For the last six months, I've been doing an experiment with having some books exclusive on Amazon, in the Select program for indie authors. The perks of going exclusively with Amazon are that you can have your choice between running a "Countdown" sale or free giveaway days on your book, and also your book is put into the Kindle Unlimited subscription program. The idea behind these is getting more exposure for your work.
I found the results of the experiment, for me, underwhelming. I did have some successful free giveaways, getting copies of those two books into several hundred readers' hands. But the long-term benefits are uncertain, and the days when a free giveaway on Amazon would give a long-lasting rankings and visibility boost seem to be long gone. As for Kindle Unlimited, some authors have seen their incomes soar with the program, others have seen drastic drops. The deal with Kindle Unlimited, as far as how authors get paid, is that an equal share is paid out of a monthly pool of money for each borrow, with a short story that would normally cost 99 cents to buy and a 500,000 word epic priced at $9.99 getting the same amount. When I put those two books into Kindle Unlimited, the share was around $2 per borrow. Which wasn't a whole lot less than I would get on a sale of those books, priced at $2.99 and $3.99. However, within a few months, the per-borrow share dropped drastically, to under $1.40. This meant that on borrows of my $3.99 book, I was making about half of what I would make on a sale. That's a pretty big reduction, unless you're getting tons of borrows (and exposure), which this book wasn't. So I came to the decision that the benefits of being in Kindle Unlimited (and the corresponding drop in payment) weren't worth giving up the wider exposure of being on other sales platforms.
The upshot of all this is that The Warrior and the Holy Man, which came out of Select a few days ago, is now available at iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords, DriveThruFiction, and OmniLit, and it'll be coming soon to Barnes & Noble (it's been submitted; just waiting for the people there to do whatever it is they do to make it go live). Beneath the Canyons finishes its 90-day term in Select early next week, and will be going wide as well. The release of Bad Hunting has been delayed because I lost about a month of work time between the run-up to Thanksgiving and the start of the new year, but it works out because it should be coming out a couple weeks after Beneath the Canyons goes wide and will be available on all my current sales channels, hopefully giving both books a nice visibility boost.
I'm also looking into adding some new channels, including Google Play (tricky because they do a lot of discounting, which Amazon then price-matches, even to the point of making a book free when you don't want it to be free), and setting up direct sales from my site. Also tricky because of the wild and wacky world of sales taxes and VAT, but there are some shopping cart sites I'm looking into that handle the tax stuff. Right now, getting Bad Hunting ready for release and getting back on track on my writing schedule is the first priority, but I hope to be able to get these expanded sales channels set up before too long.
Update: The Warrior and the Holy Man is now available on Barnes & Noble. The cover image, however, is not. Hopefully they'll fix that soon; B&N tends to be kind of laggy with updates.
Updated Update: The awesome cover of The Warrior and the Holy Man is now showing on B&N. Yay!
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