Elizabeth S. Craig
Although it’s true that volume is key to visibility in an increasingly crowded book market, there’s another way to gain visibility—offering our content, our books, in a variety of marketplaces.
While working to release more books, there are smart things we can do to make our already-written content work harder for us through diversification.
If we diversify our distribution, offering our work on a variety of different channels and platforms (beyond just the usual suspect, Amazon’s Kindle), we can develop multiple revenue streams from a single product.
Here are some examples of different places that we can sell our work…and one place where we can give it away for free.
ACX: ACX is the audiobook option for self-publishers in the US and UK. I’ve discovered that audio is a more popular reading platform than I’d realized. What’s more, it cost me nothing to have my work available there since I used the royalty share arrangement with my narrator (my narrator and I split the royalties from the sales). The money I make from ACX is pure profit. More about payment options for narrators from the ACX site.
Print: It’s a sign of how much publishing has changed that I even have to include a reminder to consider putting books into print. CreateSpace and Lightning Source are the two companies that most authors use when pursuing print. With CreateSpace, readers can order print copies of our books through the Amazon site and with Lightning Source, physical booksellers can order our books for their shelves. I have all of my self-published books available through CreateSpace and the only costs I incurred were one-time expenses for print and cover formatting from my design team. With print-on-demand technology, books are printed when they’re purchased—no need to have hundreds of books in our garage.
Digital publishing—beyond Amazon. Although Amazon will (almost certainly) be the primary source of our royalty income, putting all our eggs in one retailer’s basket isn’t the best approach. There are other ebook platforms out there, including Kobo, iBookstore, Nook, Scribd, and Overdrive that readers are using. For most of these retailers, if you have the ability to attach a file to an email, you’ve got the basic skills necessary to upload your book to these platforms. We can also choose to go through a distribution platform like Smashwords, which will upload a single file to all the main retailers in exchange for a 10% commission of the retail price of affiliate retailers (Apple, Nook, etc.)
Foreign sales: Are your books available for sale on Amazon’s international sites? On Apple’s? It only takes a click of a mouse to sell our book to foreign markets. Some writers are also pursuing having their books translated for international readers (particularly the German market) through sites like Babelcube and Proz.
Wattpad: Wattpad is a publishing platform with about 17 million unique international visitors each month (and a strong youthful demographic). To use Wattpad most effectively, authors should upload books a chapter at a time, allowing each chapter to garner votes and comments, which is key to visibility on the site. The platform is free both to upload to and to read from, so this is about exposure. It almost serves as advertising for our series. For me, it’s about exposing my book to a completely different demographic than I reach with the Amazon algorithms…a younger one. I’ve found the community there supportive and engaged. It’s important to put a call to action at the bottom of each uploaded chapter—a buy link for our other books.
Although we should keep writing new stories, it’s just a smart idea to make our already-published books work harder for us in the meantime. As time goes on, the options for reaching readers will only increase for writers.
Have you diversified the publishing platforms you’re using?
What platforms are you currently using?
She blogs at ElizabethSpannCraig.com/blog , which was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 101 Best Websites for Writers. @elizabethscraig