IS IT WISE TO PUT ALL OF YOUR BOOKS IN A SINGLE BASKET?
You have heard since the early financial crashes in the 19th and 20th centuries, “Don’t put all of your eggs in a single basket. Diversify!” New indie authors are stepping up their game~diversifying, and publishing their books across Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes/iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo and Google Play. If an indie author began publishing in 2009 and added books to his or her list and promoted those books to build a reader platform, those authors may or may not be seeing sales across all venues. When Amazon unveiled Kindle Unlimited last July, and indie authors saw royalties sink to China over the next few months, many began reevaluating Amazon Select and moved their books to all venues. I did some hard evaluation too. I have learned a few facts about sales across all venues.
- You still have to promote a title to find readers.
- Amazon out sells all other venues.
How do I know? A best-selling indie author shared sales figures with me. I can’t tell you the author name or the title. I could only get the info if I promised anonymity. I did. The indie author uploaded a title to all venues mentioned above. The book is professionally edited, formatted and covered. It has above 50 reviews. The book was promoted at .99 for five days. Here are the sales stats for five days:
- Amazon ~ 1300
- Kobo ~ 12
- Barnes & Noble ~ 8
- iTunes/iBooks ~ 14
- Google Play ~ 5
Because the title is not in Amazon Select those 1300 book sales came in at 35%. All other venues paid 70%. In Amazon Select, authors may engage in a Kindle Countdown Deal, price a book at .99 and reap 70% royalty. In Select, Authors can choose to put a title in a FREE promotion to expose a book to new readers. If a title is on all sales venues, the author has to game the system to get a title FREE on Amazon. Once the book is priced FREE on all other venues, then the author engages others to alert Amazon the book is FREE elsewhere in hopes of forcing Amazon to put the title FREE. In some cases Amazon refuses to match prices. Frankly, I don’t want to jump through those hoops. Seeing those actual figures, I decided to hang with Amazon Select.
Indie authors have to make up their own minds concerning sales venues.
BUT! You need the real facts and figures to make the right decision. And those are hard to come by. One Amazon/USA Today best selling author shared her Barnes & Noble experience with me. She moved several books out of Select and it took over a year of steady promotion to see sales of 1000 books on Barnes & Noble. That totals to selling less than three books a day! Thus, if you have more than five to seven books, a decent promotion budget and the patience to steadily build a readership on other platforms, moving your titles out of Select might be the way to go.
IMO putting your books all in one basket is not a risk if the basket is sturdy. The skinny is this: No matter the sales venue, an indie book has to be promoted. Established blended authors who have books traditionally published see those books on all sales venues because the publisher markets on those venues. That author may then publish an indie book and perhaps has enough name recognition and branding to sell across all venues. That is a wonderful plus. But most indie authors are not blended. We are straight indie. Small online ebook publishers seldom promote a book beyond its own site. That is it. I have several books with a small online publisher and that publisher has not spent so much as five cents to promote my titles across all the sales venues on which it uploads its books. Those titles are sucking mud in stats on all sales venues and only a few are sold in crossover sales–and only when I promote my indie titles and that exposure brings the reader to my Amazon book pages.
I’ve decided to stick with Amazon Select. I always suggest indie authors think for themselves and make the best decision you can for your book. As a foot note: Indie authors have made so much noise about our dismay with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon sent out a survey. If you missed the questionnaire, you can email Nader Kabbani, VP of KDP firstname.lastname@example.org and voice your experience or opinion.
I’m Jackie Weger. Y’all have a good day.
Comments are welcome. And since indie authors always are scrambling for reviews I never like to sign off without suggesting you include this gentle plea for a review right after THE END in your book.
Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend. Thank you, [author name].
Does it work magic? I am a relatively unknown indie author. Readers posted more than 1000 reviews on my titles in 2014. That’s my answer.