Embracing the Wide Approach

Mark Paxson

I’ve written several times in recent months about my experimenting with “going wide” in my publishing efforts. For those not in the know, this is basically using publishing platforms that distribute your books widely, as opposed to publishing through Amazon’s KDP with its limitations and monopolistic tendencies.

What I believe are the biggest names in publishing wide are Draft2Digital and Smashwords. They are in the process of merging, but it appears that, while merged, they will keep separate features. Most notably, Smashwords has its own store for books published through its service. Draft2Digital does not. But D2D recently offered all of its authors the opportunity to be included in Smashwords’ store.

Another well-known wide publisher is IngramSpark — which is actually the granddaddy of them all. Some of the other publishers basically piggyback onto some of IngramSpark’s services. I did not go with IngramSpark because of customer service issues I had with them. Instead, I opted for D2D. There are some odd quirks about D2D, but I have found the process to publish both ebook and paperback on D2D to be easier than doing so through KDP.

As I’ve written before, I published a novella and short story collection via D2D. Those were published in August – October of last year. According to the stats on D2D, I’ve sold a combined 100 copies of those two books since then. While a lot of those sales are still through Amazon, there have been sales on Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and a couple of other platforms.

I have no idea how things would have gone if I had limited these books to KDP’s options. Would the few sales I made through other retailers have been made up by pages read through Kindle Unlimited? Are there other ways that Amazon pushes books published through them that we writers don’t see? Ways that they don’t utilize for indie authors brave enough to buck their monopolistic tendencies? I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know though. I like the idea of having my books more widely available and also the idea of it being easier to put my books in local bookstores and libraries if I try to do that — something that is very difficult with the Amazon-only approach. Whether I make more sales this way or not may not be the most important factor.

As a result, I’m in the process of re-publishing my older books on D2D so that they can also be available more widely. I started with my first novel, am in the process of finalizing a short story collection that combines my first two short story collections, and will be wrapping it up with a novel I published in 2021.

Will any of this make a difference? Who knows. But I prefer this approach. So I’m sticking with it. Here’s one reason … Draft2Digital informs its readers of promotions the various retailers are running. You can apply, typically including only one book at time as long as it meets the promo’s requirements, and then … well, that’s the weakness. Some of the retailers don’t bother to let you know if your book is included in the promo and it’s also not entirely clear to me how these promos actually work. But … at least it’s something. Other than Kindle Unlimited, nothing Amazon has offered has done anything for sales for me.

If you have any questions about D2D or going wide, ask away in the comments. I also recommend a Facebook group called Wide for the Win filled with authors who have way more experience with this than I do.

Next up for me … uploading all of my books into Google Play and then trying a few Facebook ads.

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