There’s a permanent, ongoing debate about whether exclusivity is dangerous, or whether we should have wide distribution. (Seriously. So. Much. Debate.) This decision is different for everyone, and I respect the fact that different things work for different books and different genres.
For me, I’m most comfortable when I’m wide. All my eggs in Amazon’s temperamental basket? #scary
Let’s chat more.
Why I Love Publishing Wide
1. When my sales are low on one, the cumulative effect of others brings my numbers up.
While 18 books sold there through May, my sales for KDP went like this:
And then Kobo was doing this:
When I was exclusive with Amazon, I had just Amazon and couldn’t do much about a slump. While slumps still happen across multiple platforms, a slump on one doesn’t mean that sales have stopped.
2. I don’t receive emails from fans/potential fans asking when they can buy it on Nook/iTunes/Kobo
I didn’t save all the emails I’ve received from fans seeking an ePUB version of the book because it made me feel so guilty, but this is just one example. Of course, I usually sent them the ePUB file, but it goes without saying that very few people are actually going to track down the author to ask.
Which meant that I was definitely missing sales from people who didn’t track me down to ask.
3. New opportunities (and sometimes reviews) pop up on the other platforms.
Last week I did a post on the promo opportunity that Kobo has given me since uploading directly to them through Kobo Writing Life. If you haven’t read it, do it now. Basically, my ranking and sales increased exponentially and have been steady selling at 2-3 books per day ever since on just Kobo. It may not seem like much, but that’s a respectable, awesome number for an indie. (Also considering I only have 2 novels available for purchase there).
I had 50 sales in 1-2 days thanks to this article. Had I not been on B&N, this would never have come to pass. I wouldn’t have even known about it if a friend hadn’t shared it with me.
Not to mention how awesome that is for a selling point at book signings.
4. Email subscription services are a lot more useful and profitable when you have multiple places to sell the book.
My BookBub ad, for example, would have a much bigger effect on all platforms if I had been selling on more than just Amazon.
And we all know how difficult it is to get on BookBub, right? So I should have made the best of it.
I sold well over 2,000 copies (and had almost 500 “borrows” on KU) when MMSFG was featured on BookBub last October. Awesome, right? Yeah. Because the huge sales spike helped trigger something in Amazon’s algorithms (I think) because they promoted me like crazy. I averaged about 4-5 sales per day (not including borrows on some days).
But now I live in regret.
I could still have had awesome sales on Amazon, gone exclusive after the ad, and still benefited from increased marketing with the “long tail” effect. Not only that, but I would have had higher rankings/sales on other platforms using.
5. Branching into new platforms increases my reach across the globe.
I see this mostly with Kobo because they have the easiest dashboard to use in the entire world (with a map that actually shows where the sales are), but I’ve also seen extension with Wattpad. I have readers there who email me asking where they can read more of my stuff because they love my contemporary chick lit story Bon Bons to Yoga Pants so much. A sweet girl from Pakistan has been messaging me, and a few others from various countries.
Note: I don’t sell anything through Wattpad, but I do write and reach fans through it, so I consider it a platform. Plus I have amazing, dedicated, loyal fans at Wattpad, and some of them are starting to slip into my YA fantasy series now.
While I’m excited about globally furthering my brand now, when I start translating my books and branching into foreign markets then I will be really excited about it because I’ll need to track it more then and see where I can benefit the best.
6. When Amazon’s Bots Delete Your Life
Just a few articles to skim if you’re in KU. And something to be aware of. Even if sales aren’t stunning on other sites, at least, if Amazon decides to cut you off then you have some readership, right?
7. Kobo’s New Subscription Model.
No exclusivity required. Click here to my other blog post for the rundown: Kobo Plus: What It Means For Indies.
Being exclusive with Amazon definitely helped me increase sales, make money to work off of for a few months, and see a greater base of Amazon fans. But as a long term strategy I’m finding that multiple platforms are benefitting me much more. I’m not passing judgment or saying that exclusivity is bad: I think everyone should try it once. At least once. See what it does. It works really well for some authors. But also be aware that there are other options out there and success with KDP Select is not the end-all-be-all in this game.
What are your thoughts?
Have you had good experiences with multiple platforms? Massive slumps like I have? Good things?