You’ve done it! The sweat and tears have paid off, you’ve prepared your book for distribution and you finally have a book ready for market. So how do you distribute and sell your book as a self-publisher?
Selling copies through your business or via your website is a must – but what about all of the potential buyers who have never heard of your business? To reach these new markets and potential clients, you’ll need far wider distribution.
So where do you start? There are loads of different distribution options available and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to work out is best for you. In this post we’ll look at a few different options to alleviate some of that overwhelm.
IngramSpark is a publishing platform that offers integrated print and digital distribution services. Your book must be finished and formatted before you submit it and then IngramSpark will take care of printing, shipping and distribution.
You can set up your print book and eBook at the same time for $53. Print versions of your book are provided through a print-on-demand service via a partnership with Lighting Source and are shipped directly to the buyer. Printing and shipping costs will depend on your book type, the volume ordered and shipping locations – you can order as few or as many as you like.
These guys have a huge distribution network, offering access to over 39,000 booksellers, online retailers and libraries around the world for your print book. They also connect your eBook to every major eBook retailer in the world (including Amazon Kindle, Book Depository, Apple iBooks, Kobo and about 70 emerging retailers).
You get paid when your book is sold through their distribution network. You’ll earn between 45-60% of the list price less the printing costs for any hard copies and 40% of the list price for eBooks.
blurb provides free tools and software to help create your book if it isn’t print ready just yet. They offer print on demand and bulk print runs and have three selling and distribution choices for your print book. Once you’ve made your book you can choose from three distribution options.
Blurb Direct Sell gives you a personal storefront (and shelf space in blurb’s online bookstore) that you can include in your blog, website, or Facebook page. You get 100% of the profits from these sales (after printing costs).
Blurb to Amazon allows you to sell your book on the world’s largest bookstore, without the setup costs. You get to choose the list price for your book and you will keep all profits after printing costs and Amazon’s cut.
Their Global Retail Network puts your book in the Ingram Content Group catalog, making it available to both online and bricks and mortar retailers worldwide. You will set the list price and decide the wholesale discount (because your book will be sold through third-party bookstores they receive the book at a wholesale price). You keep all profits after printing costs and the retailer’s cut.
You can also use blurb’s free tools to create your eBook in various file formats, but because the distribution is not managed by blurb, you will need to submit your eBook to your eBook retailer of choice.
CreateSpace is an Amazon company so this option is all about getting print books distributed via all of the Amazon online stores and eBooks distributed via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP). In terms of creating your print or eBook, CreateSpace offers both free do-it-yourself tools as well as paid professional services.
Your print book will be available as a print-on-demand product via Amazon. You set the list price and will get the profit after Amazon’s share, which is made up of a per-book fixed price, a per-page cost and a percentage of the list price (between 20-60%) depending on the sales channel. The sales channels available are Amazon, Amazon Europe, your CreateSpace eStore or an expanded distribution (non-Amazon sales channels). Regardless of the sales channel, Amazon handles orders, payments and shipping for you.
For your eBook, you’ll have to sign up for a KDP account and Amazon will provide everything you need to publish your book on the Kindle store. You will get paid 35% of the list price for each book sold and there is also a 70% option that is applicable for books sold to customers in certain countries, including Australia.
Smashwords is the biggest eBook distributor for self-publishers. You simply upload your book as a Word document and they convert it into eBook format. However, you will need to make sure your Word document is correctly formatted according to their style guide first.
They offer global distribution via Apple iBooks (51 countries), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive (over 20,000 public libraries), Flipkart (the largest bookseller in India), Oyster, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, Page Foundry and they add more from time to time. They do not offer distribution via Amazon Kindle but you can offer your book in Kindle format so Kindle users can buy it from the Smashwords store.
You get to set the price – it might be free, anything above ninety-nine cents or the reader can set the price. You will earn 60% of the list price at the major retailers and up to 80% at the Smashwords store. Smashwords earns a commission for each book sold, but this is less than 15% of the list price.
Palmer Higgs provides print and eBook services to both the publishing industry and self-publishers. They have created a variety of packages at fixed prices so you can budget for what suits you and know there will be no extra hidden costs. Their services include production, distribution, marketing and they can even list your book with various bibliographic services for you so it can be purchased by retailers worldwide.
Palmer Higgs will list your print or eBook on their store Books Online free of charge with all of their packages. Print books are available to direct purchasers, libraries and booksellers both in Australia and internationally. You can opt for a bulk print run or choose print on demand. Their eBook distribution allows you to securely sell from an Australian-based eStore to a global market with full digital rights management. Books Online is non-exclusive so you can use it as your primary sales portal or in addition to other distributors.
Palmer Higgs has affiliations with major book distributors and can arrange for your book to be reviewed by them to assess its suitability for retail sale. This is a significant benefit for self-publishers who have difficulties getting on to traditional distributor listings.
And there you have it! While there are many more self-publishing and distribution options out there, these five will give you a good idea of your options and what to expect once your book is ready to go to market.
More info: Check out our post about preparing your book for distribution.