Amelia has been writing online articles for over 10 years and has self-published over a dozen books including fiction and nonfiction.
This article explains the difference between Amazon KDP and KDP Select, what KDP Select is, and how to create a Kindle Countdown Deal or set up a Free Promotion.
What Is Amazon KDP vs. KDP Select?
KDP stands for Kindle Direct Publishing. If you are an author and want to self-publish, you can use Amazon's KDP to upload and set up your book title, including both ebooks and paperbacks. Previously, there was another service called Createspace, but that service ended in late 2018. When using Amazon KDP for your ebooks, you can sell your ebooks in the Amazon Kindle bookstore as well as other retailers.
Once you have decided to use Amazon's Kindle Direct Publishing for your ebook, you also have the option of enrolling in KDP Select. KDP Select is an optional service just for ebooks. If you choose to enroll in KDP, you can set up a free promotion for your book, which allows you to sell your book for free for up to 5 days. You can also setup a countdown deal, which allows you to sell your book at a lower starting price on a particular date, then gradually return to the retail price.
How Countdown Deals Work
For example, let's say your ebook is priced at $4.99. You could start a promotion on Monday 12 A.M. your time with a starting price of $1.99, and then set three price increments to run 24 hours each; your book price would return to the full retail price on the last day.
Another example would be a special day (like Black Friday, the day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday when major sales are running) when you may just want to sell your book at 40% off for just one day. In this case, you can set up a short countdown deal of one day with a starting price of $2.99 for 24 hours. The next day, the price of your book would return to $4.99.
Is KDP Select Worth It?
There are some pros and cons of using KDP Select.
- Con: The main con is that if you are enrolled in KDP Select, you are restricted for 90 days to sell exclusively in the Kindle Store.
- Pro: By enrolling in KDP Select, your book will also be included in Kindle Unlimited (KU) and the Kindle Owners' Lending Library (KOLL), which can also earn you royalties. You can earn a share of the KDP Select Global Fund based on how many pages of your book KU or KOLL customers read.
How to Set Up a Countdown Deal on KDP Select
This assumes you already have your ebook setup on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, and it has been live with no price changes for 30 days.
Note: If you need help setting up your book for the first time, I'll be writing a separate article (or two) on how to setup a book on Amazon KDP for the first time. Feel free to ask specific questions in the Comments section at the end of this article.
Step 1: After logging in to KDP (via kdp.amazon.com), click "Bookshelf" from the top menu bar. (See image below.)
Step 2: Scroll down to your book title. In the example below, I have both a Kindle eBook and Paperback listing for my book. For the Kindle eBook title, click on the ellipsis button ("...") under the KINDLE EBOOK ACTIONS menu.
Step 3: Click "KDP Select".
Step 4: The first time you enroll, you will need to click "Enroll in KDP Select". Thereafter, when you return to KDP Select, it will display the current enrollment information. You will see the start and end dates of your current enrollment period. You can choose to automatically renew after the first enrollment period by checking the checkbox to auto renew. If you don't wish to auto-renew, make sure the box is unchecked. Click "Save".
Step 5: On the next screen, under Run a Price Promotion, first, make sure the radio button for "Kindle Countdown Deal" is selected. Then click "Create a new Kindle Countdown Deal" button.
Note: To setup a free promotion, just click the radio button "Free Book Promotion". Then enter the desired start and end date and click Save changes.
Step 6: The Create a new Kindle Countdown Deal screen displays. This is where you will setup your countdown deal options.
- First, select your Marketplace. Depending on your location, your options may vary. In the example below, it defaulted to Amazon.com and offered an option to change it to Amazon.co.uk. I recommend setting it up in your default Marketplace. Then you can repeat this step for the alternate Marketplace(s).
- Next, choose when the promotion will start and end. In the example below, I setup a one day, 24 hour countdown deal for a sales event. So I selected 12 AM for the start date and then 12 AM for the following day. You can setup a countdown deal for up to 7 days.
- Next, choose the number of increments for this promotion. I selected one because I only need one lower price for one day. If you need help, you can click "What's this" under the field.
- Next, select the starting price. If you need help, you can click "What's this" under the field. Note: Consider taking a screenshot of your settings in case you need it for additional marketplaces.
- Click "Continue" to proceed to the next step.
Step 7: Review all promotion schedule information. If you need to make any changes, return to step 6 above and apply edits. When everything looks good, click "Add Promotion".
Step 8: Wait while it saves your promotion. This should only take a few moments.
Step 9: Your promotion is now set up and saved. A summary of your book promotion will be displayed at the bottom of the screen. If you need to make changes, you can click Edit or Delete on the far right. You'll almost done!
Step 10: To take full advantage of this book promotion in all available marketplaces, repeat the steps for any other Marketplace(s) available for your location. In my case, I had one additional Marketplace option for amazon.co.uk. Just click "Create a new Kindle Countdown Deal" button again.
And hopefully you took my advice to take a screenshot at the end of step 6 (if so, you can refer to your screenshot to repeat the same options for your promotion). The only change is to select the alternative marketplace as shown in the example below. Follow-through with all remaining steps in the same manner.
Book Promotion Announcement: Example Ad
There's one more very important to do item: Prior to your countdown deal or free promotion (either a month, a week, or a day before—your choice), be a squeaky wheel and tell the world about your promotion. For example, one thing you can do is consider joining a bunch of Facebook author or book promotion groups to post your announcement. Be sure to read and follow the group rules, as some groups only let you post promotions on certain days of the week, and some may not allow promotional posts. Use other social media and tell everyone and anyone about your book deal.
Here's an example of a post I used for my one-day "Black Friday" book sale:
The Service Is Worth a Try
If you are just starting out as an author and self-publisher, KDP Select may be a good option to consider for marketing your ebook.
I've always loved writing for as long as I could remember, but I only started writing online articles about 10 years ago, and then began self-publishing books thereafter. As a indie self-publisher, I found Amazon KDP easy to use, and I decided to enroll in KDP Select and give it a try. I'm glad I did because it helped me learn a bit about book marketing and running promotions.
If you're not sure, the best way to learn is to give it a try. After 3 months, you can always choose not to re-enroll. Just remember to uncheck the auto-renew box before the enrollment period ends.
KDP Select's Kindle Countdown Deal, as well as the Free Book Promotion, are both great ways to promote your book during your book launch or ongoing.
KDP Select Poll
Resources: KDP Help Links
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2018 Amelia Griggs
Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on November 29, 2018:
Happy to share and glad you found it helpful, Joyette! Thanks for stopping by.
Joyette Helen Fabien from Dominica on November 29, 2018:
Very helpful article. Great sharing!
Amelia Griggs (author) from U.S. on November 23, 2018:
I’m glad you found it helpful, Ellison. I self-published 3 books so far on Amazon, in different formats, and I plan on writing more articles to help others. With a little elbow grease and some research, I would say it’s well worth it. I’m learning more each day and look forward to sharing more about my writing, self-publishing and marketing ventures.
Thanks for your comment and feedback!
Ellison Hartley from Maryland, USA on November 23, 2018:
This is so interesting, writing an ebook to sell on Amazon is definitely something that I would like to try at some point. Your article was really helpful.