As I stated before, I recently published my two short stories, Heartless and Oliver Black to Kobo. This is my first step toward diversifying my work and putting it out on multiple markets. Select has been neat, I guess, I don’t really know how else to put it, but it is also a limitation. Being able to reap 70% for .99 for a week was great, but it wasn’t like I was raking in the cash on that. Borrows are nice, I earn between $5 and $15 a month on them and they contribute toward my sales ranking. I’ve never used free days and my international sales have dried up. The benefits are just minuscule compared to the possible benefits of experimenting with other markets.
I was ready to pull in November but then Countdown Deals came out. I don’t know if I made the right decision there or not, but I enjoyed it. It was incredibly powerful being able to get 70%. Just advertising on bookblast or kboards and a few smaller ones was enough to get me on three top 100 lists and net almost 150 sales. With the 70% benefit, it was even mildly profitable.
Then someone threw out something I hadn’t considered, and this is what really pushed me in this current direction. BookBub and a lot of the bigger names in book ads allow for Kobo and Nook. Those are completely different markets. Kobo is becoming more and more popular and for some reason people still hold on to their Nooks. That’s more sales, more revenue, and readers I’m missing. People who have devices, whether they be Kindle, Kobo, or Nook, are exclusive in where they’re getting their content. Maybe they have different apps on their tablet or phone but the actual reader is funneling them into a specific buying behavior. Even with Amazon being the Big Player, that’s still hundreds of thousands of people out there and I’m missing them all.
I looked around, did some research, and assembled the other players. Kobo and Barnes and Noble are next in line. Kobo is growing in the U.S. and they are a heavy force in Canada, some saying they’re even bigger than Amazon there. They also have a strong international presence. Barnes and Noble, for all its failings, is still a powerhouse with a great brand name. They may be ailing, but they’re still out there and people still buy from them.
Kobo is easy, easier even than Amazon for uploading. Nook Press isn’t too shabby either. I don’t know if this is a recent change or if I was given bad information, but I was led to believe you have to be a publisher to upload to them, but that’s not the case. All they make you do is sign up as a vendor and put in your banking info before you can publish. It took twenty minutes for that to be approved.
Originally, this was going to be written as a comparison between Smashwords and Draft2Digital because I was told the only way to get to Nook is through them. These are the two big aggregators in the market, both allowing you to publish to a variety of markets through their central dashboard. (Aside here, I believe Lulu does this too but Lulu is now partnered with AuthorSolutions, so fuck them) The benefits to this are suppose to be ease distribution, not having to go to each and every market to upload, edit, etc. It also brings all your reports to a central location. The disadvantage though is that they take their own cut. Also, Smashwords is a pain in the ass. Mark Coker seems like a great guy with incredible insight into the industry, but that doesn’t make his site any easier to use. I looked at Draft2Digital as an alternative. They do pretty much the same thing only they’re not as big. They don’t have their own retail spot like Smashwords does and they don’t go to Sony or Diesel. I have not heard about strong sales from any of those locations. I can tell you, uploading to Draft2Digital was much easier than Smashwords.
Then I figured out I could publish directly to Nook so I pulled my stuff from them and uploaded directly. Maximum control, maximum profit, the only problem is that I can’t publish to the iBookstore, Sony, Diesel, or Smashwords. Except, I really can. If I see that things are working out well with Kobo and Nook I can always upload to either Smashwords or Draft2Digital to get a presence in their markets. Right now, I just don’t know if it’s worth the effort. Smashwords requires some arcane necromancy to get through their store and the ibookstore needs a “proper epub” vs the somehow bastardized version I uploaded. Sony and Diesel…eh.
I will continue to report sales and performance as this continues. Sorcerer Rising will go up the middle of February and that’s what I really expect to drive sales. Until then, we will see.