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Goodbye exclusivity—I’m going wide

Time to get the eggs out of one basket

The last day of my latest 90-day stint of exclusivity in Amazon’s Kindle Select program happened to fall on the winter solstice. That’s fitting because I always think of solstice day as a major turning point in the year. It’s the shortest day of the year, the first day of winter, and a promise of more light to come.

Why go exclusive in the first place?

For me, it’s also the end of a chapter in my fledgling career as an indie author. I went exclusive with The Girl from Oto on the advice of other indie authors, who said in order to get any traction with online sales for just one book, it’s best to stay exclusive. What I’ve found over my year of exclusivity is that sales were not boosted by membership in Kindle Select, they were boosted by advertising and promotion.

I do get some income from pages read in my book through Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program (people pay a monthly fee to read unlimited pages in books that are enrolled in Kindle Select). But it’s not an eye-popping amount, and I certainly could make up the difference by selling a modest number of books on platforms other than Amazon.

The downside of exclusivity

What I lose by having my book in Kindle Select is the option to give it away for free (electronically). I also have a print version that is distributed both by CreateSpace (which is Amazon-owned) and IngramSpark, which I can give away free any time. Why would I want to give it away for free, you ask? Most of the joint promotions I would like to take part in require a giveaway of a free book. I’ve missed out on a lot of list-building and discoverability opportunities because of this.

More books please!

The bottom line is I need more books. More content leads to more sales and more people who want to stay connected to me and my work. The long gap between books in my series means a slowdown in momentum, which I’ve seen in sales over the past several months. I’ve just solved one of my content gap issues by writing The Promise, a prequel novella with a gorgeous cover that I’ll be giving away free when people sign up for my mailing list. This way I can keep building my list while I finish up books 2 and 3 in the series. Oh, hey! Want to join my readers group and receive infrequent, entertaining, and entirely spam-free newsletters? Click here for your free book!

I wish I could write like the wind, the way so many indie authors do. But I’m doing this part-time, and this is the pace I’m capable of at the moment. It can be frustrating and I definitely get major bouts of comparisonitis, especially when I listen to podcasts that feature authors who crank out dozens of books.

In the meantime, I’m casting a wide net. I’ll experiment with putting The Girl from Oto on iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and other platforms. After several months I’ll decide whether it makes sense to go back to exclusivity. I can always jump back in to Kindle Select if it suits me. That’s one of the great things about being an indie author. All of these choices are up to me.

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