Did you decide to publish an electronic version of your work? Because you definitely should! The electronic age is among us and if you don’t decide to go this route you will miss out on a myriad of readers!
There are a couple different ‘paths’ you can take for the publishing of electronic editions of your work. Unfortunately, you cannot do both options as they are not mutually conducive and I will explain why.
The first option is to publish your book on Amazon.com in a kindle version and then offer your book in a program called Kindle Unlimited. This program is quite amazing (even I’m a Kindle Unlimited subscriber) and can actually make you quite a bit of money as a self-published author. Kindle unlimited is a program which costs $9.99 a month (as of August 2019) and lets you read any book for free within the Kindle Unlimited program. You can borrow up to ten books at a time and return them when you are finished. Many people worry about how authors make money this way, but amazon actually pays the author of the book a fraction of a cent for each page that you read. This can be great because when someone reads one of my books on kindle unlimited, I actually make more than if they were to buy the kindle copy. Strange, I know. The amount paid per page does vary based on the month, as amazon takes the total amount of money in the Kindle Unlimited program as a whole and divides it between all the authors based on pages read. This program is great because it allows people, usually those who love to read, to enjoy your book without feeling a certain financial penalty if they don’t think it’s something they will enjoy—and this helps expand your audience. And the best part is, it’s free for authors to enroll your title! While I’m a strong believer in the Kindle Unlimited program, there is a caveat, if your book is available in Kindle Unlimited, it cannot be available anywhere else online electronically. By signing your book up for Kindle Unlimited with Amazon.com, you are signing an exclusivity deal.
Some people are probably saying, so what? Are there even any other options besides Amazon? And there is. In fact, if you publish and format an electronic version of your work, the world is your oyster. You can publish a Nook version on BarnesAndNoble.com, an iBook version on Apple, an android version, and even an internationally available version on Kobo.com. I have done all of the above except the android version as I have very little experience with android phones. Publishing a Nook version was very simple and self explanatory—Barnes and Noble does a great job of walking you through the process, in fact, I think they even rival Amazon as you can also publish a print version with them. Unfortunately, on the flip side, iBook is not user friendly and I spent months setting up my book with Apple—formatting, re-formatting, you name it, and when I finally got it up for sale, I didn’t see any revenue from listing with their bookstore. I found Kobo to be much simpler and they offer services to a wider variety of people, but I didn’t have the money to advertise properly and sadly, didn’t see much traffic there either.
This brings me back to the reason I personally chose the first path, Kindle Unlimited. For almost a year I had my book available on all of the above sites (except for in the android store) and I saw almost no traffic. I only sold one version of my book in Nook, but unfortunately they have a $10 withdrawal minimum so I haven’t even seen that money yet two years later. After a year of trying, I gave in and enrolled my book in Kindle Unlimited. And you know what? I don’t regret it. Even though I can’t sell my electronic novel anywhere else, I still have my paperback books available on other sites such as Facebook, my website HopeEDavis.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com. But either way if someone wants an electronic copy, it doesn’t matter, most of the world these days uses Kindle. Even if you don’t physically have a Kindle device, you can download the Kindle app for any android or Apple device. The point is, anyone can enjoy Kindle—and the publicity and promotion options Amazon offers (if you are part of their Kindle Unlimited program) are worth missing out on the few bucks I made from Nook. Almost every month, I make some amount of income from Kindle Unlimited. Now, it’s not going to make me rich, but it is a much more steady income stream than waiting for my $3 payment from BarnesAndNoble.com for that one sale in 2018. Either way, you have to make your own decision on what is best for your book. You can do as I did and try one way for a while then switch to the other—or you may find your first way makes money and you don’t want to leave. The choice is yours.
I do need to mention there is one avenue I have not yet explored, and this is setting up my electronic version of my book with Ingram Spark. It costs $25, but then other companies can buy and distribute the electronic version of your work. Ingram is actually how most libraries choose and order their works. I do currently have a print version available with them, however with the exclusivity deal I do not have an electronic version with them. Ingram Spark is a great program and I highly recommend trying them out especially if you choose not to go with Kindle Unlimited. Who knows, you may find a bunch of sales there!
Overall, I can’t say what is correct for every author, as each novel has a different reader base, and unfortunately, with self-publishing, sometimes you just have to work by trial and error. If you find yourself lost, feel free to contact me on my website (HopeEDavis.com) regarding any of the above services and how to sign up. I love to help other self-published authors!