Have you written a book that you want to publish?
We are here to help. This series of blog posts are taken from Self-Publishing Tips and Tricks. You can receive your free copy here.
Where to Publish Your Book
You have written a book. Congratulations! Or perhaps you are still writing your book, and want to learn how to publish it when you are done.
Your first question may be: Where can I publish my book?
It depends upon whether you’d like to publish an ebook or a print book.
Let’s start with ebooks.
Publish your ebook
The main platforms to publish your ebook include Amazon KDP (for Kindle books), NookPress for Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, and Apple. There are others, as well, but I will focus upon these five, because they are the biggest e-tailers (retail outlets for ebooks).
Amazon is by far the biggest seller of ebooks. You can upload your book through their KDP platform. Then you can choose whether or not to include your book in their KDP Select program. If you choose this option, then you promise Amazon that you will not distribute your book anywhere else for a three month period. (This also means that you cannot offer it for free on Prolific Works, or anywhere else for free, either.) You can choose whether that period automatically renews or not.
Here is more information about KDP Select:
You can, of course, choose not to enter the KDP Select program. Then your book will still be available on Amazon, but you will also be able to distribute it and upload it to other e-tailers, too.
There are pros and cons to using KDP Select, compared to going “wide” and using regular KDP and distributing your book to other e-tailers. KDP Select offers advantages to you if you make your book exclusively available on Amazon.
Some experts recommend that you use KDP Select for your first book(s), and then “go wide” as you publish more books. Going “wide” in this specific instance means to distribute your first books to other e-tailers, as well as Amazon.
Here is a great article that addresses the pros and cons of using KDP Select:
If you would like to distribute your ebook to many e-tailers, you have several options. You can upload your ebook to each e-tailer individually, or you can use Smashwords to do that for you.
Smashwords will distribute your books to Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, and a number of other e-tailers for you. Smashwords will not distribute your book to Amazon unless you have made $2,000 worth of sales on Smashwords. Needless to say, it is much more beneficial to upload your book directly to KDP.
In order to take advantage of Smashwords’ services, all you have to do is open an account, and upload the book on their site. Then they will distribute your book to all of the e-tailers that you select. If you don’t mind giving Smashwords a small cut of your earnings, Smashwords is the way to go if you’d prefer not to upload your book separately to each e-tailer’s platform. Smashwords is especially helpful if you do not have a Mac computer, and if you’d like to upload your book to Apple iBooks. If you’d like to upload your book to Apple yourself, you will need a Mac computer.
Here are the links to the e-tailers:
NookPress (Barnes & Noble)
(You need a Mac computer.)
Publish your print book
Just as with ebooks, several options are available if you’d like to publish your book in print. The main print platforms are KDP and IngramSpark (Lightning Source).
If you are just starting out, and will only publish one or a few books, KDP is the easiest way to go. It is free. You can upload the PDF files of your book interior and cover (or use their cover creator), and they will make your book into a print book. You can order copies, and choose where you’d like your book to be distributed. Options include distribution through the Amazon website, expanded distribution, and distribution to libraries (this option requires that you use a KDP assigned ISBN).
KDP is user friendly, and as mentioned before, free. You can upload and make revisions to your files for free. By contrast, IngramSpark (Lightning Source) will charge fees (please see the next section).
When you choose to distribute your book to the Amazon website, you agree to pay KDP a 40% discount on the retail price of your book. This means that if you have chosen to sell your book for $10, they will get $4. Out of the remaining $6, the cost of printing the book will be subtracted. If the printing cost is $3.50, that means you would receive $2.50 total profit for selling that one book. Expanded distribution requires that you pay a 60% discount in order to make your book available at Barnes & Noble and other retailers. (Note: If you make a print book sale on the Amazon website, you would only pay a 40% discount, even if you have selected expanded distribution.)
While expanded distribution means you are giving a 60% discount to KDP, the 40% discount that physical (bricks and mortar) bookstores typically require in order to stock your book is not being passed along to them. Which means that bricks and mortar bookstores may not want to stock your book. If you choose a 55% discount at IngramSpark, however, the full 40% discount is passed on to the bricks and mortar store. Please see this article for more information:
IngramSpark is for authors and publishers with only a few books to sell. Lightning Source (http://www.lightningsource.com) is for publishers with a larger list of titles to publish. The main benefit of Ingram Spark is that you can set your discount to retailer, which can mean more money for you, if you choose to give a short discount, such as 20%. See the following article for more information:
IngramSpark charges $49 to upload your book for print distribution. They will also distribute your ebooks for you, which costs $25. If you do both, they will only charge you $49 total:
However, if you want to make revisions to your title later, they will charge you $25:
In addition, IngramSpark charges a $12 yearly fee to keep your book in their catalogue. KDP is free.
IngramSpark’s file submission requirements are also more stringent than those of KDP. For the last seven years, I have helped authors navigate the tricky waters of IngramSpark/Lightning Source’s requirements. I create interior and cover files that meet their publishing standards. See this PDF to see an overview of IngramSpark’s requirements:
Mention this book, and we will give you a 25% discount!
NookPress (Barnes & Noble)
NookPress also offers an option to publish your book. If you publish your print book through NookPress, it will be available in the online Barnes & Noble bookstore.
So which print publisher should you choose? KDP or IngramSpark? If you only have one or two books, I would definitely recommend using KDP. It’s user friendly, free, and print proof copies are cheap, if you’d like a print copy sent to you (they cost much more at IngramSpark).
Next week, we’ll post tips about how you can be certain your book is ready to be published. It will be #2 in our 5 part How to Self-Publish Your Books, Tips and Tricks series.