Self-published writers are getting increasingly frustrated with Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing platform, a leading indie published author has claimed.
Self-published authors are starting to drop out of Amazon's ebook promotional tool, KDP Select, as they search for more effective ways to promote their work, indie published writer, Ed Robertson, claimed this week.
"Authors are definitely frustrated with KDP Select," Robertson said in a conversation with Sean Platt, David Wright and Johnny B. Truant recorded for the Self Publishing Podcast Episode 42, which went live February 14.
KDP Select allows authors to promote their books by giving away free copies, but only if they give Amazon exclusive sale rights. If enough people download an eBook for free, Amazon will promote the book because of its popularity.
However, according to Robertson, Amazon recently changed its algorithms to reduce the boost in rankings authors get by giving away books for free.
"Free books used to be equal to paid books when Amazon decided popularity ratings, but these days it's about 10%," Robertson said. "So ten free books equal one paid book. The volume you need to move the needle is a lot higher than it used to be."
As a result, authors "are starting to drop out" of KDP Select in favor of selling their eBooks in other online bookstores, including iBooks, Kobo and Barnes & Noble.
Despite the changes to KDP Select, authors who write quality will continue to benefit, Robertson said.
"It's a winner takes all scenario," he said. "If enough people download your book for free, it will get noticed by paying readers, so KDP Select does still help quality books get noticed. But for people who are just trying to break in, it's not nearly as effective as it used to be."
Sean Platt, co-host of the Self Publishing Podcast, and bestselling indie published author of the Yesterday's Gone serialized thriller, agreed with Robertson's analysis.
According to Platt, Amazon's algorithm changes are "widening the gap."
"The people who do well will do really well," Platt said. "Amazon is pursuing quality."
In addition, authors such as Platt who use KDP Select to promote serialized fiction can continue to do well out of KDP Select, Robertson claimed.
"Give away any book in the series, and you generally get some spillover to other titles," he said.
The Self Publishing Podcast helps writers fulfill their dream of making a living from their fiction. It is broadcast every Thursday on iTunes and at selfpublishingpodcast.com.