Today I’m going talk about things I’ve learned when it comes to going direct with Amazon vs using a partner to distribute to them.

First let’s start with profits. Going direct with Amazon is going to net you greater returns per sale; this is because your distributor is obviously going to eat into your profits a little bit adding to a net loss on your end. For example, my first book Afterworld is usually listed about 3.99 for the ebook copy when a promotion price is not active. Now on draft to digital that nets me about 2.36 per sale. That’s a about a 60% return (d2d takes 10% plus Amazon takes 30%). Now going direct gives you that extra 10% and it seems either way you’re paying for a small data transfer fee which is only a few cents.

So with that in mind, what are the benefits of going with the distributor? The first would be that it’s easier to keep track of. Using a distributor service like draft to digital means you don’t need to create a kdp account, keep track of that + make edits and adjustments on different platforms. The second benefit is running promotions. Amazon being the bully company as they are try and squeeze us indie authors in different ways (more of this in a blog for another day). One feature however that seems like you should be able to do, but are limited to, is running promotion prices.

If you go direct with Amazon and don’t go exclusive with them (meaning you add your ebook to other retail outlets as well) you are unable to run price promotions. While you can change your price overall, it isn’t seen as a promotion so instead of seeing 3.99 with .99c next to it, you just see the .99c. This means people that are just searching for books through Amazon they don’t know your book is on sale so this may be less of an influence for them to make a purchase. This is a big marketing factor you may want to keep in mind that may make you want to go through your distributor instead.

Now there is a way to circumvent this, but again it’s more work. If you put your book on sale someone can message Amazon and get them to price match this. This means they will knock it down to the .99 but usually it takes more time. On top of that you have to wait until your book is back to normal price on the other websites and then message them to let them know or they may not change it back for awhile.

So, what would I do vs what am I doing? If I could go back in time and tell my former self what to do this is what I would suggest: go direct with Amazon and use the kdp select option for 3 months. Honestly, this my advice for any new author trying to build a base. Your promotions will reach a wider audience this way while you’re just starting out and can bring you more Amazon reviews which open up marketing opportunities. (Why this is, I don’t know. But I went over this in my previous blog if you’re interested). This still means your Paperback and Audiobooks can be released wide during those 3 months, just not your ebook.

Now if I had more of a base? Definitely through my distributor. Marketing and keeping things in one spot is just that much less work. It may not seem like much when you’re just starting out, but as things progress unless you’re paying someone to run everything for you, the less time you have to spend getting everything set up the better. You already have your blog, podcast, interviews, emails, writing, recording, possibly artwork, promotion work and so much more that you’re working on — and most people will have more than one book that they’re working on in one way or the other. You can see how time as an independent author becomes limited.

That’s all I had for today. The next blog will be how you as a reader can best support your author, and a look behind the scenes and inside royalty payments on different platforms.

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