Say No to Exclusivity
I still see a lot of writers jumping on board the KDP Select program where the book is exclusive to Amazon for three months and I cringe. While Amazon puts forth some BS about not allowing writers to make a book free unless it’s enrolled in the KDP Select program because of operating costs, I think it will cost authors in the long run…even the ones who say 90% of their sales are at Amazon and don’t think they have anything to lose.
I enrolled Before Dawn in KDP Select and endured three months of lost sales at B&N and Apple that I’ve yet to recover, not to mention a lot of e-mails from irate readers who have no desire to shop at Amazon. It wasn’t fun and I don’t recommend it for ANYONE. Sure, when I started self-publishing, my sales were 90% at Amazon, but over the last quarter, my Amazon sales tanked but were offset by growing sales at B&N and Apple. Had I been exclusive to Amazon for that time, I would’ve pulled in a few extra hundred dollars in royalties monthly instead of a decent four figures month after month. While it’s not enough for me to get my soul back from Big Business, it’s going to help pay for my sister’s wedding and then some.
Moral of the story: Like in investing, exclusivity sucks and patience will pay off. Digital self-publishing is a long-term strategy. With today’s technology, you don’t need your book to make a big splash in the first month because, theoretically, your book can be in print forever (which could suck if you’re tied to a traditional publisher that’s only paying you 8% royalties) and will eventually find an audience. You may never become a J.A. Konrath or a Bella Andre, but you could earn a nice income to support you if your tastes aren’t extravagant. (My tastes are extravagant, but I have Freedom 45 to make happen.)