Keeping The Narrow Way

Why is Amazon tempting?

There has been an ongoing debate in the writing community about the value of “going wide.” This term means you are spreading your books out among as many vendors as possible. On its surface, it sounds like a no brainer. However, for new authors, it can mean the difference between gaining momentum or finding yourself struggling to get your books noticed.

The real question behind this dilemma is whether or not to use Amazon’s KDP Select. Those who sign up for the service must use Amazon exclusively for their ebooks for ninety days; thus, the term “going narrow.” That is a long time if you want to put your book up on Barnes and Nobel, Kobo, or other locations.

On the other side of the argument is Kindle Unlimited, which allows its members to read your stories for free, while Amazon pays you a small royalty, emphasis on the word “small.” Since most new authors deeply discount their books or give them away for free, a small royalty sounds good. Also, Amazon allows discounts and giveaways and provides all sorts of tutorials on how to be successful on its platform.

Given the success rate of Amazon authors compared to its competitors, it is a tempting offer.

I have tried both the wide method and the narrow. I still believe the narrow option is best for authors with fewer than six books. The exception would be seeing your book shoot up to the bestseller charts not long after its release. At that point, you have the momentum to go as wide as you are able.

When you look at Amazon objectively, their price points for services and royalties are still better than many other book vendors in the industry. Most other companies offer smaller royalties than Amazon and provide fewer services. Does this business model help boost Amazon to a monopoly? Yes. However, the way to fix this issue is not to avoid Amazon; the solution is for the other services to up their game.

So, if you are a new author, let me strongly encourage you to adopt Amazon early on. Yes, there are around one million consistent authors on its platform. Yes, you will have to learn how to master Amazon’s marketing services. The alternative is to perform these same tasks for all of the other platforms out there. If you have released just one or two books, you may want to spend more time writing your third instead of mastering Apple Books, Kobo, and others. The choice is yours.