Updated: Jun 3
There is one thing that indie authors must be willing to do: ADAPT.
You have to be ready to make necessary changes even when you are uncomfortable with those changes. In the end, it is all about growth. As both a writer and when it comes to your sales.
Why am I even bringing this up?
I have had my books wide for over a year now. Since my second book was published. Here’s how
I started out:
Book 1 in my Damien Kaine Series – I put it in KU for three months to get visibility.
Published books 2 and 3 fairly close to each other. Pulled book 1 from KU and made it perma-free everywhere, and created a book bundle.
I didn’t have a lot of money for advertising, so I had to be strategic. I began to see sales and for about 6 – 8 months those sales were across all platforms. I wasn’t bringing in a ton of money, but my sales were doing well. My perma-free book was always in the top 100 downloads on Amazon, and I racked up over 100 reviews on Google, (only 26 on Amazon, not sure why).
Then something happened.
My sales began to drop off. Except on Amazon. I wasn’t running ads.
I finally had some extra spending money and started putting it into ads. I directed people to a page allowing them to purchase the book from their favorite retailer. (i.e., Nook, iBooks, Google, Kobo, Amazon, and any other retailers). I was able to track those clicks. My top three clicks were Google, iBooks, and Amazon. However, I could see my sales were to Nook, iBooks, and Amazon. With most sales on Amazon US (59%) and Amazon UK (41%).
I’m not a marketer, shit I can barely figure this crap out. But I can tell that for whatever reason my reader base had shifted. I can’t explain it. Here’s another catch.
I changed the perma-free price to .99 cents when I began running ads. I targeted my audience, got all my CPC’s down to .10 cents on both Twitter and Facebook. Bookbub showed Kobo, Google, and Amazon as getting the most clicks, however, almost all my sales were coming from Amazon.
After a month, I increased my book 1 price to 2.99. My sales on Amazon continued to grow, even at the increased price. On all other outlets, the sales had all but stopped when the book was .99 cents. (Currently Book 1 is .99 cents on Amazon and Nook for some ads I am running during Feb.) Remember book sales on other platforms, were at .99 cents when the sales dried up.
My read through has also increased. My ROI has always been good. (Even on other sales platforms besides Amazon, until it wasn't). However, books 2, 3, and 4 have been increasing even more, as well my book bundle of books 1-3, on Amazon. I ran a specific ad targeting that bundle, alone, all sales mostly came from Amazon.
Why is that? Not sure. But when my sales doubled from November to December, then again in January, on Amazon, I can’t ignore those numbers. When on every other outlet my sales plummeted.
What does all this mean? First, advertising works. Second, it means I have to consider doing something that I really hate the thought of doing. I have to consider going exclusive on Amazon.
You may be asking yourself, why not just stay wide and concentrate your sales on Amazon? Because they are two different beasts. Wide vs. Exclusive….you have to approach them differently, and advertising is different for each one. Although my ads were geared for my wide distribution, my sales still came from Amazon.
I have always been a proponent of wide. I don’t like having my eggs in one basket. But for whatever reason, something has shifted when it comes to my sales. And that is where adaptability comes in. I’m at a point now, where I need to try all in on Amazon.
I have no idea what will happen. I have so many reservations about making this move. And I can’t begin it until after I run a few ads I paid for in February. So every day I second guess my decision. The move will take about a month. I need to make sure that my books are off all other outlets before I put them in KU.
This may be the worst thing I do, but it may not. The point is, you need to pay attention to where your readers are and be ready to adapt and change. I could stay wide and drop another grand into ads, but I don’t think I will get the results on wide. Because of that, I’m going to concentrate on Amazon. I have also made the decision to stay exclusive for at least, 6 months, maybe 9.
I’m worried. I’m filled with self-doubt. But this is something I feel I have to do. And I don’t like it. But that’s what growth on any level is about. The willingness to adapt and change and try new things. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully, I won’t end up on the floor in the fetal position surrounded by empty whiskey bottles. It isn’t out of the question though.
I write crime fiction horror, thriller, and paranormal novels. My time in the Coast Guard and my degree in Forensic Chemistry helps me create fantastic stories. If I'm not writing, I am binge watching Netflix and probably drinking whiskey.