I am an author and a marketer.
As a marketer I believe that one should get the most possible exposure for one’s product (in this case, a book or books) in the places where one can find one’s target audience (book and ebook readers).
This philosophy has led me to choose to have my fiction and nonfiction ebooks on as many ebook sites as possible. Of course Amazon’s Kindle is number one, but I thought it was important to have my ebooks also available at Nook, iPad, Smashwords, etc.
I was dead wrong.
Because as an author I want the best exposure for my books, which is not necessarily the largest number of online retailers.
Let me explain:
I want my ebooks to be available where I have a chance to stand out in the crowd – where I do not have to rely only on a prospective reader’s keyword search to find my books.
In other words, I want to be on Amazon because I can have a robust author page that includes pulling in my most recent blog posts. (Yes, this is available on some specialized book sites, but these sites do not have the huge market share that Amazon and the Kindle estore have.)
In addition, as an author, I can talk to a real person at Author Central whenever I need help with my books, such as making sure that the KDP ebook and the CreateSpace paperback of the same title are linked together.
Plus I want one trusted retailer to whom to send all my prospective book buyers – a retailer whose algorithms take into account how many people buy my books.
In other words, do I want 10 book sales spread out over 10 different sites – one book for each site? Or do I want all 10 books bought at one site that will notice these 10 purchases?
My decision to put all my eggs in one basket:
Now I have decided to allow my author persona to override my marketer persona. I have decided to choose one online platform with the best opportunities for my books and ebooks.
And AMAZON/KINDLE wins hands down.
(Do I worry that there are people who don’t have Kindles and therefore can’t read my Kindle ebooks? No, because there are free Kindle apps for the iPad, computers, etc.)
Okay, I decided on Amazon as my one basket for selling my books and ebooks. But I could not just flip a switch and do this.
In fact, I’m in the midst of carrying out this marketing plan and here are some of the steps I have done:
My newest fiction ebook, CIA FALL GUY, is in good shape as I simply put it on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) as a KDP Select (ebook exclusively on Amazon for 90-day periods) and will then publish the paperback via Amazon’s CreateSpace (which I have already used several times).
My brand-new ebook TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK is available now as a KDP Select and I do not plan to publish it in a paperback format
The second ebook in my 3-ebook series for teens and young adults – HOW TO SUCCEED IN COLLEGE AND PREP FOR BEYOND COLLEGE – is also in good shape, as I put it on Kindle as a KDP Select and will then publish a paperback via CreateSpace. The third ebook in the series — HOW TO SUCCEED BEYOND COLLEGE — is almost ready for KDP Select.
The first ebook in the series – HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL AND PREP FOR COLLEGE – has been a challenge because I hired an ebook “self-publishing” company to do the distribution.
When I realized that this ebook had been uploaded to the company’s Kindle Direct Publishing account and not mine (and therefore I could not make changes to the ebook), I set off to reclaim this ebook.
First, I had to wait until the company removed this ebook from Kindle. Then I uploaded the ebook to Kindle under my own account. Then I waited for the company to remove the ebook from all the sites to which the ebook was uploaded. When this happened, I switched HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL to KDP Select.
(Note that KDP Select’s exclusive ebook provision does not prevent the paperback from being available – I have already used CreateSpace to publish the paperback of HOW TO SUCCEED IN HIGH SCHOOL.)
And I’m contemplating removing the ebooks of LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS and MRS. LIEUTENANT from Smashwords, Nook, etc. I would like these books also to be KDP Select.
Why would I do this before I have even tried the free days available via KDP Select?
First, I want to target my marketing efforts more directly as explained above.
Second, I love the marketing advantage of being able to say for a KDP Select ebook – “Amazon Prime members who have a Kindle can get this book for free.”
This Amazon Prime member option is a tremendous opportunity to encourage sampling without reducing an ebook’s price to zero, which I tried for LT. COMMANDER MOLLIE SANDERS.
In other words, keeping an ebook’s price at, say, $2.99 while Amazon Prime members can get it for free does NOT devalue the ebook. It simply rewards Amazon Prime members – the people probably most likely to buy more of an author’s books.
In conclusion, I admit as a marketer that this will be an ongoing marketing experiment. But from my author’s perspective, I’m excited about putting all my eggs into one basket that supports authors.
P.S. There are some recommendations I’d love to make to the execs at Amazon in order to make things even easier for authors on Amazon. If you are one of these execs and you’d like to hear my ideas, email me at email@example.com