Indie Authors – Branching Out From Amazon

indie author handbook

Indie Author Handbook

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I hope to get back on a schedule soon.  Life has taken on some interesting turns (new job, which was my old job; long commute again and more).  In my writing life, I’ve been busier than ever.  I’ve figured out a way to write faster (more in a future post), I’ve learned Photoshop so I can do my own covers, and I’ve also branched out from Amazon.

Indie Authors – Is KDP Select Worth It Anymore?

Much has been written on this topic, both pro and con.  Here’s my take: KDP Select might have some value, if you have a huge audience (like JA Konrath), or if you have just a book or two available and you want to try to get some traction and reviews.  Then using Select, and its Kindle Countdown, might be of value for you (read more about my thoughts on Kindle Countdown here).  But you need to ask yourself (especially if you have a lot of books for sale and/or a series) if the payoff is worth the lost sales on other sites (Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, txtr, OverDrive, Scribd and many more).  For me, it’s not.

Indie Authors – Branching Out

I haven’t been in Select for a while, but it still took me a while to make all my books available on other sites.  I know that the theory is that Amazon is the king (and they are), so why sell elsewhere, but I personally think it’s dangerous to put all my eggs in that basket.  I also haven’t read where Kindle Countdown has been that great.  Yes, authors get to keep their 70% royalty on a 99 cent book, but this doesn’t help if your book is permafree (which the first in my mystery series is, and it’s the one I most heavily promote), and this doesn’t account for the lost revenue that an author might receive if he/she is selling on other venues.  I also haven’t seen where indie authors feel that Kindle Countdowns gave them any sort of great boost after their countdown ended.

Indie Authors – My Results Going To Other Retailers

KoboIn short, it’s been successful.  First, I’ve been lucky enough to get Bookbub ads for This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies, and I’ve gotten a lot of downloads.  After the fact, my sales got a nice boost.  Amazon performed very well, with all other books selling well.  On Barnes & Noble my sales are about a fifth of those on Amazon.  Now that may not seem like much, but it’s a nice chunk of change.  I’m also getting sales on iBooks and some (albeit not much) on Kobo.  I haven’t been able to figure Kobo out.  My books sit high in bestseller lists, but they still don’t seem to get visibility.  I’m not sure how to change that (I’d love to get featured in their first in a series, but I don’t know how one does that), but I’ll still leave my books there.  Apple is beginning to gain traction, too.  So I’m satisfied with not being exclusive to Amazon.

Indie Authors – Other Things To Consider

One of the things that makes me nervous with using Amazon exclusively is their ability to change royalty rates (don’t think they can’t/won’t do it, they did with their audiobook division, ACX).  If they do, I’d want to be earning royalties elsewhere.  Apple also bears watching.  They are including iBooks (pre-installed) on iOS 8.  This could potentially be huge for indie authors.  I also wonder about what Alibaba will mean for Amazon, especially in terms of global sales (read more about Alibaba here).  I also heard an interesting theory, a what if Alibaba buys Nookpress?  That could be a game changer…

Indie Authors – Conclusions

For me, it’s a no-brainer.  Amazon would have to do something really awesome for me to go back to exclusivity with them.  Branching out to other retailers has been a success, and with some advertizing and continued brand-building, I think the revenue stream from those retailers will be a nice benefit to my business.

I’d love to hear what you think?  Let me know in the comments.

And (shameless plug), stay tuned for the sixth in the Reed Ferguson mystery series, coming out in July!

About Renée Pawlish

Award-winning author Renée Pawlish writes the bestselling horror book, Nephilim Genesis of Evil, the Reed Ferguson mystery series, short stories and non-fiction ghost stories.
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2 Responses to Indie Authors – Branching Out From Amazon

  1. Bert Carson says:

    The conventional agent/publisher/editor/bookstore/promotions scheme had at least one great benefit for writers: we didn’t have to learn the “art” of self-promotion. Alas, internal warfare within the industry killed all but a few of the players, making it nigh on impossible for an author to take that highway.
    What’s left appears to be mastering self-promotion.
    Well, we’ve been on that highway for a while now and many of us are realizing that what “Appears to be” ain’t really so and we are looking in other places.
    Your post has very effectively illumined many of those.
    Well done my friend.

    • Renée Pawlish says:

      Thanks. I hope to do some more posts on what’s working for me. One thing, as you well know, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
      Best of luck to you and thanks for the comment.

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