I’m certainly no authority on going wide with Draft2Digital when self publishing. Just another author navigating the system. But I wanted to share both the news of my decision to step outside the Amazon bubble and the stumbling blocks I came up against in the process.
So yes, I have decided to take the Gretchen’s (Mis)Adventures to the wider marketplace. And I wanted to outline the reasons why first up.
A side note here is that I considered going wide straight up for a certain period of time before enrolling in Kindle Unlimited. But I didn’t get much interest from the newsletter list. and in hindsight it wouldn’t have been a great move, even though there are some authors that roll that way. A lot of advice points to a slow growth readership wide that doesn’t take kindly to authors jumping in and out of their preferred stores.
1. My Audience
I had a newsletter subscriber ask when they could pick up the books on Kobo! Always a good incentive, even though she asked after the first book was already published.
2. Kindle Unlimited Reliance
My KU royalties were around 10% of revenue. I thought it would end up more than this, but realistically with short reads, KU is going to sit much lower than full length novels.
3. – Permafree
I was kinda getting sick of doing the newsletter builders, and was considering putting my reader magnet up on those without email opt in. Trying to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of subscribers is an uphill battle, and while I have gained some awesome readers through these promos, I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to sort out the deadweight.
I have no problem giving away a free book, but the subscribers I’m interested in having are those I know have read the book and genuinely want to hear from me (and not just free book links). Why is this all relevant? Why put tonnes of energy into free book promos on BookFunnel when I could put a permafree book up on all platforms?
Which actually kinda sucked, but that’s the way the Amazon cookie crumbles. I was approaching the first 90 day term for the first book, and if I didn’t go wide now, I would have had to wait another 3 months.
The point is, though, is that what I was doing wasn’t giving me the results I wanted, so I decided to opt for a different strategy.
It’s not new and exciting. Making the first book permafree (or in my case, the 0.5 book) means you have to go wide for that book. Pricing at $0 doesn’t fly on Amazon, so you need to have them agree to price match it with another store that will.
And don’t forget to regularly check this. A week on from agreeing to price match, the book went back to 99 cents and I had to contact Amazon to fix it. Lucky I did, as the book was picked up the following day by Freebooksy in their newsletter, and I was pleasantly surprised that morning to find over 1k downloads.
And I’m not missing out on KU entirely!
I release monthly, all into KU, so the readers in that program won’t be turned away. They just have to borrow the book (then read at their leisure) before the three months is up. I’ll remind them in the newsletter and on social media. Some authors see the occasional page reads even years after they pull their books from KU, and yes, they still get paid for them.
So did I run off to all the places and start uploading manuscripts? No. I used Draft2Digital as the aggregator to a bunch of stores. They take 10% of royalties, but in return give you your time (and sanity) back. They don’t do Google Play, however, so I have three places to manage in terms of distribution.
Let’s start with what I didn’t realize…
I’m guessing the team at Draft2Digital function much the same as Amazon Customer service in terms of gate keeping. I set up book 1 for pre-order without any trouble, but when I went to upload the final file with the books2read (more on that in a minute) link, someone got back to me to say they couldn’t approve it as the book was in Kindle Unlimited.
I didn’t think this was going to be a problem as I’d set it to release the day after coming out of KU. In hindsight, I should have checked the TOS with Amazon. So I probably released episode 0.5 too early in the scheme of things and will have to upload another file for book 1 on the day it launches. Strangely enough, it’s still listed for pre-order with all the outlets and they didn’t mention book 2.
Not a huge problem though, as I haven’t put a massive concerted effort into this launch. Acid off a duck’s back, haha.
But I did scratch my head for a while in terms of book links.
Given I manage Amazon and Google and have a books2read universal link for draft2digital, I wasn’t sure how I would go about changing the way I link to my books to include everyone. I heard something recently about people getting disheartened after going wide, but are still listing their Amazon links everywhere when promoting the book. Counter-intuitive to the cause.
What people might not realize is that books2read is actually the property of draft2digital, and I thought it would be unlikely they would allow me to edit the links they set up. Why help point people away from the sales channels they manage, right? But lo and behold, all I had to do was login to books2read with my credentials from draft2digital and I could add the Amazon and Google links to the existing universal link created by them. Isn’t that awesome?
Would I recommend going wide with Draft2Digital?
All in all it’s been a pretty streamlined process for me and the system is easy to use. But every author needs to make their own decisions around whether it’s going to work for them. I can’t see myself opting to go direct with over 5 stores to manage, so Draft2Digital has enabled me to get to a permafree model with a lot less stress.