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Should You Go Wide As An Indie Author?

Choosing between wide distribution or exclusivity is one of the toughest decisions an Indie author has to face. While going wide has proven more lucrative for many, there are others who have also gained success by keeping their eggs in one basket. So which would work for you? Will going wide give you your big break?

What Is Wide Distribution?

According to Draft2Digital, “going wide” or “non-exclusive distribution” simply means that your work is being distributed on several platforms, rather than being distributed on only one. The term is also sometimes used in lieu of “global distribution,” which means your books are sold to multiple regional markets.

Amazon, a storefront commonly used by Indie authors, allows you to go wide but in a limited manner. You can distribute your catalog to more than one regional market and you can choose the regions where your books will be available for purchase.

If you want to distribute your books on several storefronts, you have two options. First, you can go directly from store to store. This ensures faster payment and more control over the categories in which you appear. The latter is essential, as it can greatly affect your discoverability and visibility.

However, this option is feasible only when you have published a few books. When you have three titles or more, distribution aggregators like Draft2Digital and Smashwords can save you from wasting your precious time and energy. With these channels, you can distribute your work on a variety of storefronts and regional markets from only one place.

What Are The Advantages Of Going Wide?

Wide distribution gives you more advantages than just opening you up to a bigger market. The Everyday Author believes that it also provides Indie writers with security and stability.  

Think of this situation. What happens when a distributor decides to freeze your funds, discontinue promotions that benefit you, or close up shop in a region bringing in your strongest sales? If you chose to keep all of your eggs in one basket, expect to face a critical situation. Sales are going to drop until you find another storefront. However, had you opted to go wide, your income would only take a small blow, as other channels would be working for you.

Additionally, with full control over which regions can purchase your work, you can shift your attention from regional markets that generate weak sales and focus on ones that bring bigger margins.

When Should An Indie Author Go Wide?

As a new Indie writer, you may easily get discouraged about going wide, as it does not give immediate results. If you want to gain some financial success and build a loyal readership at the shortest time possible, exclusivity will work for you. 

Meanwhile, if you have a catalog of more than three books like Thang Publishing, and your goal is to reach a bigger audience, go for wide distribution. You may not enjoy short-term success when you choose this approach but you will surely reap the rewards in the long run.

You also have the option to combine both modes of distribution. How? You can start launching your work on a single platform, then after a certain period, you gradually release it across several channels. This strategy gives you the chance to reach out to a new readership with a slew of good reviews.

The answer depends largely on what your goals are. Evaluate what you are really aiming for before deciding to go wide.