Wednesday, 6 August 2014

IWSG: Expanding My Reach

It's the first Wednesday of the month, and time for members of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to share their writerly insecurities. The group was started by Alex J. Cavanaugh, and those interested in joining in can visit for more information.

This month, my post does not center upon an insecurity per say, or writing for that matter, but rather on something closer to the business side of self-publishing. Okay, so I've been talking about expanding my reach for quite some time now. And by expanding my reach, I'm referring to making my books available on other channels and retail outlets outside of Amazon (who owns more than half of the ebook market by the way).

Unlike Amazon, many of the prominent online retailers out there do not accept direct ebook submissions from self-published writers. And those that do usually have restrictions that prevent international writers from submitting, which is where a company like Smashwords comes into play; they help distribute ebooks to several sales channels like Barnes & Noble, and are in fact the only point of entry, for self-publishers, into the stores of newer subscription-based services like Scribd and Oyster.

So I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't take the Smashwords route to those channels sooner. That, my friend, was due to another bump I encountered along this long and winding road called self-publishing. Smashwords requires a PayPal account in order for you to receive payments from them. But as fate would have it, Nigeria was one of perhaps three countries excluded from using PayPal.

Thankfully, that restriction was lifted recently when PayPal decided to deem us worthy of inclusion. Ah, yes, happy times. The result? My books are now available on B&N, iTunes and others. All that is left now is for me to sort out my tax information, pending which a sizable percentage of my combined earnings would be retained by Smashwords. Hopefully the process won't turn out to be as time-consuming as I already fear it might be.