People often ask which is the best medium to publish books as a self-published author?
My answer? It depends on what you want from your book?
The biggest online place to publish is without doubt Amazon with 42% of the market share. However, the question is. Are they the best?
If you are looking at eBook publishing Amazon offers three opportunities.
· Kindle Direct Publishing,(KDP)
· Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select)
· Kindle Edition Normalized Page (KENP).
(KDP) payments are paid at two rates. KDP at 35% KDP select at 70%
You can also offer two deals within each 90 days.
A Countdown Promotion through a discount, where you can sell your book at a discount price and still receive 70% of the discount price. (this is good because you can take the book price below the minimum allowed 2.99 and still receive the 70%). You have to bear in mind however your eBook price must have been static for the previous month.
A Free promotion deal that allows authors to give their books away free of charge, however you receive no royalty on this deal, each book downloaded however, does class as a sale. I know authors who think the promotion is worth it for the reviews you get. I have my doubts, I think people download it free with the view of reading it in the future and may never get round to it.
Kindle Edition Normalized Page (KENP).is another way to sell your books through Amazon, This works as follows.
Book readers contribute £7.99 per month ($9.99 USA) to Kindle Unlimited. In return, they have access to around 1.4 million books at no further cost. In effect, they are borrowing your book. If they download the book it will class as a sale, however, you will not get paid at this point.
You will get paid when the book begins to be read, the figure is uncertain but if you calculate at around 0.4 cents per page you won’t be far out. It can change month on month. The downside to this is for a fully read book of 200 pages you only receive around 80 cents, (70p sterling, depending on the exchange rate). If only 100 pages are read its 40 cents and pro rata. (You may however sell your book on KDP Select alongside this for, say, £3.99 as an ebook, which is paid on download and does not measure the pages read, so a sale is a sale).
How does this work? Again there is a deal to be struck. Readers will pay Amazon monthly to read any of the 1.4 million electronic books on the Amazon database (Up to 10 at a time can be downloaded,) the cost for this as stated earlier is £7.99 Sterling, $9.99
This money goes into a fund paid for from reader contributions monthly, Amazon take their share from the pot then the remainder of the fund is shared between authors.
The downside is like a sledgehammer in the face. You are competing with 1.4M other books! However the market is competitive wherever you decide to publish.
You must be on KDP select for your book to be available on Kindle Unlimited. This means the 0.4 cents per page downside is balanced by the 70% KDP select upside.
Uploading your book for the amazon site is probably the most straight forward of all the sites available to you. You can choose between adding your cover or pre-set ones by amazon, this allows costs to be kept down. However, if you can afford your own cover, or even better, possess the skills to produce one this would be my recommendation.
It is, without doubt, the easiest way to update pages if you spot any mistakes in the future or you want to change the way a sentence is read. Etc.
It takes minutes to change and your current pages stay active until the update process is completed by amazon. This is usually hours not days and means your book never drops from the selling platform.
The advertising platform is also user friendly although you do have to be careful about the price you are prepared to pay on the pay per click system.
The data for current sales is also very user friendly with bar graphs showing you daily sales which are colour coded, free book sales, KDP, etc.
Which brings us full circle to the original question. Is Amazon worth the exclusivity? (KDP Select)
In my opinion, the answer is yes for eBooks.
Why would you not want to be part of the 42% market share company?
Why would you not want 70% royalty?
Why would you not want easy uploads with free covers if budgets are tight?
There are other good sites on the market to link to, Smashwords, Kobo, Lulu, etc. However, at very best they are only equal to Amazon for eBooks also,in my opinion only, the marketing is not as robust as Amazon.
If you are an author who has great success from the sale of your books, spreading distributors may be best for you, however, for a relatively new author, I can see no downside to Amazon eBooks.
Printed books - I think for printed books it’s a different ball game and I will do a blog on that in the future. Amazon may not be the best route, but that is another story for another day, with access to stores, bookshops, ISBN’s, etc, etc.