I mentioned at the end of “After Revisions: What’s Next” that I might write another post about some of the things I didn’t mention in that one—like distribution. Well, here we go. I’ll let you in on my experiment.
I decided to go wide with Skydiving to Love to see how well it does before committing Ride to the Altar to the same plan and forfeiting my Kindle Unlimited advantages (like getting paid per-page-read).
Fortunately for me, one of my favorite websites gave a blow-by-blow description of how to use Draft2Digital—including a YouTube video. Because I read Kathrese McKee’s article first, I knew what to expect on the Draft2Digital site and had everything ready before I went there. I was amazed at how very easy it was. As of now, my novella is up on Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Playster, Scribd, and Tolino—through very little effort of my own.
“Why not Kindle?” you ask.
I took Kathrese’s advice from her article:
it may be to your advantage to upload directly to Kindle Direct Publishing and to Kobo so that you don’t give up any of your royalty to Draft2Digital. But as long as you are going “wide,” you may as well use D2D to reach all the other platforms.
Except I don’t have a Kobo account, so I just let D2D distribute there too.
Few things I’ve encountered so far:
- I had an “also by” page in which I listed my other publications and included that they’re “Available on Amazon!” Oops. Apple wouldn’t publish my novella at first until I got rid of the “competitor mention.” (Funny how no one kicked up a fuss about my character wishing for her iPad.)
- I followed their pricing advice, which seemed high for a novella. I’ve already had one person ding me on it when I announced the release (with a link to Amazon). She wanted to know why a 77-page e-book is $3.99. Frankly, that sounded high to me too, but I wanted to see what would happen.
- Advertising the novella with a link is awkward. D2D gave me a generic link that sends readers to one page which lists all the distribution sites so they can choose. But since I have a separate Amazon link, I want that included too. In Monday’s blog post, I listed them both and had the image linked to the D2D page also. But for a simple “ad” I put “Available everywhere digital books are sold”—as you can see in my banner. We’ll see how that works.
- Second point about advertising is that the newsletter services, like E-Reader News Today, Free Kindle Books & Tips, Fussy Librarian, etc. prefer Amazon links because Amazon pays them (per click, I think). I’ve never used BookBub (can’t afford it yet), but it may be the same. Anyway, if I run a sale and promote it with the newsletter services, I’m only using Amazon. For the other distributors, I’d have to use other means to advertise the sale, like askDavid, individual Facebook posts and tweets, and my personal blog and newsletter.
Back to pricing: in general it’s hit-or-miss. Big pubbers release their ebooks for almost as much as the print version. Last I heard, they’re wondering why their ebook sales are down. I wouldn’t pay $15.00 for an ebook, I don’t care who the author is. However, though I made some sales at the current price, this one probably should be less, and I will lower the price soon (keep an eye out!). But I tell ya, pricing is tricky. I just have to keep playing with it to see what the market will allow.
Next thing I’m looking into is IngramSpark for my print versions. I don’t know what Amazon’s doing with CreateSpace, but I’m using them too. The point of using both is that Amazon is a competitor to everyone in the book retailing business, so retailers and librarians are leery of purchasing from an Amazon link. And if you allow CreateSpace to provide your ISBN, it’s even worse. The first three digits in the ISBN are a code, and a CS number is recognizeable by those in the business. So, I buy my own numbers from Bowker and use them in both CreateSpace and IngramSpark. I also have a publisher identification: Canopy Books of Texas.
But Amazon is more author-friendly in a lot of ways. Buying author copies is less expensive through Amazon than IngramSpark, and CreateSpace is considerably more user-friendly than Ingram. Sometimes I get so frustrated with Ingram I have to quit working with it a while. I don’t release books often enough to feel comfortable with either site, but sometimes Ingram can be a booger-bear.
Oftentimes, I feel like I’m muddling things up as I play with my career. As long as it doesn’t go up in smoke, maybe I’m doing okay. Is there a way to fine-tune all this publication mess? I doubt it. Everything seems to change from one release to the next—primarily because there are so many options and so many things to consider. I guess we just have to figure things out as we go along. The point is to get the book out there, and I’ve done that.