Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Business Decision: The Eye of the Beholder

Being a self-published author is really a learning experience.  Even though I did a lot of research before going into this, spending hours pouring over posts by other indie authors and gathering the advice they so generously offered, I still often feel like I'm blundering around in the dark.

For instance, I still don't know which day of the week is the best for a free promo.  I've done two for Creators so far this month (one is still active until midnight!), and I had pretty good results with the first one, which I ran on a Friday.  Today's promotion, however, is proving to be far more anemic.  The next time I run a free promo, I'll probably do it on a Saturday and see what my results are like.  Maybe after that I'll be able to figure out which day of the week is best for releasing new books!  (Hint: It's probably not Tuesday as that's the day the traditional publishers list their new releases.)

The other aspect of this whole business that I've been trying to pin down is whether it's best to remain exclusive to Amazon or to offer my books at as many outlets as possible.  In principle, the idea of being exclusive doesn't sit all that well with me.  I want my books to be available to as broad an audience as possible.  Though I do not (and never, ever will) use DRM on my books, I think it's just more convenient for my readers if I can offer my book in multiple storefronts in various formats.  So, when my Select period for The Eye of the Beholder expired, I decided to try selling via Barnes & Noble and Kobo.

Now that I have a few months under my belt, I feel I can make a more informed decision.  The truth is, my sales at B&N and Kobo are ridiculously low.  At Kobo, I have sold a grand total of one, count it, one copy of The Eye of the Beholder.  On my best month at B&N, I sold less than ten.  This is in comparison to the more than 160 copies I sold on Amazon last month.  When The Eye was available in the Kindle Owners' Lending Library, I didn't have too many borrows, but the fact of the matter is that my number of borrows there was higher than my sales on B&N and Kobo.

Given this, I've come to the conclusion that it's not really worth it to continue to sell via B&N and Kobo.  I don't come to this decision lightly and, as I've said, exclusivity doesn't really sit well with me.  However, from the data I've collected, I find I have more of a demand from readers who want to borrow my book from the KOLL than I do from readers who want to purchase via B&N and Kobo.  I'm not ruling out the possibility of selling my books on other venues in the future but, at this point, I've decided to stop selling via B&N and Kobo, return to exclusivity with Amazon, and offer The Eye on the KOLL.  I will unpublish on B&N and Kobo at the end of the month, and I'll post another announcement here once I've done this.

As a writer, nothing is more important to me than my readers.  Without readers, I wouldn't even be able to entertain the idea of writing as a career.  I truly welcome feedback from my readers, and I try to make myself available on as many platforms as possible.  You can hit me up on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, or here at my blog, and I will definitely listen to your feedback and suggestions.  One of the things I like best about self-publishing is that it removes the barriers between me and my readers, so I can not only take your feedback to heart, I can act on it promptly.