When you self-publish your books, arguably the most important decision you must make is what will work best for you: committing to an exclusive deal with Amazon or going wide via other platforms.
Second question: if going wide, should you use a one-stop-shop aggregator such as Draft2Digital, or should you go direct with some or all of the individual distribution platforms?
British author Rosalind Minett explains why she thinks she has the best of both worlds: going wide via an aggregator for most platforms while publishing direct with one, Kobo, just as they are poised to expand following an important new deal with US retail giant Walmart.
Going Wide vs Staying Exclusive
Many of my successful writer colleagues have made a killing on KDP Select. Going exclusive means that interested readers can sample a book free via Kindle Unlimited, a feature denied to those who are not select, or at least not Kindle Select. Several writers have said that their main income from writing comes from KU.
Our luminary, Orna Ross, has consistently advised to go wide. And because she is not a non-fiction self-help or fantasy author, nor one whose books feature bare-chested men with no beer paunch, I have chosen to listen to her advice.
No, I have not managed to sell thousands per week or even per month, and sales through Draft2Digital have been modest, but I did see that by not including Kobo in the list of possible outlets, you could submit to them separately. So I did, and to good effect.
Why Go Direct with Kobo?
Uploading direct to Kobo, means that Kobo promotions are now open to you. They have them variously and often. It is particularly good for romance, fantasy and sci-fi writers, which I am not, but more general fiction can also be promoted.
These promotions are cheap. For instance, a 10% cut for discounted books aimed at Australia and New Zealand for a week, or £3 for a Free for the US on Labour Day.
Further, Kobo manages your chosen promotion, notifying you when it starts, again when it ends and adjusting the price to discount, and back to your default accordingly. With Amazon it’s so easy to forget and annoying to have to price change.
Wide Geographical Presence
Kobo is Canadian, so Canada is Kobo’s most prominent outlet. The few copies I’ve sold on Amazon to Canada are totally dwarfed by what I’ve sold via Kobo.
But Kobo’s range is approximately 190 countries.
As compensation for not selling thousands of books through Amazon, I have the small pleasure (actually I like it a lot) of selling to lots of different countries.
It may not be in the hundreds, but it pleases me to know that someone in Bhutan, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, Seychelles and Zimbabwe is now nosing into one of my books.
Excellent Reporting by Country
Another advantage of Kobo is reporting. On Amazon you only get to know whether your sales are US, UK, France, Germany, Spain or Australia. Kobo provides a map showing the number and extent of your sales worldwide. It’s very satisfying.
Kobo reaches countries that Amazon does not.
Exciting New Potential via Kobo's Walmart Deal
Amazon has hugely outsold Kobo in the US. When Walmart became the sole US distributor of the Kobo e-reader, and then announced a joint opening of an ebook store which will include audio and comic, Kobo’s market share in the United States improved.
But it’s the other countries that matter more. US readers are fixated on free copies, and so many free books are available that they may rarely be read.
Kobo readers are willing to pay more. They’re not so bothered about buying at 99c, more about seeing a hefty discount. Your higher price book, say $8.99 discounted to $1.99 for the promotion seems a great deal to them.
The official launch of Kobo's joint ebook store with Walmart is happening VERY SOON. I'm looking forward to seeing what effect it will have on my sales.
OVER TO YOU What's your preference – wide or Select? Have you changed your mind – and your course of action – in either direction? Join our conversation via the comments box!#Indieauthors - wondering whether to go wide with your #selfpub books? @MinettRosalind explains why she's glad she did - especially when going direct with @Kobo Click To Tweet
OTHER USEFUL POSTS ABOUT THE EXCLUSIVE VS WIDE DEBATE
I have recently left Amazon KDP, I was there for several years, writing, well.. erotica. and one day, a KDP Content Reviewer didn’t like the title, blocked the book and terminated my account. The book itself has been published elsewhere as it was in Amazon KDP Guidelines. The sad part is, KDP doesn’t realize what erotica is nor do they care. They terminate accounts, wrongfully terminate accounts daily. So what do authors do? They go elsewhere such as Kobo. more for kobo and less for Amazon and as more and more write their “my KDP account was wrongfully terminated”, more people will be less using Amazon and more using Kobo and other sites. Kobo doesn’t do random termination like Amazon does. you are not safe with Amazon, doesn’t matter if your account is in good standing.
Interesting post–thanks for sharing your feedback. I’m in the throes of making a decision to pull my last (most popular) title out of KU so this came at a really good time as I’m gathering information. I didn’t realize you had promo opportunities through KOBO, that’s helpful to learn.
I’m wide, but my Kobo is through D2D. I’m renaming my novel and redoing the cover. Once that is done, I plan to go directly to KOBO. Thanks for the info.