In a previous blog post (5 Questions You Should Ask Before Publishing), I mentioned the fact that as an independent author, you need to make sure you optimise your distribution strategy.
Amazon is great, but it doesn’t cover all the markets for eBooks – not by a long shot – and as an author, you want to reach as many readers as possible, including Europe and Asia. Even if you get one sale in Cambodia, for example, that’s one reader that discovered you that you wouldn’t get if you locked yourself into Amazon’s 90-day programme.
On top of that, there are unscrupulous aggregators that will charge you USD$25.00 each time you want to alter your pricing strategy, or in the region of USD$50.00 if you want to update your book cover. In the UK, we’d call that a rip-off.
No matter your views of Amazon, they’re a must-have in your arsenal of eBook distributors, as long as you don’t lock into KDP Select (the 90-day exclusivity scheme Amazon offers). Their KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) portal is really easy to use and you can have your book uploaded and on sale within 24 hours.
Reporting is straightforward, with the option of being able to change pricing for each marketplace (a must for India, whose readers often can’t afford the prices based on the automatically-calculated exchange rate against the US dollar prices).
I love Kobo because it offers one of the best analytical sales dashboards for authors. At a glance, I can see where my books are being purchased worldwide during any month. Last month, for instance, I could see sales in Australia, the USA, UK, Cambodia, and Singapore <waves>.
For a travel-junkie like me, this is really exciting (yes, I don’t get out as much as I’d like to at the moment), and enables me to tailor my communications to an international audience
I use Smashwords to get my books into Barnes & Noble/Nook and iTunes. Note that Nook currently doesn’t let you publish direct with them if you’re based in Australia, but I’ll update this article if that changes.
Smashwords also gives you access to two of the big subscriber eBook retailers, Overdrive and Scribd, whereby you receive royalties on books borrowed.
The one thing I really like about Smashwords, especially if you’re just starting out on your publishing journey, is that they pay out your royalties quarterly with no minimum payment
I discovered Narcissus by accident, and I’m so glad I did. There’s something cool about working with Italians – there’s that European flair to their site that I really like, they’re super-helpful and are even active on Twitter, promoting their authors around the world.
Don’t worry about language barriers – the Narcissus site is available in English too.
Narcissus is very similar in set-up to the other aggregators above, with the added benefit of getting your books into GooglePlay. Again, I could have gone to GooglePlay direct, but using Narcissus gives me access to a whole heap of European eBook retailers at the same time for no extra effort, so that’s an added bonus.
Make sure that before you sign up with any distributor that you read the terms and conditions, and that you’re happy with the fine print before pressing the ‘I Agree’ button. As the publisher, you are responsible for entering into that contract.
Do remember when researching aggregators that you investigate if there’s a minimum royalty pay-out limit that you can live with, and whether they charge to make changes to your work. Many do, and you’ll suddenly find yourself paying out money to change the price of a book (in the case of a promotion, for example), or a cover image, like I nearly did.
The ones above are those that won’t impact your budget, and as an independent author, that ticks a lot of boxes.
Do you work with a budget-friendly aggregator? Who would you recommend indie authors have in their list of partnerships?