .99. The free run also dramatically increased my review total - from 16 at the beginning to over 50 within 30 days (now up over 80.)

I am hurting myself by only having one book out and nowhere else for readers to jump after they finish my one book, but that's where I am.

Now that I've had a limited amount of success with this book, I am considering taking it out of Select and trying to begin build a presence on other sites. But, when my next book comes out, I will plan on launching it with Select.
 

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Becca Mills said:
For someone really starting from scratch, I think it's a very good idea. It's not some magic bullet, but it's a very good way to fuel a slow-burn approach to building a readership, I think.
As much as I hate exclusivity clauses, I admit I'm going to use Select for the first book of my new series. My existing series is a YA funny, chicklitty romantic mystery series, but this fall I'm going to be launching a YA time travel series. The voice will be similar -- very conversational and witty (at least I hope so!) -- but the tone will be a bit "edgier" for lack of a better word. (It won't be "edgy" in the classic sense since that's not what I write, but the heroine will be older and I'll be upping the sexual tension.) And of course there's the time travel element whereas the other series was completely grounded in reality. So even though there will be some overlap of readerships, I'll be aiming for a different readership than with my other series, so I intend to put the novella that will kick things off into Select for the first 3 months (and then promptly pull it out to go onto the other platforms).

I figure it will be a good way to get some reviews and hopefully get some exposure for the new series. All the books in the series will stand-alone (different heroines because there will be a HEA in each book), so I'll be putting the second book everywhere right from the start, but I'm hoping to get enough momentum from Select with the 1st book that I'll be off to a nice running start.

The 1st book will nominally be my "Christmas book" (since it's a retelling of A Christmas Carol, but could be read whenever) so I intend to launch it in Select in September and then make it available everywhere in December. The second book will be available everywhere in October.

At least that's the plan...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your stories and insight are pretty much what I was thinking. Amanda, my friend is already working on the second book, so I was thinking pretty much the same thing. Start with Select for three months, and then pull it to go on other venues.

Keep the thoughts coming. I appreciate it.
 

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All this advice is great!  I'm writing my very first series set to publish in March and I was curious about the same.  Thanks for all the input!  :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Shawn Inmon said:
Hey, a question I finally feel like I have some expertise in, because you are describing me... brand new author, no platform at all, only one book out.

I did everything I could in the first six weeks I was published (yes, a nano-second in a career, I realize) that I could to try and get some eyeballs on my book. I blogged, I built up my Facebook page, I sent out dozens of blog review requests, I ran a few ads... I managed to push 86 books out the door that first month, which I was pleased with.

But, that second month, I was dead in the water, moving a copy about every other day.

Then, I did my first three day free run, gave away 23,000 copies of the book, and good things have been happening ever since: 400 sales in October, 400 sales in November, 700 sales in December. I don't think I would have gotten close to those numbers without Select. By the way, all but about 400 of those sales were at $4.99. The remainder was from a one day ENT ad at .99. The free run also dramatically increased my review total - from 16 at the beginning to over 50 within 30 days (now up over 80.)

I am hurting myself by only having one book out and nowhere else for readers to jump after they finish my one book, but that's where I am.

Now that I've had a limited amount of success with this book, I am considering taking it out of Select and trying to begin build a presence on other sites. But, when my next book comes out, I will plan on launching it with Select.
This is fantastic, Shawn. Thanks for sharing your experience. And congrats. You're doing great.
 

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I guess this question applies to me too. I was hesitant to put my book in Select, and still haven't. It's only available via KDP or CreateSpace right now. I was going to put up a Nook edition, but I heard so much is going wrong at PubIt! that it seemed wiser to let that sort itself out first.

Is it safe to enroll in Select if I have a CreateSpace copy available? Amazon currently lists both versions. What I've read says this is okay since the physical book doesn't count against exclusivity, but it'd be nice to have some confirmation.

Just being able to get some wider readership would be pretty nice.
 

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We used Select for our first book.  It "took off" on its own, in a way.  It made it to around the 80's or 90's in rank in the overall Science Fiction ranking without any help from a Select freebie day or anything.  It was published on Dec. 11th, and we didn't do our first freebie day until February 20th.  That said, once we did a freebie day, sales really took off for awhile.  That was before the algorithm change, though. I think a freebie day and borrows can help a new author build a fan base, for sure.  Especially people who might not be willing to take a chance otherwise.  However, remind her that it can be done without a freebie day, too, and she should try without one first, because you never know!  

I think the value of freebie days has diminished quite a bit, also. If you don't have another book for them to buy if they like your free one, that makes the value of giving away a freebie just the placement bump you get after a giveaway.  Therefore, unless you get a really good placement bump, a freebie day is just shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to future sales.  It's certainly not the easy decision it used to be. Especially since there is no way of knowing ahead of time whether you'll have a good giveaway or a bad giveaway.

We took our first book out of Select, and never used it on our second. That said, when I get my book written, I'll probably put it in Select, only because I don't know of any better option for promotion on Amazon for a new author trying to break through. It's not as good as it used to be, and I may or may not end up using all of the benefits available, but it's head and shoulders better than anything Barnes and Noble or iTunes has (which is nothing).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Lummox JR said:
Is it safe to enroll in Select if I have a CreateSpace copy available? Amazon currently lists both versions. What I've read says this is okay since the physical book doesn't count against exclusivity, but it'd be nice to have some confirmation.
Yes, you can. The exclusivity only applies to digital copies.
 

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Lummox JR said:
Is it safe to enroll in Select if I have a CreateSpace copy available? Amazon currently lists both versions. What I've read says this is okay since the physical book doesn't count against exclusivity, but it'd be nice to have some confirmation.
Yes, Createspace plays well with KDP Select. Good luck!

In my humble opinion, Select took me much further as a newbie than I would have gone on my own. Since I haven't used the other vendors yet, take my comment for what it is worth. Most of my reviews came a few days after free runs. I also believe I do get a bump from my modest give-aways, though the last one only seemed like it lasted a week. Also, it gives me incentive to get out and promote because I have a deadline (the freebie day).

It's only 90 days, and not a lifetime.
 

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Satchya said:
It's not as good as it used to be, and I may or may not end up using all of the benefits available, but it's head and shoulders better than anything Barnes and Noble or iTunes has (which is nothing).
Actually, that's not true. I launched my 2nd book in the Nook First program, which required 30 days of exclusivity to B&N, and for me it was head and shoulders better than KDP Select was for my short story collection. Now, admittedly my only experience with KDP Select has been with a short story collection rather than a novel, but in the first 30 days of being in Select I've earned around $500-ish compared to the $3000+ I earned during my month of exclusivity with Nook First for a novel.

Of course, Nook First is only available by invitation, and they only accept 104 novels per year.
 

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Lummox JR said:
I guess this question applies to me too. I was hesitant to put my book in Select, and still haven't. It's only available via KDP or CreateSpace right now. I was going to put up a Nook edition, but I heard so much is going wrong at PubIt! that it seemed wiser to let that sort itself out first.
FYI, I know I was dissing PubIt! on KB just yesterday, but it did eventually get my book up okay -- turns out it was saving despite giving an error message every time.
 

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I'd put them in Select for the first 3 months, and the first reason is learning curve. This way they just have to upload to one place and do one description and author page. Then they can deal with the others in 3 months. Maybe. I mean, the key is, are you having to provide the technical assistance to this person? Because that will cloud your judgment.  ;D ;D

FWIW, I have a baby pen name that I published on all venues, and she is selling as many copies on Kobo as she is on Amazon right now. I've never, ever had a brand-new book come out of the gate with zero platform in place and zero promotion and just start selling. I think it's a combination of title and cover and concept, plus it's pretty cheap. I'm making nothing at 99cents, but it's all incredible research, and I can bump the price later.
 

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In some ways, the best time to do Select is when you first publish. You don't have to worry about getting your book out of other venues, and you can use the free days to get attention for your new book or to experiment with changes to your metadata.

I put my first book into Select and it languished at 99 cents. I shortened the description and increased the price, and then I ran my first free run as part of a group promo event. I got about 16K downloads. My book expired from Select a week or so after the free run, and my monthly sales (at $2.99) went something like 200, 400, 500, 350, 150, and have now dribbled down to about 1 a day. Make of that what you will.  ;)

I don't think your friend has anything to lose by trying Select for 3-6 months. After that, whether to stay in or not is a personal and business decision based on the experience you had.
 

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Agree with Dalya and Becca. Use Select to learn how all this stuff works, to pick up some reviews, grab a few fans, etc. etc. Starting from scratch is really tough. I think for most people, you'll get off to a faster start by using Select and giving away a bunch of copies than you will by distributing to all the stores and hoping readers find it on their own. In fact, I don't think it's a bad idea to wait until you've got two or three or four books before you move into the other stores. Whatever your friend's comfortable with, though.
 

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Yeah, Edward. I was browsing the B&N site. They have 2190+ pages of sci-fi fantasy books (I think it's like 30-40 books per page). Good luck getting noticed there.
 

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I wouldn't jump to put it in Select right away. You haven't given the book a chance yet and have no way of knowing if it will do well without Select. If you think you might want to go Select, I'd put it up on Kindle and see what happens. If the book takes off, then you're free to distribute it to other retailers. If it doesn't (and I'd probably give it at least a couple of weeks, perhaps a month) then at that point I'd consider putting it into Select to see if a free run might jump start sales.

Sometimes books do take off on their own. My first Indie release did. Why limit your audience right away when you might not have to?
 

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If anyone has voted for a debut author not putting it in select, that is my vote, too. You at least need a backlist to leverage the free days, otherwise you are only getting alsobots out of the free books and the free readers will forget you by the time you get the next book out. Additionally, that's 90 days minimum you can't be using your first book to build an audience base on other channels. 
 
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