There’s no stopping any time soon of readers transitioning to digital format hence the continuous rise of self-publishing authors in the market. And as the increase of mobile technology and streaming of the internet continues so as the ebook marketing industry’s skyrocketing!
There are a lot of reasons why there’s a dramatic increase of indie writers and authors who are turning to self-publishing their books instead of the traditional publishing method in this digital age. One is the low entry costs as platforms and formatting tools can be utilized for free, also low maintenance since most of the self-publishing platforms already had been pre-programmed. The speed and control as to when or how your targeted readers can purchase your book is also a great advantage, not to mention the full potential of having a multinational global business with a promising margin of return.
BUT, self-publishing will not generate that much sales if you have a poor marketing plan. One of the most crucial factors a self-publishing author has to consider is to invest time and energy to determine the best plan for your eBook marketing. It’s worth taking the time to study and plan the strategy that best fits your business and the goals both on short-term and long-term basis.
In terms of marketing and distribution, there are two known plans, exclusivity or going wide. Let’s discuss each plan and their advantages and disadvantages for you to better understand them.
For independent digital publishing, exclusivity means that the author opted voluntarily to make his book available only to one distribution platform either on a long-term or contractual basis. For Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select—an author agrees to give the exclusive rights to Amazon only to distribute and market his eBook under this program. If you choose this plan, you are locked into publishing your book for 90 days only on Amazon.
PROS OF EXCLUSIVITY
- If you just have a single book, exclusivity will help you get more exposure to a wider audience or readers. You will enjoy the benefits of helpful boost like being enlisted in the promotional emails or recommended as an awesome reading material on results page as a marketing support from that vendor.
- When you utilize Amazon’s KDP Select, you only give the exclusive rights only to a specific book, but not all of your works (if you happen to have more books). You have the option to be exclusive to KDP Select with the selected book while your other works are subsequently published to other vendors. Using this program, you can easily renew or opt out after 90 days.
- If you also avail of the KDP Select, your eBook will be a part of Kindle Unlimited. This is an amazing subscription service for Amazon Prime members, where it allows members and readers to borrow books. If one borrowed to read your book, you will be paid based on pages read at the end of each month.
- If you choose to utilize Amazon KDP Select, it enables you to generate a bigger profit as it taps into a large pool of Kindle Unlimited subscribers through Amazon. This means you have a greater chance of gaining financial success and wonderful readership in a short span of time.
- Security and protection. You can be assured that if you opted to go with exclusivity, the distributing vendor will secure and protect your eBook. Kindle has the encryption feature that locks your book so it can’t be easily reproduced or copied. It will not open unless purchased.
CONS OF EXCLUSIVITY
- Based on the word itself “exclusive”, you are technically narrowing down your capability of reaching out a wider scope of readers. For writers who have a specific type of style or has topics or stories that only appeals to a niche of audience, this type of marketing plan may or may not work for you.
- It is restrictive. Since you agree to give your exclusive rights to distribute your eBook to one vendor only, the vendor has the control as to what marketing and distributing strategies that will be applied to your eBook. Any perks or benefits offered are based on the vendor’s discretion.
- You are adding to the hundreds or even thousands of hopeful self-publishing authors and independent writers who are waiting for the same eBook’s visibility to a wider audience making it more difficult for new and even seasoned authors to enter the eBook marketplace.
This is an exact opposite of exclusivity. When you go wide, then your book will be distributed to different platforms, not just one.
Going wide is mostly used by authors and indie writers who have several books or in series in order to reach a larger audience and those who wants to make a decent living out of writing.
A lot of self-publishing authors use aggregators to boost their sales when they choose to go wide. Aggregators are main distributors who can market and distribute your work to all the eBook platforms.
The following are two of the most trusted distributors:
- This distribute to multiple storefronts such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Scribd in multiple regions or even worldwide.
- This distributing aggregator has wider distribution channels compared to Draft2Digital.
PROS OF GOING WIDE
- It doesn’t limit. One great advantage of going wide is it enables you to have the full control as to where and how your eBooks will be distributed and to what storefronts or distribution platforms. It is less restrictive. You don’t need to provide exclusive selling rights to one eBook vendor only.
- It enables you to reach larger and less centralized audience which is the main target of a lot of indie authors and self-publishing authors who have multiple books or has series.
- Readers can easily locate and find your eBooks given that it is being offered by several storefronts and are being distributed to multiple regions or even worldwide which means more sales for you!
- Going wide gives you the control over your eBook’s pricing and metadata per storefront.
CONS OF GOING WIDE
- Although going wide promises a greater potential reach, if you are just starting to create a name as a self-publishing author, it takes time and best effort to build an audience. Building an audience doesn’t happen overnight!
- The threat of this type of distribution is that, if ever the distributor changes policies or goes out of business and won’t be able to offer their incentives anymore then you will lose your stream of income.
- When you go wide, you have to enlist your books to the different eBook vendors which means you have to update your file based on their specified requirements. You also have to maintain and keep track of multiple vendors which can be a bit taxing! And even if you use Draft 2 Digital or Smashwords, you still need to upload your file and adjust it based on their preferences and then they will convert it for you to the vendor’s specifications.
Knowing now all the pros and cons of exclusivity vs. going wide, the decision is yours. If you are unsure, you can actually do both of these marketing plans. You can give it a shot and try to go exclusive for 90 days if you choose to utilize the Amazon KDP Select and then divert to going wide afterwards.
As an independent author, you have to be clear of your short-term and long term goals. There is no plan that is better by default. You have to identify what marketing strategy is aligned to your goals and if you can deal in a long run. Know the ups and downs so you come prepared.
Always weigh in and make the decisions based on the best interest of your business. You have to understand the game you are playing and then take the plunge. Best of luck to you!