Is it Time to Leave KDP Select and Diversify?

Is it time to move on from Kindle Direct Publishing and diversify by using services such as Pronoun, Smashwords, Kobo, and Nook Press?

Here’s a question that every self-published author needs to ask themselves in 2017: Is it time to leave Amazon KDP Select and diversify? As 2016 came to an end, I asked myself that very question, and here’s my discovery.

I started releasing my serial series Wild Space back in May of 2016. I decided to make them Kindle exclusive, so I signed up for KDP Select or Kindle Direct Publishing Select for those not familiar with the term. KDP Select forces your book to be only available on Amazon’s website for purchase or to be part of their Kindle Unlimited reader program for 90 days. After 90 days, you can choose to keep them in KDP Select or you can pull them out. But during this period of time, your books cannot be available for purchase anywhere else.

I had great success with the first 90 days of KDP Select, however, as I re-enrolled for another 90 days, I suddenly found my sales and page reads falling flat. I tried a few marketing techniques to get them fired up again, but I just couldn’t get the ball rolling again. So I asked myself, is it time to break free from KDP Select and try something new?

In October, I selected to not re-enroll my books in KDP Select. Immediately, any momentum in sales or page reads I had, disappeared completely – even though I had one month left in exclusivity. I’m not saying that Amazon stuck it to me, because I’m a small fish in a big pond – but I did notice an instant loss of sales and page reads when I chose not to renew my KDP Select contract.

Coincidence? Probably. But for the record, I’m not the only person to have noticed this.

As November rolled around, I started to set up my books on Smashwords (for distribution to libraries), on Pronoun (for distribution on iBooks and GooglePlay), on Kobo, and on Nook Press. The second the books came off exclusivity through Amazon KDP Select, I was ready to launch the books on the other platforms and start a new journey. Granted, I had no idea what to expect, but I was ready to go. I set the first book up as free and the rest at 99 cents and I was off to the races in December.

As the new voyage into diversifying my books began, I noticed that my Kindle sales were non-existent but immediately, my Nook sales took off. For every five free books that were acquired by Nook readers, three of those readers came back and purchased the rest of the series. I was shocked at this result. I have read all the reports that said that Nook is dead, yet my Nook sales were doing what Kindle hadn’t done. By the end of December, I had sold more books through Nook than I did through KDP Select.

Now, I’m not saying that this will ring true for all authors, but these are my results. Sales on iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo haven’t impressed me at all, but Nook sales blew my mind. I was getting solid results.

Another thing I saw was the return on investment.

I set up the first book in the Wild Space series to be permafree and the rest at 99 cents. For those not familiar with the term permafree – permafree is the act of setting your book up on a site that allows you to set your price at free and then asking Amazon to price match the book at free. On Nook, I found that for every 5 free books, 3 readers would return and purchase the rest of the series. On Kindle, for every 15 to 20 free books, only 1 reader would come back and trickle through the rest of the series.

So why is that?

I don’t have sales data to back up my theory, but I believe that Kindle readers are used to snagging free books and most of the time they sit on them – perhaps never even reading them. I’m a Kindle user and I can attest to that. My library is packed with free books I’ve never read.

Meanwhile, Nook hasn’t had the same amount of attention paid to it by independent authors. While Kindle Direct Publishing has soared, Nook and the others have been vastly ignored… which may make it an untapped potential. There are not nearly as many authors giving away their books for free on Nook as there are on Kindle, so the Nook readers find more value in those free books and may very well read them.

Another theory I have is that Kindle readers are converting to subscription based reading and are purchasing far fewer books. When I weigh the difference between sales on Kindle and sales on Nook, I am far better giving up my exclusivity and branching out to other platforms, because my sales on the other platforms are destroying the few sales and reads I was getting on Select.

I’m thrilled with the results I’ve found in diversifying. I don’t miss KDP. I’m finding a new audience that I would have never found had I not taken the chance and diversified.

Is this the right move for you?

I’m not sure. But maybe its time to experiment and find out. If you are exclusive on Amazon and haven’t been impressed with your sales, let your KDP Select expire and branch out for a few months and see what happens. If the results don’t impress you, go back to KDP Select and have the piece of mind in knowing that you are right where you need to be.

When I started my self publishing journey in 2009, I was sold on being exclusive through Amazon, but now I am convinced that every author needs to weigh their options and look at the possibility of branching out to other platforms.

You might just find – like me – that it’s time to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I have found that it is.

Now IS the Perfect Time to Start Your Journey Through Wild Space!

Wild Space is now available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Kobo. Wild Space is written by Jason M. Brooks

Wild Space launched back in May of this year and was an exclusive title for Kindle. But I’m excited to announce today, that Wild Space has now been released for all eReader formats.

That’s right, if you are a proud owner of a Nook, a Kobo, an iPad/iPhone or any style of eReader, you can now purchase this exciting series from not only for Kindle, but from Barnes and Noble for your Nook, on Kobo for your Kobo Reader, on iBooks for reading on your Apple device, or you can grab a copy from Smashwords and side load it on to any of your preferred devices.

The first five books of the first series are available for all eReaders. In January, look for Wild Space: Transformations to be released on all of the eReaders as well. In the past, when I’ve released new books, I’ve made them Kindle exclusives for 90 days before releasing them in the other stores. But due to reader feedback, I realized that it wasn’t fair to force my other readers to wait for the 90 day period to end, therefore, I will no longer be doing that. All of the books I release will be released globally on day one with no more wait times for readers.

Plus, if you haven’t started reading the series yet, now is the best time to jump on board!

Wild Space: Onslaught… FREE!

That’s right! Wild Space: Onslaught, the first book in Series 1, is FREE at all retailers! There’s no excuse for readers not to try my new series. The first book is free and if you enjoy it, there is an offer at the back of the book to get the second book free as well. You can’t lose with an offer like that. The first 2 books in the series are free and the remaining books are just 0.99 each.

But that’s not all of the Wild Space news that I have.

Book 6, Wild Space: Transformations, is close to done. I have some more editing to do, but it should be out by the end of January. Once the first series is complete, I will be going to work on formatting the entire first series into one volume and releasing it as a hardcover and trade paperback book for all of the fellow book collectors out there.

If you are like me, when you fall in love with a book, you love to put an actual book into the bookshelf for display. I’m going to compile all six books into one volume and release it for collectors to enjoy. I plan on giving away a number of signed copies to members of my Inner Circle, so be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter so you can have a shot at grabbing one of those free books. You can SIGN UP HERE!

And finally…

To celebrate the release of the Wild Space books in all the online retailers, I’m going to be hitting the proverbial road and appearing on a number of blogs and websites during the month of January. Be sure to watch my Facebook, Twitter, and Newsletter for dates and locations of my appearances.

2017 is shaping up to be a busy year for me and I hope you’ll stay with me for the ride.

Until next time!

Step by Step Self Publishing – Formatting Your Manuscript for Amazon Kindle: Part 2

Step by Step Self Publishing Formatting your manuscript for Amazon KDP is the second part of a series by Jason M. Brooks

In my last post on step by step self publishing, we focused on preparing our manuscript for the self publishing process. We prepped our manuscript to feed it through Calibre, where the file will be converted into a MOBI file – which is the format that Amazon uses to create its Kindle books.

If you haven’t read the first part of this two part series on Step by Step Self Publishing – Formatting Your Manuscript for Amazon Kindle, you can READ IT HERE!

Today, in part 2, we will be taking that formatted manuscript and feeding it into Calibre – a free conversion program that can turn our manuscript into any format of ebook we would like. In this case, we’re going to pump out a Kindle version of our book. Kindle uses a proprietary format known as MOBI.

If you haven’t already downloaded and installed Calibre on your computer, you can DOWNLOAD IT HERE! for either Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. Trust me when I say, Calibre is a handy took for self publishing. If it’s not in your self publishing toolbox, put it in there today. It’s free!

So let’s get started.

Uploading Your Manuscript to Calibre

  1. Obviously, the first step to self publishing our book through Calibre, is to get the file there to work with. To upload the file, simply click on the “Add Books” icon in the top, far left. It will pop up the file manager window so you can search for your file. Once you find it, click on it and it will now appear in your library on Calibre. In the case of the images below, we are uploading my file that is titled: TAP Calling of the Kings. We’ll be working on that file throughout this post.

step by step self publishing

Step by step self publishing is a post by Jason M. Brooks

2. Now that the file is in our library, we need to begin the process of converting it into a MOBI file. Start by selecting the book you wish to format – in this case: TAP Calling of the Kings. Then select the “Convert Books” icon.


And now we are in the settings screen where we’ll do some last minute tweaks to prepare it for the final conversion. At this point you should be at the screen shown below.


Adjust Settings for Creating the MOBI File

  1. The first thing we need to do is select the proper output format for our book. In this case, we want to select the MOBI format. You can see this illustrated in the image above. Once we’ve selected the proper output format, then we begin adding the proper meta data for our book. This gets embedded in the final file format as well as helps us find this material in the Calibre library. As you format more books, it will become quite the chore to find titles that you are looking for, so be sure to fill out the information that is necessary to identify your book. If you notice on mine in the image below, this book is part of a series. So I will fill out the series title information and identify what volume it is. You may or may not need to do this for your book.


2. Now, let’s add our cover to this book. It’s currently displaying the first page of my formatted manuscript, which happens to be the title page. Click on the disk icon shown to the right of the “Change Cover Image” bar on the main screen. This is illustrated in my next image. Then search through your files for the correct cover image and load it up. Now your cover is embedded into your file.




I should note here that Amazon has you upload your cover as a separate file so you really don’t have to do this next stage of work. However, if you are like me and you like to do free giveaways on your website, add the cover. That way, you can give the file away as a special promotion and when the reader uploads it on their Kindle device, they will have the professional cover image displayed in their library.

Now We Tweak the Final Settings

Now we need to tweak a few settings – none of it is difficult to do. This final tweaking will get our book ready to make the final conversion into MOBI format.

1. The first setting we need to adjust is found in the “Detect Chapters” bar. To get there, click on the “Structure Detection” box. At the top of the screen you will find the “Detect Chapters” bar. There is a list of defaults that Calibre will search for. For me, I also add an “About the Author” page, a “Preview” page, and an “Other Titles” page to my manuscript.

I want Calibre to detect those pages when it creates my table of contents. To do this, I click in the bar and I manually add the following keywords: about, preview, other. I add the following mark | to match the default type that is already found there. What this does is tells Calibre that any “Heading 1” or “Heading 2” titles that start with these words, need to be added to the Table of Contents. As you can see, it is already preset to find “Chapter”. So no need to make that adjustment.


4. The next setting under “Structure Detection” that we need to change is found at the “Chapter Mark” drop down box as shown below. By default it will say “Pagebreak”. Click on the drop down menu and select “None”. Now we are set to move on.


2. Click on the “Table of Contents” icon. The next image indicates the only two changes we need to make here. Click on the “Force Use of Auto Generated Table of Contents”. Then in the dialogue box, add “h1” for Heading 1 or “h2” for Heading 2, depending on how you formatted your chapter headings in part 1 of this series. Remember I told you to remember which one you used? This is why.


3. Now all we have to do is click on the “OK” button at the bottom of the screen and Calibre does the rest. In a few minutes or less, your book is instantly formatted into a MOBI file that is ready to upload to Amazon.


Finding Your MOBI File

Now all you need to do is grab your newly created MOBI file and upload it to your Amazon KDP account. I will go step by step through that process in a future blog post.

For Windows users, if you download the Calibre program and allow it to install everything as it recommends (and don’t make any changes to where your files appear) you will find your MOBI file in your “Documents” folder. Click on your Documents folder, then click on the Calibre folder and you will find a folder under your author name. Click on that folder, then click on your book title folder, and finally you will see all of the formats you have created from your original Word document. In this case, we need the MOBI file as shown in the image below. This is the file that Amazon will need when you upload your book file.


This would be the typical file path to take to find your MOBI file: Documents>Calibre Files>Author Name>Book Title

If during the install you instructed Calibre to put its files somewhere else, you’ll have to look there for the Calibre Files folder.

And that is all there is to the process. It might look intimidating, but it’s not. In fact, it is a simple process that once you’ve done a few times, will be easy and fast.

In future posts I will be looking at uploading your file to Amazon KDP. I’ll also teach you how to prepare your manuscript for uploading to Smashwords, Kobo, Nook and other eReader devices. Eventually I’ll get into preparing print files to upload to CreateSpace and Ingram Spark. And as time goes on, I’ll keep adding more and more helpful, self publishing how to’s. I’m also working on videos to add to YouTube. Unfortunately this will take time to produce because I’m also in the process of writing and publishing my own works.

Busy, Busy.

So I hope you found this helpful and I hope this gets you up and self publishing quickly and with confidence. Have any questions? Comment below. Also, consider joining me on Facebook and Twitter where we can continue the conversation.

Until next time!


Step by Step Self Publishing – Formating Your Manuscript for Amazon Kindle

Step by Step Self Publishing is a feature section of Jason M. Brooks' blog and website. Jason M. Brooks is the author of the Wild Space series.

I started self publishing back in 2008 when all of the self publishing options really started to take off. At the time, I was one of the few who did it. Now, I’m lost in a sea of many who self publish – and that’s a good thing. While almost every blog out there will tell you how to get rich off self publishing your books, I would rather take a different approach. I want to teach you easy, effective ways to get your book out of your mind and into someones hand.

We start with today’s blog: a step by step self publishing process for formatting your manuscript and making it ready for self publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing website.

Some people like to go in and code their manuscript by hand. I will tell you first hand, I do it, it’s not terribly difficult, but it’s time consuming and not an efficient use of your valuable time. If you’re like me, you want to write your book, edit it, and then get it on the market and move on to the next book. Coding takes time and can get tricky if you’re not familiar with the process or make a mistake and have to go back and find it. My process takes all of the coding out of it and leaves you with a very nice product that is ready for Amazon on day one. Rarely will you have to go back and do more work.

If you haven’t already done so, visit my last post on the tools I use to self publish. You will be needing some of those to do this project. The only thing we need for part one in today’s post, is a finished manuscript and a word processing program. I personally use Microsoft Office 365.

So let’s begin.

Identify Page Breaks

  1. The first thing we want to do is insert page breaks at the end of our title pages and chapters. To do this, we begin by scrolling to the bottom of our desired content. In the image below, I like to add a title page to my book with graphics and whatnot. I’ve already inserted the image. Now I’ll scroll down below the cursor and insert my cursor. Now I go up into the tool bar and select “Insert Page Break”.


2. Now I’ll repeat that process on the copyright information page (also commonly called a title page). I’ll scroll just to the end of the title page information and insert my cursor. Then I’ll select “Insert a Page Break” and the computer will do its thing.

It’s important to note that you want to put that page break right at the very end of the content that you are trying to separate. If you put that cursor five, ten or more spaces down, it will create blank pages in your ebook. That is not a good thing. Blank pages leave people scratching their heads – wondering if something is wrong with their ebook file. You want the content to end and then when you turn the page, new content begins. So place that cursor right after the text you want to separate as I show in the next image.

3. Now we’ll repeat this process with the remainder of our book. We will add page breaks at the end of each chapter. Remember to place that cursor after the last sentence of the chapter. Don’t go down a bunch of spaces before inserting that page break or you get dead space. Insert your cursor under the last line of the chapter and select “Insert Page Break”.

Continue this process through the rest of the book. Do the same with your “About the Author” page, “Other Books By Author” and any other back matter content you might add. It looks professional to separate all of this back matter with clean page breaks.

Once you have completed inserting those page breaks, zip back up to the first chapter of your book and lets assign levels to your book.

Identify Chapter Headings for the Table of Contents

Now we need to identify the chapters themselves. We will be doing this by assigning “levels” to them. If you’re familiar with blogs, examples of levels are “Heading 1”, “Heading 2”, “Heading 3” and so forth. These levels will help Calibre (the program that will convert our manuscript into a Kindle file), understand what is a chapter heading and what is not.

  1. Highlight the chapter heading. Then in the formatting toolbox at the top of the page, select “Heading 1” or “Heading 2”. In my example below, I selected “Heading 2” because I reformatted “Heading 1” into a preset format of “Centered”. There is no wrong way to do it as long as you are consistent with every chapter heading. Be sure to remember which heading format you chose because we will need to put that information into Calibre to build our Kindle file.


A note about heading formats. By default, your word processing program will already have a preset style for your heading to appear in. You can edit these presets to reflect the style you desire. For me, I wanted the font to be Cambria, at a font size of 20, bolded and italicized, and justified to the right. I changed these settings myself so that every time I select “Heading 2” I get the same look.

2. Now go through and assign levels to every chapter heading. When we get to our back matter, we will follow the same process to identify our “About the Author” page, “Other Titles By” page and any other back matter you might have added. The process is the same as we did with the chapter headings. There’s one more screenshot below as I format my “About the Author” page.


And that wraps up all of the formatting that we actually have to do ourselves. No more coding is needed. So save this formatted file in a safe place, because we are going to plug it into Calibre and allow that sweet program to do the rest of the work for us.

As I mentioned before, there are many ways in which to format your manuscript for uploading to Amazon KDP. You can learn how to code it – but this is very time intensive, easy to mess up, and if you’re not already familiar with coding, it isn’t always an easy thing to learn. Some people have a gift for it, but most don’t.

But why waste your valuable time coding when a free software program will do the work for you? All you really have to do is follow these two simple steps and the hard part is over. In my next post, we’ll plug your file into Calibre, adjust a couple of settings and then allow Calibre to do the rest of the work.

It won’t be long and we’ll be uploading your completed file to Amazon and sharing it with the world.

If you have found this article helpful, be sure to share it with others. Also, please consider liking my Facebook Page or Follow me on Twitter. I’ll keep you updated when new, helpful posts, become available.

Until next time!



Wild Space – New Series Launching this Month!

Wild Space is a new series by Jason M. Brooks and launches on May 24th on

Wild Space is a brand new series I’m writing and I’m excited to announce that the first story launches this month!

I know, I know. You might be wondering where the next book in the Thrones and Prophecy Series is coming out. I’m still working on it. But I’m still a long way from completion. For me, completing something is very important and since I knew I still have a ways to go on the follow up to Twins of the Prophecy, I decided to kick something out that I’ve also been working on. It’s the Wild Space series.

This series is a different beast all together.

These are short novella’s that are meant to be a quick read. Perfect for a commute to work, while you’re sitting in a doctors waiting room, or waiting to pick up the kids from practice or school. Most readers should be able to finish these books in an hour.

I imagine Wild Space to be like a television series. I’ll be releasing six books a year in this series. I’ve already written the first three and have mapped out the next three. I’m very excited about this series. It puts my favorite aspects of Star Wars, Star Trek and Firefly and throws them in a pot and stirs them up. I have a million twists and turns planned and I know readers of science fiction are going to love them.

It begins years from now. Earth and its civilizations have begun a push into deep space. They have started colonizing planets that are within 5 years trek from Earth. As those colonies expand, explorers decide to push out further. Some explore over twenty years journey from Earth to colonize a patch of deep space near the core of our galaxy. This territory has been dubbed, Wild Space.

800 years after the last of the explorers departed for Wild Space, the planets of Earth develop a star ship with a Deep Space Drive engine that can cut the travel time from twenty years to six months. Captain John Avery is placed in charge of the Earth Star Ship Independence and is given the exciting task of taking the first exploration crew to Wild Space. Their mission is to discover what type of worlds have been settled and make contact with the decedents of Earth.

When they arrive, they learn that things are not as rosy as they thought they would be. The Independence is attacked and the ship nearly destroyed. Lives are lost and moral has been devastated. Left to die in a crumbling ship, Captain Avery must pull his crew together. Their mission of exploration is over. It is now a mission of survival as there is no way to return to Earth. Captain Avery and his crew have stumbled into hostile territory. They have stumbled into Wild Space.

The Wild Space series will only be available on Amazon for the Kindle. It will also be available in the Kindle Unlimited library for subscribers to Amazon Prime.

The first book in this series will be launching on May 24th, 2016. For subscribers to my eNewsletter, I am giving away a digital copy for FREE. Sign up between today and May 19th and you can be one of those lucky few who will get a FREE download of Wild Space: Onslaught before it releases to the world. I’ll be sending out your free download on May 20th so you can read it over the weekend!

When you finish reading the book, be sure to return to Amazon and rate the book. Let others know what you think of this exciting new series! Then get ready for the next book due in June!