The Wide Indie Author Part 1: Taking the Plunge

Last week, I made the decision to take my books wide.

This means that they’re no longer exclusive to Amazon. I’ve withdrawn (most of) them from the Kindle Unlimited program and started the process of uploading them to other distributors.

Whether to go wide or exclusive is a hot topic in indie author circles. There are those who make millions from Kindle Unlimited page reads. And there are those who warn against putting all your eggs in the one Amazon basket.

For me, the rationale isn’t about whether or not I like Amazon, or believe they will still be selling millions billions of books in ten years’ time.

It’s about the market for my books.

I write thrillers and nonfiction. Thrillers are dominated by traditionally published authors, who are always wide. Nonfiction is also dominated by wide authors, both trad and indie.

I’ve been analyzing my sales figures, and believe that the percentage of my income I get from KU isn’t enough to justify remaining exclusive.

This isn’t to say that the same will apply for you: if you write in a genre that’s dominated by KU (Romance, for example), it makes sense to be exclusive. I’ve seen authors with 90% of their earnings in KU attempt to go wide, and quickly decide it wasn’t for them.

That makes sense. Deciding whether to be wide or exclusive is a business decision.

But here are the three reasons I’ve decided to go wide:

  • KU is approximately 20% of my income and I believe I can make a healthy proportion of that elsewhere.
  • As readers in my genre are used to buying books (rather than borrowing them via KU), I believe that a proportion of those readers will buy my books in future instead of borrowing them.
  • I’m at an early stage in my career so the risk of going wide and potentially having an earnings drop is less of an issue than it would be in one or two years’ time.

The proof of the pudding, as with so much in this business, will be with the data.

I’m going to keep this blog updated with my progress, so if you’re planning on going wide, you can learn from my mistakes and my (here’s hoping) successes.

I’m going to be open and transparent about my sales figures. I’m at an early stage in my writing career so these aren’t huge: but often it’s only those people making six-figure incomes who are happy to share that. So I’m going to share my decidedly less-than-six-figure income.

This series of blog posts has another goal: to help me learn and to record what I do.

I’ve been trying to find resources for authors going wide. There aren’t many. Most of the marketing books I read are focused on exclusive authors. They talk about factoring in KU reads when calculating Return On Investment(ROI). They talk about countdown deals, and all-star bonuses, and free runs.

None of these are available to wide authors. I wish there was a book that told us how to make the most of the tools that are available to wide authors.

But there aren’t, so I’m hoping this blog series will help fill that gap.

Come along with me for the ride and learn with me as I discover how to make it as a wide indie author.

In my next post, I’ll share information about my starting point and which book retailers and aggregators I’ll be using. To be notified when the post is published, sign up for my newsletter or follow this blog if you’ve got a WordPress account.

Or if you don’t want to do either of those things, join the Facebook group The Wide Indie Author. Anyone can ask questions there, share advice or get help.

I’ll be back soon with the first of my posts detailing my journey to becoming a wide indie author. See you soon!

Posted in Publishing & Marketing
Tagged , , , |

Leave a Reply