First of all – what is “going wide?” When an author goes wide, it means they offer their books on more than just one self-publishing platform. Some platforms require exclusivity from their authors, meaning that they can only sell through their platform.
This can be a great incentive to some who want to streamline their writing career, but it can also limit the amount of income made year over year. Having your books on multiple platforms means that you have unfettered access to multiple revenue streams, and your titles will be available in more countries than you may have initially thought possible, meaning that your readership can grow globally.
At Kobo Writing Life, we also offer opt-ins to OverDrive, which allows your books to be sold to libraries, and to Kobo Plus, our subscription service where authors are paid per read. These can help you reach even more readers through a myriad of readership outlets.
Here’s a few words from several authors who have discussed their experiences and successes with going wide, as well as some podcast episodes full of great advice:
“One of the simplest ways to engage readers is with the question: “Where do you find the books you buy?” A simple survey will give you a wealth of information. Some rely on retailer promotions. Others use book blogs. Knowing where your existing readers find books allows you to target new opportunities for grabbing new readers on smaller platforms.” – Julia Kent
“If you’ve been exclusive for some time, or if you’re moving a book out of exclusivity for the first time, treat it like a new release! Moving a book onto new platforms has the potential to reach new readers, or existing readers who haven’t had the chance to read this book yet due to exclusivity. Tell the platforms you’re releasing the book on that it’s the first time out of exclusivity!” – the KWL team
“I uploaded my books to every distributor possible. Traditional publishing can teach us something about this—their biggest draw, the card they wave at authors, is their massive distribution system.
When you go wide, go W I D E. Build a table that lists all the retailers that aggregate services like Draft2Digital and Smashwords distribute to, and make sure you aren’t doubling up. Even retailers like Kobo distribute to other services (Overdrive, for example). List them all, pick which distributor will put your books where, and go direct wherever you can.” – Tracy Cooper-Posey
“Be patient and pay attention to your new retailer(s). It took me about six months to gain traction and start building a readership on these new distribution channels. So do not give up easily. Run promotions and put in marketing efforts to inform readers know about these new retailers where readers can access your books. Get the word out, put in the efforts to go global, and the readers and the success will definitely follow.” – Ethan Jones
Have you gone wide, or are you planning to? If you have any tips you want to share with the community, feel free! And, as always, happy writing!