What immediately appealed to me was "reach a broader audience." Not one to shy away from marketing and self-promotion, I had been successful in arranging book signings, library talks and interviews about my memoir on radio and in print media.
I had nevertheless found this to be a tough year in terms of my memoir reaching a broader audience outside the community where I live. Although I have had terrific reviews of my book, sales have been slow in the last several months. I refused to be disheartened, having read how many books have been slow starters and then caught on. But as much as wanting to reach a wider audience and dream the dream that someone might see my book as the next Bridges of Madison County (which one reader likened it to), I felt frustrated by obstacles that had nothing to do with the caliber of the book, but with self-publishing.
One of the least frustrating aspects was how easy it has been to make Again in a Heartbeat an eBook. I loved the thought of people who have eReaders downloading my book.
KDP Select may not work. I can always opt out of the program. Although signing onto the program means my memoir as an eBook is exclusive to Kindle, there are promotions in this program that I hope will give my book greater visibility. This does not affect the paperback, which can be purchased through numerous distributors.
Most writers who keep their ear to the ground, now know the challenges. There seems to be an unending stream of articles, Twitter posts, and Facebook page links to articles on just how tough it is for self-published authors; how publishers are scrambling to deal with the eBook phenomenon; books priced below industry standards. The war has intensified between traditional publishers and Amazon; some publishers are locking in the price of an eBook so that it sells for more than the paperback. Blog posts accuse authors who sign up for KDP Select as undermining other authors, or "giving away their life's work for free," as if the author who made the decision to join the program, which includes a free lending library for certain Kindle users, either has no mind of her own or is greedy.
I believe when you write a book the goal should be to connect with others through storytelling. When forces are at work to stop an author from making those connections due to monetary considerations and invested entitlement, it puts a whole new twist on things. You do what you have to do to get your work out there and hope for the best. The other way - believing a book with merit that is well-written will get fair treatment - doesn't always work. Some bookstores won't stock or promote, reviewers shy away, and the guardians of the literary establishment lump all self-published authors together as people who chose that route as a last resort. With Amazon none of that happens. Is it any wonder some of us have selected KDP Select? To read Again In A Heartbeat on your Kindle:
Here is an interesting story on what self-published and independent authors are saying about KDP Select: