Writer’s Service Announcement: Sell Your Books On All Major Platforms

At the risk of being all indie focused this week, I just had to make a post about this.

I read a book review the other day of an indie book that sounds fantastic and right up my alley.  Wanting to support a fellow indie, I hopped on over to Barnes and Noble.  Nada.  Okay…  To Smashwords.  Nothing.  So then I google the author’s website and find out that the book isn’t ON Barnes and Noble.  Okay, so it’s a relatively new release.  I emailed the author to ask when it would be available for Nook.

I was informed that the book was only available in Kindle, paperback, or as a PDF from Lulu.

Once I picked myself up from the shock of that announcement I politely messaged back that the Nook is the second most popular reader and the author is missing out on revenue by not being available there.  I also put in a plug for Smashwords for international readers and explained that formatting is not difficult for either of these things and that I had tutorials available.

The reply I got back said “I’ll take that under consideration, but I can’t promise anything,” and indicated I probably ticked the author off.

Reading between the lines, this says to me that it’s a new author who isn’t well informed about the indie world and is terrified of new things.  Which is really too bad because the book sounded awesome.  I guess I won’t get to read it.  Because I’m not buying the paperback, I’m not buying a Kindle, and I sure as HELL am not buying a PDF from freaking Lulu (does anybody respectable actually USE Lulu?).  And yes, I know the Nook will READ PDF, but it doesn’t read it WELL.

Here are the facts, people:

Yes, most people sell far and away more books on Amazon.  But anyone who thinks that by just making their books available there, other people who want to read it will just go get the Kindle app for their phone or PC is SMOKING CRACK.  The Nook is the second most popular e-reader and it’s gaining ground every day.  Sure you don’t usually sell as much on Barnes and Noble but the point is YOU SELL.  30% of my monthly revenue comes from Nook sales.  I am under no delusion that that 30% would be made up somewhere else if my books weren’t available there.  I know that there are other people out there like me who, if a book isn’t available on Nook, probably just aren’t going to read it at all. Because we want ebooks, not paper, and we aren’t going to suddenly change devices.

As an indie you should be available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords (and through them, the iBookstore and others).  Period.  End of story.  Not making your book available on all the major platforms is cutting off your nose to spite your face and cheating yourself out of profits and readers.  And that is not good business, people.


14 thoughts on “Writer’s Service Announcement: Sell Your Books On All Major Platforms

  1. Jesus. Plus, just by doing Smashwords, you could get into the NOOK store with no extra effort and all you have to do is send them a clean Word doc. Like you, I’d recommend PubIt over going through Smashwords, but I’d surely recommend going through Smashwords before NOT DOING IT AT ALL!

    Sorry, I thought we were past this and it’s hard for me to believe people are still doing this.

    I don’t think there’s anything disreputable about Lulu. Their prices seem higher than some other alternatives, PDF ebooks as the only choice for fiction? That’s silly, but whatever. I think very few people actually shop there for ebooks. But I have no knowledge of them putting out an inferior physical product. In fact, it seems like I remember Joe Konrath saying he was getting his hardbacks from Lulu (though I confess could totally be making that up because things get really jumbled in my head).

    And yeah, probably around 30% of my sales are from NOOK in an average month. Sometimes the Amazon machine will be really working for me, blowing up my Amazon numbers which makes the NOOK percentage smaller. Some months I’ve sold more on NOOK than on Amazon.

    Since I got on board with PubIt I’ve never sold less than 100 books there a month, and of course I’ve had months where I’ve sold over 1000. Why anyone would feel like they can afford to just blow that off, I don’t know.

    Why anyone would “take that under consideration” and get pissy instead of being grateful that an experienced indie took the time to give them a helpful tip, I’m sure I don’t know.

  2. Wow, I’d love to see that kind of success on Nook. Agreed that it’s dumb not to put your work out there in as many formats as possible, seems like a good way to lose customers to me. What have you done differently on PubIt? I’ve never cracked the 100 sales mark there, despite moving 3-4,000 units monthly on Amazon.

    1. It seems like the Amazon machine takes care of itself to some extent. Not only does Amazon do a really good job making authors visible with all their bestseller charts, but I think they probably do a better job pushing recommendations to their customers than the NOOK store does. I can’t figure out how to do on NOOK what I’ve done on Amazon and I don’t think it’s just a matter of there being more Kindle owners. I think NOOK’s system just doesn’t work as well for us.

      Another thing might be that a lot of people who recommend books are members of the Amazon Associates program and get paid for sending buying customers to Amazon. BN now has an affiliate program, but it’s not integrated, it’s complicated, and it’s confusing. It’s not as worth it for people to send customers to BN.

      Things I recommend which you may already be doing: making sure to include NOOK-friendly links when you blog or do interviews and guest blogging, using a #NOOK hashtag when you mention your work on Twitter. I’m not one to spend time in forums, but there are some NOOK reader forums you might post in, or the NOOK section at MobileReads forum. Or you can try finding book bloggers who set themselves up as someone who finds great reads on NOOK and ask them to review your book.

      Honestly I think I get most of my NOOK sales from having a 99cent title and that most people who buy my first book are shopping for bargain reads. I think most people who have bought my 2.99 title have found it because I sent them there. So if you can have at least one free (through Smashwords) or 99 cent title and have links to your other work at the end of it, that might help as well.

  3. I just can’t imagine not selling on B & N. Like Susan said, if you didn’t want to take the extra effort to do Pubit, then just upload to Smashwords and sell there and several other places. The only venue where I’ve had to put forth A LOT of effort was All Romance Ebooks. And my sales there are dismal, so I’m not sure that was worth it.

    Are there other selling venues you recommend that some indies may not know about?

  4. I am astonished that it’s not simply par for the course for every single INDIE to publish in every avenue possible to ensure that all readers, no matter platform or geographical location, can get your product. (and you get sales). Seems foolish to put in all the work required to actually write a book only to not expend the little bit of extra energy to make sure said book is every where. Odd. You gave her a great piece of advice with tutorials NO LESS and she discounted you – rude and silly! Her loss.

  5. I buy most of my books through B&N. I don’t have the Nook reader, but I use the Nook for PC platform which I can also read on any Internet capable device. So yeah if its not on B&N, I probably won’t read it.

  6. I agree with you about being on as many different platforms as one can be on. And, hey, I use Lulu for my hardcover editions. They are POD’s just like the paperback books and I do have friends who still insist on buying nothing but hardcover books.
    I know that eBooks are supposed to be taking over the publishing industry, but the population is divided into two different sects. Those who want paper and those who want digital. This was noted from my last writers’ group meeting from the local librarian in my group.
    Hopefully, if I had missed a platform and someone told me like you did for this author, I would say thanks and add another distribution service.

  7. I’m living in Australia and the only way I can buy ebooks easily is through Smashwords. If I can’t get an ebook there the chances are I won’t get it all because it won’t be available for download outside the US. And I won’t buy a Kindle, because I want don’t want to be limited to buying just from Amazon.
    Your advice was good, and it’s a pity that the new author didn’t take it in the spirit it was intended.

  8. Even though I’m in the US, I’m another who only buys from Smashwords. If I absolutely have to, I might buy from elsewhere, but I have to want the e-book desperately enough for the desire to survive several rounds of me talking myself out of buying somewhere other than Smashwords.

    I don’t have an e-reader, and I’ve not yet decided which I’ll end up with. Buying from Smashwords gives me access to PDF for now, and other formats for later. And I don’t have to worry about DRM.

    I’m still in the “Not selling much” stage, but some of my titles have sold more copies on B&N than on Amazon.

  9. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You have no idea how this made my day! I’ve got a Sony Ereader. I do NOT want a Kindle, nor do I want to read ebooks on my phone. There are so many authors, even the big names, who are only selling their ebooks on Amazon or BN. Why can’t they understand that there are other dedicated ereaders (book lovers) out there? Please put your books on Smashwords as well, or at least sell PDFs or Epubs from your own website/blog. You lose potential fans when you don’t.

  10. To me it makes no sense to not hit all the main markets–I wonder why she chose not too–lack of confidence in the product, finances…or worse, ego, thinking that people would simply seek the book out and be happy with the format it was available in?

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