Sunday, June 29, 2014

Changing Bookselling Strategies

Last week I mentioned some interesting conversations I’ve had with other writers. One of the topics was whether to publish a book through Amazon’s KDP program.

Until about a year ago, many self-publishers were praising the program loudly on various forums. The exclusivity, they said, was worth the five free days, given that the majority of e-book customers owned Kindles and Amazon sold far more e-books than its competitors. They also said that with the proper promotion through BookBub and similar outlets, the downloads were in the thousands and resulting sales followed, especially for those who were publishing a series.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past three years it’s that trends and effective strategies change at a pretty fast rate in the world of e-books. Let’s face it, the technology and opportunities are in their infancy, and many authors are still trying to figure things out. As soon as a few people start sharing their selling successes, a few thousand other authors understandably jump on the bandwagon until it wears itself out.

This is why I’m not surprised to hear colleagues state that KDP is not the best e-book marketing strategy anymore, particularly for those of us who live in Canada, and/or set our books in Canada, and intend to sell our books through Kobo. I’ve met a growing number of Canadians over the past two years who’ve chosen to read on Kobo rather than Kindle. Not surprisingly, more authors appear to be selling through Kobo than they were two years ago. All this, of course, is anecdotal evidence, but my findings are on the same page as another writer who’s gone into much more detail about his non-KDP experience.

Writer Nick Stephenson provides a detailed chart on his blog showing exactly what went on with his sales after he left the KDP program. In fact, he’s written a series of blogs about his experiences, which are worth checking out.

I know it’s hard to find, let alone keep up with, effective strategies. But now that writers like Nick are sharing pertinent information, I suspect that other writers will jump the KDP ship as well.

I won’t be ready to self-publish anything for another couple of years. But I’m quite sure that today’s trends and strategies won’t be the same.

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