I chose to go wide with WordCrafter Press books. Let me tell you why.
- Although many authors use KU to increase their income from their books, since page reads may be more of a metric than sales are, but the price may be too high. Going exclusive limits what you can do with your Intellectual Properties. So even though I’ve maintained my rights for a book, I can’t include that book in a story bundle or box set elsewhere, if it’s in KU. I can’t even sell the book direct from my own website. Likewise, audiobooks published with Audible must be exclusive for at least one year and can’t be published elsewhere, not even on my own website.
- An author wants to reach as many potential readers as possible, increasing the chances of their book being discovered, so to me, it just makes sense to place your books with as many different book distributors as possible. This can be done on each individual platform directly, but the process is very time consuming, so an aggregator like Draft2Digital or Smashwords, (which have merged into one company), can be helpful in getting your book offered on multiple platforms.
- There are some readers who just plain despise Amazon, feeling that they are a monopoly, pushing the smaller companies out, so they won’t buy from them. there are also folks who use readers other than Kindle. By publishing exclusive, authors are not reaching readers who can’t or won’t buy from Amazon or their partners.
- Brick and mortar bookstores and libraries hate Amazon. And why shouldn’t they? Amazon is their biggest competitor. So, chances are, that if your book is only available on Amazon, you won’t be able to get these entities to even consider making your book available to their customers. If they check you out and see that you are advertising “Available on Amazon”, you aren’t going to make it through the doors. (That’s why I use the Books2Read links offered through D2D, where you can set it up so potential readers can find you on their favorite book distribution platform. Amazon is in there, but so are the other platforms like Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Scribd, where my books are available.) Even if you have your books on multiple book distribution and library platforms, you still must put in the work to get availability in physical locations, which are excellent opportunities for discovery and gaining new readers.
- It just doesn’t make sense to me to “put all my eggs in one basket”. By going exclusive with Amazon, I would be excluding a large portion of potential readers. Publishing with D2D places WordCrafter Press books with most of your favorite book distributors, including Barnes & Noble, Rakuten Kobo, Apple, Scribd, Amazon, Thalia, Indigo, Mondadori, and Vivlio, as well as Baker & Taylor, Overdrive and other library lists. Of course, being on the lists for libraries and bookstores don’t get your books into the brick and mortar establishments, you still have to work to build relationships with the real people who are found there, but without being on those lists, there isn’t any chance. And if I were to publish exclusive with Amazon those paths would be closed to me.
- As Derek Sivers – author, musician, entrepreneur and publisher – says on the May 16, 2022 episode of The Creative Penn podcast, “De-centralization is good. Amazon should not be the only bookstore.” And Sivers suggests that the way to work toward the goal of de-centralization is by training readers to look for your books in other places; other bookstores, libraries, or even direct from the author’s website.
Wide vs. exclusive is an ongoing decision among independent authors. Amazon has become the monster conglomerate that they are, because they are doing all kinds of things right. Most of us are not as anti-Amazon as Sivers, who instructs to send potential readers “anywhere but Amazon”. I can see the value in including Amazon in my wide distribution. Just as it doesn’t make sense to me to go exclusive, neither does it make sense to me to exclude the biggest bookseller on the block.
The fact is, even though I don’t like the pedestal Amazon has raised itself up on, and I don’t like the fact that their TOS isn’t always in the author’s favor, I can’t deny that shopping on Amazon is easy and convenient. Also, I read digital books on a Kindle device, and I hate learning how to set up and use new devices, so Amazon is where I get most of my digital content.
Now that I’ve told you my strategy, you tell me yours. Do you choose to have your books wide or exclusive? Why? Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Let’s make this more of a discussion.
Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works, and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing and a M.A. in Publishing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you.
She has short stories featured in the following anthologies: The Collapsar Directive (“If You’re Happy and You Know It”); Relationship Add Vice (“The Devil Made Her Do It”); Nightmareland (“The Haunting in Carol’s Woods”); Whispers of the Past (“The Woman in the Water”); Spirits of the West (“Don’t Eat the Pickled Eggs”); and Where Spirits Linger (“The People Upstairs”). Her paranormal mystery novella, Hidden Secrets, and her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, are both available in both digital and print editions at most of your favorite book distributors.
When not writing, she keeps up her author’s blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. In addition to creating her own very small publishing house in WordCrafter Press, she offers quality author services, such as editing, social media & book promotion, and online writing courses through WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services. As well as serving as judge for the Western Writers of America and sitting on the editorial team for Western State Colorado University and WordFire Press for the Gilded Glass anthology and editing Weird Tales: The Best of the Early Years 1926-27, under Kevin J. Anderson & Jonathan Maberry.
In her spare time, she is bird watching, or gardening, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.
Join Kaye Lynne Booth & WordCrafter Press Readers’ Group for WordCrafter Press book & event news, including the awesome releases of author Kaye Lynne Booth. Get a free digital copy of her short story collection, Last Call and Other Short Fiction, as a sampling of her works just for joining.
Traditional publishing is fast becoming a dinosaur, being slow to adapt to the rapid technological changes which have arisen along side the rise of digital publishing within the industry. Independent authors and publishers have been flexible, creative and quick to adapt to digital technology which makes it possible for aspiring authors to test the waters without waiting around for years or even decades for traditional publishers to take notice and grace us with their attentions, while traditional publishers have been resistant to change, turning their noses up at self-published authors until their value as professional authors with the ability to produce books that sell by independent industry leaders like Hugh Howey, and been generally inflexible and unbending, continuing to follow publishing and marketing models which are no longer effective. The adaptions that they have made have been forced and have made the traditional publishing model even less appealing for authors.
- Better Royalties: Royalties on traditional publishing which the author receives are usually around 15% of sales, while independently published authors receive anywhere from 30-70%, depending upon which platforms they choose to publish on. And don’t forget that independently published authors who go wide rather than exclusive can always sell direct from their site and make even more.
- Negotiations: Traditional publishing contracts are awful and getting worse, according to Kristine Kathryn Rush, (https://kriswrites.com/2022/01/05/business-musings-contracts-traditional-publishing-the-year-in-review-4/). Deals may offer the author an advance, even this is not guaranteed anymore. And the ones that are offered are for lesser amounts than were previously offered in the past. Of course, traditional publishing deals have always been skewed in the publishers’ favor, and the book must earn back the advance before the author ever sees any additional royalties and an author whose book doesn’t sell well may never see any royalties past the initial advance. As Rusch points out, all things are negotiable and the publishing house no longer holds the reins. Smart independent authors manage their own Intellectual Property (IP), and they don’t EVER sign away all of their rights and leverage their writing to the author’s benefit.
- Decrease in Publisher Responsibilities: While in the past, traditional publishers were willing to invest in the marketing and advertising of books, it seems they have grown more reluctant to do so in today’s book market. Even if you do manage to land a traditional publishing deal today, you may still need to take on a large part, if not all, of the marketing tasks to sell your book. So while it is true that indie authors have to spend a large portion of their time on administrative and promotional tasks, publishing traditionally does not guarantee that this will not be necessary.
- Improved Product Availability: With the availability of ‘Print on Demand’ publishing, authors no longer need to make large expenditures on big print runs or make space to house vast numbers of book in their garage or basement, as was previously necessary with offset printing. Audiobooks are also becoming more affordable to produce with the rise of AI narration, which is now offered for free on Google Play Books. Lower prices and better availability of services for independent authors on a budget, make independent publishing an even better option than it has been in the past.
- Control: Independently publishing puts the author in control. Of course, with control comes responsibilities. I won’t deny that indie authors must wear many hats; author, publisher, self-editor, marketer, and maybe even cover designer, as well as “The Boss”. One lesson I’ve been learning recently, is that I can’t do it all, and I am having to wear “The Boss” hat more and delegate some of the other tasks to those better suited to do them, so that I can have time to put into my own writing. Marketing is a matter of trial and error a lot of time, and changing the cover or the blurb can make a big difference in how well a book sells. Independent authors are “The Boss” and when they see their book isn’t selling as well as they think it might, they have the ability to go in and change the cover or the blurb and see if they can’t turn things around, while if with traditional publishers, they may have their work cut out for them convincing their publisher to change something up to see if it sells better.
Kaye Lynne Booth lives, works and plays in the mountains of Colorado. With a dual emphasis M.F.A. in Creative Writing, writing is more than a passion. It’s a way of life. She’s a multi-genre author, who finds inspiration from the nature around her, and her love of the old west, and other odd and quirky things which might surprise you. In her spare time, she keeps up her author’s blog, Writing to be Read, where she posts reflections on her own writing, author interviews and book reviews, along with writing tips and inspirational posts from fellow writers. She is also the founder of WordCrafter Quality Writing & Author Services, providing editing, social media copywriting & book promotion, and online writing courses. When not engaged in writing activities, she is bird watching, or hiking, or just soaking up some of that Colorado sunshine.
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