Independent authors talk about their books being exclusive or wide. But what does it mean? Well, exclusive means that you have published your digital books exclusively with Amazon (your paperbacks can continue to be distributed wherever you like). For doing this you get to tick the box which lets you into the KDP Select programme which means your books can be read by the Kindle Unlimited readers. These are readers who pay a monthly subscription (which I think is £7.99 in the UK) and then get free access to over a million Kindle titles, which include ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. Kindle Unlimited titles can be read on any Amazon device or Kindle app. You can borrow titles as often as you want with no due dates, and can keep up to ten at a time. Authors get paid for the pages read out of the KDP Select Global Fund.
Amazon also gives authors a couple of ways to promote their books with them; five free days every quarter and Kindle Countdown Deals. You can enrol a single Kindle book or your entire catalogue. Enrolled books will also be eligible for 70% royalty earnings on sales to customers in Brazil, Japan, India and Mexico.
Now I am incredibly thankful to Amazon for giving people like me the ability to publish my books at all. But I don’t like exclusivity. Never have done. I also didn’t write books in order to become an Amazon author. So I have my books wide.
Wide means that you load your books up to other digital platforms, as well as Amazon, so those who read on devices such as Kobo, Nook, Apple and Google, as well as others, can also get your books.
I’ll admit this hasn’t always been the case. In my early days I was purely at Amazon, then when I heard of the other sites I went wide but without any real knowledge of what I was doing, so I then put my books back only with Amazon until I learned a bit more about the business.
Now all my books are wide. It’s an astonishing fact that although we think of Amazon as all-consuming they don’t actually cover the whole globe. Nothing like. Which leaves vast numbers of readers using other platforms to get their reading fix.
Look at the map I get on my dashboard at Kobo. In the time I’ve been with them I have sold books in 115 countries. Wow!
Having this map has also improved my geography no end! On the dashboard when you point at a dot it tells you which country it is.
Since the first time I tried going wide, the whole process has become much simpler too, thanks to distribution platforms like Draft2Digital, PublishDrive and Smashwords.
The way I choose to publish my books wide is by loading up my files to Kobo and Google direct, then I use the distribution site, Draft2Digital, to distribute my books to all the other sites, and libraries too (they will also distribute to Kobo and Google, this is simply the way I choose to go about it). I also load up to PublishDrive to reach into China.
But what about all those links you have to share to all the books on all the sites everywhere? That must be a nightmare to sort out, I hear you say. Nah. Draft2Digital make it really simple. They have a superb universal link and will find most of the links for you and you can then add any extra ones you want to, including audiobook links. How cool is that! One link for everywhere.
The only other thing I will add is that you shouldn’t really opt in and out of being wide. It takes a while to build up some traction on the other platforms so you need to commit to it for a while rather than trying it for a month or two and deciding it doesn’t work.
In the last week a super post called 5 Things to Know About Going Wide was posted by Kobo Writing Life so here’s the link if you want to go and find out more.
So that’s my view on it, how about you? What are your experiences with wide or exclusive? Any amendments or additions you’d like to make? Or questions you’d like to ask? Fire away!