Book Promotion: Do This, Not That – July 2017

by | Jul 26, 2017

By Amy Collins

Does it feel like this summer is just flying by? The publishing industry usually is marked by a small slow-down every July. This “relaxed” time frame seems to have been skipped this year. Everyone is focused and ready to publish and promote their books. Hats off to all of you that are keeping your eye on the ball!

So, for all of you hard-working authors out there here is the July Do This Not That.

What She Did: Gave an online company the exclusive rights to sell her ebook.

While speaking with Rhonda Penders from Wild Rose Press, we were talking about something that all authors and publishers have to face sooner or later… the question of exclusivity. Rhonda was offered cash and prizes for her exclusive deal, most of us will face the same offer but on a smaller scale. KDP Select is a program that will be offered to any author who puts their book up on Kindle Direct Publishing. Like Rhonda, there will be a time-based offer of benefits in exchange for not selling your ebook through ANY other venue.

What Happens: When you sign up for KDP Select, you agree to ONLY sell your ebook thru Kindle on Amazon.com. For 90 days minimum, your ebook will NOT be sold on Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or Overdrive (Libraries) while you are exclusive with Amazon KDP. In exchange your book will receive higher ranking, opportunities to offer your ebook for free for some days, and marketing promotions that NON-exclusive KDP Select books don’t get.

The Downside: If you want to suggest that a bookstore (local independent or Barnes & Noble) stock your book, the first thing that the store will check is to see if your ebook is offered on sites that THEY work with. If B&N sees that your ebook is NOT available on their site, WHY would they want to support YOUR book? You are not supporting THEIR sales venue and giving their biggest competition an exclusive. While Amazon sells a VAST majority of the ebooks across the globe, they do not sell ALL of them. Apple, B&N, Kobo and Google ARE valid and strong sales venues. Are you SURE you want to ignore them and not let your potential readers who prefer OTHER sales venues buy and read your ebook?

What She Should Have Done Instead

Rhonda should NOT signed away the sales rights to her eBook to ONE venue exclusively, even for a few months. (Never mind YEARS). The benefits you can get from signing up for KDP Select can all be achieved by other means. (AMS Marketing campaigns, deep discount promotions with BookBub, inexpensive keyword bids…) Not all readers shop Amazon, and the NON-online retailers out there make up a BIG part of the publishing industry. Libraries and bookstores and other retailers will be looking to see if you are giving Amazon preferential treatment.

Are There Exceptions? OF COURSE! If you have decided to focus your sales and marketing efforts on Amazon only, then KDP Select and the benefits are a great choice.

What They Did: ONLY sold their book and ebook on Amazon.

Speaking of depending upon Amazon.com for all of your sales….

What Happens: Promoting books online and driving all sales to Amazon is certainly simpler. It is easier to only deal with ONE venue and not have to handle all of the details that are necessary when selling books through bookstores, libraries, and other book sales venues.

The Downside: Amazon only IS simple, but with that simplicity comes a BIG HOLE in your sales potential. I understand that selling to bookstores and libraries takes time and means a huge learning curve; but are you really ready to give up over 40% of your book sales potential because you don’t want to take the time?

What They Should Have Done Instead

Sold their book online to ALL of the online venues:

Sell your book to:

  • bookstores
  • libraries
  • gift stores
  • catalogs
  • other companies

Find any and ALL the places where your book can be sold and work to get your book listed and stocked there.

Are There Exceptions? I can’t actually think of any… is there anyone out there that can think of a situation where ONLY selling a book thru Amazon is a good idea?

Have a wonderful July and I will see you all in August for another session of Do This Not That.
 
Photo: Bigstockphoto.com

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

14 Comments

  1. Jenna Thatcher

    As a new author, I’m not getting any sales at ALL outside of Amazon. Not one since I left kdp. The problem was that my book was getting consistent reads, so $$ made has gone down significantly, at least for that book. (My second is still exclusive to kdp.)
    For those of us that aren’t going to spend hundreds or thousands on marketing or really get crazy with advertising…(which is me and my non-confrontational self), kdp is such an easy route. Add in the fact that no one is buying my book, but sales are still consistent on Amazon…well, I get what you’re saying, but I must be the exception…?

    Reply
  2. Billy DeCarlo

    There is a simple option. I’m in Select, but I use Lightning Spark and their Advance catalog to get onto the radar of book stores and libraries. The best of both worlds. I think it’s very misleading to say folks are missing out on a lot of sales by not being on B&N, Apple, etc. Everyone I’ve talked to (many on the writer forums) says those are a fraction of what they sell on Amazon. I’d rather use the time to write rather than deal with their lousy sites and process.

    Reply
    • Amy Collins

      That is a great option! Print books are not part of the agreement when you tell Kindle that they can have your ebook exclusively. I love it!

      As for the other venues such as Kobo, Apple, Nook, stores, and libraries… it is up to each author and publisher to decide where to focus. I have decided to keep all of my options out there because I never want all my eggs in one basket. It was not that long ago I was throwing my entire career against Borders and B&N. Amazon was just a small blip on the horizon.

      Some day, another part of the industry is going to be dwarfing Amazon.

      Reply
  3. Sheron

    Seriously? Sell on Nook, B&N, libraries, etc.? There’s a waste of time for most Indie writers. Amazon sells the majority of books because it’s easier, cheaper, and has the biggest inventory. Amazon is where the readers go to buy their books. New books are constantly being promoted and Amazon picks out the kind you like rather than have you waste time sorting through an endless mishmash.

    You want to sell at a local bookstore? Oh, wait, are there any nearby? My closest brick and mortar bookstore is…guess what? Amazon. Good luck with that idea.

    Bookbub? That’s a pipedream for most Indies. And requiring that you must be on three or more platforms with a zillion reviews is just as controlling. A lot of the books discounted there are blacklists of famous authors presented by publishers. Amy Tan was recently there and other oldie, but goodies that I have read long ago.

    I receive nice income from KU and it gets my book out to readers who might not otherwise be exposed to it… Voracious readers who read a lot. And if I don’t want to continue, I only have a three month commitment.

    But hey, good luck with your new plan. Sounds like you are going to be doing a lot of traveling and waste a lot of breath trying to convince libraries (who will only buy one) and bookstores to buy your book. Think about the cost of doing business, both monetarily and in time and energy.

    Reply
  4. Linda Austin

    Yes, like JJ Toner, I get a lot of my earnings from those KEN Page royalties. And a great many people are reading on their tablets and cell phones these days, and there are Kindle apps for that. The B&N website is unpleasant. I tried to be a B&N fan and lead people to my print book pages there but gave up in disgust. So, I am not inclined to put forth any effort or money to get my ebooks put elsewhere.

    Reply
  5. Thomas

    I understand why other booksellers (Barnes and Noble, etc.) care whether you’re selling your book through their online sites, but why would a LIBRARY object to an author selling a book only on Amazon?

    Reply
    • Amy Collins

      Libraries would not object, but if you are only available from Kindle/Amazon, then Libraries cannot order and “stock” the ebook through their preferred wholesalers. Libraries don’t “buy” an ebook from Amazon, they get it from a third party wholesaler like Overdrive, Axis 360 or 3M.

      Reply
  6. paula cappa

    I just moved one of my mystery novels to KDP Select (KU) to test out the advantages. You can still sell your print editions at any book or gift shop. For Amazon Ad campaigns, there is an advantage to be on KDP Select from my initial testing. You mention BookBub discount promotions as part of the KDP Select approach. BookBub prefers, usually insists, on more than one sales venue to be accepted, so not having at least 3 sales venues for BB will increase rejection. I’ve done a number of BookBub promotions and even only two places got me rejected. When I do have Amazon, Nook, ipad, and Smashwords, I get accepted for BB promos. I do agree that if you are going to do an exclusive with anybody, it should be Amazon. I don’t use Google anymore for ebook sasles because they insisted on selling at a discount permanently and then Amazon had to follow.

    Reply
    • Amy Collins

      Great insight. Thank you for sharing your experience!

      Reply
  7. Ellis Shuman

    Exceptions? As I live abroad, selling to bookstores, libraries, and gift shops is not an option. Also, please take into consideration the possibility of doing promotions through Amazon to attract new readers and generate reviews. Do authors write books just to make money? Some authors prefer to concentrate on writing, even at the cost of giving up part of their book sales potential. I am not a fan of Amazon’s monopoly of the market or how they treat self-published authors, but I do need to set priorities and balance the time I spend writing and marketing.

    Reply
    • Amy Collins

      I agree that Amazon AMS and KDP Select is a great way to get promotions going. For authors in your situation, it makes sense!

      Reply
  8. JJ Toner

    Many, many authors disagreee. Let’s see how many: The KU fund for June was $18million, the KENPage royalty (about) $0.004. Let’s suppose the average book runs to 450 pages. That gives us 10million books. Say 2 books per author on average. That’s 5million authors. When I switched to KU and removed 3 of my books from Smashwords, iBooks, Nook etc., I sacrificed sales of about $130 per quarter. Was I better off? You bet I was.

    Reply
    • Amy Collins

      So for you, it made PERFECT sense. I get that!

      Reply
  9. Geoffrey Kidd

    “Sell to Nook/BN”?? [long loud derisive laughter] Why? You can’t search your library for a particular book or author and you can’t download the book to your PC except through one of the poorest-performing lousy UX apps “Nook for PC” ever built. Being a Nook customer is being forced to jump through hoops over and over and over again just to get one book.

    I had a 2500-book library that BN inherited from fictionwise. I already had copies of the library on my PC, so I basically chucked the whole deal and invited Barnes and igNoble to go to hell.

    Reply

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