(I also posted this on Facebook over the weekend, so if you follow me there, you’ll have already read most of this. However, I did expand on what I’m currently planning as far as non-Amazon distribution of my books.)
I got an email the other day from a reader who wanted to know if there was a way to get my books without buying from Amazon.
I really appreciated them emailing me! I love hearing from readers, and this gives me a direction to go for the future.
However, as I told this reader, at the moment the answer is no. There is no other way to get my books other than buying from Amazon.
I know there are some readers who don’t want to buy from the giant conglomerate that’s trying to take over the universe, and I completely respect that choice. I also know there are some readers who will *only* go to Amazon; in some cases it’s because they can’t afford to buy all the books they want, so they have a Kindle Unlimited subscription that allows them to read as much as they like.
Books enrolled in the Kindle Unlimited program must be Amazon-exclusive; I’ve seen some authors who have gotten booted from KU because their books were pirated, and Amazon deemed that a violation of the exclusivity requirement.
As a side note: If you take an author’s book and toss it up on a “torrents” site or free download site or whatever, that is piracy. If you are committing book piracy, you are STEALING. Don’t be a dick; don’t steal authors’ work.
When I started self-publishing last year, I chose to put my books in Kindle Unlimited because I am one of those people who can’t afford to buy as many books as I would like, and I wanted my books to be available to people with a KU subscription. Also, we do get paid very minimal royalties based on pages read through Kindle Unlimited, and I hoped that would be a way to boost my earnings. And Amazon’s publishing platform is pretty easy for someone like me, who gets bogged down with technology and too many instructions, to use. Amazon also enables authors to at least try to protect their books against being pirated.
(The tendency for people to pirate books is another reason mine are not available through any other sources–including me giving them away; I used to give my books during release parties and such, but two got pirated before the release day even ended, so I said F it, if people are going to steal my shit, I’m going to stop giving them the opportunity.)
Things have changed in the past year and a half. Amazon has cut the amount authors earn for page reads through Kindle Unlimited, and more readers are refusing to spend their money with the universe-gobbling conglomerate. More authors I know are choosing to “go wide” with their books (i.e. have their books available through vendors other than or in addition to Amazon).
I am one of those authors. I am planning, beginning in 2024, to have my books available “wide.” But that’s going to take me some time.
I have to learn the other platforms. There are a few that allow authors to upload their books and distribute to multiple vendors; I will probably use one of those. I think I even have an account with one or two of them from when I self-published a couple of short stories a decade or so ago, so I just have to find the info again. But technology marches on, so I need to make sure I know what I’m doing with those platforms.
Which is another point: I have to find out what other platforms exist and which one(s) most authors in my genre (male/male romance) use and prefer. This involves some relatively easy research, but it’s still a thing I need to do.
I also have to go through my Amazon account and make sure my books *stop* being in Kindle Unlimited. When you enroll a book in KU, it’s a 90-day period that renews automatically unless you make sure it doesn’t. I have to make sure I uncheck the box (or whatever I need to do) so that the current books finish their enrollment and it *doesn’t* renew.
And I have to revamp my marketing strategy to accommodate marketing books that are available on sites other than/in addition to Amazon.
All of those things take time and mental bandwidth. I’m low on bandwidth much of the time; I have chronic health conditions that impact my ability to do the things. And some of my limited bandwidth is currently being occupied by a whole bunch of personal-life stuff that needs to be my priority right now.
I am going to be putting the time and bandwidth into making my books wide, but it’s going to be a little longer before I get there. In addition to the health and the other stuff I was already dealing with, I started a new job this past week that is VERY physically challenging for me and is wreaking havoc with the health. (I’m hoping it’s just a matter of needing another week or so to adjust; if not, I’m going to have to reconsider the job. But that’s a separate issue.)
So, for the time being, my books are Amazon-only. That includes Fill the Empty Spaces, which will be up for Kindle preorder on Sept. 28 and will release in Kindle and paperback formats on Oct. 12. I am sorry to those readers who won’t buy books from Amazon; I hope you’ll give me the grace and patience to stick around another few months until I am ready to go wide.
Currently, the plan is that Tempeh for Two (Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat 5) will be released in January 2024 as an Amazon exclusive for only the *first* 90-day enrollment period for Kindle Unlimited. Once that 90 days is up (mid-April), Tempeh and the other four RWDEM books will go wide. Stay tuned for info about which sites they’ll be available through. I have not yet decided whether the new books of the series, beginning with Take Some Tahini in July of 2024, will be enrolled in KU for the first 90 days or will just release wide right out of the gate, but I’ll keep readers informed when I decide.
For Chance Met and Fill the Empty Spaces, the current plan is to set those wide at the same time as the first five RWDEM books. I would *like* to make these two wide in mid-January 2024, after Fill the Empty Spaces completes its first 90-day enrollment period in Kindle Unlimited, but I’m not a hundred percent sure I’ll have everything in place by January, and I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep.
Beginning in March 2024, all future books that are *not* part of the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series, including books like Chance Met that have ties to the series but aren’t directly *in* the series, will be released wide from the beginning and will therefore not be available through Kindle Unlimited at all.
These plans, of course, are subject to change depending on what is happening in my non-writing life that takes up time and bandwidth, but currently this is what I intend to put into place.
Meanwhile, although I know some people prefer ebooks only and some of my readers are overseas, I do have paperbacks available. Amazon’s exclusivity requirement only applies to ebooks; paperbacks aren’t part of it. And all of my books are available in paperback because personally, I prefer having a hard-copy book that I can hold in my hands and flip the pages. So if you’d like paperback copies of any of my books and are willing to cover shipping costs as well as the cost of the book itself, feel free to message me!