From the Mail Room: Can I Put a Multi-Author Anthology in KDP Select?

mail-room-author-emails-office-899351_960_720A reader sent in this question:

I’m an indie author who is considering doing an anthology with some fellow authors. I came across the First Chapters one you did and I was wondering if you had any advise on how to do this best? (First Chapters takes the first chapters of 22 different minion books and compiles them into one anthology.)

I had a couple specific questions, since we were thinking about doing a First Chapter complication as well for our book, but we are a little concerned that since we’re all in KDP Select, we can’t do what you guys did.

In reading their terms, it seems we can “give away” samples (meaning can’t sell it) as long as they are less than 10% of the book. I assume since you guys are selling your anthology, that none of the books you pulled chapters from are in KU, and can never be in KU because of that?

Thanks for your help!

Here’s the answer from our awesome team of authors:

Amazon has made a lot of changes regarding anthologies. For your book to be in Select, you must have total publishing control over it. So, you definitely cannot put the entire book in an anthology. If the first chapter is within the 10 percent, it could work. I definitely wouldn’t put the anthology in Select. Amazon does not like double dipping.

I know one chapter in an anthology isn’t the same as a boxed set, but with boxed sets, KDP is now requiring whomever uploads and publishes it to prove they have exclusive publishing rights to all of the content in it (and I don’t know how they can do that if the book is available separately). Multiple author works are under intense scrutiny these days. Honestly, things have changed so much within the last year that the best bet is to email KDP and ask.

Our admin adds: This was one of those seemed like a good idea at the time things. In all honestly, this particular anthology has not sold well (as I’m being told most of this type don’t), and therefore it hasn’t given any of the authors involved any kind of exposure. The book has been permafree on Smashwords for ages, too.

Author: Administrators

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7 thoughts on “From the Mail Room: Can I Put a Multi-Author Anthology in KDP Select?”

  1. From a reader’s perspective, I think an anthology of first chapters is a terrible idea and it’s something I would personally never buy. I have been duped into buying anthologies that were promoted as short story collections, only to find a bunch of incomplete, “teaser” chapters. I felt shortchanged and was not compelled to buy any of the books, even the chapters that really hooked my interest. Please don’t take offense, I’m being honest and speaking from a reader’s point of view. That said, a collection of first chapters could work as a promotional tool if it could be offered for free, as a permafree on all platforms. I know we all want to get paid, but to try and sell what is essentially a piece of advertising isn’t going to win over many readers. I would feel inclined to download something like that for free to discover new authors, and if I liked what I read, I would buy the books. Asking readers to pay for something twice isn’t going to generate many sales. Again, this is just one reader’s opinion.

    1. No offense taken. It’s always nice to get a reader’s perspective, and hopefully it will help our emailer with making his/her decision.

      The idea behind First Chapters was (like everything here at IU 🙂 ) never to make money – it was to get exposure. We’ve got it free on Smashwords, but it’s not in their extended catalog because it contains links to the books on Amazon. If we got that cleaned up, then it could go into distribution for free and eventually be permafree at Amazon as well, but I’m just not seeing the point of spending that kind of time on it when it’s not a big attention getter.

      Thanks again for your thoughts! It’s good to have them. 🙂

      1. Agreed, going back to remove the Amazon links may not be worth the time once you’ve already done the work of adding them, but it’s a good point to remember, for your emailer and others who want to put together this type of book. It’s a great way to package samples from several authors to get exposure, and you might as well maximize distribution if you’re going to go to the trouble. I would absolutely want a book like this to be permafree if I were to do one.

        1. We started out with it in Select, because it was many years ago – and we did that so we could offer it free, back before permafree was popular. So, that’s why the Amazon links are in it. Then we took it out of Select and put it through Smashwords where we could make it free. Taking the Zon links out is on the “one of these days” to-do list. 😉

  2. Regarding an anthology. I did one in 2013 with true flash fiction stories of mine and two other authors (Aron Joice and Brian Beam). I self-published that book in Amazon KDP in eBook as well as print (B/W and Color). I caution you that it sounds like the rules may have changed regarding the following area, and the comment to call Amazon sounds like good advice.
    At the end of the anthology, I included the first chapters from my four-novel series and first chapters from both of those authors.
    Regarding results – it made a great bathroom reader, but only in a very limited number of friend’s homes. The time it took to format the versions was not really worth the effort.
    I give signed copies when the opportunity presents itself.

  3. Hi Indie Elves,
    I checked out your First Chapter book on amazon and based on what I saw, I asked myself was there anything on the page that screamed “Buy Me!” All I know is who is in the anthology and no clue as to what each book chapter is about.
    So I suggest using the Indies Unlimited amazon author page for the anthology to claim the book and use its tools to fill in the book description and front and back cover sections in the “from the author”, and “about the author”, try the following:
    1) in the description use bullets for the author name and title and add with a one line teaser quote (146 characters long like on your site) from each chapter.
    2) In the “from the author” section put the introduction from the book on what it is about.
    3) in the front flap and back flap sections state any awards the 3 most notable authors in the anthology have earned or are known for, up to 3 different authors on each flap.
    4) In the about author section bullet list the authors with a one line author Bio thats 146 characters long.
    5) because some people actually read the amazon look inside: add to the table of contents the one liners from the book description.
    I hope this helps increase your sales

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