Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why diversity is key in an ever-changing ebook landscape

Changes to ebook distribution channels are coming faster than any author or industry insider can predict. For now, this writer is along for the ride, not prepared to scream, "Let me off of this thing!" Not yet anyway. In fact, I'm incredibly pleased when Amazon isn't the only potent source for monthly writing revenue, because things get a little wonky over there sometimes - more later.

Kobo Writing Life (KWL) premiered this week to the glee of many self-published authors, or maybe just my personal joy. I've been waiting for an announcement about this for over a month and pulled all of my titles then distributed through Smashwords (SW) to Kobo as a result. If you're wondering why have one more site to obsessively check sales maintain, here's why. Until now, SW has distributed titles to its partners including Kobo, which has led to some frustrating delays in pricing or updated content. With KWL, those changes can be made within hours. The time between the upload and sale of each title took less than two hours, not the 24-72 hours as indicated on the site. Best advice I can give about the upload process? An ePub formatted file is ideal. Mobi, text and .doc files are acceptable, but be prepared for huge breaks between paragraphs signifying hard returns in the latter type. Read the FAQ here for more details. KWL should be easy to navigate for any author who has used Amazon KDP.

Speaking of which, there's a slight meltdown happening on Amazon, where rankings have dropped, risen and disappeared altogether. What is Auntie Am up to? Experimenting with new algorithms? Pushing self-pubbed content since some of the Big Six haven't renewed annual contracts? Freaking out over KWL? It's useless to speculate, but whatever the reason, there is always some impact for online visibility and sales when Amazon rankings change abruptly.

Also, I received an email about plans for expanding the distribution of ebooks via mobile phones in Europe, through one of the largest providers of media content. Just waiting for the official announcement. For the future, diversity remains key to exposure.


Michelle Gregory said...

i appreciate you keeping your fingers on the pulse of e-media.

Christine Murray said...

You're not the only gleeful one! I'm super excited about this :)

Lisa Yarde said...

I do what I can, Michelle.

Chistine, when I saw the range of currencies for payment, I figured this would certainly make international authors happy. It's much better than what B&N Pubit offers.

Consuelo Saah Baehr said...

Thanks for putting all the puzzle pieces together for me, Lisa. I'm going to upload to KWL next week and slowly taking all of my titles off Select.

Lisa Yarde said...

Consuelo, something to keep in mind with KWL - it's apparent to others, not necessarily me, that there's a benefit to have your own ISBN to associate with the Kobo books. Kobo states this is required for distribution to their international partners. Since I'm already getting distribution along these channels, it makes no difference to me.

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