Guest Post: Why I'm Leaving KDP + An Urban Legend Update

by - 8:00 PM

Publishing your first book is like a Fourth-of-July fireworks finale fired from a starter’s pistol: a huge celebration of an enormous accomplishment that is just the start of the race. That’s how it was with my debut book, Urban Legend: Orphan. It was unreal and amazing; every step was uphill, but the view is worth it. I’ve learned a lot along the way and I want to share some of it along with what’s planned for attacking the next summit. But first some context for the biggest decision:

There has never been a better time to become a self-published author. It is incredible the amount of resources and opportunity available that weren’t around even two years ago, and who knows what this next year might bring. The options for distributing platforms are robust and numerous; however, there is one I’ll be unsubscribing from: KDP Select.

This is my personal choice. There is nothing inherently wrong with the platform, and I’d encourage new and aspiring authors to absolutely jump on board. At least at first.

KDP Select (Kindle Direct Publishing Select) is the same as the standard KDP with an added exclusivity clause: you’re not allowed to publish a title enrolled in KDP Select anywhere else. Again, this is fantastic for a new author because it streamlines the distribution with a few fun little bonuses, including Kindle Unlimited (KU) where readers can read your book for free and you get paid based on the page count.

But there is a risk. As of now, if someone else pirates your book and makes it available on another platform, or someone artificially inflates your page counts on KU (”nuking” is alarmingly cheap), then it’s possible you’ll get a notice from Amazon saying that you are in breach of contract and Amazon will be pulling your books. Just like that, no evidence that the author was at fault, just shut down.

This happened to Adam Dreece. (You can read his story here.) Recently, Amazon took his books down without warning and the appeals process was a mess leading to no satisfaction and possible loss of business. Sure, there are ways to game the system and authors have abused it. But the majority of authors, obviously, want to earn money legitimately. This is the equivalent of a product being stolen at a store and the manufacturer was held responsible for it. No, Amazon is the distributor and it is their responsibility to take care of it, and anything else is unacceptable.

Again, this is not really an issue for new authors. But it is something to consider for authors as they gain heat with their books. No system is perfect and what is a warm incubator for a budding author might strangle someone more established in the field.

So that’s where that puts me now. My KDP Select expires in less than a couple of weeks and I want to go out with a bang and get a running start up the next hill.

Because I’m hopping off KDP select, I’ll be putting the gears into motion to go wide. There are several markets to tap into, either directly or through a distribution service like Draft2Digital or Smashwords.

But the big thing happening is a sorta, semi-relaunch next week from February 13th though the 17th where my book Urban Legend will be free, the print version will be available, and I am doing a newsletter giveaway. Sign up here and you are automatically entered into a drawing for a bunch of fun stuffs! Find out the full details on my blog here.

Lastly, it is true what they say: you learn the most from your failures, and lemme tell ya I’ve failed SO many times. But I’d like to share some fruits of those failures. While the world of Urban Legend is an urban fantasy and incredibly fun to write, my focus is the characters. Over the five books of first cycle of Urban Legend, I’ll be building a large cast around the main character who will all eventually carry their own stories and it’s difficult making them unique. So in the process, I’ve been developing ways to bolster archetypes to make them stand out in my story, and hopefully against other works as well. Look for them over the next few months!

Future Guest Posts:

  • Bolstering the Protagonist (March 1, 2017)
  • Bolstering the Antagonist (March 18, 2017)
  • Bolstering the Minor Characters (March 29, 2017)
  • Bolstering Character Development (April 15, 2017)

Author Bio:

In his junior year of high school, J. P. Dailing found his passion for writing while living in San Diego. He dabbled a bit with screenwriting in college, but ultimately returned to his first love of novel writing in after moving to Texas. He lives in Houston with his wife and writing partner, Jennifer Acres.

If you want to follow up with the author or purchase a copy of his book, please follow these links: 

Are you excited for the upcoming blog post series with J.P. Dailing? Tell me in the comments below!

* This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I'll receive some type of commission. For more information, you can read our full disclosure here. *

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