It’s official. In 2014, I joined the club of authors who made more money on outlets other than Amazon than at the ebook behemoth itself.
This was something that I predicted way back in July, when the rollout of Kindle Unlimited happened on the same exact day as the launch of my third title. Though my release day event quite heavily featured links to Amazon, my sales there were absolutely nothing. Instead, I watched as readers flocked to iBooks – and B&N, to a lesser extent – to purchase their copies.
It was several months before my third book even had a sales rank at Amazon, because no one pulled the trigger there. And the first person that did promptly returned it. Since then, I’ve gotten a sale here or there but nothing to write home about.
Actually, my sales anywhere are nothing to write home about, but since I’m not in this for the money, that’s beside the point.
What is the point is that I moved more copies at other outlets than at Amazon, which further backs up my decision not to limit myself to distributing to only one retailer. Granted, if that one retailer was Amazon, I’d be able to take advantage of their free days, countdown deals, Kindle Unlimited and their new pay per click advertising.
I understand what Amazon is doing with their exclusivity deal, but I really wish they would extend those marketing options to every self-publisher. After all, Amazon benefits from all ebook sales, not just those from their Kindle Select program. Instead, they pretend that they’re the only player in the game, which isn’t true.
And I could pretend right along with them.
But it would exclude those readers – who are obviously there – who want to read on their Nooks or iPads and iPhones. And yes, I know all about the Kindle app and they likely do, too. But the whole point of having another ereading device is to not purchase your content from Amazon, but rather from B&N or iBooks. And clearly, this is what is happening.
When I entered my journey into self-publishing, I fully intended the bulk of any sales to come from Amazon. In fact, I published to Smashwords as sort of a trial run – to get a feel for things before I unveiled my book to the big dog. By doing so, I learned that overall, I liked dealing with Smashwords better. After all, they allowed me to do many of the things Amazon is just starting (preorders, tying books to a series, subscription models) long ago. And I always publish there first, because I find that formatting my book to Smashwords specifications eliminates a lot of work later. Quite honestly, once my book is vetted for Smashwords’s Premium Catalog, it’s a quick five minute process to upload my book to Amazon.
I’m well aware that the tides may change as readers get complacent with the Kindle Unlimited model and cancel their subscriptions. Let’s face it: Amazon readers are used to getting books for free anyway; is it really worth most shoppers’ $10 per month to read unlimited books? For most, I’m thinking it would be cheaper to supplement the free downloads with paid sales of the books that they can’t live without.
So I’m eager to see what happens with my upcoming release. Now that Amazon has – finally – allowed me to list a preorder there, we’re again on a more level playing field. And I’ve ramped up my marketing efforts as well. Of course, my marketing efforts plainly include all retailers.
Could 2015 be the year that Amazon reclaims its dominance in my Schedule C?