34: 12/16/15 The Most Important Thing I’ve Learned This Year

You have to control your eBook distribution to Amazon yourself. In the current marketing environment, you need to able to change pricing and run contests at will, which is extremely difficult to do if you have an distributor controlling access. Plus, professionals need to be paid. Paying your distributor every time you want to change your pricing is going to add up. You, as an independent publisher, need to control costs and use your marketing money as effectively as possible.

When I started out last April, I didn’t feel comfortable loading the files for The Traveling Man into Kindle Direct myself. I wasn’t sure the eBook would look professional, and I’m no coder. So I went with BookBaby. I followed all their directions, and they created the Mobi and ePub files and did, I think, an excellent job. Plus they designed the cover from a really crappy drawing of mine. The Traveling Man went into wide distribution. Yippy!

But over time I’ve discovered that I only have sales at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBook, and very few from the latter two, so really I don’t yet need wide distribution. Wide distribution is for someone who is well known. And to get well known, you have to get people to read, which means dropping the price until they will take a chance.

The day before yesterday, I had BookBaby stop my Amazon distribution. I uploaded my mobi file to Kindle Direct myself. Yesterday I was back up on Amazon with a new ASIN. I reinserted my professional reviews, I got my Amazon Author page working, and I got Amazon to move my customer reviews to my new page. (It was exactly the same book with the same title and author, so no problem.) I’ve been replacing the Amazon link to The Traveling Man at all the sites where I linked back to my Amazon page. I’ve got the most important ones done already, but it’s going to be a long slog before they’re all changed.

Still, this process went much more quickly and easily than I thought it would. So now I have to do a little more tweaking, then try running some sales, and on that basis decide whether to enter the KDP Select program and drop all my other distribution.

The crazy part is that I now have no Amazon best seller ranking. (Starting over, remember?) Somehow I have an Author ranking, which is not too bad, even though I have no sales. So now I‘ll be able to see how many days I go before I sell even one book. Ah, the mystery that is Amazon ranking.

As per usual, if you read The Traveling Man, I would appreciate your honest review at the place where you bought it (Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble, etc.). Just scroll down to the customer review area. Doesn’t have to be an essay; eight to ten words would do the trick. (Of course, I wouldn’t turn an essay down if you had it in you.) Just looking for your honest opinion. Take a look at what others have written and you’ll get the idea.

That’s all for now. Any thoughts? I’d love to hear from you.