Is Pronoun a Good eBook Distributor?

Is Pronoun a good eBook distributor? I have been taking Pronoun self publishing services on a test drive and I'm excited with my results.

Maybe I’m alone here, but Pronoun is not a company whose name I was familiar with until a month ago when it was announced that Macmillan purchased them. Since then, I’ve spent some quality time examining Pronoun to see if they would make a good eBook distributer.

After taking them for a test drive, I’m ready to reveal my findings.

Pronoun offers some very intriguing tools when you go through the setup of publishing your book.

  1. Pronoun offers a “Cover Comparison” tool that allows you to compare your cover with the covers of books found in your category. This tool has great value. As I was loading Wild Space: Onslaught, I discovered how lacking my covers were in comparison to the covers of other books in my category. I immediately went to work in correcting this issue and I’ve already seen an improvement in book sales.
  2. When you upload your book to Pronoun, they take your finished manuscript and format it into an ePub file and Mobi file and give you six options for a professional layout that looks sharp on eReaders. The only thing I had to do to format my book for this service is to highlight the chapter headings and insert page breaks. The rest was done flawlessly through Pronoun. They also developed the table of contents for me. Very nice.
  3. When selecting categories to place your book, Pronoun gives you the stats from Amazon’s site and shows you the rankings of how similar books published through them, performs on Amazon’s Kindle Store. This is valuable and leads into point four…
  4. When you begin picking your keywords, Pronoun gives you the top-ranking keywords from Amazon’s Kindle Store – based on your selected category. They share the penetration rate, and show you how popular that keyword is with customer search. This data is priceless… and free through Pronoun.
  5. If you wish to distribute your book to Amazon through Pronoun, Pronoun gives you the option to set your book at free and Amazon honors that request. This beats having to play the price match game with Amazon. While I’m not currently taking advantage of this feature, I will be doing it in the future.
  6. Pronoun distributes your book to Kindle (if you choose to publish through KDP yourself, Pronoun will promote your Kindle link on your Pronoun book page), Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and GooglePlay. You have the freedom to choose who you wish to have Pronoun distribute your book to with no penalty or pressure. For me, I currently use Pronoun to distribute to iBooks and GooglePlay. The rest I do myself through their respective sites.
  7. Pronoun provides a slick service to send your finished eBook out to prospective reviewers. They provide download links for the ePub file and Mobi file (Kindle) that are easy for reviewers to go to and download their format of choice. Again, this is a free service and you can send out unlimited emails to all your potential reviewers.
  8. When you price your book, Pronoun shows you how your list price stacks up with other similar titles in your category. Most companies are offering this now, but I just wanted to point out that Pronoun is doing this also.
  9. Pronoun provides every author with a slick landing page for their books and for themselves as an author. I don’t personally use mine, but I set it up as it is one more valuable way for people to discover me and my books on the web.
  10. Like all other publishing platforms, Pronoun allows you to keep all your rights and keep all control over your titles. You can pull your titles from Pronoun at any time. Another added bonus is when you adjust your prices or modify your files, the changes go live within 48 hours on all sites.
  11. Finally, Pronoun offers pre-orders for your books through all services. I’ve never had much success with pre-orders, but the option is there for authors who do like it.

Pronoun puts authors back in control of every aspect of their title. If you need help in getting your book published, they have many options to help you connect with people that can help you realize your vision and keep all your rights.

All in all, I’m impressed with Pronoun and I can’t think of anything negative at this point except that they are a middleman. But I find a middleman is great to have when working with iBooks (because they require a Mac to publish books on their site) and GooglePlay (because I have found them to be inconsistent when trying to publish an eBook through them directly). It also gives me a free pricing option that is in my control if I use them to publish to Kindle.

Their interface is well planned out and the uploading is a breeze. The bonus features that I highlighted above make publishing an eBook a simple process with added marketing value.

While I’m not planning on making any distribution changes with my books currently in print, I am planning on releasing my future eBooks through Pronoun exclusively so I will have complete pricing control over my books. Doing price matching through Amazon has been a pain lately as they randomly switch my first book back to full price at odd ball times and then I have to price match again. With Pronoun, I can control when I want my book to go free on Amazon and Amazon will honor it.

In my opinion, Pronoun puts authors back in control of their works – something I feel Amazon has been slowly taking away from their authors. As I mentioned in my last post, I have long been a fan of Kindle Direct Publishing, but I’m tired of being forced to do things their way. Kindle only lets you promote your book for free for 5 days in a 90-day period as long as you make your book exclusive to them. If you wish to work the permafree angle, you need to get their cooperation – and that has been hit or miss for many of us authors.

Is Pronoun a good eBook distribution option? I say yes. I’m on board with them and I invite you to visit their website and see what they have to offer.

PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT receiving any compensation from Pronoun for my review. I AM NOT receiving any affiliate compensation if you visit their site. I am offering my own, honest opinion of Pronoun and its services based on my personal experiences.

Is it Time to Leave KDP Select and Diversify?

Is it time to move on from Kindle Direct Publishing and diversify by using services such as Pronoun, Smashwords, Kobo, and Nook Press?

Here’s a question that every self-published author needs to ask themselves in 2017: Is it time to leave Amazon KDP Select and diversify? As 2016 came to an end, I asked myself that very question, and here’s my discovery.

I started releasing my serial series Wild Space back in May of 2016. I decided to make them Kindle exclusive, so I signed up for KDP Select or Kindle Direct Publishing Select for those not familiar with the term. KDP Select forces your book to be only available on Amazon’s website for purchase or to be part of their Kindle Unlimited reader program for 90 days. After 90 days, you can choose to keep them in KDP Select or you can pull them out. But during this period of time, your books cannot be available for purchase anywhere else.

I had great success with the first 90 days of KDP Select, however, as I re-enrolled for another 90 days, I suddenly found my sales and page reads falling flat. I tried a few marketing techniques to get them fired up again, but I just couldn’t get the ball rolling again. So I asked myself, is it time to break free from KDP Select and try something new?

In October, I selected to not re-enroll my books in KDP Select. Immediately, any momentum in sales or page reads I had, disappeared completely – even though I had one month left in exclusivity. I’m not saying that Amazon stuck it to me, because I’m a small fish in a big pond – but I did notice an instant loss of sales and page reads when I chose not to renew my KDP Select contract.

Coincidence? Probably. But for the record, I’m not the only person to have noticed this.

As November rolled around, I started to set up my books on Smashwords (for distribution to libraries), on Pronoun (for distribution on iBooks and GooglePlay), on Kobo, and on Nook Press. The second the books came off exclusivity through Amazon KDP Select, I was ready to launch the books on the other platforms and start a new journey. Granted, I had no idea what to expect, but I was ready to go. I set the first book up as free and the rest at 99 cents and I was off to the races in December.

As the new voyage into diversifying my books began, I noticed that my Kindle sales were non-existent but immediately, my Nook sales took off. For every five free books that were acquired by Nook readers, three of those readers came back and purchased the rest of the series. I was shocked at this result. I have read all the reports that said that Nook is dead, yet my Nook sales were doing what Kindle hadn’t done. By the end of December, I had sold more books through Nook than I did through KDP Select.

Now, I’m not saying that this will ring true for all authors, but these are my results. Sales on iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo haven’t impressed me at all, but Nook sales blew my mind. I was getting solid results.

Another thing I saw was the return on investment.

I set up the first book in the Wild Space series to be permafree and the rest at 99 cents. For those not familiar with the term permafree – permafree is the act of setting your book up on a site that allows you to set your price at free and then asking Amazon to price match the book at free. On Nook, I found that for every 5 free books, 3 readers would return and purchase the rest of the series. On Kindle, for every 15 to 20 free books, only 1 reader would come back and trickle through the rest of the series.

So why is that?

I don’t have sales data to back up my theory, but I believe that Kindle readers are used to snagging free books and most of the time they sit on them – perhaps never even reading them. I’m a Kindle user and I can attest to that. My library is packed with free books I’ve never read.

Meanwhile, Nook hasn’t had the same amount of attention paid to it by independent authors. While Kindle Direct Publishing has soared, Nook and the others have been vastly ignored… which may make it an untapped potential. There are not nearly as many authors giving away their books for free on Nook as there are on Kindle, so the Nook readers find more value in those free books and may very well read them.

Another theory I have is that Kindle readers are converting to subscription based reading and are purchasing far fewer books. When I weigh the difference between sales on Kindle and sales on Nook, I am far better giving up my exclusivity and branching out to other platforms, because my sales on the other platforms are destroying the few sales and reads I was getting on Select.

I’m thrilled with the results I’ve found in diversifying. I don’t miss KDP. I’m finding a new audience that I would have never found had I not taken the chance and diversified.

Is this the right move for you?

I’m not sure. But maybe its time to experiment and find out. If you are exclusive on Amazon and haven’t been impressed with your sales, let your KDP Select expire and branch out for a few months and see what happens. If the results don’t impress you, go back to KDP Select and have the piece of mind in knowing that you are right where you need to be.

When I started my self publishing journey in 2009, I was sold on being exclusive through Amazon, but now I am convinced that every author needs to weigh their options and look at the possibility of branching out to other platforms.

You might just find – like me – that it’s time to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I have found that it is.