I know it's been a while since I lasted made a blog post. I'm busy illustrating for some really great projects that I'll share with you all soon! In the meantime, I thought it might be handy to write a little bit about ebook publishing.
I know there's a lot to get your head around if you're new to ebooks and what everything means. In the last few years I'd say 80% of the books I illustrate are ebook only. We'll not get into why this is right now, but safe to say if you're thinking about writing or have written a book - you've thought about ebooks.
It's not as complicated as it first looks. And if you have a bit of know-how, you can do it on a very tight budget too. So what options do you have?
Well, you've written your script, you've commissioned an illustrator to provide some amazing illustrations ( Or are you looking for one? ) and you're ready to go! But where on earth do you start? Who is the cheapest? Who offers the most revenue from sales? Who takes the biggest cut?
There are some big names out there in the self publishing world, and I've worked with most of them. Let's break down and compare the market leaders to see exactly what your options are.
Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing
One of the big-hitters, Amazon offer their very own publishing platform called Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP for short.
Of course, the first thing to remember is Amazon have the power of the KINDLE - their own ebook reader which is highly popular and dominates the market. Publishing with Amazon will mean all those Kindle readers have access to your book - and that's a lot of people...
- Amazon's ebook format is AZW, or .mobi - you'll have to convert your book into this format or pay someone else to do it. If you're looking to do this yourself, checkout Calibre or Mobi-pocket Creator
- Amazon offer a 70% royalty rate, with some rules which are listed on their website.
- The Kindle App is available on almost all devices, phones, PCs, Macs and Android. Even if your fans don't have a Kindle, they can still read Kindle books on other devices too.
- Amazon offers KDP select; a feature that, if eligible, can give you access to promotional tools whilst making your book part of the Kindle Owner lending library. In short, an annual fund will mean you get some of that money, but people can view your book for free for a limited time - getting you more reviews and fans. This also means you'll be exclusive to Kindle and so can't upload your book anywhere else.
- It's worth noting too, that some of the Kindles don't have full colour screens - so if you have beautiful illustrations make sure they look good in greyscale too!
ibooks author, if you didn't already guess is Apple's publishing software.
Books from the iBookstore are only readable on Apple's devices such as the iPad, iPhone, etc. However considering how many people own some sort of Apple device, this isn't a low number.
- The ibooks author software is free to download and use, and comes with pre-made templates to make it easier to create your ebook (you can also use templates made by 3rd parties...)
- ibooks author offers the opportunity to do more with your ebook, such as make it interactive or add a soundtrack
- 70% royalty rate the same as Amazon
- Retain 100% of the rights to your ebook, but you have to 'register' and fill out an application which can take some time
Smashwords is an ebook distributor that lets you distribute your books to the largest ebook retailers.
- Smashwords is fast, free and easy. They take small royalties (you earn 85% of the net profit) but don't charge you for their service unless you sign up for their 'premium' service
- You can use their 'meat grinder' tool to do all the hard work for you, simply upload your word file and get your ebook in many different formats!
- You can sell on Smashwords itself as well as exporting to other sites, and Smashwords will take care of the distribution for you
Barnes & Noble Pub-it
Pub-it is Barnes & Noble's publishing service. Barnes and Noble are the creators of the Nook - a popular ebook reader.
- Pub It offers a free conversion tool
- Work on a % without any upfront fees and get paid monthly rather than the 60 days Smashwords offer
- Your book will not only be available on the Nook, but also on the Barnes & Noble website - a very popular and well respected bookstore
Lulu is a web-based self publishing service,
which also boasts an online community including forums.
Lulu, like other companies I've mentioned above, offer to publish and distribute your book
for no charge - instead taking a percentage of royalties.
- Lulu has a store which gives you the option to order paperback printed copies of your book as well as the ebook version, although the high price of doing this to order means you likely won't sell many
- You will get 80% of the net profit and get paid monthly through Paypal
- Keep the copyright to all your work
- You can get a Lulu ISBN number for free - some of the above companies require you to buy this (ibooks)
- Can be listed on Amazon, although it does take some time for this to be processed
Createspace, created by Amazon, is very similar to Lulu - but seemingly a lot cheaper. Not only do they offer book service but also CDs and DVDs too. They have both free and paid services.
- Free to create and distribute your ebook, you only pay a % when you start seeing sales
- Can create paperback printed copies at a lower price than Lulu.com - you can proofs sent at a low price too
- Create Kindle ebooks
- Fast and easy to work with, but limited on choices of covers and spine art. You'd probably be best spending the money you've saved using Createspace in hiring a decent artist or designer to make your book stand out.
So, which one fits your requirements?
Only you can make that choice, but I hope this little guide helped somewhat to breaking down each companies' pros and cons in an easy to understand way.
There are, of course, other options out there. However I've listed the most popular and well known companies.
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You can visit my website, at www.izzybean.co.uk
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