U is for Ubiquity


letter uDespite rumors to the contrary, ubiquity is not always a way to sell more anything.


Authors have varied opinions about exclusivity, but the ardent executive often wonders why. Exclusivity is offering your book on one platform for a specified period or forever. One of the benefits of exclusive titles is the platform is eager to sell your title and marketing for you.

Opening periods of exclusivity are commonplace in far more than the publishing world. It gives customers the feeling of having something which is available in small quantity, ergo more valuable.

But my customers shop…

Most authors want to get on the platform with the largest number of shoppers. This sounds like a simple supply and demand argument. If you believe it is, you are looking only at one side.

First, most authors believe being in the biggest store is the easiest way to be found. Ever heard There are a lot of fish in the sea? It is true. The larger the platform, the more books on it. These books are competition. Virtual shelves packed to overflowing means customers need to know precisely what your book is to find it or you have to have sold enough copies to rank for your keywords.

one hundred dollars $100

Second, nothing is free. To justify some of the fees, platforms offer some “services” to you. The most common of which is adding their DRM and one of their ISBN to your book. Now, your book is indelibly branded by the platform. Even when you (or your publisher) have already registered your book’s forms, the same treatment given to self-publishers is applied to your professionally published book… for the same price the platform charges the person who uploaded a word processor document.

Another service is the shopping cart. To keep you from hosting a site and accepting payments, which can get pricey for a first time author at $50-$150 per month, platforms host the shopping cart, collect all the customer information and handle returns. Occasionally, they will toss in email notices to former clients to buy something, which could be your book.

Third, scrapers are ruthless. Have you shopped for a book to see the new, used and other prices? Large platforms sell their product lists. Virtual bookstores buy the information or scrape it from newly listed rolls and list your book at a lower price, claim it ships from another country or offer it for twice the price with free shipping.


dimeTo minimize the number of payment transactions, all platforms have a minimum payment threshold. Until your royalties reach a certain level, you will not be paid. The platform gets to hold your royalties in an interest-bearing account (with thousands of others) until you make enough.

Pricing your book to minimize losses is difficult. You either have to stay on the platform perpetually, or risk losing rightfully earned royalties. If you can price your book exactly so it earns an even factor of the payment threshold, you may have to price your book out of the safe zone.


When you are marketing your book, offering your customers what they are looking for is difficult enough when there are multiple formats, e.g. iTunes app, Kindle, PDF, paperback. How interested are you in marketing for more than one website?

The majority of large platforms get large because huge numbers of authors are driving traffic to their sites. Want proof? Go to Twitter and search “amazon”.

Baskets and Eggs

No one truly wants all their eggs in one basket. Where the rubber meets the road is answering the following question:

Can I effectively market and reach enough potential customers to create volume sufficient to meet monthly thresholds in all the places which offer selling platforms?”

Before you decide you are willing to put your book everywhere there is a storefront, consider how many people you will need to drive there before you get paid for the sales you are working so hard to make.

How are selling platforms similar to social media platforms? What other downfalls are there to having your book on many platforms? Is it worth the work for the lower profit margin?

Hashtags: #AtoZChallenge #platforms #marketing

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  1. I just want millions to buy my book and send me money. So much to think about! I would image a lot of your sales are going to be as a result of promotion one way or another, since few people are going to know your book exists if you don’t get the word out.
    Binky recently posted..Backards EnglishMy Profile

    • Exactly. I have watched many who struggle with marketing think the “sell it everywhere” tack is going to make them more money. In the end, they have a little money everywhere without anyone with enough money to pay.

  2. Wow! This is great information. I’m new at all of this. My first book, The Basement will be releasing soon, and I’m trying to build my writer’s platform. Unfortunately I know nothing about marketing. This has been very helpful. Thank you! 😀
    Vashti Quiroz-Vega recently posted..It’s only water? Tell that to a drowning boy.My Profile

    • Good to see you, Vashti. There are a number of posts here on marketing books. I hope you find more which are helpful.

  3. Reason number 20 why I’ll never be successful at this. Hah.
    Alexandra Heep recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Things you See in a Trailer ParkMy Profile

  4. To all sounds so daunting to me. It seems one needs a magician or a LOT of friends who love you enough to buy your book–kind of.

    What I got out of this post is you shouldn’t spread yourself too thin. Concentrate on one platform and give it all you’ve got. Sounds practical but overwhelming.
    tess kann recently posted..Flash in the Pan: BusboyMy Profile

    • It is far less overwhelming to have a few eggs to tend than a whole clutch. I look at it as an investment. Investing the time to tend them makes them hatch sooner. xxx

  5. What I get here is for me personally to avoid the large platforms. I do not want my profits in large accounts which are inaccessible to me unless I reach X thresh hold of sales. With a flooded market that is less likely for my book. The ideal is what I am doing, which is to market to the RP site using my fingers in Social Media. I think Social Media is like the large platforms in that statistically it takes fifty posts to reach one customer. And that’s much better odds than the large selling sites!
    Gail Thornton recently posted..Mantra’s Book of Shadows, Dark Poetry by Red DwyerMy Profile

    • The only problem I see with the 50-1 paradigm is exhausting the customers you have without cultivating more of them. Statistically, it is better to have very targeted post than to blanket everywhere at once. I think we may still need a deconstruction primer for some platforms. xxx

  6. The good news is that there are ways around the minimal threshold limits for some distributors. Apple doesn’t like to cut checks for small sales. A third party aggregator like Smashwords has a greatly reduced threshold and can get a book listed on numerous platforms,including Apple.
    Red is right…there’re lots of decisions to make before publishing.
    Thanks Red.
    Barb recently posted..The Gift for Someone Who Doesn’t Need AnythingMy Profile

    • Aggregators are a matter of trust. Not only must you trust the aggregator, but you must trust the transparency between the aggregator and the platforms it represents. Beyond that, you must be willing to take a lower royalty than what is offered for driving traffic directly to the platform of customer choice. The balancing act is a tough one.

      I am very glad to see you!! I hope you have been well. <3 xxx

  7. As you always do, information information information.

    You provide so much of it in a form 99% can understand easily. Now it is just a matter of will they.
    Valentine Logar recently posted..Peeking Out of My Cave, PIIMy Profile

  8. Since I know nothing about such matters I can certainly relate to this! 🙁

    Even getting relatives to buy the books has proven hard! 🙁

    God Bless!

    Prenin recently posted..Wednesday – The form from Atos arrives.My Profile

  9. My book is not published yet (soon!) and I have so much to learn. Thanks for advice about marketing that I will soon have to look into. At least I have a step forward that is big – my social media profiles grow everyday as I share my articles. Soon I will also be able to share links to my book, now that’s a reason to smile!
    Christy Birmingham recently posted..Dave Matthews Band: I Crash into a PoemMy Profile

  10. All the choices and decisions one needs to make only highlight the need for a good publicists and managers you trust to help you choose what to do.

    MJ Logan recently posted..W is for Water DogMy Profile

    • True. Unless you are working with someone who knows where a lot of the tripping hazards are, you are out in the ocean with no gyroscope… provided you know how to use one in the first place. I love all the “simple tools to track your progress” offered on most platforms. There is simply not enough information. Harkens back to my retail days… but that is a post all unto itself.


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