Thursday, March 21

Joe Konrath says KDP Select Made Him $100,000 In 6 Weeks

Joe Konrath says KDP Select Make Him $100,000 In 6 Weeks

Joe Konrath Made $100,000 On Amazon Over 6 Weeks Through Using Amazon KDP Select

That's right, Joe Konrath made $100,000 over at Amazon in the last 6 weeks and he says that's because he enrolled his books in Amazon's KDP Select program. Joe writes:
I just checked my 6 week KDP total, which updated yesterday, and I've made over $100,000.

More than ten grand of that is from Prime borrows (assuming $2 a borrow for March). That more than makes up for my loss of sales on other platforms.

But while the borrows are nice, it's my free ebooks that are helping me sell my backlist. My first Jack Daniels novel, Whiskey Sour, has been free for the last four days, and I've given away over 100,000 copies.

That's the most I've ever given away during a free promotion, and I'm really curious to see how high I bounce back onto the paid bestseller lists tonight. The second in the series, Bloody Mary, has earned me over $8k this month, many of those sales in the last four days because of Whiskey Sour being free.

So I gotta say I've been extremely happy about going all-in with KDPS, even though I did it with some reservations.

Why The Change Of Heart?

That's quite the about-face. Last year Joe Konrath warned indie authors not to enroll their books in programs that demanded exclusivity. In Joe's July 2, 2012 post he writes:
A lot of people ask me my opinion about KDP Select, and I made it known that I have opted all of my titles out of it. I dislike Amazon's desire for exclusivity, because it limits my readership. (Exclusivity and Free)
Why was Joe against enrolling his books in KDP Select? Joe explains his reasoning:
So how effective is exclusivity as a sales tool for Amazon? I've had people email me who bought a Kindle just to read Shaken. But how many more of my fans are annoyed because they own a different ereader that doesn't allow for a one-click purchase of Shaken? How many sales are lost?

My guess is: a lot. Shaken and Stirred have done well, but Blake and I have done better on self-pubbed projects.

For me to be exclusive with a retailer, I have to know the sales I'm going to lose will be made up for with increased sales on the exclusive platform. Long term, that's risky. After the big initial sales push, sales will even out, and years from now the lost sales will really rack up. (Exclusivity and Free)
So, what's changed?

Joe is making a heap-load of money by keeping his books enrolled in Amazon Select. He writes:
As new data comes in, I adjust my opinions. I'm currently making $2400 a day on Amazon. About 10% of that money is coming from borrows. I have years of data from the other platforms, but I've never earned $240 a day from them, even on all of them combined.

Right now, KDP Select is giving me the opportunity to make more money, and I'm taking that opportunity.
Wow! $2,400 a day. I did the math and that means he's making $876,000 a year--just shy of a million dollars!--from his Amazon sales. Any way you look at it that's a lot of money. It's hard to believe that he'd be doing better, even in the long term, if he kept his books with other retailers. What do you think?
Has Joe Konrath's experience with Amazon KDP Select changed your opinion of the program? Would you use it? Have you ever used it?

(Except where noted, all quotations are from Joe Konrath's article Exclusivity.)

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- Hugh Howey's 3 Rules For Writing

Photo credit: "the thrills:one horse town" by visualpanic under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.


  1. Wowzers. That is a simply staggering amount. Both in terms of free downloads, and paid sales.

    I can see that in terms of talking about KDP success, I'm going to have to keep my mouth shut. Except I can't because I just like discussing the subject :-) If you're interested, I have written up an analysis of my own recent free-book promotion. I recorded my downloads on a spreadsheet throughout the promotion, and have listed my sales following the event.

    I have heard that genre plays a big part in terms of which books fare better than others. It would be interesting to know if anyone has performed an analysis of free downloads per genre.

    Cheers (and I like your blog, by the way)

    1. Thanks Steve!

      Great blog post, thanks for sharing your data. That's not bad, not bad at all! And the more books you have, the more money you'll make.

      Best of luck! :-)

  2. Interesting. It would be very interesting to see who benefits the most of KDPS. New authors vs authors with a bunch of books under their belt. Fiction vs. Non-fiction. Mysteries vs. Paranormal... Very interesting.

    1. Danielle, excellent point. I think writers with at least 4 or 5 books published--and it would help if a few of those books were in a series--benefit the most from Amazon Select.

  3. While I’d love Konrath’s stunning numbers (who wouldn’t?), I can still attest to KDP Select’s merit—it’s given my novel, The Angry Woman Suite, much better visibility (that I liken to a display on the Costco book table), BUT what’s key here is having a giveaway book break the Top Ten (of its genre) during its giveaway days. THAT’S what gives the book visibility (the real name of the game); and somewhere around 12-18 hours after a giveaway ends, IF a book has pierced the Top Ten (or maybe at least the top hundred), actual buyers can actually see it, which is when they make it Christmas every day for an author for, say, anywhere from a week to a month … what works best for me is doing 2-3 giveaway days at the top of each 90-day KDP cycle, then the remainder (of the 5 eligible days) about halfway through the cycle; then start all over again with the next 90-day KDP cycle—yes, there IS money to be made going the KDP Select way.

    1. "what works best for me is doing 2-3 giveaway days at the top of each 90-day KDP cycle, then the remainder (of the 5 eligible days) about halfway through the cycle; then start all over again with the next 90-day KDP cycle—yes, there IS money to be made going the KDP Select way."

      Thanks for sharing that Lee, very generous of you! I'll try to remember it and pass it along. :)

      And thanks, generally, for weighing in on the discussion. There's a lot of controversy around the merits of exclusivity, but not much data.


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