Those of us who have little hope of ever getting a contract with a traditional publisher have two viable alternatives. There is, of course, the route of ‘vanity publishing’ in which you are offered a contract that requires you to shell out large sums in order to have your book published. That is something to be avoided unless you have deep pockets and little faith in the value of your work. There is, too, the option of engaging a local printer and launching the book in your home town. I know several people who have done that with considerable success. It is especially appropriate if your book has local interest but limited appeal in the wider market.
If, however, you want your work to be made available to a world wide readership, the options are Amazon exclusivity or something that has come to be known throughout the independent publishing community as ‘going wide’.
Amazon currently has abut 70% of the market for digital books. Its Kindle, in its various versions, is the most popular of all e-readers. It is possible to publish with Amazon without having an exclusivity clause, but the big advantage of KDP Select, the exclusive option, is that your book is available free to anyone who subscribes to Amazon’s ‘Unlimited’ reader programme which for a $9.99 monthly fee (plus local taxes), enables a reader to download up to 10 books. If you want more you have to return one for each new one you choose. Writers are rewarded according to the number of pages read. There are other advantages, like the ability to offer discounts or free books for a few days every 3 months. And that’s not really an advantage at all, since outside of KDP Select you can vary your price whenever you want by as much as you deem appropriate.
But what about the other 30% of the market? The market served by Apple, Barnes & Noble and four or five other distributors of digital books? What about people who do not own a Kindle but are able to read books on their tablet or one of the other e-reading devices like the Nook? To make your book available to those people it is necessary to upload your book to an alternative platform.
There are several, none of which requires you to remove your book from Amazon’s standard publishing programme, though, of course, Amazon does not permit you to publish anywhere else whilst you are in its exclusive ‘Select’ plan. Smashwords is one of the oldest, and I published my first book there, along with most others, before I published with Amazon. More recently I tried the Amazon exclusive option and archived my titles at Smashwords.
After having Summer Day there for 9 months and A Purgatorry of Misery for 3, I have decided to ‘go wide’ once again. This time with a platform called Draft2Digital. This gives me access to half a dozen or more potential outlets, including Apple and subscription services like Scribd. Draft2Digital has a sister site, Books2Read, which shows readers all the different channels where a book is available.
Here are the Books2Read links for the 4 books of mine currently available there.
The important thing is that you don’t have to have a Kindle to read these books digitally. You can read them on your iPad or other tablet, or, if you have one, your Nook, Kobo or other e-reader. They are priced the same as at Amazon, but watch this space because I’m going to have some special offers later this month to celebrate going wide.
And for those of you who prefer the look, feel and smell of paper, all 4 are available in print via Amazon’s Creatspace. You will find more information about all my books, with a full set of book links, on my Publications page.