Please do not take any of this as advice. NO ONE should take advice from an independent publisher with one book out. I am mostly writing this to record my thoughts, like a diary, so I’m able to look back on the decision.
Outside of the decision to indie publish in the first place, I sweated nothing as much as the decision of going “wide” vs. exclusive with Amazon. Much of the Indie Publishing community is persuasive on the idea of Amazon exclusivity, especially for first time publishers. The argument goes something like this:
- Kindle Unlimited (KU) allows for royalties on page reads. Patrons already in the KU program can download and read the book at no extra cost, and the publisher/author earns something like half a cent per read.
- Page reads can provide royalties in place of sales which are hard to come by for authors with no back list.
- KU is free visibility/discoverability, which is important for a new publisher
- Exclusivity allows periods of free and reduced-price promotion each 90 day period.
- The mysterious Amazon algorithms show more love to exclusive writers/publishers
- Amazon accounts for 80% of e-book sales in the US. Distribution. Publishing through other sources is diminishing returns.
- Probably a dozen other compelling reasons, including that many of the successful indie publishing authors are exclusive with Amazon. (Possibly most, I have no idea. I know all the successful “rock-star” indies I’m aware of are exclusive).
So why wide?
I make decisions based on how I see things as a consumer, so –
- I want as few obstacles for a customer as possible (i.e. I want my e-books available for use on as many devices as possible, I want my paperbacks available in as many venues as I can manage…including libraries)
- When I download a “free” book (like KU), I seldom read it. It somehow devalues the book to me.
- I don’t like the idea of exclusivity in general. It feels like a sell-out. I have zero problems with Amazon. I use them all the time. But as a consumer, I want options of where to spend my money.
- Amazon is huge in the US. The world is a big place.
- Return to the first bullet, I’ve always hated being told that I can’t use a product. I don’t want to be this guy, “Sorry, my e-book can only be read on kindle or a kindle enabled-device.”
It’s possible I’ll never know whether the better business decision is exclusivity. I could test the waters, I suppose. But even that seems shortsighted, and for that period there’s a good chance I’d have to tell some prospective reader that my e-book is only available for Kindle.
Since I am wide, here’s a universal link where you can pick your poison…er retailer: books2read.com/everythingisbroken