I’ve noticed that many new indie authors tend to run to Amazon and gauge their success by how well they do on this sales channel. When I mention Amazon, I’m including their subsidiaries: CreateSpace and GoodReads. Unfortunately, they are limiting their success and their potential audience when they do this.
Don’t get me wrong – there have been many successful authors who have focused most of their efforts on Amazon. However, there is a much larger group that languishes for many of the following reasons:
- The KDP program won’t work for you unless you have already built a strong following on social networks. Amazon will not promote your work for you.
- Your KDP free days will be wasted if you don’t have a planned promotion- either via social networking or an online book tour/regular book tour.
- Once enrolled in the KDP program, you cannot publish that specific work anywhere else for 90 days, or as long as that book is enrolled in the program.
- Even if you are not signed up for the KDP program, people are unlikely to find you unless you’ve built up your writer platform elsewhere.
- If you publish your paperbacks on CreateSpace only, Barnes & Noble will not pick your book up because you are publishing through their competitor, Amazon.
It is unfortunate that many new indie authors decide whether to continue their writing career based on whether their first offering(s) are successful on Amazon. They are missing out on many other ways to promote their work, and book sales that can be found elsewhere.
- Do seek out virtual book tours, especially if you live in an area where there are few bookstores or libraries. Many virtual book tours are inexpensive ($50 USD a week or less), and you may promote your book for a week or longer. This will expose your book to a wider audience and often garner needed reviews on book-related websites.
- Check out other book sale websites, such as Smashwords (not an endorsement, just an alternative idea), and in the process, gain more control over how you promote your book. Alternate sites may allow you to price your book however you wish, including offering it for free as long as you wish. Coupons, and a variety of distribution channels, are usually included.
- Find book sale sites that allow you to distribute your book in a variety of formats. Did you know that epub and mobi aren’t the only formats that readers prefer? Other formats include lrf, pdf, pdb, rich text, and the option to read online.
Before you publish your next book, explore other sales options. You may find that you can reach a larger audience if you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.