Indie Author Series: Kindle/Amazon – All In or Diversify?
Last week marked the first of our new Indie Author Spotlights. This week, we start the first in the new Indie Author Series. Every other week our indie ya author group will tackle a different topic in writing and publishing. Tackle may be the best word for it this week as we blog about the book giant…Amazon.
I haven’t peeked at the other author’s posts, but I assume that for the most part, the authors in our club will be weighing in on KDP Select. For those of you who don’t know, KDP is shorthand for Kindle Direct Publishing. It’s the service that authors/publishers use to get their books published to kindle format and distributed through Amazon. Last year, KDP announced its Select offering. Essentially “Select”-enrolled books are placed in the Kindle lending library. As readers “borrow” your book, you receive royalties. You can also choose to offer your enrolled book for free or promotional pricing (something that Amazon did not seem to do previously, unless competition forced it). The only provision that Amazon asks is that you make the digital copy of your book solely available through Kindle — no B&N Nook, no Apple iBooks, no Kobo, bye bye Sony.
Is that one thing too much to give up?
I know that many authors have struggled with this decision. Some are solely releasing on Kindle now. Some put their work in KDP Select for a short time, then remove it and distribute it widely later. For me the decision should have been easy. Just over half of my total sales are Kindle books. With the lending program, I should be able to re-coup, maybe surpass, any losses that I would incur by not offering Nook or iBook versions.
However, my choice thus far has turned out not to be about money. I have vocal fans that eagerly await the release on Nook and iBooks. I just kept thinking about them. Why would I want to limit my work to one place?
I’ve worked in the banking industry for many years, so I liken this to ATM strategy. Regardless of public opinion, banks do not make money with ATMs. ATMs are costly little suckers; the machine itself, the daily processing and maintenance, the secure telecommunications lines to make it work. The reason why banks put ATMs out into the world is so that they can be where their customer needs them. That one little fact turns an ATM from an expense into an investment in the customer’s experience. I think of my book distribution in much the same way. Why wouldn’t I want to be where my readers need me?
That said, I am personally an avid Kindle and Audible user. I have had a great experience with KDP; minimal errors, super quick turnaround. In fact, I often wish that KDP would lend their secrets to success to CreateSpace, Amazon’s paperback publishing branch, who’s process is improved each time I use it, but still not up to KDP standards.
And despite the good things that KDP provides, I am still not tempted to leave the super friendly folks at Smashwords that often make me smile as they seem as “indie” as the rest of us.