In the ongoing debate about whether or not to list your indie book exclusively with one retailer, there are a few things that authors have to consider. Chief among the concerns usually falls back on sales: where are your books selling? If readers only come to your book via Amazon, for example, and you literally post zero sales on other platforms, it would make sense to then go ahead and take advantage of Amazon’s KDP Select.
However, a new issue with Select, namely the books’ inclusion in the Kindle Unlimited reading platform, means that authors are currently paid out at around 0.04 cents per page for KU readers, an amount that has been steadily dropping all year. That’s not four cents, by the way, but rather point-of-four cents. That means a 200-page novel will net the author eight cents if a reader finishes the whole thing; even further, an author will only get paid the first time the reader enjoys the book. A number of authors have decided to pull their books from KDP Select for the sheer gamble of hoping that someone would buy the book rather than read it at that rate.
But there’s something else that authors are missing out on by playing the exclusivity game, and that’s the opportunity to use tools that other platforms are literally giving away. Instafreebie, for example, is an excellent way to share your book immediately with others, such as through a social media offer, with a book blogger willing to review, or just one-on-one with an interested reader. There’s a fee if you wish to connect with the recipients’ email addresses, but just using it as a secure handout tool incurs no cost.
Smashwords, longtime critics of book exclusivity for a wide variety of reasons, has also offered authors a full dashboard of tools, including their recently launched “Special Deals” promotion. All it takes to be included in the Special Deals is listing your book at a temporarily reduced price–essentially putting it on sale for a limited time–which you can do in the Coupons section of your dashboard.
Even Barnes and Noble has started offering new promotional tools in conjunction with Open Road Media, as well as its new Nook First Look option. While First Look is really targeted at readers, it does allow authors to put their books in front of readers before they’re available on other platforms.
All of these tools are only available to authors who shun Amazon’s exclusive requirement and post their books elsewhere. With the continual drop in the price-per-page payout from KDP Select, opening up their sales to other platforms might start to look even better than before.