Welcome back to Austen Promises and the Writer’s Journal!
If you are a fan of my books, you know that, for the most part, I am published “wide.” What this means, for anyone not in the know, is that I publish in more places than just Amazon. It also means I’m not part of the Kindle Unlimited program.
Let me start by saying I’m not against Kindle Unlimited (I’ll call it KU from now on, just to make it easy.) My first book, I Promise To … was in the program for the first six months. Some authors do very well in KU. My book did pretty well, too, though I confess that the program was different for authors in 2014 than it is now. I still occasionally will put a book in KU for a limited time, generally a bundle with a high page count. Short books simply do not get the page reads (and therefore the payout) that bigger books get.
Why did I not stick with KU? I have a few reasons, but the biggest one was that, as a reader, I didn’t want to be limited to buying from Amazon. By the time I found JAFF and discovered that I needed an e-reader to read all the books, Amazon had become the behemoth monopoly that it is, and I just have a problem with behemoth monopolies. I went with a NOOK e-reader, only to discover later that most JAFF was only available on Kindle. I was chagrined, to say the least! Anyway, when I made the decision to publish, I knew I wanted to have my books out there for everyone to read, not just those who happen to own a Kindle.
Another big reason was the old, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” adage. If something happens to, or at, Amazon one day and they suddenly do away with either KU or Kindles altogether (I know, I know, highly unlikely … just go with me here,) those authors who are exclusive to Amazon will suddenly lose their income. Readers will, possibly without warning, lose all access to their books. Or, if Amazon makes some great change to the author end of the program, the same thing could happen. (It actually has happened already. The payout for authors has dropped steadily for a couple years and is now less than half a cent [0.004 cents] per page. I know of at least one author who is in the process of removing her books from KU because she knows she will no longer be able to make money at the lower page rate.)
Then, there’s the whole page number fiasco that I have addressed before. Just because my book is 250 pages, does not mean Amazon figures it up that way. They have this whole “standardization” bunch of gobbley-gook that essentially cuts a book in half. So instead of getting $1 when someone reads my entire 250-page book, I’d get fifty cents, because Amazon’s algorithm has set my number of pages at 125.
Finally—and this may or may not be my only other reason for going wide—I like being in charge. I like that I have a Gumroad store and that people can buy directly from me. I even kind of like that I have a Facebook store. I’m making the decisions and am not limited by Amazon. I’m a bit of a control freak, I guess. 😉
Is it a lot of work to go wide? I suppose it is, yes. I have to upload to more places and make more than one type of e-book file. I upload directly to NOOK and KOBO, and use a service called Draft2Digital to upload to Apple and places like Scribd. There are actually a couple other places I could go to sell at. I’m not on Smashwords, for instance (there’s a reason for that, but I’m re-evaluating that particular decision.) If I were in KU, I’d only have a mobi file to upload, and then the PDF for the print version through whatever platform I chose (I go through Createspace.)
I don’t mind the extra work, though. I have developed a system that makes the process go smoothly; it doesn’t seem to me like it’s all that much. And of course, I could always stop uploading directly to NOOK and KOBO by publishing with them through Draft2Digital, but I prefer to be able to take advantage of perks or advertising opportunities that might be given by publishing directly with those vendors.
All in all, I am happy with my decision to go wide.
Come back next Wednesday for another peek into my journal! <3