If you follow me over at my personal blog, you know I’ve been wrestling with and finally decided it is time to once again try going wide with my books. So, for the rest of the year, I’ll be widely releasing everything already out at least three months. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely abandoning KDP Select (or KU). It just means I’m going to be doing things differently to see if it impacts my income stream.
What led to the decision?
Call it Covid. Call it realizing it was time to shake things up. Call it whatever you want. But I’m seeing more and more authors who have been Amazon only going wide and finding they are making as much–if not substantially more–now even though they don’t have the “page reads” we get from the KU “borrows”.
But there’s another reason. Other than the Kindle Unlimited “borrows” and associated page reads, there’s not much difference between what the various platforms offer now from what you get with Amazon. For one, some of the platforms now allow for pre-orders. That is especially true if you use a service like Draft2Digital.
Unlike Amazon, these other platforms (again, on the whole) allow you to put a book on perma-free. No more of this having a limited number of days when you can put the book up for free and then it reverts back to full price. When you’re like me and you have several series that are starting to have more than a few books in it, having that ability is very enticing. In a way, it reminds me of Baen’s Free Library where they hook you with a free taste.
However. . .
You knew there had to be a “however”. I’m not giving up on KU either. For the series that I’ve been writing, new releases will be Amazon exclusives for three months. That gives those fans who use KU the opportunity to read my new books. I’m still considering what to do about any titles that aren’t tied to a series or the new series I’m writing right now.
So how is it going to work?
As the first book in a series goes off of KU (okay, it’s really KDP Select, but KU is actually more accurate since it is impacting the book’s enrollment in the Kindle Unlimited program), it will be released either directly or through D2D to Apple, B&N, Kobo and other outlets. It will also go onto Overdrive and other library lending services. I’m still debating whether to publish directly to any of those stores or not. I have the first title direct to B &N but, as of last night, even though they said the title was available, it wasn’t showing up.
Besides, D2D has gotten a lot easier to use than it used to be–and even then it was fairly easy to use. It is also a great deal faster with uploading to the selected stores. Which brings me to an observation. The first titles being released are the three short stories set in the Honor & Duty universe. I ran them back through Vellum, removing the Amazon links because I knew the other stores would choke on them. But I added a note that the books in the series were currently available through Amazon (yes, I named but didn’t link to the ‘Zon) and noted the date when Vengeance from Ashes (first in the series) would be available wide. Two of the stores choked on that–Apple and Kobo. They objected to “Amazon”. So that brings up the question of it is does so even in the body of the text. Anyway, it was an easy fix.
There is a really awesome benefit of using D2D now. They offer you an UBL (universal book link) for your books distributed through them. Here’s the one for Taking Flight, the first short story in the Honor & Duty series. Click on the title and it will take you to a page where it shows where the title is available (it is still being generated in some of the stores, like Apple, some of the Kobo stores, etc.). Then you just click the store icon you want to go to. So no more listing multiple links for stores, etc. Frankly, it makes building web pages and doing promos much easier.
Aw, B&N did finally come through with Taking Flight and it is available through there as well.
Anyway, the three short stories, Taking Flight, Battle Bound and Battle Wounds, are available wide today. Note: these are the original short stories, not the expanded versions that make up the novella Battle Flight.
Those are the only titles going wide this month. Next month will see Hunted going wide. Witchfire Burning might as well, but I may hold it until July when Slay Bells Ring goes wide since they are both related and start the the overall story arc of the Eerie Side of the Tracks series. July will see Sword of Arelion, Nocturnal Origins, Nocturnal Serenade, Nocturnal Interlude, Tracked, Slay Bells Ring and Wedding Bell Blues going wide.
As I noted on my blog yesterday, I’ve already got the schedule down for wide release titles through August. I will also be releasing the new titles A Call to Honor (Honor & Duty) in the second half of June and Fire Storm (Tearing the Veil) in the second half of July. The first will definitely be an Amazon exclusive for the first three months. I still haven’t completely made my mind up about Fire Storm.
One last thought before I go wandering off to find my next cup of coffee. Time. How much time is this going to take to get the books ready to go live? For the newer books, less than 10 minutes a title. All I have to do is run them back through Vellum and tell it to convert to a generic ePub file, make sure the Amazon links are scrubbed and making sure the “also by” section is updated to show all my current releases, wide or not. For the older books that didn’t go through Vellum, it will take longer. For one, I’ll run them through new editing software just to make sure I haven’t missed anything. That can run on one computer while I’m working on a tablet, my ReMarkable or on the other laptop. Then I’ll run it through Vellum to update the formatting to match the other books in the series. The only real time consumer will be where I have to update covers. But I have time and this shouldn’t interfere with writing new projects at all. (In other words, I’m going to maintain a schedule where I work on new material during the “work day” and do the other at night when I’m watching TV with Mom.)
Since this is an experiment, I’ll keep you guys apprised with how it goes. For now, however, you’d be doing me a big favor if you’d spread the word about the short stories.