Author Topic: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?  (Read 1364 times)

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« on: October 01, 2018, 10:00:45 PM »
Hi,


I've been a lurker at the other place for years, and decided to stick a toe in the water here. Thanks for all the wisdom many of you have provided over the years!


My novels and most shorts have been in KU for about two years. About half my readers are in KU, including about 30-40% of my fanatical fans.


I'm thinking of making my next novel wide so I can attempt to get a BB.


If you've gone from KU to wide, how did you explain it to your readers, and what was their reaction?


I tend not to want to drag my readers into my marketing/advertising challenges so I don't really want to "explain" why the book isn't in KU.


btw, this book is testing the water for going wide.


Thanks for your insights.
 

WasAnn

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2018, 10:23:31 PM »
Oh, I went through this a couple of years ago too. Whew, it's touchy. Here are some suggestions based on my less-than-perfect experience.

Some KU readers will take it personally if you explain too much, but not because they're rabid KU fans. Instead, some will feel guilty if they think them being in KU instead of a book buyer is hurting an author they really like to read.

So, avoid negativity.

A better solution than a new book might be to take an older book wide, one with reviews and a history. Better yet, a series. This gives you two bonuses: 1) You've got reviews and history on it which is more likely to get a BB and, 2) You've already let your KU readers have their shot at it.

To make it even more effective, let your readers know via newsletter than you're taking X book (or series) wide because you'd like to qualify for better advertising, so they have until Y date to grab it in KU. You'll likely get a little boost from NL folks who don't want to miss out on the KU time.

Just my two cents. :)


Science Fiction is my game.
 
The following users thanked this post: PsychThrillGirl

TimothyEllis

  • Forum Owner
  • Administrator
  • Trilogy unlocked
  • ******
  • Posts: 2018
  • Thanked: 803 times
  • Gender: Male
  • Earth Galaxy somewhere, 2616
    • The Hunter Legacy Universe
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2018, 11:17:45 PM »
My experience of being wide was like this.

Seriously pissed off KU readers, many of whom are in KU because they cant afford to buy the enormous number of books they read. You can expect negative reviews from them on the next book, when they find they cant read it.

Major drop in income. So even if your book launches well, you're cutting its income in half.

You still probably wont get a BB.

Being exclusive with amazon is only a small reason why BB wont give you one. If they dont like your book, your voice, the way its edited, the cover, the blurb, or the use of the f word on the first page or whatever, going wide will not get them to change their mind.

I've been suggesting people dont go wide unless they already have had a BB while in KU. Once you've had a full one, the chances of getting another one are much better. But until you get one, going wide isn't going to change anything. And it is like shooting yourself in the foot financially.

Genres: Space Opera/Fantasy/Cyberpunk, with elements of LitRPG and GameLit. Also Spiritual and Games.

  

Timothy Ellis Kindle Author page. | Join the Hunter Legacy mailing list | The Hunter Legacy series on Facebook. | Forum Promo Page.
 
The following users thanked this post: PsychThrillGirl

guest14

  • Guest
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2018, 01:06:01 AM »

A better solution than a new book might be to take an older book wide, one with reviews and a history. Better yet, a series. This gives you two bonuses: 1) You've got reviews and history on it which is more likely to get a BB and, 2) You've already let your KU readers have their shot at it.


This^^^ Because you won't offend readers who've already bought, downloaded and read your book BUT you will attract lots of NEW readers who have yet to enjoy your series. <<< This is definitely a Win\Win scenario.
 
The following users thanked this post: PsychThrillGirl

Oscar Luster

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2018, 01:42:49 AM »
As someone who is considering stepping out of KU and venturing into the wild open spaces of "The Wide" for the first time, I have a strategy question along the same lines as the OP.


Would it be feasible, helpful, or at all wise to debut each series in KU then move it wide after it runs its time? Maybe cycle each series through both markets at alternating times every year or so? Wondering if the time involved in doing so would be prohibitive and whether having some KU pages read income from them during certain times of the year would offset the initial slow start when going wide?


So much to consider...


OP, have you considered doing something like this to please both sets of readers? Maybe including info in the ML newsletter so that both KU and wide readers would know when to look for it where they like to buy?



 
The following users thanked this post: PsychThrillGirl

guest116

  • Guest
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2018, 01:54:49 AM »
I didn't explain, and nobody complained. I was all in KU, and participated in a wide boxed set that granted me new readers from other retailers. After that I moved all of my books to the other retailers. I don't even know if my subscribers noticed that I went from posting various Amazon links, to posting links to every retailer. I never even offered an explanation and like I said, I never received any complaints.

I had thought about posting why I was moving to other retailers, but I realized whiny is never a good look. Explaining that Amazon corners authors into a low pay rate to readers or about advertising restrictions, in my opinion, could come off as whiny. If I had tried it, I know it would've come off that way. They don't care that authors are having issues. They just care about reading the next book.

So I agree - you won't offend those who have already bought your books, and you'll gain more readers from the other platforms.

As for cycling in and out of KU - I think that's the best way to tick readers off. Pick one plan or the other. Retailers have been burnt more times than once by author's moving their books in and out, and they tend to give less algorithm love to those who do that. Putting a brand new series in KU for 90 days before going wide might work out okay. But I wouldn't suggest having half of your catalog in KU and the other half out. It's frustrating for readers who read one of your books to find out they can't find anything else you've written on their retailer of choice.
 
The following users thanked this post: Oscar Luster, Michelle Louring, PsychThrillGirl

Max

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2018, 02:12:48 AM »
My personal rule is not to discuss writer business (tactics) with my readers. Plus, bless their hearts, they have a horse in this race. And it's not the same horse as mine.

Not knowing the genre, I'm assuming you're going wide because your pages-income isn't where you want it to be?

When I took my main pen name wide, I started with the oldest, first book. I didn't permafree it until I had 3-4 books wide, because, well, there was no reason to, since a free book wide is pointless if they don't have other books to read after they get hooked on that one. Disclosure: I had more than twenty books out in a series before I went wide. I was doing well in KU, well enough, five figure months and all that, but I didn't like the notion of all my eggs being in one basket.I participated in a box set that was wide in order to garner an audience, and of course I applied for a Bookbub. I'd had three or four before I was wide, and probably another half dozen since going wide. 

Wow. I think I gave you more than you asked for. I'm tempted to backspace and delete, but won't. For now.
 
The following users thanked this post: WasAnn, Oscar Luster, DrewMcGunn, PsychThrillGirl

WasAnn

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2018, 02:16:21 AM »
As someone who is considering stepping out of KU and venturing into the wild open spaces of "The Wide" for the first time, I have a strategy question along the same lines as the OP.


Would it be feasible, helpful, or at all wise to debut each series in KU then move it wide after it runs its time? Maybe cycle each series through both markets at alternating times every year or so? Wondering if the time involved in doing so would be prohibitive and whether having some KU pages read income from them during certain times of the year would offset the initial slow start when going wide?


So much to consider...


OP, have you considered doing something like this to please both sets of readers? Maybe including info in the ML newsletter so that both KU and wide readers would know when to look for it where they like to buy?


Everyone's reader list is different, and genre can sometimes play a role in your choice this way. Though I'm SF, I've got a few Romance friends who were in a bind with respect to KU.

Romance has heavy KU users, and many authors wind up with a list that's so heavy on KU users that there's real concern that they'll alienate their current reliable readers before building up a wide audience.

True, some authors in Romance don't have this problem, but many do. True, some authors have such high sales that they don't care, but many do.

A good middle ground solution is exactly what you said: release new books into KU for one cycle, then go wide.

That helped many with a successful move to wide because of two things:

1) They kept their KU readers and ensured KU readers would prioritize their book when it was released, compressing those borrows into the first KU cycle.

2) They had the time to build up their wide reader base before they depended on that wide reader base. By keeping their KU royalties coming in for new books, and steadily taking their older catalogs wide, getting BookBubs or other effective wide ads, and focusing heavily on developing a list segment of wide readers, they were able to keep the initial KU-amputation bleeds to a minimum.


Science Fiction is my game.
 
The following users thanked this post: Oscar Luster, PsychThrillGirl

WasAnn

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #8 on: October 02, 2018, 02:17:27 AM »
My personal rule is not to discuss writer business (tactics) with my readers. Plus, bless their hearts, they have a horse in this race. And it's not the same horse as mine.

::snip::

Wise words.


Science Fiction is my game.
 

guest14

  • Guest
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #9 on: October 02, 2018, 02:51:26 AM »
My personal rule is not to discuss writer business (tactics) with my readers. Plus, bless their hearts, they have a horse in this race. And it's not the same horse as mine.

::snip::

Wise words.

Indeedy!
 

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #10 on: October 02, 2018, 04:05:07 AM »
Wow! Thanks everyone for such thorough answers. I have even more to think about!
 

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2018, 04:07:08 AM »
Oh, I went through this a couple of years ago too. Whew, it's touchy. Here are some suggestions based on my less-than-perfect experience.

Some KU readers will take it personally if you explain too much, but not because they're rabid KU fans. Instead, some will feel guilty if they think them being in KU instead of a book buyer is hurting an author they really like to read.

So, avoid negativity.

A better solution than a new book might be to take an older book wide, one with reviews and a history. Better yet, a series. This gives you two bonuses: 1) You've got reviews and history on it which is more likely to get a BB and, 2) You've already let your KU readers have their shot at it.

To make it even more effective, let your readers know via newsletter than you're taking X book (or series) wide because you'd like to qualify for better advertising, so they have until Y date to grab it in KU. You'll likely get a little boost from NL folks who don't want to miss out on the KU time.

Just my two cents. :)


Good suggestion. I was initially thinking aboout just the new book for now, but you've made me think about having a comprehensive plan before stepping out.
 

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2018, 04:15:35 AM »
Quote
Everyone's reader list is different, and genre can sometimes play a role in your choice this way. Though I'm SF, I've got a few Romance friends who were in a bind with respect to KU. Romance has heavy KU users, and many authors wind up with a list that's so heavy on KU users that there's real concern that they'll alienate their current reliable readers before building up a wide audience.True, some authors in Romance don't have this problem, but many do. True, some authors have such high sales that they don't care, but many do.



I'm psychological thriller and some horror (ghost stories). I know I have some voracious readers because they've said so, but no idea how many. My gut suggests it's a rather small group, but my gut has been wrong before!
 

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2018, 05:03:08 AM »
My personal rule is not to discuss writer business (tactics) with my readers. Plus, bless their hearts, they have a horse in this race. And it's not the same horse as mine.


Mine as well!

Quote
Not knowing the genre, I'm assuming you're going wide because your pages-income isn't where you want it to be?


Mostly psych thriller. Page read income seems to have dropped after the KU gaming clean-up. (?? not sure if it's related, but that's my impression.) This makes it seem like a good time to re-assess. Despite other stores being a relatively narrow slice of the ebook pie, I don't like all my eggs in one basket either.

Quote
When I took my main pen name wide, I started with the oldest, first book. I didn't permafree it until I had 3-4 books wide, because, well, there was no reason to, since a free book wide is pointless if they don't have other books to read after they get hooked on that one. Disclosure: I had more than twenty books out in a series before I went wide. I was doing well in KU, well enough, five figure months and all that, but I didn't like the notion of all my eggs being in one basket.I participated in a box set that was wide in order to garner an audience, and of course I applied for a Bookbub. I'd had three or four before I was wide, and probably another half dozen since going wide. 

Wow. I think I gave you more than you asked for. I'm tempted to backspace and delete, but won't. For now.


Not too much at all, thanks!
 

guest642

  • Guest
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2018, 05:56:37 AM »
My personal rule is not to discuss writer business (tactics) with my readers. Plus, bless their hearts, they have a horse in this race. And it's not the same horse as mine.

Not knowing the genre, I'm assuming you're going wide because your pages-income isn't where you want it to be?

When I took my main pen name wide, I started with the oldest, first book. I didn't permafree it until I had 3-4 books wide, because, well, there was no reason to, since a free book wide is pointless if they don't have other books to read after they get hooked on that one. Disclosure: I had more than twenty books out in a series before I went wide. I was doing well in KU, well enough, five figure months and all that, but I didn't like the notion of all my eggs being in one basket.I participated in a box set that was wide in order to garner an audience, and of course I applied for a Bookbub. I'd had three or four before I was wide, and probably another half dozen since going wide. 

Wow. I think I gave you more than you asked for. I'm tempted to backspace and delete, but won't. For now.


Going wide now with the first book, and if it works out, I might put the whole series wide. This has been tremendously helpful, thanks!
 

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2018, 06:18:19 AM »
As someone who is considering stepping out of KU and venturing into the wild open spaces of "The Wide" for the first time, I have a strategy question along the same lines as the OP.


Would it be feasible, helpful, or at all wise to debut each series in KU then move it wide after it runs its time? Maybe cycle each series through both markets at alternating times every year or so? Wondering if the time involved in doing so would be prohibitive and whether having some KU pages read income from them during certain times of the year would offset the initial slow start when going wide?


So much to consider...

Yes, much to consider, especially reading all the experienced advice here.

Quote
OP, have you considered doing something like this to please both sets of readers? Maybe including info in the ML newsletter so that both KU and wide readers would know when to look for it where they like to buy?


I have considered this. I'm definitely planning to make it a slow move.


I'm very conflicted. I've viewed KU as a way to meet the needs of voracious readers. To me, the exchange in value was taking a lower royalty for better visibility, and originally, access to Amazon Ads. The visibility boost has been minimal for me, and the ads became much more expensive once they were opened to all and trad pub entered the field. (Not to get off topic here, but KU makes ad profitability a daily head-banging challenge -- lack of data, low payment per "book".)
 

Crystal

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2018, 02:47:29 PM »
Hoping to score a BookBub isn't a good reason to go wide. Even if you do score a BookBub, that's a short term sales boost. What are your long term reasons for publishing this book wide?


I don't think you need to explain anything to readers, but you might want to let them know what to expect in terms of KU/wide. Will this book be wide for awhile then in KU? Will it launch into KU then go wide (I never understood this strategy. Why would any wide readers want to stick with you if they have to wait 90 days?). Will it always be wide? You should know your 6-12 month plan before you tell readers what to expect.
 
The following users thanked this post: RPatton, PsychThrillGirl

RPatton

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2018, 03:06:34 PM »

(We really need an agree button, I keep on thanking people when I agree with them.)

I actually disagree with the idea of putting a book in KU first. Wide readers are a tough nut, but when they fall for an author they are loyal, and they do not like having to wait to get their books if they don't buy on Amazon.


I suggest a survey for your readers. Write a short story and for those who complete the survey, they get the short as way of thanks. Include different things from how many books they read a week or month to how many they buy? What store would they prefer to buy from? Do they belong to a subscription plan? If so, which one?


If 80% of your newsletter is KU, it's going to be an uphill battle, but the survey will give you a better idea than what you can guess at.


As for readers not needing an explanation, they really don't, so don't give it to them. However, let them know that you've decided to offer your books in other stores and so that means you'll be removing them from KU. Apologize for the inconvenience, and say you hope they'll still with you. Promise that you'll occasionally enroll a book in KU, but it won't be a new release (seriously, can't say this enough, in my experience and research, nothing annoys readers from other stores more than having to wait an extra 3 months to buy a book).


If you're serious about going wide, study the other stores. Look at Apple Books and Barnes and Noble and make your books look as close to those books as possible. There is a huge difference between wide and KU (neither is better than the other), and you need to be aware that Amazon's market is a very different market from the other storefronts.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 05:04:19 AM by RPatton »
 
The following users thanked this post: LD, PsychThrillGirl

PsychThrillGirl

  • Tag Line unlocked
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2018, 09:45:56 PM »
Thanks all for your excellent advice. You've given me a lot to think about. Time for a step back and some career planning!
 

Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

  • Short Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 411
  • Thanked: 226 times
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, and Suspense
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2018, 10:17:10 AM »
This is what I put on Facebook and Twitter today.

I'll be taking my books out of Kindle Unlimited for Christmas...so they'll be available everywhere.  :heart:
https://www.amazon.com/Lorri-Moulton/e/B01KYE7VNA
Photo courtesy of Santa’s Christmas Scrapbook

            
Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
Lavender Lass Books | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter |YouTube
 

catowned

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2018, 10:50:07 AM »
Lorri, I saw this and signed in to say

I love this photo! 
It says Northern Christmas. And it makes me think your stories are heartwarming.


eta. where's the holiday tree emoti
 
The following users thanked this post: Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

JRTomlin

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2018, 12:18:51 PM »
I never 'told' anyone. One by one as my older novels dropped out of KU, I took them wide and my next new novel will be wide.  However, I write a good genre for going wide. It has still been a slow slog getting a following though.

 

Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

  • Short Novel unlocked
  • ***
  • Posts: 411
  • Thanked: 226 times
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, and Suspense
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2018, 01:08:35 PM »
Lorri, I saw this and signed in to say

I love this photo! 
It says Northern Christmas. And it makes me think your stories are heartwarming.


eta. where's the holiday tree emoti

Thank you, Cat
            
Author of Romance, Fantasy, Mystery, Suspense and Historical Non-Fiction.
Lavender Lass Books | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter |YouTube
 

lyndabelle

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2018, 08:01:50 AM »
I made the decision to go wide back in the spring this year. I just unchecked my whole erotica catalog and let my readers know in my newsletter and blog that I was doing it, but that it was going to take 3-5 months for everything to migrate out. So, I did a slow migration out of KU, doing some promos saying last chance for KU on different titles. By September, all my titles were out. Then, I've started the slow migration to release them wide, and I'm going one series at a time. I'm using D2D to release wide. I tried Kobo for a few titles directly so I could do some promos, but their system just had huge problems for me to work with. SO, I stopped, and have just decided to do all releases wide through D2D.

I had the first good month since I started the migration in November. I released my first new short in like a year, and that helped too. I have another rather longer short that will be starting a new series for next year, and I'll finish another series too. So, going wide is revitalizing my catalog. I'd been in KU for over 2 years, and the whole recategorization on the Zon including putting steamy romance into erotica has just ruined the whole venue for me. I have to pay for ads, which basically take all of my royalties. So, I think just teaming up and helping each other is a way out of this. When people got so much choice, they look for shortcuts. And recommendations from authors they like is a way to find good books without slogging through the mess that is Amazon right now.

But I'm looking forward to continuing going wide in 2019 and hopefully a much better year than 2018 was. This whole year has been one disappoint from Amazon after another. So, going wide is the only option to stay in business right now.
 

Marigold

Re: How do you tell your readers you're going wide?
« Reply #24 on: December 19, 2018, 07:13:40 AM »
Lorri, I saw this and signed in to say

I love this photo! 
It says Northern Christmas. And it makes me think your stories are heartwarming.


eta. where's the holiday tree emoti



Thank you, Cat

 ^^^Love your tree, Lori.