It’s an age-old question.
Since the very first cave dwellers started telling stories on walls, human authors have been debating whether to go wide or exclusive on Amazon.
The early cave dwellers mostly went exclusive.
I’m a novelist who makes a full-time living as an author. I quit my day job two years ago. It was because I went back to exclusive after my second attempt at wide that I could do this for a living.
There are arguments for and against.
Some of them are reasonable, others aren’t.
One of the authors I coach is wide. He makes 30% of his revenue from Amazon and 70% from the other venues. He is wide because it makes the most financial sense.
Some people are wide because they ask the question, “What if Amazon decides to do something terrible to authors, cut their percentage pay out, call them names, and send people to their house to ruin their lives?”
To which I answer, “What if they don’t?”
Exclusive is a 90-day commitment.
If Amazon shows up at your doorstep and call you names and berates your lawn care, then worst case scenario you can go wide again in 90-days.
If, however, you’re wide and 95% of your revenue is still coming from Amazon, it might be worth being exclusive.
Let me explain.
There is one GREAT benefit to being exclusive. Do you know what it is?
If you guessed Kindle Unlimited page read revenue, you get a prize. (Note: There isn’t really a prize. But you should still issue yourself a high five out of petty cash)
Simply put, Kindle Unlimited is a lot like Netflix. For readers who consume several novels per week (or more), it’s a great option. They save a bunch of money.
The authors get paid based on how many pages get read. Currently, we authors are getting .0042 of one cent (currently, though it changes from month to month), or just below half a cent per page. But, it should be noted that the number of pages in one’s book is NOT the Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count. That number is usually a bit higher than the actual number of pages.
There’s a kicker.
When a person downloads your book through KU, your book gets the same ranking credit it would have gotten if it had been purchased.
That helps your ranking.
Higher ranking means more exposure.
This could mean reaching organic readers. (Organic readers are defined as ones we didn’t pay [through advertising] to get to our description page…these readers are also raised without pesticides and are generally gluten free.)
But wait, that’s not all.
You guessed it…yes, you’ll also get this beautiful set of steak knives.
Wait, that’s not right.
Sorry, you’ll get the benefit of being able to run Product Display – Interest ads through AMS effectively and for a great ROI.
What is AMS you ask?
Well, it’s the Amazon Marketing Service that all the cool kids are using to drive their book sales.
I wrote a book about it. Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s Guide, he said shamelessly plugging his wares.
The short version is that it’s a way to do a pay-per-click ad that runs on Amazon.com. But there is a little-known type of ad, the Product Display – Interest ad that nobody seems to use, which actually shows the advertisement on people’s Kindles.
This may not be clear to you at this point if you’ve never run PPC ads. Let me explain a bit more.
Imagine you have a 50,000-word novel about a group or rogue ninja guinea pigs who save the world. Can you picture it?
Okay, this novel is the first in your series of GP Ninja books. It sells for $4.99.
Now, imagine a person who loves guinea pigs and ninjas (which is EVERYONE), turns on their Kindle and what should they see, but your ad!
Furthermore, this person reads a bunch. They are a KU subscriber. They click on the ad.
The description, written with proper copywriting (not just a horrible synopsis like 99% of all published books…I digress), nearly hooks them…but not quite.
They’re on the fence.
Then they notice that your $4.99 book is in KU.
For them the book will be FREE.
They hit download.
Now, this book, which has 240 pages listed, has 309 of those special KENPC pages.
This person reads your book.
You make 309 x .0042 or $1.29
Yes, that’s MUCH less than the $3.45 that you would have made if they had paid for the book, but you know what, they wouldn’t have paid for it. They’re in KU, they rarely pay for books, they almost always choose the FREE KU download.
This is important to understand.
Your book, which is exclusive, is both priced at $4.99 and is PERMAFREE for KU subscribers.
You will get sales.
You will get downloads.
For me, I get about 80% of the number of sales in downloads. So, if I get 10 paid sales, I likely also picked up 8 downloads. That really helps ranking.
And remember, I’m NOT cannibalizing my revenue because the KU subscribers are a whole different pool of readers.
So, is being exclusive for you?
How are you doing wide?
If you’re just starting out, it may be tough to tell. I would say that as a rule if you’re making less than $10,000 per month, you’re probably better off being exclusive.
It’s hard to build momentum on one platform, let alone four.
I truly believe that if you’re just starting out, you’ll be able to reach your goals more quickly being exclusive than wide.
But again, one must make their own decisions.
I hope I’ve given you some good food for thought. (Note: all my suggestions are bacon flavored)
Bio: Brian D. Meeks (Sometimes Arthur Byrne)
Brian has written 13 novels in the mystery, thriller, science fiction, young adult, and satire genres. He also has penned three non-fiction titles with his co-author Honorée Corder in the Prosperity for Writer’s series. His most recent book is called Mastering Amazon Ads: An Author’s guide, and ironically, is the only book that is wide. Yes, you can read Mastering Amazon Ads on your Nook, Kobo reader, or iBooks, in addition to Kindle and print.
Mastering Amazon Ads Link = http://amzn.to/2j1bruj
He is also a huge fan of guinea pigs, though he doesn’t have any as pets.