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We get a lot of authors that come to us looking for help with a new release, that don’t realize how strategic self-publishing an eBook can be.
And this happens for two primary reasons:
- The author is using a publishing service and just assumes they need to use them for every edition of their book. Or likes the convenience factor, which is fair!
- The author wants to test the market with their print book first and just doesn’t have a set date for their eBook.
Now, if you fall into the first category just know you can absolutely use a publishing service to help you get your print book out there, secure distribution, make your title more accessible to libraries; the list goes on for print benefits. But these services typically don’t insist you use them for all editions.
So a perfect balance is using a service for your print book, and then self-publishing an eBook through Amazon directly.
If you fall into the second category everything I’m going to cover automatically applies, so let’s get to the good stuff!
Self-publishing an eBook broadens your reader market
For the most part, people have preferences about how they consume books, whether it’s via Kindle, in print, or even audio. Typically, these preferences don’t change much, so by limiting the editions you put out there you’re limiting your buyer market. What I’m saying is, you’re not going to force a Kindle reader into buying your print book for twice the cost. That’s not a bet you want to make and leads me to the next benefit.
Self-publishing an eBook gives you a product at a lower price point
Closely connected to the above tip, it’s good to have a range of price points for your book. Because yes, while you may not convince someone to spend more than they usually do on a book – you might get some additional sales by having something in the “sweet spot” — which is $3.99. Yes, the largest volume of eBooks is sold on Amazon at the $3.99 price point, so that’s a lucrative spot to position yourself.
Self-publishing an eBook allows you to do limited time discounts
We talk about this a lot, it’s a common recommendation and I stand by it. Limited time price discounts are easy to do with an eBook and it’s a fabulous way to secure some “I’ll give it a shot” purchases, and honestly, none of us are too good for those sales. Because if you wrote a good book, a lot of those “I’ll give it a shot” sales will turn into return sales for your next release if you’re committed to your brand.
Self-publishing an eBook gives you more extensive category options
If you didn’t know this already, the print book retail categories are pretty broad compared to the Kindle options. Kindle gets into sub-genres and niches much more effectively, which gives you additional opportunities to hit an online bestseller list. And the reason this applies to self-publishing, is because not all publishing services make it easy for you to change your categories on a whim. Some don’t let you change them at all once they’re set – but if you self-publish your eBook, you will have your own Amazon publishing account that gives you full access to all the marketing opportunities you and your book deserve (and need!).
Self-publishing an eBook allows you to make updates to your Amazon retail page
The reality is, we rarely hit it out of the park the first time. And that’s okay! This applies to covers, book descriptions, author bios, all of it. I tweak my descriptions throughout the year, I definitely update my bios regularly to keep them current, and I’ve seen numerous clients really revive their book’s success by doing a cover update. But similar to my point above, it’s a lot harder to get these changes made, and sometimes entirely off the table, if you don’t have direct access to your book on Amazon and instead have to rely on a publisher or publishing service to follow through with these requests on your behalf.
Self-publishing an eBook makes special promotions easier and less expensive
I can tell you from personal experience that not all publishers are comfortable with their authors distributing free digital copies at their discretion, and this can limit options for special promotions and BOGOs (buy one get one or buy one give one)- it’s also much less expensive! And while I love the impression a print book with a hand-written note can make, if you’re doing a lot of marketing and promotion it can be hard to keep up with all those mailings. So being able to distribute eBooks to reviewers, as part of social media promotions, and the list goes on, is something that’s extremely nice to have in your arsenal.
At the end of the day there’s a lot to consider if you really want to give your book and your author brand a shot at success in an industry that’s producing 4500 books every single day.
So I won’t ever tell you there’s one right way to do anything in publishing other than educating yourself, and making strategic decisions that take both your current, and future needs into consideration. Sometimes those decisions mean there’s more effort for you at the start, but it can mean a much stronger return in the future!
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