We hired a new employee this week at my Evil Day Job. She’s moved down from Minnesota, following her husband, who took a job the the university. I’ve been explaining some of our quirky Southern habits and things, one of which is our habit of taking the brand name of something and applying it to all items of that variety. Like, all facial tissue is Kleenex here. All soft drinks are Cokes.
But southerners aren’t the only group who does this. People all over the country and world think Kindle is synonymous with ebooks and self publishing. But it’s not the same innocent “Hey, you want a Coke? Okay, what kind?” No, in the ebook world, which is exploding with new authors trying to make a start for themselves and old authors putting out their backlist, there are scads of people out there who are e-publishing…ONLY to Kindle. Because in publishing news all over the place, the name you keep hearing batted about is Amazon.
Everybody’s obsessed with their Amazon ranking. Their Amazon sales numbers. All the news is talking about those authors who have joined the Kindle million club or whatever they’re calling it (I’m under caffeinated, deal with it). It’s like Amazon has become this Goliath and nobody can see around them to…everyone else.
Case in point, my friend Larry Brooks recently released his acclaimed novel Bait and Switch on Kindle for an opening price of 99 cents and posted about it on his blog to let us know. Great. It’d like to get right on that. When are you going to release it FOR MY NOOK? Or for my friend’s Sony? Or for all the other e-readers out there that don’t read MOBI or PRC? Because, hate to break it to you people, Amazon, despite being huge, is not the industry standard. The industry standard EVERYWHERE ELSE is EPUB.
It’s all well and good to have a promo plan that includes Amazon. They’re a behemoth, so obviously it would be foolish not to. But it is equally foolish to alienate all the people out there who made a DIFFERENT choice, who bought a different reader for whatever reason. Or who don’t live in the US, UK, or wherever Amazon DE allegedly covers (Germany?). Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, and Smashwords aren’t as big as Amazon. They’ve made a lot of mistakes in how they deal with things. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t worth pursuing. Will your income be as huge, your exposure as wide on those platforms as Amazon? Probably not (though there have been some exceptions). But it is a naive author who does not include them in their self-publishing plan. Approximately 30% of my overall sales come from these other sources. Some of my compatriots have closer to 40-50% of their sales via sources OTHER than Amazon. Those percentages add up people.
And of course you all know that I am a big fan of saying that FORMATTING IS NOT HARD. It changes, of course. I’m about due up for a new series of posts on current formatting trends. They have updated the Smashwords Style Guide regarding their formatting conversion for EPUB. But that’ll go on the list for AFTER I’ve moved.