Had a friend ask about this, wrote up a quick precis. Then realised, I might as well copy and paste and add to it:
This is what I’d recommend someone trying to go wide after being exclusive to Amazon (and its subsidiaries do) these days.
Firstly, use Draft2Digital. They are the leader right now and frankly, the easiest to use. They also have things like the formatter and print options.
However, there are a few that I’d suggest always suggest going direct:
- Kobo (gets you access to promo dashboard if you ask)
- Google Play (not available on D2D)
B&N you can do direct too and get on their promo dashboard that used to be exclusive but frankly, their ebook sales have dropped so much I’m not sure it’s worth it. Apple has a great thing with D2D so I wouldn’t bother.
Technically, you can do direct with Storytel too and we do (for ebooks), but we mostly sell audio (and a lot recently!) so if you are doing ebook only, wouldn’t bother.
If you have German translations, going direct with Tolino makes sense since you can also do print and that gets you into more print channels that Ingram. But again, unnecessary for English only.
For Audio, there are a few companies but by far the leader right now is FindAway voices. They are the only ones with access to Spotify (though, as yet, Spotify has NOT produced much in terms of sales for me. Of course, mileage may vary).
Unlike ebooks where you can often go direct in many cases, with audio, you can often only list your audiobooks on many retailers via a distributor.
There are two major exceptions:
– Kobo allows audiobook listings (e-mail to request)
– Storytel (which does really well for me on audiobooks but their upload system is a little annoying).
I’d recommend going direct with both myself. I’d love to go direct with Google Play too, or Apple but no choices here.
To note, if you do go non-exclusive with audiobooks, make sure to check a few days after the books list for the duplicate books on Apple. FindAway has a form to request that the second listing (coming from ACX) be removed. You want to do that because you get a MUCH better royalty rate from FindAway than ACX (40% compared to 25%).
If you are going non-exclusive, I almost always suggst that you also sell them on your own site via Bookfunnel for both ebook and audiobooks. You keep 100% (okay, really 95-97% after fees) of the amount, which means you earn a lot more. Even a small shift of your readers can mean a large % increase, especially for audiobooks.
Don’t forget to collect pre-orders on your own site! If you let people have the book a few weeks to a month earlier, it can create excitement for your work and shift money into your pocket too.
Promotions on Going Wide
Realistically, there are a few things you need to do in our experience.
- Update your website to point links to new retailers.
- Please, please make sure. If you have a lot of visitors to your site, you want to direct them to other retailers or at least let them know it’s available at the other retailers. EVEN if you sell on your site, these links are still going to be necessary.
- Permafree book one
- Our best promo has been a permafree book one,. Then hit the paid newsletters or eBookaroo that give you links to other places other than Amazon. That helps drive sales almost immediately. Then every month, we just promo in one wide newsletter to keep readers coming.
- Library sales
- With libraries, make sure you price at least 3-5x your normal price. If it is too low, you won’t get sales at all. This is even if the library has the book available via digital subscription.
- Newsletter swaps
- These can be somewhat useful, IF said other author has a lot of wide readers. It’s a lot trickier doing this, but make sure of this as some authors (a lot) are KU only these days. So, if you’re swapping, make sure they are already trying to drive readers wide.
- Category checks, keywords and descriptions
- Make sure you check individual category’s. B&N in particular (if you go direct) have their own special categories, so you have to fix those individually. But other groups like Google Play are also keyword heavy, so you’ll need to edit descriptions to hit a bunch of the keywords you need to get the most sales.
- Kobo does a lot of sales via their promotional dashboard. Try to get on them every once in a while, coinciding with your other sales.
- Do pre-orders
- If you can, get pre-orders up. It’ll help. A lot.
That’s all I know. If you’ve got other ideas, do feel free to let me know.
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