Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Two-Cent Tuesdays: War is Over


Last week my "publisher" of A Hero's Journey announced they were taking all books off Smashwords and just publishing on Amazon now.  Does it come as a surprise that I support that decision?  Because I do.  As they said, Amazon has pretty much won the publishing war, at least here in the US.  In Europe the Kobo is a big deal, but how many people do you know who own a Kobo?  As for the Nook, B&N isn't going to make those anymore so they're pretty much like VCRs or CD players at this point.

The other advantage is that now they can put it in KDP Select so I can have up to 5 free days a month.  That might help generate some sales, the way offering Chance of a Lifetime free has helped create sales for the sequels and possibly other books in my inventory.

[BIG ANNOUNCEMENT:  The first of those free days will be August 26-August 30, so before you go off on your Labor Day holiday, why not pick up some epic superhero action?  Also, leading up to this from August 21-25 the Tales of the Scarlet Knight promo comic will be free on Amazon, so if you have a Kindle Fire or something you can read that to whet your appetite for the main course. ]

Now, will I be taking all the books from my imprint off Smashwords and B&N to follow suit?  Probably not.  I like the idea of having all my books in a variety of formats, so if someone does have a Kobo or Nook or they want a PDF or something they can get it.  And it's free to keep them listed so since I've already got them there, why go to all the bother to take them down?  An added benefit is I get free copies off Smashwords as the publisher so if I want to edit one of the books I can download a copy for my Kindle.  Or if I lose the book's file on my computer, I can download an RTF version of the book to replace it.  (I should be able to access the original but since I use "ghost" names on Smashwords their stupid system claims I am not the author even though I obviously am.)


But to get back to their logic, most of my sales come from Amazon.  I had a good burst for the Nook January-March but then it nose-dived to where I only sold 2 copies of books in June!  That number rebounded in July and August, but it's still less than 10 books a month.  And as I said, the Nook is going to become an outdated format pretty soon since it's been a boondoggle for B&N.

As for Smashwords, I rarely sell anything through there.  Even the FREE books don't sell as well!  I mean on Amazon I've given away probably 2,000 copies of Chance of a Lifetime by now whereas on Smashwords in that same amount of time I've given away a tenth of that.  I have no explanation for that.  Maybe people just don't use Smashwords.  Maybe there's too many books on there.  Whatever the reason it's fine for publishing books but it's pretty lame for selling them.  About the only good thing is making it Free there means eventually you might get your book free on Amazon and then it's off to the races.

So, do you agree with this logic?  Is publishing except on Amazon doomed?

BTW, if you want a copy of the Hero's Journey ebook in other formats, I made sure to rescue a copy of those files before they pulled it.  If you email me, I can send you a copy for Nook, Kobo, or whatever other format.

9 comments:

  1. I think Amazon is the thing for now. At some point, something new will come along and start pushing the Kindle out of the way, but, at the moment, there's almost no reason to use anyone else. The advantages you get through using KDP far outweigh the disadvantage of only using Amazon.

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  2. Amazon being that big is scary to me... they can up and decide royalties are too high anytime they want and if there are no competitors then.... no one gets a say in it. Scary.

    But for now... Yippeee for free days!

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    1. Let's just hope they're not dumb enough to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

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  3. I don't have any opinions here but I'm reading and learning about this fickle industry.

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  4. Amazon won books the way Apple won music. Have you ever tried to download a song for an iPod off someone other than Apple's iTunes? I got some 99 cent vouchers from Amazon for music and used it to buy two songs and got annoyed at how annoying it was. I mean, it wasn't difficult, but on Apple it's 1-step, music. On Amazon it was buy, download, convert, upload, and I find myself resenting being a tech support guy for my own life.

    Kindle's the same way. I have a Kindle; when I get books from non-Amazon sources it's tougher and so if it's not on Amazon I tend to believe it doesn't exist.

    As for whether it's scary that they do that, Rusty should remember that Amazon believed all books should be $9.99, and Steve Jobs and the big publishers colluded to break that up so they could make more money off of bookbuyers. Amazon, once they have a monopoly, might use it to screw us all over, but iTunes' de facto monopoly led them to (GASP!) take the drastic step of cutting prices on less-popular songs, while raising them 30 cents on the big hits. $1.29 for a song seems reasonable to me.

    I'm more curious about whether you and Andrew and others think these free days benefit you. I've never marked a book for free, because mine are only 99 cents to begin with. I tend to think that people who will download a free book do it much the way I do it: "Hey this book is free!" and download and then unless it's from another writer I know like you or Andrew or someone, I almost never read it. I just this weekend deleted from my Kindle a bunch of books I got free that I finally admitted I'll never read or at least not soon enough to justify them using up memory I wanted devoted to "Scribblenauts."

    Maybe you could address that. I'm stunned by your sales of 2,000 plus, even at a free level. In the month of August I've sold...

    TRADE SECRETS COMING

    ... ZERO ebooks. WOO HOO. Of course, that's with zero marketing push, really, other than my robot tweets that I really should change but etc etc that's a long story.

    So two thousand? You're awesome. But do the free books lead to more sales than you'd expect? Is it worth it for me, in other words, to learn how to free my books for a day?

    I'll hang up and wait for your answer.

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    1. I think having Chance of a Lifetime free has helped. The other side of it is I lowered all my prices back down to 99 cents in June. It's been said that $3.99 is the best price but I wasn't selling jack at $3.99. After it went back down to 99 cents I at least started to sell something again. Anyway, sales of books #2 and #3 of the Chances Are series have been selling more in July and August than prior months. My guess is it must be people who download the first one and then figure what the hell, might as well get the other two for $1.98. (Though strangely #3 has slightly higher sales than #2.)

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  5. @Briane: Actually, I know having the free days has benefited me. It's true that a lot of people download the parts because they're free and will never ever read them. However, one of the best reviews I've had was from a guy that downloaded "The Tunnel" because it was free and started following along. Even if he only ever gets the parts for free, that review is worth it. And I generally have people pick up some parts each time for $0.99 while they're downloading the free bits. Will they ever read them? Well, some will. I know some people have found me because of the whole free days thing.

    However, I think part of why it works is because this is a serial thing and the parts are relatively short. They'll pick up part 7 and 12 for two bucks because they're getting the rest of those to that point for free, and, then, they read part one because it's short and won't take much of their time. I'm not really seeing a lot of conversion sales to House. But as a marketing scheme for Spinner itself, it has worked pretty well.

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  6. I think it's still too early to tell. But signs don't look good for the Nook. Stock was down another $4.00 today for B&N. It's beginning to look a lot like Enron.

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  7. I've never published anywhere else but Amazon, and don't plan to. All the people who sell elsewhere they don't sell as many, so what's the point? Amazon is number one because they made the best market. The other ereaders need to get their act together.

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