Why 'Go Wide' with your ebook?
If you are a self-published indie author, are you taking advantage of the wide variety of tools and sites available to promote your brand to the global audience? Did you realise that doing so can get you even more coverage than using a single big name publisher such as Amazon?
It's true. Consider the 2017 report compiled by Author Earnings shows self-published indie authors are verifiably capturing at least 24% – 34% of all ebook sales in each of the five English-language markets
Blue bands (at the bottom of each bar) represent ebook sales in each market by Self-Published Indie Authors Source Author Earnings
To understand why it's beneficial to go wide, you should know what happens when you don't. If you limit yourself to an Amazon exclusive deal, you significantly reduce the impact of external marketing and promotional opportunities for your work. It also makes it challenging to secure ads on other sites that promote ebooks. And because you are not reaching other audience channels, you could be missing out on sales.
While it's true that self-promotion takes time and effort, it is worth it in the end. The indie authors in the above chart are doing just that. Instead of signing up to exclusive deals, they take advantage of promotional opportunities at other retailers and its likely that many of them also have personal websites or landing pages too. The figures from earlier this year show indie authors who go wide see more than a quarter of their sales coming through non-Amazon channels.
If you are an indie author considering your options, you should take note of these figures and realise that DIY selling and promoting of your work is possible. Be aware that if you do choose to sign up for an exclusive deal with a big promoter, you will be limited in how much self promotion you can pursue. You've heard it said that you shouldn't put all your eggs into one basket, it makes more sense to spread yourself around. The best strategy for an indie author seems to be to keep some of their titles in wide release and put some with a big promoter of their choice but avoid 'exclusivity' at all costs.
How to Widen Out with your own Brand
Consider the benefits of going wide with your brand.
You have more control over pricing and therefore a much better profit margin. If you can promote yourself and you have time to commit to that, then why not reap the benefits of your labor rather then giving a middleman part of your earnings?
A huge benefit to promoting independently is the fact that you will get to build a customer base. When selling through Amazon or other big sites, you don't get the details of people who have purchased from you. Those details remain the property of the promoter. So if you want to communicate directly with your customers, you will be able to do so by going wide and having independent promotion and selling channels.
An essential asset for every indie author should be your own website and social channels. Think of these as a channel of communication between you and your customer base.
If you have the customer's contact details, it puts you in an excellent position. You can communicate with them, promote directly to them, ask for reviews and thank them personally for their support.
The reviews they give can be used to promote your work and generate interest and ultimately more sales. Of course, this is all going to take some time, so be balanced, set aside a little time each week and keep an eye on what works and what doesn’t. You may find some social channels more engaging than others. Find out what works for you and keep plugging away.
Avenues for free promotion
There are many ways to promote yourself without spending a cent.
Social platforms are free, and you can connect with people by joining groups and getting involved in discussions and promoting your own brand in the process. In a future post I will discuss each of these platforms individually and explain how they work.
Besides social platforms, there are also book promoters such as Smashwords, Book Tango, Book baby and many more who support indie sellers and offer marketplaces for self-promotion.
You can also find selling tools that handle the payments and delivery of your ebook to customers if you want to sell directly from your own website. You don't have to go to the effort of developing a full blown ecommerce site with the right tools.
We are working on our own platform right now that will take care of the payment and distribution of digital files. With 'Docsuey' you will be able to share a link to your social sites. That link is connected to your product page which is integrated with a payment gateway, so it facilitates the credit card transaction and also delivers the ebook to the buyer immediately. Find out more about our platform at www.docsuey.com
Many indie sellers are already experiencing the benefits of using such services and earning good money in the process. So don't limit yourself to exclusive deals. Going wide is proving successful for many indie authors, it can prove successful for you too.