I’d like to share some of my favorite tools, resources, and information for self-publishing. These are things I recommend to my author clients on a regular basis.
This is my favorite option for print on demand (POD) and/or printing in general. Here’s how it works: you upload your print-ready PDF and cover files to CreateSpace.com. Add all your metadata and pricing. Order a proof of the book so you can see what it looks like in print. Approve the proof and put your book on sale. The book shows in-stock on Amazon at all times. When a customer orders it, CreateSpace prints the book for that order, then ships it to the customer. There is no inventory, storage fee, or high print bill. All of these costs are rolled into the production fee that CreateSpace charges. For more information, check out: https://www.createspace.com/Products/Book/. Pay particular attention to the royalties tab so you can see what to expect for royalties at each retail price point. Also, CreateSpace offers expanded distribution to other markets like libraries, independent bookstores, and large book retailers. Since this platform is built FOR self-published authors, they’ve made it very easy for people to use, unlike other POD services.
Amazon still has the best revenue for ebook sales. If you haven’t heard of Kindle Select, you really need to check it out. Kindle Select requires authors to offer their book exclusively through Kindle in 90-day time frames. In those 90 days, you have the option to offer your book for free for up to 5 days. Free download days will boost your book rankings, which will in turn boost paid sales. For a great overview of KDP Select, go here: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect. If you want a more in-depth explanation of how to use KDP Select, check out this book: How I Made Over $42,000 in 1 Month Selling My Kindle eBooks.
Metadata (Information about your book)
For the best advice on metadata I’ve seen: Make A Killing On Kindle (Without Blogging, Facebook Or Twitter). The Guerilla Marketer’s Guide To Selling Ebooks On Amazon. Metadata basically means “information about your book.” This is the book title, keywords, product description, and BISAC codes. The author gives some amazing information on how to use keywords and SEO in your book metadata (as well as cracking the code on styling your product description) so that people can find you on Amazon.
Best Distribution Company
Trick question! The best distribution company is YOU. You DO NOT have to work with a 3rd party distribution company in order to sell on the most profitable and highest-revenue outlets. I am amazed by how many authors think they have to use someone else to distribute their ebook. If you want to go direct, you’re going to need a couple things (you’d most likely need these anyway). You’ll need a cover image that’s at least 1400 px on the shortest edge. That equates to an image that’s 1400 wide by 2100 high, if you’re going with the recommended proportions. Scale that back to 800 x 1200 for the cover inside the book. You’ll also need mobi files (for Amazon) and ePub files (for everyone else). If you decide to work with iTunes, you’ll also need an ISBN (the ISBN is optional for the other outlets). Here are the links (check out my video tutorial if you need more in-depth information):
- Amazon Kindle: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin
- Barnes & Noble Nook: http://pubit.barnesandnoble.com/pubit_app/bn?t=pi_reg_home
- Kobo: http://www.kobo.com/writinglife
- iTunes/iPad/iPhone/Apple: http://www.apple.com/itunes/sellcontent/ (iTunes will try to direct you to a content aggregator at various times in account set-up. That’s because they would rather not have to deal with customer service issues.)
Best Resources for File Conversion and Viewing
My favorite tool for ebook conversion and editing is Sigil. Best used if you’re fairly comfortable messing with HTML and CSS. The latest build is amazing! My favorite tool for ebook viewing and file management, including loading files onto ereaders is Calibre. Best tool for converting an ePub to mobi and for seeing what the file will look like on Kindle devices is Kindle Previewer. If you’re looking for a good DIY guide on ebook conversion, uploading, and marketing, check out mine: DIY EPublishing: A Beginner’s Guide to Formatting, Uploading, and Marketing Your Ebook Like a Pro.
Even with all these resources available, navigating the world of self-publishing can be pretty confusing. I’m here to help! Drop me an email for free advice and/or a no-obligation estimate on file conversion: Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.