Royalties versus Readership

A few days ago, I stumbled across a post by Hugh Howey on exclusivity with Amazon. It made me think–a lot.

Right now, I only have one series exclusive to Amazon. I opened the other books to epub readers recently. I wanted to try to expand my readership.

So far, it has not worked very well. I am going to leave my titles as is–for now. After Winter Wolf releases in November, (and I give it three months) I will go back to exclusivity with Amazon.

I'm about to say some things some people won't agree with, and I may lose good faith by having this opinion… but I'm going to say it anyway. (For some reason, people don't like hearing the truth, especially not when it is bluntly spoken.)

Epubs are a sinking ship for me, and I will very probably bail out while I can.

Here's why:

Sales through the other venues (all epub), combined, is less than my total daily average with Amazon.

It's not about the money–okay, I'm lying. It is about the money. Writing is my career. It's my life. It doesn't come free–and living isn't free, either.

I want to be paid for my hard work.

Draft2Digital is a great site. I really love it. The people there work hard, and have made a very simple system. Unfortunately, I am not connecting to readers on these venues.

It's much easier to connect with readers on Amazon. I may get a lower royalty, but I reach a lot more readers. It's no contest. I've been asked about epub versions a lot… but asking  the author (in this case, me) doesn't mean it'll turn into sales.

In my case, it hasn't. Sorry, but it hasn't. Sure, fifty people may ask if I'm releasing an epub version, but if only 3 purchase the epub version, I'm losing out on hundreds of connections forged with other readers. I've seen a huge decrease of my readership since I removed exclusivity with amazon. On average, somewhere around $300-500 a month. That's a big deal.

I sell more paperback copies in a month than I have with epubs in two.

My original hope was to take a hit to start with, but start seeing a little bit of a return within two or three months.

I've sold three epub novels between two books in this period of time. Three whole books. I'm entirely grateful to these new readers, and I really hope they enjoy the stories. But I want to reach more people–a lot more people.

I'm sure there is a market out there, but I'm not connecting with it in the same way I do with amazon.

So, after Winter Wolf launches, I'll see how the promotions help my epub sales. I don't have high expectations, to be honest. I'm expecting a landslide in Amazon's favor.

Storm Without End will be returning to exclusivity with Amazon shorty. I'm going to give Winter Wolf three months–until after the Christmas rush, maybe–until I do the same with it and Inquisitor.

Unless a miracle happens, of course, and epub readers magically find my books. A lot more readers finding my books, that is.

Readers are more important than royalties, but a girl has to live–and $300 a month in lost sales matter. A lot.

You can cry all you want about how evil Amazon is… but that evil keeps me afloat.

Epubs don't.

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1 comment
Avery K. Tingle says September 23, 2014

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, experiences, and opinions on the epub world. I have to admit, I found this a little chilling, because I’ve heard nothing but good things about epubs. Thanks for sharing another side of the equation.

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