Last weekend I gave a webinar presentation to the Federation of BC Writers. The topic was about how there are more platforms for self-publishing your books than just Amazon. Each platform has its own marketplace and there can be benefits to uploading your book to more than one. Let’s take a look at the most popular and useful platforms.
The best known of the platforms for self-publishers, Amazon is the largest online marketplace in the world. Of course they sell a lot more products than books. Your book can be made available on sites such as Amazon.ca (Canada), Amazon.co.uk (United Kingdom) and Amazon.com.au (Australia) as well as Amazon.com (U.S.). Their marketplace is found in 19 countries. They will convert your book into a MOBI file, which is their property, so they are the only ones to use it. This means that in order to read the MOBI file, the reader has to have Kindle in their device. The Kindle app can be downloaded for free.
Once your Word file is formatted, you upload it to the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) site and they will convert it into an e-book. They will convert a Word file into an e-book for you as long as you follow their formatting standards. You can find information about how to format e-books at https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G200645680.The cover is uploaded separately. KDP has a cover creator feature if you do not have one designed already.
Amazon does Print-On-Demand (POD) and can make print books for you to sell both locally and on their websites. They have many tools to help you format your book. They also let you set up an author’s page. Although author copies are printed in the U.S., books sold to Canadians are printed in Canada.
They no longer charge a set-up fee, so that puts them in line with the other platforms. They do not convert Word documents so you have to have your book converted into an EPUB file before uploading it. It is easily done in InDesign and there are some online sites that will convert for you.
IngramSpark has 21 global online distribution partners including Kobo, Amazon and Apple Books. If you already have your book on Amazon, IngramSpark will not publish it there for 12 months and if you have your book on Apple Books you will have to remove it. So, if you plan to use IngramSpark, upload your book there first. IngramSpark also does Print-On-Demand (POD) and can make print books for you to both sell locally and on their website.
Canada’s online digital bookstore was started by Indigo/Chapters who sold it to Rakuten in 2012. Often overlooked, Kobo has 10,000 retail points and 100 million customers in 190 countries. You upload your Word document and they will convert it into an EPUB file. The Kobo app can be downloaded into any device for free.
Kobo also has marketing tools for their authors and you can set up an author’s page. Because it is a Canadian company, you do not need to fill out U.S. tax information like you do for the American platforms.
Barnes & Noble
They are a U.S. firm and your book goes into any American bookstore that carries e-books for the NOOK reader. You simply upload your Word document (either .doc or .docx) and they convert it into an e-book and distribute it. Barnes & Noble also does Print-On-Demand (POD) and can make print books for you to both sell locally and on their website. They act as a distributor for any of your print books ordered in the U.S. If you have the right book and the right marketing plan, you could see good sales in the U.S.
If you are a Mac user, you can make your book in Pages and save it to iCloud. Then you upload it from there to Apple Books. When you create the book in Pages, it will be converted to an EPUB file, which is the most commonly used file for readers in the world. Then you upload the EPUB to Apple Books. It will be available for readers who use an iPhone or iPad. If you do not have a Mac, you can have your books made available to Apple Books through IngramSpark or Draft2Digital. That way you will not have to convert them to EPUB files yourself.
You got this
These are the main platforms that should give you a broad range of market places and customers. Of course, you still have to market you books. I recommend that you make use of any Author Pages you can. That gets the word out about you and could generate interest in your book(s). Write a good bio of yourself and have a nice head and shoulders picture. Then use it on all the platforms as well as your website if you have one.
Copyright (c) 2024 Suzanne Anderson