Claude Bouchard Books

Crime Thrillers and other Stuff...

Ramble On

R.I.P. KDP Selection Promotions

Posted by bigceebee on July 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM

In December 2011, the Great Zon gave life to KDP Select, a program offering Kindle authors and publishers particular promotional tools in exchange for exclusive distribution of the digital versions of enrolled works. In a nutshell, by enrolling one’s ebook in the program for ninety days, it was:


a) Included in the Kindle Owners Lending Library with a sum payable from a fund each time it was borrowed and,


b) Granted five promotion days per ninety day enrolment period during which it could be “sold” for free.


Some, myself included, were sceptical at first and even somewhat annoyed with the exclusivity clause. However, after giving the program some thought, I, like many others, decided to give it a shot. A first attempt with Asylum in February 2012, resulted in just under 15,000 downloads and a slight bump-up in sales.


A month later, from March 20th to 22nd, Vigilante was available for free and 25,626 copies were downloaded which pushed the book to #9 in the Free Kindle store. Post promo, I saw Vigilante soar to #211 in the Paid Kindle store and sold a couple of thousand copies over the next month.


Further promotions were scheduled with other titles from April to June, each resulting in downloads ranging from 5,500 to 12,000 and little subsequent sales effects. However, another Vigilante promotion in late June 2012 (22,324 downloads) generated another 1,500+ units sold in the month which followed. Promotions in following months with lesser download volumes had close to zero impact on sales.


With the experience of several promotions under my belt, a clear pattern had emerged. If I managed to give away 20,000+ books during a promotion, I could expect to sell 1,000-2,000 copies in the following month. Late in November, I ran a promotion with the first three titles of my series and saw a whopping 87,421 downloads over a two day period, almost 38,000 of which were Vigilante. Over 3,300 copies of that book alone sold in the following month as well as several thousand copies of my other titles. Merry Christmas!


A Vigilante promotion in February 2013 with close to 30,000 downloads yielded post promo sales in line with past results. However, another in late April 2013 with almost 29,000 downloads of The Consultant only generated half the expected sales. Much talk had been going around at the time that Amazon algorithms had been modified and the outcome of my promotion supported these speculations.


Then came July… An Amazon glitch, sometimes referred to as “system latencies”, kept my free rankings from being posted for over thirty-eight hours of my two day Vigilante promotion. As a result, the book did not appear on any lists anywhere for most of the promo period, the consequence being lost downloads. In spite of this, 20,496 were downloaded on July 2nd and 3rd. Based on my past experience and that of others, I expected a reasonable upswing in sales following the promotion, right? Alas, to date, the answer is "wrong". Copies of Vigilante sold post promo are as follows:


July 4th - 48 copies

July 5th - 13 copies

July 6th - 6 copies

July 7th - 13 copies

July 8th - Nada as I write this piece

Total - 80 copies


Several others have informed me of similar results of late…


So, my dear KDP Select Promotions, though the thought saddens me greatly, I fear you are no longer with us. Should this be the case, may you rest in peace and know that you will be missed.


The Great Zon giveth and the Great Zon taketh away…


And now to determine, what exactly are the benefits of exclusivity?

Haven't read Vigilante yet? It's right here at

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Reply Dean Lappi
5:16 PM on July 8, 2013 
A great post, Claude. Thank you for sharing your story! Kindest regards. Dean
Reply AR Silverberry
8:33 PM on July 8, 2013 
Great post, Claude. Though the winds have shifted, perhaps it did give you great exposure and widened your following, things which hopefully will serve in the future!
Reply Stuart Ross McCallum
6:10 AM on July 9, 2013 
Thank you Claude, for another enlightening post my friend. The ever-changing publishing landscape appears to have shifted once again.

My very best to you, and your great books.

Reply Aaron David
7:54 AM on July 9, 2013 
Interesting & saddening piece. I suppose things will evolve at an ever more breath taking pace. It's hard enough for old farts like me to keep up. Please keep me informed. ;-)
Reply Julie Grasso
5:07 PM on July 9, 2013 
Hi Claude
I have been having similar thoughts to you. I write for middle grade so my downloads have been a bit lower than yours on the free days, but still, I got lots of sales after etc. That was for the first 4-5 free download promo's. Now, almost 10 months after my first book release, if I do a free promo, it results in minimal sales. My theory is that Amazon, stops promoting you after about the 6 month mark post release on Free days, but I am sure i will never find this written anywhere. My second book is due out next week and I was considering doing a free promo in a month. I have signed exclusive again with KDP, however, I am not sure that I want to test the waters again with my new book. Did you know anyone who has reported the same for a second book from the get go. I would be interested to find out, otherwise, if i do do a promo, I'll let you know, lol. Cheers Julie Grasso
Reply DV Berkom
12:51 PM on July 11, 2013 
Same, same, Claude. I've launched my latest book sans Select. It was great while it lasted...
Reply Lambert Nagle
7:36 AM on July 30, 2013 
Having just done a KDP Select free promo that has yielded 0 sales I would agree that unless Amazon can come up with another carrot to keep us in KDP Select there now seems little advantage in being exclusive - unless you want to find more readers as opposed to making more sales. Alison LN
Reply Deborah Brown
9:27 PM on August 27, 2013 
Great post Claude!