Should you only publish on Amazon, or should you broaden your reach and make your books available across every platform, in every country, and in every format imaginable? It is perhaps one of the most frequently asked questions by writers considering self-publishing, and it’s a crucial one. However, that is not a final decision.
Therefore, when you consider whether to go exclusive on Amazon or distribute your book across numerous channels – a method known as “going wide” – keep in mind that you can change your mind if you believe it would be a better plan.
SELF-PUBLISHING ON AMAZON
If you’re having difficulty or are dissatisfied with a traditional publication, you’ve probably considered self-publishing. One of the several alternatives available through this path is self-publishing on Amazon: the enormous online marketplace has entered the publishing sector with its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) program.
Before committing to self-publishing on Amazon, ensure that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing and the alternatives. If you believe that self-publishing is the right path for you or would like to learn more about Amazon’s self-publishing platform, continue reading for self-publishing on Amazon’s advantages and disadvantages.
The Advantages of Amazon Self-Publishing
Whereas traditional publishing was formerly an exclusive club for the wealthy, Kindle Direct Publishing enables writers to enter the publishing industry on their terms. The site’s convenience, flexibility, accessibility, pricing, rewards, and payment choices are just a few of the significant benefits of Amazon’s self-publishing.
·Ease of Use
KDP simplifies the process of self-publishing. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, Amazon’s self-publishing services are straightforward to use. They’ve included proper documentation, how-to tutorials, FAQs, discussion forums, and a help center to assist you in understanding your self-publishing options.
Self-publishing enables fresh writers to enter the elusive publishing world. Having free self-publishing alternatives enables people who previously believed writing was impossible to realize their creative dreams. Because self-publishing can be an expensive alternative, having an accessible and viable option for writers is genuinely revolutionary.
In today’s publishing industry, authors must decide on the medium for their work. The choice is entirely yours! Amazon self-publishing is versatile: you can publish exclusively in a digital medium (an eBook), in a paperback, or both.
Most authors have the option of setting the book’s price through KDP. However, there are some restrictions. For instance, if you choose the 70% royalty program, the maximum price for your eBook in all applicable regions is $9.99. Make sure to carefully read the fine print while weighing the benefits and drawbacks of self-publishing on Amazon.
KDP enables authors to customize their royalties’ arrangements, giving them greater control over their financing. There are two royalty plans available: a 35% royalty plan and a 70% royalty plan. You must conduct research to determine which option is the ideal fit for you. For instance, with the 70% royalty plan, you must pay for printing and delivery charges, whereas with the 35% royalty plan, you do not.
Finally, but certainly not least, Amazon pays authors reliably. Monthly payments are made to authors but with a 2-month grace period. Therefore, if you earn $100 in July, you will not receive it until September. This payout disparity is significant for the publishing industry and should consider the benefits and drawbacks of self-publishing.
The Disadvantages Of Amazon Self-Publishing
Regrettably, there is some negative to ponder alongside the positive. Among the disadvantages we’ve seen include:
·You must guarantee complete exclusivity
When you publish your eBook on Amazon, you must provide them with complete control over your material. You are not permitted to sell your title in conjunction with another published title. Amazon also prohibits publishing through another provider. Additionally, no other merchants are permitted, which means you cannot collaborate with your neighborhood bookshop to boost sales. The agreement is valid for 90 days, following which it will automatically renew unless you choose to opt-out before the period expires. The same does not apply to printed books.
·The content you are permitted to share is limited
The self-publishing deal with Amazon places restrictions on the quantity of content you may distribute online. You may distribute up to 10% of the book’s content to others, including your website. Anything beyond that percentage constitutes a breach of the publishing agreement. If your book contains content from your blog, you must remove the postings to comply with the agreement.
·You will receive no external exposure.
Specific book titles perform better on other platforms. That rule of spatial advantage has always been applicable, even for print titles contained within individual book stores. When you opt to publish your eBook on Amazon, you will miss out on at least three months of visibility on other online retailers. Then you’ll need to remove the book from the platform and self-publish on the next one, and so on until you discover the optimal site for your publication. There is no way to cover all online sales venues when self-publishing unless you partner with a source who has licensing arrangements with everyone.
·You must delete any prior listings for your book
To make your e-book available through Amazon’s KDP program, you must first remove your e-book from other distribution channels. When requesting to delete a listing to other stores, there might be delays of up to 72+ hours; therefore, you must factor this period into the project’s timeline. If the retailer refuses to delete the listing, the procedure can quickly become tedious.
·Your sales may be routed through Kindle Unlimited
When your book is made available via a subscription scheme, you do not influence the pricing methods. You will earn up to 70% commission on books that sell straight on Amazon. However, because many users may access your work as part of their Kindle Unlimited subscription, your monthly earnings will be subject to Amazon’s revenue-sharing formulas, which are entirely out of your control.
The first guideline of risk reduction in investment is diversification. Monopolies are never a good thing, and you never want to be utterly reliant on a single source of revenue. While indie authors understandably adore Amazon, it is also good to make your works as widely available on as many platforms as possible.
And then there’s the global expansion of book purchasing through alternative platforms. While Amazon is the major player in the US and the UK, other countries have online stores and eBook devices.
The Advantages of Publishing Wide
Discoverability is critical if you want to create a long-term, viable career as a self-published author. If you remain exclusively on Amazon, you exclude yourself from many sales channels and opportunities for discovery. Perhaps your ambition is to become a best-selling novelist in the New York Times or USA Today. Or perhaps you’re expecting to see your novel adapted into a film or television series. Going wide is probably the best course of action. And don’t forget that, in addition to KU, there are various other reading subscription sites – such as Kobo Plus and Scribd – where readers may binge on your novels while you earn.
As already stated, relying exclusively on KU to support oneself is dangerous. By distributing widely, you can build a lucrative author career with multiple revenue streams. Additionally, having your works available in a variety of formats makes readers pleased. While some readers are devoted to their Barnes & Noble Nook, others choose Kobo E-readers as well as other devices.
·A chance to establish your reputation
Nobody becomes a bestselling author overnight. If you’re a first-time author, it will always be more difficult to gain attention in the publishing industry. Self-publishing your book can help you establish a fan base and an email list and demonstrate to potential publishers that you are an accomplished author. Numerous successful authors began with self-publishing, and creating an underground sensation on your own may eventually grab the eye of traditional book companies.
·You are not charged anything
Because the publisher bears all publication costs, declining sales will not result in financial loss. Even if your book does not make enough money to cover the advance, you are not required to repay any amount of the advance.
The Disadvantages of Publishing Wide
Developing traction when traveling wide does take time. Amazon’s user-friendly platform performs an excellent job of bringing readers’ attention to your books. Other platforms, on the other hand, not so much. This advantage is another factor for KU’s popularity. However, you may use strategies such as providing free review copies to promote awareness because you are not bound by exclusivity when publishing wide. For instance, you will have to provide free review copies to readers and influencers via some of the most popular shops.
Time and investment in marketing are necessary components of success when publishing wide. KDP Select takes care of a lot of the promotion for you. Consequently, if you go wide, you will be responsible for this. You will have to invest in advertising, properly produced covers, and other author business expenses to make a significant impact.
One of the most significant advantages Amazon publishers enjoy is a larger author platform for their authors. Being linked with a prominent publication provides a measure of validation and status. Additionally, the resources and visibility provided by Amazon boost your chances of receiving critical acclaim, literary awards, and having your work become a bestseller.
Five Best Self-Publishing Firms
Numerous businesses advertise their services to self-publishing authors. While some are reputable, the majority are vanity presses out to exploit aspiring authors. What are the best self-publishing firms in the industry? Here’s a review of the five best self-publishing firms in the industry that you should consider when planning to go wide.
Ingramspark, which is occasionally misspelled “Ingram Spark,” is a digital publishing firm. The concept is straightforward; you write a book, provide the digital copies to Ingramspark, print or publish it as a hardback or paperback, or both. Ingramspark uses a print-on-demand strategy for physical books, which means you can purchase as many or just as few copies as you like. Naturally, ordering more books saves money on a per-book basis.
Ingramspark will distribute your eBooks to the majority of the major retailers, including Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Apple’s iBook. Additionally, Ingramspark can convert your print book into an eBook for just 60 cents per page, which is an incredible price and possibly the unique feature of Ingramspark.
- Barnes & Noble Press
As one might guess, Barnes & Noble Press (previously known as NOOK Press) is the company’s self-publishing platform. It has a notoriously challenging time competing for market share with Amazon. However, B&N Press is simple to use – and, like the other major retailers, uploading your book is free. Publishing with B&N Press does not need exclusivity.
It’s worth noting that you can make your book available for free on this site. Furthermore, Barnes & Noble is constantly inventing and adding new tools for self-published authors. In January 2021, B&N Press launched an ad gateway to assist new authors in creating marketing campaigns for their books on the Barnes & Noble website.
- Nook Lulu
Lulu Publishing, or “Lulu Press” as it is now known, provides print-on-demand and book distribution services. Lulu has evolved to be one of the largest self-publishing platforms in the industry during the previous two decades. And they’re a popular choice for print-on-demand among self-publishing writers – in terms of notoriety, Lulu ranks with BookBaby, KDP Print, and other major print-on-demand competitors. Overall, Lulu Publishing is a respectable company that has established its worth over the last decade as the popularity of self-publishing has skyrocketed. Lulu has excellent printing quality and can promptly print and distribute items in the United States and worldwide.
Apple, another well-known brand, launched its self-publishing subsidiary in 2010. Apple reported in 2012, 400 million books were through Apple Books. Though Amazon has surpassed it as the most popular eBook reading platform, Apple Books still receives considerable attention.
While finding out how to monetize a book on Apple Books may be difficult, publishing one is considerably easy. Self-publishing authors may effortlessly upload their works to Apple Books using iBook’s Author, all without paying a fee!
- Rakuten Kobo
Rakuten Kobo is the last major eBook publisher that you should consider when going wide. It is a Canadian corporation with a substantial international eBook market presence. Kobo is currently the fifth-largest retailer in the United States, while its market share increases year after year.
If you’re looking to attract readers beyond the United States, Kobo is an excellent option. Kobo Writing Life, Kobo’s self-publishing arm, is simple to use and completely free. Additionally, if you opt to distribute directly through Kobo rather than through an aggregator, you will receive additional benefits, including exclusive promotional opportunities.
KDP Select is an attractive option for new authors. It’s an excellent approach to learn about self-publishing and eBook promotion. However, once your 90-day exclusivity period has expired, consider going wide. Experiment with Facebook ads, make the first eBook in a series available for free, and experiment with various marketing strategies. Combining all these with the Five Best Self-Publishing Firms, the possibilities for marketing your eBooks are virtually endless. Still, as always, you must identify your target audience and know where to locate them. Once you’ve determined this, you can direct them to your extensive store connections.