Writers: Don’t Be Compulsive, Be Smart!

Defending DIY eBook Publishing or Antireintermediation

I’ve invested a lot of time in correspondence explaining to authors that pushing their eBooks onto every platform in every format is both unnecessary and frequently counterproductive. […] The reason expanding beyond these three outlets can be counterproductive is that Amazon remains the largest seller and marketing platform for eBooks, and the more eBooks you sell on Amazon, the more visible they become. I cannot overstate the value of the Amazon multiplier.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

The news about Kindle sales only heightens that.

I see writers racing to get Everywhere and it makes no sense to me. What good is being Everywhere if most of the sales come from just a few places?

It’s like the old joke:

What are you looking for?

My keys.

Did you drop them here?

No, but the light over here is better.

If I’m making X-dollars per day from one outfit and another is giving me only X-dollars per year, I know which I’d concentrate my energy on. Do you?

Remember: Kindle is not a device. It’s a platform! People with an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Android phone/tablet can buy and read Kindle books today!


Filed under eBooks: General, Marketing, Writers

2 responses to “Writers: Don’t Be Compulsive, Be Smart!

  1. Actually, there is value in being in international ebook stores, like in the Nordic countries, where a lot of the locals prefer to read books in their original English but are now facing a dramatic fall in the number of English language ebooks available to them. Those readers have little to gain from going to amazon.com to see if a book is available to them because, increasingly, they aren’t.

    But the spray and pray approach where the book is sold on every single ebook site in existence is indeed very counterproductive.

    My suggestion, based on what we’re doing in the software industry (my day job), would be to primarily sell direct and on two to three of the biggest online stores, and choose other partners in geographical areas where local stores are much more effective than the international ones.

    In English-language ebooks I suspect those areas would be the Nordic countries, India, Australia and New Zealand, just as a guess.

    Of course, if you’re going to use the same methodology we use in the software biz you’d add affiliate/tracking codes unique to each channel, to all of the links in every book/promo/campaign. That way you could with some work estimate which channels are worthwhile and which aren’t and drop the ones with a low ROI/high opportunity cost[1]. Amazon, at least, offers tracking codes as a part of their affiliate system, I don’t think Apple does (yet) for iBookstore (they do for Apps, music and the rest).

    [^1]: Opportunity Cost is, IMO, one of the core economics concept in online sales & marketing, along with Cost of Customer Acquisition and Lifetime Customer Value.

    This is all online sales & marketing 101, stuff which neither writers nor publishers seem interested in understanding. Most of them seem intent on being pig-fucking ignorant, if you’ll pardon my language.

    • mikecane

      Yes, but as usual, my posts here are usually addressing the American market, not international. International is a whole other beast, as you have pointed out.

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