Monday, July 13, 2015

Indie Authors: Alternatives To Amazon

Updated June 21, 2016;

In light of the recent fiasco involving Becca Mills, I thought it might be prudent to remind everyone that we do, in fact, have alternatives to publishing our work beyond Amazon. To be fair, Ms. Mills may or may not have engaged in a business practice that is in clear violation of Amazon's Terms of Service. My point is that as authors, we have a responsibility to both ourselves and our readers to not only conduct business ethically but ensure that our readers find their way to our content as easily as possible. There are pros and cons to each of the suggestions listed here. I invite you to do your own research and draw your own conclusions long before you publish.

CLICK TO TWEET: Don't Like Amazon? Check These Out Instead.

In a previous 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.

CLICK TO TWEET: Alternatives To Amazon For Indies

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.

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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 (aka The Gamer Author) is a nomadic multigenre author and martial artist currently residing in Eastern Washington. His works, called "Fast Paced and Thrilling" can be found for Kindle and Kobo.


Olga Nunez Miret said...

Yes, Draft2Digital are now partnering with Oyster. I've never tried Smashwords because I started checking the formatting requirements for Smashwords at a moment when I didn't have much time and plenty of books to get through and discovered Draft2Digital. My sales have never been huge anywhere, but with the increase in distribution with Draft2Digital (it includes a German site, Tolino too, Scribd and Page Foundry. And also offers the option of doing the formatting for a paper version through Create Space (still need the PDF cover). Good points.

Avery Tingle said...

Thank you. :-) I would've given up on Smashwords had I not gotten a copy of Scrivener. Their formatting requirements were beyond me. I get good exposure through Smashwords, not so much through Draft2Digital yet, but I figure that's because I'm new on it. Good luck, Olga.