Kacy Beckett Fiction

The books YOU want to read

Blog Search


There are currently no blog comments.

Does it Pay to be Exclusive to Amazon?

October 24, 2016

Back in March, I wrote a post about how I am slowly phasing out of KDP Select, or rather, the Amazon only method of selling ebooks. There are a lot of schools of thought on this question. Some authors think staying loyal to one platform is best. Others have amazing success getting page reads in the Kindle Unlimited program, and thereby make lots of money through KDP Select that they wouldn't otherwise get if they switched to another retailer. Others would rather spread the net wide and sell through as many platforms as possible. 

I am still 100% on board with new authors spending some time in KDP Select to allow readers to find them. Obviously a lot more promotion is also required, but having the ability to pay a subscription fee, then read whatever you want makes you much more likely to take a risk on an unknown author.

I've downloaded a lot of free books off Amazon, and let's just say it's a good thing I didn't actually spend money on them because I would've been very disappointed and maybe a little mad. These were books that were free as a free promotion, or perma free. They were pretty much worth what I paid for them.

What really bugs me is when people write a short story, write an amazing book blurb for it, and put it on Amazon with a ton of other short stories that pad this one little story out into a full length novel. There's nothing worse than thinking you bought a novel and getting 12 pages into it only to have it end. Oh, but please stay and finish the other 200 pages of 'bonus' content. Yeah, sure. My bonus content comes in the form of a short exerpt from the next book in the series, which will hopefully make you buy it (hint hint, wink wink.) I'm probably just a mean person who really hates short story collections. I guess I shouldn't go too crazy about this since I do have a few shorts published, and a few more in the works (or rather, in my brain wishing they could come out some day), so a short story collection is possible in my future. Though I will def label it as such so their are no surprises 12 pages into the so called novel. 

Anyhow, let me get off the soapbox and back to the topic at hand. 

Amazon is amazing. Easy to use, easy to navigate, has a gazillion books, and if books aren't your thing, also has everything else you could ever need, or want. But, it's only one of many places you can sell ebooks. 

When I started to move my small catalog of books away from KDP Select, my first stop was Kobo. Kobo is a really cool site. Looks great, easy to use, easy to upload, but I've only sold two books there in the last number of months. It's so easy to get started though, that you might as well put your books there and see what happens. Maybe I'll wake up tomorrow and my dashboard will be full of sales on Kobo, who knows. 

My next stop on the website trail, was Smashwords. Sounds like a crazy name, and it is, but this site has given me by far the most success. It's a little difficult to get into Smashwords. You can publish to their site quickly, and easily, but to get into the premium catalog, you have to meet a number of criteria in terms of your book formatting, and cover. It's straightforward to apply these edits, but it does take some time. If you are going to go this route, get the Smashwords Style Guide (a free download) and follow it EXACTLY. I'm not much of a tech geek, but I've gotten all my books into the Smashwords Premium Catalog on the first try (except the DCFD boxed set because they needed a few changes made to the cover first, but the book content was fine). 

So why should you care about the premium catalog? Because you aren't going to get very far just on the Smashwords website. I've sold a bunch of books direct from Smashwords, but the real gold is getting into other online stores such as Barnes and Nobel. Most of my sales now come through Barnes and Nobel, and Smashwords is the only way I can have these sales because Barnes and Nobel won't work directly with Canadians. So it's a win for all of us. Barnes and Nobel can add my book to their catalog and make a little money from it, Smashwords gets a small cut, and I'm just happy my book is in front of another reader (and I like the royalties too obviously). 

I guess that's the conclusion of my experiment. I'm staying with Amazon forever (unless they, you know, close or something). I highly recommend that new authors start off exclusive to Amazon. Then I recommend you get well versed in Smashwords formatting and head over there. That being said, your book isn't the same as mine, so it's possible your story will be completely different. 

Go Back