Go wide or go exclusive? It’s a question that all Indie authors will ponder at some stage before publishing their books. Last summer when I was busy formatting the ebook of The Buddha’s Bone for publication and typesetting the paperback and hardcover versions, I made the decision to go wide with all versions. If you’re unfamiliar with these terms and are curious, please read on; I’m going to give a quick overview before going on to share my experience.
Going wide essentially means distributing your book via multiple outlets. If you want your book to be available in local bookstores as well as various online retailers, this is the route for you. You can choose to use a print on demand distributor, such as I did, or you can set up business as your own distributor and sell directly through outlets such as Amazon, etc.
Most Indie authors tend to go exclusive, primarily on Amazon. Kindle Direct Publishing offer paperback templates in different sizes to help with self-publishing and provide the Kindle Creates app to help format your ebook. Benefits of being exclusive with Amazon are taking advantage of enrollment in Kindle Unlimited, which means that you can potentially reach more readers who subscribe, while getting paid for page reads of your book. As a subscriber to KU myself, I have been able to read countless new Indie authors that I otherwise would not have discovered, had they not been enrolled in KU.
In July 2021, I opted to use Draft2Digital to go wide with my ebook and registered with Gardners UK as my own distributor for my paperback and hardcover versions: I use Ingramspark to print hardcovers and Amazon UK and Barnes and Noble US to print the paperbacks.
During the first few months, Ingramspark provided the most sales, with hardcover copies selling the fastest. However, over time the number of ebooks sold through Amazon directly (Kindle) has increased, with ebooks through other channels (Apple, Kobo, etc.) selling less copies.
Due to this, I have decided to go exclusive with my ebook on Kindle, while still going wide with the paperback and hardcover versions. I’m hoping that this will continue to help my book reach new readers, particularly in accessing my backlog as I continue to release more books in the near future. As an unknown author, getting one’s book noticed is an ongoing effort, and one that is proving to be just as creative an endeavour as writing it in the first place.
I myself subscribe to Kindle Unlimited and this has helped me to discover new authors that I wouldn’t have otherwise known about had I not been able to download their books. I also like that authors still get paid for page reads, I can leave a review, and it will be a ‘verified purchase’ since I’m paying for my KU subscription. Triple win! I’ll be writing more on reviews in my next post.