In December, I made Bean Counter available on all the other ebook platforms that I could find.  The idea being that even though Amazon has 80% of the ebook market, that’s no reason to ignore the other 20%.  However, it didn’t work out so well for me.  Here’s what happened:

In mid-December, I removed the book from Amazon’s KDP Select program, which, as described in an earlier post, allows Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime subscribers to download and read the book for free, with the author (me) being paid for pages read, at the rate of a little less than ½ penny per page.  It’s not a bad deal in my case, given the length of my books, but it requires that the book be exclusive to Amazon.  You can’t make the book available anywhere else.

I thought that I might do better to leave that program and make the book available for sale to a wider audience.  In theory, that should have been a wash.  In practice, it was really bad.  First, I got NO sales on the other markets.  Without some advertising, the book was invisible.  Unlike on Amazon, where they raise your visibility for the first few months after a book is published, on iTunes and Google Play, etc., I sank right to the bottom, never to be seen again.

Even worse, though, was the effect on my book in Amazon’s store. Without the free downloads from Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime members, my sales rank, and hence my visibility, sank to hitherto unseen depths (at least for me).  This meant that not only was I not getting paid for the pages read, I was not getting sales either, because the book had dropped so far in the sales rankings.  As President Trump might tweet: Sad.

So, I’m back exclusively with Amazon and trying to repair the damage that I did to myself with this little experiment.  I learned something, though.  If I ever go back to wide distribution, it will have to be with the support of a major marketing push of some sort.

Live and learn, I guess.

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