Marketing Your Novel: Wide vs. Exclusive

This week I'm at a conference for writers on business and marketing. More on that in coming weeks. (We've been asked not to blog about it until the end.)

Because I've been so focused on marketing, this Friday I'm recommending A Tale of Two Marketing Systems, one of the best articles I've read on the difference between selling your books wide–meaning on multiple platforms such as Kobo, iBooks, Nook, etc.–and selling them exclusively through Amazon.

Being exclusive to Amazon offers benefits, including putting your ebooks into Kindle Unlimited. People then read the books as part of their subscription. The author gets paid per page.

The rate varies, but it can adds an income stream. My non-fiction book Super Simple Story Structure: A Quick Guide to Plotting and Writing Your Novel is in KU. Every month anywhere from one-quarter to one-third of its earnings are from page reads.

Probably more important, in my view, is that the subscription model makes readers more likely to take a chance on a new book or author because it doesn't cost them any more.

Going wide, though, also has advantages.

Here are just a few:

  • You reach readers who don't read on Kindle;
  • As I wrote about in Boosting International Sales Of Your Books, you reach more readers in other countries;
  • You have multiple income streams from multiple platforms, so a change to how one of them pays, sells, or markets doesn't affect you as much.

Also, while a percentage of my income now comes from KU, I don't know if I'd earn more or less if I instead made those books widely available.

Some authors-in fact, most authors I've talked with–are adamant about the pluses or minuses of wide or exclusive. That's why I like Gaughran's post so much.

Rather than advocating for one or the other, Gaughran analyzes the different marketing strategies that work best for each. He compares the KU approach to the hare and the wide approach to the tortoise.

My two biggest takeaways were:

  • The way to succeed is completely different depending on whether you are wide or exclusive;
  • Choose one or the other, but don't try to mix both.

That second point raises some questions for me, as right now I'm mixing both. My Awakening series is wide, and my standalone novel, short story collection, and all my non-fiction books are in KU.

Based on the article, I'm thinking I might make all my fiction wide. If I do, I'll let you know how it goes.

Until Sunday–

L.M. Lilly

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