So this is a “guest post” like the interviews last year were “interviews”… so um, completely not.
Basically, I said something the other day about Kindle Unlimited and free books and stuff, which led to discussions, which led to Lace Winter saying this, and its heaps and heaps of info and very useful and even has links and things, so basically, way to important to be hidden down the bottom of the ugly comments screens where no-one can see it.
So, um, now it’s here!
And if you’re only here to read smut, you are completely not going to care. Just to say. But if you’re a writer, maybe you will! Because useful!
Oh, and bit at the start is because I said rude things about how publishers don’t offer as much support as they used to, is all.
And anyways, Lace said all this…
You’re right, the bottom line is that it is a) difficult to get traditionally published, b) if you do obtain a traditional publishing contract, you don’t have a big name so they aren’t going to aggressively market your book — but they will expect YOU to aggressively market your book, c) in print at least, once your book is no longer new, it will likely no longer appear on bookstore shelves, and d) your royalty cut from a traditional publisher will be a very tiny fraction of what it will be from Amazon.
There is a lot of evidence that if you are a new(ish) author, marketing a first book, that you will likely make more money with it by self-publishing, as long as you hustle and have a reasonable marketing plan (which does not mean blast out tweets about it 20 times a day). Since the trad publisher will still expect you to market your book on your own, you aren’t really doing anything you wouldn’t be doing anyway, except you’re doing it more for yourself.
In terms of the royalty you can expect from Amazon when self-publishing, it is comparable to all the other major platforms out there (Smashwords, B&N, Kobo, etc).
As for whether it makes sense to go with Amazon or the other platforms, there is some disagreement out there about this, but since Amazon commands the lion’s share of the ebook market, this is where you will make money. Since most readers are more familiar with Amazon than the others, this is where they will look for your book. Since reviews sell books more than probably anything else, it therefore makes sense to concentrate your reviews in the place where most people will see them, i.e. Amazon. So, for this reason, it may actually make you more money to have your book only on Amazon. That said, there are some strategic reasons why it still may make sense to have your book on multiple platforms.
So, if you are going to concentrate on Amazon only, then you might want to take advantage of the deals that being in Kindle Select can offer (like free days, countdown deals, etc). Being in Kindle Select now means pretty much automatically being in Kindle Unlimited, and this is still a very new paradigm, so the industry analysts are still figuring out. However, some analysis has been done, and at the moment it looks like a good deal for authors as well as readers, as long as authors are strategic about how they use it (you can, for instance, selectively have some books in KU and others on Amazon but not in KU, and there are some strategies around this).
As for the services that trad publishers offer that Amazon doesn’t… well, actually Amazon has their own publishing house, and if you do sign with them, they offer the same services (and higher royalties than most if not all other publishers), but this is not the same as self-publishing on Amazon. It’s true that if you self-publish anywhere you will not have someone freely providing editing or cover design. Nevertheless, editors and cover designers are out there to help you — obviously, they are not working for free, but if you are going to be serious about marketing your book, it makes sense to invest a little in professional editing and design. This doesn’t have to break the bank, though. You can, with this kind of help, have a self-published book, both ebook and print-on-demand, that looks every bit as polished and professional as anything a trad publisher can put out.
I highly recommend looking at ‘Three Tips for Finding the Perfect Publishing Path’ by Kristen Lamb (and I also highly recommend her book ‘Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World), ‘Author Marketing 101: the Verdict on Kindle Unlimited’ by Matthew Kadish, and pretty much everything in the ‘Marketing’ section of Nicholas Rossis’ blog. Then, finally, wander over to ‘Giving Books a Voice’ by Eva Gantz for social media marketing tips for authors (Kristen Lamb has a lot on this, too).
And no, I get no kickbacks from them. :) I just found their stuff incredibly helpful to me. There are many others, too, but these are some of the ones I’ve been following.
Um, so that was Lace, this is Tess again. I tidied up the emphasis bolds and the linkys but that was all :)
And also, because this seems to be how it’s done… Lace’s blog and her twitter.