The Ebook market is massive and today’s author’s are taking advantage of the cost-saving (and money-making!) opportunities of digital publishing. If you’re considering publishing an Ebook, there are many considerations to take into account, including which platform you’ll use, your book’s price point, and how much you’ll make in royalties.
But don’t get too far ahead of yourself. First, you should make sure you’ve reached the point where you’re ready to hit “publish.” Ask yourself the following:
- Has my book been edited? Don’t stop at self-editing (which of course is incredibly important)—consider hiring a professional developmental editor or copyeditor to make sure your book is as well-written and clean as possible.
- Does my book have a high-quality cover? Nothing makes a self-published book stand out (in a bad way) than a poorly-designed, amateur cover. Readers judge books by their covers, it’s just a fact. Make sure yours is top-notch and that it meets the upload requirements for publishing platforms.
- Do I have a book description? This is like your back-cover copy—a brief description of your book, with a strong hook that will engage the reader.
- Is my book formatted properly? A book’s interior layout and format will differ from physical books to Ebooks. Be sure to follow guidelines for formatting your Ebook, or consider hiring a freelance formatter to ensure everything will look right on an E-reader.
Choosing an Ebook Publishing Platform
There are more opportunities than ever for authors to publish their own work. And that means more places for readers to discover new books! When it comes to choosing where you will publish, you should do your research to compare things like cost, royalties, and readership. Let’s take a look at 4 of the most popular self-publishing sites.
1. Amazon KDP
It’s no secret that Amazon dominates the online book market. KDP makes it easy to upload your book—and it could be available to readers within 24 hours. It’s free for authors to use, and gives you two different royalty structures. KDP Select is Amazon’s exclusivity program, wherein authors agree not to distribute their Ebook outside of Amazon. In return, you receive incentives and advantages, including 70% royalties on books priced between $2.99 and $9.99, access to Kindle Countdown Deals and Free Promotions, and ability to enroll in Kindle Unlimited.
The opposite of being exclusive to Amazon is referred to as “going wide,” which means you cast a wider net in hopes of reaching more readers on additional platforms. In this case, you will receive a lower royalty (35%), but it may be worth it. Many authors find great success by going wide and not limiting themselves to Amazon. If you’re unsure, the best solution is to try both—experiment with KDP Select for a trial period, then go wide and compare your sales results.
If you’re considering “going wide,” here are the most common sites for self-published authors:
2. Apple Books
Similar to Amazon, Apple Books is an easy-to-use self-publishing platform that has been around since 2010. It’s free to use, and the uploading process takes only minutes. Authors can expect to earn 70% royalties on most titles.
3. Barnes & Noble Press (Nook)
Another platform that offers 70% royalties, as well as no charge for upload. Barnes & Noble also highlights select books in its emails and marketing promotions. An advantage against Amazon is that authors earn the 70% royalty even on titles priced as low as $.99.
Based out of Canada, Kobo is a great choice if you’re hoping to expand your book’s reach to an international market. It gives its authors 70% on ebooks priced more than $2.99 in the U.S. or 45% for books priced below $2.99. Additionally, authors are offered exclusive promotional opportunities if they publish directly through Kobo.
Do I have to upload my book to each of these sites individually?
The answer is you can…but you don’t have to. This is where aggregators come in. Ebook aggregators collect and manage the publishing market, pushing your book to each retailer and centralizing it all into one sales report. Which means that you can upload it once, then the aggregator does the rest of the work. For many authors, this approach removes stress and time out of the equation. The downside is that the aggregator will take a cut of your royalties (usually 10%). It’s up to each individual author to weigh the pros and cons of using an aggregator.
Draft2Digital is the most popular book aggregator in the market. Not only does it connect and distribute to all of the major platforms, but it has many built-in advantages for authors, including formatting. Yes, that’s right—D2D will format your manuscript into the correct file type prior to uploading, so you don’t have to worry about that piece of the puzzle.
Other aggregators are:
- Smashwords — but they don’t distribute to Amazon
- PublishDrive — offers a unique option for authors to pay $100 per month and keep all their royalties.
- StreetLib — great international presence
Once you’ve chosen your preferred platform(s), simply follow the steps for uploading your manuscript and cover. Today’s self-publishing is designed to be super user-friendly, even for those who aren’t as tech-savvy. Within a day or two, your book should be available for readers to find—and you’re on your way to making money from your work!