You guys make some good points about KU vs. wide. So now I'm wondering, does anyone have experience going with KU at first and then going wide (not switching back and forth multiple times, but just starting in KU as an author and then moving everything wide)?
I'm curious how well it might work for a new author to do KU to gain some traction, then move everything wide after they've built up a bit of a backlist.
* Dec 2015 - Dec 2016 I was KU (revenues 40% direct sales, 60% KU sales). scifi Trilogy + 1 stand alone (released during that year)
* Jan 2017 went wide - with all books, plus launched 5th book
* Revenues since then: January 2017 equaled Dec 2016 (so no hit going wide). February month-over-month 50% increase. March m-o-m 100% increase. April m-o-m 75% increase at this point (i've doubled my units sold in April compared to January and the month isn't over).
* Since January (so 3.5 months) revenues have risen 250-300%.
Now, that's not all due to going wide. I spent about $200 in promos in those months, whereas previously I hadn't spent anything in my first year of publishing. Also, going permafree helped sales a LOT (I've since stopped that, but it was helpful for the period when I used it).
So it's hard to compare apples to apples because it's all tied to different strategies you are using. But at least now, when I implement a strategy it results in a full priced sale
($4.99) not some crappy $2.40 from KU (that's if KU even records the pages read).
In terms of my sales now:
* 50% from Amazon, 40% from kobo, 10% from itunes, 0% from B&N.
* This can fluctuate, some months Kobo beats Amazon, this month Amazon is kicking Kobos butt though with about 60% of my sales.
I have no way of knowing how much KU brought in fans who now read me through direct purchases. I know there are a few.
Generally though, I don't think KU bleeds into direct. The KU readers seem to be a segment unto themselves generally speaking. So building presence there I honestly don't think helps much on the direct side of your selling efforts.
And for whatever the reason, I find KU readers are utterly atrocious at leaving reviews (they simply hardly ever do). Whereas direct buyers, for whatever the reason, are far more apt to do so (or at least I find).
All to say, for all the stories of going wide being a disaster, I definitely haven't found that to be the case. But who knows, maybe that will change in time and the other stores will dry up for me at some point.