Monday, July 13, 2015
In my last post, I discussed some of Amazon’s new policies and how they affect indie authors. One of the questions fielded from that post was possible alternatives to Amazon. While it may be true that Amazon is the largest distributor for indie books on the planet, they certainly aren’t our only choice, and in order to increase our chances of success, we owe it to ourselves to explore every possible avenue that may grant us greater exposure. We can release our materials either directly to other distributors, we can go through aggregators, or both.
Smashwords is an excellent resource for new authors. You can release your work for free, they’ve enabled assetless pre-orders, and their premium catalog gets your work on Nook, Kobo, and the other vendors. The only drawback is their rigid formatting requirements, which means you’ll either have to invest in a formatting expert or a yourself. Scrivener is one of those programs that’ll do this for you.
Smashwords has no word count requirement for pricing, so if you’ve created a standalone short or a lead-in to another story, you can throw it up there and charge whatever you like. I’ve found that releasing preludes, or other shorts for free on Smashwords leads to great results on Amazon. So what I do now is release free stuff on Smashwords, watch the downloads, and release the paid stuff through Amazon. I also use Smashwords to release stories unrelated to the fantasy series I have going on Amazon. Basically, I use Smashwords to find my audience.
Smashwords is an aggregator, which means they will distribute your material to multiple sources. Another great aggregator is Draft2Digital. In addition to getting your work to all of the places Smashwords will, they don’t have Smashwords’ formatting requirements.
Also, Draft2Digital is aggressively pursuing partnerships with Oyster (they may have finalized that deal by now) and othr distributors in hopes of increasing their reach. So they’re not lazy and they’ve built themselves as the author’s distributor. I’ve gained greater exposure through Smashwords than Draft2Digital, but the latter is easier to use.
I invite you to do your own research on both of these, and others, and use what works best for you. Thanks for reading, and best of luck in your endeavors.
Avery K. Tingle is a brand-new writing coach and author of multiple short stories across varying genres. Epic fantasy Era of the Scourge Book 1: The Ring of Asarra was named a recommended read by Amazon. Scifi/Romance The Anniversary was just released in paperback. You can also read urban drama The Price of Justice for free. Sign up for the newsletter, never miss another post, and get more free stuff and discounts than his business manager is comfortable handing out.
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