Let’s talk going wide! (from the perspective of an author who is NOT)
Now, depending on who you ask, “going wide” means different things. The general broad term means simply that your book is available on multiple different platforms, rather than via one place of production. This does NOT mean widely distributed, which we will come back to in a moment, but instead is about the SOURCE of production.
For many indie authors, myself included, that one source is Amazon. Amazon has my ebooks, my paperbacks, and through ACX, my audiobooks.
Many people will say that being wide means ebooks are available wide, as in, not only on Amazon, and not in KU. This means having your book available on Nook, Kobu, Google Play, Amazon Books, etc. This can be hard for many indies, as KU can be a good source of income because of page reads and readers not having to purchase each individual book but instead paying a subscription.
That stated, there is also the possibility of wide paperback publishing. This can be done through sources like ingramsparks or draft2digital.
Audiobook is a totally different ballgame, so, not going there today. I can talk about this more in the future, but, with ACX, your audiobook is also available on other platforms, and discussion of royalties is something else, but—
Back on track! Going wide!
Let’s talk about it.
As I stated above, going wide with Ebooks means not being in KU. Now, I don’t know about other authors, but for me personally, KU is about 75% of my income. Does this mean that I’m losing out on Nook and Kobo readers? Sure, probably, but!
I personally feel like KU is a good stepping point for new authors, as it’s low risk for readers to take a chance on you if they already have a KU subscription.
Ebooks are super easy to go wide with, because you don’t need a printer to distribute your books! It’s a file, which, any ebook vendor can easily sell with. You don’t need to pay any one place to send it out, although it is possible to do so, but that would slightly lower your royalties.
If you did want to use a single platform to distribute, you could use Ingramsparks, which also does paperback distribution.
That stated, you also don’t need to worry about ISBNs with ebooks, unless you wanted to of course to have it centralized, but it’s totally up to you to have your ebook on different platforms with no one else taking part of your cut.
And of course, you can also have it on amazon for purchase. Not page reads, of course, but it would mean you’re not totally reliant on Daddy Bezos to not screw you over.
Paperback Wide distribution, however, is a little different.
I want to make a note right now that Draft2Digital as a paperback source is currently in beta, I do believe, and there have been mentions from others that they will provide you with an ISBN, however, the few people I have spoken to that used it were not impressed with their proofs nor with the interactions with the company, so, I’m going to stick to talking about IngramSparks.
If you are going to distribute paperbacks via any source other than Amazon, you will need an ISBN. And, they are not cheap in the US. Think over 100$ for one or 500 for ten. It’s not cheap at all, but is an investment if you’re publishing a lot of books.
By publishing with IS, book vendors can purchase from them to stock in their stores at a wholesale price.
This is much the same as Barnes and Noble, as you can upload to them as well, and have your books widely available on the website, with you purposely putting it there. Please note, again, different from a wide distribution via Amazon.
If you do have your paperbacks wide, you can still have your books in KU, thereby having your books available in all stores while also having KU royalties for page reads.
Totally up to you on if you want to go that route!
Expanded Amazon Distribution
This is the route that I currently take, to make my books available in all bookstores while not having to upload to multiple places. I take a lower royalty percentage based on the wholesale price, but then bookstores can order directly from Amazon to receive copies to sell in their stores.
This includes Barnes and Nobles, although, I can’t figure out how to get them to offer books other than my 3rd at this point.
Regardless, it gives you an option without having to worry about ISBNs and other platforms.
But what’s right for me?
Honestly, it’s up to you. Where do you want to sell your books? How much time and effort do you want to put into various other platforms? Me, I said, I only want to learn Amazon, and I’ll figure out paperback wide later. Others make their entire career being wide and not in KU.
But it’s a decision only you can make for yourself.
Please Note: This post was originally published and share on Elle’s Authoring Chaos Patreon on 16 September 2022.